5 Sunny Caribbean Destinations to Help Beat the Winter Blues
Tired of the cold? Escape to these tropical locales in the warm waters of the Caribbean.
Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos is famed for its stunning shores, but none more so than Grace Bay Beach. Located on the northeast coast of Providenciales and renowned for its pristine white sand and turquoise waters, it’s consistently ranked among the most beautiful beaches in the world (these are the top beach spots in the U.S.) and is the crown jewel of the island. Other notable spots to catch some rays and enjoy the sea are Bright Beach, Smith’s Reef, and Turtle Cove. If you’ve ever heard of Seven Mile Beach, that’s a reference to the uninterrupted stretch that runs from Leeward Beach (across Grace Bay Beach, Bright Beach, and Smith’s Reef) to Turtle Cove. Another major selling point of Turks and Caicos? The resorts. The Shore Club is all about thoughtful design and amazing amenities, including four outdoor pools—adults-only, family-friendly, central colonnade, and lap—spa, fitness center, daily yoga classes (find out the easy yoga poses you should do every day, even when you’re on vacation), and a complimentary Kids Club that will keep younger visitors entertained for hours. The Palms boasts beachfront access and a stunning infinity pool. And while kids (ages 12 and younger) keep busy with daily supervised activities at the Conch Kritters Club, parents can unwind with a pampering treatment at the 25,000-square-foot spa.
The Caribbean’s easternmost island, Barbados is blessed with beautiful beaches and coral reefs that line the coast and attract visitors from around the globe with its incredible snorkeling and scuba diving. (If you enjoy underwater adventure, don’t miss this list of beaches with the clearest water in the world.) Calm waters make Bath Beach one of the best for swimming; Crane Beach, which was originally a harbor, is known as one of the most picturesque spots on the island; while adrenaline junkies from around the globe flock to Silver Sands, a gusty outpost on the southern coast, acclaimed for windsurfing. On the west side of the island, in the parish of St. James, is Paynes Bay, often called the “Platinum Coast.” This spectacular stretch is where you’ll find The House. For couples seeking a romantic and relaxing getaway, there’s no better place than this 34-room, adults-only respite. (Looking to reconnect? Try these secrets for taking a second honeymoon on the cheap.) Families can find fun for all ages at the neighboring Tamarind, a Mediterranean-style resort that offers an array of Bajan activities, from dialect lessons to beach cricket (Barbados’ sport of choice) as well as unlimited non-motorized sports—snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding.
From mountains and rainforests to plantations and beaches, Saint Lucia has something for every type of vacationer. Adventurers can zipline, hike, and explore Gros Piton, the second highest peak on the island. For animal-lovers, there’s horseback riding on the beach. History buffs can tour Fort Rodney. Those looking for some R&R can let their stress melt away at Soufriere, a scenic town on the island’s west coast that’s home to many hot springs and mineral baths. Luxury-seekers can kick back at one of the island’s five-star resorts: Situated on 100 acres of lush rainforest on the site of an 18th-century sugar plantation, Sugar Beach impresses with its picture-perfect views of the majestic UNESCO World Heritage-listed Piton Mountains and the Caribbean Sea, colonial charm, and modern amenities. For the ultimate posh escape, book a room or, even better, a suite with private hot tub at Marigot Bay. All that’s left to do is order a rum cocktail and take in the uninterrupted views of what’s been called “the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean.”
Antigua encompasses 108-square miles of golden sands and fertile plains. Ringed by coral reefs and cerulean waters, this sun-soaked island is renowned for its expansive coastline and multitude of beaches (there are more than 365). Coupled with the pleasant climate—cool breezes and a low humidity—it’s easy to see why Antigua is such a popular tourist destination. But the beach is just the beginning of this tropical paradise. It also touts to have some of the top all-inclusive resorts in the world. Tucked on a secluded stretch of Soldiers Bay on the northeast corner of the island is Blue Waters. This iconic all-inclusive resort—which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation—flaunts posh guest rooms, impeccable service, tennis courts, and a spa. If that’s not enough to convince you, know this: Prince Harry has stayed here during his tour of the Caribbean. (On a budget? Check out these all-inclusive vacations for less than $300 a night.) On the southern part of Antigua is Curtain Bluff. And, let’s just say, there’s a reason, well a few, that it’s a mainstay on luxury travel lists—among them an unmatched seaside setting, gorgeous gardens, and world-class accommodations, complete with marble bathrooms, coffered wood ceilings, over-sized soaking tubs, and verandas. Those looking to unplug will be pleased to hear rooms do not include TVs.
Proximity to Miami (it’s just a 30-minute flight) makes the Bahamas a convenient escape. But once you arrive you’ll feel as though you’re a world away. For starters, the Bahamas isn’t one singular island, but 700 isles in the Atlantic. Nassau Paradise Island is a top tourist destination… and for good reason. It has 300 days of sunshine a year, water temperatures averaging 80 degrees, and beautiful beaches—most notably Paradise Beach on the northern shore. A few miles west is Cable Beach, a prime locale for luxury accommodations and the site of the highly-anticipated Baha Mar Resort, a massive, 2,300-room complex that encompasses the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, SLS Baha Mar, and Rosewood Baha Mar (opening April 2018), an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus designed golf course as well as the largest casino, and first ESPA spa in the Caribbean. But there’s plenty more to explore beyond Nassau. On the east side of Harbour Island is Pink Sands Beach, a 3-mile swath of soft-pink shoreline, punctuated with a handful of private villas and low-rise hotels. The vibe is serene and relaxed and the scenery stunning. While you’re there, be sure to savor some local delicacies, like conch. Those looking for secluded getaway should consider The Cove Eleuthera, a high-end boutique resort, nestled on 45 unspoiled acres. Accommodations include luxury guest rooms, suites, villas, and cottages. There’s also high-end dining options, a spa, and a hilltop infinity pool. Need more travel inspo? Check out these gorgeous infinity pools around the globe.