Quick, ask someone to name their favorite Caribbean islands, and more than likely, you get answers along the lines of Jamaica, Barbados, The Bahamas, and Saint Lucia. Don’t get me wrong, these are all breathtakingly beautiful islands. However, there are a few underrated gems in the Caribbean that don’t often get the love they deserve. Here are ten of our favorites.
Vieques and Culebra
Commonly referred to as the “hidden islands of Puerto Rico,” Vieques and Culebra are located a short boat ride off the east coast of Puerto Rico. With breathtaking scenery, the islands offer visitors a break from the hustle and bustle of mainland Puerto Rico. And each island has its claim to fame – Vieques is home to Mosquito Bay, which the Guinness Book of World Records deemed the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, and Culebra boasts Flamenco Beach that the Discovery Channel crowned the second-best beach on the planet.
Many individuals know that the full name of the island nation of Trinidad is Trinidad and Tobago. However, relatively few people actually visit the latter island, which is unfortunate, because they are missing out on one of the lushest islands of the Caribbean. From pulsating reefs to therapeutic waterfalls and one of the oldest protected rainforests, Tobago is an eco-tourist’s dream.
Iles des Saintes
Also known in English as Island of Saints, Iles des Saintes is actually group of islands located within the archipelago that makes up the island group of Guadeloupe. Famous for its many white beaches, the bay of Iles des Saintes is ranked as one of the most beautiful bays in the world by UNESCO.
Like Trinidad and Tobago, the official name of the island of Saint Vincent is Saint Vincent and The Grenadines. The Grenadines, of course, is a small chain of tiny islands located between Saint Vincent and Grenada. One island in this small chain, Canouan, gives life to the phrase, “tiny yet mighty”. At only 3.5 square miles, Canouan is known for its spectacular beaches and easy living that can at times feel like existing in another era.
Referred to by many as the “the Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean”, Saba is particularly known for its exceptional ecotourism. One of the few municipalities of The Netherlands, Saba boasts stunning natural beauty, with more than 150 species of fish available, and dive sites that make it a diver’s dream paradise.
Another of the Grenadines islands, Carriacou, unlike its sister island Canouan, belongs to the mainland island of Grenada. Known as the “Isle of Reefs,” Carriacou offers nature lovers and travelers some of the most unspoiled reefs in all of the Caribbean. The island is also a big attraction for divers, boasting an impressive 33 diverse dive sites.
Part of what is commonly known as Turks & Caicos, Salt Cay is the second largest of the islands that make up Turks. The island’s main appeal is its ancient and rustic feel. With no paved roads and little to no cars but a vast array of natural attractions, Salt Cay is a hiker’s dream and appeals to the traveler searching for simpler times.
One of the islands that make up the British Virgin Islands, Anegada is known for its wildlife and flat sugary beaches. Built from coral and limestone, versus the volcanic origin of many other Caribbean islands, Anegada is perfect for the casual traveler seeking a lazy, relaxing experience.
Part of the Dominican Republic, Isla Saona (Saona Island in English) is a government protected nature reserve, which explains its unspoiled natural beauty. The island boasts long stretches of white sandy beaches, various mangroves, and coral reefs that appeal both the adventurous traveler and the one looking to relax.
One of the other few Dutch territories, Sint Maarten’s natural appeal spans beautiful beaches to lagoons and salt pans. Boasting a unique cobblestone and colonial-style infrastructure, Sint Maarten is particularly popular for its many sailing regattas. Despite being significantly impacted by Hurricane Irma in 2017, the island has made extensive rebuilding progress and is mostly back to its old self.