The Best Caribbean Destinations for an Easy Beach Getaway

Some things are given on a Caribbean beach getaway: water that dazzles in shades of emerald and blue; gently swaying palms; a slower pace of life; a steady flow of ice-cold rum drinks. There is no bad time for a Caribbean escape. And right about now, a chance to immerse yourself in island culture—or to book a future trip to look forward to—is not only more enticing than ever, but also more possible than it’s been in a while.

St. Lucia
Welcome to the jungle—and the beach
A far cry from your typical Caribbean experience, St. Lucia’s verdant jungle covers spiny mountain peaks that look down over striking black-sand beaches. The port town of Soufriere is a great jumping-off point from which to get into the island’s hot springs, hike the trails, and climb Gros Piton, which offers sweeping views over St. Lucia and a few neighboring islands.

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Ancient boulders, dazzling beaches, and pirate dens
If you love a good beach getaway but are a little bit over the piña colada scene, BVI could be your spot. There are 20 national parks across its 60 or so islands, but The Baths National Park on Virgin Gorda, the archipelago’s third-largest strip of sand, stands out above all else. Think lush peaks, ancient boulders, unspoiled beaches, and fantastic opportunities for hiking, rock-climbing, and spelunking—not to mention there’s no trace of the rampant crowds that flood US national parks like Yellowstone

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Minimal vacation-planning stress, maximum beauty
One of the Caribbean’s most accessible and inexpensive destinations, Punta Cana is far from a hidden gem—but it’s popular for good reason. Just a 20-minute drive from a bustling airport, this is not a Caribbean destination that requires you to take a plane to a Cessna to a water plane to a ferry to a taxi to a moto before you find your particular corner of paradise: the entire area is objectively gorgeous, complete with soft white and yellow sand and pretty much any tropical experience you desire.

Hopkins, Belize
Home of Garifuna beats
In 1937, the Caribbean Afro-Indigenous Garifuna community escaped persecution in Honduras and became the first settlers in what is now known as Hopkins, Belize. The secluded fishing village, about a two-hour drive south of Belize City, gained about 200 more people when a hurricane devastated northern Belize in 1941. Today, Hopkins is a laid-back fishing village of about 1,500, lightly touched by resorts and tourists. That means uncrowded beaches where a hammock is always waiting for you in the cradle of Garifuna culture in Belize.

Champagne Reef, Dominica
Swim through streams of photogenic, volcanic-vent bubbles
Tiny, mountainous Dominica is covered in craggy mountains and lush forests that reward visitors—those who know well enough to actually visit—with a wealth of waterfalls, jaw-dropping hikes, hot springs, and beaches both rocky and sandy. But it’s what’s beyond the shoreline—and below the surface—that truly makes the mind reel.

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