This British West Indies island has beautiful, uncrowded beaches and rivals St. Barts as a vacation mecca for the rich and famous.
Best for: Food enthusiasts. There are 100 places to eat in Anguilla’s 35 square miles. Cuisine ranges from roadside bistros serving local specialties to pristine seaside restaurants catering to passionate gourmands.
Not for: Serious shoppers. Unlike top Caribbean honeymoon islands with slews of duty-free shops, Anguilla’s retail offerings are basically limited to galleries showing the work of local artists and hotel gift shops.
Highlight: Water-taxi to tiny Scilly Cay for a barbecued lobster curry lunch. Grab a waterside table at the islet’s restaurant, place an order, and snorkel while you await your meal.
Antigua is a water world, with beautiful beaches for sunbathers and perfect anchorages for sailors. Even its most historic attraction—Nelson’s Dockyard, once home to the British fleet in the Caribbean—is thoroughly nautical.
Best for: Canoodling and skinny-dipping on serene, secluded beaches. Another plus: The atmosphere at most of the resorts is decidedly romantic and sophisticated—not too “kiddie” and not too commercial, it makes for one of the most popular Caribbean honeymoon spots.
Not for: Couples who hope to browse for luxury goods at duty-free shops.
Highlight: The Home Restaurant. Make time to enjoy an authentic West Indian feast at this top-rated gem.
Quiet lounging isn’t Aruba‘s big draw—instead, people visit this desert island for near-perfect weather year-round and for the opportunity to fill their itineraries with activities.
Best for: Honeymooners who want a party scene, shopping, scuba diving, kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Not for: Couples who dream of tropical jungles and majestic mountains (Aruba is dry and flat). However, its beaches are spectacular, with powdery sand and crystal-clear water which is the main reasons Aruba is one of the top Caribbean honeymoon islands.
Highlight: The ultimate must-do for honeymooners: a private sunset sail via catamaran.
4. British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islanders could drape the terminal at Beef Island Airport in a giant banner that reads, “Welcome to the Sailing Capital of the World”—although they’d never actually do anything so crass. But that’s essentially what the BVI has become over the past 30 years: the globe’s number-one spot for summer (and honeymoon) sailors.
Best for: Couples who want to learn the basics of sailing and spend their nights at a private-island resort or newlyweds with enough experience beneath the mast to sail off on their own bareboat charter honeymoon.
Not for: Anyone who prefers the self-serve piña colada machines and 24/7 party scene at a mega-resort. These islands are really for those who want peace and quiet with their tropical honeymoon paradise.
Highlight: Spending a day alone on Anegada, a coral atoll, where there’s always an empty beach and an offshore wreck waiting to be explored by scuba divers or snorkelers.
5. Cayman Islands
The islands that make up the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac) are surrounded by gorgeous, clear water, making them a diving hot spot. They also have a culture of politesse, which makes visitors feel safe and at home on their honeymoon.
Best for: Couples who appreciate high-end resorts and the high-stakes adventure of wall diving.
Not for: Those who want to explore local villages for exotic cultural experiences. The Caymans have an American standard (and style) of living.
Highlight: Scuba divers love the Sunken City of Atlantis, where a local artist is constructing a below-the-surface city with sculptures cast from rock, sand and cement—all of which are fostering the growth of a brand-new reef.
Locals are proud that Barbados retains more British flavor than any other top Caribbean honeymoon landfall: Afternoon tea, driving on the left and cricket are a few of the customs the Brits left behind. And unlike popular honeymoon islands where traditions are fading, Bajans (as the islanders call themselves) embrace these customs as part of their national character.
Best for: Pretending that you’re in a tropical England. Dig into a champagne-and-caviar picnic while watching a match at the Barbados Polo Club, or attend a garden party hosted by the Barbados Horticulture Society.
Not for: Spring-break party scenes. The club-and-café area around the Careenage yacht basin in downtown Bridgetown can get pretty rowdy on weekends, but this isn’t a honeymoon place for party animals.
Highlight: Walking hand-in-hand down the wildly romantic Bathsheba Beach, knowing that a young Queen Elizabeth II once strolled here, too.
This little Dutch island off the coast of Venezuela is a melting pot of people from all around the globe: More than 50 different nationalities and ethnic groups are represented in an area about a sixth of the size of Rhode Island. This mix of cultures makes Curaçao one of the most cosmopolitan places on the planet—an island of interesting food, intriguing art and pretty good duty-free shopping.
Best for: Couples who crave a side dish of art and architecture with their coconut-palm-tree-and-turquoise-bay honeymoon entrée.
Not for: Die-hard beachcombers. Curaçao has its nice strands, but they’re few and far between, and not in the same league as those of more fabled Caribbean honeymoon beach destinations.
Highlight: Roaming the island’s Punda and Otrobanda districts, where hundreds of Dutch-colonial buildings have been lovingly restored and are now restaurants, bars, music clubs, art galleries and duty-free shops.
With 60 percent of the island still covered in rain forest—much of it protected within the confines of national parks—and more than 365 rivers (one for each day of the year), Dominica is a Caribbean honeymoon version of the Garden of Eden.
Best for: Couples who donate to Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. Dominica has staked its future on eco-tourism, and the island offers visitors everything from guided rain-forest hikes and jungle river adventures to what many people consider the best whale-watching in the West Indies.
Not for: Anyone who expects luxury spas, Cordon-Bleu cooking, satellite TV or door-to-door limo service. Dominica is the unspoiled Caribbean—modest, economical and drop-dead gorgeous.
Highlight: A romantic dip (skinny or otherwise) at Emerald Pool in Morne Trois Pitons National Park or in one of the dozens of other secluded waterfalls that are scattered about this incredibly lush, green island.
9. Dominican Republic
Friendly people, a vibrant culture, miles of beaches and affordable resorts all attract visitors to the bustling, Spanish-flavored Dominican Republic – making it an incredibly popular spot for a Caribbean honeymoon.
Best for: Couples who crave adventure in the sun. You can hike 10,000-foot peaks, windsurf in terrific cruising grounds, scout for humpback whales, snorkel and scuba dive with a kaleidoscopic array of fish and bike through the fecund countryside.
Not for: Haute cuisine. Chicken dinners with sides of rice and fried plantains are the norm. Your best bet is to choose the grilled fish—more than likely, it’s just off the boat.
Highlight: Protected by a barrier reef, the bay at Cabarete, 23 miles east of Puerto Plata, is an ideal place for beginners to try windsurfing. The Carib BIC Center offers equipment and instruction for one hour or one week.
Also called “The Spice Island,” Grenada has grown its trademark nutmeg, along with mace, cinnamon and cloves, for centuries. The island is home to mountainous rain forests alive with tropical birds and monkeys, white- and black-sand beaches, and welcoming people.
Best for: Outdoorsy couples who love to get their feet wet will enjoy exploring Grenada’s lush jungles, waterfalls and beautiful beaches.
Not for: Name-droppers and party animals; though in some cases decidedly luxurious, Grenada is a wonderfully low-key and unpretentious spot for a Caribbean honeymoon.
Highlight: Explore Grand Etang National Park, where you can hike to the Seven Sisters Waterfalls and jump in for a swim, or go tubing down the Balthazar River. Adventure Jeep Tours offers tubing trips; guides for jungle treks include Henry Safari Tours and Mr. Telfor Bedeau.
Best for: Music fans. Bob Marley lovers can hop on Chukka Caribbean Adventures’ Zion bus tour, which takes you through the countryside of St. Ann, the music legend’s home parish. Or, you can take a snorkeling cruise in Montego Bay‘s Marine Park; after your dive, the music and dancing begin right on deck.
Not for: City slickers. If dusty roads and ordering a Red Stripe beer from a beverage stand on the roadside just aren’t your thing, you could while away the hours of your honeymoon at your resort. But if you do, you’ll miss out on the people and atmosphere that make the island so special.
Highlight: Traveling in January? Check out the jazz and blues festival, which is held annually in Montego Bay and features contemporary reggae artists like Maxi Priest and Shaggy.
Martinique could easily pass for the south of France—whitewashed walls and red-tile roofs, techno pouring from the open doors of a waterfront disco, the aroma of garlic and wine wafting from some country kitchen, the tricolor flying from French naval ships. It’s the tropical beaches—and those ubiquitous coconut-palm trees—that keep reminding you that you are actually in a Caribbean honeymoon hotspot.
Best for: Couples who like to shop together. The boutiques and department stores near Martinique’s Place de la Savane, in Fort-de-France, and La Galleria shopping center, near the airport, offer a veritable buffet of French luxury goods for browsing—upscale fashions, perfume, jewelry, wine and gourmet foods—and many of them are straight from Paris.
Not for: Anyone who expects the locals to speak English. Martinique is a full-fledged French department, a status that is similar to Hawai’i’s in the U.S. Parlez-vous Français?
Highlight: The local food, which is a delicious combination of zesty Caribbean Creole cooking and classic French cuisine. It’s especially delightful when you dine alfresco at an old plantation house restaurant, like La Grange (try the foie gras and roast duck) or Céron (spicy seafood delights).
Little Nevis, one of the smallest landfalls in the Caribbean, has a huge heart, making it one of the most friendly islands for visitors. With countryside dotted by old sugarcane plantations and highlands dominated by a hulking volcano, Nevis is also one of the most scenic of the Caribbean honeymoon isles.
Best for: Laid-back honeymoons with an emphasis on activities such as lounging in bed, lying around the pool and maybe a little limin’ (hanging out) around the hotel bar at night.
Not for: Adrenaline freaks. Scuba diving, deep-sea fishing, golf and horseback riding are readily available, but Nevis is not the place to come if you want to spend your honeymoon on the back of a WaveRunner.
Highlight: Rent a car and drive the round-island road, only 20 miles and easily doable in a single morning or afternoon. Stop along the way in quaint villages, in old country churches, at the daily street market in Charlestown and on the golden sands of Pinney’s Beach.
14. Puerto Rico
This huge, mountainous island may be part of the U.S.A., but the thoroughly Latin ambience gives it the feel of an exotic foreign land. You can base yourself in one place (like San Juan or the west coast) or undertake a motoring honeymoon that encompasses a number of destinations.
Best for: Couples who think that variety is the spice of life. In Puerto Rico you can have a big-city or a middle-of-nowhere Caribbean honeymoon. You can stay at an ultramodern resort or a renovated Spanish plantation estate. You can lounge along a white-sand strand or explore jungled national parks. It’s one of the few Caribbean honeymoon islands that literally offers something for everyone.
Not for: People who don’t like to move. Puerto Rico is a cradle of salsa. There, even wallflowers are expected to get up and dance.
Highlight: A night out in San Juan: walking the cobblestone streets of the Old Town hand in hand, dining by candlelight in a café overlooking the waterfront, and then dancing the night away at a crowded salsa club.
15. St. Barthélemy
This chic French Caribbean honeymoon island is all about being gorgeous, rich and famous—or at least pretending to be—whether you find yourself lounging on some beautiful beach, zipping around in a Smart Car or dining at a trendy café.
Best for: Couples who love spending time (and money) with the beautiful people. One great place to join them is over lunch at the Eden Rock on St. Jean Beach.
Not for: L.L. Bean-wearing types most comfortable with burgers and beers, or those on a strict budget.
Highlight: Intimate and exclusive, like everything else about St. Barts, the tiny island’s 14 white-sand beaches are never crowded, so it’s not tough to snag a prime spot. For the best people-watching ops, along with good swimming, water-sports rentals and a selection of restaurants, try Cul-de-Sac and St. Jean beaches. For a strand that’s popular with locals, visit pretty Corossol Beach, which is set near a tiny fishing village.
16. St. Kitts
Thus far, friendly St. Kitts, which is home to green mountainside rain forests and historic sites, has remained less developed than Nevis, its sister island. While the island has been independent since 1983, it retains strong ties to its English heritage and offers a taste of an unhurried, uncrowded Caribbean honeymoon.
Best for: Nature-lovers. Exploring rain forests, sugar plantations, majestic sea cliffs and the island’s famous Mt. Liamuga, an extinct volcano situated at 3,792 feet above sea level, are musts for adventurous, outdoorsy couples.
Not for: Beach-lovers. If lounging on a postcard-worthy beach is your first priority (and will be your primary honeymoon activity), St. Kitts may not have enough idyllic strands to satisfy your sand-and-sea requirements.
Highlight: While some Caribbean boutiques have cheesy, commercial-grade batik clothing on offer, everything at Caribelle Batik is the real thing. Located in an adorable cottage on the grounds of a 17th-century estate, this workshop is open to visitors, who can watch artisans paint the fabrics by hand and see the finished hibiscus-red, canary-yellow and electric-blue garments drying in the sun. It’s a can’t-miss shopping experience—and a cultural one to boot.
17. St. Lucia
Best known for its dramatic landmark mountains, The Pitons, the French West Indies island of St. Lucia is also home to abundant rain forests, mountainous terrain and spectacular dive sites.
Best for: Nature-lovers. If you enjoy soft-adventure excursions, then St. Lucia won’t disappoint. The town of Soufriëre has some of the best spots for viewing the island’s coral reefs. While you’re in the area, you can also hike the Fond Gens Libre Nature Trail.
Not for: The unadventurous. The island has remained relatively underdeveloped, so the roads are bumpy, and even the most upscale resorts feel remote.
Highlight: Try a jungle-biking tour at the Anse Chastanet resort, in SoufriËre. Along the way, you’ll pass mango, coconut and cocoa trees as well as an 18th-century sugar mill.
18. Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
Saint Martin (or Sint Maarten, its Dutch name) has a split personality. About a third of the island is Dutch—gingerbread houses, English-speaking and home to some delicious cheese. The other two-thirds is French—a bit more posh, a bit quieter and wine that’s out of this world.
Best for: Flitting back and forth between two very different European cultures. You can have lunch in Paris, dinner in Amsterdam. A morning walk along the North Sea, a sunset stroll along the Mediterranean—or at least their Caribbean equivalents.
Not for: Anyone who thinks a tropical island paradise must have a rain forest and cloud-shrouded volcanic peaks. Truth be told, both sides of the island are well-populated, and the arid, natural landscape doesn’t reflect the lush, mountainous idea that many people have of the Caribbean.
Highlight: Tear yourself away from the duty-free boutiques and head for a beach. St. Martin has some terrific strands: Dawn Beach on the Dutch side; Grand Case, Orient and Longue beaches on the French.
19. St. Vincent and the Grenadines
If your romantic Caribbean honeymoon fantasies include swashbuckling sword fights (or Johnny Depp), then SVG is the place for you. This lovely archipelago in the southern Caribbean is where the original Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed and where the two sequels were recently completed. St. Vincent is the volcano-crowned main island; the Grenadines are a chain of smaller upscale landfalls that sprawl to the south along the turquoise sea.
Best for: Island-hopping. Even if you don’t have your own boat, the islands are well connected by commuter flights and ferries. About a dozen boats per day ply the hour-long route between Bequia and St. Vincent.
Not for: Anyone on a tight budget. Many of the posh Grenadines (especially Mustique, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent) have long been the haunt of the rich and famous. If you have to ask the price, these islands aren’t for you.
Highlight: A speedboat trip along St. Vincent’s western shore, visiting black-sand strands and places where Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow once frolicked (a.k.a. movie locations). Stop at Wallilabou Bay for lunch and check out the sets still standing from the Pirates filming.
20. Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago are the odd couple of the Caribbean; islands that couldn’t be more unlike one another but are now joined at the hip as one sovereign country. With its diverse population and humid lowlands, Trinidad feels more like South America than part of the West Indies. Tobago, on the other hand, is a bona fide Caribbean honeymoon island paradise of palm trees and golden sands.
Best for: Music fans. The birthplace of calypso, soca and the steel drum, Trinidad is where the modern Caribbean sound was first heard and continues to thrive. Even if you’re not there at Carnival time, you can still catch live music at local clubs and “panyards” where the bands practice year-round.
Not for: People who don’t want to leave their resorts and mix with locals. “Trinnies” are a gregarious bunch who love to hang out, brag about their islands and talk about just about anything. Spending some time getting to know them is a high point of any visit.
Highlight: Depends on the island. In Trinidad, it’s a visit to the celebrated Asa Wright Nature Centre in the northern highlands, where the rain forest takes center stage. In Tobago, it’s beach-hopping your way down the north shore, from Man O’ War Bay to Buccoo Reef.
21. Turks and Caicos
Just over an hour’s flight from Miami, this British territory is actually a chain of 40 islands and cays—many uninhabited—which you can easily hop to from the hub, Providenciales (Provo).
Best for: Exploring. It doesn’t get much more romantic than chartering a private yacht to a virtually deserted island for the day. Once there, you and your new hubby can stroll along ultra white beaches, gaze at wild flamingoes, snorkel in turquoise waters off the world’s third-largest barrier reef, then hop back on the boat for a gourmet picnic lunch. Beluga Cruises offers private sailings by catamaran.
Highlight: Kayaking to tiny, conch-shell-strewn islands, snaking in and out of mangrove-lined coves along the way (keep your eyes peeled for little nurse sharks and other eye-catching marine life). Big Blue, a small eco-tourist company in Provo, arranges kayak trips for groups as small as two.
22. The U.S. Virgin Islands
Of the three main islands of the U.S. Virgin Islands—St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix—St. Thomas offers more choices in hotels and activities, while being the most convenient to reach (most major airlines offer nonstop flights).
Best for: Sailing. The calm waters and soft breezes around the U.S.V.I. make it easy and fun to explore by boat the tiny islands that dot the bays. Winifred Charters sails through Pillsbury Sound to spots such as Mingo, Lovango and Whistling cays. Along the way you will drop anchor to take guided snorkeling trips.
Not for: Shopping. At least, not if you’re looking for authentic local art and crafts. The bustling port at Charlotte Amalie is packed with shops, but they lean more toward duty-free goods than artisan crafts.
Highlight: Drake’s Seat. Travelers flock to this scenic lookout during the day, but the best time to take in the panoramic view of crystal-blue Magens Bay and the British Virgin Islands is at sunset, when the crowds are gone and the two of you can have it all to yourselves.
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I called on the advice of my sister, after my then-fiancee told me I wasn't allowed to plan by myself. I thought I had saved thousands on our last vacation, but it turns out I had just booked a really crappy resort and as a result, the worst vacation ever. Needless to say, that vacation didn't hold a candle to what our honeymoon travel agent recommended. We had an amazing time and couldn't have done it without her.Ben
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From the very beginning, our honeymoon travel agent was nothing but personable and professional. She helped me to lock down our honeymoon location after asking a couple of questions. During our travels we ran into a couple of hiccups with delays – she reached out to us (she had been monitoring our flight times from home!) to see if there was anything she could do. After missing our first day of our trip due to flight delays, at our request she booked us an extra night and changed our flights. Sara is more than just a honeymoon travel agent. She took the time to really get to know us and stayed in touch every step of the way. I highly recommend working with Sara on your honeymoon travel details!Carol