Given that there are more than 700 islands in the Caribbean—each with its own charm—it can be difficult to know which one to pick when planning a getaway. But according to Travel + Leisure readers, there are a few where you basically can't go wrong.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe—to share their opinions on the top cities, islands, cruise lines, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated islands on their natural attractions/beaches, activities/sights, food, friendliness, and overall value.
Are you the type of person who craves seclusion and lush natural surroundings? Then perhaps St. John, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands and No. 5 on our list, is the right place for you: over 60 percent of the island is set aside as a national park. “St. John is absolutely breathtaking in its beauty, and seems to be working hard to accommodate the present and future while preserving the past,” one survey participant wrote.
Or maybe you should try St. Lucia (ninth in the rankings), which is famous for its mineral hot springs, superb diving, five-star hotels with open-air suites, and the Pitons: volcanic mountains that have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
What catapulted some of the other destinations to the top of the list: For Exuma, an archipelago of 365 cays and islands in the Bahamas, pristine beaches were one of the main draws. But it was also the fact that travelers can engage in one very unique, Instagram-worthy activity: swimming with pigs. For this year’s winner—Virgin Gorda, a gem in the British Virgin Islands—natural beauty prevailed above all. Many voters raved about the famous Baths, an area of sheltered sea pools surrounded by granite boulders. “The Baths may be the most beautiful place in the world. Go for that, and it will remain with you forever,” one survey participant wrote.
Be forewarned: this list will inspire some major wanderlust.