A beach in Barbados. How dreamy does this look?
The Caribbean is a bucket-list destination that most people dream of visiting at least once in their lifetime.
A group of 26 tropical island countries situated off the coast of South America with warm turquoise waters and sleepy palm trees swaying gently in the breeze on a golden-sand beach, what's not desirable about it?
But there are just so many islands it can sometimes be hard to pick which ones to visit and it's not always the islands that get talked about the most that are the ones most worth a visit.
I've spent a good part of my life visiting the Caribbean territories - I've explored 11 of them to date. Therefore I have decided to compile a list of some of my favourites. And good news, some are vegan-friendly Caribbean islands!
One of St Barthélemy's several gorgeous beaches
4. St Barthélemy
St Barthélemy is a small, French island. It's got a reputation for being a playground for the rich and famous. However, don't be put-off by the island's exclusivity and high price-tags as you can visit the island without actually staying on it. It's only a short ferry ride from the neighbouring island St Martin. If you are interested in taking the ferry, I have an in-depth guide to here.
St Barthélemy is on my list for many reasons. First of all, the shopping is fantastic! The capital city of Gustavia is dotted with independent boutique stores which sell a range of bohemian-style outfits which you can't get anywhere else. There are also many delicious restaurants dotted all around the island.
St Barthélemy is very different from any other island in the Caribbean that I have visited. It's got a rough, mountainous terrain and isn't quite as tropical as other islands. There's only a handful of beaches but the beaches it does have are beautiful. You can view a round-up of my favourite St Bath beaches here.
It's a fairly quiet and laid-back island with a nice bohemian vibe to it. The locals are all very friendly and there's a nice community feel in the capital.
For these reasons, the island is very unique, making definitely worth a visit.
A secluded beach in St Vincent. How magical does it look?
3. St Vincent and the Grenadines
Okay, this country is actually multiple islands but as it's classed as one country, I decided to lump them all together there. St Vincent is a lush, volcanic island. It's coastlines are dotted in black-sand beaches with thick jungle behind them and jagged, rocky headlands separating the beaches. It's a truly beautiful island.
This island featured a lot in the first 'Pirates of the Caribbean' film and when I visited, i got to see some of the key areas used in filming. You can see why they choose this island for filming. It had a mystical feel to it.
The Grenadines are a group of smaller islands near to St Vincent. Many of the islands are so small that they are uninhabited. Booking yourself on a catamaran trip is a great way to see this group of islands. One of the most memorable islands I saw in the Grenadines was just a stretch of sand with a solitary umbrella in it! The catamaran stops off at various islands, allowing you the chance to explore. I felt like I was on a dessert island at times!
You can read more about my experience on the island of St Vincent here.
The view from my hotel room in Barbados. Just looking at those tall palm trees and turquoise waters makes me feel a longing to go back!
This is one of the most popular and most visited islands in the Caribbean but it's popular for a reason. The golden-sand beaches stretch for miles along the coast and the water is so calm and teeming with aquatic-life. I've visited Barbados the most out of any Caribbean island and each time I visit I learn something new about it.
Because it's popular, there are lots of lovely restaurants and nice shops. But at the same time there are plenty of places where you can relax and unwind. There are so many beaches that it's very easy to find a nice, secluded spot. I love Barbados because there's the happy-medium of nice food, shops and activities and also a calm holiday-feel.
There are many gorgeous boutique hotels on the island. I have an in-depth review of one hotel here.
I've had plenty of amazing experiences on this island including: swimming with turtles, helping release baby turtles, horse-riding through the mountains, exploring caves, snorkelling shipwrecks, eating some amazing meals and even clubbing. Yep, this island has pretty much everything.
If you are planning on visiting Barbados, it's worth hiring a car for your stay. You can find out more about why I recommend hiring a car and how to find the perfect rental car in my guide here.
Waterfalls in Grenada
Grenada is a lush, tropical island covered in thick forests and teeming with wildlife. It is known as the island of spice and is famed for its nutmeg and mace production. When I visited Grenada, I hiked through lush rainforests and swam in one of the island's most gorgeous waterfalls. This experience has undoubtably been one of my most memorable experiences from my years of travel so far.
I got the impression that Grenada isn't as well-known as other islands so it's more rural and natural. I'd have to visit it for longer in order to find out but my first impressions of the island were great.
A fruit plantation in Grenada with dense forests in the background
And that's a wrap! The 4 islands listed above really blew me away when I visited them and each of them offered a completely different experience to each other. Each island carries its own vibe and feels worlds away from the next. That's something which I love about the Caribbean - you just don't know what the next island will be like.
Which Caribbean islands are your favourites?