Planning a trip to the Caribbean, but want to avoid the typically crowded tourist attractions? Instead of stopping at popular cruise ports or solely sticking to the resort, plan an excursion (or two) and head off the beaten path to some of the best restaurants, beaches, and attractions that the region has to offer.
To help you plan your itinerary, we spoke with Caribbean locals who shared their favorite, often-overlooked spots that are worth a detour.
Hog Island, Grenada
“During the lobster season from Sept. 1 to April 30, get your seafood fix on Hog Island. Hog Island, just off the southern shores of Grenada, is an 81-acre patch of paradise that is currently only accessible by boat, which is most likely the reason the lobster is more delicious” — Kered Clement, Blogger and Grenada Destination Expert
Combate Beach and Vianda, Puerto Rico
“My absolute favorite beach in Puerto Rico is Combate in Cabo Rojo. It’s close to Playa Sucia, which is another serene, beautiful beach, hidden gem, and must-see. My favorite place to eat in Puerto Rico is Vianda, which uses fresh local ingredients. I love how they rotate their menu regularly — it feels like a new place every time I visit.” — Cristina Sumaza, Owner of Lote 23
Stoutt’s Lookout Bar, British Virgin Islands
“One of my favorite places to hang out in the British Virgin Islands is Stoutt’s Lookout Bar at Windy Hill. It has breathtaking views overlooking Ballast Bay and Cane Garden Bay on Tortola’s northwest shore, great drinks, and the best BBQ on the island.” — Andre “Shadow” Dawson, Photographer, DJ, and Sports Commentator
Natural Pool, St. Barts
“The Petit Cul de Sac natural pool is an amazing and unique experience that’s reachable after an hour hike into the wild mountains of St. Barts. It’s one of the island’s best-kept secrets.” — Felipe Sandoval, Director of Sales at Le Toiny, a Relais & Chateaux Property
Cocktail Kitchen, Barbados
“Cocktail Kitchen is a place where you can get Bajan cuisine with a twist. It’s the place to go for a great meal in the St. Lawrence Gap, and it serves amazing cocktails as well. Chef Damian Leach and the staff bring diligence and commitment to the experience.” — Martyn Forde, Climate Resilience Consultant, Founder of Future in Nature
Goat Cave, Anguilla
“My favorite spot on Anguilla is a little-known cave on the eastern end of our island paradise. This exclusive spot, called Goat Cave, is challenging to reach, but it’s well worth the effort. The reward for getting here is an awe-inspiring view, where the limestone rock formation meets the intense turquoise blues of the ocean. It’s the epitome of rugged, authentic Anguillan beauty.” — Kishma Sasso, Reservations Manager, Zemi Beach House
Le Saut du Gendarme, Martinique
“Le Saut du Gendarme in Fonds-Saint-Denis in the northern, more lush part of Martinique is often overlooked because you have to climb down steep steps from a winding road to access the gorgeous waterfall with a natural swimming pool.” — Jessica Marie, Martinique Expert
Coco Plum Beach and Ocean Atlas, Bahamas
“Coco Plum Beach in the Bahamas is one of the most picturesque beaches you’ll ever experience. It’s located on the northeastern side of Great Exuma island and has unbelievably turquoise waters — you won’t believe your eyes. You can also walk for miles along sandbars.
I also love scuba diving on the west coast of New Providence island and discovering Ocean Atlas, the world’s largest underwater sculpture. Not only is it a breathtaking piece of art, but it’s also off the beaten path, so you won’t find a ton of diving traffic.” — Dana Duncanson
Sulphur Springs, St. Lucia
“During your time on St. Lucia, you can’t miss the Sulphur Springs volcano. Here, you can experience a little slice of nature’s heaven. Fill your day with exploring, hiking, and chasing waterfalls — you will have a truly immersive visit that leaves your skin looking luminous.” — Nylah Gustave, Sales Supervisor of Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort
Nelson’s Dockyard, Antigua and Barbuda
“You can’t beat Seafood Fridays in Nelson’s Dockyard. Get there early as it gets busy with people lining up for great music and food. Now a hotel and restaurant, in the 18th century, it was a Copper and Lumber Store for Lord Nelson’s Navy.” — Jason Adams, Owner of Jason’s Transportation Services, Antigua
Westpunt Beach Secret Section, Curaçao
“One of the most remarkable beaches on Curaçao is Westpunt Beach, but there’s a secret section that’s hidden further down. This area of the beach is completely shielded by nature and can be overlooked by visitors, but it’s ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing. Another interesting aspect of this beach is the shiny black sand that consists of millions of tiny, beautiful stones. This beach is one of the few on the island with this type of sand.” — Miyannou Winklaar, Marketing Executive, Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort
Caleigh Alleyne is a Toronto-based journalist specializing in travel, design, home decor, and digital media trends. When she’s not traveling, you can find her working on home decor and DIY projects.