Taking the waters at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas

Four Caribbean Destinations to Suit Your Travel Style

By Alison McGill

Thinking about soaking in some sun, sand and surf in the Caribbean? There are more than 25 countries and 7,000 individual islands in the region, and each of them offers a unique experience: You’ll want to do a little advance planning to find the Caribbean destinations that best match your travel style. An AMA Travel counsellor can help, but to pique your interest, here are four of the hottest spots in the Caribbean right now.

FOR FAMILY FUN: TURKS AND CAICOS
An easygoing atmosphere is common to pretty much every Caribbean locale. So when people say that Turks and Caicos is one of the region’s most laid-back destinations, you know that relaxation is taken seriously. It also happens to be an affordable, family-friendly destination. Kids will enjoy days at the beach as much as you do: Even on the main island of Providenciales, beaches are typically less crowded, giving youngsters an epic sandy playground to explore. Many resorts explicitly cater to families, with attractions and amenities for all members of your travel squad. One of the best at a very friendly price point is Ocean Club West, which offers a variety of family-friendly suites, three on-property eateries and a host of resort activities—from watersports to coral reef explorations.

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FOR FOODIES: GRAND CAYMAN
The largest of the three Cayman Islands is renowned for the incredible coral sand and azure water of Seven Mile Beach. It’s also famed as the culinary capital of the Caribbean. A decade ago, chef Eric Ripert’s now-annual Cayman Cookout event put the island on the international dining map. Today, Ripert’s own bustling resto, Blue, at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, is just one of the many incredible places to indulge. In Grand Cayman you can enjoy a different type of cuisine at every meal—giving your vacation a distinctly global flavour. Other must-eat spots include Taikun for the best on-island sushi; Luna, which offers classic Italian; and Coccoloba, a breezy oceanfront taqueria at the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa.

FOR LOVERS OF LUXURY: BAHAMAS
They say it’s better in the Bahamas—and that’s particularly true for anyone who’s willing to splash out on a truly grandiose getaway. The capital, Nassau, boasts some of the world’s top resort properties, including the super-chic Baha Mar complex, featuring three luxury hotels, a casino, numerous upscale restaurants and impressive Cable Beach. For a quieter but equally tony stay, check into the Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort on Paradise Island. Among many other amenities, the gorgeous 14-hectare property has a breathtaking Versailles Gardens, inspired by the precisely appointed opulence of its namesake palace (and verdant grounds) in France.

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FOR NATURE NUTS: ST. LUCIA
In the eastern Caribbean, St. Lucia is one of the most exotic and naturally stunning places on the planet, with more rugged, lush terrain than many other islands in its vicinity. Here you can experience volcanic beaches (St. Lucia is also home to one of the world’s only drive-in volcanoes), reef diving and hiking in the Pitons, a set of tapered mountains that rise up on the west coast—and which are a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. The mountains and surrounding tropical rainforest are home to nearly 150 plant species and more than two-dozen types of indigenous birds, while the island’s protected coastline and coral reefs bring snorkelers up close to some of the sea’s most interesting inhabitants.

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Before you leave on your vacation, make sure to invest in travel insurance so you can enjoy the trip worry-free.

Alison McGill is the editor-in-chief of Weddingbells magazine and the editorial director of Mariage Québec