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Five of the best islands of the Caribbean

The Caribbean archipelago houses over 7,000 islands, divided across 28 island nations. It boasts some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet and hundreds of years of colonial history to explore. Visiting these islands is like discovering little pieces of treasure - each one offers a unique precious quality, whether that translates as idyllic coves, luscious green jungle, breath-taking views or bustling port towns.

From the honeymooners’ paradise of Jamaica, to the tropical oasis of Martinique, the Caribbean islands are as diverse as they are beautiful, offering a little something for everyone. Which is best is purely down to personal taste. Those seeking privacy should consider the idyllic islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, whereas holidaymakers preferring a hive of activity should think about the more vibrant destinations of Barbados or Trinidad and Tobago.

We’d certainly suggest doing your research before jetting off to the Caribbean, but to give you a steer, here are five Caribbean islands that we would recommend:

1. Antigua

The English Harbour in southern Antigua

There are 365 beaches in Antigua – famously one for every day of the year. Its stretches of white sand are perfect for both relaxation and exploration, offering some decent water sports and swimming. The capital St John’s is home to the royal naval base that was set up by Nelson.

A former British colony, Antiqua still pays homage to cricket, with a number of pitches around the island. It’s also a mecca for high-end sailing.

2. St Lucia

The Pitons of St Lucia

Known as ‘the jewel of the Caribbean’, St Lucia is a tiny romantic island that boasts some of the most picturesque views in the whole of the Caribbean. Mountainous and covered in emerald green forests, it’s the perfect place for exploring inland.

Those preferring to stick to the coast can enjoy the vast white sandy beaches, which are a haven for water sports.

3. Grenada

Uncover the history of St George's

Another ex-British colony, Grenada is renowned for its spices, namely cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Visitors have said that the smell of nutmeg is evident in the air when visiting the island. Many of Grenada’s spices are exported, but much of its produce makes its way to the bustling markets on the island.

Grenada is volcanic, rich in plant life and laden with beautiful hiking trails, where you can marvel at dramatic mountains and waterfalls.

4. Bequia

Bequia's beautiful Admiralty Bay

Popular among A-list celebrities, the remote island of Bequia is probably one of the lesser-known Caribbean islands. Coined ‘the perfect Caribbean island’ by The Telegraph, it boasts a certain laid-back charm and is perfect for privacy.

Visitors to Bequia can enjoy stunning beaches, scenic rainforests and a plethora of cultural activities to immerse themselves in.

5. Guadaloupe

Picturesque Plage de Grande Anse near Deshaies on Basse Terre Island, Guadelope

Guadaloupe is made up of two islands; Basse Terre and Grande Terre. Each offers something different – on Grand Terre you will find lively nightlife and stylish fashion outlets, whereas on Basse Terre, you can expect unspoilt beauty, with sheer mountains, jungle that is teaming with wildlife, and ancient Arawak archaeological sites.

If you’re still unsure about which Caribbean island to visit, a cruise is the perfect choice for discovering and contrasting a whole host of islands in just one holiday. Learn about the Caribbean islands’ storied past on our Tales of the Caribbean adventure.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.