Did you know that there are four beautiful Caribbean Islands that U.S. citizens can visit without a passport? Well, now you know. For Americans Puerto Rico, St. John, St. Croix, and St. Thomas are the best Caribbean Islands to visit that demand nothing more than your presence and of course sunscreen. All of these 4 Caribbean Islands possess great weather and wonderful beaches all the while boasting their own distinct attractions and activities.
In Puerto Rico, tourists can go bar hopping, while in St Croix they can go on diving excursions. St. Thomas on the other hand invites tourists to engage in ziplining adventures, while St. John carries a promise of beautiful hikes through the sprawling Virgin Islands National Park. U.S. cruisers visiting the Caribbean can even go far beyond these destinations by opting for a closed-loop cruise that allows American citizens to sail to some international destinations without a passport.
If you are coveting a weekend getaway or a weeklong vacation, check out this article on the best Caribbean Islands that, one, don’t require a passport to visit, and two, are so beautiful that coming back home would be the hardest thing you will ever do.
4 Best Caribbean Islands Worth the Visit
Best Caribbean Islands – An Overview
1. Puerto Rico – Most Cheerful among the Best Caribbean Islands
Among the best Caribbean Islands Puerto Rico is the one that carries the most cheerful vibes. Every year, this beautiful Caribbean Island welcomes millions of visitors. Most of the people traveling to Puerto Rico, make their way straight to the capital of the island, San Juan. San Juan is a colorful, vibrant city that calls itself home to Castillo San Cristobal, a 16th-century Spanish colonial fortress as well as another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also found on the soil of San Juan are fantastic restaurants like Las Casita Blanca and Santaella that serve such scrumptious food that will make you sign in bliss.
To enjoy some after-hour drinks, head on to La Factoria which is the most popular bar in San Juan. LA Factoria is a Jams Beard Award nominee that consists of 6 different themed bars and dance rooms. The bar is more like a maze, with fun at every corner. For a more laid-back dive bar ambiance, check out El Batey or visit the Mezzanine to enjoy wines and cocktails on cozy balconies that overlook Old San Juan.
Even though the capital has a lot of activities to offer, there are a plethora of other fun things that wait right outside of San Juan. Rent a car and drive to Puerto Rico’s tropical rainforest, El Yunque, or make your way south to hike the Guanica State Forest. If you are the kind of person who feels one with the wind and waves, then on the west end of this beautiful Caribbean Island, await a town known as Rincon that is truly a surfer’s paradise.
Along its coast, you will find small, cozy boutique hotels. Here you can either ride the waves or lounge on the soft sand to enjoy the gorgeous sunsets. Another aspect that makes Puerto Rico one of the best Caribbean Islands is its bioluminescent bays. To experience these, make your way to Laguna Grande in Fajardo which lies about an hour east of San Juan.
Getting to Puerto Rico – Best Caribbean Islands
You can get to Puerto Rico either via an airplane or a cruise ship. The cruise ships stop at San Juan and if you are coming by plane, you will be able to catch nonstop flights from several hubs on the East Coast like Connecticut, Tampa, and Hartford. International nonstop flights from cities like Frankfurt and Montreal also arrive in Puerto Rico.
Where to Stay When in Puerto Rico – Best Caribbean Islands
Address – 100 Dorado Bch Dr, Dorado, 00646, Puerto Rico
Starting Price – $3695
Stay For – Top-notch amenities, decadent cuisine, and beautiful setting
After the hotel suffered damages in the year 2017 due to Hurricane Maria, the hotel went through extensive renovations and opened its doors again to the public in 2019. This elegant Ritz Carlton hotel can be found lounging, nestled on an eco-friendly reserve on the north shore of Puerto Rico. Apart from luxe amenities the hotel also offers its guests numerous nature trails and access to a mile of sandy shoreline. This hotel has fun activities for adults and kids alike.
Adults can have fun at the impressive 18-hole golf courses or can indulge in a spa treatment amid the leafy canopy. Kids on the other hand can get acquainted with other children staying at the hotel and also participate in supervised Ambassadors of the Environment activities.
House on the property are opulent guest rooms and suites that harbor balconies, outdoor showers, and soaking tubs. Some accommodations even come with plunge pools. If you thought that was the end of the amenities offered by Ritz Carlton, then you were wrong. Which luxurious hotel is complete without a signature restaurant? Housed by the hotel is a waterfront COA restaurant that serves guests locally-inspired cuisine. To enjoy some tapas, sushi, and ceviche, guests can visit the Posi+Ivo Sand Bar.
The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico
Address – State Road 187 Kilometer 4.2, Río Grande, 00745, Puerto Rico
Starting Price – $1595
Stay For – Opulently beautiful accommodations by a glorious stretch of sand
St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is the epitome of luxury and grandeur. Residing along the shoreline of Bahia, occupying a former coconut plantation, St, Regis is an enviable property that boats 100-foot palms and private beach access. The accommodations housed on the property are as opulent as they come. Harboring beamed ceilings, balconies, private terraces, butler services, minibars, and WIFI access, these accommodations are like a home away from home, only more luxe. Guests staying at St. Regis can take advantage of the hotel’s expansive seaside pool and golf course.
If you are coveting some beachy fun, a concierge can help in arranging biking, hiking, or water expeditions. If relaxation and self-care are more on the agenda, you can head to the spa to get a relaxing massage. When hunger pangs make you wail, you can rush to the Seagrapes Restaurant where bistro cuisine waits. Or visit the Paros Restaurant which serves fresh Mediterranean fare.
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
Address – 1055 Ashford Ave, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico
Starting Price – $670
Stay For – Hotels ideal location near downtown San Juan and Ocean
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel gets its name from the Condado district in San Juan and Frederick William Vanderbilt who was the original owner of the hotel. During its lifetime, the Preferred-affiliated hotel has been host to many notable faces like Bob Hope, Charles Lindberg, and well as former President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Inaugurated in the year 1919. The hotel features Spanish Revival-style architecture and provides a mix of modern and traditional services. It offers tons of modern amenities like multiple pools, a spa, and a fitness center to its guests all the while harboring some traditional touches like a tray ceiling in the lobby and luggage porter service.
Housing 317 accommodations that come with C.O. Bigelow toiletries, flat-screen TVs, French press coffee makers, and 300-thread count Rivolta Carmignani linens, the hotel knows how to treat its guests like royalty. If guests desire more amenities like a 24-hour butler service, multiple balconies, and a whirlpool tub, they have the option to upgrade to a one-, two-, or three-bedroom suite.
2. St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands – Most Attractive among the Best Caribbean Islands
Among the four best Caribbean Islands, St. Croix is the one that is lauded for housing the most attractive white sand beach known as Sandy Point. If you are taking a trip to St. Croix just so you can witness this stunning beach, keep in mind that the beach is open only on the weekends, and it remains closed from mid-April to August for nesting sea turtles.
Apart from Sandy Point, St. Croix is also home to other good beaches like Buccaneer’s Beach and Rainbow Beach which can be found near Frederiksted. St. Croix which is only about 28 miles long and 7 miles wide can be explored via an ATV, horseback, or dune buggy. If you wish to go snorkeling or diving, then a visit to Buck Island Reef National Monument is a must. Also, make sure to visit Salt River Bay National Historical Park at night to enjoy its stunning beauty in a glass-bottom kayak.
Also housed on the premises of this wonderful Caribbean Island are numerous historical sites and two major towns that are waiting to be explored. Tourists can head to the harbor-front district of Christiansted to tour the St. George Village Botanical Garden. On the west of the island, lies Frederiksted which is a cruise port and calls itself home to Fort Frederiksted and the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts. Fort Frederiksted is a Danish 18th-century fort that is truly worth the visit. This gem was built between the years 1752 and 1760 by Denmark-Norway in order to ward off pirates and protect the economic interests of Frederiksted.
When it’s time to serve your grumbling belly you can make your way to Le Reine Chicken Shack to try their scrumptious johnnycakes and rotisserie-style chicken. Another place that is worth visiting is Savant which serves the most decadent seafood right off the boat in a beautiful patio setting.
Getting to St. Croix – Best Caribbean Islands
St. Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands that can be reached by direct flights from several cities on the United States mainland.
Where to Stay when in St. Croix – Best Caribbean Islands
Address – 605 Strand St, Frederiksted, VI 00840, U.S. Virgin Islands
Starting Price – $390
Stay For – Scenic setting of the adults-only resort
The Fred Hotel gets its name from King Frederik V of Denmark and is the namesake for the town of Frederiksted where the hotel resides. This adults-only, eco-friendly, beachfront hotel boasts 22 rooms that are located in Totten House. Totten House is a historical building that dates back to the 1700s and gets its name from the former longtime owners of this property.
These 22 accommodations are a breath of fresh air, decked in colorful décor and harboring amenities like air conditioning minifridges, and microwaves. Most of the rooms housed by The Fred come with balconies that offer, a pool, ocean, or garden views. The resort fee also covers several other amenities like lockers, WIFI, umbrellas, towel services, and beach chairs. Apart from granting direct beach access, the guests of the hotels are also allowed to rent kayaks, snooker gear, and paddleboards from the hotel.
Housed on the premises of the hotel are also two pools, a hot tub, and a spa, where you can pamper yourself and get some well-needed self-care. When it’s lunch or dinner time you can visit the on-site restaurant that prepares its dishes from locally sourced ingredients. To enjoy some cocktails by the water visit the on-site bar, where you can also get socialize with other guests.
The Buccaneer Hotel
Address – 5007 Estate, Christiansted, St Croix 00824, U.S. Virgin Islands
Starting Price – $506
Stay For – Top-notch on-site amenities like a spa, and golf course
Lying along St. Croix’s picturesque coats, The Buccaneer Hotel has been welcoming guests to its premises since the 17th century. The Buccaneer calls itself home to elegant guest rooms and suites that have a simple and minimalistic design. These rooms come decked in colors like blue, green, and salmon, boasting top-notch amenities that include, satellite TVs, private patios or balconies, and minifridges.
The hotel is also lauded for its accommodating staff and family-friendly activities that make one’s stay a memorable, and fun one. Guests also have access to the 18-hole golf course of the hotel where they can engage in some friendly play and also socialize. For some much-needed pampering and relaxation, guests can visit the on-site spa to get a soothing massage. To satiate the hunger of its guests, The Buccaneer offers three restaurants that serve filling and scrumptious food.
Carambola Beach Resort St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
Address – Estate Davis Bay, St Croix 00850, U.S. Virgin Islands
Starting Price – $364
Stay For – Spacious accommodations residing in a beautiful and intimate beach setting
The guest rooms offered by Carambola Beach Resort lie across the northern shoreline of St. Croix and face either the glistening Caribbean waters or the lush gardens. Among these guest rooms, the standard ones off amenities like desks, safes, minifridges, and marble bathrooms. Guests staying at this restaurant spend their days either relaxing by the pool, or beach or taking a nap in a hammock. For physical activities, guests can either hit the gym or play golf at the prestigious Carambola Golf Course which can be found lounging 3 miles south of the hotel.
3. St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands – Harbors Stunning Beaches among the Best Caribbean Islands
If you are a lover of beaches and eaves, then you can’t go wrong with a trip to St. Tomas. St. Thomas is one of the best Caribbean Islands that is known as beachy heaven due to the turquoise waters of Magen’s Bay and Sapphire Beach which showcases stunning views of the neighboring St. John.
Apart from the beaches St. Thomas has a plethora of other activities to offer like going hiking up the hilly terrain to Drake’s Seat from where you can witness sweeping views of the Caribbean, or you can have some ziplining fun at Tree Limin’Extreme Zipline Park. When it comes to cuisine, St. Thomas offers a wide range of options from Duffy’s Loveshack that is a lively watering hole found in Red Hook to an elegant restaurant with a decadent wine list, Old Stone Farmhouse.
Charlotte Amelie, the capital of St. Thomas also has a lot to offer. When in the capital you can visit the Frenchtown Brewing Company to tout the microbrewery as well as a beer flight with four seasonal brews. For some fantastic views of the city, climb the historic 99-step staircase. Also, make sure to set aside an hour or two during your visit to tour the Fort Christian. Fort Christian is a 300-year-old fortress that is decked in red and green hues. It is the oldest standing building on the Virgin Islands, and over its lifetime has served as a prison, a governor’s residence, and a government building.
Getting to St. Thomas – Best Caribbean Islands
St. Thomas calls itself home to the capital, Charlotte Amalie of the U.S Virgin Islands. Charlotte Amalie is also a popular cruise port hence many visit this Caribbean Island via cruise ships. Moreover, as St. Thomas is the most developed of three major U.S. Virgo islands it, received regularly scheduled flights from the mainland.
Where to Stay When in St. Thomas? – Best Caribbean Islands
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas
Address – 6900 Great Bay, Nazareth, St Thomas 00802, U.S. Virgin Islands
Starting Price – $1249
Stay For – The variety of watersports and pool amenities
Ritz Carlton at St. Thomas is a luxurious retreat that offers stunning views of the Great Bay and also comes with a plethora of high-end amenities. In the year 2019, the hotel went through a renovation that cost almost $100 million. The refreshed guestrooms of the hotel are now reinstated with a very elegant and opulent feel.
Decked in island-inspired decor and design, the rooms feature either a private terrace or a balcony, high-speed internet, an HD TV, as well as marble bathrooms that come with soaking tubs. Also offered by the hotel are tons of outdoor activities like snorkeling and sailing. If you wish to just unwind and relax, you can either spend a spa day at the hotel’s Mediterranean-style spa, or lounge by the 125-foot free-from infinity pool.
When it’s time to calm the grumbling beast down, make your way to one of the four oceanfront dining venues offered by the hotel that serve scrumptious Caribbean American and seafood-centric dishes.
Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove
Address – 7338 Estate Bakkeroe St. Thomas US Virgin Islands 00802, 3011, U.S. Virgin Islands
Starting Price – $889
Stay For – Glorious rooms with stunning views
Marriott’s Frenchman’s Cove is a family-friendly hotel that overlooks Pacquereau Bay on the western shoreline of St. Thomas. The place resonates with a laid-back Caribbean ambiance that is accentuated by the hotel’s signature amenities. Among the many faculties offered are access to the 24-hour fitness center and an infinity edge pool that harbors a waterslide. To satiate their guests’ grumbling bellies, the hotel houses the Sunset Cove Poolside Bar and Grill which serves a variety of light meals. At the end of the day, guests can retreat to their opulent tropical-themed villas that come with a fully equipped kitchen, WIFI, a balcony or terrace, and satellite TV.
The Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef
Address – 5 Estate Bakkeroe, St Thomas 00802, U.S. Virgin Islands
Starting Price – $1,009
Stay For – The sparkling Caribbean
The Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef can be found perched high above the sparkling Caribbean. The beautiful hotel calls itself home to 28 suites, 364 guestrooms, and 72 square feet of event space. Guests staying at the Westin Beach Resort & Spa at Frenchman’s Reef are only a few steps away from Morningstar Beach and can engage in complimentary non-motorized watersports as well as the Flying Frenchman luxury catamaran. Also housed on the property are 6 unique bars and restaurants that serve mind-blowing cocktails and scrumptious meals.
4. St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands – The Lushest among the Best Caribbean Islands
On St. John, about 60 percent of the area is a designated national park, and every year tourists flock to this beautiful Caribbean Island for its green rugged landscape. This is the most tranquil island among the best Caribbean Islands and is ideal for those who want to unplug and unwind. Visitors can spend their day on the white sand of Trunk Bay or visit Cinnamon Bay to indulge in water activities like snorkeling, windsurfing, and kayaking.
Also sprinkled around the Cruz Bay of St. John is a collection of restaurants where you can go to satiate your hunger and quench your thirst. Visit The Longboard to indulge in tacos, poke bowls, sushi wraps, and half-price drinks served during happy hour. Or you can grab a burger and cold beer from the Skinny Legs Bar and Grill which is the island’s long-standing dive bar. One of the best dishes served on the soil of St. John is the clam chowder at Lime Inn, so don’t forget to indulge in a bowl or two.
Getting to St. John – Best Caribbean Islands
St. John is the smallest and the least developed of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands. Therefore, it does not have an airport. If you wish to visit St. John you will have to fly to the nearby island, St. Thomas, and from there take a 45-minute ferry ride to the island of St. John.
Where to Stay When in St. John? – Best Caribbean Islands
The Westin St. John Resort Villas
Address – 300B Chocolate Hole Rd Great, Cruz Bay, St John 00830, U.S. Virgin Islands
Starting Price – $926
Stay For – The relaxing ambiance
The Westin St. John Resort Villas encompasses Caribbean charm and natural beauty within its four walls. This hotel in St. John is a literal paradise that is set in a tranquil location, surrounded by a soothing ambiance that will allow you to unwind and relax. Guests staying at the Westin St. John Resort Villas are only a short walk away from some of the most pristine beaches in the world. At the hotel guests can indulge in many activities such as swimming, and snorkeling, enjoying their lives and vacation to the fullest.
To get in the vacation gains, you can visit the onsite fitness center WestinWORKOUT which is equipped with state-of-the-art exercise and training equipment. For some relaxation and pampering, make your way to the on-site spa, and get a relaxing massage. End your day by retiring to the one-, two- or three-bedroom villa or townhouse, where plush beds and modern amenities await.
Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel
Address – 74-2 Cruz Bay Town, Cruz Bay 00830 St. John
Starting Price – $319
Stay For – The intimate location
Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel is an intimate accommodation that houses 14 guest rooms and one penthouse apartment. In the eyras 2010 and 2013, the hotel went through a complete renovation. Now the hotel offers a décor that is a bend of chic Miami boutique hotel and casual style island villa. This clean simple, yet elegant accommodation is found lounging in the heart of Cruz Bay, only a walking distance away from the best bars, restaurants, and shopping centers.
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