From popular resort havens like Jamaica, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas to exotic escapes on St. Lucia, Aruba and Turks & Caicos, there are numerous island locales for you to shake off the shiver of winter and warm yourself in tropical paradise. From the vibrant blue hues of Caribbean sea and sky to the lush green backdrops of palm lined beaches and towering mountain peaks – check out the map below to see which islands are currently welcoming tourists . . . green means go!
There are more than 7,000 islands among the 25 countries and territories that make up the Caribbean region. To help fuel your wanderlust, let’s take a deeper dive into six of the more popular island destinations welcoming tourism in 2021.
Golden sunsets, soft white beaches, vibrant blue skies, swaying coconut palms — the DR has it all. Ideal for those seeking romance or that all-inclusive resort lifestyle, here is where memories are easily made and never forgotten. Home to some of the most magnificent palm tree-lined sugar white beaches and oceanfront golf courses in the Caribbean, DR also offers a wide array of activities for non-golfers, such as swimming with stingrays, feeling the power of the wind while windsurfing or parasailing, fishing for blue marlin and barracuda, snorkeling and glass-bottom boat rides, and the always romantic horseback riding on the beach.
Why Dominican Republic:
- Picture perfect palm tree-lined white-sand beaches
- Sprawling luxury all-inclusive resorts provide plenty of room to spread out
- All-inclusive compounds provide strict health and safety standards
Popular resort destinations in Dominican Republic:
- Punta Cana – famous white sand and palm-tree lined luxury all-inclusive resorts
- La Romana – calm, clear water and gentle breezes are perfect for watersports, snorkeling and swimming. Fewer resorts and slower pace than it’s nearby neighbor Punta Cana
- Samana – relatively undeveloped natural peninsula with smaller remote resorts
- Puerto Plata – mountains meet golden sand beaches on this Northern low-rise resort community
For some, the main reason you hop down to Jamaica is to catch some rays on a secluded stretch of beach and chillax to the laid back culture and reggae beats. But for adventure seekers, those with a restless soul and a need for speed, a vacation isn’t complete without at least a few unique adventures. After all, Jamaica is the inspiration behind author Ian Flemming’s 13 original James Bond novels. Fortunately for this thrill-seeking group, Jamaica offers plenty of exciting activities in addition to its world-famous beaches, such as climbing 600 feet up Dunn’s River Falls; jumping off a waterfall at Blue Hole; biking down the island’s highest point, Blue Mountain Peak; ziplining at Mystic Mountain and snorkeling in crystal clear Boston bay.
- Reggae culture and music puts everyone in a “Ya Mon” mood
- Smaller luxury focused all-inclusive resorts
- Plenty of natural beauty and nature focused excursions
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Popular resort destinations in Jamaica:
- Montego Bay – convenient access to Montego Bay International Airport
- Ocho Rios – lush tropical mountains meet secluded coves and bays. Top island excursions like Dunn’s River Falls, Blue Hole and Mystic Mountain all within minutes of Ocho Rios resorts
- Negril – famous 7-mile beach, Rick’s Café and cliff jumping
Lush, colorful, eclectic and full of surprises, this eastern Caribbean nation is an island made for romance. A perfect day here could include enjoying the spectacular views at Smugglers Beach; discovering the island’s history at Pigeon Island National Landmark; hiking up one of the Pitons, the verdant volcanoes that are St. Lucia’s most recognizable landmarks; soaking in the volcanic waters and getting painted in mineral-rich mud at Sulphur Springs Park, the Caribbean’s only “drive-in volcano.”
Why St. Lucia:
- Towering volcanic Piton peaks give a south pacific feel in the Caribbean
- Tradewinds-inspired Southern Caribbean tropical climate
- Mountains and rain forest cover much of the island
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Popular resort destinations in St. Lucia:
- Northern bays – close to the capital city of Castries home to larger established all-inclusive resorts and off-hotel shopping and activity centers. Focus on beach, watersports and relaxation
- Southern island – closer to the main international airport and world-famous Piton peaks with smaller, more secluded resorts and a focus on nature, adventure and active travelers
There is variety galore across the 700 islands and 2,000 sandy cays of the Bahamas, each one backdropped by sugar-white sand, clear, warm waters and nearly cloudless skies. Whatever you and your family fancy — idyllic beaches, exciting waterparks, remote islands, swimming with pigs, and fresh seafood including signature conch fritters — you’ll find countless ways to make your island dreams come true.
Why the Bahamas:
- Just a quick, 75-minute flight away from the U.S.
- Easy to get around the islands to find your ideal activity
- Perfect blend of adventure, romance and family fun
Popular resort destinations in the Bahamas:
- Nassau – Home to colorful street markets, colonial history and incredible restaurants
- Paradise Island – Easily accessible from Nassau, home to Atlantis Resort, a 141-acre waterpark
- Great Exuma – a sailor’s paradise and the jumping off point for exploring the hundreds of small private and uninhabited islands that make up the Exuma cays
A beach-lover's paradise, this island is perfect for relaxation and fun. Aruba’s interior is a serene desert, very unique in the Caribbean, but the coastlines are draped with unspoiled, powdery white sand and sapphire waters. With perfect year-round temperatures, you can always scuba dive, windsurf, snorkel, sail, horseback ride or hike. At night, enjoy casinos, clubs, dancing, and Vegas-style shows.
- Some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, with perfect year-round temperatures
- Idyllic blend of relaxation and active pursuits
- Calm surf and 82-degree ocean waters
Popular resort destinations in Aruba:
- Palm Beach – Home to numerous restaurants and the Butterfly Farm, a 3000 sq-ft. garden with waterfalls, fishponds and hundreds of colorful butterfly species
- Eagle Beach – Filled with hidden beaches to get away from the crowds
- Oranjestad – Capital city with palm-lined streets and pastel-painted Dutch architecture
Turks & Caicos
Located southeast of the Bahamas, the 40 low-lying islands of Turks & Caicos make an excellent option for someluxury wrapped R&R. Once home to notorious pirates, these days the shorelines and waterways of these unspoiled islands are patrolled by chilled-out vacationers on paddleboards or kayaks, with leatherback turtles and brown pelicans among the plentiful wildlife. An upscale economy centered around tourism and offshore banking and insurance industries, combined with picture perfect beaches and brilliant blue waters add to the allure.
Why Turks & Caicos:
- Relaxing, lowkey atmosphere filled with peace and tranquility
- Numerous spas and wellness options
- High percentage of sunny days with very little rainfall
Popular resort destinations in Turks & Caicos:
- Providenciales – The most developed and populated island in Turks & Caicos, home to spectacular beaches, luxury resorts and fine dining
- Grace Bay Beach – Pristine beach located on the northeast coast of the island of Providenciales
Ready to go now?
Health and safety regulations and entry requirements differ from island to island, but they could include travelers providing proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within as few as three to five days of arrival, submitting self-health declarations, downloading a health app and more. With this in mind, it’s vital to consult your travel professional or read the latest news from official tourism authorities before starting your travel plans. That’s where our expert travel advisors step in to guide you and provide the latest information to help you make informed decisions.
To plan your island vacation to any of these open destinations, contact your travel professional today.