Great beaches and less developed ports are what make Southern Caribbean itineraries special. You might have to travel a bit farther to get there and, since most sailings are 7 to 14 nights, you’ll also need extra time. But it’s worth it.
What We Love
European Influences: From the Dutch architecture in Aruba and Curaçao to the French baguettes and fashions in Les Saintes and Guadeloupe, colonial heritage infuses these islands with cultural influence.
Out of the Hurricane Belt: The southern islands, especially Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire, rarely feel the effects of tropical storms.
Best Known For
Gorgeous Beaches: It’s hard to top the beautiful, wide swaths of sand on Aruba’s west coast, Grenada’s Grand Anse Beach, tiny Plage de Pompierre on Les Saintes, and palm-tree fringed Crane’s Beach on Barbados, where the surf is rough but the setting is easy on the eyes. Best of all, less crowding means you’re more likely to have these glorious spots to yourself.
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The Grenadines: It’s mostly smaller ships that call on the idyllic, unspoiled Grenadines — including Mayreau, Bequia, and Tobago Cays — for their perfect beaches, yacht-filled harbors, and laid-back beach bars.
Grenada: The tiny horseshoe-shaped harbor in St. George’s is filled with colorful skiffs. Above it, the well-preserved 18th-century Fort George offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the harbor and sea. Plus, there are excellent beaches and, in the interior, treks through the rain forest to see waterfalls.
Aruba: Gorgeous white beaches go on for miles along the island’s western coast. Meanwhile, the interior looks like the surface of the moon, with weird rock formations and caves.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.