Caribbean’s Best Top 10 Caribbean Resorts
What are the Top 10 Caribbean resorts? A bit of a daunting question given there are so many awesome resorts that cater to almost any pocket book and taste. To simplify the process i thought i would choose my favorite resorts on different Caribbean islands. My criteria for the top ten was to be family, couples and singles friendly with great food and activates. So Strap yourself into your arm chair we are going island hopping.
# 1 Beaches Resorts / Jamaica.
Jamaica all inclusive resorts are the pioneers of the industry with nearly all resorts on the island offering some kind of all inclusive package. What i love about this island is the vast difference in terrain and culture from the big city environment of Kingston the mystical feel of the Blue Mountains to the unspoiled old school charm and beaches of San Antonio. You can visit the birth and resting place of Bob Marley at Nine mile once only accessible by horse trail or get to know the ways of the local Rasta’s at the Rastafarian indigenous village above Montego Bay all within reach of your resort.
Beaches resorts have garnered a worldwide reputation as being one of the best luxury all-inclusive experiences in the Caribbean and have countless awards to prove it including top 10 beach resorts by parent magazine. Located in Ocho Rios and Negril beaches resort’s offers something for everyone at every age, where all-inclusive adventure and excitement give kids the freedom to have a vacation of their own, and parents the luxury to relax and enjoy. Singles and couples can also enjoy lots of adult fun and beverages. What i find exception about beaches is that you truly can forget your wallet and enjoy countless free activities such as scuba diving and water skiing for kids a huge water park for teens a Night club and singles and couples can enjoy Yoga, premium cocktails , entertainment and disco. There are even activities for Babies and toddlers.
Food is always very important to me when choosing a resort after all who wants all you can eat bad food. I look for array of restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world. At beaches you can enjoy Italian , French, Asian, Caribbean and even a British Pub/restaurant with executive chefs in most cases coming from the country of origin and there always a kids menu.
Tip. If you are a coffee lover you have to indulge in my favorite coffee in the world “Jamaican blue mountain” , i usually pay well over $30 per pound for this premium coffee so enjoy it for free at Beaches!
#2 Holiday Inn resort / Aruba
If you like white sand, calm warm water and a cool breeze then this tiny formally Dutch island is the epicenter for relaxing lazy days. My family and i have visited Aruba twice and consider it one of our favorites in the Caribbean we love the friendly safe atmosphere and cool trade winds that blow 365 days a year. Resorts in Aruba do not offer mega free activities like the ones Jamaica the experience is more of a interactive one with the kids for parents and romance for singles.
The Holiday Inn Resort
With 688 Trip adviser reviewers rating there stay as excellent the holiday Inn is a star in the budding Aruba all inclusive resort seen. The resort offers a family and couples all inclusive package that includes three meals a day, a activity center for kids, and free bike rentals for everyone. With competitive pricing to other comparable resorts what really makes the Holiday Inn Aruba a bargain is that Kids under 12 stay and eat for free (based on 2 children per room), sharing accommodations with parents and ordering from the Kids Menu. Dont forget to enroll your little ones in the Kids club so everyone in family can enjoy doing their own thing. Feeling lucky visit the casino at the resort or the many threw out the island.
Palm Beach Aruba
For me the highlight of Aruba is the beach with its white sand and very calm turquoise water its perfect for swimming or just chillaxing. The Holiday Inn sits beachfront on the white sands of Palm Beach. Beach chairs and thatched-roof umbrellas are available.
Pro Tip: If you want to get away from the crowds of Palm beach just go a little north to my favorite Eagles beach or for a day trip go to baby’s beach on the far east end where little one ones can see many fish in the calm shallow water.
With 5 restaurants The holiday Inn has ample choices for your all inclusive dinning from casual to classic. Sea breeze restaurant and bar located beach side is a all around good choice for everyone. Theme nights and entertainment are scheduled threw out the week.
Pro Tip: When in Aruba make sure to take a few excursions. I suggest one of the many snorkel cruses that serve a taste lunch. Also try one of the four wheel drive tours to see the interior of the island including a abandoned gold mine. For singles and couples try a bar hoping bus tour, lots of fun and a great way to meet people.
#3 Andros Beach Club Andros Island / The Bahamas.
The Bahamas is actually 700 islands and cays that range from uninhabited to resort-packed. Among the best know are Grand Bahama, and Paradise Island best known for the colossal Atlantis resort. The islands are known for being the closest foreign islands to the US with the island of Bimini just 53 miles from Miami. Diving and snorkeling are king in the Bahamas as well as fishing and sightseeing.
Andros Beach Club
Looking for a mind’s eye Caribbean retreat at a boutique resort? Look no further then the Andros Beach club it’s a unique property on the island’s finest beach with 4 miles of private & secluded white sand steps from your room and its closets neighbor being 1/4 mile away. The resort offers ocean front accommodations, diving, fishing, great dining, entertainment and more. Andros Island is known as the eco-tourism capital of the Bahamas. Andros, the largest island in the Bahamas and the 5th largest in the Caribbean offers a pristine natural environment for you to enjoy.
Being all inclusive you can enjoy a variety of cuisines including Bahamian, Caribbean & International. Dine on lobster, tuna, mahi mahi, snapper, conch, crab and other seafood delights often caught earlier in the day and for meat lovers there is juicy steaks, rack of lamb and more. When ever possible the resort purchases locally or grows their own organic produce. If you’re vegetarian or have other dietary restrictions they will prepare meals to suit your tastes. On occasion they treat their guests to an evening out at a local restaurant as well
Pro Tip: Make sure to visit with the local community they are some of the friendliest in the Bahamas.
#4 Marriott Frenchman’s Reef / US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands or officially the Virgin Islands of the United States are located in the western Caribbean with the main islands being St Thomas, Saint John and St Croix. Nearby to the east are the British Virgin Islands with its 60 islands and cays. It’s a interesting blend of Americana and the Caribbean with many cruise ships visiting the largest island Saint Thomas on nearly a daily basis.
Interesting fact: The USVI where purchased from Denmark in 1916 for 25 Million in gold.
Marriott Frenchman’s Reef
The resort just underwent a major remodel and couple that with the ideal location overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor just a short water taxi away and you have the idea resort in Saint Thomas. Being so close to town you can enjoy duty free shopping as well as dinning, night life and the fun beach bar scene. Marriott Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star resort has lots of activities and a world class spa. Just a short stroll away is a beautiful beach as well as 4 pools great for a dip or sunbathing. The ideal day for me is a dip on the pool followed by a walk to the beach for a nap in a lounger when a awake a snorkel or a paddle in a kayak, if im feeling wild a jet ski ride. (Not included) If you feel like getting 18 holes in try the Mahogany run just a few miles away from the hotel.
When you’re feeling hungry, try some fresh seafood at Sunset Grill while you enjoy a great view of the harbor and pools. Or, if you’re ready for that fancy dinner, make your way to Havana Blue for upscale Latin-fusion cuisine. If you’d rather take it easy, both the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef and Morning Star Beach sides of the resort have markets where guests can pick up a snack or coffee when the mood strikes. Top off the evening with a night cap from the Rum Bar, which features terraced seating. Not all restaurants are included in the all inclusive package.
Pro Tip: Take the short ferry ride to St John USVI with over half the island being a national park.
# 5 The Wyndham Grand Rio / Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is a must visit destination for all Americans with its old world Spanish charm, history and Caribbean beauty it’s no wonder it has been such a popular destination for so long. Puerto Rico, officially known as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. The US dollar is the official currency and Americans as well as Puerto Ricans can travel and live in either location.
The Wyndham Grand Rio
Its difficult enough finding a all inclusive resort in Puerto Rico but add a nice beach and close enough to visit San Juan, well that’s a tall order. But don’t fear there is one resort that fits the bill The Wyndham Grand Rio. The 500 acre resorts sit beach side and borders the rain forest and two 18 hole golf courses. There are stunning views of the dark blue Atlantic threw out the resort and many secluded areas to pounder your good luck. This is a great place for families, Couples or singles with a wide range of activities for all. Take a stroll down to the beach or visit the spa for a afternoon of pampering. In the evening enjoy entertainment and the full size casino.
There are 10 restaurants on property for every taste under the sun. For Tapas try Bolero’s lounge for light food sea side try the Tiki bar and grill and for a more formal Italian dinner try Palio. The all inclusive plan includes 3 meals a day at set restaurants during normal business hours check out the Wyndham web site for details.
Things to do
You cannot go to Puerto Rico without visiting the historic Old San Juan district. Castillo de San Cristobal is the largest Spanish fort built in the western hemisphere constructed in 1783 the massive 27 acre grounds wrap around the old city.
The Bacardi Rum Factory
Want to find out where all the rum you have been drinking was made? Enjoy the Bacardi rum tour where you can observe the production process during this interactive tour and do a whole lot of tasting. You may want to hire a car for this excursion.
#6 Carimar Beach Club / Anguilla.
At only 16 miles long by 3 miles and a astounding 33 powdery white beaches Anguilla is a very special place. This English speaking British overseas territory has zero income and capital gains tax making it a tax haven for overseas company’s and fund managers. Having hosted the world travel awards called “The Oscars of travel” Anguilla is now firmly on the map as a 5 star destination with its many sophisticated restaurants and resorts.
Carimar Beach Club.Set directly on one of the most picturesque beaches in the world Meads Bay Beach sits Carimar Beach Club. Carimar offers spacious one and two bedroom villas with 1100 Sq ft of living space including a living room, dining room and full kitchen with granite counter tops , it’s great for the couple or family that likes to feel at home when abroad.
Right up front i must say that Carimar does not have a restaurant or bar but you only have to go down the street to enjoy 5 star restaurants or just stroll next door Blanchards beach shack for beach food and drinks. If you want to stock your own kitchen Best Buy has a location within a easy walk.
The resort has two championship tennis courts on site with free equipment use as well as snorkel equipment. Again Carimar does not have on site water sports but right next door you can rent almost anything you could desire, also the onsite concierge can book you many excursions’ threw out the island.
I can’t say enough about the location at Meads bay with its impossible white sands and calm water the beauty at sunset can make you cry.
#7 Peter Island / British Virgin Islands
BVI or just the Virgin islands sit just 60 miles east of Puerto Rico and to the west border the US Virgin Islands. With 60 Islands and keys the main islands being Tortola, Virgin Gorda , Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. The islands are sparsely populated with a total of 28,000 inhabitants and 23,000 of those living on Tortola. The BVI is considered a world class sailing destination and hosts many regattas. There is also a strong financial sector and many companies call it home for its tax advantages. Tourism is king with many cruise ships calling on its ports, and patrons from the US and Canada visiting the many resorts.
Finding your own private island is every travelers dream now add 5 star accommodations 5 pristine beaches, activities galore and you have Peter Island Resort and Spa. Sitting on top of a bluff overlooking White bay beach there are three mind blowing villas from 6,000 to 22,000 Sq ft. stocked with your own personal food , drink and music, catch the views from your private infinity pool perfect for multiple family’s or a company retreat. The villas come staffed with a butler, chef, house keeper and a chauffeur driven vehicle. For folks not willing to fork out that kind of cash there are ocean front rooms and Jr.suites. Want verity there are 5 beaches to enjoy, my favorite is Dead Mans beach a full mile of crescent bay dotted with palm trees for snorkeling try White bay beach for lovers Honey Moon beach a tiny sliver of sand where you can feel like you are the only ones on the island.
There are 5 restaurants with food prepared by master chefs. The Trade winds restaurant features Bistro and Asian Caribbean cuisine served on German china. if you are a wine lover they have over 300 bottles to choose from. Make sure to make the Saturday night buffet to feast on fresh sea food, meats and a amazing variety of deserts. For a little more casual experience but just as delicious try Dead Man’s Bar & Grill enjoy wood fired pizza, signature sandwiches and legendary ribs. For romantics try the private beach dinning a table is set up water side with your pre ordered gourmet meal and favorite bottle of wine, light the candles and enjoy pure romance.
Pro Tip: While on peter Island take the Virgin Gorda sail and snorkel excursion to The Bath’s. A geological wonder where giant granite boulders form natural pools in the sea edge the enticing bay is one of the most photographed locations in the Caribbean.
#8 Club Med Punta Cana / Dominican republic
Being one of my favorite islands The Dominica republic offers many resort areas with Punta Cana being it largest and most famous. Featuring countless palm trees a seemingly endless soft sand beach and warm calm water it’s no wonder almost every major brand resort has a location there.
Having worked for Club Med as a bartender i do have a soft spot for the ultra laid back casual atmosphere Club Med has to offer. I have witnessed countless stressed out travelers transformed into laid back beach bums in just a week’s time. The resort has more of a culture then a style with the employees actually living at the resort and being encouraged to intermingle with the guests it makes for unique bonding experience.
Club med is known for its learn how to activities and this resort has many such as Kite surfing, Sailing and Wind surfing it also offers Fitness and tennis schools and many land sports such as Beach volley ball and Bocce ball. Also try the many water sports such as Stand up Paddle board and Kayaking. For divers the Club offers different diving packages for beginners to advance check out their web site for details.
Club Med employs international chefs from around the world. The three meals a day are served buffet style with a wide selection from fresh fish, Beef wellington and baked Alaska. Some locations offer a formal sit down restaurant as well. the menu changes daily and there are theme nights as well. Like to drink the bars pour free premium alcoholic beverages from morning to night.
Pro Tip: The Punta Cana location offers Club Med Creative by Cirque du Soleil where the whole family can learn circus arts and acrobatics. Make sure to try the flying trapeze to this day its one of the most exciting things i have tried.
# 9 Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus / Dominican Republic
La Romana/Dominican Republic
Making my list for a second time is the Dominican Republic this time in the remote and tranquil La Romana district. Located on the south east coast in the quant village of Bayahibe you will find this reasonably priced 5 star resort. The beach front local is highlighted by lush landscape and is both comfortable and luxurious. This all inclusive resort includes activities for young and old, singles and couples. In my opinion the Dominican Republic has the best dance shows of any island in the Caribbean and that alone is good reason to visit.
Iberstar offer’s all the classic things to do like Snorkeling, archery, kayaking, windsurfing, volley ball, land sports, and a Kids club. For divers there are several scuba packages prices vary. Enjoy a very nice reasonably priced spa that gives a great message or get your head together at the yoga class.
Caribbean lovers with a taste for good food can enjoy the daily buffets and four a la carte restaurants featuring Japanese, Mexican, gourmet and a surprisingly good steak house. For you boozing pleasure there are several themed bars including swim.
Bottom Line: Having pioneered the all inclusive concept The Dominican republic is a great value for the family on a budget. If you can do a bit of research and read some reviews you can have a great experience at a price that is hard to beat in any other Caribbean island
#10 Parrot Cay and COMO Shambhala Retreat / Turks and Caicos
“Pure White and Turquoise, Warm Shallow Water and Remote” is how I describe The Turks and Caicos Islands, its overkill for the senses but in a good way. With 8 main islands and more than 299 smaller ones the very flat limestone nation has 350 days of sunshine a year. Like I said “Overkill in a good way”
Parrot Cay and COMO Shambhala Retreat
Just a short boat ride from the main island of Provo lies the 1000 acre all inclusive resort of Parrott Cay. Located on its own private island its isolation and excess at its best. With three miles of perfect beach, a inviting infinity pool, water front rooms, 2 bed room and full size private villas. The word renowned COMO Shambhala retreat is a place for rejuvenation of the spirit and is popular with Yoga enthusiast. The resort has the feel of a retreat wrapped in a word class resort. This rare level of privacy and tranquility comes at a hefty cost but you are worth it.
The resort offers all the usual activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kayak, scuba and tennis and some extra fun and excursions like a boat trips to Iguana island to visit the beasts, snorkel and have a gourmet lunch how about your own private Tiki hut with giant day bed or a boat charter that drops you off at a secluded island there’s fun tubing for the kids and a romantic sunset cruise. Frankly the beaches, day beds and retreat should have you so relaxed you may not want to do anything else.
Sea food is king at the three restaurants with such delights as Seared West Caicos snapper, Jumbo Prawns with Sherry vinegar and West Indian spiced fried fish. The Shambhala restaurant has an extensive vegetarian menu with creative dishes like Pumpkin and macadamia nut crust pizza with avocado pineapple and mango.
There you have it stay tune for more top 10 lists.