6 Destinations for Effortless Caribbean Island Hopping

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With swaying palm trees, sublime beaches at every turn and the most relaxing of vibes, it’s no surprise that Caribbean island hopping is on most travel lovers’ bucket lists.

From an ultimate honeymoon getaway or as part of a long term backpacking adventure, this unique and beautiful part of the world has something for everyone and draws all in who visit.

However, when you start researching the best islands to visit in the Caribbean, you may feel like you don’t know where to start.

sailing caribbean island hopping

An archipelago of over 7,000 individual islands, it’s likely that you’ll have never have even heard of most of the Caribbean Islands.

Add to this the logistics of getting between each and it can make planning a Caribbean island hopping trip become overwhelming.

But don’t worry because we’re going to share some of the best Caribbean island hopping itineraries, along with the top things to get up to in each area so you can pick the best Caribbean destinations for you!

Let’s dig in.

Best Caribbean Island Hopping Spots

1. St Vincent and The Grenadines

Grenada Beach - Caribbean Island hopping destinations

The main island of St Vincent is a great place to start your Caribbean island hopping adventure. Why?

The newly constructed Argyle International Airport means there are now direct flights from the US, Canada, Central and South America, and Europe.

Don’t miss the lively marketplace in the capital of Kingstown and if you like getting up high, take a hike up the active, but safe enough for now, volcano La Soufrière.

Scattered south of St Vincent are the 32 beach ringed Grenadine islands.

We think the pick of the bunch are mellow and friendly Bequia, hikers paradise Canouan, exclusive Mustique and off the beaten track favourite Union Island.

All of which can be reached either by air (with SVG Air/Mustique Airways) or via inter-island ferries.

From Union Island it’s such a short hop to Grenada that you can almost smell the nutmeg in the air.

From endless rainforest hiking trails to relaxing sunsets on inviting beaches, there so many things to do in Grenada making it one of the best islands to visit in the Caribbean.

Be sure to take in the panoramic views of the island from Fort George in the elegant capital of St George.

Grenada is our favorite place in the Caribbean because half of our family are from there. You can take flights back to St Vincent from Grenada.

Please note: St Vincent and the Grenadines were unaffected by the recent Hurricanes, Irma and Maria.

2. Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos caribbean island hopping
Photo by Romello Williams on Unsplash

Airlines offer direct flights from the US, Canada and Europe multiple times per week into Providenciales International airport.

Known locally as Provo, your first island here is ringed by soft sandy beaches.

Head to Bight Reef or Smith’s Reef for excellent snorkeling and take a kayak out to explore the tiny cays around the turquoise lagoon of Chalk Sound National Park.

From Providenciales visit the tiny tropical paradise of West Caicos and Little Water Cay or as it is better known, Iguana Island, for up close reptile encounters.

Then catch a short 30 minute flight to where wild horses roam free on Grand Turk Island in the south of the 40 odd island archipelago.

From here you can explore the very pleasant Salt Cay and South Caicos Island.

Just don’t expect to be doing much more than lazing on the powdery white sands and some of the best Caribbean beaches, or exploring crystal clear underwater shipwrecks with sea turtles in this part of the world.

The tropical, quiet and shallow beaches around the Turks and Caicos make them perfect for families.

And you can fly direct from Grand Turk International Airport into the US.

Please Note:

Following the devastating effects of the recent hurricanes Irma and Maria, some of these islands are still currently recovering.

Turks and Caicos Islands were severely impacted but commercial flights have resumed, shops are open and supplies returning to normal. Many hotels, however, are due to be closed through the rest of 2017 for repairs.

3. St Kitts, Nevis and Antigua

antigua caribbean island hopping
Antigua

St Kitts island is famed for the views from the top of Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park and boasts the last functioning passenger train in the Caribbean, with a gorgeous 3 hour coastline route with unrivalled views over the sea and sugarcane fields.

Golden Rock International airport hosts international flights direct from the US, Canada and Europe to here.

A 45-minute crossing over The Narrows away is Nevis, and there are plenty of daily ferry options.

Nevis has a very chilled vibe where you can bathe in healing volcanic spring waters after taking on the Nevis Peak, one of the toughest trails in the Caribbean.

This island is seriously great for adventure lovers wanting some escapism.

Dotted with 365 pink and white beaches, next up is Antigua, the shimmering jewel of the Caribbean Islands.

Fly here from Nevis with Fly Montserrat. The atmospheric, colonial Nelson’s dockyard is the only working Georgian dockyard in the world and is unmissable.

Onward direct flights go to the US, Canada and Europe from V.C Bird International Airport.

Please Note: 

St Kitts, Nevis and Antigua were relatively untouched by the recent hurricanes, Irma and Maria, and are welcoming tourists.

4. St Martin, Anguilla, Saba and St Barth

st martin plane flying

The islands of St Martin, Anguilla, St Barth & Saba are all within easy reach of each other.

Famed for the planes flying directly over the beach, the biggest international airport in the area is on St Martin.

St Martin is a dual nation island with a colonial and cosmopolitan atmosphere. The French north side is more reserved, while the Dutch South side is definitely where the parties happen.

From here nip across the channel to isolated Anguilla and enjoy sunbathing on the soft sands, or get to grips with some watersports in the clear blue waters of Rendezvous Bay.

If you’re traveling as a couple, sneak away on a romantic boat trip to Little Cay or Prickly Pears Cays for some secluded paradise spots.

Then for your next stop, take a 90-minute ferry ride from Marigot on St Martin to enigmatic Saba.

The tiny island of Saba is essentially the top of a dormant volcano, Mount Scenery. A landscape of unspoilt beauty, the underwater mountains surrounding it provide some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the world.

The white beaches and interesting colonial towns of French speaking St Barth are also only a 30 minute ferry ride from Oyster Pond on St Martin.

Please Note:

St Martin and St Barth were severely affected by the recent hurricanes, Irma and Maria, and many governments are still advising against all travel to the two islands.

Anguilla is open for business and Saba suffered only minimal damage.

5. US and British Virgin Islands

british virgin islands
British Virgin islands

Fly into Henry E. Rohlsen airport in St Croix island to begin your Caribbean island hopping adventure here.

Be sure to visit the Cruzan Rum Distillery and the historic sites of Christiansted while in St Croix. You won’t be disappointed.

Then hop on a ferry or a seaplane to explore the delightful beaches and snorkelling spots of St Thomas.

Next up, just a 20 minute ferry ride away is the natural allure of St John.

With much of it a protected national park, this island has a distinctly wilder feel to it and Trunk Bay is consistently voted one of the best beaches in the whole world.

From here take a short boat ride across the border to the British Virgin Islands.

A volcanic archipelago, the British Virgin Islands is made up of 40 islands.

The main island of Tortola is the gateway to this area and the island should be used as your hub for visiting popular neighboring islands of Jost Van Dyke, Peter Island and Virgin Gorda.

Terrance B Lettsome International Airport in Tortula has flights to US, Canada and Europe.

Please Note:

Due to the recent hurricanes, Irma and Maria, US and British Virgin Islands experienced widespread collapsed infrastructure and international airports have only recently reopened (at time of publishing).

Many of the British Virgin Islands in particular are set to still be recovering well into 2018.

6. Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St Lucia

dominica rainforest caribbean island hopping
Dominica rainforest

Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport on the northernmost island of Guadeloupe has international flights from the US, Canada and several European destinations.

As does Hewanorra International airport on the southernmost island of St Lucia.

So it’s completely up to you where you start your Caribbean island hopping trip here.

These four tropical islands are perfect for the more active adventurer, and frequent, comfortable ferry services will transport you between each in less than 2 hours.

Butterfly shaped Guadeloupe has forest canopy rope bridges and spectacular waterfalls, while Dominica has volcanic hot springs and exciting wetland expeditions.

In Martinique, climbing Mount Pelee volcano and diving in the underwater caves around diamond rock are musts for those seeking a thrill.

diving with sea turtle caribbean

St Lucia holds more adventure in the form of zip lining through the rainforest and bathing in mud pools.

Of course it doesn’t have to be all go on these islands, with plenty of stunning beaches to chill on and golden sunsets to watch.

Please Note:

Due to widespread damage, all but essential travel is currently being advised against with regards to Dominica. It is, however, business as usual in the lesser affected islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and St Lucia.

We hope this post has helped kick start your Caribbean island hopping trip.

The Caribbean Islands truly are one of the most magical places in the world.

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Have you visited the Caribbean? What do you think are the best Caribbean islands to visit?

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10 thoughts on “6 Destinations for Effortless Caribbean Island Hopping”

  1. The Caribbean was always the ultimate tropical paradise when I was growing up. Loved discovering about some of the islands in your post. Do you have an all time favourite island here Sarah?

  2. Excellent! This non-snow-lover is ready for some winter sunshine! I only learned recently just how many islands there are, thanks for shining the light on some of the maybe lesser known ones.

  3. The Caribbean is a great place to travel and do business! My favourite island is St.Kitts & Nevis and I am glad to see it is near the top of the list. I loved the island of nevis so much that I moved there to work.

    Jennifer

  4. This is a great article, but it needs updating. I have been researching where to take a vacation this year and according to information on Google, St Martin is probably not the best place to go right now. Like many Caribbean islands, it was hit hard by Hurricane Irma last year and is still struggling to recover. The airport is barely usable, and many of the buildings on the island only have tarp roofs. After reading up on the different islands, we settled on Anguilla. It’s nice and quiet and the beaches are amazing. Can’t wait to head out there in December!

    1. Yep Elyn you are right. I was able to go to St. Martin last year with my wife just before the hurricanes and it was just amazing!!! Also, the tax-free was quite a plus! It seems like the island has picked up quite a bit already, but from having experienced a major hurricane myself, I know it is not the best to see tourist around when you are still trying to rebuild. Anguilla is quite nice, well from what I saw from the air.

      Have you ever thought about Grenada?

      Cheers,
      Leo

  5. Hey Sarah, great post! I was just writing a blog post on the 473 Grenada Boutique Resort website about visiting Grenada and being able to travel to the Union Islands and the Grenadines for a small adventure. I guess it goes a lot like island hopping. Have you ever explored Grenada?

    Cheers,
    Leo

  6. Martinique is a very good place to dive a little, de-stress and see the wonders of underwater life. In my opinion, the only shortcoming would be the lodging costs, I think they are a bit exaggerated if we compare them with Aruba, for example, where I can buy a completely new apartment in Azure Beach Residences (www.azure-aruba.com), with ocean view, excellent service and innovative structure, for a little more than what I ask in Martinique for a similar apartment (aruba has more ports, more trade, more attractions, among others). However, it is still a good option.

  7. Denise R. Myles,Phd

    Would like information on this adventure and permanent housing on many of the islands as I would like to make a transitional move. Thank you.

  8. Hi…..I have read the interesting info regards island hopping in the Caribbean. We are from the UK but still unsure. I am looking for a place to fly to with nearby (ish) surrounding islands to visit. My points would be white sandy beaches, things to do, places to visit, see some turtle life, bit of nightlife but also safe. Was looking to go island hopping in Thailand but always drawn to the Caribbean as visited the Dominican Republic some years ago. Punta Cana also a thought but just stuck at the moment. Would be travelling with my partner. Dont want major costs as not yet won the lottery lol…hope you can give me a bit of an idea with your experiences and best month to travel. Look forward to hearing from you. Rachel 😊

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