Things-To-Do Apr 04, 2023

Top 20 things you have to do in the Caribbean.

Top 20 things you have to do in the Caribbean

There are over 700 islands in the Caribbean. Let that sink in. 700 islands, and each one has its own unique personality, landscape, culture, cuisine, and activities. Narrowing down the extensive list of where to go, and what to do, can prove near impossible on a short trip to the Caribbean. After all, your vacation could look like zip-lining through the Dominican treetops, seeing shipwrecks on the ocean floor in Roatan, swimming with stingrays in the Bahamas, whipping through the Mexican jungle on an ATV, or just chilling beachside with drink in hand at our Beach Club at Bimini. Having a bad time in the Caribbean is nearly impossible, but to get the most out of your experience, it’s smart to have a solid idea of what the islands have to offer, so you can craft the perfect itinerary. So may we present, the 20 things we think you have to do in the Caribbean.

The Top 20 Things to do in the Caribbean

1. Explore Old San Juan

You could spend a whole week exploring the nooks and crannies of Old San Juan, a section of Puerto Rico’s capital with over 500 years of history. Take a tour of San Cristobal Fortress, the iconic stone structure perched over the sea, and learn about the city’s centuries-old history and heritage. No tour of Old San Juan would be complete, however, without tasting the more modern offerings. Visit the Bacardi Rum Distillery on a guided tour, and learn all about the rich history of rum in Puerto Rico while sipping a cocktail in the open-air pavilion.

2. Relax on the Beach

Sometimes, doing nothing is the best activity of all. Well, only if “doing nothing” is taking place on a beach in the Caribbean. When visiting Curacao, it’s certainly worthwhile to take a scenic drive through the historic Scharloo neighborhood of Willemstad, but if you find yourself spending your entire day at Mambo Beach – don’t feel lazy. In Curacao, that’s the way life should be. Lined with palm trees and beach huts, Mambo Beach also gives visitors access to watersport rentals, so your beach vacay can be both relaxing or adrenaline-pumping. 

3. Take to the Skies and See the Caribbean by Helicopter

It would probably take several months to explore everything Antigua has to offer, but let’s be honest, you probably won’t be on the island that long. The best way to see the full scope of the island and get a (literal) bird’s eye view of Antigua is by taking a helicopter tour. A captain will narrate the journey as you fly over a barrier reef, islands, a rainforest, and stunning coastlines. 

4. Snorkel with Sea Turtles

If there was an official sport of the Caribbean, it’d probably be snorkeling. There’s no better way to acquaint yourself with the islands’ colorful underwater ecosystem, and that’s especially true in the Bahamas. Snorkeling in the Bahamas means getting up close and personal with the resident sea turtles, tropical fish, and coral reefs. 

5. Explore a Rainforest

Rainforests are a prominent geographic staple of Caribbean islands, so exploring one is a must for any true Caribbean adventure. The rainforest of St. Kitts and Nevis is particularly rugged and beautiful, home to waterfalls and a variety of wildlife. Let our guide take you on a hike ascending the slopes of the forest, before ending the day enjoying a seaside lunch on the nearby beach. 

6. Explore the Caves of Curacao

Damp, dark caves might not be your idea of a typical Caribbean vacation, but it should be. Hato Caves are limestone formations with rock pools and a hidden waterfall, which used to be home to native tribes. After the caves, check out the surrounding park for its cactus garden, or walk the Indian Trail to see Indian petroglyphs in the rocks.

7. Parasail Around the Painted Islands

If a good old fashioned beach day isn’t quite thrilling enough for you, try adding a little parasailing. In Key West, it’s not just about the beach parties and orange-hued bodies walking the boardwalks. One of the best ways to see the Keys is from the sky, where you can glimpse dolphins swimming and tropical birds flying. You can even ask to be lowered down for a refreshing dip in the ocean.

8. Plunge into Waterfalls

Chasing waterfalls is a bit of a cliche, but in the Caribbean, it’s a worthwhile cliche. Visiting the Damajagua Waterfalls is one of the best things to do in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Not only can you take a dip in a variety of waterfalls, you’ll also be able to explore the rainforest’s biodiversity by walking suspension bridges, zip-lining over the forest, enjoying natural water slides, and hiking narrow forest passages. When it comes to Puerto Plata excursions, it’s tough to beat a good old zip n’ dip. 

9. Explore the Ruins of Chichen Itza

Seeing the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza is one of the most educational and memorable things to do in Playa del Carmen. Chichen Itza was a pre-Columbian city dating back to 600 AD, and is known for its architecturally stunning temples, particularly the Temple of the Warriors and the Kukulkan Pyramid. On a tour of the ruins you’ll see both, and also learn about the Mayan ball game court, swim in the turquoise waters of a natural cenote, and have a traditional lunch at a nearby restaurant.

10. See the Coral Reefs of Roatan

The Mesoamerican Reef is the second largest reef in the world, so yeah…you’re not gonna want to skip this. The waters of Roatan are full of colorful marine life, and snorkeling is the best way to see it all. The area is known for its abundance of starfish, colored beige, yellow, orange, and green, making for a pretty vibrant display. Particularly intrepid snorkelers can even check out the shipwreck of a 120-year-old sunken steamer, whose boiler is visible above the reef. 

11. Go Beach Bar Hopping

Of course, you can go bar hopping back home. But you can’t do it like you would in St. Lucia. Our Beach Bar Hopping tour is led by local Lucians, who make sure you hit all the hottest spots and experience a variety of different atmospheres. Not only will you visit four different beach bars, you’ll also have a personal bartender on hand to keep the drinks flowing. 

12. Ride an ATV Through a Jungle

Take a break from the beaches and weave through the narrow corridors of the Mexican jungle on an ATV. This Costa Maya excursion is one of the most thrilling in the Caribbean (particularly if you don’t mind getting a little muddy). Afterward, you’ll head to the Beach Escape Beach Club in Mahahual for some much-deserved relaxation, with an open bar and the option to rent kayak.

13. Take a Sunset Cruise

There’s nothing more romantic than a Caribbean sunset. Perfect for celebrating an anniversary or any intimate occasion, an Aruban sunset cruise is not only the best way to see a Caribbean sunset, but also to get a different perspective of the island’s most beautiful beaches. You’ll cruise past Eagle Beach, Palm Beach and the iconic California Lighthouse. Don’t worry – there are drinks and snacks onboard. 

14. Learn How to Scuba

Learning how to scuba is one of those things you always intend to do, but never quite get around to. “One day…” you’ve probably told yourself time and time again. Well, that day is here. Our Discover Scuba Diving experience in St. Croix is the perfect way to dip your toes in the water (literally) without the need for PADI certification, and learn the basics of scuba diving. The course includes a lecture and training session, followed by a 30-foot dive accompanied by an experienced instructor. 

15. Take a Rum Tour

Rum is a staple of many Caribbean trips. There’s plenty of things to do in Puerto Plata, but taking a rum tour around the island is one of the best ways to get a sense of the Dominican Republic’s most famous libation. Visit the Macorix Rum Museum, and watch the rum-making process from beginning to end. And of course, you’ll have the chance to taste the different brands, comparing and contrasting the flavors.

16. Hike a Volcano

Hiking a volcano might sound treacherous, but maybe that’s what makes it one of the coolest excursions in the Caribbean? Okay, it’s not actually as dangerous as it sounds. In St. Kitts and Nevis, you can spend the day hiking the slopes of Mount Liamuiga, a 3,000-foot volcano and the highest point on the island. Your destination is the base of the volcanic crater, just below the rim, where you’ll be rewarded with epic views of the lush forest. And don’t worry – it’s last eruption was 1,600 years ago. 

17. Go Dolphin Watching

Generally, whale watching certainly tends to get more attention than dolphin watching, but in the Caribbean – especially Key West – it’s all about the dolphins. Head out on a boat trip to the gulf with Fury’s Key West, where you’ll watch bottlenose dolphins, swim, feed, and play. Fury’s is the only company in the Keys with the “Dolphin SMART” certification, so you can be sure that both you and the dolphins are in good hands. 

18. Deep Sea Fishing

Fishing might not be your forte, but it’s a way of life in the Caribbean, and there’s no better place to hone your skills. In Tortola, you can feel like a real angler by hitting the water and hunting big game fish with an experienced captain and crew. You’ll learn both the basics and new techniques as you search for tuna, dorado, sailfish, wahoo, and kingfish, and hear stories from the crew about fishing life on the Caribbean. 

19. Off-Road Through Aruba’s Desert

Most people don’t realize that Aruba is technically a desert island, with the rugged and dry Arikok National park making up nearly a third of the island. The most fun way to explore a desert is by off-roading, and Aruba is no exception. Our 4x4 Jeep Safari starts at the iconic California Lighthouse, and continues over the Hudishibana sand dunes, past Wairuri cove’s natural bridge, and the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, before ending at the beach for a tropical picnic.

20. Relax at the Beach Club at Bimini

Sometimes, the perfect Caribbean activity (and the perfect activity in general) is just kicking back and getting pampered. At Virgin Voyages’ Beach Club at Bimini, we don’t want you to worry about a thing. Post up by the pool and let our DJ handle the good vibes, grab some free apps, or find some shade under a beach cabana and finish that book you’ve been putting off for months.

What will you do in the Caribbean?

There's only one way to find out. So plan a Caribbean vacation with us today!

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