Caribbean Destinations Explore

St. Lucia, Antigua or Anguilla: Which are the best Caribbean Islands to visit?

Three shades of paradise, but which to choose? We break down the top three best Caribbean islands to visit.

The Caribbean has long been a beacon for paradise hunters: seekers of the perfect beach, crystal-clear waters and the tastiest rum punch. From spectacular mountains and nature hikes in St. Lucia, to historic landmarks in Antigua and sparkling, secluded beaches in Anguilla, it can be a difficult task to pick just one island. Difficult, but not impossible. We pull apart the best of each of these three islands and identify their vibes, hidden gems and best eateries to help you decide which Caribbean island best suits you.

Ready to explore? Check out our handpicked escapes

St. Lucia

The vibe: A spellbinding natural wonderland

Things to do:

If your definition of paradise is lounging on sand the colour of icing sugar, exploring spectacular hiking trails through steamy rainforests, or lounging poolside at an all-inclusive resort with a fruity cocktail in hand, put St. Lucia at the top of your travel list. It’s home to the Piton Mountains, iconic twin peaks rising from turquoise waters and covered in a blanket of emerald foliage. Join a two-hour guided hike to reach the peak, where you’ll be awarded jaw-dropping views across the island. If you’re not much of a hiker, you can hop aboard a catamaran and see the twin volcanic mountains from the water.

Piton Mountains in St Lucia. Image courtesy of Getty Images.

Food & drink:

For homemade, authentic Creole cuisine, head to Martha’s Tables. The open-air venue is favoured amongst locals, making it the perfect spot to come for a casual bite after a day exploring. Try chicken breast that’s spiced and grilled to perfection, salted codfish with green bananas (St. Lucia’s national dish), or traditional pot stew.

For a relaxed beach bar atmosphere on the northern tip of the island, you can’t go wrong with The Naked Fisherman Beach Bar & Grill. Sit on lounge chairs on the secluded cove, sprawl out on the sunny deck or secure a seat at the bar for succulent BBQ lobster, live music, mouthwatering burgers and signature rum cocktails (try the TNF Rum Punch, a long-standing favourite).

Where to stay:

If you’re seeking a family-friendly beach escape, the Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa has everything you need for a fun-filled holiday. Located on Rodney Bay, renowned as one of St. Lucia’s best beaches, it’s home to unbeatable facilities, including its very own waterpark, the over-the-ocean Splash Island Water Park. You’ll also enjoy a luxurious day spa, watersport equipment (from SUPs to kayaks), a kids’ club and two incredible restaurants.

Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa

For all-inclusive resort luxury, East Winds is an intimate beachfront resort dedicated to your complete relaxation. Spend balmy nights dining at the oceanfront restaurant, sipping cocktails at the swim-up bar, lazing on the private beach or learning how to snorkel or stand-up paddleboard with complimentary watersport hire.

Antigua

The vibe: Historic sites and secret coves

Things to do:

There’s much to discover on this dazzling island. Beyond the coconut palms and crystal-clear waters – Antigua is a treasure trove of rich and diverse history. Visit historic landmarks such as the UNESCO-listed Nelson’s Dockyard National Park – a restored Georgian-era marina that’s been in operation since 1745 – and Shirley Heights, a restored military lookout.

Half Moon Bay. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

One of the island’s most beautiful beaches, Half Moon Bay, is captivating in its coastal beauty with gleaming white coral sands, a neighbouring national park and an undisturbed paradise. Spend the day snorkelling among pufferfish, barracuda and cuttlefish, or get your heart racing with a spot of bodysurfing (be sure to check out weather and current conditions beforehand).

Food & drink:

For sparkling ocean views and fresh-from-the-sea shellfish, make your way to Cecilia’s High Point Café in Saint George. Located along the beachfront, enjoy unhindered views across the ocean from bistro’s deck while feasting on a decadent lobster ravioli or chargrilled red snapper.

For something that’s a little heartier, make a beeline for the family-run Roti King in Saint John for spiced roti wraps filled with curried chickpeas or beef, fried pholourie and potatoes.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Dabble in fine dining at The Cove Restaurant, housed within Blue Waters Resort & Spa. Dial up the romance and enjoy an enticing fusion of French and Caribbean cuisine in an oceanfront setting. Try the seared scallops, grilled lobster tail or roasted Welsh tack of lamb, followed by decadent chocolate fondant.

Where to stay:

Experience five-star indulgence at the award-winning, adults-only Hammock Cove Resort & Spa. Ranked in the Top 25 Hotels for Romance – Caribbean in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice, Best of the Best 2021 awards, it delivers opulence on every level: there are six onsite restaurants, an oceanfront location and three cascading infinity pools.

Hammock Cove Resort & Spa

For an all-inclusive-family option, Royalton Antigua, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort & Casino takes the cake. Eat and drink to your heart’s content at the seven world-class restaurants and three uber-cool bars, or explore the facilities – it’s home to a fabulous day spa, kids and teens’ club, an onsite casino and overwater bungalows (to make your stay extra special).

Anguilla

The vibe: Live reggae tunes, beach bars and breathtaking beaches

Things to do:

Anguilla has ranked in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Countries for Best in Travel 2022, and with its abundance of postcard-perfect beaches, vibrant coral reefs and friendly locals, it’s not hard to see why. Spend sun-soaked days exploring the idyllic beaches and islets, from Prickly Pear Cays to Sandy Island and Shoal Bay East.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Soak up the island’s best sunset on Little Bay, a cove accessible only by boat from Crocus Bay, or discover what’s under the sea – it’s best for secluded snorkelling, giving you the chance to swim alongside graceful sea turtles and schools of colourful fish.

Food & drink:

There’s nothing better than fresh seafood after a day lazing on the beach, and Veya Restaurant understands this. This treehouse-style restaurant in the tiny village of Sandy Ground serves up a mouthwatering array of seafood dishes – butter-poached lobster, grilled crawfish and signature shrimp cigars are just the beginning.

Along the pristine white sands of Lower Shoal Bay East is a rainbow beach shack knowns as Gwen’s Reggae Grill, a celebrity and local favourite in Anguilla. With toes in the sand, listen to chilled-out reggae beats floating from the beach bar while devouring classic comfort food like ribs, BBQ chicken and burgers. Or, hop on one of the swinging hammocks and order a famous rum punch.

Where to stay:

Private beaches and an ocean-facing two-tiered infinity pool make it all too easy to forget the rest of the world at Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection. Spend long, leisurely days drinking tropical cocktails or specialty rum punches at the beach bar, or while away an entire afternoon away in a privately reserved cabana. For a romantic evening, enjoy Caribbean tapas and handcrafted rum cocktails while watching a dramatic sunset dance across the horizon at the candlelit Bar Soleil.

Malliouhana, Auberge Resorts Collection.

For golfing enthusiasts and flop-and-drop travellers, opt for a stay at the five-star Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Course.  Tee off at the Greg Norman-designed 18-hole championship course, or stay active with onsite tennis courts, fitness centre, bocce and pickleball courts. For something a little more relaxing, simply drop onto a sun lounger by the huge swimming pool.

Read more: The Caribbean’s Best Beachfront Resorts