Named by the Portuguese traveling to Brazil, Barbados translates to “the bearded ones” — in reference to the island’s tree, not burly natives — and plays host to both British and Caribbean traditions. Ranging from afternoon tea and cricket, to scuba and snorkeling on Dottin’s Reef or a round of golf on designer ocean-side courses, the mish-mash of culture leaves visitors delighted.
One of the best parts of Barbados? No relentlessly checking the weather app in the weeks leading up to the trip. The island fluctuates between 70 and 80 degrees year-round, which we’re pretty sure is the official thermostat of paradise. You can relax on the beach without burning up and take a midnight walk without a sweater. It’s the sweetest of sweet spots.
And no Caribbean vacation is complete without a cocktail in ocean air. Rum is the unofficial drink of Barbados — Mount Gay is recognized as the oldest rum distillery in the world — so indulge in a Mai Tai or two or pretend you are a pirate searching for hidden treasure and swig straight from the bottle. We won’t judge.
INSIDER TIP: Most people believe Malibu rum originates from California, but it was really born in Barbados. Take a tour of the distillery to enjoy a taste of that summer-soaked goodness.
Like with most things, we can’t say it better than Mark Twain did:
“You go to heaven if you want. I’d rather stay here in Bermuda.”
Twain is spot-on. Just like its signature shorts, the islands of Bermuda boast laid-back vibes with comfortable hospitality. Borrowing traditions from Britain and America, this historic island group transforms isolation into an enviable lifestyle. We know it’s tough, but if you were ever to unplug your phone and leave the Internet be for a day — we are aware how crazy that sounds — this is the spot to do it.
Pink-sand beaches like Horseshoe Bay Beach guarantee a seaside experience like no other. Ranked among the top beaches in the world, prepare to be amazed by the tiny red organisms that grow under the coral reefs and expire on the ocean floor. Pieces of corals and shells wash up on the beach, creating an unforgettable pink hue. There’s definitely #nofilter needed in Bermuda.
INSIDER TIP: Sightseeing and traveling within each island is a breeze when you rent mopeds or scooters.
During your time in Bermuda, you will likely be traveling from island to island, discovering each island’s personality and gorgeous sights. Small bridges, allowing you to experience as many islands as possible, often connect the islands. The true beauty of the islands can also be experienced via boat gliding across the aqua water.
Steady, rhythmic soca beats set the soundtrack for this sweet-as-sugar island nation. With stretching mountain ranges, glasslike water and mellow local culture, we won’t blame you for wanting to make St. Kitts’s all-inclusive resorts a second home.
And as the saying goes: “When life gives you limes, visit St. Kitts.” Alright, so it’s not the most popular saying. But we guarantee you’ll love “liming,” the Kittitian way of life, which focuses on simplicity and relaxing with family and friends. It’s the ultimate unplugged move.
What makes this lush and natural island a true gem is its new-kid-on-the-block status. St. Kitts’s economic mainstay was rooted in the sugar industry until early 2005, which is why the island remains unspoiled, uncrowded and new developments are carefully planned to blend with the surrounding natural landscape.
A favorite from St. Kitts’s growing roster of attractions is the St. Kitts Scenic Railway, better known as the “Sugar Train.” The railway uses the same tracks that were originally built in 1912 to carry sugar cane from the various plantations dotting the island to the Sugar Factory in Basseterre, but today, the train whisks passengers on an unrivaled scenic tour of the island aboard deluxe double-decker cars. The tour circles the island’s coastline and offers a unique perspective of the island’s culture, people, views and history. Grab yourself a beverage and enjoy the ride.
INSIDER TIP: For a unique dining experience, opt for Salt Paldge, a salt factory turned restaurant. No pepper allowed (just kidding).
St. Martin actually divides between two countries — the North is controlled by France, with Dutch oversight in the South — giving you twice the opportunities for fun.
While the French side of the island is culturally laid-back — think Paris café — the Dutch side is best known for its lively nightlife. No matter which side you are sitting on, there’s incredible food everywhere. With a worldwide reputation for fusion cuisine, and over 500 restaurants, St. Maarten (the Dutch spelling) features a subtle blend of flavors including lobster, shellfish, traditional barbecue, plus local delicacies and spices like Creole sauces and tropical fish. Plus, there’s always the sound of Caribbean music filling the air with soca, salsa, samba, steel drums, reggae, soul and even rock. You can definitely get your Caribbean jam on. And when you add in the popular water-based activities, the charming atmosphere of this island will wash over you like a breath of fresh air.
This island’s panoramic views are only rivaled by its colorful culture. When you fuse the two halves together, you create one awesome vacation.