Ruins, Rainforests & Reggae

Here's everything you need to know about the Top 10 things to do in the Caribbean Islands

The Caribbean is a stunning region flanked by palm trees and aquamarine coasts, and there's no shortage of adventure on these islands. To immerse yourself in local flora, visit the lush El Yunque Rainforest on the eastern side of Puerto Rico, or head to Tulum, Mexico, to climb 25 feet to the top of the ruins of Tulum Castillo. The Reduit Beach of St. Lucia will give you picture-perfect backdrops, while zip lining through the treetops in St. Maarten will let you have a bird's-eye view of the Caribbean. From reggae music and art museums to cobblestone lanes and leafy plazas, the Caribbean islands each have their own distinct flavor. Explore this selection of the Top 10 Caribbean islands and things to do.

10. Pick Your Paradise

White Sand Beach and Turquoise Waters in Belize.

The British Virgin Islands are prime island-hopping territory, allowing you to go from one piece of paradise to the next. Check out pristine waters at The Baths, a selfie heaven located in Virgin Gorda, then venture to coral island Anegada for BBQ lobster fresh from the water and finish your expedition in Jost Van Dyke to indulge in the famous rum-based Painkiller cocktail.

9. Soak Up The Sounds

Traditional Caribbean Musicians Performing in the Streets

Jamaica exudes its own unique island vibe, especially when it comes to music. Reggae sounds invade the streets as they waft out of Redbones Blues Cafe in Kingston, Amnesia dancehall in Ocho Rios and Jungle nightclub in Negril. No matter where you go, you'll be pulled to dance along.

8. More Mofongo, Please!

Succulent Mofongo with Fried Plantains

Puerto Rico is perhaps the culinary capital of the Caribbean, famous for its variety of colorful dishes, like the garlicky mofongo, a fried and mashed plantain dish, or arroz con gandules and lechón, the savory yellow rice and pigeon peas with pit-roasted pork and the classic Piña Colada, needless of introductions and invented on the island.

7. Peek Into The Past

Mayan Ruins in Cozumel Mexico

Go from walking on sand to walking on ancient ruins in Cozumel and Cabo San Lucas , two destinations filled with both Mexican and Caribbean charm. To see rolling waves of turquoise water, head to tropical Costa Maya to swim in Yucatan's beaches or stroll in Puerto Vallarta's famous malecon boardwalk.

6. A Life Aquatic

Family Snorkeling in Crystal Clear Waters, Perfect Day Island, Cococay, Bahamas

The water adventures never end in the Bahamas, the home of pool-like beaches, thrill-packed waterparks like Aquaventure at Atlantis and underwater worlds like Rainbow Reef in Bimini. For a perfect day by the sea, head to Perfect Day at CocoCay to swim the largest freshwater pool in the Bahamas and ride the tallest waterslide in North America.

5. Seas and Greetings

Pink Flamingos in Aruba Island

Aruba is home to some of the most pristine beaches in the Caribbean, from Eagle Beach to Andicuri Beach. Aruba has sun and sand and plenty of serene Caribbean charm. If you want wild and rugged scenery, head to the Arikok National Wildlife Park and swim in a turquoise natural pool surrounded by volcanic rock formations.

4. May the Forest Be With You

Jungle Path, El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico

St. Lucia is blessed with frame-ready vistas, especially when it comes to the monumental peaks that adorn its coasts. The most famous are the towering Pitons, two volcanic spires by the sea that you can hike by following the Gros Piton Nature Trail. The journey up promises iconic and unforgettable views of St. Lucia's craggy coast.

3. Careen Through Caverns

Underground Natural Lazy River in Limestone Cave, Belize

Find the Maya inside Belize's caves. These underground mazes were used as ceremonial sites and you can find many ancient relics — from pottery to monuments to sparkling skeletons — in the depths. Visit Barton Creek Cave, Actun Loch Tunich Cave or Rio Frio Cave to discover these jaw-dropping treasures, as well as rock formations and natural pools.

2. Frolic Among Flora and Fauna

Mexican Iguana, in Tulum Riviera Maya, Mexico

As you trek through the forests and walk over the white sands in St. Maarten, you'll no doubt see green iguanas, brown pelicans, guavaberry trees and whistling frogs. But the gorgeous flora and fauna don't stop there. Head to the open waters to see humpback whales or drive through quirky towns to see houses adorned by Lantana Camara, the colorful national flower of St. Maarten.

1. Cuba's Green Side

El Nicho Waterfall in Cienfuegos, Cuba

Cuba is a destination like no other on the planet. You can travel back in time as you walk its colonial streets, which are filled with colorful buildings, and stop to dance flaming salsa when the mood strikes. You also can commune with nature in places like Cienfuegos, with stalagmite-filled caves and waterfall-lined forest trails, or the Great Metropolitan Park in Havana, which features a botanical garden, a zoo and wilderness trails, giving you a nature break while in the old city.

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