Best Honeymoon Destinations in the Caribbean
By Jane Anderson, Editor of 101 Honeymoons
The 32-plus island nations of the Caribbean conjure images of white sand beaches, swaying palms and usually little else. But look closer and you’ll soon discover that the West Indies is a diverse region that suits not only honeymooners looking to fly and flop in paradise, but those seeking adventure, culture, inspiring cuisine and spas.
Of course it particularly excels in areas like diving, sailing and watersports. Accommodation comes in many forms including boutique, feet-in-the-sand boltholes, charming B&Bs, dive lodges, all-inclusive, private villas, sophisticated five-star resorts and high end private island retreats.
I would say all are well versed in making honeymooners feel special – but make sure they know it’s your honeymoon in advance – and many have a sophisticated set up when it comes to weddings with co-ordinators on-hand to tailor-make your big day.
The key to getting your Caribbean wedding and honeymoon right is to choose the right island and the right resort for you. So you need to do some research such as speaking to a Caribbean specialist like Caribtours which has a wealth of advice on romantic places to stay, or Essence of the Caribbean which focuses on finding you the real Caribbean and places to stay that are locally owned and full of local character such as B&Bs, eco-lodges and boutique properties like Petite Anse in Grenada.
I also like Essential Hotel Collection which has picked 13 of the best small hotels and resorts in the Caribbean.
Tourist board websites can also be very helpful but remember if you call a tourist board, they will obviously promote their own island and not give you an overview. The Caribbean Tourism Organisation can be useful for this.
So which is the right island for you?
Happening islands with diversity
St Lucia is an island that many feel has it all. Unusually, its geography differs greatly from north to south, so much so that it’s possible to have a two-centre honeymoon on one island. The south is home to the majestic Pitons, lush rainforest, botanical gardens, a walk-in volcano, zip lines and mountain biking trails, plus very individual resorts like Anse Chastanet and Jade Mountain, Hotel Chocolate and Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort.
The north is more densely inhabited with more hotels, restaurants and bars around busy areas like Rodney Bay and its attractive Marina. St Lucia is a good choice for weddings, heritage, eating out and spas. It also has some great all-inclusive options.
Jamaica is perhaps the most popular of all Caribbean islands, but often dismissed as somewhere that is spoilt or too mainstream, or even dangerous. In fact, it is a fabulously diverse island with long established five-star resorts like Half Moon Bay and Jamaica Inn, as well as funky hideaways like Strawberry Hills in the Blue Mountains.
Total romantic retreats
Anguilla is one of those tiny Caribbean islands that is a total escape from everyday life. It’s tiny with some of the most incredible white sand beaches in the world and a surprisingly happening food and party scene, perfect for chilling out and indulging. Top honeymoon resorts include Cap Juluca and CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa.
If you have a healthy budget, the Caribbean is home to some exceptional private island resorts including Mustique in the Grenadines and Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. Here honeymooners are treated like royalty.
Local colour and individual feel
Barbados remains one of the most popular islands for UK couples due to its very distinct island feel and good choice of hotels including some very individual hideaways such as The Atlantis and Little Good Harbour. If you want an adults-only all-inclusive head down to Sandals Barbados.
An alternative to busy islands and big resorts, check out St Kitts which has an “old school” vibe of plantation architecture, warm hospitality and toes-in-the-sand casual bars and restaurants. Best places to stay include Ottley’s Plantation Inn which has manicured gardens and a lovely spa overlooking the rainforest.
Grenada is another Caribbean gem with much local colour and a sense of Caribbean yesteryear. Laluna combines this local vibe with its own very distinct Italian charm. Also check out the newly-reopened Sandals LaSource Grenada Resort & Spa which has an emphasis on spa and well-being.
Cuba will always be a wonderfully original destination especially if you explore Havana and venture beyond the all-inclusives of Varadero to explore incredible colonial towns like Trinidad.
Finding value for money
In the current climate, your honeymoon budget may be squeezed or you might just be looking for exceptional value for money. All-inclusives are often a good solution. They may not be a budget option, but you certainly get a lot for your money and there are no extras to worry about on check out.
You can also get a great deal on renting a villa for two in the Caribbean, particularly if you travel slightly out of high season.
Last updated: 20 April 2016
More great honeymoon advice from Jane
Need help with arrangements? Read Jane’s advice on honeymoon planning
Need more inspiration? Here’s a selection of honeymoon packages