Intrigued about the possibilities of a Caribbean vacation? Find out more about cruises, shore excursions and all-inclusive resort options at AAA.com. Learn more >>.
The Eastern Caribbean isles beckon visitors with rich cultural traditions, ecologically diverse landscapes and tales of swashbuckling pirates. Though Blackbeard no longer cruises Bahamian waters, and Henry Morgan retired his cannons long ago, their legends inspire visitors to explore their former stomping grounds. The region’s colonial history abounds, too, with Spanish, Dutch and British influences peppering local languages, cuisines and customs.
Resting at the border between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, many of the eastern islands enjoy two distinct coastlines. Adventurers flock to the rolling Atlantic shores, where waves tempt surfers and lush hiking trails abound. On Caribbean coastlines, tranquil waters edge sugar-sand beaches and coral reef systems flourish, making them prime destinations for snorkeling and diving. The tropical sun beams on both shorelines, so wherever you are, you can enjoy outdoor activities in paradise.
Cuba is a captivating land of stark contrasts, rich cultural traditions and a warm, welcoming people who are proud of their beautiful country. Over the past couple years, travel to our closest neighboring island nation has been opening up, with many U.S. airlines now offering direct flights. Join one of our editors for a first-hand look at what Americans have been missing.
Even now, however, Americans cannot travel to Cuba strictly for tourism. If you want to travel to Cuba today, you must participate in an education-based “people-to-people” itinerary, which provides meaningful contact with Cuban people, from professors to artists, farmers, factory owners, doctors and more.
A wide range of approved land-based tour options are available, from three-night weekend getaways to epic adventures more than 15 nights long that include a variety of ports, provinces, cities and UNESCO sites beyond Havana. Discover more Cuba travel advice and then speak with your AAA Travel Consultant, who can demystify trip-planning complexities and help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Extending from Cuba to the shores of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the Western Caribbean boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. You’ll find equal parts romance and family-friendly fun in the likes of Cozumel, Belize, Jamaica and Grand Cayman Island, where clear, calm seas meet palm-dotted coastlines. Dive into the Caribbean Sea for an otherworldly glimpse at the Mesoamerican reef system, which extends nearly 700 miles and includes the Belize Barrier Reef and Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park. Here you’ll encounter more than 65 coral species and swim alongside sea turtles, manatees and colorful reef fish.
Further inland you’ll find rivers and tropical rainforests that beg to be explored, as well as vibrant attractions celebrating local culture. Coastal Mexico’s art and textile markets are renowned for their handmade wares, while the seaside regions of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras showcase lively Garifuna musical performances and eclectic cuisine.
Harken back to the glamorous era of sea travel, by stepping aboard an ocean liner. More than a means to a destination, your ship becomes both a resort playground and a cultural experience, as you make your way along the cerulean seas. Between ports of call, breathe in ocean breezes at one of several pools; take in a family-friendly show or an after-hours jazz session; recharge with a workout or spa treatment; perfect your vacation style at the ship’s boutiques; send your adrenalin sky high with a zip-line ride; and dine well at restaurants offering a variety of casual and elegant fare.
The Caribbean destinations you visit along the way are yours to discover, whether on your own or taking a shore excursion. Hike the rainforest in Puerto Rico, dive in Roatan or while away the day on soft sands in Aruba. At the end of each adventure, your ship awaits you, ready to continue the adventure.
The tropics strike a dramatic pose in the Lesser Antilles, which comprise the Southern Caribbean region. Jagged peaks jut from sea to sky, and lava flows carved by millennia of volcanic activity create geologically distinct shorelines. You’ll find your share of powdery beaches, too, particularly in Aruba, with its pristine waters.
In St. Lucia, land meets water at the twin Pitons, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that encompasses a tropical rainforest and marine area that are well worth your time to explore. Strap on a harness for a canopy tour of the rainforest, hike to waterfalls and hot springs, or suit up for a dive among coral reefs. And in Curaçao, where gentle hills slope toward the turquoise sea, find a spot of sand in one of the island’s quiet coves, and stay a while.