Three hot picks for your first Caribbean holiday

The Caribbean has long been a bucket list favourite with British tourists. From the rich and vibrant culture to the crystal-clear waters and miles upon miles of dreamy beaches, it’s no wonder it has appeal. 

If you’re looking at visiting for the first time, 7,000 islands covering a huge one million square miles can be a little bit too much to choose from. Here are three favourites that’ll have you packing your case in no time!

You’re likely to feel right at home in Barbados, and with many Brits flocking to the island year on year, you’re sure to notice the large British expat community.

St James is a perfect area for first timers as it boasts a balance of excellent beaches, fabulous restaurants, and Bajan nightlife. Be sure to take a ride into Speightstown on the Reggae bus, if your ears can handle it!

And of course, no trip to Barbados is complete without a rum punch. Be careful though: some of them will definitely knock your socks off! Free-flowing rum seems to be common practice in many of the bars and restaurants. 

Two currencies are widely accepted in Barbados: Bajan dollars and US dollars. As is usually the case with currency, it’s better to pay with the local currency, as you’ll find you get a more favourable exchange rate. Should you choose to pay in US dollars, you’ll mostly get your change in Bajan. Most places such as restaurants, transport, and hotels advertise their prices in Bajan dollars, but prices for tours are often quoted in US dollars, so it’s always handy to have a little US money on you. 

From June to October, you’ll see temperatures sit at a high of around 31C (88F) and a low of 25C (77F).

St Lucia
St Lucia is a particularly lush, green island located in the eastern Caribbean. You’ll find one of the most iconic views on the southwest coast: the pitons, two huge volcanic plugs. Despite its volcanic origins, you’ll find perfect white sand beaches, plentiful rainforest, and—if you’re super active—you can hike up the magnificent pitons and grab a view from the highest point of the island.  

If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, and an even sweeter spot for the luxury chocolatier Hotel Chocolat, you’ll be excited to hear St Lucia is where they grow their cocoa. They also have a hotel there, which you might have seen on television recently. There are a wealth of tours available to plantations on the island, where you can taste and plant cocoa and even attempt to make your own chocolate bar.

Once you’ve filled up on chocolate, you can hop in a rental car and head to La Soufriere, the world’s only “drive-in volcano”. Be prepared to breathe through your ears though—it smells pretty bad! If you’ve been to geothermal areas before, perhaps Yellowstone, Rotorua, or El Tatio, then you’re probably used to it. Relax and rejuvenate in one of the mud pools before heading back down to your hotel for the evening. 

The Currency in St Lucia is the Eastern Caribbean dollar, with US dollars widely accepted across the island too. 

The climate is similar to that of Barbados. If you’d like to visit during the cooler periods, plan your holiday towards the end of the year. 

Last but not least, located just north of Venezuela lies the island of Aruba

Aruba is a bit of a melting pot when it comes to culture, which means you’ll certainly be able to grab some great food. Dutch pancakes and pastechi (pasties) are a popular choice amongst tourists and are available widely across the island. 

The beaches, though all beautiful white and sandy, vary in terms of liveliness. It’s worth visiting Palm Beach just to see it, but if you’re after something a lot more relaxing then head over to Druif beach on the north of the island. It’s small, but you’ll likely have a lot of it to yourself for the day. 

The currency in Aruba is the Aruban Florin, and you’ll get just over two of them to your British pound. 

The climate in Aruba is the hottest of the three locations we’ve looked at here. Highs in June to October can soar to 33C (91F) and only dip on average to a low of 26C (79F). Fortunately, a great thing about Aruba is the constant refreshing breeze, which makes things much more comfortable. Just don’t forget the sun cream!

The Foreign Office advises you to get travel insurance for the Caribbean
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice website advises that the hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from June to November.

They also recommend that you should “take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel” to any of these three places in the Caribbean, and we agree. Our Go2 Travel Insurance product is the most suitable, and offers worldwide cover, so get a quote today.