Twenty Two of the Best Islands to Visit in 2022
By Alexander Britell and the Caribbean Journal Staff
Hiking a volcano. Walking the cane fields of an organic rum distillery. Eating lionfish burgers at an oceanfront food truck; savoring a twilight mento concert; kayaking across a secret mangrove forest; riding a flats boat to an undiscovered sandbar. They’re the reasons we come to the Caribbean, those once-in-a-lifetime experiences in which the Caribbean abounds, those chances to explore the communities and the natural beauty of the world’s most extraordinary place. (And yes, the beaches, too).
Our editors’ annual edition of the Best Caribbean Islands to Visit takes you on a layered journey across the far corners of the region, from the electric-turquoise waters of The Bahamas to hidden-away islands in the Eastern Caribbean and everywhere in between. Think of it as an inspiration, as a guide, for an exciting year of traveling to the Caribbean — hopefully multiple times (for our regular readers that goes without saying). Here are our favorites (in no particular order) for 2022 with highlights of those favorites of the Old Town Crier.
St John, US Virgin Islands St John is hotter than ever, and it’s not a surprise; the island, nearly two-thirds of which is covered by National Parkland, is a natural wonder; while there are some lovely little boutique hotels like Estate Lindholm and the Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel, here the villas are the story, with stunning vistas and dramatic settings; and when you combine that with a deliciously quirky, creative and warm community, you get an instantly intoxicating little island.
Bimini, The Bahamas It’s the closest of any island in the region to the US, just about 50 miles from Florida. And Bimini, the adventure island that was once a treasured haunt of Hemingway (and even a favorite retreat of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr), is getting new life of late, thanks in large part to its sizzling new Beach Club at Bimini, designed in partnership with Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages and Resorts World. But the essence of Bimini is still a journey on a flats boat through its mystical mangroves, one of the great treasures of the Caribbean.
St Maarten Perhaps the most cosmopolitan destination in the Caribbean, St Maarten is a world of its own, with people from just about every corner of the earth living together; that makes for a culturally rich, adventurous place that always places on a premium on having fun. And the island’s hotel product is better than ever: for a rarefied, secluded retreat, there’s the Coral Beach Club; for a classic beach-and-cocktail getaway, there’s the Oyster Bay Beach Club; for the essence of the French side, travelers can head to La Samanna or the always-wonderful Grand Case Beach Club.
Martinique It’s an almost impossibly diverse destination, from the northern coastline in the shadow of Mont Pelee to the sparkling golden sands of Le Diamant to the south; from the cultural capital of Fort de France to the rarefied Atlantic villas of Le Vauclin. Martinique has just about everything, and with the return of American Airlines, it’s once again easy to get there from the United States. The town of Saint Pierre in Martinique, where a 1902 volcano destroyed what was once the “Little Paris of the Caribbean.” Today, it’s a lovely village at the foot of Mont Pelee.
St Kitts and Nevis Visitors to this Eastern Caribbean twin-island destination find a place steeped in history and culture, blessed with an indescribable charm. There’s just an endlessly relaxing feeling here, whether you’re liming in the beach bars of Frigate Bay or spending a lazy afternoon on Cockleshell Beach. In Nevis, it’s all about historic charm, centuries old hillside inns and Hamilton trails side-by-side with rum-punch-filled beach bars.
Nassau, The Bahamas Nassau has never been better. Period. A thriving food scene, a wonderfully revived historic downtown; and one of the most complete hotel products anywhere in the Caribbean, anchored by Atlantis and Baha Mar, the Caribbean’s leading megaresorts, both of which manage to coexist while offering their own layered, unique experiences. But that’s along with a stellar contingent of boutique hotels, from the legendary Graycliff to the hip new Island House, among others.
St Thomas, US Virgin Islands It’s been one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean since the onset of the pandemic, shining a light on the rich, varied offerings of this beautiful, green-hilled island, from outstanding local eateries to a bounty of uncrowded white-sand beaches. That’s along with a dramatic project that’s totally transformed much of historic downtown Charlotte Amalie, one that continues today, adding a new energy to what was always one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the region. And did we mention the bustling activity at Yacht Haven Grande Marina?
Publishers Note: We are happy to partner with Alexander Britell, Founder and Editor in Chief of the Miami, Florida based Caribbean Journal and his staff contributing to the OTC and our Caribbean Connection Section. Check out the popular online magazine/website at caribjournal.com for valuable information on all fabulous travel options and things of interest in the Caribbean.