I’ve been fortunate to travel widely across the Caribbean over the last 30 years. I’m also a descendant of Caribbean people, so many folks assume I’ve visited every island. Not likely – the Caribbean consists of 28 islands encompassing just over one million square miles. So while I’ve visited most, there are still a handful I’ve yet to encounter. But that’s a good thing. Many know the Caribbean of picture postcard views – all lush green hillsides, soft beaches, sunny skies, sun loungers and poolside cocktails. But that’s really just the white-sandy surface of this region, where each island has something distinct to offer. On Dominica, hiking is unmatched, notably its Boiling Lake, a flooded fumarole located in Morne Trois Pitons National Park, where you can traverse across the rim of an active volcano. The best island hopping is in the British Virgin Islands, while Barbados is the action island, where the historic Garrison horse racing takes place year-round.

If you’re looking to soak up some winter sun by a pool lounger and nothing more, then any island in the Caribbean will do. But if you’re willing to dig a little deeper and venture beyond the resort gates, these are the best islands in the Caribbean.

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