11 Caribbean Gems That Rival Hawaii for New Travelers

For millions of people, traveling to Hawaii is on their bucket list. From the perfect weather to the beaches to the friendly locals, men and women will save for years to eventually travel to the Pacific islands. Fortunately — especially for Americans on the East Coast — many places in the Caribbean offer similar experiences to Hawaii! Recently, travelers met in an online discussion to reveal unbeatable Caribbean gems that compare favorably to Hawaii.

1. Negril, Jamaica

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Although it’s a few hours from Jamaica’s main airport, a day trip to Negril has everything a traveler could ask for! From excursions like ATV riding through the jungle or horseback riding through the ocean to experiences like taking a boat to Floyd’s Pelican Bar, a bar literally floating in the middle of the sea, Negril has it all. Of course, I’m downplaying the best part of Negril — the breathtaking beaches and views.

2. Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

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According to many travel experts, “This idyllic stretch of sand and sea seems almost too beautiful to be real.” The experts aren’t wrong! Grace Bay is home to endless white sand beaches and crystal clear water. Many visitors proclaim it the most beautiful beach in the world. Hawaii is the high water mark for oceanside vistas, but Grace Bay comes close to capturing the magic Hawaii is known for.

3. Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic is one of the most accessible Caribbean resort areas if you’re coming from the eastern United States. And although Punta Cana gets all the attention from tourists, savvy travelers know that Cap Cana is the true hidden gem of the Dominican Republic! Cap Cana is home to a handful of ultra-luxury resorts and prides itself on high-end hospitality and friendly faces. When I stayed here earlier in 2023, I was blown away by the experience.

4. Palm Beach, Aruba

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Whenever I hear Aruba, I always think of the classic Beach Boys song, “Kokomo.” Am I the only one who does this? At any rate, don’t overlook Palm Beach for Hawaii-like vibes! “My favorite island is Aruba,” confesses one lover of the Caribbean. “It’s very safe, has amazing beaches, year-round good weather (outside of the hurricane belt), and you can rent a kayak and enjoy the calm ocean water. No hikes there as it’s a pretty flat island, but you can go on fun tours on three-wheeled motorcycles, which is great fun.”

5. Tamarindo, Costa Rica

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Tamarindo, one of the most well-kept secrets in Costa Rica, is excellent for two reasons: It’s a world-class surfing destination, and there are tons of monkeys constantly running around! I didn’t know how much I needed to be in the vicinity of so many monkeys until recently when I read about how four different species can be found in and around Tamarindo. I can’t be the only person who feels this way, can I?

6. Nassau, Bahamas

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Home to the legendary Atlantis resort, Nassau is the epitome of luxury and relaxation. If you can’t make it to places in Hawaii like Maui or Kauai, Nassau is your next best option. The Bahamas is millions of Americans’ favorite vacation spot for many reasons, but primarily because of the hospitality the Bahamas locals show. Known to be an exceedingly welcoming people, the residents of the Bahamas take their role as caretakers of their dazzling island country very seriously.

7. Rincon, Puerto Rico

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Surfers, rejoice: Rincon is calling your names! “Rincon is the Caribbean surf capital; it’s a great surfing town even though the city itself is small,” one man reports. “The community Rincon has built for surfers worldwide is legendary, and it exceeded my lofty expectations when I visited.” The best part of visiting Rincon is that since it’s located in Puerto Rico, you can leave your passport at home for once!

8. Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

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Many people believe the Cayman Islands are home to offshore banks where millionaires keep their money away from the watchful eye of the U.S. government. That’s true — but there are other reasons to visit the Caymans besides corporate tax evasion! Seven Mile Beach lives up to its name. Imagine seven glorious miles of white sand beaches, perfect weather, and the most delicious cocktails you’ve ever tasted. That’s Seven Mile Beach in a nutshell.

9. Anse Chastanet Beach, Saint Lucia

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Although Anse Chastanet Beach is hard to pronounce, it’s easy to envision the great times you’ll have there once you visit. The beach and its surrounding area really have it all, from jungles to mountains to some of the best hikes in all of the Caribbean! It reminds many visitors of Hawaiian islands like Kauai in that nature and luxury combine to deliver an unforgettable experience.

10. Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

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There’s a reason many newlywed couples take their honeymoon in Saint Thomas — it’s arguably the most romantic place on Earth (Hawaii, eat your heart out). “The water is warm and clear, especially on the latter island, which is accessible by ferry,” says one solemn recent visitor. “Beaches are walkable with ample vendors and restroom access. Stunning views of the hills from the water. Decent hiking options are abundant with colonial ruins to explore.” Okay, whoever wrote this glowing review needs to amp up their enthusiasm!

11. Basseterre, Saint Kitts & Nevis

 
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The islands of Saint Kitts & Nevis are underrated. Although only a few airlines fly directly to the area, travelers confess it’s worth the hassle. “Look into Saint Kitts,” advises one woman. “You can have a great hike on Mt. Liamuiga. It’s a volcano hike; it’s very challenging but totally doable. The island also splits the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans, so half the beaches are calm, and half are wavy. There’s great weather most of the year, but they do end up in the path of hurricanes if one comes through.” I love the yin-yang feeling of the competing oceans; it gives such unique vibes.

10 Major US Cities That Offer Quick Access to Nature’s Beauty

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Who doesn’t like going on a relaxing (or strenuous, depending on your preference) hike that isn’t far from the middle of a bustling city? Millions of Americans hike at least once yearly, and most live close to bigger towns offering nearby trails just out of city limits. Recently, experienced hikers met in an online discussion to reveal the best U.S. cities that provide the quickest access to excellent hikes.

America’s Top 15 Hauntingly Creepy Destinations Would You Visit?

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Spooky spots have left the sweat-drenching scenes of nightmares; they now live on some eerie streets of America, sending shivers down the spine of adventurers who dare step foot on their soil. From abandoned asylums screaming that you steer clear of the knobs of their doors to haunting lighthouses remembered for the darkness they hold, tales of paranormal activities bind the land of the free, and an internet fandom of the dark vets these destinations as the creepiest of them all.

12 Famous American Small Towns That You Can Visit Today

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When we think of small American towns, specific images come to mind. Do you picture a place like the fictional towns of Stars Hollow, Cabot Cove, or Mayberry? It’s undeniable that little towns across the US have the wholesome, nostalgic, peaceful qualities we imagine. But smaller cities are more varied than we might think. Contributors on an online forum shared some of the most famous, and the choices may surprise you.

10 Expert Travel Hacks for Solo Female Tourists

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Traveling solo is challenging, especially for females. While the thrill of exploring a new place is exhilarating, there are plenty of tips and tricks savvy travelers swear by. Recently, solo female travelers met in an online discussion, put their heads together, and came up with a list of the essential travel hacks for any woman embarking on a solo adventure of a lifetime.

11 Tips for Staying Calm and Collected While Flying

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For millions of travelers worldwide, flying is the opposite of a calm and peaceful experience. Flight anxiety is real, and sometimes it can be crippling, especially during turbulence. However, hope is not lost! Recently, frequent fliers met in an online discussion to reveal the best tips and strategies for staying calm during your next flight.

     This article was initially published and syndicated by The Cents of Money

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