The featured image is sourced from Flickr.
Sultry sunsets and sky-high temperatures are not the only thing the Caribbean is known for. The world’s most popular cruise destination (last year, around 47 percent of cruisers voyaged on a Caribbean cruise, according to the FCAA) also plays host to some of the globe’s most exclusive and high-class nightlife venues. In this article, we’ll name five top places that might need to make it on to your party list on your Caribbean cruise vacations.
1) St Thomas
Rocking one of the Virgin Island’s smaller isles, St Thomas is packed to the exotic gills with beach bars, restaurants and reggae. If plunging your toes into warm pearlescent sand while sipping gently from a piña colada (to the gentle strums of a guitar) sounds your scene, St Thomas is the island for you.
It’s hard to guess which is the most famous Caribbean island, but Jamaica is definitely up there. Music is the mainstay of the island, with a down-to-earth concert venue within a stone’s throw of anywhere there’s sand (so most places, really). Reggae and soca make up the main audible buzz of Jamaica, and it’s super-family-friendly. The island also manages to juxtapose low-volume beach bars and clubs with more traditional, low-key music venues.
Aruba is the Caribbean’s Las Vegas. Cramming 10 casinos onto the island – each pushing a splendidly unique vibe – complete with cabarets, large hotels and free drinks, Aruba takes second place in the glitz rankings only to the Dominican Republic. It’s smaller, too – so a lot of that high-energy gambling ethos is compressed for super-intensity.
If Jamaica can walk away from this article being the most well-recognised of the Caribbean islands, Barbados will be the one with the longest face. Barbados embodies the Caribbean, packing beaches, nightclubs, bars, boat trips and an entire tourism infrastructure in to a landmass around a third the size of London. Especially notable are the Harbour Lights, After Dark and Reggae Lounge venues, each of which has a unique take on the clubbing scene. Pop, jazz, reggae and swing mingle together with the warm evening air as you drift along the packed south-west coast pathways. If clubbing idyll is your aim, you need look no further. Barbados also offers boat trips around various bays, lagoons and satellite islands, some of which take the form of nighttime club-cruises, complete with flowing rum, tequila and Curaçao for as long as the guests can keep awake. It promises a night you won’t forget in a hurry.
5) Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico and its signature spirit – Bacardi – offer a very different take on the Caribbean night scene. The locals are by and large exceptionally welcoming, especially on the clubbing scene – you’ll never be short of dancing companions. Of course, there are casinos, palm tree-lined beaches and endless white sands, as well as odd throwbacks from 1980s American popular culture that are working their way around the Puerto Rican mainstream at current. Of all the islands, Puerto Rico is the one most likely to convince you to stay forever; the combination of basic living and zest for life is deliciously intoxicating.
Five Caribbean islands make just a short list. Hopefully these overviews of Caribbean island living can give you a feel for which island you might like to visit most (of course, if you’re cruising, you can take them all in). Please hit the comment section below if you have any location tips for other would-be Caribbean travelers.