Top 25 Things to Do in the Caribbean: 2015 Viator Travel Awards

December 16, 2014 by

Caribbean, Press & Publicity, Shore Excursions, Viator Travel Awards

Welcome to this year's Top 25 Things to Do in the Caribbean!

Welcome to this year’s Top 25 Things to Do in the Caribbean!

Editor’s Note: This post is part of theViator Travel Awards, an annual awards competition where we – along with our readers, travelers, and fans – select the top things to do and see in each of the major regions we serve, the top things to do in our most popular tour categories, and more.

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Welcome to the 2015 Viator Travel Awards: Caribbean Edition! We’re featuring some of the top things to do in 25 of the most exciting places to visit in the Caribbean. The Caribbean spans over hundreds of islands, ranging from tiny to expansive and offering a diverse range of activities. From adrenaline junkies looking for their next daring adventure to shoppers hoping to find that perfect travel souvenir, plus lots of hiking and nature found in between, the Caribbean does not disappoint, regardless of one’s activity level.

The tours and activities highlighted are chosen based on traveler reviews, data from the millions of people who check out Viator.com during the year, and information on which tours in the region travelers book most often. We think you’ll enjoy reading about the array of activities available in each of these places – it’s the little mental vacation we could all use right now – and we also think this list is a great place to start if you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean in 2015.

You’ll find all kinds of activities listed below, including ziplining through jungle canopies, coming face-to-face with the Caribbean’s sea life, horseback riding on white sand beaches, and learning about the unique culture, history, and cuisine of the Caribbean. Join us for this tour of the Top 25 Things to Do in the Caribbean!

1. Visit the Rainforest of El Yunque from San Juan

Luquillo Beach

Luquillo Beach

The El Yunque Rainforest is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S., home to indigenous plants and animals like the Puerto Rican parrot and tiny coquis tree frog. Added bonus: The Loquillo Beach borders this wet wonderland. Check both of them out on an El Yunque Rainforest and Luquillo Beach tour from San Juan. Or take a guided tour through the El Yunque Rainforest and see the rich flora and fauna and the giant orchids that make this rainforest unique on the El Yunque Rainforest Hiking tour from San Juan or this El Yunque Rainforest Half-Day Trip from San Juan.

2. Soak up the sun on a day cruise

Surrounded by gorgeous, vibrantly-colored water, it’s an absolute must to bask in the sunshine on the deck of a Caribbean boat. Enjoy a great lunch and a complimentary pina colada on this San Juan Snorkel and Picnic Cruise and soak up the sun and the sights of the Caribbean. Try a Catamaran Cruise to Saona Island from Punta Cana and you’ll have the choice of simply relaxing on the beach or exploring the beautiful tropical environment. Sail over to Dunn’s River Falls on this Jamaica Catamaran Cruise from Ocho Rios or Montego Bay, where you’ll be guided up their terraced rocks or swim down in the stunning lagoon.

3. Snorkel under the sea

Try Snorkeling in the Caribbean

Much of the unspoiled beauty of the Caribbean lives below the surface of the water. Underneath lightly rippling waves is a world of colorful coral and active marine life. A snorkel trip is a fun way to ensure you see the wonders of underwater life in the Caribbean. Consider a Discover Scuba in St. Maarten your chance to see what St Maarten’s waters have to offer. If you’re in Providenciales, there’s the 2-Tank Scuba Diving Tour, where you can explore two dive sites and their magnificent sealife. Or live in the lap of luxury on a Bay of Sosua Catamaran Cruise and Snorkeling and sail on a 54-foot catamaran. Try the Grand Cayman Catamaran Cruise with Snorkeling at Stingray Sandbar and Reef, where you’ll get to snorkel with stingrays. Or, take a Punta Cana Combo Tour: Speedboat Ride, Snuba and Snorkeling and get a little extra adrenaline with your snorkel.

4. Go off-roading and ATV riding

Take an off-road adventure

Take an off-road adventure

Off-roading and ATV riding is a blast, and there are few better places to do it than in the Caribbean. Riding through the countryside gives you a unique look at your host country, and it makes for a fun and exciting day out. If you’re in Jamaica, look for the Jamaica ATV Off-Road Adventure to Sandy Bay which will give you adventure and a nice tour of popular Sandy Bay. Or, if you’re coming from Ocho Rios, you can explore panoramic views of the Caribbean while on an Ocho Rios ATV Safari. Or get in the driver’s seat and explore any of these gorgeous locations on a San Juan ATV Adventure Tour, an Aruba ATV Tour or an ATV Tour in St. Lucia.

5. Take a sunset cruise

Romantic Sunset in Aruba

Romantic Sunset in Aruba

Cruising the Caribbean at sunset is one of the best things that you can do while on vacation. Everything about it is what you come to the Caribbean for – beauty, romance, balmy weather, peace, open skies and seas. An Aruba Sunset Catamaran Cruise or a St. Lucia Champagne Sunset Cruise is this idyllic scene realized, though the Negril Catamaran Cruise with Sunset at Rick’s Cafe is truly a view and experience not to be missed.

6. Zipline through the jungle

Ziplining!

Ziplining!

Ziplining is a great way to explore the outdoors of the Caribbean islands. Get the adrenaline pumping on a Punta Cana Zipline Canopy Adventure and you’ll see what life is like atop the forest canopy. Or, if you’re in St. Lucia, try the Aerial Tram and Zipline Canopy Tour for a day filled with adventure. If you want to relax a bit, you have the option to skip a few ziplines on this St. Kitts Zipline Canopy Tour, or experience the beauty of Ochos Rios on this Jamaica Sky Explorer and Optional Zipline Tour from Montego Bay.

7. Eat, drink and go sailing

Sailing in the Caribbean can often be a strenuous activity, because more often than not, you’re not just sailing. If you’re looking for something more relaxing try one of these sailing tours, some of which don’t require any strenuous activity, or entice you with the promise of food. You’ll definitely relax true Caribbean-style on this Happy Hour Sailing and Snorkeling Cruise in Punta Cana, which features a floating open bar. If you want to go exploring while enjoying the perks of an open bar, try this Happy Hour Sail and Snorkel in Aruba with Optional Snuba or this Lunch and Snorkel Sail in Barbados, where you’ll enjoy unlimited drinks while being able to explore shipwrecks and swim with sea turtles. On the more peaceful end, try this St. Maarten Gourmet Dinner Sailing Cruise, where you’ll soak up the sights while enjoying a three-course meal.

8. Go exploring via kayak

Give those arms a workout and get up close and personal with the stunning environs of the Caribbean by taking a kayaking tour. This St. Thomas Mangrove Lagoon Kayak and Snorkel Tour lets you experience the gorgeous waters and incredible wildlife of St. Thomas. For a unique experience try this Night Kayak Tour in St. Thomas, where your state-of-the-art, see-through kayak will give you an up close and personal view of the marine life below. For waters that are a bit less peaceful, try this Rio Bueno Kayaking Adventure in Jamaica.

9. Get up close and personal with the animals

Play with Dolphins

Play with Dolphins

The Caribbean has some incredible marine life and there are some amazing opportunities to interact with the animals. If you’re feeling bold try the Marinarium Shark and Ray Experience, where you’ll get to swim along giant sting rays and nurse sharks. For something a bit less intense and perfect for the whole family, the Horseback Riding Day Trip from Punta Cana is a better choice. And what could be nicer than dolphins? These gentle creatures of the sea are amazingly strong, graceful and gentle. In Jamaica, get up close to them with the Ocho Rios dolphin swim or the Ultimate Swim Dolphin Program (also in Ocho Rios) which offers a more hands-on experience. On the other side of Jamaica in Negril, you’ll find the Dolphin Cove experience where you’ll both shake hands with the dolphins and be taken for a swim with them – truly an amazing experience!

10. See the incredible natural surroundings on an eco tour

Get out into Mother Nature and experience the true beauty of the Caribbean through its wonderful wildlife. Get a quick view of it as you fly past it on this Zipline Canopy Eco-Adventure from San Juan. You can drive through a special ecological park on this Punta Cana 4×4 Buggy Eco-Adventure at Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park or walk through it on an Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park from Punta Cana. Explore the native habitat of Bermuda on this Kayak Eco-Tour or boat through a protected sanctuary and see everything from reptiles to petroglyphs on an Eco-Adventure in Los Haitises National Park and Cayo Levantado from Samaná.

11. Go tubing

Get the adrenaline pumping as you float through the jungle waters of the Caribbean heartlands. Jamaica has several great rivers that make for exciting water adventure. The Jungle River Tubing Safari from Montego Bay goes from relaxing to adrenaline-pumping. Ocho Rios has the White River Valley Tubing Safari which is 5-star rated and offer spectacular views the whole way down. The River Tubing Safari in Dominica offers an amazing time and there’s also the Rio Bueno Kayaking Adventure in Jamaica if you’re looking for something more active than tubing.

12. Stay dry underwater

While there are many opportunities to get underwater in the Caribbean, there are none quite so cool as being in a submarine. The Aruba Atlantis Submarine Expedition or the Atlantis Submarine Expedition Tour in Barbados lets you go underwater in comfort on an air-conditioned submarine, whereas the Atlantis Submarine Expedition – Grand Cayman offers the more dramatic option of going at night. If you’d rather not have to descend underwater, but still want all the perks, the Seaworld Explorer Semi-Submarine has glass windows on the bottom of the boat so you don’t miss out on any of the incredible sights.

13. Taste the flavors of the Caribbean

Jerk Chicken

Jerk Chicken

Many different cultures have called the Caribbean home through our world’s long history, and the rich remnants of these histories can be found most prevalently in the culinary traditions unique to each island. If you’re in Puerto Rico, try tasting the many flavors of San Juan’s colorful markets with an Old San Juan Food Tour. If in the Bahamas, try the Nassau Food Tasting and Walking tour – it highlights the best assets of Caribbean cuisine and gives you some great history of the islands as well. For something a bit more boozy try the Nassau Rum and Food Walking Tour, which has all the great food of a culinary tour, plus a little extra.

14. View the sights from high in the sky

Get a different perspective of the Caribbean, literally, and try viewing it from above to get the best view of its lush nature and stunning landscapes. The Dominican Republic Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride with Champagne Breakfast is a peaceful way to get up in the air, and it starts the day off right. For something a bit more exciting, a helicopter ride might be your thing. Try a Helicopter Tour from Punta Cana or an Antigua Helicopter Tour to get a quick, but awe-inspiring layout of the land.

15. Explore the islands via speedboat

The Bahamas are many Americans’ go-to Caribbean escape. Just a dip south from the tail end of Florida, the 700 islands of the Bahamas offer unspoiled beaches, great diving and plenty of active nightlife. What’s more is that they also offer that idyllic Caribbean escape — easily accessible by exploring their outer islands via Exuma Powerboat Adventure. Here, you can feed sharks and stingrays, explore peaceful islands and cays, and feel the adrenaline rush while the wind whips through your hair as you dart around the Bahaman island chain. For a more quiet day out, relax on deck with a beer and on the beach with some lunch on this St. Maarten Speed Boat and Snorkeling Tour. Experience the thrill of driving the speedboat yourself on this Bavaro Splash Speedboat Ride tour or take some time to explore St. George on this Bermuda Powerboat Round-the-Island Tour Including St. George’s.

16. Rum your way through the Caribbean

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Great rum — and lots of history too!

When visiting a destination, you want to fully experience the culture, and a huge part of Caribbean culture is rum, so it would be doing a disservice to yourself not experience the rum culture while there (or at least that’s what you can tell yourself). This Rum Distillery and Old San Juan Half-Day Tour also lets you see the lovely and historical Old San Juan. If you’re also looking for a bit of adventure, the Black River, YS Falls and Appleton Rum Estate Day Trip from Negril is the perfect fit, as you’ll get to take a boat ride and then go swimming before tasting some rum. If you’d rather take a break from the exhaustion of travel, try this San Juan Premium Rum Tasting Tour, where you will sample some incredible rums at a luxury cocktail bar. Get out on the water and try Bermuda’s national drink on this Rum Cruise, where you’ll learn about the history of the island, relaxing all the while.

17. Get pedalling

A bike tour is a great way to get see the plentiful sights of the Caribbean, and maybe even get to some out of the way places that aren’t reachable by car. For something less strenuous, try Blue Mountain Downhill Bike Tour with Transport from Ocho Rios, which also includes a coffee-roasting demonstration. For the more adventurous, the St. Lucia Bike and Hike Half-Day Tour from the North Island also includes hiking and swimming in gorgeous locations. For a unique experience, ride along the old Bermuda railway and learn about the history of the island on this Railway Trail Bike and Beach Tour in Bermuda. Or explore on your own with this St. Thomas Bike Rental.

18. Sightsee by Segway

With all the walking of travel, plus the myriad of adventure activities that await you in the Caribbean, sometimes it can be nice to get off your feet. Segways offer the perfect opportunity to zip through some fabulous locations, without having to deal with walking. The St. Lucia Segway Nature Trail Experience and the Punta Cana Segway Tour allow you to get out there and explore scenic landscapes, unlike the Fort James Segway Tour in St. John’s where you’ll be on a paved path exploring this lovely historical fort or the Freeport Segway Tour, where you get to explore the city center and stop at the beach for a relaxing swim.

19. Learn about the history and culture

While visiting the Caribbean, it’s easy to forget that it’s not all about the beach. With cities that were used as forts during World War II (San Juan) to cities that are hippie havens (Ocho Rios), you’ll find alleyways, cobblestoned streets, and rows of restaurants and bars to explore if you’re an intrepid traveler. A Nassau Historical City Tour will give you special insight into the key landmarks of Nassau and of the Bahamas in general if you’re in the area. See the Pink Palace, the Queen’s Staircase, and many more attractions on this tour. Experience Dominican culture on this Dominican Culture and Countryside Tour by 4×4 and not only will you get to ride a horse, but eat traditional local fare at a Dominican family’s home. You definitely won’t miss out on anything on this jam-packed Caguas Cultural Day Trip from San Juan Including Botanical Garden and Lunch, which inlcudes a walking tour of a sugar mill and an exhibit of the Taino People. Taste exquisite food and hear expert historical detail on a Grand Cayman Food Tasting and Cultural Walking Tour.

20. Out of the way nature safaris

Hold on and get ready for a bouncy, rocking drive when you go on a safari ride. You’ll head out in a topless vehicle and leave the paved roads of the Caribbean behind. As you off-road through an island, you’ll get the opportunity to see less-travelled parts of the Caribbean that are ripe with lush trees, wildlife and gorgeous vistas. If you’re in Puerto Plata, consider the Dominican Outback Safari or depart on the Dominican Republic Mega Truck Safari to see how the locals live and get the chance to visit sugar cane fields. Explore the beauty of Jamaica on this Jeep Safari Adventure Tour from Montego Bay and get close up to some of its wildlife on a Jamaica Swamp Safari Village and Falmouth Tour from Montego Bay.

21. Go cave exploring

Explore a cave!

Explore a cave!

Explore a cave! Discover the mysteries of the underwater world for yourself in the Dominican Republic with an Adventure Day Trip to Fun Fun Cave. You’ll explore magnificent underground tunnels and enjoy a full day of horseback riding as well. Barbados offers visitors the ever-famous stalagmite and stalactite-filled Harrison’s Cave. And if you’ve found yourself with a hankering to do a little caving in Puerto Rico, check out the Rio Camuy Cave Park and Arecibo Observatory from San Juan. You’ll explore a cave that’s millions of years old, see the location of the James Bond film Goldeneye, and visit a world-renown observatory. Try the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, Harrison’s Cave and Scenic Drive Tour and visit the waterfalls of Harrison’s Cave while also getting acquainted with some amazing wildlife. Or see stalagmites, stalactites and an incredible underground lake on this Ocho Rios Super Saver: Green Grotto Caves plus Dunn’s River Falls, plus save some money!

22. Get glowing and see some bioluminescence

Truly experience some of nature’s beauty by seeing some of the Caribbean’s bioluminescant brilliance. Get up close on a Bioluminescent Kayak Adventure from San Juan or sit back and have a stunning evening on a Bioluminescent Bay Catamaran Cruise with Dinner. If you’re in Jamaica try the Luminous Lagoon Night Cruise and enjoy the wonder of the lagoon that’s naturally glowing.

 23. Visit the British Virgin Islands

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The stunning British Virgin Islands will not disappoint.

The British Virgin Islands are known for their idyllic beaches and simply incredible environs. They are definitely something to check out when in the Caribbean. Start with breakfast and see tidal pools and hidden grottoes on this Day Cruise to British Virgin Islands from St. Thomas or St. John. Witness the islands’ pristine beauty from above on a British Virgin Islands Helicopter Tour or take the family (or just indulge your own inner child) on a Pirate Day Cruise in the British Virgin Islands. If you want to get out there and get active try a Stand-Up Paddle Board tour or Surf Lessons on the “best beaches” as voted by Carribean Travel.

24. Groove to the sounds of reggae in Jamaica

Jamaica is known for being the birthplace of the famous reggae singer, Bob Marley. Many people come from all over the world to explore the rich jungle interior and beautiful beaches of Jamaica, and, while doing so, oftentimes seek out the origins of reggae and the life of Marley. Consider the Jamaica Combo Tour: Dunn River Falls and Bob Marley’s Nine Mile in order to get the most out of your Jamaican experience. Or, if you’re docking in Falmouth, consider the Falmouth Shore Excursion: Bob Marley Experience and give yourself a peek into the rich heart of Jamaica while learning about Marley himself. If you find yourself in Montego Bay, you can still find the heart and soul of reggae in the Jamaica’s Spirit of Reggae – the Bob Marley Experience from Montego Bay tour where you’ll visit Nine Mile where Marley lived, loved, and played his signature music. Ocho Rios has two options: the Bob Marley Reggae Explosion tour where you’ll visit Mt. Zion, see Marley’s final resting place, and discover the heart of reggae; and the Kingston Day Trip from Ocho Rios with Bob Marley Museum where you’ll visit the nation’s capital and the Bob Marley museum.

25. Check out the local bar scene

The Caribbean might be filled with natural wonders, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a great nightlife as well. Checking out the local bars is a great way to get to know a place and its people. Try this Aruba Pub Crawl with Optional Champagne Toast and Dinner where a festive coach will drive you too three stops, each of which include a complimentary shot. If three isn’t enough for you, the Providenciales Pub Crawl has around seven stops and you’ll get to sample an assortment of specialty drinks from this incredible island.

- Viator Travel Team

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4 Responses to “Top 25 Things to Do in the Caribbean: 2015 Viator Travel Awards”

  1. mike@globaltravelguide Says:

    whoah!I just got so overwhelmed with all the beautiful things mentioned here! Caribbean is definitely an awesome place to go..I have been there once, and seeing this post just entices me to go there again.

  2. Terri Says:

    Great list although I was sad to see that you missed out including anything from Dominica – we are a small island but have many of the special things on your list and it’s the perfect island to immerse in nature! Hope you include it in your next feature!

  3. Fraukje Says:

    And while you’re in St Maarten, come to the neighboring island of St Eustatius a day! That’s something off the beaten track. Check my blog :)

  4. Ana @ CuracaoRentalHomes Says:

    Another interesting thing to do is to choose 5 things from this list, which take place on 5 different islands and do all of them during your holiday. I’m sure it’s better than spending 7 days in a hotel room.

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