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May 27, 2021

The Best Caribbean Islands For Solo Travel

When it comes to finding the best Caribbean islands for solo travel, a rich choice awaits. I've uncovered the safest islands in the Caribbean, as well as those with great food, culture and a joyful approach to life. Let's go.

Abigail King looking out to see in Bahamas Green Turtle Cay

The Bahamas: Green Turtle Cay

The Best Islands in the Caribbean for Solo Travel

(And Gorgeous Places to Stay)

Which is the best Caribbean Island for solo travel? With more than 7000 islands and 28 island nations, let me help you narrow it down. I've travelled solo across the Caribbean, as well as with family and for work. I know how it feels to go looking for the safest islands in the Caribbean and how that feels all the more important when you're travelling on your own.

Boy plays steel band as an authentic travel experience in the best islands in the caribbean

The best islands in the Caribbean have plenty of authentic local culture

Tourism is big business in this sun and sea part of the world. And that means that big corporations can gobble up the local flavour, if you're not careful. So this is a different list to most. It's going to focus on authentic, beautiful travel experiences when working out the best islands in the Caribbean for singles. And wherever possible, on sustainable and regenerative travel.

So, here's our inside guide to the best Caribbean Islands for solo travel if you love nature, food and culture. 

Quick Notes About Travel to the Caribbean Islands

When is hurricane season in the Caribbean? June to November, although the highest risk takes place between August and September.  

When is the best time to visit the Caribbean? December - April is largely considered the best time.

Erm. Can you avoid the hurricanes? Kind of. Aruba, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Bonaire, Curaçao, Providencia Island and San Andrés officially lie outside the hurricane belt.

When's the best time to go fishing? When it comes to Caribbean fishing, this site helps you understand the local regulations and laws. You can fish all year round but some places and times are better than others. 


Pelican on rock in Aruba in the Caribbean

Taking in the sunset on Pelican Beach, Aruba

Aruba

Aruba has both a Caribbean and Latin American feel, floating just 18 miles north of Venezuela. You'll also notice a Dutch influence; it is still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and has regular air connections with Amsterdam.

The beaches are the biggest attraction on the island, with plenty to do in and around the water. Yet Aruba's landscape can be strikingly rusty and burnt orange in comparison to the greenness of other islands in the Caribbean. Dry, central Arikok National Park contains shadowy rock paintings, while beneath the water you can scuba dive around the Antilles shipwreck.

Onshore,  expect plenty of shopping, including both international brands and local art. After dark, casinos, clubs and bars provide plenty of themed entertainment to enjoy. 

Aruba hold a Carnival once a year, ablaze with colourful floats, music and costumed dancers. 

  • Top tip: visit the California Lighthouse, built between 1914 and 1916. You'll see great views of the north coast and sand dunes. 

Aruba Fact Box

High and Low Season

 Aruba's low season is April - December, and the high tourist season is December - April

Flights

Aruba does not have a direct flight to or from London, but connects well via Amsterdam, which works well for regional airports like Cardiff. 

Language

The official languages on Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento, but most locals here are multi-lingual and can communicate in English and Spanish.

Caribbean - British Virgin Islands - Tortola - Things to do

The British Virgin Islands (B.V.I)


The British Virgin Islands are a collection of 50 small islands, many of which remain uninhabited, allowing lots of chances to island hop. The BVI are nicknamed the "sailing capital of the Caribbean" and you'll find many salty seadogs propping up the bars, drinking painkillers and telling tall tales.

On Tortola, the largest of the islands, you can enjoy shopping and fine dining, while ferries shuttle passengers on to the other islands. In fact, it's one of the best islands in the Caribbean for solo travel as long as you like the quiet life. You will find plenty of things to do in Tortola, but the pace of life is slow.

From Tortola, it's just a short ferry ride to one of the most famous attractions in the British Virgin Islands: The Virgin Gorda Baths, a bay scattered with giant granite boulders.

The British Virgin ISlands Fact Box

When to go

The best time to visit is between mid December and April but you can have a great time all year round.

How to get there

There are no direct flights to The British Virgin Islands from the US, Canada, Europe or South America. All flights must connect through another Caribbean airport. But that's what leads to the authenticity! 

Tortola has two main highways and some side roads along with a bridge connecting nearby Beef Island. Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke also have small road systems in place. But in most cases, you'll be hopping around by boat.

Language

The official language in The British Virgin Islands is English, though an English with a creole accent. The main currency is the US dollar.  Despite the name of the place, it's no longer British, though it does maintain its place in the Commonwealth.

Grenadines boat building
The Grenadines - Regatta painted sign

St Vincent & The Grenadines

St Vincent is the main island and the Grenadines, in case you were wondering are the 32 other islands that float into emerald hills and cosy harbours amid crystalline, turquoise shores. 

SVG, as its known for short, combines uber-luxe areas like the island of Mustique, and quiet, small fishing communities and barefoot low-key hotels.

This chain of islands offers rainforest eco-adventures, scuba diving, yachting and sailing , as well as authentic cultural experiences like the Sand Dollar Orchestra.

Saltwhistle Bay Beach is one of the most relaxing spots on the island of Mayreau, a compact mile and a half long cay located in the west of the Tobago Cays. It's isolated with a few boutiques and a small hillside village. It's a must see if you're island hopping and in search of solitude.

On the main island, La Soufriere Volcano attracts active types and foolish beginner hikers like myself. The tropical heat makes it seem harder than it should but the top does reward with panoramic views of the Leeward coast. The volcano also explains some of the SVG black sand beaches.

The SVG Fact Box

When to go

The best time to visit is between mid December and April but you can have a great time all year round.

How to get there

St Vincent and the Grenadines is a little harder to get to than the bigger nations like Jamaica and Barbados. Most visitors fly into Barbados and then fly from there to SVG. There's a reasonable chance that your luggage won't arrive with you, so make sure you have sunscreen and swim stuff packed in your hand luggage.

Language

The main language in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is English, with a gorgeous Creole accent.

Fresh Bajan food in Barbados

Fresh Bajan food in Barbados

Barbados

Barbados is a fascinating place.

It is an island rich in culture from West Africa but with traditions and customs from the British Isles, after 300 years of Empire. The Empire is long gone but traditions such as afternoon tea, cricket and horse racing remain.

This island is filled with shopping, calypso music and plenty of sports to keep you entertained while not at the white sand beaches.

There are chances to swim with turtles and even find secret secluded beaches.

Near the northern tip of the island, Animal Flower Cave provides dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean, plus every beach on the island is publicly accessible.

As with most Caribbean islands, sailing is very common. Get yourself a catamaran and explore the island coast yourself or hire a guided tour if you're not so sure of your sea legs. On land, several trails explore the local rain forests and wildlife.

Barbados Fact Box

When to go

You can visit year round and still have a good time, but the best time to visit is between mid December and April.

How to get there

Barbados is extremely well connected with multiple direct flight routes from London and Miami.

Language

The main language on Barbados is English. There is also a local dialect spoken, called Bajan. It's a combination of British English and various West African languages (and I absolutely love how it sounds.)

Caribbean - Jamaica - Sunset - Best Caribbean Islands for Solo travel

Jamaica

Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae and it lives life with a whole lot of laid back sass in a magnificent tropical setting.

Beyond the resorts, you'll find natural waterfalls and beautiful national parks. Dunn's Rover Falls and Park is one of the most widely recognisable places on the island. It's a large cascading waterfall, and during certain times of year, it's possible to climb the falls. Or scramble and slip about on them anyway. 

Historic Falmouth is said to be one of the last remaining examples of a Georgian town outside of England. Here you can find river rafting and a lagoon that naturally glows at night. 

But is Jamaica one of the best islands in the Caribbean for solo travel? Well, yes and no. Yes, because it's interesting, well connected and has plenty to do. But it doesn't have the reputation of being one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. In fact, you should avoid certain areas as a solo female traveller, or simply as a traveller, to be honest. Always keep an open mind and an open ear to local safety alerts.

Jamaica Fact Box

When to go

The best time to visit Jamaica is between November and mid-December. You'll find that January to March is peak season and prices tend to be higher.

How to get there

Jamaica is very well connected, with multiple direct flights from London, Miami, New York and Atlanta among others.

Language

English, with a whole lotta extra atmosphere thrown in.

Caution

Keep in mind the high-crime areas and exercise caution. While the island is beautiful, pay particular attention to Kingston, Montego Bay and Spanish Town. 

Gardening in Antigua Galley Bay
Antigua Landscape View

Antigua

Antigua is known for its lively cultural scene, pineapples aplenty and its claim to have enough beaches to be able to visit a different one for every day of the year.  

As the largest of the British Leeward Islands, Antigua has some of the most beautiful white and pink sand beaches with pristine coral reefs and a laid back island style. This is a great place if you enjoy partying in the sand. But it also has quiet natural escapes and historic landmarks.

Several markets offer handmade goods, fresh pineapple juice and rum. And you'll find plenty of all three across the island.

However, there's no escaping the island's bleak history (and quite right too.)

There are several plantations to visit throughout the island. There are plenty of places to sail or charter a deep sea boats.

In Redcliffe Quay, found in the capital of St. John's, there is a compact shopping district and plenty of bars, boutiques and cafes to enjoy.


If you only visit one place beyond the beach, make it Nelson's Dockyard. It's a beautifully restored English Harbour with restaurants, cafes and shops. The Dockyard Museum displays Nelson's telescope and tea caddy, summoning up a disconcerting combination of gloomy British history and fresh, Caribbean sun. Try to visit on a day when cruise ships are not docking to avoid the crowds.

Antigua Fact Box

When to go

The best time to visit Antigua is between mid December and April.

How to get there

You'll find lots of flight routes direct from London and Manchester, as well as from Atlanta, Miami and New York.

Language

English.

Street art in Cuba from @insidetravellab

Cuba

Beautiful, beautiful, complex Cuba. From the peeling paint in canary yellow Havana to the rolled tobacco leaves in the countryside, Cuba shows most visitors something they've never seen before. 

It's trickier to travel here and to travel around from a paperwork point of view but it's perfectly possible to do so independently - and immensely enjoyable. It's one of the best Caribbean islands for solo travel because you'll find fewer honeymooners and more people who are simply in love with travel.

Having said that, I wouldn't recommend it for a first time traveller. You do need to have some street smarts to get around, as you can't book everything on an app or through a tour guide.

Get ready to fill your ears with music. Street performances can be found, well, wherever. 

Cuba Fact Box

When to go

March and April

How to get there

Hm. Check the situation with the US and their rules about Cuba. Typically, you may need to fly via Miami to Kingston in Jamaica and on to Havana from there. Customs will usually leave your passport unstamped if you need to head back to the US afterwards. 

Language

Mainly Spanish, with some Haitian creole.


Bahamas - Nassau - Watling Distillery Exterior with Abigail King

The Bahamas

With more than 700 islands to choose from, some of the best islands in the Caribbean for solo travel live within the Bahamas. The territory stretches between Florida's coast and Haiti and includes party city Nassau as well as cool, quiet islands in the Abacos. 

The most distinctive activity to do in the Bahamas involves swimming with pigs, but make sure you check the eco credentials before you book onto a tour. Some are OK, others not so much. 

Nassau can seem like quite a party place, which can feel awkward if you're travelling solo. I'd recommend Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos as one of the best islands in the Caribbean for solo travel. It's quiet, peaceful and safe, with beautiful beaches and history to uncover. 

  • Did you know? New Plymouth in Green Turtle Cay also has a surprise in store: loyalists moved here following the American War of Independence and it's a hotch-potch of New England grandeur with a low-key Caribbean vibe.

See also:

The Bahamas Fact Box

When to go

Mid December to April

How to get there

Fly from Miami or London and then either stay in capital Nassau or fly on to the smaller islands. 

Language

English.

Other Recommended Caribbean Islands for Solo Travel

Hey, as the saying goes, I haven't been everywhere yet but it's on my list! And indeed, I haven't been everywhere in the Caribbean yet. 

However, friends and colleagues have also recommended the following Caribbean islands for solo travel:

  • The Dominican Republic
  • Puerto Rico
  • Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands

Which is the safest Caribbean island?

Well, it's difficult to be sure but the small island of Montserrat last recorded a murder in 2008. So that's pretty good.

Caribbean Travel Tips 

Some things remain the same across each of these Caribbean destinations: be prepared to take your time. The pace of life is more flexible than in, say, London and it does you no good to get hot and bothered about it. 

Female travellers need to take the same precautions as in most places in the world, alas. Always know how to get back to your accommodation, be alert to your surroundings and leave if something just doesn't feel right. By and large, people are friendly, trustworthy and welcoming but women still need to hope for the best but plan for the worst on their solo trips. Tropical islands or otherwise.

Further Reading and the Best Caribbean Island Stories


Tags

Solo Travel


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