NEW YORK, United States, Wednesday July 6, 2016 – After analyzing more than 250 destinations, using a methodology that combined expert analysis and traveller opinions, US News and World Report has released its 2016-2017 best destinations rankings.
Securing a place for the Caribbean were the British Virgin Islands (BVI) which took the number 21 spot on the world’s top 25 list and topped 16 regionally ranked destinations.
Accessibility to beaches, tourist sites and comfortable accommodations, as well as user votes and expert insights, factored into the regional rankings, which saw BVI edge out St Lucia and the United States Virgin Islands in the top three Caribbean spots.
Here’s what US News had to say about their choice of leading regional destinations:
British Virgin Islands
Gold Badge #1 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: “Posh” is the best word to describe the British Virgin Islands. The shoreline at Cane Garden Bay is particularly picturesque and The Baths are mystifying. Infused with refined British culture, this archipelago is the epitome of Caribbean luxury.
Gold Badge #2 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: This island’s got it all: sprawling chalk-coloured beaches, towering mountains and upscale resorts. Start your day with a hike through the Piton Mountains, soak up some midday sun along Reduit Beach and watch the sunset over the Caribbean Sea.
US Virgin Islands
Gold Badge #3 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: Spring is the time to enjoy the US Virgin Islands, particularly in late April when the boisterous Carnival season in St Thomas gets underway. You can still enjoy the unspoiled beauty of a St John beach or historic trivia on a St Croix plantation tour at any time of year.
Gold Badge #4 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: One of the most scenic spots in the Caribbean (and home to some of the world’s best beaches), the Cayman Islands offer premier diving sites. This archipelago features some great hotel deals, so you can enjoy the white beaches and clear waters while sticking to a budget.
Turks & Caicos
Gold Badge #5 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: Turks & Caicos offers some of the most stunning white beaches in the Caribbean, including Grace Bay. These islands make a wonderful retreat for those who seek maximum comfort in a tropical setting, though, hotel prices can be higher than on other islands.
#6 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: As one of the ABC islands (along with Aruba and Bonaire), Curacao sits outside the hurricane belt, meaning you’ll find pleasant weather year-round. That factor, along with the island’s notable coral reefs, makes Curacao a top spot for divers and snorkelers.
St Kitts & Nevis
#7 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: St Kitts earns its approval in part from the soft sands and buzzing nightlife of Frigate Beach, plus its reputation for excellent festivals. When you need a break from the action, just hop on a quick ferry to the quieter island of Nevis.
#8 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: While you’ll certainly find the standard Caribbean staples – sandy beaches, verdant golf courses and palatial resorts – Barbados offers a distinctly unique flair. Here, you can sample bittersweet Mount Gay Rum, attend a horse race and dance to a calypso tune.
#9 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: Culture hounds, architecture buffs and amateur historians will find plenty in Havana. Though it’s not as easily accessible as its neighbours, the island’s cultural offerings are unparalleled. Plus, if you’re craving a little beach time, just head east of the city to Playas de Este.
St Martin – St Maarten
#10 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: You’ll find first-rate beaches and plenty of activity on St Martin-St Maarten, as well as an assortment of hotel options and vacation rentals for all budgets. This is a great island for foodies; consider having lunch at one of the lolos located along the shore.
St Vincent & The Grenadines
#11 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: Comprising 32 islands, St Vincent & The Grenadines has something to offer every traveller. Enjoy time on the biggest island of St Vincent, but be sure to hop on a boat and sail between the many other remote land masses for diving, snorkelling and exploring opportunities.
#12 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: Khaki-coloured beaches separate the island’s hilly landscape from the turquoise waters. Just be prepared to splurge: St Barts is for the well-heeled, beckoning to the elite with secluded resorts offering upscale amenities. Score some good deals by planning well in advance.
#13 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: The bright colours of St George’s harbour in Grenada offer a view well worth enjoying. But don’t stay in one spot for too long – Grenada has 45 beaches along its shores to choose from, including the popular 2-mile Grand Anse beach.
#14 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: These well-liked islands cater to families, groups and even couples with their variety of beaches and water sports activities. Plus, travellers can easily find flight deals and discounted room rates for this Caribbean hot spot.
#15 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: Jamaica has long been a go-to destination for experiencing a lively Caribbean culture, not to mention (relatively) affordable airfare and hotel rates. The all-inclusive resorts appeal to honeymooners and families while activities like hiking the Blue Mountains draw adventure seekers.
#16 in Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean
Why go: Bonaire is often lauded as a “diver’s paradise” thanks to its clear blue waters packed with colourful sea creatures. Scuba divers and snorkelers can see all sorts of fish while beach dwellers can enjoy the island’s soft sands year-round.
Topping US News’ world rankings is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of seven natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Grand Canyon National Park was named the top US destination, while Vancouver earned the top Canadian spot.
Rome was the top spot in Europe while Cape Town, South Africa topped the Africa/Middle East list.
Bali was the top Asia spot.
For Central and South America, Galapagos Islands came out on top while Oaxaca was named the number one spot in Mexico.