With its laid-back vibe and thousands of amazing beaches, the Caribbean is the ultimate place to kick back, relax and just bask in the glorious sun. Every island in the Caribbean has something unique to offer, so it’s time to go into vacation mode and explore these 6 destinations!
1. Saint Martin
Known for being one of the world’s best plane spotting location, Maho Beach in Saint Martin is a must-visit for spectacular views of airplanes taking-off and landing! Positioned right in front of Princess Juliana International Airport, you’ll get to experience the full thrill of having 747’s whizzing right above your head. Take care of your belongings though, as the blast can be so strong that your stuff might just be blown all over the place!
Saint Martin also has the unique culture of both Dutch and French, living side by side! Split into two halves, the Dutch side of the island (St. Maarten) is slightly less expensive and is more bustling with shopping centres and sandy beaches while the French St. Martin is more relaxing with its charming mountain sceneries and white-sand beaches. If you’re a seafood lover, you’ll be spoilt for choice here!
Beaches and water sports are definitely not lacking, with activities like diving, snorkeling, sailing or windsurfing that are sure to keep you occupied. That’s if you’re not spending your time relaxing on one of the 37 picture-perfect beaches.
#HHWT Tip: The best time to visit St Martin is between the months of May and June or between November and mid December.
If the open water isn’t your thing, try zip-lining over the tree tops from Pic Paradis, the highest point of St. Maarten, or hike up there for a view of the whole island.
Credit: Scott Smith on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: If you want an escape from other tourists, kayak a short distance from the French side’s Cul de Sac to to Pinel Island, a tiny slice of paradise with secluded beaches and fantastic snorkeling. There’s plenty to do on Saint Martin / St. Maarten, from it’s blue waters to emerald forests so you definitely won’t be bored 😉
How to get there: There are 7 weekly flights from Singapore to Saint Marten via Paris on Air France. Visit www.airfrance.sg for the lowest fares.
Picture Havana in your mind, and you might imagine a city that’s both opulent and historic, with colourful buildings and classic cars lining the cobbled streets. Be prepared to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the capital city of Cuba!
Visit Plaza de Armas, the oldest square in Havana, check out the El Capitolio that bears a striking resemblance to a famous building in Washington D.C., and take a sunset walk on the El Malecón seafront esplanade to join the locals relaxing after a day of work.
If you’re a beach goer, check out the long stretch of palm-fringed beach at Playas del Este, with Santa Maria del Mar being one of the best sections to visit along the beach.
Credit: Alvaro Remesal Royo on Flickr
Love vintage cars and want to experience riding in one instead of just snapping photos of them on every street corner? Take a ride on one of their Taxi particulares (privately owned taxis). The rides are usually shared, so it’s a great way to meet the locals who are going in the same direction as you are!
Credit: lezumbalaberenjena on Flickr
The best time to visit is from November to May, when temperatures are more moderate.
#HHWT Tip: If the humidity gets to you, get a dose of guarapo – pure, freshly squeezed sugarcane juice. The perfect drink to recharge your batteries – especially when it’s squeezed with a little bit of lime or orange!
How to get there: Air France flies to Havana from Singapore via Paris-CDG with 7 weekly flights. Visit www.airfrance.sg for the lowest fares.
It’s said that Curacao is one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets, and a favourite destination for divers. Besides the usual water sports, the island boasts a unique culture and 38 hidden beaches! If you’re looking for off the beaten path experiences, you can also explore the Hato Caves, home to cave drawings that are at least 1,500 years old, or hike the trails of Christoffelpark.
Credit: Kim Seng on Flickr
Locals here love the Knip Beaches (there are two – a larger and smaller one). The clear water, reefs and to-die-for snorkelling makes it a no brainer why both of them are equally appealing.
Willemstad, Curacao’s postcard-perfect main city that’s famous for its beautiful harbour and multi-hued buildings, is proudly one of the Caribbean’s few UNESCO World Heritage cities. You’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into the Netherlands with the Dutch colonial architecture that makes the city so charming.
#HHWT Tip: Take a walk on the “Swinging Old Lady”, a floating pontoon bridge that swings perpendicular across the harbour and opens and closes so ships can pass through. It’s been nominated as the 8th wonder of the world!
How to get there: Go on an adventure in Curacao from Singapore with 7 weekly flights on KLM. Visit www.klm.sg for the lowest fares.
Credit: Everything Travelust
Aruba is definitely one of THE islands that comes to mind when you mention the Caribbean. Being different from its cousins, Aruba is dry and more desert-like with cacti instead of palm trees but still full of history, culture, rough landscapes and exotic local dishes. Did you know that it’s famous for Indonesian food because the Dutch colonized both Indonesia and Aruba?
A favourite with family vacation goers, Aruba has many resorts catering to families with kids, with lots to keep both young and old occupied. The winds of Aruba make it the perfect place to try your hand at sailing, besides other island activities like snorkeling and banana boat rides.
Daredevils can jetpack – yes you read that right, you can propel yourself 30 feet above the water with a water-propelled jetpack – up into the air for a once in a lifetime photo op and stunning views of the island.
The picturesque Oranjestad, capital of Aruba, is lined with Dutch-colonial vibrant buildings, bustling promenades and glitzy hotels. Stop by the main street to shop at some of the oldest and newest stores in town or explore the archaeological and historical museum of Aruba while you’re there 😀
Credit: Jasha on Flickr
#HHWT Tip: Take the free open air tramcar to explore Oranjestad! Enjoy the scenic inner city loop that departs from the cruise ship terminal on one of the environmentally friendly hydrogen-powered vehicles.
How to get there: KLM departs to Aruba from Singapore via Amsterdam, 6 times a week.. Visit www.klm.sg for the lowest fares.
5. Antigua + Barbuda
Credit: zapmole on Flickr
Antigua is probably THE image of a Caribbean island that you have in mind with amazing beaches and sparkling turquoise waters.
If you’re looking for some quiet time to enjoy the sun and sand, then you have to check out the secluded beaches on one of the small, uninhabited islands in Antigua – Green Island.
Or just head to any one of the many beaches in Antigua for your dose of sun and sand! Some of the popular beaches you should visit include Dickenson Bay, Jolly Beach, Pigeon Point Beach (be prepared for crowds on weekends) and Half Moon Bay. In fact, there are so many beaches on Antigua and her sister island, Barbuda, that you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice.
#HHWT Tip: Did we mention that you could also find pink-tinged sand beaches in Barbuda? Stroll along 17 Mile Beach or Pink Beach and make your mark on the pale pink sand!
You can easily reach this Caribbean island, located only a 30-min flight away from Pointe-a-Pitre in Guadelope. And if you have some time, do check out the colourful and bustling public markets and shopping streets in Pointe-a-Pitre as well.
How to get there: Fly to Pointe-a-Pitre from Singapore via Paris-Orly on Air France with 7 weekly flights. Visit www.airfrance.sg for the lowest fares.
6. Punta Cana
Searching for an exotic honeymoon destination or a beach getaway with your family? Look no further than Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. With long stretches of white sand beaches and clear blue waters, nothing spells relaxation better than Punta Cana.
Many are attracted to this area because of the huge range of all-inclusives, beach resorts and hotels which cater to both the budget-conscious to the big spender. Don’t forget to do your research before booking because you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice!
Credit: Ted Murphy on Flickr
One of the must-visit beaches in the area is Playa Grande. This beautiful and pristine beach is one of the best beaches for surfing or simply soaking in the sun. The beach is open to visitors at no cost in the day but if you’re there at night (during the nesting season), you’ll be able to enter the area with a guide to see endangered giant leatherback sea turtles nesting!
#HHWT tip: The best time to visit Punta Cana is between December and April for the best weather – warm weather and clear skies!
How to get there: Air France flies to Punta Cana from Singapore via Paris-CDG with 5 weekly flights. Visit www.airfrance.sg for the lowest fares.
6 amazing Caribbean islands with hundreds of gorgeous beaches for you to visit… And the best part of all? There are special fares to the Caribbean from SGD 2,588 (including taxes) for Havana and Saint Martin on Air France (bit.ly/AirFranceToCaribbean) and KLM (bit.ly/KLMToCaribbean). Don’t forget to book by 31 August 2016!
This article was brought to you by Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, connecting you to the world via their hubs in Charles de Gaulle Airport,Paris and Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.