Turn Up the Heat in the Caribbean’s Most Romantic Summer GetawaysBy Robert Curley
Palm-shaded beaches and a warm, welcoming culture make the Caribbean a great destination for couples year-round, so set your heart on one of these six easy-to-love Caribbean islands, where summer awards romance seekers with off-season prices and less-crowded beaches, restaurants and attractions.
As always, check for travel restrictions or closures before planning your trip.
St. Kitts and Nevis
On St. Kitts and Nevis, monkeys outnumber people, rainforests cover most of the islands’ interior, and sitting under a tree counts as a tourist attraction. In other words, these twin islands are for couples looking for a laid-back vacation, “old-Caribbean” style.
With two miles of fine golden sand, Cockleshell Beach on St. Kitts was designed by nature for romantic strolls. For selfies you might actually want to print out and put on your mantle, head to the mountaintop Brimstone Hill Fortress or the Timothy Hill overlook, which has views across the southeast hills of St. Kitts and across to neighboring Nevis.
At the Caribelle Batik factory, you can enfold yourself in colorful handmade fabric and then wrap your arms around your sweetie under the shade of Romney Manor’s 350-year-old saman tree, a popular proposal spot. Lovers Beach on nearby Nevis is one of the most secluded stretches of sand in the Caribbean, ideal for seaside snuggles.
The Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands delight with romantic horseback rides on the beach, wading with gentle rays at Stingray City, and tandem night-kayak tours through a bioluminescent bay, where every paddle produces a sublime light show.
With more than 200 restaurants, the Caymans make a strong claim as the culinary capital of the Caribbean: A private beach dinner on Seven Mile Beach, where most of Grand Cayman’s resorts line the sand (including the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa), is topped only by the experience of a picnic on remote Owen Island in Little Cayman, reached only by kayak or sailboat.
Paradise Island, Nassau
Couples who love to dress up, hit the town and soak up Caribbean nightlife will love Paradise Island, an enclave of upscale resorts and restaurants in the Bahamian capital of Nassau.
The casino on the Atlantis resort property, which includes The Cove hotel, is one of the largest in the Caribbean, and in downtown Nassau couples can spend an evening dining in colonial elegance at the Graycliff restaurant then cap off their night with a visit to Atlantis’s cigar bar.
The Cove has a private white-sand beach, and a walk down the shore will take you to Cabbage Beach; don’t let the prosaic name fool you — it’s one of the prettiest stretches of sand in the Bahamas. A speedboat ride to Rose Island provides the romance of a private island just minutes away.
Couples have been strolling hand-in-hand along the streets of Santo Domingo’s walled old city for more than 500 years, and the Cuidad Colonial still enchants with its museums, cafés and landmarks like the Alcázar de Colón, a royal residence dating to 1512.
Los Tres Ojos is a unique urban park in the eastern district of the Dominican capital where you can explore caves and lagoons surrounded by lush tropical vegetation. Top this underground adventure at El Meson de la Cava, where you can dine in a cave 40 feet below the streets of the city.
Ready for some sun? Punta Cana’s beaches are world famous, and nearby Saona Island is about as far from the city as you can get — this day trip from Punta Cana lets you wade in a natural pool, explore the small fishing village of Mano Juan, visit a sanctuary for sea turtles, and snorkel or slumber on secluded Canto de la Playa beach.
The pastel waterfront buildings of Curacao’s capital of Willemstad offer a storybook welcome to this Dutch Caribbean island.
Ask someone to take your picture on the famous “swinging” Queen Juliana Bridge while you explore this fascinating city of neighborhoods, from the historic Punda to trendy Pietermaai.
Rather than relegated to stuffy museum status, Willemstad’s 19th-century Fort Nassau serves as a restaurant with unforgettable mountaintop views. These dinnertime vistas are topped only by those at the summit of Mount Christoffel, reached via a challenging but rewarding hike in the island’s desert outback.
Adventurous beach lovers can seek solitude at the off-the-beaten path Playa Porto Mari or take a cruise out to uninhabited Klein Curacao and its dreamily deserted beaches.
Like Curacao, Bonaire has a beautiful little sister, Klein Bonaire, a quick water taxi ride away from the capital of Kralendijk; a picnic lunch on No Name Beach is a no-brainer.
Like all of Bonaire, this beach has fantastic snorkeling just offshore: Both Bonaire and Little Bonaire are surrounded by a protected marine preserve sheltering some of the Caribbean’s healthiest coral reefs.
Dive charters abound, and if you’re really feeling the love, you can even get married (or renew your vows) underwater at Buddy Reef. As the sun sets, take a drive up to the Seru Largu scenic point, join the locals for drinks and snacks, and find romantic inspiration in the views of Kralendijk and the Caribbean.