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Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Caribbean

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Old San Juan
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49 Tours and Activities

The cobblestone streets of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan, lined with brightly colored Spanish colonial houses, lend themselves to aimless yet inspired wandering—but don’t let yourself pass by the neighborhood’s key attractions. From the UNESCO World Heritage-listed forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal to restaurants serving plates of aromatic rice and fried plantains, Old San Juan charms travelers at every turn.

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Laguna Grande
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During the day, Laguna Grande in Fajardo looks like other bays along the tropical Puerto Rican coastline. But come nightfall the bioluminescent lagoon glows fluorescent, thanks to pyrodinium bahamense, microscopic plankton that thrive in its shallow Caribbean waters and glow when disturbed.

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Macao Beach (Playa Macao)
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Macao Beach (Playa Macao) is one of the Punta Cana region’s least-crowded public beaches, set away from most resort hotels. A favorite among locals, this stretch of white sand is considered one of the Dominican Republic’s most beautiful coastal escapes, with clear blue waters and a beach break known for its surf-friendly waves.

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Rose Island
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Rose Island is an idyllic private getaway off the coast of Nassau. Home to a coral reef and a lone beach bar, this tiny, tropical islet offers an exclusive setting for snorkeling and sunbathing on an 11-mile (18-kilometer) stretch of uninhabited, privately owned Bahamian beach.

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El Yunque National Park
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The El Yunque National Park is the only tropical rain forest under the protection of the US Forest Service, as well as the largest nature reserve in densely populated Puerto Rico. Situated in the mist-wreathed Luquillo Mountains—where year-round precipitation ensures lush, green landscapes and a healthy diversity of animal life—El Yunque is home to the rare Puerto Rican parrot and the Coqui frog, whose distinctive croak provides El Yunque's soundtrack.

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Blue Hole
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The Blue Hole—alternatively known as the Cool Blue Hole, Secret Falls, or Island Gully—is a natural limestone sinkhole near Ocho Rios. A deep cavern within the tropical mountains of Jamaica, the Blue Hole gets its name from the deep azure hue of the water. Travelers visit to swim, cliff dive, and make their way through the lush rain forest to Secret Falls.

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Dunn's River Falls
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Dunn's River Falls is a spectacular White River waterfall near Ocho Rios in Jamaica, where cold mountain water cascades 1,000 feet (300 meters) down naturally terraced steps. Those interested in geology will be fascinated with the way the world-famous falls renew themselves via regular deposits of calcium carbonate and sodium, while movie buffs will recognize them from films such as Dr. No and Cocktail.

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Rick's Café
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High on the cliffs outside Negril, Rick’s Cafe is one of Jamaica’s most enduring institutions. Negril was a sleepy fishing village when Rick’s opened in 1974, and travelers and locals alike still make a pilgrimage to the restaurant and bar for strong cocktails, tasty Jamaican dishes, death-defying cliff divers, and sunset viewing parties.

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Club Mobay Departure Lounge
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Start your Montego Bay vacation as soon as you get off the plane at Club Mobay, and then linger in island vibes until the minute you board your flight back home. This luxury lounge in Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport combines professional services with Jamaican hospitality, making your airport experience part of your vacation.

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De Palm Island
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Just off of the western coast of Aruba, De Palm Island attracts visitors from the main island looking for an all-inclusive beach day. In addition to hosting an array of outdoor activities, De Palm Island also offers simple rest and relaxation on its three beaches.

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More Things to Do in Caribbean

Little Water Cay (Iguana Island)

Little Water Cay (Iguana Island)

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Known locally as Iguana Island, Little Water Cay emerges from the crystal clear waters just outside Providenciales. The tiny islet is ringed by white sandy beaches—a tranquil habitat for the endangered Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana, a charismatic green lizard endemic to the islands.

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Queen's Staircase

Queen's Staircase

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The Queen’s Staircase, one of Nassau’s most visited attractions, holds an important place in Bahamian cultural history. Around 1793, slaves carved this 102-foot (31-meter) staircase, comprised of 65 steps, out of solid limestone. Later it was named in honor of Queen Victoria’s 65-year reign and her role in abolishing slavery in the Bahamas.

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Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

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For many years, Aruba’s natural bridge was a top tourist attraction on the island. The bridge sadly collapsed due to erosion in 2005. However, its ruins still remain, along with a smaller natural span known as “baby bridge.” The surrounding landscape is wild and beautiful, and the smaller bridge still attracts large numbers of tourists.

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Grace Bay Beach

Grace Bay Beach

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Named the “Best Beach in the World” multiple times (and by multiple entities), Grace Bay Beach is so beautiful that it really needs to be seen to be believed. This is the main beach on the island of Providenciales, in Turks and Caicos, and is lined with upscale resorts.

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Sapphire Beach

Sapphire Beach

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With more than 40 major beaches lining St Thomas’ shores, how do you decide which to visit?

One of the most popular is Sapphire Beach, located on the east end of the island. This area of St Thomas is known for its laid-back atmosphere and is home to some of the best views of neighboring St John. With a mix of red-tiled roof homes and commerical buildings, the area is anchored by Red Hook, a popular spot for boating enthusiasts and where the historic center of Charlotte Amalie is located.

Sapphire Beach, an ideal stop for cruise ship passengers exploring St Thomas for a day, features about 35 acres of fine white sand beaches and is also a great choice for families. The waters are calm and good for snorkeling, while the sea grape trees on the right end of the beach provide some shade for beach goers. The left side, however, is ideal for sunbathing. Keep your eyes open for ducks and iguanas wandering the shores.

At the nearby Sapphire Beach Resort, visitors can rent lounge chairs and snorkeling equipment, or opt for other water activities, such as windsurfing, kayaking, jet skiing and sailing.

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Arikok National Park

Arikok National Park

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With deserted beaches and rocky coves, dusty plains dotted with cacti, and ancient limestone caves, Arikok National Park feels worlds away from the luxurious resorts of Aruba’s north coast. Covering almost 20 percent of the island, the park, one of the best reasons to venture south, offers a spectacular backdrop for outdoor adventures.

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Magens Bay

Magens Bay

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Thanks to its curving arc of white sand and its bright blue water, Magens Bay is St. Thomas’ most popular beach. The area is surrounded by forests and palm trees, and the bay offers calm waves for swimming and kayaking. For stunning views of the bay’s unusual rectangular shape and mile of beach, head to the nearby Mountain Top lookout.

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Damajagua Falls (27 Charcos)

Damajagua Falls (27 Charcos)

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Hidden in a lush Dominican Republic jungle, Damajagua Falls—otherwise known as the 27 Waterfalls of Rio Damajagua or 27 Charcos—are a series of 27 cascading waterfalls that were discovered in the 1990s. Located in the midst of sugarcane fields in the Northern Corridor mountain range, the hidden falls are a true off-the-beaten-path experience.

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San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan)

San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan)

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Named in honor of Saint John the Baptist, San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan) was originally one of five doorways to the city used to protect its streets from invaders and each gate has its own unique function. Today, this towering red and white entryway that’s tucked into the city’s surrounding stonewall offers a truly magical way to enter and explore Puerto Rico’s capital city.

Travelers who pass through this historic entrance will find energetic vendors selling traditional snacks and ice-cold piragua along walkways heading towards the historic old town. Ancient trees stretch high into the sky and provide cool shade for lovers on romantic strolls. Narrow cobblestone streets lined with restored Spanish colonial homes and ornate balconies add to the charm of this favorite San Juan attraction.

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Bioluminescent Bay (Mosquito Bay)

Bioluminescent Bay (Mosquito Bay)

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Bioluminescent Bay (aka Mosquito Bay or Puerto Mosquito) is one of Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays, located on the island of Vieques. A popular destination for nighttime boat tours, this bay is by far the brightest. The water is illuminated by dinoflagellates called Pyrodinium bahamense, tiny microorganisms that glow when touched.

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Appleton Estate

Appleton Estate

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Largely regarded as one of Jamaica’s best rum distilleries, the Appleton Estate has been producing the liquor since 1749. With its sprawling sugarcane plantations and facilities, the estate covers an 11,000-acre (4,452-hectare) plot and makes about 10 million liters of rum per year.

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Natural Pool

Natural Pool

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Tucked away on the eastern coast of Aruba, in a basin formed by volcanic rock and fed by water from the Caribbean Sea, the Natural Pool is as simple as its name implies—but sometimes simple is simply the best. Unreachable by car, a trip to the Natural Pool in Arikok National Park is all about the adventure through Aruba’s less disturbed countryside, with a dip in pristine waters awaiting those who make the off-the-beaten-track journey.

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Secret Harbour Beach Resort

Secret Harbour Beach Resort

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Secret Harbour Beach Resort is located on St Thomas’ East End, at Nazareth Bay near Red Hook and the popular beach of Vessup Bay.

The resort is situated on prime island real estate with its gorgeous shoreline and crystal clear waters. Some visitors opt for a variety of water sports and activities such as kayaking, paddle-boarding and snorkeling, while others choose to simply relax on the beach and take in the mesmerizing views. The secluded cove creates a shelter that allows very calm waters to reach the seashore and makes the spot safe for children. Secret Harbour also has an onsite PADI dive shop with rental equipment of all kinds.

The resort features several spots for grabbing a drink or a bite to eat, including the ever-popular Cruzan Beach Club, offering a number of cool Caribbean-inspired cocktails and fusion cuisine. The tiki-style bar is quite casual and welcoming to visitors looking for that barefoot experience. A bit more upscale is the Sunset Grille, an American-style restaurant with traditional culinary classics that have a touch of Caribbean influence.

Those with a goal of not leaving their beach chair can order Cruzan Beach Club tropical drinks and some menu items right from their beach chair or hammock.

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San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista)

San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista)

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Built in 1521, San Juan Cathedral(Catedral de San Juan Bautista) is one of the highlights of Old San Juan. The second-oldest cathedral in the Americas, this landmark in the heart of Old San Juan has an impressive array of religious and historical artifacts. The church is still operational, with services held throughout the week.

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