The Best Caribbean Cruise Spots

The Best Caribbean Cruise Spots
Comprised of island and mainland ports in the eastern, western and southern Caribbean Sea, cruises from all over the world journey to the Caribbean's hot spots. Swimming, snorkeling, shopping and historical tours of cultural phenomena are all popular activities while ashore, and most cruises provide everything you need for a fun and relaxing day in port.

St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

The capital of St. Thomas, Charlotte Amalie, offers a cruise port with shopping, swimming and touring opportunities. Travelers can visit The Virgin Islands Museum for free, or visit the Mountain Top (the highest point on the island) for views of the Virgin Islands. The Paradise Point Tramway offers scenic panoramas of the harbor, and families can enjoy the aquarium exhibits at the Coral World Ocean Park. Magens Bay, Coki, Brewer's and Morning Star Beach are popular swimming and snorkeling sites.

St. Johns, Antigua

St. Johns port is filled with cobblestone streets, duty-free shopping centers, white sand beaches and parks. Nelson's Dockyard National Park contains nature trails, a nautical museum and historical buildings, while Half Moon Bay, Runaway, Morris Bay and Dickensen Bay Beach are popular swimming areas.

Bridgetown, Barbados

The Barbados port city of Bridgetown offers duty-free shopping, pink sand beaches and lots of opportunities to swim or snorkel. All beaches (even privately owned resort beaches) are open to the public by law, and popular swimming and snorkeling destinations include Payne's Bay and Mullins Beach. Land tours include an underground journey through Harrison's Cave, the historic Francia Plantation, and Welchman Hall Gully, which is a tropical garden owned by the Barbados National Trust.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Guided trips are recommended when visiting Ocho Rios, Jamaica, which offers plenty to do outside of the hectic seaport. A 600-foot waterfall awaits in Dunn's River Falls, where swimming and climbing are permitted. The Shaw Park Botanical Gardens offer cruisers walks in tropical plant gardens, while Brimmer Hall Plantation offers guests a tour of a Jamaican banana and coffee plantation. Other tours offer shopping, rafting, horseback riding and swimming at Mallards or Turtle Beach.

St. Croix, Virgin Islands

Cruises with port stops in St.Croix usually stop at the towns of Frederiksted or Christiansted, which offer boat trips to Buck Island National Park, a tour of St. George Village Botanical Garden, a visit to the Whim Great House sugar plantation, or a guided tour of the Cruzan Rum factory. Other activities include shopping, snorkeling and swimming. Popular hot spots are Cay's and Sandy Point Beach.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cruise passengers arriving in Mexico can tour ancient Mayan ruins, visit the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel, photograph the Yucatan ruins of Chichen Itza, or take a trip to Chankanaab Nature Park, which offers a saltwater lagoon, underwater caves and swimming, and snorkeling opportunities. The ecological theme park, XCaret, is also located here, and includes an underwater river ride. Popular beaches include Playa San Francisco and Playa del Sol, both of which offer swimming and snorkeling.

Article Written By Leah Waldron

Leah Waldron is the head writer and editor of GayNow.com, a global gay and lesbian news site. She writes for Curve Magazine, LOTL Magazine, WingerJock.com and other publications. As a travel, entertainment and home/garden writer, Waldron has written for the "Houston Chronicle" and the "Sun Sentinel." Waldron has a bachelor's and master's degree in creative writing from Florida State University.

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