Like with many things, the Caribbean is best experienced in pairs. As in, couples strolling barefoot on the beach, swimming under waterfalls or sipping piña coladas at sunset.
Check out the top 5 most romantic cruise ports the Caribbean has to offer:
Barbados is a sophisticated island steeped in British culture and imbued with island spirit. For cruisers whose idea of romance lies in idyllic beaches, Barbados delivers.
Carlisle Bay, a short ride from port, is a long sweep of sand and accessible snorkel sites sporting turtles and shipwrecks. Crane Beach, listed among the world’s most beautiful, is roughly 30 minutes from Bridgetown, 93 steps down a bluff and revered for its rose-tinted sand. On the Atlantic, Bathsheba is the quintessential setting for an arm-in-arm stroll along a dramatic coastline.
Curacao’s capital with its multihued 18th-century gabled houses and café umbrellas along Sint Anna Bay has long bewitched photographers. It just as easily seduces cruising couples, especially those content to simply stroll and discover.
Nicely compact, the city center invites couples to get away on their own, to explore Willemstad’s culture and history at their own pace. From the cruise docks in Otrobanda on the west side, it’s a short walk to the pedestrian pontoon bridge connecting the two halves of the city. There are markets, galleries and high-end shops on both sides.
After ambling through Fort Amsterdam and the evocative alleyways of Kura Hulanda, couples should leave time to kick back at a bayside café. There they can sip cocktails made with Curacao’s uber blue liqueur and watch the pontoon bridge swing to and fro for ships.
With many cruise ships docking in Old San Juan early and departing late, cruisers can experience this Latin-influenced U.S. port by sunny day and sultry night. The short day list for active couples includes following trails through lush El Yunque National Forest, an hour from San Juan. For a romantic swim beneath a tropical waterfall, La Mina Falls is perfecto—best in spring or fall when crowds thin.
Two alluring but very different options capture the magic of Puerto Rico’s sublime nights: Paddling across a shimmery sea of stars on Bioluminescent Bay Laguna Grande near Fajardo, 60 to 90 minutes from port, and embracing the Latin rhythms and romance of Old San Juan with dinner, salsa lessons and sips of locally made Bacardi rum.
Intimate St. Kitts remains under the radar for many cruisers, a gem with tranquil beaches and trails through dense, verdant forests that cover much of the island. Mount Liamuiga dominates the landscape, and it is there that climbers are drawn. For all its ruggedness, St. Kitts has a gentler side beloved by bird watchers and hikers looking for some alone time.
Hiking brings visitors into the island’s heart, its lushness and diversity. Some rainforest rambles may include a dip in a secluded spring. It’s possible to step back in time on St. Kitt’s Scenic Railway or exploring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, where hidden nooks provide opportunity for a stolen kiss.
The warm, clear waters of the British Virgin Islands reveal the undeniable romance of the tropics—swirls of neon-colored fish, foraging sea turtles and shipwrecks. From Tortola it’s a pleasant boat ride to The Bath’s on Virgin Gorda, an evocative seascape of gargantuan boulders and grottos formed by ancient volcanic activity. Just floating together in the sea here is bliss.
The BVI has dozens of islands that serve as entryways to a mesmerizing underwater world of reefs and undulating sea grass, Norman and Peter islands among them. Jost Van Dyke also offers the Soggy Dollar Bar, steps from the water, where couples can grab a drink and then settle into an away-from-it-all spot on a sublime stretch of sand.