The Caribbean is one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. A vast region of island nations and Central American coastlines, the area is well-known for its pristine beaches, warm weather, and vibrant cultures. If you’re interested in cruising the Caribbean, here are some top spots to include in your next itinerary.

In no particular order, our first destination is Oranjestad, Aruba. Aruba is a stunning island, and you’re almost always guaranteed sunshine when you visit. Enjoy that sunshine by relaxing on the beautiful white sand beaches, riding horses through the Arikok National Park, or swimming in the crystal blue ocean. If you have a short cruise stop here, make sure you visit Eagle Beach, which some say is the Caribbean’s best beach.

2. Bridgetown, Barbados – Royal Caribbean’s newest homeport! – If you like having fun in the sun then this is the spot for you. Bridgetown boasts more than 3,000 hours of sunshine each year. Here you’ll find immaculate beaches, outstanding snorkeling and diving opportunities, and even a few shipwrecks to explore. Don’t forget to try some rum, which originated in Barbados, at Mount Gay Distillery!

3. Cozumel, Mexico – History lovers will enjoy exploring Cozumel’s ancient Mayan ruins deep in the jungle. San Gervasio is a must-see historical site dating back to 600 BC. If history’s not your thing, try a salsa making class or a tequila tasting seminar. While not a surfing destination, Cozumel is one of the top spots to go snorkling.

4. ColĂłn, Panama – ColĂłn is the Panama Canal’s northern gateway and a popular Caribbean stop. If time permits, make the hour-long trek to Panama City, one of Latin America’s most modern destinations. Top activities include visiting Gamboa Sloth Sanctuary, one of the only sloth sanctuaries in the world, and – of course – watching ships move through the Gatun Locks.

5. Philipsburg, St. Maarten – Philipsburg is a remarkable destination in the Caribbean that exudes strong European vibes. Near the port, you’ll find stunning Dutch colonial architecture. A short trip to the French side will take you to top-notch restaurants and retail spots. Both sides of the island have spectacular beaches to enjoy during your day in port.

6. Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic – Puerto Plata is a unique Caribbean stop full of beautiful beaches and family-friendly activities. Spend the day at Ocean World Adventure Park and swim with dolphins or sharks, feed exotic tropical birds at the bird sanctuary, or relax on Dolphin Beach. For the history buff, check out the cannons at the Fortress of San Felipe, dating back to 1577.

7. San Juan, Puerto Rico – San Juan is a Caribbean destination that has it all! The city has plenty of historical sights, including El Morro and Fort San Cristobal. Visit El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest Service. The Bacardi distillery offers mixology classes and a guided rum tasting tour. You can also stay in town and sample the tasty local cuisine.

8. Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis – Travelers looking for a destination with lush greenery and intriguing history will love Basseterre – the island protects more than a quarter of its land as a national park. Visit the botanical gardens at the Fairview Great House, an authentically restored 18th century home. If you have time, take a day trip to Nevis to see the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton.

The Caribbean has no shortage of exciting destinations to visit. While these eight locations are a great place to start, the region has infinite possibilities.

Hopefully you’ll find yourself at one of these spots soon! When you’re ready to plan your next Caribbean cruise, we’re here to help – visit www.ebersmithtravel.com or give us a call at 570.221.9905.

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