Figuring out why people pick the Caribbean is a no-brainer. Miles of white-sand beaches, turquoise waters and those tall swaying palms have pretty much created heaven on earth. We’re in it for the easy-going Calypso lifestyle, romantic beach walks, quaint marinas and the biggest dose of relaxation we’ll ever get our hands on.

Unless you know the region inside out though, the search for a unique Caribbean holiday can be tricky. Scattered across twinkling clear waters, small Caribbean islands you might not even know existed are proving exactly why “picking the big ones” isn’t for everyone. We’re here to break it down. Whether it’s some Caribbean island hopping you’re after, a peaceful stay on the quietest Caribbean islands or something completely different, we’ve got you covered.

Nevis- For Unspoilt Charm

The Caribbean is facing an uphill battle against mass tourism, but one island is staying well out of it. Unspoiled with unique charm, Nevis stands out with its plantation-rich history, intense greenery, white-sand beaches and an impressive 3,232 feet of mountain forming the Nevis Peak.

Separated from its sister island St Kitts by two miles of water, Nevis is the low-key answer to Old World charm. Think 19th-century churches, ancient sugar estates, inland forests and surprisingly good restaurants for an island that’s under the radar. The Nevisian Heritage Village shows the island’s culture, the Museum of Nevis shows the history, and the beaches- well, they just show themselves off. Diving and golfing are top-class, and eco-friendly hotels do their bit towards keeping things just the way they are.

Saint Martin/Saint Marteen- For Something Unique

The split island of Saint Martin/Saint Marteen makes up one of the most unique destinations in the Caribbean. You’re looking at a stunning setting with 37 beaches, but it’s chopped in half. The quieter Saint Martin French half has natural attractions, tree-to-tree zip lines and Orient Beach, while the more-developed Dutch Saint Marteen is more about high-end shopping, Phillipsburg’s cobbles and thriving nightlife. Reef-protected shores here offer isolated cottage stays, but you can equally opt for more established or all-inclusive resorts.

With two cultures blended alongside the Caribbean twist, you’re also looking at fantastic cuisine. Rum shacks dotting Simpson Bay offer sunset tipples, and you can pretty much eat your way through Marigot market’s food stalls. If you want a casino show to round off the night, you’re in a place with loads (plus a busy cruise port and duty-free shopping). If you want to shut out the noise and soak in the nature, you don’t need to leave the island. Everyone’s got their thing. This island’s got the “something for everyone”.

Culebra- For Peace and Tranquillity

Just off dynamic Puerto Rico (but feeling a million miles from it), the lesser-known island of Culebra feels like it was designed for anyone who wants “somewhere away from the crowds”.  Picture-perfect sands, undiscovered coves and gorgeous views are right here on the island’s Playa Flamenco, but don’t be put off by the flamboyant name. Think nesting sea turtles, green hills framing horseshoe bays and submerged tanks for an interesting twist.

You’ve got clear waters for diving, Culebra Pueblo’s port town charm and brilliant boutique hotels in Laguna Lobina. No crowded beaches, no rowdy nightlife, just 100% exquisite beauty, peace and quiet.

Dominica- For Sheer Natural Beauty

Take one look at Dominica’s dramatic cliffs and the hiker inside you will just know- this is the real deal. Hidden waterfalls, rock pools and vast expanses of rainforest have given this little-known gem its “Nature Island” nickname, and every last acre lives up to it. Hot springs and lakes here centre around the imposing Morne Trois volcano, where the natural beauty is just stunning. To be fair, the names are also quite interesting. Stinking Hole is actually a bubbling lava tube set deep in the rainforest, while Valley of Desolation is anything but desolate (lots of fumaroles and sulphur vents definitely put a spin on the typical Caribbean bar scene).

If hiking up an extinct volcano sounds up your street, the Boeri Lake has your name on it. Split from the equally stunning Freshwater Lake by the Morne Macaque mountain, this spot has the clear waters that make the island so loved by snorkellers and divers. Hotels here are romantically perched on cliffs, some have bay views and the upmarket options are quite something. You’re in the Caribbean, so blissful beaches are a given.

There’s Over 700 Caribbean Islands

Most people are surprised to even discover that the Caribbean has over 700 islands. With major ones like Barbados and Antigua getting all the attention, the lesser-known gems just aren’t known. For lovers of blissful silence, sleepy fishing villages and even mountain ranges, welcome to a different kind of Caribbean.

We’ve highlighted 4 small Caribbean islands that are lesser-known (but hugely loved) to give you a flavour of what else is on offer. For more inspiration, check out our Undiscovered Caribbean Islands or get in touch to speak to our Caribbean experts.

Gavin Lapidus Company Director

Gavin has been one of the directors at eShores since 2007. He came from a sales & marketing background, but always had a passion for travel. He has travelled to most places around the globe, including North and South America, Europe, the Far East, South Africa, Indian Ocean and Australia.