The 10 Best Caribbean Islands for Couples Seeking Privacy & Luxury

Find the perfect posh paradise for a tropical getaway.
Suzie Dundas - The Knot Contributor.
Suzie Dundas
Suzie Dundas - The Knot Contributor.
Suzie Dundas
The Knot Contributor
  • Suzie is a freelance writer for The Knot, with a focus on honeymoon content and couples’ travel.
  • She’s written for publications like Outside Magazine, TripSavvy, Insider, Playboy, Forbes, SkyLife Magazine, Popular Mechanics, the SF Chron and more.
  • Suzie is an avid traveller, and she’s both stayed in luxury over-the-water villas in the Maldives, and slept in the plastic tube of an indoor playground at an airport when he...
Updated Apr 13, 2024
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For some, taking a romantic escape to the Caribbean is a bucket-list trip, while others may jet down to the topics on an annual basis. But couples who prioritize luxury and privacy don't want to go to just any island. The best Caribbean islands for couples offer a blend of romantic hotels, gorgeous natural settings and high-end experiences a tier above your average excursion. But in a region literally packed with island after island offering a sun-kissed paradise, discerning duos will want to prioritize a few islands above others.

Couples who have flexibility with pricing may want to head to islands like St. Barts or St. Lucia on a honeymoon or anniversary trip, where the combination of protected outdoor areas and expensive hotels keeps the tourist crowds relatively small. Others may be able to find privacy by heading to an island with all-inclusive resorts, where they can book a bungalow they never have to leave. And some couples may want to select which island they visit based on the availability of luxury experiences, from submarine tours in Barbados to a private mimosa morning sail in Puerto Rico.

For couples ready to embrace the lap of luxury without the crowds, start your planning by exploring the 10 best Caribbean islands for couples seeking privacy and a touch of opulence on their next warm-weather retreat.

The Knot's Top 10 Caribbean Islands for Couples

The Knot's Top 10 Caribbean Islands for Couples
Photo: Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

There are more than 700 islands in the Caribbean, spread across a mix of countries, territories and autonomous regions. Some are almost entirely flat, lending themselves to sun-seeking couples, while others are mountainous and covered in jungle hiking trails. Therefore, it can help to know what kind of trip you're hoping to plan. The 10 categories below should help point you in the right direction.

St. Barts

The gorgeous beaches of St. Barts
Photo: Onne van der Wal / Getty Images

Saint Barthélemy, colloquially known as St. Barts, is a Caribbean island paradise renowned for its luxury, privacy and general allure of romance. The French-speaking gem exudes an effortlessly chic and intimate ambiance, making it a coveted destination for couples seeking luxury and privacy. The island's hotels and resorts are generally quite expensive, eliminating many of the over-tourism issues of more affordable islands. The small towns on the island are both charming and refined, dotted with cobblestone streets, boutique shops and near-endless options for gourmet dining. It's probably the best Caribbean island for couples keen on the idea of blending European sophistication with Caribbean tranquility.

Unlike many Caribbean islands, even the high season on the island (roughly December through March) isn't overly crowded. Yes, it's busy for St. Barts, but since the island doesn't welcome cruise ships (and getting there means either taking a ferry from St. Maarten or a tiny commuter plane), it won't feel like you're waiting in line everywhere you go.

Things to Do: St. Barts offers an array of pristine beaches, all of which are free and open to the public. However, the island is also known for its private pool and beach clubs, which sell day passes with access to beach amenities, live music, drinks and dining, and more. Spend the afternoon at Hotel Manapany with a pass that includes a massage, or swing by Nikki Beach for lunch.

When it comes to dining, you'll be spoiled for options. But good places to start include Amoie St. Barts for Caribbean-meets-Mediterranean, or le Sereno La Mare, with some of the most creative cocktails on the island (and great ocean views).

Where to Stay: As long as you have a decent budget, you won't hurt for options on St. Barts. Stay at the eclectic and high-end Gyp Sea Resort (for villas with hilltop views and access to the partner beach club), Le Barthelemy for a prime location on one of the island's best lagoons, or Eden Rock.

St. Thomas

The sunny coastline of St. Thomas
Photo: Oliver W. Ottley III / Getty Images

St. Thomas is the easiest of the US Virgin Islands to reach, with an international airport offering many direct flights from the US. Despite that, it's not nearly as popular as other Caribbean islands, possibly because it's more focused on history and the outdoors, and doesn't offer the sprawling, all-inclusive resorts of more popular islands.

What St. Thomas does offer is an island rich in history. The capital city (Charlotte Amalie) has colorful streets lined with colonial architecture, and the fascinating Pirates Treasure Museum chronicles the islands' pirate and seafaring history. The island is also known for clear water, meaning the snorkeling and scuba diving are world-class. St. Thomas also offers great access to even less-visited islands, including St. John and St. Croix, neither of which have airports. On St. John, guests can explore Virgin Islands National Park, one of the least-visited parks in the national park system. St. Croix is also an option, offering a blend of luxury and nature.

Things to Do: Good luck finding better beaches in the US than those on St. Thomas. Be sure to visit Magens Bay Beach, with a half-mile of soft white sand and clear turquoise water. Snorkelers should book a small-group tour to the Baths of Virgin Gorda, the caves rumored to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. For extra privacy, consider renting your own catamaran for the day or taking a private mimosa breakfast sail.

Where to Stay: The newly opened Westin Frenchman's Reef sits on a private peninsula with a large beach area in a convenient location near the ferry terminals and capital city. For something a bit further out, consider Club Wyndham Elysian Beach Resort or The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. Both sit on the eastern side of the island closer to Red Hook and Great Bay.


Best couples' trips to Bonaire
Photo: Angelita Niedziejko / Getty Images

Bonaire is arguably one of the best Caribbean islands for couples who scuba dive, as it's known for having some of the best diving in the world. That's thanks to a combination of warm water, healthy reefs, and calm and clear conditions, since it's outside of the hurricane belt. It also has more than 60 shore diving sites around the island, and most resorts on Bonaire include unlimited tanks and a rental car so you can dive whenever and wherever you want during your visit.

But diving aside, Bonaire is still relatively sleepy, making it an ideal island for couples looking to escape the Caribbean crowds. Like scuba diving, the snorkeling is world-class (and also available from the shore). When you're not in the ocean, you can try windsurfing, enjoy a local beer in a lagoon bar, or relax at your hotel, since the island offers everything from friendly dive resorts to extremely elegant boutique hotels.

Things to Do: If you're into diving, you'll probably want to stay at a dive resort, which will have an in-house dive shop. If you'd prefer to do just a few dives, book a charter with Aqua Fun Bonaire, which offers both diving and snorkeling trips. You can also do photography tours with a private photographer or book a sail on a catamaran to Klein Bonaire, an uninhabited island known for crystal-clear water.

Where to Stay: Divers should consider resorts like Buddy Dive or Captain Don's Habitat, both of which have house reefs and unlimited dive packages. Couples looking for a luxury stay should consider the all-suites Bellafonte Hotel, with in-room massages and daily yoga, or the Harbour Village Beach Club, with a private marina and multiple restaurants and beachfront bars.

St. Lucia

Couples' vacations to St. Lucia
Photo: nzeissig / Getty Images

St. Lucia stands out as an exceptional destination for couples seeking luxury and privacy in the Caribbean, partially because it's most known for its combination of natural beauty and upscale accommodations. While the beaches are gorgeous, it's actually the island's mountain summits—the two twin peaks, called the Pitons—that define the island's geography. In addition to amazing hiking, the Pitons also provide a breathtaking backdrop for many of the island's high-end cliffside resorts and private villas.

St. Lucia is dedicated to preserving its natural beauty, and about 75 percent of the island is untouched rainforest. Most of the attractions, restaurants and hotels on the island are respectful of the environment, making it easy to find plenty of opportunities to dine surrounded by the natural sounds of the rainforest or ocean.

Things to Do: St. Lucia is loaded with activities you won't find on other Caribbean islands. You can journey into the interior of the island to soak in volcanic mud baths (followed by washing off in a rainforest waterfall), hike the Pitons or drive to the summit of an active volcano.

If you'd prefer to get a little less dirty, book a rum tasting tour or massages and a temazcal session at the gorgeous Rainforest Spa.

Where to Stay: St. Lucia's most well-known hotel is the glamorous Jade Mountain Resort, with infinity pools and perfect views from its cliffside perch. But it's not the only luxurious option on the island. Rabot Hotel offers luxury stays in eco-friendly villas on a working cacao farm, and Serenity at Coconut Bay is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort complete with a lazy river and beachside butler service.


The romantic beaches of Barbados
Photo: Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

If you've never considered Barbados as a travel destination before, you're missing out. While the island has a great food scene, fantastic snorkeling and a packed calendar of festivals that welcome locals and residents alike, it has something else you won't find in most places: caves. Lots of them. That makes Barbados an excellent destination for anyone obsessed with secret, less-traveled places.

Even if you don't know much about Barbados, you probably know it's well-associated with rum. Indeed, the modern concept of rum was born in Barbados, and couples seeking a bit of privacy on their Caribbean honeymoon or special occasion trip can spring for everything from private rum-tasting tours to rum-pairing dinners inside a rum vault.

Things to Do: You need to tour at least one cave while you're on Barbados—after all, the island has more than 1,000. One of the best ways couples can explore the island's underground wonderland is by booking a couples massage at the Natura Spa, with tables suspended over a grotto inside a cave. Couples with a sense of adventure can book seats on a nighttime submarine tour to see creatures like pulsating jellyfish and neon octopi come to life. Those who prefer daytime adventures can set sail with a prosecco in hand to snorkel with sea turtles or paddle a clear kayak over a shallow shipwreck.

Where to Stay: Little Arches Boutique Hotel is a romantic, adults-only hotel with the feel of a B&B and the amenities of a first-class resort, like two pools and access to a secluded hidden beach. The Coral Reef Club is a private plantation-style estate (plus an on-site spa and volunteer opportunities to help native sea turtles) and Sandy Lane is one of the most glamorous hotels in the Caribbean, with an on-site gelato bar and daily picnic sails.

Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago beaches for best couples' vacation
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

The islands of Trindad and Tobago are probably the best Caribbean islands for couples who seek out unique culinary adventures. Sitting very close to the coast of South America, the islands' cuisine fuses not just South American and Caribbean, but also flavors from the countries of various explorers who once visited the area. Much of the population is of Indian descent, so visitors can dive into Caribbean variations on dishes like curries, samosas, chutneys and some of the best street food you'll ever have in your life. Desserts are also noteworthy, and tend to be heavy on local ingredients like guava, mango, coconut and sweet potato.

Culinary strengths aside, the country boasts plenty of nature-based experiences, like birding at a hummingbird-filled nature reserve, touring the islands' waterfalls and beaches, or attending one of the many festivals across the islands. Carnival is a massive celebration, and Bessfest is a festival to celebrate the country's mouth-watering food and drink scene.

Things to Do: Aside from nature adventures like birding and visiting waterfalls, couples will want to budget at least a day or two for relaxing on gorgeous beaches like Pigeon Point Beach, Manzanilla Beach or Maracas Beach. You can take a beach tour or drive yourself. Foodies will also want to make advanced reservations for activities like nighttime food tours, tasting menu dinners at the Meena House or meals at the reservation-only Kali'na Restaurant.

Where to Stay: The Villas at Stonehaven is a boutique hotel backing to a bird sanctuary with private infinity pools for each villa, and Castara Retreat is a romantic eco-lodge on a cliff overlooking a jungle beach. Coco Reef Tobago is the best pick for couples looking for an easy, stress-free stay, with on-site activity bookings and options for all-inclusive packages.

Puerto Rico

Couples getaway to Puerto Rico
Photo: Thao Pham / Getty Images

Puerto Rico is one of the easiest islands to reach from the US and has quite a bit to offer, from the vibrant, salsa-filled streets of San Juan to the laid-back surfer bars in Rincón to the sleepy, palm-tree-dotted beaches of Vieques. Unlike many smaller islands, Puerto Rico also has quite the range of lodging options, from boutique hotels near El Yunque Rainforest to all-inclusive beachfront resorts. The island is home to a crop of new wellness properties, as well as historical hotels in San Juan.

One of Puerto Rico's key attractions is its accessibility, making it one of the best Caribbean islands for couples who don't want to deal with customs or currency exchanges, since it's a US territory. Couples seeking luxury should spend at least one night exploring the small bars and restaurants in San Juan, especially since Puerto Rican food is among the best in the Caribbean.

For couples seeking privacy, Puerto Rico's luxury resorts often feature secluded villas, private pools and access to private beaches. Small islands like Vieques and Culebra are rarely ever crowded, and if you visit in the off season (late summer to late fall), you may feel like you have some island beaches entirely to yourself.

Things to Do: If you venture to Vieques, be sure to book a kayak tour on the island's bioluminescent bay. In San Juan, you can't go wrong with a downtown food tour, and history buffs will want to visit at least one of the territory's historic sites. You can take to the water with snorkel scooter tours or sunset catamaran sails, and Batey Adventures offers activities like cave tubing and hacienda tours.

Where to Stay: In downtown San Juan, book a balcony room at El Colonial, a historic hotel with rooftop baths and an all-inclusive bar. Just outside San Juan are the Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, two exceptionally posh beach resorts that cater to the most exclusive of clientele. Golfers can't go wrong with the Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort, and the Rainforest Inn offers easy access to El Yunque Rainforest with activities like rainforest picnics and private guided hikes.

St. Maarten

St. Maarten honeymoon
Photo: Barry Winiker / Getty Images

St. Maarten will check a lot of boxes for many couples for several reasons: There are direct flights from the US; its towns have a unique blend of French, Dutch and Caribbean cultures; and its beaches range from remote secret coves to the party scene of Maho Beach. For indecisive couples, or for couples who want to experience a little bit of everything the Caribbean offers, St. Maarten is a great choice.

The island is split between French control (Saint Martin) and Dutch control (Sint Maarten). It's easy to plan an anniversary trip or romantic getaway to either, since they both have high-end resorts, restaurants and lounges. Couples seeking a bit of luxury may want to rent the private jacuzzi cabana at the rainforested Loterie Farm, charter a private speedboat to visit the beaches on nearby Anguilla, or book a private driver for an after-dark nightlife tour. Adventurous couples seeking privacy can book small-group scuba diving charters with SXM Divers, and couples who prefer all-inclusive resorts will have no shortage of high-end and budget-friendly options.

Things to Do: Even visitors who wouldn't normally go ziplining will want to take a ride on the Flying Dutchman. It's a swing-style zipline (you'll sit in a bucket-seat harness) with amazing views of nearby islands (and a bar) at the top. To see the island, book a customizable private island tour or beach tour that includes a stop to snorkel with sea turtles. For a good snorkeling beach that never seems crowded, visit Dawn Bay, and for a beach club where you'll feel like a one-percenter, book a private cabana at The Morgan Resort.

Where to Stay: For a high-end all-inclusive resort in St. Maarten, book the Oceans Resort within Divi Little Bay. It's a resort-within-a-resort, with ocean-view suites and options for all-inclusive packages. Belmond La Samanna is probably the most chic resort on the island, with French Riviera-inspired decor and high-end activity offerings. For a romantic, more private experience, book a suite at the adults-only Sonesta Ocean Point Resort, where you can choose from amenities like butler service or rooms with swim-out pool access.

Dominican Republic

The romantic beaches of Dominican Republic
Photo: © Marco Bottigelli / Getty Images

The best Caribbean island for couples seeking a romantic getaway that won't break the bank is without a doubt the Dominican Republic. That's because certain areas of the island—most notably Punta Cana, home to one of the longest stretches of beach in the DR—are covered with large all-inclusive resorts. That competition both drives the prices down and encourages resorts to constantly add new amenities, features and luxury services.

That's good news for couples, who can often find high-end vacation packages in the DR for hundreds less than nearby islands. It's also ideal for couples focused on relaxation, as they can spend a few days lounging on their private decks and taking advantage of the many amenities the resorts offer. Be sure to spend at least one day in Santo Domingo, the island's capital and the oldest European settlement in the Americas. The colorful city mixes historical sites with avant-garde outdoor murals. Restaurants range from food stands selling spicy sancocho stew to high-end steakhouses.

Things to Do: Aside from lounging at your resort, you may want to consider taking a day trip to nearby Saona Island. It's part of Cotubanamá National Park and has amazing beaches, plus thriving populations of local flora and fauna. There are also lots of eco-tour companies on the DR with tours to the island's best natural sites, like the Damajagua waterfalls, Sosua Bay (great for diving and snorkeling), or Rio Chavon, known for boat tours through the jungle.

Where to Stay: The Dominican Republic is known for all-inclusive resorts, like the five-star Sanctuary Cap Cana (adults-only), the four-star Dreams Onyx Resort and Spa (with five pools), or the Temptation Resort, catering to couples looking to up the romance factor on vacation.

If you don't want an all-inclusive, good options for luxury include the timeless Eden Roc Cap Cana, Tortuga Bay Hotel at Puntacana Resort (designed by Oscar de la Renta), or Amanera, as posh as anything in the south of France.


Romantic getaway to Jamaica
Photo: lucky-photographer / Getty Images

When it comes to overwater bungalows, nearly all are in locations further afield than the Caribbean—usually they're in the Maldives or somewhere in the South Pacific. Fortunately, there are some in the Caribbean, and Jamaica is the best Caribbean island for couples who want to step off their patio and directly into an ocean or lagoon. There are two Sandals resorts on the island, both of which offer the enviable overwater rooms. If those are too pricey, you'll also find day spas with overwater massage rooms, a floating bar 30 minutes off the coast, and glass-bottom boat tours to make it feel like you're floating above (or under) the water.

Things to Do: Most people know reggae music originated in Jamaica, so spend at least one evening at one of the island's top reggae bars, like the open-air Pier 1 or Wickie Wackie Live, near Kingston. The island's Blue Mountains are also famous, offering activities like hikes to hidden waterfalls and coffee plantation tours. Or, for something extra-romantic, consider booking a couple's beach photoshoot with a private photographer. It's an especially great honeymoon destination.

Where to Stay: For overwater bungalows, you have two options: Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay or Sandals South Coast in Whitehall. Azul Beach Resort is an all-inclusive in Negril located on a huge stretch of excellent beach, and The Caves is a boutique hotel with cliffside cottages and a gorgeous bar built into a natural cave.

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