Azure waters, pirates, secluded islands, and warm weather. Most of these locations are still colonies of Western countries: the Netherlands, the US, UK. Its main draw is the fact that it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the United States.
Why should you go? Friendly people, nice weather, a mix of history and nature.
How to get there? There are multiple flights to Puerto Rico every day coming from the continental United States. You’ll need to have either a US visa or your country should be part of the Visa Waiver Program to be able to fly here.
Places to see? Old San Juan, the Bio Bays (they have 3 out of 5 in the world – Puerto Mosquito in Vieques, Laguna Grande in Fajardo, and La Parguera in Lajas), and pristine beaches (Flamengo Beach in Culebra).
Photo: El Yunque Rainforest
Turks & Caicos
Why should you go? They’ve got one of the longest coral reefs in the world. Not a lot of tourists hanging (in North & Middle Caicos), making you feel like you’re all alone in a beach to yourself.
How to get there? There are multiple airlines that fly here to Providenciales International Airport from London, the US, Canada, and other Caribbean islands. You’ll need to have a valid UK or US visa (or a citizen of said countries), otherwise you’ll need to apply for a visa to get in.
Places to see? Grace Beach, voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Historic old plantation houses and ruins dotted around Providenciales, North Caicos & Middle Caicos, and lots and lots of other white sand beaches.
Sint Maarten/St Martin
Why should you go? One of the most dangerous airports is found here. If you want a rush, watch airplanes land precariously close to Maho Beach, found at the Western end of Princess Juliana Airport.
How to get there? Multiple airlines fly to Sint Maarten from Europe, the US, South America and several Caribbean islands. Part of the thrill is riding a bigger jet and watching how the plane would land at the Princess Juliana airport!
Places to see? The island is split between the French side and the Dutch side. You’ll find multiple beaches with crystal clear water, and casinos around the island.
Why should you go? This place seems like it has been left back in the 1970s, with the vintage cars and architecture, not to mention the cigars that made them famous in the first place. The country is safe to travel to though, and is also one of the places less travelled to.
How to get there? Unfortunately, you can’t fly here directly from the US. You can fly from Europe, Canada or Mexico, but do not at all cost lose the tourist card that they will give you! You’ll need that to fly out of the country.
Places to see? Havana, for one – It’s got an interesting mix of Spanish architecture. You can also go to Trinidad, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
DerMikelele (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)