One of the best things about living in Miami is its proximity to some of the most beautiful places on Earth: Hop on a flight and you’re on an island in the Caribbean. Why, though, stop at just one?
Many of the islands in the Caribbean are located within a few miles of each other, meaning that you can extend your vacation by island hopping — and taking advantage of the chance to experience a completely different culture. Best of all, you won’t need to book additional flights or hotels — these four pairings require nothing more than a quick ferry ride.
St. Kitts to Nevis
St. Kitts may be one of the most underrated destinations in the Caribbean. The tiny island — home to lush mountains and golden-sand beaches — is about a three-hour flight from Miami. Once you’re there, you’ll find one of the oldest rum distilleries in the Caribbean, Old Road Rum, plus towering volcanoes and playful green vervet monkeys.
Start your stay at the Park Hyatt St. Kitts. The luxury resort features 126 gorgeous guest rooms, and it’s the only resort in St. Kitts that offers suites with private plunge pools and sundecks. Each of the contemporary guest rooms features a private balcony or terrace, and many offer unobstructed views of St. Kitts’ sister island, Nevis. Dining options include The Stone Barn, an adults-only restaurant that offers a five- and six-course tasting menu along with an impressive portfolio of international wines.
Then on to Nevis
The resort’s concierge can arrange a ferry service that takes off right from its private pier. (Those staying elsewhere can avail themselves of public ferries and water taxis, with the latter being considerably quicker than the former.) In less than 10 minutes, you’ll touch down on the shores of Nevis, where you can spend the day exploring its botanical gardens, hike to the top of Nevis Peak or sip rum punch at the local’s favorite watering hole, Sunshine Bar.
St. Thomas to St. John
Along with St. John and St. Croix, St. Thomas is part of the island chain of the US Virgin Islands. It’s a sub-three-hour flight from Miami, and of course, US citizens won’t need a passport to enter the USVI, making this an attractive option for a last-minute getaway.
Book a few nights at the Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham St. Thomas, located directly on the white sand beach of Water Bay, on the island’s eastern end. The guest rooms are great for large groups, with every suite — from the studio to the two-bedroom — offering a kitchenette along with living and dining areas. The accommodations are decked out with sleek wood floors and punchy tropical decor; all suites come with an outdoor seating area, perfect for sunset watching. With yoga classes, snorkeling and access to jet skis, you can be as active (or inactive) as you want to be.
Then on to St. John
To get to neighboring St. John, you’ll have to take the ferry located in Red Hook, which is about 10 minutes from the resort. After a 15-minute trip, you can hail an open-air taxi to hike the Peace Hill Windmill (watch out for donkeys), grab a burger from the popular food spot Skinny Legs or hang out on one of the many white-sand beaches , like Trunk Bay or Honeymoon Beach.
Anguilla to St. Martin/St Maarten
American Airlines now offers direct flights from Miami to Aguilla, and part of the island’s draw is its “low key” factor. There are no tall highrises or huge, sprawling resorts on the island. Instead, you’ll get boutique hotels and villas, miles of pristine beaches and world-class diving and snorkeling spots.
Plan your stay in Anguilla around the Frangipani Beach Resort. The family-owned resort with only 23 guest rooms and suites sits on Meads Bay, one of Anguilla’s best-loved beaches. If you need some space to stretch out, the hotel has a 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom villa that’s perfect for families or large groups of friends. Hotel perks include a weekly hosted cocktail party, tennis courts (with lessons) and massages and beauty treatments at Plumeria Balinese Spa. Water sports like water skiing, wakeboarding and kayaking are included in your stay.
Then on to St. Martin/St Maarten
Guests at Frangipani can book a catamaran through the resort or take a public ferry to island-hop to St. Martin/St. Maarten, the dual island nation that’s about 10 miles away. The 20-minute ferry ride from Anguilla will drop you off on French St. Martin. Here you can climb up Pic Paradis, the highest point on the island, and take a zipline back down. You can also travel to the Dutch side, St. Maarten, to watch the planes come in on Maho Beach or visit the 6,000-square-foot Topper’s Rhum Distillery and take home a bottle of handmade rum.
St. Lucia to Martinique
Considered one of the Caribbean’s most romantic islands, St. Lucia is home to the Pitons, two volcanic peaks that rise majestically from the ocean. The island is located in the Eastern Caribbean — expect a four-hour flight from Miami.
One of the island’s top resorts, The Windjammer Landing St. Lucia, is an all-inclusive property with accommodations ranging from one- and two-bedroom suites to spacious oceanfront villas with up to four bedrooms. The resort is set across 60 rolling acres, with six swimming pools, five restaurants, and three bars, plus access to windsurfing, waterskiing, and wakeboarding. Those looking for a more sedentary vibe can chill out in one of the overwater hammocks.
Then on to Martinique
Martinique is a 90-minute ferry ride. Once you’re there, check out the St. Louis Cathedral, built in the 18th century, and its elaborate stained-glass windows. Habitation Clément is a rum distillery and museum where visitors can learn about the rum-making process (and taste samples, obviously). And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can head to Mount Pelée to scale this active volcano before heading back to St. Lucia.
This article was featured in the InsideHook Miami newsletter. Sign up now for more from the 305.