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Top 10 Favorite Caribbean Islands

January 30, 2014
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Some people actually do sail off onto the sunset. Take Mark and Liesbet Collaert. The Bay Area couple first sailed away from San Francisco in 2005, but their monohull boat wasn’t right. They set sail again in 2007 aboard their 35-foot catamaran Irie, and have been at sea ever since, visiting more than 100 islands. So we asked them: Which were your favorites? That drew a silence. So we shrunk our question. Here Liesbet ranks their Top 10 Caribbean islands. And yep, they saw most all of ’em.

Best of the Caribbean | 100 Dream Trips | Best Islands to Live On

Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Jost Van Dyke

Jost Van Dyke

Located in the British Virgin Islands, it has a Caribbean feel and a vacation atmosphere. The sandy beaches are lined with palm trees and funky beach bars, like the famous Soggy Dollar Bar and the legendary Foxy’s. Be sure to visit the nearby “Bubbly Pool,” a natural Jacuzzi — go at high tide. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Dominica

Dominica

Part of the Leeward Islands, Dominica comes as a pleasant surprise. Instead of azure waters and attractive beaches, there’s endless hiking through the mountains. Think lush jungle, magnificent waterfalls, untouched nature and few tourists. This little-known gem is worth a trip. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Cayo de Agua

Cayo de Agua

The most special out island in the Los Roques group, north of Venezuela, offers good snorkeling, long beach walks, a cute light house and a picturesque sand bank. Go for a swim in this partly submerged stretch of sand is surrounded by aquamarine water. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire is the “B” in the ABC islands, just north of South America. Famous for its clear water and sublime diving and snorkeling, it also offers a desert-like interior with a must-do national park, ponds with flamingos, cactus fences and massive salt flats. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Double Breasted Cays

Double Breasted Cays

These hard-to-reach islands lie in the northern part of the Abacos, an island group in the Bahamas. They were our first introduction to super-clear water, inviting sand spits and spectacular beaches. To us, they represented beauty, peace and freedom. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Barbuda

Barbuda

Barbuda is the northern island in the country of Antigua and Barbuda, in the Lesser Antilles. Wild, quiet and remote, the island’s interior is full of roaming donkeys, epic vistas and endless stretches of empty white sand (the country’s No. 1 export). Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Tobago Cays

Tobago Cays

To many sailors, this group of islands in the Grenadines (St. Vincent and the Grenadines) is a true highlight. The little cays have walks to the top for fabulous views and shady beaches. Snorkeling on the outer reef is cool; snorkeling with the many sea turtles is even cooler. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Grenada

Grenada

Grenada, located in the Windward Islands, is a combination of all good things Caribbean: friendly locals; a vibrant Carnival scene; hiking ops through mountains, waterfalls and lush jungle; great food; stunning beaches; and a historical capital city. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | East Lemmon Cays

East Lemmon Cays

Part of the intriguing San Blas archipelago in Panama, these islands were our favorite spot during a year of exploring the primitive villages and mind-blowingly beautiful islands. Friendly Kuna Indians living in huts, heaps of palm trees, sandy beaches and killer snorkeling sum them up. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
Four Years of Sailing Through Caribbean Islands | Island Destinations | Sailing | Carriacou

Carriacou

Also part of the country of Grenada, this island is extremely laid-back and different. It doesn’t have much and that’s the charm. Peace and friendliness, amazing beaches and coral reefs, a chunk of culture, and the Caribbean atmosphere of years past are just a few of the reasons it comes in at No. 1. Mark and Liesbet Collaert
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