El Yunque National Forest named Best Caribbean Attraction!
Old San Juan takes second place
There's more to the Caribbean than just beautiful beaches (though we love those too). From waterfalls and caves to ziplines and historic plantations, Caribbean travelers have no shortage of things to see and do.
St. Nicholas Abbey (Barbados)
This stone and wood great house, dating back to the seventeenth century, is one of the last remaining Jacobean-style houses in the Western Hemisphere. The first floor is still furnished with period pieces, and visitors can watch cane grinding in an old rum distillery out back. Photo courtesy of bixentro / Flickr
Rainforest Adventures (Sint Maarten)
Recently opened in fall of 2017, Rainforest Adventures in Sint Maarten is home to the world's steepest zipline, where riders reach speeds of 56 miles per hour while descending 1,050 feet along the 2,800-foot line. Other attractions in the park include an aerial tramway, chairlift and bobsled. Photo courtesy of Rainforest Adventures St Maarten / Facebook
Hunte's Gardens (Barbados)
Situated in the heart of the Barbados rainforest, Hunte's Gardens are the work of famous local horticulturalist Anthony Hunte. Aside from the numerous tropical plants, monkeys, lizards and other critters often visit the garden. Photo courtesy of Alex Dixon / Flickr
Donkey Sanctuary Aruba (Aruba)
When cars replaced donkeys as the main mode of transportation on the island of Aruba, the animals were abandoned to wander, often susceptible to abuse. Founded in 1997, Donkey Sanctuary Aruba provides a protected environment for 130 donkeys. Photo courtesy of Art Vandelay / Flickr
Dunn's River Falls (Ocho Rios, Jamaica)
Dunn's River Fall's 600-foot long waterfall (180 feet high) with several tiers and wading pools presents a striking centerpiece for the mountain-like setting. Visitors can hike to the top of the falls with an experienced guide for a modest price, or they can just opt for a picnic at its base and allow the cool mist to give them welcome relief from the heat. Photo courtesy of Bahman / Flickr
Mystic Mountain Jamaica (Ocho Rios, Jamaica)
Travelers can easily spend a day at Mystic Mountain on the zip line or scenic tramway floating 700 feet above the rainforest canopy. Stroll through the hummingbird and butterfly gardens and take a ride down a water slide or dip in the swimming pool. The bobsled ride is the park's signature attraction. Photo courtesy of Mystic River Rainforest Adventures
Arikok National Park (Aruba)
Covering 20 percent of the island of Aruba, Arikok National Park features cacti-covered hills and a dramatic coastline. Visitors to the park can climb into ruins of an old gold mine, search for Arawak petroglyphs or go snorkeling in a natural pool. Photo courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Shete Boka National Park (Curacao)
Covering the wave-exposed northern coast of Curacao, Shete Boka National Park is famous for its rugged terrain, wave-cut caverns and numerous beaches where sea turtles come to lay their eggs. Photo courtesy of iStock photo
Old San Juan (Puerto Rico)
The cobbled streets and colorful colonial architecture of Old San Juan have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. A highlight of the old city is La Fortaleza, an imposing series of defensive structures built between the 16th and 20th centuries to protect the city. Photo courtesy of iStock / dennisvdw
El Yunque National Forest (Puerto Rico)
This fascinating slice of wildlife is an easy day trip from San Juan. More than 100 billion gallons of rain falls each year on the 28,000-acre forest, and ore than 240 species of trees, 50 species of ferns and 20 varieties of wild orchids are represented here. Photo courtesy of iStock / dennisvdw
The top 10 winners in the category Best Caribbean Attraction are as follows:
- El Yunque National Forest - Puerto Rico
- Old San Juan - Puerto Rico
- Shete Boka National Park - Curacao
- Arikok National Park - Aruba
- Mystic Mountain Jamaica - Ocho Rios, Jamaica
- Dunn's River Falls - Ocho Rios, Jamaica
- Donkey Sanctuary Aruba - Aruba
- Hunte's Gardens - Barbados
- Rainforest Adventures - Sint Maarten
- St. Nicholas Abbey - Barbados
A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon (JetSetSarah.com), Melanie Reffes and Chelle Koster Walton (10Best) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of Caribbean travel.
Congratulations to all these winning attractions!
A note on Irma and Maria: The 2017 hurricane season greatly impacted the Caribbean, with hurricanes Irma and Maria leaving destruction in their wakes. Where some islands were able to bounce back quickly, recovery continues on others. Each of our nominees in this contest is either currently open to visitors or has an expected opening date in 2018.