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3 Caribbean destinations to consider for your next island getaway

Picture this: miles of soft white sand tickling your toes, glorious sun, sea and sand, and awe-inspiring jungles that are full of chirps and cackles. Warm turquoise waters that just demand a dip or a snorkel adventure and perfect cocktails delivered to your sun lounger.

With an overwhelming number of choices, many South Africans are now exploring further shores and making tropical paradise holiday dreams in the Caribbean a reality.

Here are three destinations to consider for your next island holiday:

Dominican Republic

Meet the lively Dominican Republic, much loved as the most fun and lively member of the Caribbean island family. A sunny island with a warm and colourful culture, the Dominican Republic is the birthplace of both the Merengue and the Bachata dances. Couples will love walks to take in magnificent mountains and rainforests alongside tumbling waterfalls and, of course, gorgeous beaches.

There are few better places to enjoy the sun with a Caribbean cocktail in hand and a seemingly infinite view of the turquoise horizon. Parents will find plenty of authentic dance halls across the island, bustling with dancers and inviting visitors to join in and get their groove on. Younger members of the family will find plenty of fun on the island’s many white sandy beaches. Swim in the azure blue waters of Hoyo Azul, take wander around the old colonial town of Santo Domingo or catch a baseball game with the kids at Estadio Quisqueya.

The best Dominican holidays start with a stay at the postcard-perfect all-inclusive resort of Club Med Punta Cana. This sunny family-friendly resort set in a coconut grove has an amazing circus-themed playground for the kids and a chic Zen Oasis for adults. Take to the waves for an ocean swim, coast along the surf on a stand-up paddleboard or take an excursion out to spot local whales, friendly cities, colonial ruins and amazing jungle adventures.

Best time to travel: The best time to visit the Dominican Republic is between December and May when the weather is drier and you can expect average highs between 29°C and 31°C.

Visa requirements: A visa is not required for those travelling as tourists.

The Bahamas

Famous for pirates, Christopher Columbus, and a collection of 2,000 beaches with some of the world’s clearest waters, you’ll find everything you need for a Caribbean family holiday in the Bahamas - from fine dining and luxury shopping malls of Nassau to kayaking and diving around the cays and stunning coral reefs. Sitting just off the coast of Florida, the Bahamas are like the Caribbean in a microcosm. This makes them the perfect destination for first-timers or those who simply enjoy a spot of island hopping. You will find lots of fun things to do as adults in the Bahamas and plenty to keep kids and teenagers happy whether it’s watersports, dolphin spotting or jerk chicken and conch at your local fish fry. Head over to San Salvador island for an amazing all-inclusive stay at the vibey beautiful resort Club Med Columbus Isle. With plenty of entertainment, watersports and jaw-dropping ocean views, it is perfect for groups of friends, couple getaways and singles.

Best time to travel: The best time to travel to the Bahamas is between December and April when the weather is warm and dry, with average highs between 25°C and 27°C.

Visa requirements: South African nationals must hold a valid passport, but no visa is required for a stay of up to three months.

Turks and Caicos

Despite its proximity to the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos islands are by far the quietest and least populated in the Caribbean. The Bahamas' lesser-known neighbour, is just as beautiful and even more enchanting. A dreamy retreat for couples looking to de-stress in the warmth of the Caribbean sun. These islands are a watersports paradise, with some of the world’s best locations for diving. The pristine white sands of Grace Bay Beach have a serious wow factor even by Caribbean standards. The adults-only newly redesigned Club Med Turkoise in the southeast Bahamas is perfect for grown-up family reunions. Enjoy a once in a lifetime diving experience where manta rays and turtles drift by gracefully. Avid deep sea divers will love Bight Reef, a favourite underwater haunt. This charming destination will be a little slice of heaven you’ll hate to leave behind. Ease your toes into the sand, indulge your curiosity, and dive into the best places in the Caribbean.

Best time to travel: The best time to travel to the Turks & Caicos islands is between January and May when the weather is dry and pleasant, with average highs of 30°C.

Visa requirements: South African citizens do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days, provided they hold a passport valid for the period of intended stay.

The Caribbean is the most picturesque location in the world, offering so much to enjoy, explore and marvel at. And its delights can be enjoyed under blue skies and a warm sun. Go beyond your comfort zone for your next holiday and discover the Caribbean with its white welcoming sands and clear, blue waters - discover a region that has, even more, to offer than top-class sun worship.

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