Coupled or single, there is tons of nightlife to be experienced on most of the Caribbean Islands. However, there are some islands that are ranked above the others as far as nightlife, music, and dancing. If you are envisioning the movie “Cocktail” for your Caribbean vacation, Damon’s Getaways know where all the cool nightlife scenes are in the Islands.
We’ve selected the most highly ranked islands for nightlife fun by Forbes, USA Today. Orbitz, Oyster, Caribbean Travel and many others. Choose the Caribbean island that most fits your vacation style and contact Damon’s Getaways today to book your Caribbean getaway!
A US Territory with a Spanish Speaking Culture, Dancing and Carnival Atmosphere
Puerto Rico, the birthplace of the Pina Colada, is regularly rated in the top 10 of places to party in the Caribbean. It is also rich in history, culture, adventurous outdoor activities, dining, shopping not to mention stunning beaches near it all. And being a US territory, you don’t even need a passport!
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Capital city, was founded by the Spanish in 1521, and it is the oldest city in the US. It is packed with rich history and cultural sites to discover during the day. It has also been dubbed “nightlife Capital of the Caribbean” and once there you’ll find out why.
The city comes alive at night with salsa music and Latin dancing. Old San Juan is a great place for bar-hopping, particularly around San Sebastian Street. Most places feature live music. And late January sees the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, one of the Caribbean’s best street parties.
San Juan’s nightlife includes everything from discos, gay bars, and casinos to a vibrant performing arts scene. Well-dressed tourists and laid-back locals alike often mingle in the lobby bars of large hotels, many of which have bands in the evening. The locals come out to party at about 10 pm and kick it until the daylight hours particularly on weekends.
If you love festivals, plan your visit either around January or June. In January, the San Sebastian Festival is taking place – ideal if you’re into things like Mardi Gras. In June, the entire island turns into an all-night party for the Noche de San Juan.
Outside of San Juan visit La Parguera has an inviting pedestrian mall with a carnival atmosphere. You’ll find vendors selling trinkets, food and drinks; live bands set up on the patios of bars; and – La Parguera’s biggest attraction, its bioluminescent bay. Hop aboard a 20-minute boat ride from the dock brings you to a bay teeming with millions of microscopic organisms that create an underwater glow.
If you need a break from the hopping nightlife, visit Isla Verde beach which fronts the Atlantic Ocean. A few big-name hotels line the beach, flanked by some smaller lodging options, including some chic boutique properties that look like settings for movie stars’ private parties.
Jamaica is a laid-back party with character, culture and breathtaking scenery
Jamaica is the location for anyone who enjoys waking up in a tropical paradise after a night filled with drinking and dancing. With its dramatic sunsets and long-haired windsurfers, and legendary parties, the most notable party beach in Jamaica is the Seven Mile Beach in Negril. It is Jamaica’s longest beach and is buzzing with bars serving ice cold beer, worldwide vacationers, live music and street vendors selling skewers of sizzling Jamaican delights and fresh fruits. There are open fires and grills offering Caribbean-style food and serving generously strong cocktails served in pineapples and coconut shells. Jamaica is also the birthplace of reggae superstar Bob Marley.
You can also visit Kingston “the heartbeat of Jamaica” located at the foot of the Blue Mountains, overlooking the world’s seventh-largest natural harbor and the largest English-speaking city south of Miami. Kingston is Jamaica’s cultural heart, with a wide variety of historical and cultural attractions. There you’ll find a sophisticated, upbeat nightlife and an inviting range of dining venues offering a cosmopolitan contrast to the rest of the island’s slow and easy pace.
Located on Jamaica’s northern coastline, Ocho Rios is a major port for cruise ships and offers many beautiful resorts and beaches. This region is home to one of the island’s much-photographed and best-known natural attractions: Dunn’s River Falls, a dramatic a 600-foot cascading waterfall which can be climbed by foot and not far from where Columbus first landed more than 500 years ago. Amazed by the island’s beauty, the explorer declared: “the land seems to touch the sky.”
In Port Antonio, you can take a hiking expedition to glistening waterfalls and hidden caves, go rafting down the Rio Grande River on a bamboo raft, or take a romantic dip in the natural springs at Reach Falls, where waterfall scene in “Cocktail,” the movie, was filmed. You can enjoy excellent accommodations here at some of the island’s most elegant villas and charming small hotels, tucked into hillsides and overlooking secluded azure coves.
Other special attractions include great shopping, crafts markets, gorgeous gardens, swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Cove, a tour of Nine Miles, the birthplace of reggae legend Bob Marley and the site of his mausoleum.
For sheer excitement and day trips, check out the myriad of tours offered by local operators islandwide, which include horseback riding on the beach; ATV tours; plantation visits; canopy tours; Jungle River tubing; a Black River safari; a reggae tour; catamaran cruises; rafting; and much more.
This Dutch Island is big on beaches, creature comforts, and organized activities!
This amenity-rich island aims to make visitors feel right at home, especially after dark! Aruba’s nightlife is some of the Caribbean’s best. With its beachfront lounges, exciting casinos, and lively clubs, it is easy to relax and sip tropical cocktails, talk about the day’s adventures on the island, dance, and play until the sun rises again.
You can jump into seaside bars where the Caribbean meets the coast in Oranjestad Aruba’s capital city. Try your luck at the casinos that line Palm Beach. Or, enjoy the weekly Carnival celebrations or trip the light fantastic at the many dance clubs.
Energetic Aruba parties day and night. Most of the action centers around downtown Oranjestad where the locals gather at Dutch pub Café Chaos. If you would rather party beachside, head to Moomba Beach Bar & Restaurant for live music and tasty cocktails and food. To do a pub crawl without having to designate a driver, hop aboard the many party buses which will take you there for a few dollars.
Drinking and gambling at one of the several 24/7 casinos are legal for 18-year-olds. Many have live entertainment nightly. Vacationers can find a hotel with a swim-up bar for day drinking, or head to the Palm Beach area at night, which is home to a popular Gusto night club, Senor Frog’s, Soprano’s Piano Bar Saloon Bar, and Bugaloe Beach Bar & Grill.
Aruba also offers an array of duty-free shops. The island is also a favorite port for cruise ships, but visitors also lodge here to take advantage of upscale restaurants, lively nightclubs, and some of the best windsurfing in the world.
With 200 restaurants to choose from, Aruba’s lively dining scene offers a great variety of international cuisines. You’ll find the foods of China, Indonesia, Argentina, and Japan, for starters. Local liqueurs worth investigating include Ponche Crema, made with eggs and rum; and Coe Coei, concocted from the kukwisa plant, better known as agave. Or you can sign up for the Aruba Gastronomic Association’s dine-around or wine-around programs, which sell discounted meal and wine tasting packages redeemable at 25 island restaurants.
Curaçao is an explorer’s paradise with kicking nightlife that is hard to beat!
Albeit smaller than its neighbor Aruba, the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao still has a great spread of hopping bars and clubs. Close to the cruise terminal is Mambo Beach, which houses Wet & Wild Beach Club offering happy hour and live DJs, and Madera Ocean Club, featuring well-priced cocktail and food menus. The more central Willemstad area has 27 Bar & Terrace, a popular live music venue, and Sopranos sports bar. The great windsurfing conditions, photogenic colonial architecture, and rampant beautiful beaches are just cherries on top of the piña coladas.
A lot of Curacao’s partying happens at the beach both day and night. Near capital Willemstad, the side-by-side long stretch of Mambo Beach and Jon Thiel Beach are the island’s party headquarters, especially on Sunday nights. Look also for action in the major resorts. The island’s proximity to Venezuela makes salsa popular enough for an annual two-day festival. In the nightclubs, you’ll hear everything from reggae to samba.
Friday is the big night out in Curaçao, with rollicking happy hours and live music at many bars and hotels. And, as mentioned surprisingly, Sunday-night revelry into the wee hours is an island tradition. Outrageous costumes, blowout parades, and frenetic energy characterize Carnival when the time rolls around. The season lasts longer here than on many other islands, beginning on New Year’s and continuing until midnight the day before Ash Wednesday.
Home to more than 35 captivating beaches, a diverse heritage spanning 55 different cultures, ‘live and let live’ attitude and unrivaled European architecture; Curaçao remains one of the most exceptional islands of the region.
Its capital city, Willemstad features a roster of museums, monuments, flavorful restaurants, and shopping, and was selected in 2013 as one of the Top 5 Cities in the Caribbean by Condé Nast Traveler’s readers. Curaçao’s natural beauty, pristine diving, and snorkeling sites are a favorite with divers and adventure seekers, and its beaches and idyllic weather, situated on the outer fringes of the Hurricane Belt, has won it further accolade and recognition.
Known for pink-sand beaches, British influence, shipwreck diving, and spirited nightlife.
Barbados, the birthplace of rum which is an integral part of any Caribbean party! With thousands of rum shops by day, you will find local fare and conversation. By night you will head to the most popular area for drinking and dining — St. Lawrence Gap, a strip of restaurants, bars, clubs, and hotels near Dover Beach. Local “boogie” buses will take you there. The Cove is a bustling club in that plays a variety of music including calypso and reggae, while nearby Old Jamm Inn has a dance floor, cheap drinks, and a mix of locals and tourists.
For those closer to the capital of Bridgetown, the open-air Harbour Lights is a well-regarded nightclub, while visitors to the Holetown area often make a stop of Red Door Lounge and Drift Ocean Terrace Lounge. Or you could head up to Holetown located along the resort-lined Gold Coast where First and Second streets liven up with music and bistro dining after dark.
Barbados’ culture keenly reflects both the three and half centuries of British rule, gaining its independence in 1966, and of the former slaves who populated the island to cultivate sugarcane under the British. If you visit the island in the summer, you can experience Crop Over, Barbados’ premier festival, which celebrates many Bajan customs. The event can be traced to 18th-century sugar days when a raucous party marked the end of the late-summer sugar season. Today, the five-week Crop Over features markets, carnival shows, calypso concerts, and colorful parades.
You can also enjoy the natural beauty of the island by taking a tram ride through Harrison’s Cave and gape at a breathtaking collection of stalactites, stalagmites, waterfalls, and pools. Stroll through Andromeda Gardens, which brims with orchids, bougainvillea, palms, and ferns.
Tour operators will make your exploration easy with a tour of historic homes and gardens, local arts and crafts, heritage sites, and eco and nature tours. Local experts will be glad to bring you to the top spots, or you can also rent bicycles and motor scooters to find your own adventure.
The Spanish cultural music enlivens the night, while the natural beauty and historic architecture on the island enrich your days!
The Dominican Republic’s capital city of Santo Domingo is packed with bars, nightclubs, and hotels offering live performances. The greatest concentration of party till you drop nightlife is in the city’s Colonial Zone and along the Malecon ocean boardwalk. A variety of Latin and American music abounds including merengue, salsa, bachata, pop, and reggae. You can sample all of them at various spots throughout the city. Onno’s Bar and Sabina Bar are just a couple of favorites. Resorts also entertain with live local music, some until 6 am. In addition to fancy wine bars and buzzing dance clubs, there are grocery stores known as colmados that turn into popular spots for locals to grab a beer and listen to Latin music.
If you want to try Latin dancing you’ve selected the right island. From the local colmados mini-market hangouts to hot lounges, dance clubs and casinos, Dominicans turn out to celebrate their love of life, food, music, and dance. And they enjoy sharing their culture with tourists. So, don’t be shy.
On this island nation, there is an abundance of historic colonial architecture, sea views, and museums, which are excellent ways to keep busy in the day. The Dominican Republican also offers a wide variety of outdoor activities as well. You can go white water rafting, mountain biking, hiking, diving – take your pick. With stunning waterfalls, geothermal vents, underwater pinnacles, rare parrots and a boiling lake distinguish this natural wonderland.
Located between Guadeloupe and Martinique, Dominica hosts mountains soaring to nearly 5,000 feet, a thriving rainforest, hundreds of rivers cascading in dramatic waterfalls, rare orchids and colorful birds. Geothermal activity results in colorful hot springs, bubbling mud pools, small geysers, and Boiling Lake, the second largest lake of its kind in the world. The sites are found in Morne Trois Pitons National Park.
The Waitukubuli National Trail encompasses 114 miles of trail spanning and twisting the length of this 29-mile long island. Mountain biking, horseback riding, river tubing, kayaking and jeep safaris are other ways of enjoying Dominica’s natural gifts.
The island’s waters also host 22 species of whales and dolphins, making it a prime whale-watching destination year-round. Other ways to enjoy the water include kayaking, sailing, and fishing. Beaches are mostly black sand, with a few golden strands in the northeast.
Trinidad & Tobago
In Trinidad & Tobago, there are only two seasons: Carnival and Getting Ready for Carnival.
Trinidad is probably the biggest party island, especially during the Carnival season, which runs the same time as Mardi-Gras in the US. While Carnival typically takes place in February or March, the celebrations begin on December 26 each year with music and costume competitions, parties and celebrations that culminate on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. The organized bands that march in Carnival sponsor ‘mas’ camps (short for masquerade) at numerous venues in and around the busy capital of Port-of-Spain and visitors from around the world are invited to experience the heart-pounding rhythms and jaw-dropping costumes by joining the parade, known locally as “playing mas.”
It does not have to be Carnival time to find the people of Trinidad dancing and music making, but you will find a flurry of nightlife in the weeks leading up to the winter festival. Look for the panyards where local Carnival bands are practicing for the event. Pan (steel drum), calypso and soca were invented here, and that’s what you’ll hear in the night owl clubs around capital Port of Spain, particularly along Ariapita Avenue. Also, check out who’s on stage at the National Academy for the Performing Arts.
Bursting with unparalleled spirit and culture, the dual-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago offers visitors the opportunity to experience everything from the cosmopolitan, bustling cities and towns in Trinidad, too lazy days sunbathing on pristine beaches in Tobago. While the island is famous for its lively Carnival celebrations the destination’s bountiful countryside with vast forest preserves and marshland, remains off the beaten path for many travelers.
During the day, the capital city of Port of Spain boasts several art galleries featuring the works of local painters and sculptors, and visitors can also check out the Magnificent Seven, a row of early 20th-century mansions along the Savannah, Port-of-Spain’s ‘Central Park.’
For visitors seeking unique, unusual and, to some, seriously competitive sports, goat racing is all the rage on the island of Tobago with a yearly competition usually taking place in early April. Those who would like to show their competitive spirit can cheer on their goat and jockey of choice or participate in the crab races that take place at the same time.
We mentioned only seven islands among the 30 in the Caribbean. We’d enjoy connecting with you to match you with the right Caribbean experience for you! Call us today for information on vacation packages, specials and all of your travel needs!