The Caribbean is home to countless isles, each promising their own variation of paradise. But, tucked away between the many idyllic shores, nestled between charming ports and picturesque vistas are places and experiences that are wholly one of a kind; Mother Nature broke the mold after creating each of these moments in time. We’ve compiled our favorite selection of best-kept secrets and semi-hidden gems for you to discover.

Visit Great Bird Island in Antigua

Quite possibly the closest we’ll ever come to Jurassic Park in real life, Great Bird Island is exactly what the name implies: a small islet (just 20 acres), off the coast of Antigua, that’s home to a truly great collection of the dinosaurs’ closest living relatives. Whether you’re an aspiring ornithologist or just an amateur bird-watcher, spotting the isle’s native denizens — such as the Red-Billed Tropicbird, the Brown Pelican and the Lesser Antillean Bullfinch — as they swoop and soar makes for a colorful air show and exciting adventure.

Explore El Yunque Rainforest in Puerto Rico

It’s easy to want to stay in San Juan when you visit Puerto Rico — what with its colorful Spanish colonial streets, lively bars and serene beaches. But you should absolutely make the trek to, and through, El Yunque National Forest. As the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, its pleasures are unique, diverse and enthralling. Thrill seekers will love the chance to zip line through the canopy or explore via ATV, while those seeking a calmer moment in nature will love El Yunque’s canopied picnic areas and hiking trails.

Have a Drink at Floyd’s Pelican Bar in Jamaica

Everyone has a favorite legendary dive bar they’ve visited — “I visited X in New York,” or, “We had sake at Y in an alleyway in Tokyo” — but none can hold a candle to Floyd’s Pelican Bar. Comprised entirely of driftwood atop a sand bar off the coast of Treasure Beach, Floyd’s is simplicity perfected. The menu is fresh fish and lobster (whatever the fishermen deliver), the drinks menu is just cold Red Stripe beer and the entertainment options are snorkeling in the shallow water or a game of dominoes.

Take a Dip at Cura di Tortuga in Aruba

Also known as “Conchi,” this natural volcanic pool is one of Aruba’s national treasures. Hidden away behind rugged terrain, you’ll have to hike (or ride horseback, or take a 4×4) to get here. The payoff is immediate: There’s an air of enchantment to this cool blue pool, as if it was an all-natural Jacuzzi.

Go Cave Tubing in Belize

Beneath the surface of Belize lies an otherworldly adventure — subterranean rivers that flow through limestone caverns. The Maya believed they were the entrance to the underworld; in the current day they’re simply a perfect way to spend the afternoon. You’ll float in inner tubes beneath stalactites, surrounded by Belizean rainforest, all the while learning about cave geology and the rich Maya history. Bonus points that you beat the tropical heat.

Visit Stingray City in Grand Cayman

Quite possibly the most popular city in Grand Cayman behind George Town, Stingray City isn’t on the island proper — it’s 25 minutes out at sea. Here, across a collection of sandbars, hundreds of southern stingrays congregate and mingle with visitors. Spend the day hanging out with these curious creatures and even feed them from your hand!

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