Best Caribbean Destinations for Nightlife
While some Caribbean destinations turn in for the night (especially on the smaller islands), others party all night long and feature clubs, bars, casinos, and vibrant street scenes. With each destination having its own vibe, though, it’s important to first decide what you’re looking for. Do you want a smaller island experience where you’ll quickly get to know other travelers? Are you looking to mingle with locals in a fun and safe way and absorb local culture? Or are you looking for massive clubs and a US/Euro style nightlife experience, complete with VIP bottle service? Regardless of what kind of party you’re looking for, read to find out where you can find the best nightlife in the Caribbean.
St. Maarten / St. Martin
Whether on the Dutch side or on the French side, St. Martin is easily one of the best party islands in the Caribbean. From swanky bars and chic supper clubs in Orient Bay and Marigot to massive indoor/outdoor venues like Mykonos in Maho and the Lotus in Simpson Bay, St Martin is one of the most popular nightlife destinations in the Caribbean for good reason, and a great bet if you’re travelling with a diverse group (or if you just like to mix it up). It is also home to some of the Caribbean’s best casinos, like the Casino Royale and Hollywood Casino in Simpson Bay. Whether you’re into dance clubs or pirate bars (looking at you Rusty Parrot), bands or DJs, or if you’re there for a bachelor/bachelorette party or travelling with your family, St Martin’s nightlife really has something for everyone.
Antigua may not be the first Caribbean destination you’d associate with great nightlife, but with a rich soca, reggae and calypso scene, there are plenty of local bars, clubs, discos, and live shows for you to get your groove on. The majority are open-air affairs largely found in St John’s, Dickenson Bay, Jolly Harbour, and English harbor. Friday nights are also known for Seafood Fridays on Nelson Dockyard, while live music can be found along Shirley Heights Lookout Point on Sunday nights. And if you’re feeling lucky, there are also a few casinos, like the Boardwalk Casino in St. John’s.
While Barbados may have a more low-key nightlife vibe than, say, Jamaica (as seen in our comparison of Jamaica vs Barbados), there’s a definite charm and authenticity to Barbados nightlife. From the swanky bars in Holetown to the thriving bar-hopping scene in the St Lawrence Gap or on Baxter’s Road in Bridgetown, all the way to the unique Friday Night Fish Fries in Oistins, nightlife in Barbados offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy local bands and DJs, sample local rum, and meet and party with locals.
Like the island itself, the nightlife in St Barths is both glitzy and laidback. While the island is home to one of the most famous day clubs in Nikki Beach, nighttime sees travelers head to chic cocktail bars and supper clubs like Bagatelle and Le Ti. Don’t expect a ton of options, but what’s there is always a good time, and visitors aren’t spread out too thin, making for fast friendships.
When you consider that Jamaica is home to the most impactful musical legacy in the Caribbean by far, it’s no surprise to see that the island is also home to some great nightlife. From dancehall clubs to bars with live reggae and soca, you’re sure to find Jamaica’s grooves all around the island. There are also a ton of great live shows featuring folkloric song and dance acts like fire breathing and walking on glass. Resorts themselves usually offer shows and have different nightlife options almost every night, but there are also plenty of fun and safe options in Montego Bay as well.
Oranjestad is a major nightlife hub for the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao), especially along the major resorts on Palm Beach. Pub crawls, comedy clubs, club nights, and casinos are all on offer, and the island even has weekly Carnival celebrations to give it that festive vibe all year-round. Spots like Gusto Club in Noord and 809 in Oranjestad bump long into the night, and there are plenty of piano bars, karaoke bars, and cigar bars to warm up with beforehand.
While St Lucia may not be instantly associated with great nightlife, the Friday-night jump-ups (slang for Caribbean street party) give visitors a chance to mingle and party with the locals over reggae beats, rum drinks, and sizzling barbeque. Barhopping is also popular, and Doolittle’s seafood buffet has become a Saturday night institution, replete with steel drums. And if you really want the best in St. Lucian nightlife, be sure to visit in May during the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, which is second only to Trinidad’s Carnival.
Although its shores are technically on the Atlantic, many still consider Punta Cana to be part of the Caribbean. And if you’re looking for big, bold Miami and even Vegas-style nightlife, Punta Cana is a great choice. It is home to some of the biggest and most imaginative clubs in the Caribbean, such as Imagine, Punta Cana, which is in a converted cave with amazing lights and acoustics, or the always-fun Coco Bongo, which often features live shows and impressive AV displays. Party buses, smaller discos, and all sorts of bars can also be found all throughout Punta Cana, making it easily one of the hottest nightlife destinations in the Caribbean.
Bonus: Riviera Maya
Even though it’s technically located on the Caribbean Sea, I hesitated to add Riviera Maya to this list, simply to be fair to the other entrants given its size. That said if you’re really into nightlife, Riviera Maya is always worth considering. Of course, it will be a much different experience from the nightlife on an island like St Lucia or St. Barths. But driving over to Playa del Carmen or Cancun will present even the most hardened nightlife vet with more options than they’ll know what to do with. Crowds, clubs, and the distance between everything are all bigger in Riviera Maya than in the other entries on this list, though, so that’s something you’ll want to consider if you’re looking for a more Caribbean feeling vacation.
Let Your Concierge Plan the Perfect Party
Regardless of where you choose and what kind of party you’re looking for, your Rental Escapes concierge can help you enjoy the best nightlife in the Caribbean and plan an unforgettable night out, including everything from drivers to table service. Book now with Rental Escapes to experience the very best the Caribbean has to offer, including amazing nightlife.