From dress-to-the-nines salsa clubs to barefoot-in-the-sand beach bars, many Caribbean destinations offer distinctive party scenes that ensure the fun continues long after sundown. If you're looking for something to spice up your nights, these islands will do the trick.
They pump up the volume at Aruba's resort bars when the sun sets. Unlike many other islands, nightlife here isn't confined to touristy shows. Populat hot spots include Soprano's Piano Bar in Palm Beach, Mojito's Cantina and Grill at the Royal Plaza Mall in Oranjestad, and Señor Frogs in Palm Beach. In addition to catching nightly entertainment in one of the many casinos, many of which remain open 24/7, you can slowly savor a drink while the sun dips into the sea, dance to the beat of a local band, bar-hop via a colorful party bus, or simply stroll along a deserted starlit beach.
Friday is a big night out in Curaçao, with rollicking happy hours and live music at many bars and hotels. And, 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.
Jost Van Dyke
Jost Van Dyke is the most happening place to go bar-hopping in the BVI. In fact, yachties will sail over just to have a few drinks. All the spots are congregated in three general locations: Great Harbour, White Bay, and Little Harbour. On the Great Harbour side you can find Foxy's, Corsairs, and Ali Baba's; on the White Bay side are the One Love Bar & Grill, and the Soggy Dollar Bar, where legend has it the famous Painkiller was first concocted; and in Little Harbour are Harris’ Place, Sydney’s Peace & Love, and Abe’s by the Sea.
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Much of the nightlife in St. Kitts revolves around the hotels, which host folkloric shows and calypso and steel bands of the usual limbo-rum-and-reggae variety. But it's the Frigate Bay “strip” of beach bars that's the place to party on weekend nights. Join the locals, who bar-hop here late into Friday and Saturday, for lively, laid-back fun.
Throughout the island, most major resort-hotels have lively dance clubs and bars. In Montego Bay, the Hip Strip pulsates with activity. Gloucester Avenue is lined with some of the island’s top bars and clubs for easy bar-hopping. Montego Bay is also perfect for a night of romance, beginning with a tranquil sunset cruise, followed by a dinner at Three Palms Restaurant on the grounds of historic Rose Hall. Then you can catch live reggae nightly at Rick's Cafe. The town of Negril has an event every evening, usually a beach party and live music.
There's certainly no lack of nightlife, particularly live music, in Port of Spain, and spontaneity plays a big role—around Carnival time look for the handwritten signs announcing the PANYARD, where the next informal gathering of steel-drum bands is going to be. Trinidad's Carnival, billed by locals as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” begins right after Christmas, and the parties, called fêtes, don't stop until Ash Wednesday.
San Juan is filled with plenty of places to enjoy music and dancing. Well-dressed visitors and locals alike often mingle in the lobby bars of large hotels, many of which have bands in the evening. Visitors can also find hotels and casions with clubs, shows, and dancing. In Old San Juan, Calle San Sebastián is lined with bars and restaurants, where salsa music blaring from jukeboxes in cut-rate pool halls competes with mellow Latin jazz in top-flight night spots. And late January sees the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, one of the Caribbean’s best street parties.