Whether it’s historic architecture, natural beauty, or cultural scenes, the Caribbean is filled with photographable moments that can be treasured long after your cruise is over. We suggest some clickable spots, the best time to shoot, and the easiest way to get there.
1. Paradise Point, St. Thomas
One of the best viewpoints in St. Thomas is Paradise Point, where you overlook Charlotte Amalie harbor in its entirety. In addition the excellent view of the city itself, you also have the unique opporunity of getting an aerial shot of your own cruise ship. The ground level (where the bar is located) provides the best angle for pics.
When to Go: First thing in the morning is the ideal time of day to shoot, as the crowds are smaller and morning light on the downtown harbor castes a lovely glow.
How to Get There: Paradise Point is only a five-minute taxi ride up the hill. Another option is to “ride the view” on the Paradise Point tramway. The entrance to the tramway is a 10-minute walk from the dock. (Map)
2. The Floating Market and The Handelskade Waterfront, Curacao
The Handelskade Waterfront - Photo by Rick Sprain / Thinkstock
Two great shots are both within walking distance from both of Curacao’s cruise ports in the UNESCO World Heritage capital city of Willemstad. Not only is the Floating Market a vibrant display of commerce, the colors of the fresh fruits and vegetables being sold by Venezuelan vendors off their small fisherman’s boats liven up your photos. Handelskade’s waterfront is iconic of the 16th century Dutch architecture prevalent throughout the island. The second story terrace of De Gouverneur Restaurant & Café offers the top view of the waterfront.
When to Go: The Floating Market is best photographed in the morning, while the best time to photograph the Waterfront is in the afternoon, when the sun is shining on the buildings from the west.
How to Get There: From your cruise ship, cross the Queen Emma Bridge to the Punda side of town, then follow Handelskade along the waterfront to the end of the block. You’ll see the fisherman’s boats lined up around the square. (Map)
3. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
The streets of San Juan and El Morro at night.
Walking the streets of Old San Juan offers countless photo ops that showcase the 500-year-old city’s character, from its blue cobblestone streets and colorfully-painted Spanish Colonial buildings to UNESCO World Heritage Site Castillo San Felipe del Morro or “El Morro,” the 16th century citadel overlooking San Juan Bay.
When to Go: The best time to take photographs is early morning or late afternoon as shadows bring out the texture of the walls. Sunset brings an especially beautiful glow to El Morro.
How to Get There: Just step out of your cruise ship and you are in Old San Juan. El Morro is located on the top westernmost corner of the city. (Map)
4. Castries Market, St. Lucia
For those who seek photos that capture the cultural pulse of St. Lucia, Castries Market provides rich images of its people, food, and shopping experiences. This is where local farmers sell fresh produce and a selection of Caribbean spices, and there is an adjacent craft market for souvenirs.
When to Go: The lighting is best from morning to mid-day, when the sun illuminates the rich colors of the market.
How to Get There: Located in the middle of the capital city of Saint Lucia, Castries, the market is a quick walk from the cruise ship terminal. (Map)
5. Parliament Square, Nassau, The Bahamas
Parliament Square is one of the most photographable sites in the city. The flamingo-pink buildings built in the late 1700s and early 1800s are excellent examples of the Colonial architecture that can be seen throughout Nassau. The buildings include the House of Assembly, the Senate Building, and the Supreme Court of The Bahamas.
When to Go: Head to Parliament Square in the morning or early afternoon for the best conditions.
How to Get There: The Square is just a short walk from the port down Bay Street. (Map)
6. Cole Bay Lookout Point, St. Maarten
Also known as Jack Lookout Point, Cole Bay Lookout Point boasts one of the best views anywhere on the island. It overlooks the Simpson Bay Lagoon, Simpson Bay and Cole Bay, with Maho, the Lowlands, Nettle Bay, and Anguilla in the background.
When to Go: The beauty of Cole Bay is best captured in the morning when the light is at your back.
How to Get There: Located on the main road going towards the airport, Cole Bay is about a 15 minute drive from the cruise terminal. Drive west on the road passing in front of Great Bay hotel, taking a left at the first roundabout and straight at the second roundabout at the top of the hill; it will be the next stop on the left hand side. (Map)
7. Airport (Maho) Beach, St. Maarten
You'll probably feel the urge to duck the first time you see a plane fly in.
If you're looking to impress friends with your bravery or scare your Mother without being in any real danger, taking shots of planes flying just a few feet overhead is a good way to do it. Due to very short runways, planes flying into St. Maarten must take a trajectory that's only a few dozen feet above the swimmers and sunbathers on the beach.
When to Go: Any time of day works, and when you arrive at the beach you'll find a chalkboard with the day's arrivals so you know when to expect the next plane. Still, the best shot you're going to get is of the KLM 747 (shown above) which only lands once per day. See when it's flying in here.
How to Get There: Since Airport Beach is across the island from the terminal, you'll need to take a 25 minute cab ride to get there. (Map)