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5 Caribbean islands to discover now

TODAY's Sara Haines makes Batik sarongs, shakes a traditional cocktail and shows how you can add adventure to your vacation by island-hopping across the Bahamas.

Ready to expand your horizons? Chart a new path to paradise with this guide to the lesser-known gems.

Slideshow: See the islands to escape to

Curaçao

Best for: Social butterflies and sun-worshippers.

The largest and most cosmopolitan of the Dutch-allied ABC Islands (along with Aruba and Bonaire), Curaçao also has some of the region's best weather — it lies outside the storm-prone Hurricane Belt.

Dominica

Best for: Adventure junkies and solitude-seekers.

Dramatic, rain-forest-cloaked peaks, bubbling volcanic lakes, excellent diving and a 115-mile-long hiking trail that leads from one end of the island to the other. The drawback? No direct flights from the U.S.

Grenada

Best for: Just about anyone.

The Spice Isle has every tropical flavor: mountains, forests and waterfalls: black- and white-sand beaches; laid-back, affordable guesthouses; and bucolic villages that haven't been tarnished by tourism.

Montserrat

Best for: Thrill-seekers (that volcano's still technically active).

Check out the Soufrière Hills volcano (it created a modern-day Pompeii out of the former capital in 1995) from the observatory or just enjoy the empty beaches, lush hiking trails and robust marine life.

St. Kitts

Best for: History buffs and animal-lovers (vervet monkeys hang around some beaches).

Long in the shadow of pricier Nevis, St. Kitts is home to a thriving West Indian culture and remarkably preserved architecture. A few 17th-century plantation homes have been converted to inns.

 

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