10 best Caribbean island vacations

View of Long Bay, West End, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
DEA/ Diego M. Rossi | Getty Images

The best place to visit in the Caribbean is the British Virgin Islands (BVI), according to U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of the world's best vacation destinations.

The BVI — which includes islands like Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Anegada and Tortola — is about a six-hour flight from New York City and about 12 hours from Los Angeles.

The islands have everything from "stunning white beaches" to "unique national parks," Erin Shields, managing editor of travel at U.S. News & World Report, tells CNBC Make It.

BVI is popular for people who love to be in the water, Shields says, whether it's yachting, sailing, snorkeling or scuba diving. And travelers rave about the friendly locals and the beaches, says Shields, who adds that the islands offer a variety of accommodation options, from upscale resorts to vacation rentals.

Richard Branson's Necker Island, which costs $77,500 to rent a night, is located in the British Virgin Islands.

Here are the top 10 places to visit in the Caribbean for 2019-20, according to U.S. News & World Report.

10. Barbados

9. St. Kitts & Nevis

8. Anguilla

7. Antigua

6. Cayman Islands

5. St. Vincent & The Grenadines

4. Turks & Caicos

3. U.S. Virgin Islands

2. St. Lucia

1. British Virgin Islands

The top five destinations remain unchanged from the 2018-2019 ranking, "reinforcing the popularity of the destinations," according to Shields.

Ranked No. 2 on the list, St. Lucia appeals to couples with secluded hotels, says Shields.

The U.S. Virgin Islands — including St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix — ranks No. 3. Americans do not need passports to travel there, and the islands have "incredible" beaches, says Shields. St. John even has a national park.

Turks & Caicos, ranked No. 4, has plenty of family-friendly accommodations and is stunningly picturesque, famous for its white sand beaches and shockingly blue waters.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines, coming it at No. 5, is a more "under-the-radar Caribbean getaway," according to Shields, with plenty of beaches and boating and snorkeling opportunities.

For its methodology, U.S. News & World Report analyzed more than 700 destinations, combining travelers' opinions with editor and expert analysis, Shields tells CNBC Make It. Each destination is scored in 10 categories, "from sights, culture and food" to "value, adventure and nightlife," Shields says, with a comprehensive evaluation of each destination.

A "beach" score was also factored in for the Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean for 2019-20, according to Shields. Factors considered for the beach score include cleanliness, natural beauty, remoteness, sand and water quality, average days of sunshine and temperatures at the destination.

U.S. News & World Report's full top 30 list can be found here.

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