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These Are The Top 4 Trending Destinations For A Tropical Winter Getaway Right Now

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The Caribbean is everyone's go-to spot for a sunny break in winter.

With its luxurious hotels, long miles of soft, white sands, and inviting, relaxed atmosphere, it is truly the safest bet for escaping the seasonal blues, but where exactly are travelers heading in big numbers?

The world's warmest turquoise-colored sea is dotted with paradisaical islands, and it laps around the landmass of numerous Latin American countries, giving vacationers plenty to pick from, yet four destinations in particular seem to be gaining the most momentum as of late.

Aerial View Of An Island Destination In The Caribbean Sea, Unspecified Location

Surprisingly, America's all-time favorite, the Mexican Caribbean, is not the top trendiest resort zone in the Caribbean right now:

This Is The Top Destination In The Caribbean Currently

Based on new data published by ForwardKeys, a well-reputed travel statistics firm, the Dominican Republic (DR) is officially the fastest-growing destination in the Caribbean right now, outpacing Jamaica and even Mexico's mighty Cancun.

In establishing this, they looked at flight bookings and reservations for all airports and airlines in the region and concluded that, from January through April, the period comprising the peak season for Caribbean travel, the DR is ahead of all other competitors in terms of growth.

caribbean beach with pergola in Dominican Republic

In January, bookings are up by 6.6%, against Mexico's 0.3% and Jamaica's negative 44.1%.

In February, an even greater number of guests will be landing in Punta Cana, La Romana, Puerto Plata, and the like for their sunny getaway as the country widens its advantage at 13% growth.

The trend is replicated in March and April when the DR is still expected to lead bookings comfortably, more than ten percentage points ahead of runner-up Mexico, and you may be wondering why is it that travelers are flocking into the Hispaniola nation instead:

As the head of the Ministry of Tourism has stated, this resounding success results from the country's strengthening of its tourist offer, which has diversified in recent months to include lesser-known coastal destinations in Samaná and promotion of culture-based activities.

beach hut on stilts in punta cana dominican republic

The Dominican Republic Is More Diverse Than It Gets Credit For

Punta Cana is arguably the second biggest destination in the Caribbean after Cancun due to its highly-developed resort strip, heavenly beaches, and lively social scene, and it will continue to be the DR's golden goose.

Still, tourism is rising elsewhere too.

The Dominican capital, for instance, is witnessing an increase in bookings, attracting culturephiles and food lovers with its preserved 16th-century Colonial Zone and gastronomic corridors (learn more about Santo Domingo, the oldest European-built city in the Americas, here).

Fortress With Dominican Republic Flag Flying

Similarly, the laid-back beach town of Las Galeras is dominating winter bookings on Tripadvisor, as word gets out the nature reserves there are pretty much unspoiled, and it is nowhere close the crazy levels of tourism seen in Punta Cana.

Last year, the DR reached 10 million tourists, and it looks set to surpass the milestone figure in 2024.

The DR is smashing records left, right, and center, but what about the others?

The Mexican Caribbean

Tulum ruins

At number two, the Mexican Caribbean (MC) may not have grown as a destination as much as the jewel of Hispaniola, but this does not mean it suffers from a lackluster performance.

Tourism giants typically do not shoot up in popularity like their smaller counterparts, as they are already extremely popular, and the fact that bookings for Mexico have continued to increase year after year is proof enough that it has not lost the appeal.

Cancun continues to be the main drive behind the local sector, wooing travelers with its glitzy resort towers, pristine coast, and impeccable service in tourism.

woman relaxing in turquoise waters of Caribbean Sea in front of paradise beach in Tulum, close to Cancun, Riviera Maya, Mexico

This year, however, it's backed by multiple secondary destinations like Playa Del Carmen, a smaller beach city, Tulum, home to historical Mayan ruins and a rapidly developing coast, and Lake Bacalar, with its multiple shades of blue.

Growth has fluctuated between 3% and 4.2% until April, but it could surge further this year following the opening of Tulum Airport, hosting flights from key U.S. cities, and the launch of the Maya Train, a scenic railway connecting all of the most beautiful, and culturally-relevant sites across the territory.

Jamaica

Blue Mountains Of Jamaica

Jamaica is the third fastest-growing Caribbean hub according to ForwardKeys, and a beautiful island nation best known for being the birthplace of reggae, having unruffled beaches and verdant reserves, and award-winning all-inclusive resorts.

Though it is relatively small in size, at only 4,243.6 mi², and tourist activity is centered around three areas, namely Montego Bay, the leading resort town, Kingston, the vibrant capital, and Ocho Rios, a casual fishing village, it is expected to welcome over 1 million guests this winter.

Jamaica island, Montego Bay, Caribbean Sea

Should that materialize, it will be Jamaica's busiest season yet, so it's a good thing new e-Gates are being installed at Sangster International Airport, the country's main aviation hub serving Montego Bay, to ensure a streamlined experience for travelers.

It is worth noting Americans remain the leading nationality among visitors to Jamaica, as they are inevitably drawn to its warm and dry winters, delectable eats, and distinct tropical vibe, with about three out of four international passengers hailing from the U.S.

The Bahamas

Atlantis Resort, Bahamas

The fourth best-performing destination in the Caribbean currently is the archipelagic Bahamas, perhaps the region's number one cruise port, and the land of swimming pig-inhabited pink sands, colorful barrier reefs, and serene private islands.

Some of the points of interest around the Bahamian islands are Aquaventure, a 141-acre waterpark equipped with high-speed waterslides and winding pools, the historical Clifton Heritage National Park, the world-famous, self-descriptive Pink Sands Beach, and Dean's Blue Hole.

Pig Beach Bahamas

It's had a pretty historical year in 2023, having hosted 7.2 million tourists up to September, and that trend is likely to continue throughout 2024 as new flights to Nassau, the national capital, are launched and long-term guests flock to the island.

The Bahamas' friendly visa policy towards U.S. citizens makes it an incredibly attractive destination for ‘workcationers' in winter: they are eligible for an uninterrupted 8-month stay visa-free, which is more than Mexico's six months, or most countries' restrictive 90 days.

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