Bahamas

Booking a holiday in the Caribbean sounds simple but each island comes with its own unique personality. So which one would be ideal for you and your family? Here, Sarah Turner picks two hot favourites to tempt you into the sun…

Bahamas

Best for: Nature-lovers, island-hoppers, fishing and James Bond fans.

Flights: British Airways.

Why here? More than anywhere else in the Caribbean, the chain of islands that make up the Bahamas is about contrasts. You can mix and match the glitz and casinos of Nassau and Paradise Islands with deserted hideaways.

Bargain style: Hope Town Inn on Abaco offers plenty of charm and simplicity, plus easy access to the famous swimming pigs on nearby No Name Cay. From $150 a night (about £113) room-only (hopetown marina.com).

Blow the budget: When Daniel Craig took on 007’s mantle in Casino Royale, he headed to the Four Seasons Ocean Club to meet Judi Dench’s M. Seven nights room-only costs from £2,239pp, including flights and transfers with Tropical Sky (tropicalsky.co.uk).

Don’t miss: Catch a ferry to pretty, picket-fenced Harbour Island with its famous pink sand. Heading to Exuma by a rigid inflatable boat gives you access to its beaches and those swimming pigs (exuma-escapes-bahamas.trekksoft.com).

Serious anglers come to the Bahamas for bonefish but it’s also the Caribbean island with the biggest James Bond heritage. Snorkelling tours take you to locations featured in Thunderball and start at $79pp (about £60) with Bahamas Divers (bahamadivers.com).

Eat: The Landing (harbourisland landing.com) on Harbour Island brings celebrities to the beachside table for its divine gingered lobster. Crabs & Ting on Junkanoo beach has great-value seafood.

Barbados

Best for: Self-catering families, A-list glamour, surfing, cricket.

Flights: British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Thomas Cook, Tui.

Why here? It boasts British-style bobbies and red post boxes and is one of the Caribbean’s most placid islands. It’s not bland, though, even if the waters of the Platinum coast on the west barely cause a ripple. The island is split into parishes, each of which has its own flavour. On the east coast, the waves are bigger and villages such as Bathsheba have strong surfer appeal.

Bargain style: On pretty Maxwell beach in the south, Bougainvillea has all the frills: two pools, bars and a beachside restaurant, and 100 rooms with kitchenettes.

Not all Caribbean islands are set up for self-catering but the hotel lays on shuttles to a supermarket for its guests. Seven nights costs from £989pp, including flights, transfers and self-catering accommodation with Virgin Holidays (virginholidays.co.uk).

Blow the budget: With celebrities at every turn, Sandy Lane is the beating heart of the Platinum coast, from the entrance that looks out on to the beach to the hotel’s own golf courses, and one of the Caribbean’s best spas. Seven nights’ B&B costs from £3,840pp, including flights and transfers with Elegant Resorts (elegantresorts.co.uk).

Don’t miss: Cricket fans must visit the Kensington Oval – in January, England will play a Test match against the West Indies here. Historic plantation houses include St Nicholas Abbey (stnicholas abbey.com) and Mount Gay Rum distillery (mountgayrum.com).

Eat: Alive with music and street food, every Friday and Saturday the town of Oistins holds a Fish Fry. The Lone Star (thelonestar.com) on the beach attracts a solid Hollywood crowd – expect to pay £30 for main dishes.

© Mail On Sunday