12. Puerto Rico
Defended by the age-stained bulwarks of colonial forts and crenulated, cannon-holding palisades, washed over by some of the wildest surf spots in the Caribbean (think the legendary likes of Tres Palmas, Rincon and the Middels), trodden by the likes of Christopher Columbus and the marauding pirates of the great seas, and shaped by American and Spanish history alike, Puerto Rico is unquestionably one of the jewels of the region.
The UNESCO-attested capital at San Juan is a real treat, awash with Baroque churches, the mighty El Castillo fort and the shimmering beaches of Condado.
It has a party side too, with oodles of Senor Frogs and spring breaker bars bursting from the cobbled streets after dark.
Go east to find the beautiful Luquillo beaches and the frog-spotted forests of El Yunque, or south to see off-the-beaten-track Ponce, complete with curious multi-coloured cathedrals and some of the emptiest sands on the island.
Also see: Best places to visit in Puerto Rico