Anthony Bourdain in the Caribbean:
A Complete Guide

For some people, especially those who have never visited, the Caribbean region is a homogenized series of islands, all of which fit the definition of “paradise.” For others who have, each island you’ve seen stands out distinctive in your mind. For me, that would be Barbados and Dominica – two places Tony Bourdain never visited in the Caribbean, but great examples of how different each island nation can be.

Over the course of his television career, Anthony Bourdain visited the Caribbean many times to film episodes of A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, and Parts Unknown. (He didn’t film The Layover there, probably because it’s not really a “layover” kind of area – for most people, it’s the destination!)

Anthony Bourdain in the Caribbean Hero

While I haven’t historically written a guide to regions on this site, I thought it would be helpful in the case of the Caribbean since there’s so much diversity in the region, and people are curious about those countries visited by Anthony Bourdain in the Caribbean – and those he did not visit.

Below you’ll find a list of the eight countries Tony visited in the Caribbean, links to the restaurants he ate at which are still open today, and additional links to the guides written about each one, if you want to dive deeper into those crystalline blue Caribean waters.

Cuba

As one might expect, Bourdain spends most of his time in Havana, the capital and largest city on the island. He visited on both trips, sampling a variety of the cuisines and dishes you might expect – as well as a few unexpected ones. Here’s a list of everywhere he ate during his visits, all of which are still open today:

He also visits a few other places during his second trip to Cuba for Parts Unknow. He eats at Casa Santy (called “Santy Pescador” on Google) in the fishing town of Jaimanitas and Caribeño Restaurante in Playa Siboney, a beach where locals go to kick back with family and drink the best ron in Cuba (a Spanish-style rum).

For more info, be sure to check the Cuba guide for all details and what he ate at each place.

Dominican Republic

During his travels, Tony visited both the Dominican Republic and Haiti (more on that below) – though on separate trips. His trip to D.R. was heavily motivated by Dominican friends in the restaurant world asking “Why haven’t you been to my country?” so he sets out to rectify that.

Most people know the Dominican Republic for its pristine white beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and tropical drinks, but this small island hides stunning culinary delicacies that unveil a mix of Spanish, African, and original Caribbean influences. It’s this latter category that drives Bourdain’s visit, and here’s where he ate during his trip:

For specifics of each spot and what he ate, be sure to check the Dominican Republic guide; it can help you plan a trip if you’re a curious, hungry traveler looking for a new slice of paradise to visit.

Haiti

As you might expect based on the headlines, Tony’s trip to Haiti is very different than the one he makes to the Dominican Republic a few years later (yep, he visited Haiti first – definitely an unusual move for most travelers).

During his visit in 2011, he faced head-on the ramifications of a devastating earthquake, cholera outbreak, and impending Hurricane (Irene). Try as he might, he’s unable to find ways to help – but along the way, he of course shines a spotlight on local food and flavors. Here’s where he ate:

As you can see, there aren’t a ton of options, but you can read more about each in the Haiti guide if you’re considering a trip.

Jamaica

Bourdain made two trips to Jamaica during his television career, allowing him to showcase different aspects of this large Caribbean island – and one that’s a popular tourist destination. It also allowed him to dig into a variety of dishes and topics with his dining companions, including the impact of development on local economies and what it means to live in a tourist destination. (The Parts Unknown episode is an especially good example of how Tony did journalistic work through “just” a food and travel show.)

Here are the places he ate to provide the settings for those conversations:

Be sure to check out the Jamaica guide for more details on each, which show he visited them in, and what he ate there.

Puerto Rico

It may be part of the United States (more or less), but it’s also distinctly Caribbean: I’m talking about Puerto Rico, of course. Like a culinary explorer armed with an insatiable curiosity, Tony dove headfirst Puerto Rico’s rich flavors and diverse culinary traditions, letting it stand on its own.

With his trademark wit and warmth, Bourdain transcended the typical tourist experience, shedding light on Puerto Rico’s resilience amidst adversity, while indulging in the island’s unique food culture – from savory mofongo to the iconic piña colada. Here’s where he ate while visiting the “Island of Enchantment:”

The full Puerto Rico guide will help you plot your own path of discovery to what he ate at each place, and how to plan a trip inspired by these spots.

St. Maarten

Unlike other Caribbean countries, Tony was no stranger to St. Maarten on his first trip; he had been visiting the island for years (before breaking it big) as an escape from NYC‘s harsh winters. As such, he’s been to all the wrong places, the wrong restaurants, the wrong beaches and by the time he shoots the episode, he knows how to enjoy himself on Sint Maarten, meaning he knows where the good food is. Here’s where he ate during his one on-screen visit:

As there aren’t many spots to choose from, you might also read Tony’s fiction book Gone Bamboo if you’re craving inspiration to visit St. Maarten. You can also read the St. Maarten guide for more details.

St. Vincent & the Grenadines

Island nations are often equated with being a tropical paradise – just think of Hawaii, the Maldives, or even Indonesia (one of Tony’s faves). So too is the case for St. Vincent & the Grenadines in the Caribbean, though it’s far less visited and developed than some other island paradise destinations. 

Unlike other countries on this list, I have to organize the places he visited by island – St. Vincent & the Grenadines are 32 islands in all, and Bourdain visited five of them during his trip:

If you click those links (or over to the whole St. Vincent & the Grenadines guide), you can see where he ate on each island and potentially plan your own island-hopping trip too.

Trinidad & Tobago

Last but certainly not least, Tony also visited the southernmost Caribbean islands of Trinidad & Tobago (Cuba is the northernmost, if you’re curious!). This visit was different than most; these islands are not tourism oriented so he ate at far fewer restaurants here than on other islands:

He did have a lot of local dining experiences though, which showcased the diversity of the islands, and how the ethnic groups have created tensions for locals and visitors alike. If you’re curious to learn more, I scratch the surface in the Trinidad & Tobago guide.

And that’s it – those are the eight island nations visited by Anthony Bourdain in the Caribbean. Have any questions about which ones he traveled to – or ones he didn’t? Let me know in the comments below!

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Valerie is a travel writer currently based in Cleveland, but her favorite destinations are Alaska, London, and Jordan – only one of which Bourdain ever visited! You can find her writing on Lonely Planet, Forbes, and her travel blog, Valerie & Valise.

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