There’s a Caribbean vacation to suit all tastes and budgets, there are more than 7,000 after all! Choose from the chic and sophisticated Antigua and Barbuda, the white-sand beaches, clear bluebell water and warm topical breezes of Barbados or the lively carnival setting of Trinidad and Tobago. Whichever island you choose, you’ll be guaranteed a trip filled with an abundance of wildlife plus a stunning diversity of flora and plant life. Your Caribbean days will be filled with adventure and activities and your nights will be filled with vibrant nightlife and an incredibly warm welcome.
Due to its abundant coral reefs, the islands of the Caribbean are a snorkel paradise making the experience one not to be missed. The British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands of St John, St Thomas and St Croix are highly recommended for snorkelers of all abilities.
The sound of calypso fills the evening air across the Caribbean as you return from your daily adventures, beckoning you to dance to the cool island beats on the white pristine beaches. And of course on Jamaica (and most of the other islands) reggae beats remain the number one choice, with many local artists singing and playing along to Bob Marley of course!
The local cuisine is amazing too with fresh local fish and locally produced rum the order of the day. Soak up the luxurious atmosphere at one of the five star restaurants in Anguilla, Martinique and Saint Lucia, which are run by world renowned chefs. And try the black beans served in Cuba, the Johnny cake which is a speciality of the Cayman Islands and the Spanish, Cuban and Mexican influenced cuisines or Puerto Rico.
While the Caribbean is a popular destination for watersports and land based activities, there are also an abundance of historic monuments, buildings and sites. Take a visit to Jamaica’s Fort Charles located in Kingston and be sure to take your camera as you walk along the area’s 17th century city streets where pirates once buried their looted treasure and then made their way to back street English pubs to celebrate their ill-gotten gain with a warm drink of rum. Antigua boasts historic Nelson’s Dockyard and the captivating capital St Johns with its magnificent Cathedral. And of course there’s Cuba, probably the best destination in the Caribbean for culture and history, with vintage 1960s American automobiles on every street and faded colonial architecture at every turn.
White water rafting
The Dominican Republic is a hearty, exciting mix of Latin party attitude and relaxed beach life and a popular spot for white water rafting. By day you can travel to the high mountains and try a white-water rafting excursion then return to the lowlands as you board a boat to gaze at one of nature’s most special creatures during a humpback whale-watching tour.
Class paired with opulence abounds on Aruba located in the Lesser Antilles, this island hot spot is filled to the brim with sumptuous treats, luxury spas, powder soft sand beaches circled by fantastic bright blue sea. Aruba boasts some of the finest hotels in the Caribbean and be sure to indulge in the island high roller night life at one of the Island’s stunning casinos. There are also casinos within many of the large hotels especially on St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and of course, the biggest of them all, the Bahamas.
Duty-free shopping abounds (which is why so many Caribbean cruise ships also dock here). If you’re looking for a more leisurely pace for your retail therapy try Aruba’s Dutch inspired capital of Oranjestad on the west coast on a sightseeing tour sure to remind you of old Amsterdam complete with colorful colonial houses that recall a long-forgotten age.
By Julie Bowman