Carol Hay of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation shares the activities on offer beyond the region’s tropical beaches
Thoughts of the Caribbean continue to conjure up images of miles upon miles of powdery soft beaches fringed by a tranquil, turquoise sea. The Caribbean is the epitome of relaxation, and we would not want it any other way. But the secret is out – the Caribbean is also a hub of adventure and culture. So for those who can tear themselves away from some of the best beaches in the world, let’s explore the Caribbean. Zip lines are increasingly popular – an exhilarating experience whizzing through the rainforest while taking in incredible aerial views. Destinations including Antigua, St Lucia and Grenada boast some amazing lines. Sledging through the mountains in Jamaica; galloping across the countryside on horseback in Barbados; revving it up on a jeep safari in Antigua; exploring a volcano on foot in Martinique; or scaling the Waitukubuli trail in Dominica – there are exciting options to suit all tastes. For those who can’t keep out of the water, experience the kitesurfing in Barbados, sailing in the British Virgin Islands or St Vincent and the Grenadines, kayaking in the Turks and Caicos or rafting in Jamaica. Some of the best dive sites in the world can be found in Belize, Tobago and the Cayman Islands, so jump in and discover the diverse marine life.
A little pampering is good for all of us, and here in the Caribbean we take care of the mind, body and soul. Relax at a spa and wellness resort, yoga retreat or meditation zone, or take it up a notch with marathons, triathlons and fun runs in St Kitts. If a hike is more to your liking then try Montserrat or St Eustatius, one of our lesser known gems – green, hilly and with incredible ocean vistas. Culture buffs will love St Maarten with its Dutch influences and Saint Martin for its French vibes – a great choice for those who want more for their pound, plus the British Territory of Anguilla is only a ferry ride away.
Here in the Caribbean we take care of the mind, body and soul
On the subject of culture, the Caribbean is awash with music, dance, performing arts, the spoken word and much more. Join the splendour of a street parade, carnival or local celebration in Trinidad, or check out the creative arts scene in Haiti, where you can purchase some authentic souvenirs to take home. Great duty-free shopping can be found in the Bahamas along with some unique items in the local market. Throughout the Caribbean you can enjoy the finest selection of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, seafood and rum. The Turks and Caicos islands are renowned for their seafood – conch, lobster and grouper await your taste buds. Food festivals take place in Barbados, Anguilla, Puerto Rico and Jamaica, and some of the best chocolate in the Caribbean can be sampled in Grenada, Tobago and St Lucia.
So come and experience as much as you can in the Caribbean. Visitors to these islands will benefit from your detailed knowledge and personal recommendations.