The Best Adventures in the Caribbean
An idyllic region for millions of holidaymakers worldwide, the Caribbean offers incomparable beaches, warm waters and luxury retreats, but it’s not always the first destination that comes to mind when you think of adventure. On a recent two month trip to the Eastern Caribbean, I found myself spending most of time off the beach and on a trail. As it turns out, there’s a surprising amount of adventurous stuff to do!
Saint Lucia is a country packed full of adventurous treasures both on and off land. The island’s striking coastline and marine life make off-shore snorkelling particularly popular. If you’ve got a few days, I’d recommend getting your hands on a boat and heading further afield for fewer tourists and some serious dive sites like ‘Fairy Land’ and ‘Key Hole Pinnacles.’ Above the water, Saint Lucia’s mountainous landscape and jungle-filled valleys offers some exceptional hiking opportunities. The most challenging hikes involve “The Pitons,” two volcanic plugs that jut out the ocean and rise up to over 700m. If you’re looking for something less intense, tackle portions of the Eastern Nature Trail or even get your blood pumping on a zip-line through the jungle.
Trinidad & Tobago
Tourists tend to visit Tobago for the beaches and Trinidad for the carnival, but many forget to indulge in this dual island nation’s adventurous side. Whether you’re kayaking through mangroves, hiking across the island, or deep sea fishing for blue marlin, these islands will keep you busy for weeks. Caroni Bird Sanctuary, just outside of Port-of-Spain, is home to Trinidad’s scarlett Ibis, best viewed by kayak in the early morning. For those of you wanting a more local adventurous option, I’d recommend grabbing a boat for the day and heading “DDI” (“Down Di Islands”) where you’ll be treated to some private bays, short hikes and even a view of Venezuela!
Saint Vincent & The Grenadines
Saint Vincent Island has some of the most ruggedly beautiful nature in the Caribbean. Home to mountains peaks, residual lava flowers and cascading waterfalls, all of which can be reached via a series of hikes or viewed from various lookout points. For an easy introduction to the island’s nature, spend a couple of hours on the Vermont Nature Trail, a 30-minute drive North of the capital, Kingstown.
If you’re looking for something more challenging, take the day long hike up La Soufriere Volcano and clamber into the immense crater. If you’re desperate to stay in The Grenadines, there are a few decent hikes across the islands, such as Fort Hill hike on Union Island, a great spot for sunset. If you’d rather stick to water-based activities, Union Island also houses one of the best kitesurfing spots in the Caribbean, aptly named Kite Beach.
Dominica is unlike any other Caribbean destination. There are few crowds, zero white sandy beaches and no booze-cruises. It’s an ecotourists dream destination and understandably so, given that it’s nicknamed the “Nature Isle.” The island, abound with volcanic peaks and bubbling streams also boasts luscious tropical forests that are are totally devoid of poisonous snakes and spiders. Ideal.
For the hardcore hikers, there’s the Waitukubuli trail, the Caribbean’s first long-distance hiking trail that snakes across the entire island. If you’re less of a long distance trekker, there are still plenty of shorter hikes, from day-long excursions to the Boiling Lake (the second largest in the world) to waterfall walks that take a couple of hours. Check out the beautiful Victoria Falls in the South East corner of the island and if you’ve got the time, pay a visit to the Kalinago Territory, home to the last remaining indigenous community in the Eastern Caribbean.
If you’re looking for water-based adventurers, the island is a free-diving mecca (check out Soufriere in the South!), and it also has a resident pod of sperm whales! Permits to swim with the whales are hard to come by, but are worth every penny.