Go­ing Lo­cal

From jam­min’ at a fish fry to danc­ing to soca mu­sic at a car­ni­val, so­cial­is­ing with the lo­cals will make your Caribbean hol­i­day rock!

Your Guide to the Caribbean - - Contents -

The Caribbean’s fab­u­lous sun and sea will make your hol­i­day mem­o­rable, but the friendly warmth of its peo­ple is what makes for a truly unforgettable ex­pe­ri­ence.

And you don’t have to party hard to join in the fun – con­ser­va­tion and cook­ery classes are en­joy­able, too.

Fish and sips

The Caribbean’s weekly fish-fry street par­ties are as lively as they are leg­endary. Dance to the Ba­jan beat at Oistins Fri­day Night Fish Fry in Bar­ba­dos and tuck into lip-smack­ing bar­be­cued seafood.

‘Lime’ (Cre­ole for ‘hang out’) with the lo­cals at Sun­day School in Buc­coo, Tobago, and tuck into crab cakes and conch at the Anse La Raye (fish fry) and Gros Islet (street party) in Saint Lu­cia. Then there’s the weekly fish fry in Turks & Caicos, ev­ery Thurs­day evening.

On Ne­vis, Nis­bet Plan­ta­tion Beach Club takes guests on a pub crawl away from the usual tourist trail.

An­tigua & Bar­buda’s Beach Bar Trail takes you to foodie gems and hid­den han­gouts that only lo­cals know about. Is­lan­der Ni­cole Arthur­ton of­fers Caribbean cook­ery classes and rum tast­ings with food pair­ings – de­li­cious!

Don’t miss the buzzing Sun­day evening party at Shirley Heights, where you can also drink in su­perb bird’s eye views of the English and Fal­mouth Har­bours be­low.

Fes­ti­val fever

Put your danc­ing shoes on – it’s car­ni­val time! Join the colour­ful pa­rades, mas­quer­aders and soca, reg­gae and ca­lypso mu­si­cians who take to the streets in most of the Caribbean des­ti­na­tions, in­clud­ing Trinidad, Tobago, The Cay­man Is­lands, The Ba­hamas, St. Kitts, Mar­tinique, An­tigua and Bar­buda, Saint Lu­cia, St. Vin­cent and The Gre­nadines, Gre­nada and An­guilla.

Now in its 12th year, the St. Kitts’ Mu­sic Fes­ti­val is held be­tween 27 June and 1 July. Head­lin­ers con­firmed so far in­clude Lau­ryn Hill and Patti La­belle.

Saint Lu­cia’s fes­ti­val sea­son siz­zles with Food & Rum (Jan­uary), Jazz (May), Roots & Soul (31 Au­gust– 2 Septem­ber) and Arts & Her­itage (all of Oc­to­ber). Bar­ba­dos’ Food & Rum fes­ti­val takes place in Novem­ber.

The Choco­late Fest (May) is Gre­nada’s sweet­est treat. A packed pro­gramme of co­coa-in­spired at­trac­tions, events and plan­ta­tion tours in­cludes fa­cials, popup restau­rants, yoga and med­i­ta­tion.

Spice it up

It ain’t half hot in the Caribbean – and we’re not just talk­ing about the balmy weather! Lo­cals like their food hot and spicy, and the Capella Marigot Bay Re­sort & Ma­rina, Saint Lu­cia, will show how it’s done, high­light­ing the tra­di­tional flavours and cook­ing tech­niques of Caribbean cui­sine. Its chef-led ‘Farm to Ta­ble’ tour shows guests how to cook pro­duce from the ho­tel kitchen gar­den. For guests with an artis­tic ‘pal­ette’, there’s an art tour around a painter’s stu­dio, too. Guests at The Colony Club, Bar­ba­dos, can learn how to catch their own sup­per on its ‘Bait to Plate’ tour and chefs will cook their catch af­ter­wards. On An­tigua, food­ies can learn to cook with rum at Ni­cole’s Ta­ble. The class is just one of sev­eral of­fered by ex-chef Ni­cole Arthur­ton Den­nis at her lovely home in St Johns. You’ll tuck into the de­li­cious food you pre­pare while drink­ing in su­perla­tive views of the glit­ter­ing Caribbean Sea.

Good sports

Watch boats rac­ing for glory in the

first week of Au­gust at Gre­nada’s Car­ri­a­cou Re­gatta. There are vol­ley­ball com­pe­ti­tions, don­key races, and lots of mu­sic, of course!

Join in the fun at Be­quia’s Easter re­gatta, where races and beach par­ties en­ter­tain the crowds.

It’s full sail ahead for the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands’ (BVI) char­ter com­pa­nies who have brought new yachts to the is­lands, fol­low­ing dam­age caused by Hur­ri­canes Irma and Maria last year. The pop­u­lar BVI Re­gatta is held yearly, over the months of March and April.

Home from home

What bet­ter way to go lo­cal than to stay with a fam­ily or join a con­ser­va­tion project? Homes­tays (like B&BS) are avail­able on many is­lands, in­clud­ing Cuba, Do­minica, Puerto Rico, Cu­raçao, Montser­rat, Guyana, Mar­tinique, Ja­maica and St. Eus­tatius. Those with an ad­ven­tur­ous spirit may pre­fer to stay with an in­dige­nous tribe in the re­mote heart of Do­minica or Guyana, where dawn treks, ca­noe trips and craft-mak­ing are an op­por­tu­nity to learn about their way of life.

Ja­maica’s ‘Meet the Peo­ple’ pro­gramme matches vis­i­tors to lo­cals with sim­i­lar in­ter­ests or pro­fes­sions and bril­liantly, it is com­pletely free.

Do­minica is invit­ing vis­i­tors to help re­store the In­dian River and the Waitukubuli Na­tional Trail, the Caribbean’s first long-dis­tance walk­ing path, back to their for­mer glory, fol­low­ing the de­struc­tion wreaked by Hur­ri­cane Maria last year.

Guests stay­ing at Jade Moun­tain and Anse Chas­tanet, Saint Lu­cia, have the op­por­tu­nity to get hands-on with reef clean­ing and tree plant­ing. •

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