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