Get Ac­tive

From zip-wire thrills and spills in the trop­i­cal rain­for­est to wreck div­ing, swim­ming with tur­tles and ab­seil­ing down a wa­ter­fall, you will find ad­ven­tures ga­lore all over the Caribbean

Your Guide to the Caribbean - - Contents -

Jump in, the wa­ter’s lovely! The Caribbean’s warm seas are an open in­vi­ta­tion to take the plunge, whether that be a gen­tle snorkel over a beau­ti­ful reef teem­ing with fish, or swim­ming along­side grace­ful tur­tles.

Glide serenely on a stand-up pad­dle­board in Saint-martin and Tobago, pad­dle a kayak in Belize and St Maarten, or ramp it up and go kitesurf­ing in St. Vin­cent & The Gre­nadines. You will find in­struc­tors close by on all is­lands to set you on the right course.

…on the wa­ter

Learn to sail like a pro­fes­sional at the Body­hol­i­day, Saint Lu­cia, sail­ing high-speed per­for­mance yachts. Then put your new skills to the test dur­ing an ex­hil­a­rat­ing weekly re­gatta. Held in part­ner­ship with neigh­bour­ing

Mar­tinique, you’ll be rac­ing in yachts from an im­pres­sive fleet, fea­tur­ing ves­sels made by world lead­ers G-force.

Sailors flock from all over the world to take part in the re­gat­tas and ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the Sail­ing Weeks of Bar­ba­dos (Jan­uary), the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands and An­tigua (both spring time). Or why not char­ter a yacht – with or with­out skip­per – and cruise around these is­lands’ calm seas your­self?

The less ac­tive may pre­fer a glass­bot­tom boat ride, which is avail­able on most is­lands, in­clud­ing An­guilla.

…un­der the wa­ter

With some of the world’s top reefs, corals and dive sites sur­round­ing the is­lands, the Caribbean is a mag­net for divers and snorkellers. Choose from The Ba­hamas, Belize, St. Eus­tatius, An­tigua, Saint Lu­cia, Do­minica, Gre­nada, St. Vin­cent & The Gre­nadines and the Cay­man Is­lands, which has a stag­ger­ing 365 dive sites alone.

The wa­ter sur­round­ing the en­tire is­land of St. Eus­tatius is a pro­tected marine park, es­tab­lished in 1998 to en­sure the pris­tine na­ture of the frag­ile reefs and ecosys­tem. The reefs and seal­ife are abun­dant and the reefs are well pre­served, mak­ing div­ing a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence for all lev­els of divers. Nat­u­ral reefs, walls, mini-walls, wrecks, ledges, drop-offs, vol­canic fis­sures, pin­na­cles all await off­shore. Come face-to-face with sharks, rays and man­a­tees on Belize’s Bar­rier Reef, a UNESCO World Her­itage Site. It’s the long­est reef in the west­ern hemi­sphere. The Great Blue Hole is one of the most spec­tac­u­lar (you can take a heli­copter ride over it too). Montser­rat’s most spec­tac­u­lar sites in­clude Lit­tle Re­donda, the Pin­na­cles and a 19th­cen­tury schooner wreck at Yel­low Hole.

Gre­nada’s 50 dive sites, 20 reefs and 15 wrecks are brim­ming with sea fans, sea horses, an­gelfish, bar­racuda and sharks. New wreck Per­si­aii joins the Caribbean’s largest wreck, Bian­cac. A sec­ond Dive Fes­ti­val takes place in Oc­to­ber, with be­gin­ners’ lessons and free beach dives.

Cu­raçao’s Dive Fes­ti­val in the spring at­tracts se­ri­ous divers to its work­shops, in­clud­ing un­der­wa­ter dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy. Over in Saint Lu­cia, divers will spot mo­ray eels and scor­pion fish on Pe­tit Trou and pil­lar co­ral and tur­tles on Tur­tle Reef.

Ad­mire Do­minica’s geother­mal hot springs and bub­bling mud pools in the UNESCO World Her­itage Site, Morne Trois Pi­tons Na­tional Park, which in­cludes Boil­ing Lake, the sec­ond largest lake of its kind in the world.

…on dry land

En­joy horse-rid­ing in Ne­vis and Ja­maica. A Surf & Turf ex­pe­ri­ence at Half Moon, Mon­tego Bay, Ja­maica, in­cludes a guided trek and a swim along­side your horse (over-10s only).

The Ba­hamas, Bar­ba­dos and Ja­maica of­fer some of the re­gion’s top golf cour­ses, but you’ll also find chal­leng­ing fair­ways and greens on Tobago, Mar­tinique (Golf de la Mar­tinique), Puerto Rico (Do­rado Beach), An­guilla, Haiti (nine-hole Pe­tionville Club), and Mul­let Bay Golf Club on St. Maarten.

Ad­ven­tures of a tourist

Get a bird’s-eye view of the rain­for­est on lofty zip-lines in Belize, Haiti, Ja­maica, Gre­nada, Saint Lu­cia, Trinidad, An­tigua and St. Kitts, en­joy breath­tak­ing views of Grand Cay­man’s co­ral reefs from a heli­copter flown by a for­mer stunt pi­lot or ramp up the ac­tion fur­ther by tak­ing an ex­hil­a­rat­ing tub­ing ad­ven­ture in Belize’s Cayo Dis­trict.

Guests stay­ing at Body­hol­i­day and Ren­dezvous, Saint Lu­cia, will be tested to their lim­its with the re­sort’s new ad­ven­ture ac­tiv­i­ties, which in­clude rock climb­ing up Sig­nal Peak, ab­seil­ing 66ft down the Er­rand Wa­ter­fall, ex­treme moun­tain bik­ing, high-per­for­mance sail­ing, and hik­ing up the Pi­tons.

Walk on the wild side

With its glo­ri­ous abun­dance of ex­otic flora and fauna, the Caribbean is the per­fect place to go wild. Swim with pigs in the Ex­uma is­lands and feed igua­nas at Allan’s Cay, both in The Ba­hamas, or swim with dol­phins in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, Cuba, St. Kitts, Ja­maica and Haiti. Go tur­tle-watch­ing in Tobago with guides from SOS (Save our Sea Tur­tles) – and then adopt one through the char­ity af­ter­wards. A tur­tle-mon­i­tor­ing ac­tiv­ity is also of­fered by the Four Sea­sons ho­tel in Ne­vis.

Bird-watch­ing is a pop­u­lar ac­tiv­ity in Belize and Guyana, with 900 species of our feath­ered friends wait­ing to be spot­ted in Guyana alone. They in­clude the toco tou­can, scar­let macaw, harpy ea­gle and blood-coloured wood­pecker. Belize is also home to the world’s first jaguar re­serve, Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanc­tu­ary, and a sanc­tu­ary for howler mon­keys.

Look out for scar­let ibis on Trinidad and Tobago. Known lo­cally as ‘flamingo,’ they can be found in the Ca­roni Bird Sanc­tu­ary in the Ca­roni Swamp, an area set aside by the gov­ern­ment for the pro­tec­tion of these colour­ful birds.

And don’t miss a visit to the Asa Right Na­ture Re­serve, lo­cated among moun­tains deep in Trinidad’s rain­for­est.

It is known for its won­der­ful di­ver­sity of an­i­mal and plant species. For but­ter­fly lovers, many rare and ex­otic types can be found, flit­ting and flutt­ter­ing all around, at the But­ter­fly Farm on Saint-martin. •

Gre­nada’s 50 dive sites, 20 reefs and 15 wrecks are brim­ming with sea fans, sea horses, an­gelfish, bar­racuda and sharks

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