Highs & Lows
With its dense rainforests and warm tropical weather, the Caribbean is the ultimate adventure playground – and all you need is a T-shirt, shorts and trainers!
What do you fancy today? A morning hike up a mountain, followed by a refreshing dip in the sea? A lazy glide down a river? Or an adventure exploring a cave?
St Kitts is one of the few places in the world where the rainforest is increasing in size due to the end of sugar production – a quarter of this highly scenic island is protected. Greg’s Safaris runs hikes and tours by 4x4 vehicle into its green and mountainous interior. You’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide and enjoy an ‘exotic island picnic’.
Another top destination for lovers of mighty trees and muddy jungle is the Unesco-world-heritage-site listed Main Ridge Forest Reserve on Tobago, which has been a conservation zone since 1776 and is the oldest protected rainforest in the western hemisphere. Covering almost 10,000 acres (4,046 hectares) across the island’s central spine, its 3.1 mile (5km) Gilpin Trail is the most popular hike.
If you like to discover a secret spot, then head for The Quill, a dormant volcano on St. Eustatius that rises to 1,971ft (601m) – after a 45-minute climb through the forest, you’ll reach the crater rim where you can peer down at the enchanted green world below. Fans of canyoning should make for Martinique, where local operator Tropicanyon offers ‘dives’ for beginners aged 10 and over, as well as more extreme challenges on the southern side of its mighty volcano, Mount Pelée. Or if you like to combine a sweaty hike through the rainforest with a cooling massage in a thundering waterfall, follow the trail to the Seven Sisters Falls in Grenada, which is part of the Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve.
Prefer to kick back? Then try gliding down the Rio Grande near Port Antonio in Jamaica on a 25ft (7.6m) long bamboo raft poled by a skilled captain – romantics should book a trip by moonlight.
In Barbados, the Carlisle Bay Marine Park, with six wrecks to explore, is a good choice for novice divers, while the more experienced should head to the blue holes of Andros in The Bahamas for a mystical underwater moment. Excellent free snorkelling is available from the beaches of Curaçao, and Gibbs Cay in Turks & Caicos is home to friendly southern rays. Tobago Cays in The Grenadines is a divine spot to swim with turtles and you can also do this on a boat trip to Monkey Point on Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands.
Or why not discover the ethereal bioluminescent nightlife of Tobago by paddleboard or kayak? Although it faces tough competition from the magical bioluminescent nightlife in Puerto Mosquito (Mosquito Bay), on the southern shore of the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico, which was declared the brightest recorded in the world by the book of Guinnessworldrecords2008. Radical Sports Tobago arranges trips to the Bon Accord Lagoon, where you can gaze at these glittering organisms that look like underwater stars. •
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