Soak it Up

A Caribbean trip isn’t just about re­lax­ing by the pool – it’s also a chance to learn new things and im­prove your mind, body and soul!

Your Guide to the Caribbean - - Contents -

Whether it’s learn­ing to salsa, pick­ing up fresh cook­ery skills or help­ing pro­tect nest­ing tur­tles, the Caribbean is the ideal place to take your life a step fur­ther while still find­ing time to soak up that al­limpor­tant sun­shine.

Here’s a se­lec­tion of some of the best new things to learn and dis­cover, along with some smart ideas for mak­ing your­self look and feel good.

Chal­lenge your­self

Amaze your friends by learn­ing to sing in a week at the Caribbean Choir Work­shop, which is led by a lead­ing UK voice coach and held at Elite Re­sorts prop­er­ties in Bar­ba­dos, An­tigua and Saint Lu­cia. Or pick up some dance skills in Cuba as La Casa del Son in Ha­vana of­fers pri­vate and group classes in salsa, rumba and many more styles.

Al­ways wanted to learn how to dive? All San­dals Re­sorts, in­clud­ing those on Bar­ba­dos and An­tigua, of­fer lessons for a nom­i­nal fee (start­ing at $100). Sail­ing is an­other clas­sic skill to mas­ter here and a good way to meet peo­ple – give it a try in the bliss­ful

wa­ters of the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands with the Rob Swain Sail­ing School in Vir­gin Gorda. Else­where, the Gray­cliff Culi­nary Academy on Nas­sau in The Ba­hamas of­fers high-class cook­ing demon­stra­tions as well as lessons on how to en­joy cigars and rum.

Get close to na­ture

Con­ser­va­tion is an im­por­tant is­sue in the Caribbean and vis­i­tors can get to do their bit by ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and sup­port­ing lo­cal projects. On Ne­vis, guests stay­ing at Four Sea­sons Re­sort Ne­vis can as­sist the Ne­vis Tur­tle Group from July to Oc­to­ber, as they iden­tify and mark sea tur­tle nests on the is­land’s beaches. Join­ing the bat­tle against the non­na­tive li­on­fish that have pro­lif­er­ated in Caribbean wa­ters is an­other valu­able con­tri­bu­tion – help out by eat­ing it in restau­rants, buy­ing li­on­fish jew­ellery or, on Cu­raçao, join a spearfish­ing dive to try and catch the pesky in­vader. In Saint Lu­cia, Anse Chas­tanet Re­sort of­fers week­long cour­ses in un­der­wa­ter pho­tog­ra­phy, in­clud­ing cam­era rental and 12 dives in a marine re­serve close to the fa­mous Pi­ton moun­tains.

Fit for pur­pose

Sev­eral re­sorts of­fer com­pli­men­tary non-mo­torised wa­ter­sports such as kayak­ing, wind­surf­ing and snorkelling: all a great way to keep in shape while try­ing some­thing new.

At La Pagerie Re­sort in Mar­tinique, guests can ‘work out’ by learn­ing to sail a cata­ma­ran, tak­ing a kayak ex­cur­sion to meet sea tur­tles, en­joy­ing pods of dol­phins in the mid­dle of the Flamingo Bay or learn­ing to dive.

An­other pop­u­lar way to tone up is to check into a one-stop well­ness re­sort such as La Luna in Gre­nada, which comes with an Asian spa, beach­front yoga pav­il­ion, sus­tain­able or­ganic gar­den and state-of-the-art gym.

In Ja­maica, the sea­side Go Nat­u­ral Sanc­tu­ary runs re­treats de­voted to ‘get­ting back into bal­ance’ through yoga and med­i­ta­tion, while the Kari­wak Holis­tic Haven in Tobago also of­fers com­pli­men­tary yoga or tai chi classes ev­ery sin­gle morn­ing.

On Montser­rat, bik­ing is a great way to dis­cover the is­land while en­joy­ing spec­tac­u­lar views of the ocean and the sweep of lush green hills, which have more than a pass­ing re­sem­blance to the Ir­ish coun­try­side.

Soak it up

In Saint Lu­cia, the treat­ments at Jade Moun­tain’s Eco Spa sound good enough to eat! They fea­ture an or­ganic choco­late fa­cial, mango body scrub and a de-stress massage us­ing black pep­per, rose­mary and gin­ger.

At COMO Par­rot Cay in Turks & Caicos, which now has a new COMO Shamb­hala gym, ther­a­pies in­clude a massage us­ing hot, oiled river stones as well as Ayurvedic treat­ments.

At the Fern Tree Spa at Half Moon in Ja­maica, guests can treat them­selves to a tra­di­tional Ja­maican Bush Bath, us­ing wa­ters steeped in heal­ing herbs, roots and fruits.

Or float away with an ‘Is­land Drift’ rit­ual – which starts with a rum and co­conut foot soak – on of­fer at Mal­liouhana ho­tel, on An­guilla, when it re-opens in spring 2018.

At the Pink Sands Club on Canouan, in The Gre­nadines, clients can be pam­pered in both hill­side or over-the­wa­ter treat­ment suites, while the one­room Sun­set Spa at Tur­tle Inn in Belize is set in­side an el­e­gant Ba­li­nese rice house. Guests who book an all-in­clu­sive spa pack­age at Le Grand Courlan Spa Re­sort in Tobago can claim a 30-minute taster treat­ment for each day of their stay.

El­e­gant Ho­tels’ Waves Ho­tel & Spa in Bar­ba­dos pro­vides a com­pli­men­tary steam room and sauna plus free health treat­ments and fit­ness classes. •

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