Don’t Miss

The range of world-class scenic thrills and cul­tural at­trac­tions to be en­joyed in the Caribbean is ex­tra­or­di­nary. Here’s 10 ab­so­lute must-dos. Feel free to get ex­cited!

Your Guide to the Caribbean - - Contents -

1 Climb a vol­cano in St. Vin­cent and The Gre­nadines

Ris­ing to 4,049ft (1,234m), La Soufrière is a colos­sal vol­cano on St. Vin­cent that of­fers a stren­u­ous, but im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing, climb. Lo­cal op­er­a­tor Bam­boo Ad­ven­tures can pro­vide a guide, trans­fers and lunch. Guests as­cend through rain and cloud forests to reach an ex­hil­a­rat­ing lavas­cape and the ash-strewn crater rim. The round trip takes around five hours to com­plete.

2 Go div­ing in the Cay­man Is­lands

Slip un­der the waves and you’ll dis­cover a sec­ond, gor­geous Caribbean. Vivid corals bloom in an en­chanted gar­den rain­ing with sil­ver fish, and sun­beams high­light the silent beauty like spot­lights from heaven. Take your pick from 365 dive sites, in­clud­ing the mushroom-like pin­na­cle of Ghost Moun­tain, the wreck of Usskit­ti­wake, and Bloody Bay Wall where ver­ti­cal drop-offs plunge to 6,000ft (1,829m).

3 Dance the night away in Cuba

In Cuba, the beat of the mu­sic finds you. From a bed­room win­dow, a pass­ing 1950s car, or buskers strum­ming on a beach. Salsa, bolero, jazz, rumba, chachachá – the mood here segues from soul­ful to vi­brant, from catchy rhythms in a back­street club to a daz­zling floor show with dancers lost in a whirl of feath­ers. Cuba is made for danc­ing the night away, and if you don’t know how the charis­matic Cubans will hap­pily teach you.

4 Sail away in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands

With calm wa­ters, re­li­able winds, shel­tered bays and over 50 small is­lands, the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands are the per­fect nat­u­ral arena for a sail­ing hol­i­day. Op­er­a­tors such as Sun­sail and The Moor­ings of­fer char­ters with or with­out crew, and there are plenty of places to learn the ropes – on­board par­ty­ing in­cluded.

5 Drink rum in Bar­ba­dos

There’s at least 1,500 rum shops in Bar­ba­dos and hav­ing a drink in one is a clas­sic way to tune into the Caribbean’s easy-go­ing vibe. Brightly painted, by day they act as a com­bined bar, con­ve­nience store and com­mu­nity cen­tre. By night – well, how’s your karaoke? On Fri­day nights, don’t miss the fish fry at Oistins Bay Gar­dens. Tuna, sword­fish, mar­lin, mahimahi, fly­ing fish, lob­ster, chicken and more are served in an in­for­mal set­ting. There’s also soca and ca­lypso mu­sic and you can jamm with the lo­cals or watch the oth­ers dance! 6 The nar­row, wind­ing road up to Brim­stone Hill Fortress Na­tional Park gives lit­tle clue that you will ar­rive at a colos­sal citadel with

Travel back in time on St. Kitts

stone bat­tle­ments, ghostly bar­racks and ven­er­a­ble can­non point­ing out to sea. Dat­ing from 1690, this UNESCO World Her­itage site is one of the se­cret won­ders of the Caribbean with a com­pelling story that un­folds in the vis­i­tor cen­tre, ex­cel­lent au­dio­gu­ide and Fort Ge­orge Mu­seum.

7 Take to air and sea in Guyana

Tak­ing a scenic day-trip by small plane to Kai­eteur Falls is a bucket-list thrill. Af­ter fly­ing over vast green jun­gles you land be­side the long­est sin­gle drop wa­ter­fall in the world, gush­ing from a height of 741ft (226m) like a river of sil­ver. And there’s a bonus – the pi­lot then con­tin­ues to Orinduik Falls, where the river has carved out ter­races from red jasper rock. Fancy a swim? You bet!

8 Make sweet choco­late in Saint Lu­cia

Ev­ery­one loves choco­late, but how is it made? Find out on a ‘Tree to Bar’ ex­pe­ri­ence at the Rabot Es­tate, which is Saint Lu­cia’s old­est ca­cao plan­ta­tion and now owned by Bri­tish choco­latier Ho­tel Cho­co­lat. Af­ter see­ing how the bean is cul­ti­vated and fer­mented, you then get to grind the roasted nibs and cre­ate you own de­li­cious or­ganic bar. Can there be a bet­ter way to im­press your friends?

9 Ven­ture deep in­side a Mayan cave in Belize

In the foothills of the Maya Moun­tains, Ac­tun Tu­nichil Muk­nal is a three-mile (4.8km) long cave where deep in­side lies a 1,200-yearold Mayan burial site com­plete with skulls and bones. Get­ting there is a real ad­ven­ture. Af­ter a 45-minute hike, three river cross­ings and a swim through dark tun­nels, you clam­ber past mas­sive sta­lac­tites. The des­ti­na­tion? A lofty cham­ber where priests con­ducted their rit­u­als; an ethe­real place that will leave you spell­bound.

10 Fall for Venezuela

Venezuela is home to some of South Amer­ica’s most in­cred­i­ble land­scapes, in­clud­ing the world’s high­est wa­ter­fall, An­gel Falls. Lo­cated in Canaima Na­tional Park, the falls are 16 times the height of Ni­a­gara Falls. Get­ting to the falls is an ad­ven­ture in it­self: vis­i­tors jour­ney there by small pro­pel­ler plane and mo­torised ca­noe. Along the way are a se­ries of smaller wa­ter­falls to pho­to­graph. At one of these, you can go be­hind and then swim un­der. All of the smaller falls have cu­ri­ous-look­ing red­dish wa­ter due to the high min­eral con­tent. At An­gel Falls it­self, vis­i­tors can stay in sim­ple ham­mock camps for a night or two to see the falls at dif­fer­ent times of the day and night. •

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