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!
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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