Mov­ing Around

Mov­ing be­tween the Caribbean’s di­verse is­lands and coun­tries, sprin­kled across the Caribbean Sea and At­lantic Ocean, is sim­pler than you think

Your Guide to the Caribbean - - Contents -

Flights from the UK to the Caribbean usu­ally de­part in the morn­ing, which means you may well ar­rive in time for a swim and a sun­downer at your ho­tel be­fore en­joy­ing din­ner un­der the stars. If you’re trav­el­ling via pop­u­lar hubs such as Bar­ba­dos and An­tigua, many same­day con­nec­tions are avail­able to smaller air­ports in des­ti­na­tions such as the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, Do­minica, An­guilla and St. Vin­cent.

Re­gional air­lines like In­ter­caribbean Air­ways and Liat pro­vide ex­ten­sive links be­tween many is­lands – the lat­ter, along with Fly Ja­maica Air­ways, also serves Guyana. Puerto Rico and Belize can be reached via Mi­ami. St. Maarten is an­other ex­cel­lent gate­way, eas­ily ac­cessed on di­rect flights from Paris or Am­s­ter­dam – from here, Wi­nair’s des­ti­na­tions in­clude St. Eus­tatius, Haiti and Cu­raçao.

Other is­lands with ‘di­rect’ flights from the UK are The Ba­hamas, the Cay­man Is­lands, Cuba, Gre­nada, Ja­maica, St. Kitts, Saint Lu­cia, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos.

On the ocean wave

Tak­ing to the wa­ter is a smart idea in the Caribbean, whether you travel by ferry, high-speed cata­ma­ran, pri­vate speed­boat or yacht. Some highly scenic ferry routes are those link­ing Be­quia with St. Vin­cent, in St. Vin­cent and The Gre­nadines, and An­tigua with Montser­rat. Such ser­vices are also ideal for trav­el­ling within and be­tween the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, around The Ba­hamas, and be­tween Saint-martin and An­guilla. Saint Lu­cia, Mar­tinique and Do­minica are linked by the Ex­press Des Iles ferry ser­vice. Two cata­ma­rans each seat 300 pas­sen­gers.

Some ho­tels use their own boats for air­port trans­fers, such as the Four Sea­sons Re­sort Ne­vis which con­nects guests trav­el­ling to Ne­vis with long-haul flights into St. Kitts. If you pre­fer to travel at your own pace, sail­ing from is­land to is­land by yacht is a favourite way to hop around the limpid wa­ters of An­tigua and Bar­buda, the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands and St. Vin­cent and The Gre­nadines. Ex­pert com­pa­nies such as Sun­sail and The Moor­ings of­fer yachts for char­ter with or with­out crew, and their op­tions range from a bare­boat voy­age around the tran­quil cayes of Belize to a week sail­ing north from Saint Lu­cia to Mar­tinique that wraps up with a tipsy tour of the French is­land’s rum dis­til­leries.

Cruise con­trol

Cruis­ing is an im­mensely pop­u­lar way to ex­plore the Caribbean and in­vari­ably good value. It’s the best way to see a lit­tle of ev­ery­thing in com­fort – for ex­am­ple the 929-pas­sen­ger ship Brae­mar, op­er­ated by Fred. Olsen Cruises, of­fers voy­ages that drop

an­chor at ten is­lands over a fort­night. Sail­ing a cir­cu­lar route from Bar­ba­dos, pas­sen­gers get a taste of Dutch, French and Span­ish cul­tures as well as stops at scenic favourites such as Ja­maica, Gre­nada and Saint Lu­cia.

Viking Cruises has a sim­i­lar ‘West Indies Ex­plorer’ round tour from Puerto Rico while Mar­tinique, Tobago and St. Vin­cent and The Gre­nadines are in­cluded in Se­abourn’s cruise pro­gramme. Other cruise lines sail­ing the Caribbean in­clude Royal Caribbean, Car­ni­val and Celebrity.

Shore ex­cur­sions are an im­por­tant part of such hol­i­days – ‘des­ti­na­tion im­mer­sion’ is a key theme for the ships of Az­mara Club Cruises which tend to linger longer in port and of­fer ex­pe­ri­ences rang­ing from stargaz­ing in An­tigua to tack­ling the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line – the world’s long­est flight line over open wa­ter – in Haiti.

Love the ro­mance of sail? Then join one of Star Clip­pers’s hi-tech tall ships from St. Maarten and Bar­ba­dos. Week­long cruises can in­clude An­guilla, St. Kitts and the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands.

Dou­ble the fun

The ge­og­ra­phy of the Caribbean makes it par­tic­u­larly easy to visit two or more is­lands in one trip and the sis­ter isles of St. Kitts and Ne­vis are a clas­sic ex­am­ple and just two miles (3.2km) apart. The first is a long, moun­tain­ous is­land with a unique scenic train ride, while the sec­ond has char­ac­ter­ful plan­ta­tion-style ho­tels and the stun­ning Ne­vis Peak.

On Gre­nada, it’s fun to slip away – as many lo­cals do – to the smaller and much qui­eter Car­ri­a­cou to the north-east. There’s a sim­i­lar sense of es­cape if you pair the Puerto Rico main­land with low-key, beach-fringed Cule­bra, or take a speed­boat from the coast of Belize to a tiny, pan­cake­flat, one-ho­tel islet such as St Ge­orge’s Caye or South Wa­ter Caye. For a longer is­land-hop­ping jour­ney, head to St. Vin­cent and The Gre­nadines, where you can work your way south down the idyl­lic chain of 32 is­lands in­clud­ing Be­quia, Mayreau, Canouan and Union Is­land, us­ing the lo­cal ferry and cargo boats. •

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