While the Caribbean may often be associated with sunny beaches and tropical getaways, there’s more than meets the eye. This is a region rich in culture with a mix of influences that come to life with rhythmic beats, delicious cuisine, and a history that combines European exploration and indigenous traditions. Delve below the surface with opportunities for diving, snorkeling and other aquatic sports. Delight in a world of color in the markets of Guadaloupe as you shop for local fruits, vegetables and spices. While the white, sandy beaches and crystal waters are a major allure of the three islets of Martinique, they also contain an area of lush forest perfect for nature walks, hiking and ecotourism. The Sint Maarten Museum is rife with the island nation’s history dating as far back as the Arawaks, the indigenous people of the Caribbean and South America.
GET TO KNOW
Known as the emerald jewel of the Caribbean for its mountainous and lush landscape, the island nation of Saint Lucia provides an enchanting backdrop for a perfect tropical expedition. A manmade lagoon sitting within the Gros Islet, Rodney Bay entices you with bars, restaurants and shops that invite you to take things slow. Make a trek to Pigeon Island National Landmark, a highlight that encompasses the island’s rich history with monuments depicting the many influences across its West Indian culture. Experience true magic as you look to the peaks of the Piton Mountains, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for their natural beauty. Spend a day on the sunny, pristine beaches with opportunities for water sports like snorkeling, kitesurfing, big-game fishing and diving. Find your way to the north side of Gros Islet to discover a small fishing village that offers a taste of local life, street food, rum shops and Calypso music.
ST. KITTS & NEVIS
Among St. Kitts’ stunning beaches is South Friar’s Bay, a shoreline filled with snorkeling and tanning opportunities. Within this stretch of sand lies Carambola Beach, inviting you to unwind in a tropical paradise with a landscape of palm trees and lush mountain peaks. The luxury of a beach club and restaurants, loungers and umbrellas beckon you to take it easy and relax for a day in the sun. Or feel free to play in the water with options for water sports. Not far from the beach lies the UNESCO-listed Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a historical landmark that exemplifies the ingenuity of Britain’s military engineering and one of the best-preserved fortifications in the Americas.
White, sandy beach shores, azure waters and palm trees on the horizon make Anguilla an absolute paradise. Rendezvous Bay Beach is a popular destination for a relaxing beach day with comfortable amenities. Stop by the renowned Elvis’ Beach Bar in Sandy Ground to sample their famous rum punch. Walk along the main beach to take in the electric energy of dozens of restaurants and a bustling harbor. For quieter adventures, head to Sandy Island and enjoy a day of snorkeling and other water sports away from the crowds. Or venture a little further inland toward North Hill Village to satisfy your appetite at a local restaurant. Find your way to the Pamead shipwreck for an exciting adventure that sparks the imagination.
St. Barts, an island within the archipelago of the French West Indies, contains deep valleys, stunning beaches and verdant, formerly active volcanic hills. Within all this sits the capital city of Gustavia with a diverse cultural heritage on display through Swedish colonial and French Creole architecture most easily seen in its signature red-roofed buildings. The beaches are the main attraction, offering unspoiled coves such as Gouverneur and quiet scenes like Saline for more intimate beach days. For a more active adventure, do the Colombier hike that leads you to the perfect snorkeling spot. Savor the exquisite flavors of Cajun and Creole seafood and staples like conch gratin, minced beef and the island specialty – banana flambé.