Travel expert Sally Luff explains why she thinks the Caribbean should top your next holiday list…
The Caribbean ranks highly on many people’s most desired vacation lists thanks to the pristine beaches, sunny climate and laid back atmosphere. Those three reasons alone attract 25 million annual visitors but there’s much more to explore in this tropical paradise. Holidays to the Caribbean offer a sun-drenched climate where the temperatures rarely dip below 70f all year round. The islands also provide some of the best diving conditions in the world and of course the nightlife and sightseeing is second to none. The Caribbean experience is well worth the journey whether you’ve come to explore the tropical interior, relax on some of the world’s best beaches or spend some time island hopping.
The world’s best beaches
Relaxing on the white sand beaches and swimming in the warm Caribbean Sea waters is a daily activity, and is of course the major reason people visit the islands. Visitors are spoilt for choice with world famous beaches such as those on the Gold Coast in Barbados or the seven miles of sand at Negril, Jamaica. There are thousands of islands in the Caribbean and island hopping is one of the best ways to see the region. Idyllic and secluded beaches such as Little Bay Beach in Anguilla or Anse Chastanet in St Lucia are well worth the boat or water taxi trip.
Swimming with dolphins and turtles is ‘must-do’ activity but scuba diving is an unforgettable experience. The crystal clear sea waters provide exceptional clarity and the Caribbean Sea is home to a number of exciting reefs and wrecks. If you’re visiting Barbados you will have 200 wrecks to explore around Carlisle Bay and the coral reefs, which are ideal for snorkelling. The Caribbean is the perfect place to learn to dive thanks to the year round warm waters and the 40ft to 100ft visibility range.
Most of the islands offer exteriors that were made for exploring. Famous sightseeing adventures include the 600ft Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica and tours of the 19,000 acres of rainforest in St Lucia. If you’re visiting Grenada then a swim at the Seven Sister Falls and trekking through the Honeymoon Falls should be on your itinerary. If you get the chance make sure to visit vibrant and historic cities such as Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and San Juan in Puerto Rico to follow in the footsteps of the pirates.
The island nightlife
Rum cocktails, fresh lobster and partying in the tropical warm night air – this is how evenings are spent in the Caribbean. You can expect meals on open air terraces, lively bars with live reggae and soca music as well as plenty of beach parties. The Dominican Republic is one of the best for nightclubs and casinos while the clubs in the Bahamas never really start until after midnight. A Caribbean vacation is never a hard sell and this region is popular all year round, even during the rainy season. Arrive for a week or two, find your favorite island and then return as often as you can.