Contrasts of the Caribbean
How to choose the best island for your holiday.
Each Caribbean island has it’s own individual characteristics, so here we outline some key differences to help you make a decision on which will suit you best – or indeed why not try some island hopping?!
Antigua – best for yachties
Whilst boasting a different beach for every day of the year, it’s the maritime history of the island sets it apart from its’ neighbours. Nelson’s Dockyard was once the headquarters of the British Royal Navy who recognised the strategic importance of English Harbour as a safe place to shelter and repair their fleet. Today visitors can explore the historic buildings nestled alongside restaurants and art galleries and the area also remains a maritime hub, regularly hosting yachts from across the world.
Barbados – best for foodies
For many years Barbados has been the haunt of the rich and famous staying in luxurious private villas. As a result some fantastic restaurants have sprung up to service wealthy visitors wanting to dine out. You’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of dining opportunities, with renowned restaurants such as The Cliff and The Tides keen to welcome you, although we also recommend trying a traditional fish fry at Oistins village on a Friday evening, a hot spot with the locals thanks to the great music! However, Barbados also has a surprising amount of wildlife to spot – from hummingbirds, to monkeys and turtles; just because you can enjoy Michelin star cuisine, the island isn’t over-developed as you might imagine, offering the best of both worlds.
Grenada – best for authenticity
Grenada is knowns as the spice isle, with plantations growing a variety of crops including nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa and sugar which influences it’s flavourful cuisine, including a spice infused local rum! Perhaps it’s because flights are not direct (with a touchdown in St Lucia or Antigua) it feels more original and authentic than the other Caribbean islands, perhaps reflecting how they might have been 30 years ago. Travellers can also experience the local culture by taking part in one of the many colourful carnivals such as Spicemas in early August. However it also matches the other Caribbean islands in terms of a beautiful coastline, with 2 mile long Grand Anse Beach fringed by some delightful hotels and the added bonus of many inland waterfalls to explore.
St Lucia – best for natural beauty
The south of the island hosts the towering ‘pitons’, two stunning mountains which are also house geothermal hot springs on their slopes. As one of the most famous and beautiful sights of the Caribbean, it’s no wonder that this area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site under their ‘natural’ designation. There are a plethora of walking trails through pristine forest that supports many rare plant species on the island, with the possibility to spot many birds too if you are a keen ornithologist! Under the water, St Lucia also offers some of the best snorkelling and diving of the whole region with dramatic dop-offs and shipwrecks home to lobsters, turtles and many fish. This island wins our vote therefore, for a nature-lovers paradise!
Belize – best for variety
English-speaking Belize is the Caribbean but on the mainland of Latin America rather than an island and as such offers a great and unique combination of jungle and ocean activities. With the second longest barrier reef in the world just off the coastline, opportunities for excellent snorkelling and diving abound including the famous Blue Hole. However the next day you can find yourself deep in the jungle, which covers half of the country’s land mass. In addition to an abundance of flora and fauna, this stunning region is also home to Mayan ruins, ancient temples and ceremonial caves. It’s a great destination for those that like to keep active too, with zip lining, waterfall rappelling and river tubing to name but a few popular activities. It might be harder to reach with flights via Mexico or the USA, but you’ll be richly rewarded for making the journey.
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