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The Caribbean – But Not How You May Expect

This area is thrillingly adapted to adventurous breaks, treks on winding routes, and bicycle trips along rural roads. It is mountainous and beautiful in its highest spots, with an extra ingredient of volcanic spice on those summits where the Earth splits open.
November 15, 2023
Carribean

Some people really believe that you shouldn’t mess with perfection.

It is commonly acknowledged that Leonardo’s artwork doesn’t need to be modernized and that a dance remix of Mozart’s Requiem is unnecessary. Let the dogs sleep if their pedigree is flawless and they are curled up by the blazing fire.

All of the above could be used when traveling to a Caribbean beach. Except for this month and next, when the Atlantic hurricane season is at its most dangerous, there is nothing that would make the idea of a vacation to this region of dispersed islands and clear sky less appealing. The Caribbean is the epitome of sun-and-sea escape, with its smooth shores and mild shallows. Why would you want to leave your resort by the waves once you have checked in (especially when there are cocktails to be enjoyed and sunsets to be gazed at)?

It makes perfect sense, in my opinion. However, it overlooks a more important point. Few people in St. Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Jamaica, or any of the other islands would disagree that the Caribbean has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, but there is much more to enjoy within as well.

This area is thrillingly adapted to adventurous breaks, treks on winding routes, and bicycle trips along rural roads. It is mountainous and beautiful in its highest spots, with an extra ingredient of volcanic spice on those summits where the Earth splits open. Rare bird songs and serenades echo through its forests, and its ports, towns, and cities sigh in remembrance of past times.

We have selected a wide range of possibilities for people who want to experience the Caribbean beyond the – admittedly excellent – as the peak travel season approaches (November is typically viewed as the curtain-raising month). We’ve been focusing on the Caribbean islands. The coasts of Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and other countries will have to wait until another day. On the other hand, the six vacation alternatives listed below each offer something unique, from the sidewalks of Santiago de Cuba to the trails of Dominica.

Barbados

Strong Steps Towards Barbados

If you were to conjure up the traditional image of Caribbean vacation indolence, you may get a picture of Barbados’ west coast and the upscale resorts that adorn it.

Barbados has long been known as one of the best islands to visit in the Caribbean, but few realize how diverse and exciting it really is. You may think you know the beaches, but did you know they cover more than 70 miles and come in all sizes and types? It is known for its laid-back friendliness and exciting nightlife, but are you familiar with the island’s rich history and cultural life? Barbados has managed to pack a lot into a stunning island measuring 21 miles by 14 miles. The fact is that this island is the most attractive vacation destination in the Caribbean. 

Although the easternmost island in the area doesn’t have the same high elevations as some of its neighbors (1,120 feet Mount Hillaby is its highest point), it has enough remote locations and rugged corners to provide mildly active stops. Not least on an east coast that faces the open Atlantic and is very dissimilar from the west coast.

In The Dom Rep, Feathers Aflutter

The Dominican Republic has developed a reputation as a dependable alternative for a beach vacation, luring travelers to the more opulent resorts in the vicinity of Punta Cana in the country’s southeast.

It shares Hispaniola with Haiti, the second-largest Caribbean island, but being the bigger sibling, it may also be untamed, wild, and rocky. Its protected areas include Jaragua National Park, which is almost on the Haitian border and has a population of flamingos, and Los Haitises National Park, a dense region of mangrove forest that is essentially only accessible by boat.

Bávaro Sunrise, Dominican Republic

Marine Life At Silver Bank

In the waters of the Dominican Republic, the wildlife spectacle is still going strong.

The nation claims sovereignty of Silver Bank, a 650 square mile area of sedimentary stone and coral that lies 80 miles off the country’s northern coast and has been designated as a “Sanctuary for Marine Mammals.” It is a fitting description. Particularly between January and April, the region is an excellent location for humpback whale breeding and calving.

Family Entertainment Outside of Havana

The largest island in the Caribbean is so big (42,426 square miles), treating it like a simple beach getaway would be missing the point.

Cuba indeed has some beautiful sand arcs and plenty of sophisticated resort accommodations (especially in Varadero), but a week at the beach is far from sufficient. Travelers are unaware of most of this large country, even though many of its characteristics are well known, including the faded grandeur of Havana and the never-ending echoes of revolution.

The Malecon, Havana​

Rolling With It Across Cuba

Cuba is a fantastic destination for a bicycle vacation because of its vast size and relative lack of vehicular traffic.

This could refer to time in the southeast, which is a distinct creature from the northwest and Havana, where the Sierra Maestra rises and the bustling second city Santiago de Cuba (550 miles from the capital) seems to never sleep. Santiago de Cuba was a hotbed of revolution in the 1950s.

Past Tense And Parrots in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico should, in theory, be very appealing to visitors from the UK.

It is not only American (or, at least, a “US Territory”), but it is also the fourth-largest island in the Caribbean. However, since there are no direct flights from Britain, it is difficult to reach and so rather mysterious to visitors from these areas. The flip side of this, of course, is that for those who do leap, there is much to see, such as Old San Juan’s throwback to the 17th century and the serenity of Vieques, a satellite island.

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