When planning your next travel adventure to the Caribbean, try and venture out and do something you have never done before, whether it be hiking up a tropical rain forest, swimming with sting rays, or visiting the ancient Mayan ruins. Not every day of your vacation has to involve you lounging in a beach chair with a refreshing piña colada in hand – while that is heavenly in itself, you should also take advantage of all the experiences Caribbean travel has to offer:
Hike the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico
For all you adventure lovers out there, if you travel to Puerto Rico, hiking the El Yunque Trail should be at the top of your list! The view from the top of El Yunque is absolutely breathtaking. The sight of all of those lush green trees, and bright blue water is all more of an incentive to complete the hike. Along the trail, you come across many mountain streams, plants and flowers like bromileads, and hibiscus flowers. You will also come across many little creatures including birds, insects and frogs!
Kayak in Abaco Island, Bahamas
Going on a eco-kayak tour is the best way to experience the natural gems that are hidden deep in the oceans of the Mainland Island of Great Abaco. When you travel to the Bahamas, you can choose to either set out on a more peaceful tandem ride along the coastline, or for those with a need for speed (and are able to hurl their kayak over their shoulder to hop a creek bed) these are the waters for you! You can also take a peaceful, soothing paddle through the mangrove eco-system that give you a breath-taking view of the Great Egret! Lastly, the clear, turquoise blue water makes it even more inviting for a refreshing snorkel to swim amongst the many small fish, turtles, starfish, sea urchins, and many more.
Visit the historic Mayan ruins in Belize
Maya Ruins are one of the main Belize travel attractions and make the country stand out from all the typical touristy Caribbean destinations. Lamani, once a major city of the Maya civilization, is a great place to travel to if you’re interested in walking amongst ancient ruins. The name “Lamanai” comes from the Maya language and means “submerged crocodile” because of its spiritual ties to crocodiles, which are common in the area (so common that you will probably see one in a nearby river!).
You can expect to see large concentrations of temples, pyramids, tombs, underground ritual chambers, as well as elaborate stone carvings, paintings, pottery, and a repository of art in gold and jade. Some of the other known Maya sites on the island include Xunantunich, Caracol, Altun Ha and Lubaantun.
Snorkel in Barbados
Barbados’s bright blue, crystal clear waters provide excellent visibility for 40 to 70 feet, making it the perfect area to go snorkeling and see the abundance of marine life. Some of the marine life that you see include: a variety of tropical fish (parrot fish, trunk fish, angelfish) and turtles, stingrays, colorful coral reefs, sea fans, barrel sponges, and barracudas. Plus, the calmer waters along the western coastline make it perfect for snorkeling, therefore you do not have go to deep into the water to explore the ocean.
Some of the best snorkeling beaches on the island include: Folkestone Marine Park, Holetown Beach, Paynes Bay, Brighton Beach, and Carlisle Bay Beach & Marine Park. This is green travel at its most sublime.
Go diving in Grenada
The gorgeous Caribbean island of Grenada is home to the world’s first ever underwater sculpture park at Molinere Reef. The sculpture gallery was built by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor to regenerate coral reefs after the destruction of Hurricane Ivan and is now a popular dive site. A must-do when you travel to Grenada!
Dive schools run regular dive and snorkeling tours to the sculpture park. When you explore the underwater gallery will not only be able to view the striking artworks but will also be able to see how, over time, they have become part of their environment – giving the coral a solid base to attach itself to and providing a new habitat for sea creatures. As well as giving sea life the opportunity to regenerate in this area, the reef also allows other sections of reef the opportunity to recuperate.
Eat like the local in Jamaica
The Caribbean is known for its flavorful cuisine, and Jamaica specifically has some of the most mouth-watering dishes. Their cuisine is a melting pot reflecting the array of cultures that have influenced the island over the years, and with that fusion comes numerous flavors and local ingredients to help make the dishes stand out. For example, typically Jamaican cooking consists of using a lot of spices, and the culmination of their fiery and flavorsome ingredients is used to create their infamous jerk sauce.
Other notable dishes to try when you travel to Jamaica are jerk chicken, ackee and saltfish, callaloo, curry goat, and even the traditional rice and peas are cooked with coconut milk for a very tropical taste. The best way to get an authentic Jamaican meal, challenge yourself to venture out from touristy areas and instead travel to the towns and eat among the locals.
Swim with sting rays in Antigua and Barbuda
Stingray City is a series of shallow sandbars in the Cayman Islands (in the western part of the crystal-clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea) where stingrays are found in abundance, and a tourist attraction where visitors are allowed to interact with them. At the start of the day, you will be coached with an introductory class on how to behave around the sting rays before they start their snorkeling session and interact with the marine life. Remember, always look but don’t touch and be alert never to step on a stingray in order to travel responsibly. Observe these graceful sting rays with respect.
Relax on the beach in Anguilla
Need a warm, relaxing Caribbean travel getaway? Anguilla might be your best bet. The island is known for having some of the best beaches (Shoal Bay, Meads Bay, Junks Hole, etc.) because of their powdery, white sand and pristine waters. Because it is one of the Caribbean’s smaller islands, you can easily see the whole island if you’re there for a few days, plus staying here will give you the whole laid-back Caribbean experience without the touristy feel. However, the island does have an interesting nightlife, a great way to unwind after a relaxing day on the beach!
Experience the rain forests of St. Lucia
Another must for adventure-seekers is to travel to and experience the rain forests of St. Lucia. You can either go swinging through the forest on the zip-line, getting a magical view of the area with a ride on a tram, go on a nature hike, or even a bird-watching tour, the options are endless! There are so many ways you can choose to experience the best the forests have to offer when you travel to St. Lucia for a less typical vacation.
Celebrate carnival season in Trinidad
Trinidad is a big Caribbean island that celebrates its Creole culture and has a huge party scene that peaks during one of the world’s great Carnival celebrations. Known as the biggest street party in the world, the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival opens with revelers parading through the streets immersed in paint, grease and mud until sunrise. Also expect to see thousands of masqueraders on the streets throughout the islands in a blaze of colorful costumes, dancing through the parade routes to the sounds of soca, steelpan and calypso music. Carnival season in Trinidad should definitely be on your travel bucket list!
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