9 reasons to put the Caribbean top of your holiday wish list

08/07/2020

Local Caribbean travel expert Cheryl Franklin spells out why these stunning sunshine islands have everything you need for an unforgettable holiday

‘There is truly something for everyone in the Caribbean’

Cheryl Franklin, director of cruise for Visit Barbados, the experts in all things travel in Barbados

‘During an average day in paradise, depending on the season, there are all sorts of special events taking place from sporting, to musical, to cultural and culinary. From relaxing on white sand beaches to exploring the gardens and history and immersing yourself in stunning nature, there’s an unlimited amount of fascinating experiences to encounter during the day and night, right through the year.’

With so much to see and do on these magical isles, let Cheryl remind you of a few wonders that all add up to a fabulous holiday in the C-A-R-I-B-B-E-A-N

C for Coral reefs

‘And all the underwater wonders that surround these idyllic islands. The Caribbean boasts some of the healthiest and most diverse coral reefs and the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in the world. Grab your snorkel and dive in!’

A for Adventure

‘Explore by foot on a hike in the Pitons of St Lucia or take in the spectacular scenery on a Segway ride to the top of Mount Primard, where you can enjoy breathtaking panoramas of the island. For another vantage point you can take a catamaran trip from St Vincent, join a cycle tour along the original Bermuda Railway Trail, ride horses along the beach in Antigua or rattle around on a safari jeep in Aruba … the ingredients for an adventure-fuelled holiday are endless.’

R for Rum

‘There are many varieties to savour in addition to learning the history and production of this distinctly Caribbean drink. Barbados is known as the birthplace of the spirit, having created Mount Gay rum in 1703. Add Curaçao (the island’s blue-hued orange-flavoured spirit) and you’ve the makings of a Caribbean cocktail. Anyone for a rum punch?’

I for Island escapes

‘Hop across to small islands such as Bequia from St Vincent to play Robinson Crusoe for the day, or to Anegada to marvel at the superyachts that dock here for the weekend from the British Virgin Islands.’

B for Botanical Gardens

‘The Caribbean is home to several botanical gardens. Barbados has Andromeda Gardens, Hunte’s Gardens, the Flower Forest and Welchman Hall Gully to choose from. Elsewhere, the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere can be found on St Vincent.’

B for BBQs

‘For a true taste of the Caribbean you’ve got eat fresh from the BBQ. From jerk chicken and plantain to seafood grilled to perfection, every island has its own style and secret recipe. On Fridays the fishing village of Oistins in Barbados transforms into a street food haven and party zone. Don’t miss the chance to try the island’s emblem, flying fish, at an outdoor fish fry.’

E for Eagle Beach

‘One of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, Eagle Beach on Aruba is a serene spot with soft white sand that is regularly voted among one of the World’s Best Beaches – it took the number 3 spot on Tripadvisor’s 2019 Travelers’ Choice Awards. For a traditional beach day with a heavy splash of magic on Barbados, my choice would have to the azure waters in the heart of historic Holetown. This is where the first settlers arrived in 1627. It’s a superb, idyllic stretch of beach with turquoise calm waters that are crystal clear.’

A for Architecture

‘From the colourful wooden houses that line the waterfront of Willemstadt, Curaçao to grand plantation houses and properties that reference the British Georgian and Jacobean eras, the Caribbean is home to many unique and historic architectural styles. A walking food tour of Bridgetown in Barbados and a visit to the historic Garrison is a must. Both have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.’

N for Nature and wildlife

‘This tropical paradise is a biodiversity hotspot, with over 11,000 plant species, 72 of which are endemic. The national parks are full of colourful flora and fauna, including many species of bird unique to the Caribbean. Look out for the Saint Lucia warbler, the Grenada dove and the Sisserou parrot, which even appears on Dominica’s flag.’