With the weather we’re currently having, it’s hard not to daydream about taking a last-minute getaway to a Caribbean island. Any Caribbean island will do for our daydream but if you’re considering making the trip a reality, you’ll need to give it a little more thought. Whilst all of the islands offer the same azure blue seas and white sand beaches, away from lounger-life they’re all incredibly different. In order to help you plan the ideal holiday in the Caribbean we’ve highlighted the individual charms of four islands so that you can find one that suits your needs:
Cuba: The Cultural Island
For history around every corner, you can’t beat the island of Cuba. While resorts like Varadero and Holguin offer the classic all-inclusive deals, white sand beaches and plentiful water sports, it’s an excursion to the capital, Havana, that will really have you feel like you’re stepping back in time. Pastel-coloured Colonial buildings with crumbling facades, 1950s Cadillacs and Chevrolets, and hour-long queues for ice creams are just a few of the sights that you can expect to see on the streets. Che Guevara, the country’s adopted son, is commemorated in many places on the island, and you can visit his final resting place in Santa Clara.
St Lucia: The Romantic Island
There’s a reason why St Lucia is so popular with honeymooners; here the pace of life is simple and the emphasis is very much on taking it easy. Nature is in abundance on St Lucia, and when you’re not relaxing on one of the island’s pristine beaches, the lush forested pitons are worth exploring. Cascading waterfalls can be found in the Botanical Gardens and Soufriere Estate, but you needn’t leave the confines of your resort to get close to nature. Many activities are on offer in the water, and while diving and snorkelling are the big draws, you could also opt to live it up on a champagne catamaran cruise.
Jamaica: The Adventure Island
Jamaica’s residents may have a reputation for taking it easy – but we’re not sure why when there’s so much to do on the island. Climbing up the cascading Dunn’s River Falls is a rite of passage for most tourists, and for your best chance of making it to the top you’ll want to hire a local guide. A visit to Jamaica wouldn’t be complete without visiting Bob Marley’s House and seeing where the country’s most famous musician grew up. The tour even gives some insight into the Rastafarian religion which plays such an important part in island life. Another thing the locals take very seriously is coffee – Blue Mountain coffee, brewed and grown in Jamaica, is said to be the best in the world. You’ll have to try a cup to see if you agree.
Barbados: The Home Away from Home
Barbados was once a British colony and although 4,200 miles away from the shores of the UK, in many ways it feels like a home away from home. English is the official language, and until 1966 Barbados was often referred to as Little England. Britain’s influence on the island can be seen in its halls and stately homes, particularly Hunte’s Gardens, Bathsheba and Cherry Tree Hill. Also worth a visit is St. Nicholas Abbey, the last remaining house of the 17th Century to exist in the New World, and a prime spot for rum tasting. Of course, there’s plenty on the island that’s inherently Barbudian; get yourself along to a fish fry! While fried fish is the main draw, bands also play Caribbean tunes, and locals and tourists alike dance the night away.