The Caribbean is a delightful place. Discover it’s true beauty with the article below.
The differences between the Caribbean islands are part of what makes the region so appealing. Latin spirit in Cuba or the Dominican Republic meets upper-crust British reserve in Antigua, Rastafarianism in Jamaica and slightly snooty French chic in St Barthelemy or Martinique. Ferries connect many of the closer, smaller islands, and the change in vibe when you get off can be dramatic. Weirdest of all is St Martin/Sint Maarten, a tiny island that is half-French and half-Dutch and has distinctive personalities on either side of the unmarked border.
The current West Indies team may not be a patch on the great sides of the 1970s and ’80s, but the Caribbean still moves to the rhythm of leather on willow. Pop into pretty much any bar frequented by locals and you’ll quickly find yourself in a long, impassioned cricketing debate. The most attractive grounds at which to catch an inter-island game are Arnos Vale in St Vincent (it’s on a cliff overlooking the sea) and the mountain-surrounded Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia.
Cruising is big business in the Caribbean – although the model of giant ships stopping off for duty-free shopping sadly dominates. For a more personal island-hopping experience, yacht charters are the way forward. The likes of Sunsail (sunsail.com) can fix up either bare-boat or crewed charters. If the budget doesn’t extend that far, the plush yachts tethered in the marinas make for excellent gawping and photo opportunities. The prime hunting grounds for sail snappers are Antigua and the Virgin Islands.
The Caribbean stereotypes of white-sand beaches and warm, calm seas are stereotypes for a very good reason – the islands are blessed with some of the finest beaches on Earth. As a general rule, the flatter islands – such as Barbados, Anguilla, Grand Cayman and Antigua – have the sexiest stretches of sand. Beware, though, the most popular ones aren’t necessarily the best. For example, in Anguilla, the hype is over squeaky white Shoal Bay East – but the one at Long Bay is arguably prettier and far less crowded.
Perhaps the most extraordinary beach, however, is Levera Beach in Grenada. This is not because it’s particularly beautiful – it’s because of what happens there. Huge leatherback turtles – they’re the size of coffee tables – struggle up the beach to