Bucket lists were made for the Caribbean. With such a wide range of activities to do during any Caribbean vacation, you can be as active or as relaxed as you’d like, from a bicycle tour of Jamaica’s rugged Blue Mountains to a leisurely wade through the rays of Grand Cayman’s Stingray City. As part of the “Perfect Caribbean” guide that appears in the November 2009 issue of ISLANDS magazine, readers and editors point to these Caribbean activities as their favorites. Click on one to plan your next Caribbean trip!
Barbados: Harrison’s Cave Tour Rum dominates the scene on Barbados, but Harrison’s Cave goes below the surface to offer “a beautiful tram ride through rooms and rooms of caves,” says Phyllis Haner of New York.
Jamaica: Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour This is a great caffeinated coffee trips for people who want to see the interior of Jamaica from a bicycle on the Blue Mountain Bicycle Tour. “I loved the trip up the mountains on the coffee tour,” says Heidi Kukta of Utah, “but biking down the mountain was breathtaking.”
Jamaica: Dunn’s River Falls Hike On Jamaica alone, you can check off many “must do before I die” activities. Most famous is climbing Dunn’s River Falls, so synonymous with the island it’s on the back of Jamaica’s $100 bill. Let the water massage you as it pours over the human chain of hikers. “My husband and I did it on a whim, and it was a great experience,” says reader Cheryl Larimer of Minnesota.
Grand Cayman: Stingray City Swimming Reader Christi McLellan of California loved “gleefully playing with the rays” of Stingray City on Grand Cayman.
Puerto Rico: Bio Bay Kayaking On Puerto Rico’s Vieques island, Keri Meador of Kentucky loved kayaking at night through the mangrove maze that opens onto famous Bio Bay. “This excursion is an experience that few locations in the world offer,” she says. “How’s that for nightlife?”
St. Martin/St. Maarten: Pinel Island Exploring The restaurants and shops are reasons alone to go to St. Martin/Maarten, though Tracy DeVries of Michigan discovers her slice of perfection just a few minutes offshore. “Your first glimpse is an idyllic sliver of white sand that meets the warm, shallow, crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean,” she says. “Lined with colorful lounges and umbrellas, the beach invites relaxation. If activity is what you seek, try kayaking or exploring the uninhabited island by foot. My 11-year-old daughter insists that the Karibuni beach bar is where the best cheeseburger in paradise is. Welcome to Pinel Island.”
USVI: Island Sailing A sailing cruise through the U.S. Virgin Islands or British Virgin Islands can be “one of the best family vacations ever,” says Cindy Vedsted of Wyoming. Even a simple sunset sail, like on the historic schooner Roseway off St. Croix, can be epic, “with clouds that were blindingly white all day taking on a coral peachy shade, then fading to unbelievable lavenders,” says Gale Riley of Massachusetts.
More Favorite Activities There’s a wealth of Caribbean activities just bubbling under the iconic ones. While Cozumel is known for snorkeling, Louise Werre of North Dakota loved exploring the Maya ruins. So do what you must do, be it blokarting on Bonaire, zip-lining through a rainforest on St. Kitts or browsing the shops on St. Thomas. Or do the best Caribbean activity of all, says reader Chris Mercier: “Chillin’.”
Contest: Win a Caribbean Trip! Don’t see your favorite Caribbean spot listed here? Let us know what we missed — and you could win a free resort stay. Enter our new “Caribbean Favorites” contest.