Jamaica? Barbados? Antigua and Barbuda? St Lucia? Where?
Slurping noisily through the straw of my iced coffee, I pondered at the options in front of my exasperated friend who simply wanted to know where in the Caribbean I wanted to go.
I had just come back from USA on my last inter-continental trip and I proclaimed I wanted to go back to the Americas.
Thing is, I’ve now done South America and North America. The only thing missing was Central America.
It’s all very well and easy to say, let’s go to Mexico and be done with it, but did you know there’s so many countries within Central America? I must choose wisely and where better to start than the Caribbean?
So, when I met up with my friend for a coffee to
talk rub in his face about my trip to USA, our conversation soon turned to the glittering blue Caribbean and its islands where relaxation is compulsory.
But he was right, where in the Caribbean would I go?
An hour later, after annoying him with my attempts to set him up with the waiting staff, I knew which islands I wanted to go.
Trapped in a time warp (although not for long if USA has anything to do with it!), Cuba’s sleepy old style 1950’s European feel on the Caribbean’s largest island is rapidly becoming the new destination for British tourists to visit. I know you want to go, I know I want to go and we both know someone has already been. Bringing back stories of stark white sandy beaches, driving the ‘Yank Tanks’ (1950s American style cars), where fruit juice is in plentiful supply, where service is second to none, and more, you just cannot wait to get to Cuba. Staying in ‘Casas particulares’ (licensed private houses lodging foreigners) instead of tourist resorts will definitely immerse you in the Cuban culture whether in the capital at Havana or Varadero Beach – a 20km long beach.
So what do I want to do in Cuba?
It could be either the watersports in Trinidad, rolling my very own Cuban cigar, going to the dance parties in Santiago, keep drinking more Mojitos, driving that 1950s classic car along the beach, bouncing my feet to live music, scoffing as much street food as I can, checking out Old Havana for its colourful buildings, finding out Cuba’s revolution at its history museum and actually seeing one of the epic baseball games between the country’s two teams!
There’s just so much to do! Wanna go now?
It goes without saying that Barbados has to be on your Caribbean wish list. But did you know it’s not just any old beach destination where you can laze on the white sandy beaches to your heart’s content? I couldn’t last more than half a day just laying there soaking up the sun. So for me, Barbados offers me adrenaline, adventure and culture in bucket loads.
Heading over to the Eastern side of the island, you’ll be in for a wild ride as you get yourself caught in the ‘Soup Bowl’ area where it’s renowned for its surfing! The big waves gives it an idea playground for adrenaline junkies and I for one will be getting stuck in the middle.
However, after hiring a car to drive around this island, I would look forward to visiting Concorde that has a plane housed in a special hangar, touring St Nicholas’s Abbey and finding about how Rum is made, go hiking on the many weekly walks with the locals and tucking into a fish dinner at Oistin’s Fish Fry. And that’s all before taking a walking tour at historic Bridgetown.
So, Barbados would offer a mixture of beach relaxation, adrenaline-fuelled adventures and culture in one holiday. Perfect for a family, I should think!
Did you know The Bahamas offers mysteries just waiting to be explored? You can’t go any further than diving the Andros Blue Holes that has spooky cavernous systems that may hide the secrets of time. Do you want to find out with me?
More adventures awaits as you strap on a wooden peg, cover an eye with a black patch and sticking a parrot on your shoulder. Yes, The Bahamas used to be a well-known destination for pirates and since then you can become one on one of the many ships that offers a hilarious experience to become like Bluebeard or Captain Jack Sparrow.
But if relaxation is your thing, there a multitude of beaches to take advantage of but I’d also spend a few days on ecotourism finding out all about the mangroves that interconnected this archipelago of islands that is The Bahamas. After all, it’s getting back to nature.
So there you have it, my Caribbean wish list. What’s yours? Would you go somewhere completely different? All we know is, that the Caribbean will be a place of adventure, culture and natural beauty.