Like one-of-a-kind beads threaded on a memory bracelet, each Caribbean Island holds its own charm; waiting for you to discover and create your own travel remembrances.
Through this 4 part series, let us introduce you to 21 islands. If you have not already experienced the Caribbean, these short entries may help you appreciate why so many people head to the islands for warm tropical breezes, hospitable people, stunning scenery, swaying palms, soft sands and warm clear water; where the only good use for a watch is to let one know when happy hour is about to start, where dinners are fresh caught, not frozen, and where learning to do nothing (limin’) is an art form you are never too old to learn.
People have been battling over St Kitt’s fertile land for centuries leaving behind a day trip worth of sites to see around the island including a narrow-gauge railroad, Brimstone Hill Fortress, Romney Manor and various natural beauty spots. At the end of day, however, Frigate Bay beach, lined with palm trees and rustic shacks serving good food and good drinks with friendly service, is where the action lives with everything from beach volleyball to bonfires and entertainment.
Antigua has a jagged coastline (which can be dangerous in places), coral reefs, safe harbours and soft white beaches. Nelson’s Dockyard (as in Horatio Nelson, the famous English sea captain) is a popular tourist attraction and rightfully so. Accommodations are available within the National Park, allowing the option for quiet meandering before and after the cruise crowds make an appearance. While they ooh and awe take the time to hike up the hill behind the fort along the Middle Ground Trail over the isthmus which separates English Harbour from Falmouth Harbour, home to a marina and commercial centre.
If you are ready for a refreshing drink, stop in at Grace Before Meals, a simple brightly painted roadside structure between Falmouth Harbour and the National Park entrance, for the most delicious cold fruit smoothies and tasty light meals.
After being thrashed by hurricane Hugo in 1989, Montserrat’s centuries-dormant volcano burst to life in 1995 and, like a modern day Pompeii, buried the island’s once vibrant capital, Plymouth, and most of the southern end in ash. Tours into the exclusion zone may be possible with approved local guides depending on the current volcano risk level. Certainly a unique learning experience, Montserrat is more than its volcano scars. It also has tropical forest hiking trails (some require guides), reefs which beckon snorkelers and scuba divers plus quiet beaches. Many people try to do this island as a day trip, but Montserrat deserves more.
The island is shaped like a butterfly in flight with the westerly wing having most of the flatlands while the easterly wing is more mountainous. The best way to see the island is by car. There are a few freeways around Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe’s largest and most populated municipality), otherwise the roads are mostly two lane and in excellent condition. Guadeloupe offers much to see and do so your journey should not be rushed. Take time to stroll towns and enjoy the stunning scenery, visit a distillery where generations carry on the tradition of rum making, learn some of its history and legends, shop its local markets and taste an abundance of fresh seafood and produce as well as savor the stunning sunsets.
Roseau is its capital and a good place to stay. It is also a popular port for cruise ships which dwarf the town and add 50% more to the population while in port, however, the impact is lessened as one walks away from the harbor and the town becomes more real, more like it is in early morning and late evening. The town is walkable. Using local transportation makes traveling on the island fun and more personal as locals are helpful in pointing out the appropriate unidentified mini-bus to get you where you want to go. One of those places might be a rowing tour (you don’t have to do the rowing) on the Indian River where the river scenes for Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest were filmed and a unique bar with a small tropical garden awaits at the end.