5 Forgotten Gems of the Caribbean
When considering visiting the Caribbean for a holiday it is likely you will end up on one of the three most popular islands; Jamaica, Barbados or the Bahamas. Don’t get us wrong, each of these islands are dream locations. However, we believe there are some West Indian islands that often get overshadowed. Granted, these locations may come with premium price tags. However, what would you be willing to pay for a slice of heaven?
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands may be territories of Her Majesty’s land, but there is little on the island that nods to Britain. The coastline of the British Virgin Islands is where you would imagine finding Robinson Crusoe carving a life in the tropics after his ship wrecked. Often you will find tanned holidaymakers lazing amongst the palms in hammocks after snorkelling in the azure Caribbean waters.
Tortola is the main island and its waters are renowned as one of the best for sailing in the world. Throughout the British Virgin Islands, you will see yachts and catamarans breezing across the waves and dropping anchor in the ocean; holidaymakers diving into the blue to set their sights on tropical fish, turtles, and colourful reefs. Don’t be surprised if your vessel is latched onto by wild bottlenose dolphins!
The islands themselves are quirky and chances are you will only experience a snippet of them as there are 60 in total. If the beach isn’t your thing, there are countless hidden tide pools, lengthy hiking trails and diving opportunities to keep days full and varied. Whatever your heart desires, the British Virgin Islands remain undeveloped and one of the most natural locations in the Caribbean.
Nestled in the Eastern Caribbean, Anguilla is accessed by a speedboat journey from neighbouring St Maarten. It is a haven of quiet in a corner of the world that is known for its festivities and this makes it very popular with those who need a break from stressful jobs. Anguilla is a peaceful escape.
Those looking for a shoestring holiday will not find it here. An authentic Caribbean experience and zero tourists comes with a premium price tag. The Malliouhana sits proudly upon a cliff overlooking the virgin sands and the crystal-clear Caribbean Sea. It is one of the island’s most coveted hotels, with clifftop pools dotted about the complex and a private beach. Despite having 44 rooms and a handful of luxury cottages, holidaymakers feel as if they have the place to themselves.
Anguilla may seem superficial. Aside from the beautiful hotels, stunning beaches and unparalleled scenery there is little in the way of things to do. However, this is what makes it special. It is an island where you can unwind in serenity.
An overseas region of France, Martinique is a blend of both French and West Indian cultures. Past of the Lesser Antilles, it is south of Dominica and north of St Lucia. It is volcanic in origion and still crowned by the smouldering Mount Pelee which wiped out the former capital, St-Pierre, in 1902. Never fear, geophysicists have their eye firmly on Mount Pelee and can tell months in advance if it is to erupt.
Martinique is a unique island and often considered metropolitan. Whilst it has the palmed coastline West Indian island are so famous for, it has a rich cultural life, superb opportunities for outdoor pursuits and top-notch culinary experiences.
Whilst central Martinique is extremely crowded and urban, particularly around the capital, Fort-De-France, travel north or south to immerse yourself in the island’s fascinating scenery. From rainforests to mountains, Martinique has a plethora of natural wonders to explore.
Another French territory, Guadeloupe is an island group in the Southern Caribbean. The main islands, Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre as the most visited, but holidaymakers to anywhere within Guadeloupe are minimal. Charming West Indian villages, buzzing local markets and fishermen upon the coast make Guadeloupe of the most traditionally afro-influenced islands in the Caribbean. The islands of Les Saintes, Marie-Galante and La Desirade are completely unspoilt and accessible via boats from the mainland. Small pastel coloured hotels owned by the warmest Guadeloupeans are the best place to stay on the smaller islands; prepare for some of the most incredible food.
Part of the charm of French-speaking Guadeloupe is that it is virtually unheard of. For this reason, even during peak season, not everything evolves around tourism. This equates to a more colourful, traditional and heartfelt Caribbean experience.
Nestled in the Netherlands Antilles is the pastel coloured Aruba. The Caribbean island is dotted with colourful Dutch homes, making you feels as if you have stepped back in time to the 1950s. Granted, this destination us expensive, with hotels, food and activities coming with a premium price tag. However, can you put a cash amount on paradise?
Like the British Virgin Islands, sailing, scuba diving and snorkelling are much-loved pastimes in Aruba. The shores are rich with coloured coral and countless tropical fish. Visitors have even seen turtles and the occasional octopus.
Another outdoor pursuit synonymous with expensive holiday destinations is gold and Aruba does not let down on this front. The island’s championship course, Tierra Del Sol, is the place for 18 holes. For something that won’t break the bank, indulge in nine holes at the Aruba Golf Club.