Caribbean adventure holidays
When we think of the Caribbean we usually conjure up images of tropical white sand beaches, Pina Coladas, and palm trees. “Nothing wrong with that” I hear you saying.
I agree - that does sound blissful ...
But, for some of us restless and energetic souls or those of us with naturally high/low melanin we need to stretch our legs, cool off and make our escape from the sun lounger.
Here’s a tip – just in case you feel the urge to explore, why not pack a pair of lightweight hiking boots along with your sunscreen? Hire a local guide and head for one of the many tropical rainforest hiking trails.
You won’t regret it and the experience will add a sense of adventure and discovery to your Caribbean holiday.
With over 2 dozen inhabited islands in the Caribbean to choose from, I’ve picked out a sample of 3 of my favourite Caribbean Islands with great hiking trails. All of them have something to suit walkers of all fitness levels.
With its lush topical landscape, a plant biodiversity of over 1000 species over a dozen mountains over 1500 feet, dense acres of tropical rainforests covering over 60% of the island, deep green valleys, rivers, hot natural springs, waterfalls and wildlife, Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean and inspiration behind Kalabash is worth a mention.
In this blog post I cover the numerous activities the island has to offer from horse riding to whale watching. NB: It’s not the easiest island to travel to, as fortunately its mountainous terrain has been preserved in preference to a jet runway, so you’ll have to connect from one of the other larger islands.
If you’re up for a serious fitness challenge and can endure the 6-7 hour round trip, mud and humidity, Dominica’s highest tropical peak, Morne Diablotins, stands at 4747 feet above sea level! The scenery and panoramic views on the way up make it a worthwhile challenge for serious climbers who don’t mind a fair bit of mud and sweat!
For every day folk, Dominica is the only Caribbean island with a long-distance hiking trail, the Waitukubuli National Trail. This magnificent hiking trail which stretches across the entire island has a variety of difficulty levels, terrains and outstanding views.
Waitukubuli is the original Kalinago name for Dominica. The name means "tall is her body" which alludes to the island’s long thin shape. The trail covers 115 miles from its southern coast with dozens of manageable trails from the base of the island all the way up to its northern tip. On a clear day the hazy shadow of its neighbour, the French island of Martinique, can be seen from the Scott’s Head Pinnacle a “must see” landmark at its southern coast see www.waitukubulitrail.com for more details.
If you’re up for a bit of island hopping, just a ferry ride away south of Dominica lies magnificent Martinique where Napoleon's Empress Josephine was born. Known as the island of flowers, with over 180 miles of hiking trails to choose from, known locally as “traces”, Martinique is a walkers’ paradise.
You’ll be spoiled for choice when you arrive on this beautiful French speaking island where you’ll find yourself immersed in its unique historical culture of French, African and Caribbean influences.
In the south of the island you’ll find white sand beaches fringed with cool winding coastal pathways through coastal forests with the Caribbean sea always in view. For details of what to see and do in Martinique.
One of Martinique's powerful landmarks is the Anse Cafard Slave Memorial. This memorial was completed in 1998 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the emanicipation of slaves in the French West Indies. The memorial comprises of 20 eight-foot tall statues standing hunched with expressions of loss and anguish etched on their faces.
In north of the island there’s a choice of more challenging hikes for the more experienced including:
Mt Pelee and its volcano of Morne Rouge, Pitones du Carbet or Grand Riviere – are all challenging yet beautiful where you’ll pass through picturesque villages and historical landmarks.
Trace des Jesuites is in the heart of the forest where you’ll find, rich plant biodiversity and gigantic tree ferns (Cyathea arborea).
Crabiere is along the rougher Atlantic coast is easier and has the added interest of a ruined sugar plantation.
Antigua, 175 miles north of Martinique, really is a beach-lovers idea of heaven! The island is blessed with 365 beaches, (one for each day of the year)!
Unlike its mountainous neighbours in the eastern Caribbean, Antigua is easy to get to from the UK, Europe, USA and Canada as you can fly non-stop which is ideal for a week’s break, making it an ideal and logistically manageable, family Caribbean getaway.
So, if you’re after something a bit more sedate as well as a choice of All Inclusive deals, Antigua may be your best bet. Head over to Hike Caribbean where you’ll find an organised two hour nature walk or a guided walk around the Shirley Heights National Park.
If by any chance you feel the need for a burst of activity, or a break from one of those 365 fine beaches, the beautiful yacht filled marinas, excellent food, cocktails or cricket, historical capital with shopping malls, check out one of the national parks around the island. Each one includes an easy hiking trail
Devil’s Bridge National Park,
Green Castle Hill National Park and
Fort Barrington National Park.
For an interesting and moderate hike through the rainforest try the Wallings Dam to Rendezvous Bay trail which is part of the Wallings Nature Reserve.
Happy holiday dreaming and Caribbean adventures!
Until next time ...