You would think that living in the Caribbean gives me the opportunity to visit and explore the other islands in the area frequently. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth. Inter island travel remains quite expensive and besides, my hunger for exploring new destinations, chasing adventures and experiencing other cultures sometimes has me jumping on planes to destinations far from the Caribbean. As an island girl I sometimes get quite desperate for city life, urban noises, the ballet, the opera, things the Caribbean does not offer an abundance of. But no matter how far I travel I always look forward to returning home.
I have always wanted to promote the Caribbean as a destination to those who live on the mainlands as well as inter-island travel for us islanders. It is one of the main reasons why I started this blog. The Caribbean islands are all so diverse. It is this diversity that makes me want to catch a short flight to one of the islands every chance that I get. At the moment I have my eyes set on 7 Caribbean beauties, two of which I am lucky to be visiting this year.
Here is my current Top 7 Caribbean Islands to visit.
Growing up we had a live-inn nanny from Dominica. I know it makes me sound like a snob but live-in help was quite normal on Curaçao in those days. Anyway, Pluma the nanny used to tell us stories of her beautiful home island and I took notes. Now that I’m living a little closer to Dominica, I often hear stories from friends who have visited or I get bombarded with advertisements for the Nature island. Places like Secret Bay, Trafalgar Falls, Batibou beach and a hike to the Valley of Desolation are all things I must experience. Lush vegetation, organic food, waterfalls and hot springs have all made it abundantly clear that I can no longer ignore Dominica and must by all means add it to my top 7 list and make my nanny proud. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see one of the main shooting locations of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies?
I have been to St. Kitts before and although it did not quite impress me, sister isle Nevis has always had my fancy. Its petit size gives the feel of intimacy. It seems to be quite unspoiled, with a lush rain forest and plantation ruins that will make photographers drool. Hiking trails to hidden waterfalls, far less cruise tourists than on St. Kitts and free roaming monkeys rather than the chained up baby monkeys forced to take pictures with tourists I encountered on St. Kitts are other reasons why Nevis is in my top 7 Caribbean islands to visit.
I love the French islands. There is no denying that the French know what they are doing when it comes to preserving their islands, their heritage and their creole cuisine. After visiting Guadeloupe last year I now have my eyes set on another French stunner, Martinique. Sensual sounds of zouk, romantic beaches, amazing food, beautiful hiking trails and the slave memorial are all in the plans when I finally visit this French isle. I’m just hoping it is sooner rather than later. She’s been in my dreams for way too long. It’s time to make it a reality.
4. The British Virgin Islands
Gorgeous beaches would be the expected answer to the question why I want to visit the BVI’s. While the beaches are definitely high on the list of reasons, sailing around the islands, finally seeing the Baths and visiting Saba Rock are also on my to-do list when I finally set foot in the BVI’s. But my main reason (yes, even bigger than the sandy beaches and the Baths) is to grab a painkiller at the home of painkillers at Pusser’s Landing in Tortola’s West End. I’m a sucker for a good Painkiller ever since I had my first taste during a trip to Annapolis years back.
3. St. Vincent & the Grenadines
During a dinner party at a friend’s house I was shown pictures of their recent trip to St. Vincent and the Grenadines. One of my friends hails from there and entertained us with stories of his childhood picking fruits growing in the wild, running barefoot in the forest, swimming in waterfalls. I fell in love with the culture, the sights, the stories my friends told me of their quick escape. Stories of carnival, Christmas traditions, black sand beaches, boat trips to some of the Grenadines like Mustique, Bequia, Petit St. Vincent and Palm Island. I am fascinated with this group of islands and after reading the above, it is not hard to see why it just has to be part of this list.
2. Puerto Rico
I must have a dozen stamps saying Puerto Rico in my passport, having visited this neighboring island quite often in the past. You would think I know it like the back of my hand. Sadly no, I don’t know Puerto Rico at all. I know San Juan very well, or rather I know the tourist infested El Condado and the Mall of las Américas. Puerto Rico used to be super cheap to visit (about $100 round trip) and made it possible for us to go shopping in the only super mall within a 300 mile radius. So, naturally and unfortunately shopping became the main and only reason to visit for most St. Maarteners. It is not until I re-discovered my passion for travel and adventure that I added Puerto Rico to my most wanted list. Puerto Rico is a wet dream (no pun intended) for waterfall chasers like myself. It’s rainforest, charming little villages, its history and culture, its food and music….everything about Puerto Rico is just damn alluring.
1. The Bahamas
Chances are that the photos of long stretches of perfect beaches you’ve been drooling over on Instagram were taken in the Bahamas. Or perhaps you too have been dreaming of a long weekend stay in Nassau’s Atlantis hotel. While I’ve already planned the perfect outfit for that perfect Instagram shot on that perfect beach in the Bahamas, this group of islands fascinate me for other reasons as well. Oink oink. Who would not want to swim with the piggies in the Exumas? I’ve been wanting to do this ever since seeing a picture of these friendly creatures swimming up to a boat in crystal clear waters. The recent poisoning of some of the piggies by idiot tourists made me rethink this but after reading that they are being looked after, swimming with the pigs went back on my bucket list. Other things to check off my Bahamas list is the glass window bridge on Eleuthera island, visiting Harbour island where the main mode of transportation is golf carts and the Abaco beaches, rumored to be some of the best beaches in the world.
Which Caribbean Islands do you dream of visiting and why? Tell me in the below comments sections.
In the meantime, keep dreaming, keep planning and make it happen.
*Photos from Shutterstock with exception of the first photos, which was taken by me.