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The Best Caribbean holidays for activity and adventure

The Best Caribbean holidays for activity and adventure

Posted by PanamericanWorld on August 29, 2015

Diving and snorkelling, sailing and kayaking, windsurfing and kitesurfing… Many of the region’s biggest thrills can be found under and on the water. But an activeCaribbean holiday could also involve hiking up a dormant volcano, cycling around Cuba or embarking on an adventurous tour of Haiti, which is re-emerging as a destination for intrepid travellers.

1 Watersports, Dominican Republic

Ideal wind conditions and reef-protected waters make laid-back and hip Cabarete, on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, one of the Caribbean’s best places for kitesurfing and windsurfing. The wind is most reliable in February/March and May-August. Booked through Sportif (01273 844919;sportif.travel): from £995 including breakfast at the smart Velero Beach Resort, on the beach and next to a kitesurf/windsurf centre, plus £159 for a week’s equipment hire. 


 

2 Diving, Bonaire

Everyone’s first scuba dive retains a special memory, so Curaçao in the DutchCaribbean looms large and wondrous in my memory, the vibrant sealife reflecting the pastel-coloured Dutch colonial buildings of the island’s lively and cosmopolitan capital, Willemstad. However, nearby Bonaire also called, as it does to all devoted divers. It is known for its sloping drop-offs and brightly coloured corals. Peacock flounders change colour at you; sea fans wave on the current. And at night beware the 6ft barracuda sliding over your shoulder like a silver battleship. A trip with Regaldive (01353 659999;regaldive.co.uk) staying at Buddy Dive Resort (buddydive.com) costs from £1,567 B&B. 

3 Sailing, British Virgin Islands

Thanks to protected waters, line-of-sight navigation and short hops between the archipelago’s 60 green islands, the BVI is as good as it gets in the Caribbean for a sailing holiday, especially for novices. Sunsail (0844 273 2177; sunsail.co.uk) has a sailing school in Tortola. It offers yacht charters and flotilla holidays round the BVI: from £1,542 for a week’s flotilla, based on four sharing a yacht between November 2015 and May 2016, when conditions are best. 

4 Exploration, Haiti

Haiti may still be recovering from the devastating 2010 earthquake. But it’s theCaribbean’s most extraordinary country, without a doubt. With its naïve art, magnificent gingerbread buildings, tap tap buses dressed like circus caravans, extraordinary history and, of course, voodoo, it is compelling like no other. Seven nights (one in Miami because of the flights) with Undiscovered Destinations (0191 296 2674; undiscovered-destinations.com), visiting Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and flights up to the Citadelle, costs from £1,884, including a guide, entrance fees and some meals. 

5 Diving, Cayman Islands

It’s the vertical submarine walls that make diving the Cayman Islands so spectacular. They plummet down in to the deep blue as deep as 2,000ft. And Little Cayman’s Bloody Bay Wall is the most pristine there is – with lobsters wiggling their antennae at you and a grouper that lets you tickle his chin. Stay at the Southern Cross Club (southerncrossclub.com) on Little Cayman: with Original Diving (0207 978 0505; originaldiving.com) from £2,200, full board. 

6 Canoeing & diving, Belize

In Belize, follow the water. Take a serene canoe ride through the jungle from Black Rock Lodge (blackrocklodge.com) along the Macal River, among butterflies and birds, then among swamps and flatlands where Mayan cities poke out of the forest. You eventually reach the coast, where the diving on Belize’s barrier reef is superb. Steppes Travel (0843 7789926;steppestravel.com) offers a seven-night itinerary (includes a night in Miami), three nights up country and three on the coast, from £1,995 B&B. 

7 Cycle tour, Cuba

Cuban Revolutions cycle tour reaches parts of Cuba most bike spokes don’t cover. It includes the most exciting road in Cuba – the southern coastal route west of Santiago de Cuba, where the road is straitjacketed between the Sierra Maestra mountains and the wild Caribbean. The tour combines colonial cities with rural idylls, and offers nights in casas particulares (private B&Bs). Booked through Skedaddle (0191 265 1110; skedaddle.co.uk): from £1,795 for a 15-day trip including most meals but excluding flights; bike hire £150. 

8 Hiking & diving, St Eustatius

Commonly known as “Statia”, this quiet and scenic Dutch island can only be reached by flying from St Maarten. Hiking and wreck diving are key attractions, along with the historic buildings in the capital, Oranjestad. I recommend the two-hour hike up the 1,968ft Quill, a dormant volcano. The entire coastline is a marine park, and many visitors are keen to find historic blue beads once used by traders and slaves working on the island. Stay at the 20-room Old Gin House (00 1 678 534 7125; oldginhouse.com; from £177 with breakfast). 

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