A Tour of the Caribbean

by Lexa Pennington / Nov 22, 2013 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

With winter coming on, our thoughts naturally turn to sunshine, warm beaches, a Caribbean breeze flowing across our (pale winter) skin. Of course, we’d like to hit all of the islands, but what to see first? Here are some highlights of a tour of the Caribbean, to help you decide. Of course, if we were to share each of the islands, you’d be reading a book (more on that, below).

A tour of the Caribbean - Barbados beach

Barbados beach. Wikimedia Commons: Berit, adapted by Wandering Educators

In Aruba (one of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean), you will see the legacy of the Dutch colonials everywhere – from the buildings to the food. There are so many things to see, including beautiful white beaches, great snorkeling or diving, submarine rides, the Casibari rock formations, and the California lighthouse.

Oranjestad Main Street, Aruba.

Oranjestad Main Street, Aruba. Wikimedia Commons: Set1536

Antigua & Barbuda has 365 beaches! Can you imagine, one for each day of the year? Count me in (but what about leap years?). Antigua is the largest of the Leeward Islands, and the main city is St John’s. Head in to English Harbour, and explore the area’s colonial history. Be sure to visit Nelson’s Dockyard, the Blockhouse, or head inland to explore the tropical forest. Of course, you can go swimming with stingrays, or snorkel, or dive.

Shirley Heights, Antigua

Shirley Heights, Antigua. Wikimedia Commons: David Stanley

The Bahamas. Life in the Bahamas is centered around Nassau, a vibrant port. Here, you can see Victorian mansions, 18th century fortresses, cathedrals, amazing shops, casinos, and the famous Atlantis resort. Be sure to take a glass bottom boat tour, or a catamaran ride to snorkel. I’ve snorkeled the Bahamas – the water is warm and clear.

Dean's Blue Hole is the world's deepest known blue hole with seawater.

Dean's Blue Hole is the world's deepest known blue hole with seawater. It plunges 202 meters (663 ft) in a bay west of Clarence Town on Long Island, Bahamas. Wikimedia Commons: Ton Engwirda

Bermuda – oh, such a beautiful place. Well, to be honest, aren’t all of these islands beautiful? Here, you can explore the past in St George’s, the Dockyard, and Hamilton. You can splash on the pink sands, or dance to local calypso music. If you’re interested in nature, there’s also plenty to see – Somes Garden, Crystal Caves, Blue Hole Park, Tom Moore’s Jungle, and even Bermuda’s Aquarium, Museum, and Zoo (BAMZ).

The Beach at Astwood Park, Bermuda.

The Beach at Astwood Park, Bermuda. Wikimedia Commons: JGHowes

Dominica. Oh, Dominica, where the diving is superb! They even have an annual Dive Fest to celebrate it! If you’re not into diving (gasp), you can see history on this island, from both the French and British rule. Be sure to visit the black stone Roman Catholic Cathedral in Roseau, Trafalgar Falls, the botanical gardens, and the effervescent bubbles in the ocean at one particular beach.

Dominica

Wikimedia Commons: Dirk Heldmaier

Jamaica has captured our minds for ages – from popular songs about Montego Bay to reggae music. While in Montego Bay, be sure to visit historic plantation houses, climb Dunn’s River Falls, or raft through the rainforest. Or, hit the beach and snorkel away. There’s much to do here.

A beachgoer enjoys the morning sun on Lime Cay, off the coast of Kingston, Jamaica.

A beachgoer enjoys the morning sun on Lime Cay, off the coast of Kingston, Jamaica. Wikimedia Commons: Gerry Manacsa

Caribbean Travel Tips

How to get around

You can fly to most of these islands, or enjoy many cruises to the Caribbean, stopping at several ports of call.

Recommended Reading

For children (all by Donna Seim):
Where is Simon, Sandy? This book is the story of a little donkey that wouldn't  quit. It is a folk tale that has been passed down, in the Turks and Caicos Islands, by word of mouth for many generations.

Hurricane Mia: A Caribbean Adventure. An incredible adventure, taking Mia and friends on the high seas where they meet barracudas, explore uninhabited islands and search for a magical tea.

A Tale of Turks and Caicos: Satchi and Little Star. This book is about Satchi, a young girl on an island, who comes to find a group of wild horses. She finds one that she wants to tame, and she named it Little Star.

Adult:

A String of Pearls: Caribbean Travels and Beyond is a gem of travel writing. Full of travel memories and cultural explorations, the book also explores the different islands in the Caribbean. By Winfred Peppinck

The Diplomatic Dog of Barbados, also by Winfred Peppinck, is a joy to read - full of life on the Island of Barbados, intercultural snapshots, stories of the diplomatic life, and, most importantly, the great love of a family. Rescued as a young, abused pup, the cane dog who was eventually named the Diplomatic Dog came to enjoy a life of great joy and security. He grew into such confidence and happiness that it just makes the reader smile. By Winfred Peppinck

A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean. One of our faculty members, Gary Buslik explores different cultures, ethics, philosophy, race, religion, and more in the Caribbean - all the while making the reader laugh, with his wry sense of humor. 

 

What is your favorite Caribbean island?