Island Adventures: Go Beyond the Beach on These Caribbean Islands
If lazing the day away on a Caribbean island beach sounds like the short road to boredom -- not to worry. Beyond the soft white sands, swaying palm trees, and gentle waves, plenty of adrenaline-pumping excitement lurks across the Caribbean. Bring your love of the great outdoors with you as you embark on a Caribbean island adventures.
When you're not ogling St. Kitts' lush landscape, dramatic volcanic formations and sparkling waters surrounding the island, head into the island's interior for some heart-stopping adventure. Leave your fear of heights at home, and embark on a zip-lining tour of the Kittitian rain forest with Sky Safari. You'll blast across 5 ziplines, hundreds of feet above ground with bird's-eye views of the rainforest, mountains and sea. For a more down-to-earth excursion, take a guided rainforest trek through the Wingfield River Valley, with Captain Sunshine tours. You'll discover the island's history, and learn about the flora and wildlife that call the island home.
Book a stay at the sprawling St. Kitts Marriott Resort and The Royal Beach Casino, the island's premier accommodation. The property is currently offering adventure lovers a Summer Camp for Grownups package, which includes accommodations for two adults, daily breakfast, a rainforest hike for two adults, a s'mores kit to enjoy by the beach bonfire and more. With an enviable beachfront location, the resort is the perfect spot to unwind after your adventures with a beachfront massage.
Vieques, Puerto Rico
The tiny island of Vieques lies just 6 miles off Puerto Rico's southeast coast, yet feels a world away from the relative hustle of its parent island. Vieques offers true respite; it's an island where you can still stumble onto silky white stretches of deserted beach, and see wild horses roaming the island's valleys and roads. Though it's tempting to while away the day on a white sand shore, you'd be remiss not to rent a 4x4 Jeep for some off-road exploration and island adventures.
Lovers of sea life should pack or rent snorkel gear and head to Bahia de la Chiva (Blue Beach), where you can float through shallow waters and a long reef running along the shore. Expect to see schools of colorful fish, sea urchins and young corals. Land lovers can join a mountain biking excursion with Vieques Adventure Company, which offers 3 to 4-hour guided bike tours that delve into the island's ecosystems. Finally, as evening falls, don't miss out on the island's piece de resistance: the Bioluminescent Bay. Numerous outfitters, like Abe's Snorkeling and Bio Bay Tours, offer kayaking tours of this natural wonder -- a bay with waters that twinkle and glow with the luminescence of a single-celled organism, Pyrodinium Bahamense.
Jamaica is having its moment in the proverbial sun, increasingly growing in popularity among travelers who want to delve into its stunning topography and take advantage of its myriad activities. Your adventure options are seemingly endless on the island. Book your outdoor activities with an outfitter like Chukka Caribbean Adventures, which offers a signature Horseback Ride N’ Swim tour, where you'll ride retired polo ponies and take a refreshing Caribbean swim on horseback. Other tours include kayaking, ziplining and even dune buggy excursions.
Don't leave the island without visiting YS Falls, a 7-tiered waterfall nestled in the foothills of the St. Elizabeth's Cockpit Country. Chukka offers a tour that takes visitors on a tractor-drawn jitney ride through a working farm to reach the falls. Once at the falls, you can swim beneath the falls, or go tubing on the river. If you haven't gotten your fill of waterfalls, head to Dunn's River, where experienced guides will take you climbing alongside the unique falls. Finally, head underground to Green Grotto Caves, a 5000-foot-long and 40-foot-deep system of chambers filled with jagged stalactites and stalagmites, light holes, and even a subterranean lake.
Curacao has long been a favorite island escape thanks in large part to its exceptional diving and snorkeling, as well as its southern Caribbean location just outside the hurricane belt. Thrill seekers will have no shortage of opportunities to test their mettle across the island and its environs. Curacao has garnered much acclaim for its underwater charms. Divers and snorkelers flock here to explore the living reefs and brightly colored sea creatures that call the sea home.
If you'd like to stay closer to shore, consider windsurfing or standup paddleboard lessons and rentals with outdoors outfitter, Windsurfing Curacao. Of course, you adventurers can't leave the island without hopping aboard a heart-stopping ATV or quad tour. These 3-hour, guided excursions take riders deep into the heart of the island, over hills, through an aloe vera plantation and along the rugged coastline.