Southern Caribbean Travels
Ending this week on a sunny note with a peek into our Southern Caribbean travels. We usually visit the Caribbean once a year and are always amazed by the beauty around us. You’ll note that while Dominica is green with lush rainforest and St. Kitts has rolling hills and mountains, Barbados, St. Martin and St. Croix are all beach-centric. St Martin has a very European feel to it while Dominica gives off a homey, local vibe. On the surface, one might assume that an island is an island filled with beaches and sand but once you scratch the surface, you’ll discover that each has its own uniqueness and appeal. This is one of the reasons why I think cruising around the Caribbean is a great idea: you get a sampling that you may never have otherwise.
I would suggest a guide for maneuvering around Dominica. We used the same company as our first time on the island and would recommend Bumping Tours to anyone. The cost is very reasonable, all your transportation is included and they provide bottled water/drinks.
Where to go – Titou Gorge, Trafalgar Falls, Champagne Reef, Middleham Falls (previous trip)
Snorkeling at Champagne Reef
Yes, that’s me holding a snowy sea urchin. It clung to my hand when I flipped it upside down. A very cool experience.
St. Martin/Sint Maarten
This is one island I didn’t want to leave. I felt like there was still so much to see. The island is divided in two – one side being Dutch and the other French. Both sides are similar in land appearance but you can pick up on a few key differences in city landscaping and architecture.
Where to go – Friar’s Bay (French side), Happy Bay (walk from Friar’s Bay to Happy Bay via a hiking trail)
St Kitts’ landscape is beautiful. So much variety: beaches, mountains and a volcano you can hike to (for a future trip). Keep an eye out for monkeys. There are plenty of them on the island!
Where to go – Cockleshell Beach (easy to get to and has amenities)
Similar to St. Thomas but free from the ultimate busyness and traffic that St. Thomas is known for.
Where to go – Sandy Castle Beach – follow the road straight and to the right from the pier. Keep walking until you reach Sandy Castle Beach area. If you continue, you’ll reach Sandy Point, a very secluded and pretty beach.
Sandy Castle Beach
Sandy Point Beach in the distance
Barbados isn’t my favorite island. Here’s why: the island itself is completely disorganized and as a cruise ship passenger, you are bombarded by a horde of people asking you if you need a taxi the instant you enter Barbados. Our first time visiting the island, we picked the wrong beach and ended up in an overcrowded area with beautiful water, a mediocre experience. So this time, I mapped out a different beach and off we went. Our taxi driver told us she would take us where we were headed but after about 30 minutes of her driving aimlessly about, we realized she had no idea where any of us needed to go (including the other two groups in our vehicle, one of which was headed on the opposite side of the island). Long story short, we finally got to our destination about an hour later (should have taken 25 minutes). Once there, we loved it. The beach was breathtaking, the water clear blue and the sand a faint pink. Best beach, hands down. We decided that in order to enjoy Barbados, you have to either book a stay at a resort and use local guides to see the island or head straight for our beach of choice.
Where to go – Folkestone (Have the driver drop you off here and walk straight. Turn right when you face the beach and follow the path to Alleynes Bay where there are restaurants and bars and the most idyllic beach you may ever see. You can ask them to have a taxi pick you up when you’re ready to leave)
The beginning of the path at Folkestone
I really enjoyed this post, and it gives some great ideas for new places to visit if we ever do this cruise again. When we did it several years ago from Puerto Rico, the cruise was designed where you had only 1 day at sea (if I recall correctly), so by the time we got to Barbados, we were exhausted. We got off this ship and hated the main port area so much that we just got right back on and enjoyed the day resting and lounging on the deck enjoying the scenery! We also loved Dominica and did a really nice river kayak trip there. We accidentally ended up at a nude beach in St Martin, so that was a new experience! 🙂
Yes! That’s the same one! Ours ended on Dominica, though. I saw a similar experience to yours – one of the groups in our infamous taxi ride that I mentioned above asked the driver to just take them back to the ship. I’m sure they enjoyed the remainder of their day as well! I saw that Dominica had kayak trips – I am completely in love with this island. It is so pure and majestic. At some point in the future, we hope to stay there for a few days so we can hike the Valley of Desolation and Boiling Lake. It’s been on my to-do list for years but the cruise ship doesn’t stay long enough to do it. I have heard about all the nude beaches on St. Martin and I’ve come to the decision that most of their beaches are clothing optional. We ran into at least one or two bathers on Friar’s/Happy Bay haha 🙂
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