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