While on paper the idea of island hopping might seem reasonably straight forwards, in reality it might become a little trickier. The Caribbean is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, which covers around 2.7 million km2, meaning that those islands on the map that look as though they are practically touching one another can actually have a pretty substantial body of water separating them. However, this doesn’t mean that island hopping throughout the Caribbean is completely out of the question, it simply requires you to think a little more carefully about how you’re going to plan your adventure. The trick of a successful journey is to choose a series of islands that will provide you with an enjoyable and practical experience. Rather than attempting to hop for three or four large islands that have been spread throughout the Caribbean chain, make sure you look for a strand of islands that are close enough together to make the travel easy and enjoyable.
Starting Off In St Maarten
St Maarten or St Martin is one of the most popular ports of call for those visiting the Caribbean, providing vacationers with the opportunity to enjoy three separate and distinct cultures within a neat package of 37 square miles. On one side, you have the delightful Dutch atmosphere, on the other, the flair of the French, and in the middle, an interesting blend of both mixed with exotic native heritage. On top of this, you’re gifted with dozens of lagoons, beaches, elegant villas and luxury hotels to explore, with over three hundred fantastic restaurants all waiting to make your taste buds tingle. Whether you’re hoping to simply relax on the sand and take in some sun, or have fun with discos, casinos and night clubs that stay open until dawn, St Maarten is bound to have something capable of satisfying your tastes. However, St Maarten also makes a fantastic departure point from which you can venture to other islands you’ve never visited before, experiencing new sights and sounds from one day to the next. Many voyages arrive early in St Maarten and depart late, allowing trips further afield to be economical and easy.
Just a short distance from the sometimes chaotic island of St Maarten is the peaceful, relaxing island of Anguilla. This location is a great place for tourists, and you can either stick with the perfectly coiffed and manicured holiday-makers lounging in the sun, or have some fun with funky, barefoot beach bars that give you the opportunity to drink with the locals and dance until dawn to amazing Reggae bands. Whichever end of the spectrum appeals to you most, you will often find celebrities from all walks of life vacationing away from the crowds of St Maarten, as Anguilla is known for its generally uncrowded beaches, amazing local music scene, fine Caribbean restaurants and waterfront bars and grills. The largest portion of action takes place towards the west end of the island, which includes Blowing Point, the terminus for the ferry that runs from St Maarten. Taxis are readily available to take you from there to a local beach or captivating corner of the island including such places as:
- Rendezvous Bay, with fantastic rocky sections for snorkelling and sparling white sand.
- Cove bay, where you can browse the dive shops or kick back on the beach.
- Maunday’s Bay, home to the Cap Juluca Resort.
- Shoal Bay West, another glittering white beach known for its seaside Italian restaurant, Trattoria Tramonto.
Visiting St. Barths (St. Barthelemy)
Whether you’ve heard of this island by its full name or one of its shortened nicknames, you have probably come to recognize it as one of the most popular playgrounds in the Caribbean for the rich and famous. It’s not tough to see why this is the case, as St. Barth’s appears to be a near-clone of the French Riviera, offering everything that you might look for within a European vacation, with French culture, couture and cuisine, but in a warmer climate with tempting waters and beautiful sandy beaches. It’s important to remember that all of the beaches in St. Barths are open to the public, so you’re not going to feel as though one place is too exclusive for you. Still, if you have more in mind than lazing on the beach, you could always indulge in the various shopping opportunities that Gustavia has to offer, including stores for everything from nautical souvenirs to tropical togs, art, antiques and France’s latest haute couture. If you don’t spend all your money in the boutiques, make sure you sample some of the finest food in the Caribbean, with more than twenty fantastic locations to choose from, you’ll struggle to find a bad meal anywhere.
The Caribbean islands are some of the most beautiful islands in the world. Being able to island hop through them is a wonderful experience, and a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can also find plenty of Family Attractions at tripindicator.com to do when you are in the Caribbean.