Although reading a book and relaxing on the beach is the go-to approach while on an island getaway, going off-the-beaten-path while on your Caribbean vacation is a great idea if you’re interested in experiencing something new. Take a break from the jet skis and typical island excursions, and go explore! Here’s how you can open your eyes to new cultural experiences and the daily life of the locals while on your Carribean vacation.
Opt Out of Larger Resorts
If you truly want a “native” experience, try smaller boutique hotels, or even week-long rentals if you’re into a “do it yourself” culinary experience. Some options, like select Inns in St. Kitts & Nevis such as the Hermitage Plantation Inn, are more secluded; you’ll also feel more at home because of the gardens and cozy vibe. While you may miss the more swank fountains, swimming pools, and beach-side service, you’ll definitely experience the destination through the eyes of a local.
Take Public Transportation
This may seem like anathema to a tourist who’s come to relax on an island while zipping around in a hatchback, but taking public transportation is more off-the-beaten-path because it allows you to experience the Caribbean truly like a local. You’ll be able to see what island life is like, mingle with passengers, and pick up interesting stories and anecdotes that may be more memorable.
Try an Activity You’ve Never Done Before
Instead of relaxing the traditional way or indulging in “tourist” water sports like paragliding and windsurfing, why not take a nature walk with a local guide, or a scuba diving expedition to explore the islands’ coral reefs? Activities will vary depending on the island you will be visiting so be sure to do some research on the things you can do while you’re there.
Creative Dining Options
You don’t always need to dine indoors at a fine restaurant to experience the local flavors. Why not pack a picnic basket and brunch on the beach? There are also several Caribbean restaurants with dining options right smack on the fine sand. See where the locals hang out and imitate – since it’s the sincerest form of flattery!
Take a Hike
Many Caribbean islands (e.g. St. Lucia) have dense forests and foliage. A good option to go off-the-beaten-path would be to hire a local tour guide and take a hike through the forests or climb the hills to get a better vantage point of the island – this also makes for the best photographs. The thing to remember is not all the best view are by the ocean.
Have you gone off-the-beaten-path in the Caribbean? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.