It’s not always about reading a novel on the beach, although there’s nothing wrong with that approach. If you’ve wanted to consider an “off the beaten path” Caribbean Vacation, here are some tips and travel strategies. The biggest tip of all is something we’ve been advocating consistently: book your airfare early if you want to secure cheap flights.
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 (Rawlins Plantation Inn is a good example) , are more secluded; you’ll also feel more likely 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.
Don’t Bring a Book to the Beach: Instead of relaxing the traditional way or indulging in “tourist” water sports like paragliding and wind surfing, why not take a nature walk with a local guide, or a scuba diving expedition to explore the islands’ coral reefs? Hunting for seashells can also be a therapeutic experience.
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 memorable photographs. The thing to remember is not all the best points of view are by the ocean.