Are you planning to vacation in the Caribbean-again? If you’ve been to any of these beautiful islands, you’ve probably already soaked up the sun and drunk all the rum punch your stomach could handle. And that’s great. But this year’s Caribbean Guide invites you to go beyond the beach and participate in some island adventure. At first, this may pose a challenge. There are more than 33 countries and even more islands in the Caribbean, and each offers its own adventure experience. Scuba divers, for example, can indulge anywhere in the Caribbean, but Bonaire will give you the ultimate underwater encounter. And while you can choose a leisurely walk on island beaches, you’ll get the most out of your hike if you venture into the rainforests of Puerto Rico, Dominica, Grenada and St. Lucia. Yes, the islands are the ideal place to catch up on some R&R, but they also contain everything you need to add a new twist to your travel experience.
Adventure vacations offer something for everyone. According to B.J. Hansen, program director, Adventure Travel Trade Association, “There are hard and soft adventures. For beginners, the soft adventure experience is a great way to introduce yourself to adventure travel.” He says the softer adventure experience allows travelers to sprinkle in some action without giving up any amenities. Many of the resorts allow guests to participate in some activities-biking, scuba diving, snorkeling-right from their premises. At the same time, adding adventure to a vacation is a great enhancement to any trip. “Adventure travel builds a sense of achievement, and people who start off as soft adventurers typically move toward harder adventures.”
Over the next few pages we’ll highlight a diversity of adventure choices-even challenging ones. Don’t worry. There will still be time to swing in a hammock as you nibble on some island cuisine-after that 10-mile hike.
Rdie the Bahamaian wave
Kayaking fun for the soft adventurer
When most people think of the Bahamas they picture Nassau. Although much of the Bahamas’ population indeed is concentrated here-not to mention hotels, tourists and stores-the archipelago has approximately 700 islands. The best way to explore the hinterlands is by sea.
Stable, safe and silent, sea kayaks allow novices to explore the islands’ nooks and crannies: rich mangroves, hidden beaches and coral reefs teeming with tropical fish. Kayaking is relatively new here but growing wildly in popularity. Many boat rental companies offer day-use boats, and several tour operators have appeared on the scene to service more ambitious paddlers.
Ecosummer Expeditions plies the Exumas, a development-free string of 365 cays blessed with idyllic paddling conditions. Trip options include a two-week doozy that covers more than 100 miles. For more information call 800-465-8884.
If that sounds like too much, Ibis Tours offers week-long trips from Nassau through the Exuma cays via tandem kayaks rigged with sails. Long stretches of the day are entirely exercise-free. For more information call 800-525-9411. You can also call the Bahamas Tourist Board at 800-4-Bahamas.
Child friendly? Kayaking no, Bahamas yes
From New York: 2 1/2 hrs.