It is a universal dream to travel to the many exotic Caribbean islands and slowly immerse yourself in the culture, cuisines, and lifestyle of the people. With stunning beaches, palm trees and a temperature averaging 84 degrees, is there a better place to spend your winter vacations than the Caribbean?
Originally from France, I decided to move to the Caribbean in 2016 and I finally got rid of my SAD, ie Seasonal Affective Disorder (goodbye cold and rainy Autumn days!). I got quickly used to the slow-paced rhythm of life, the salty breeze and the tropical fruits of the islands. It also became more and more important for me to spend time in nature, whether it was laying down on the beach, hiking mountains or snorkelling. Did you know that spending time in nature is proven to reduce negative emotions like feelings of depression, anxiety and psychosomatic illnesses? So the best way to spend your winter vacation would probably be to immerse yourself in nature and take care of your body, mind and soul before going back to work. I visited 12 islands of the Caribbean, and this is where I felt the most connected with nature.
You have various options there, and this is what I like about Soufriere. Located on the South of the island, the whole city is actually within the caldera of a volcano. A few minutes away from the city centre, you will reach the famous Sulphur Springs and see the fumes coming out of boiling ponds. At BoutiqueTravelExperts, we always guide our clients to a more secluded place where you can take a relaxing mud bath and rinse yourself under a waterfall. This healing natural spa treatment will leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.
Exercising in nature is another way to feel the most connected with your surroundings, and the two Pitons in Soufriere offer various trails for intermediate and advanced hikers. Reaching the top of Gros Piton rewards you with stunning views of the island, and it’s truly worth the 3-4 hours hike. If you prefer to sip on a cocktail next to a pool, the Stonefield resort is made for you. You can just lay down on a lounger and enjoy the view on Petit Piton, without all the effort. This is also a beautiful boutique hotel that we like to book for our clients. For sea lovers like me, Anse Chastanet is the perfect spot to discover the marine life of the Caribbean. Surrounded by a marine reserve, this is a very famous spot for snorkelling. Discover our Tour “Highlights of Saint Lucia”.
Martinique is one of the French islands in the Caribbean, but don’t let the language barrier stop you from visiting. This island has everything, from paradisiac beaches to beautiful botanical gardens and refreshing rivers and waterfalls. One of the best places to get lost in nature is the “Gorges de la Falaise”, in the North of the island. You will start by taking a scenic road in the middle of the rainforest to get to Fonds Saint Denis. You will then have to go down some steps to the bed of the river, and the vegetation is truly remarkable. Your guide will then take you up the river in the gorges until you reach the waterfall. You can then go back and jump in the deepest parts of the river. You still have to climb the stairs up, so this excursion combines luxurious vegetation, a refreshing dip in the river, and some cardio exercise. Isn’t it the perfect way to feel your body and soul connect with nature?
When I go to Barbados, I always pack my snorkelling gear to swim with turtles, and my running shoes for my morning or evening run on the Southcoast Boardwalk. This is one of my favourite places in Barbados. It is about 1 mile long and offers stunning views on the sea and the different beaches, from Hastings to Accra Beach. It is very popular and you will meet all kinds of people, but the atmosphere is very friendly and energizing. After walking or running along the boardwalk, refuel with a smoothie bowl, fresh juice or full breakfast or lunch at the Artsplash café, your body will thank you!
Antigua is one of my favourite islands in the Caribbean, due to its wide variety of trails overlooking the sea from different parts of the coast. The most famous spot is Shirley Heights, from where you can hike down to the beach and back up to the lookout on another trail. Every Sunday evening, steel pan bands come there to play while visitors enjoy the sunset while eating barbecued fish or chicken and sipping on a beer. If you prefer to stay away from the crowds, simply choose another day to come and meditate in front of the sunset. English harbour boasts another beautiful trail called “the goats track” where you will encounter wild goats and get amazing views on the harbour and the bay on the other side of the hill. Another dreamy place to visit is Sheer Rocks, at CocoBay Resort, next to Ffryes Bay. This restaurant has two pools overlooking the sea, one is public and the other can be booked. If you want to feel like a millionaire but also enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean sea, look no further and book your table!
This may be my favourite place in the Caribbean, but it’s not easy to get to. You either have to take sailing trip to the Grenadines, or fly to Union Island, and then book a day trip to the Tobago Cays. You will then stop on a couple of very small islands that will take your breath away. Baradal is where the sea turtles come to feed. Once you are too tired of snorkelling, you can climb the small hill and look at the coral reef and the different shades of blue stretching in front of you. You can then have lunch at Petit Bateau, where people organize barbecues. The sharks and stingrays will most likely come around to feed on the remains of your grilled fish. The last stop is Petit Tabac. This is basically a stretch of sand with a few palm trees, and it makes you feel like you’re alone in the middle of the ocean.
Of course, there are many other places to enjoy the natural beauty of the Caribbean while you are on vacation, depending on what types of activities you prefer. But what may be the most important thing to take away from your trip is how spending time in nature is affecting your well-being, and trying to dedicate more time to it once your vacation is over.