Home to world-class beaches, secluded islands, delicious food and championship golf courses, there is plenty of opportunity in the Caribbean to play. Whether you want to be all by yourself exploring an uninhabited island or busy kite surfing, playing polo or tennis, the activity list is endless.
There’s the normal way most people do the Caribbean, but then there’s a way to really do the Caribbean in style. Here’s a guide on how to enjoy the Caribbean in the lap of luxury.
Explore the Seas on a Catamaran
One of the best way to explore the Caribbean is to charter a catamaran and sleep aboard it. You can cruise the seas overnight and start the day in places like the Morant Cays, an offshore island chain 51 kilometers south-southeast of Morant Point.
Wake up in the morning and enjoy the whole place to yourself. The cays are mostly uninhabited but only seasonally visited by fishermen. The islands have sparse vegetation and are a seabird breeding ground and turtle nesting area.
If you’re an angling enthusiast, you can venture off to Emerald Island, a prized landmass off the coast of St Thomas that has been named one of the best fishing and outdoor experiences this side of the Western Hemisphere. The island’s reefs have also been a successful habitat for many species of fish, turtles and crustaceans.
For the true die-hard explorer, pretend you’re a pirate and explore the uninhabited Navassa Island that lies between Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba, in the Jamaica Channel. About the size of New York City’s Central Park, the island has no harbors or a single airstrip. Access to the Island is heavily restricted and requires a special-use permit that must be issued by the U.S. Military or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Although the Island is uninhabited, Haitian fishermen and other locals do camp out on the Island and you can too.
And if you’re in A hotel in the Dominican Republic in certain periods of the year, you may even be able to catch humpback whales returning to the bay at Samaná each year. Thousands of humpback whales from the North Atlantic migrate to the waters of the Dominican Republic each winter to mate and give birth. Their most popular winter rendezvous is Silver Bank, the 3,000-square-kilometer reef system approximately 70 miles north east of Puerto Plata. More than 1,500 humpbacks visit the bay, with as many as 300 present at any given time during mating season.
Private Visit to a Tobacco Farm
In Cuba, ride horses through Viñales National Park with a private guide to meet with local tobacco farmers who adhere to traditional handpicked techniques, using no machines. Learn how they harvest the tobacco leaves, dry them and roll them into cigars and how the leaves are sprayed with a special mixture of ingredients like pineapple, lemon, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and rum for the fermentation process at an interactive demonstration.
World Class Golfing
The Caribbean has always been a popular golf destination, but today there are more choices than ever for golfers. The Dominican Republic has emerged as one of the world's best golf destinations. Punta Cana is graced with an ideal consistent climate, a refreshing ocean breeze, and clear skies. All optimal conditions for a golf trip at any time of year. Bávaro Golf Club is recognized as one of the highest quality destinations to tee off in the world by distinguishing golfers. Designed by Pete Dye, Bávaro boasts panoramic views of the sea, lush vegetation and a comfortable course layout – definitely a pleasure for the casual golfer and professional alike.
A star of Jamaica golf is Cinammon Hill Golf Course, a former sugar plantation with a charming mix of historical significance, high-end service and quality, and gorgeous views of the sea. Challenging crosswinds and interesting hazards open up toward the famous Blue Mountains.
And yet more legendary golf is found in White Witch of Rose Hall, designed by Robert von Hagge, in Montego Bay. The Jamaican course is alluringly dangerous and unpredictable as it is dotted with rock outcroppings, cut by ravines, with ocean views on almost every hole.
Play or Watch Polo in Jamaica
If you’re a horse lover, you’ll definitely enjoy Jamaica’s polo season that runs from January to August. Even if you’re not on the horses yourself, you can enjoy afternoon tea or daiquiris as you watch the polo at St. Ann (one of the oldest polo fields in the world), Chukka and Kingston Polo Clubs.
PATRICIA SERRANO CHUNGSATHAPORN
Photography by Cordon Press