LUXURY VILLAS IN THE CARIBBEAN
The Caribbean offers lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls, stunning coastlines, an active heart and strong, spicy flavours.
Caribbean villa holiday guide
The string of islands that run south from Florida and end east of Venezuela are synonymous with white-sand beaches and swaying palms. From the rainforest covered peaks of Jamaica’s Blue Mountains to trails that lead to waterfalls in Grenada, island interiors are as deserving of attention as the coastlines. The Caribbean is a playground for hikers, sailors, birdwatchers, mountain bikers, and horse riders. The experiences you can expect on a Caribbean villa holiday are as diverse as the rum cocktail recipes served at the islands’ beach bars.
Caribbean Towns and Cities
Port towns such as Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Castries in St. Lucia buzz with outdoor craft markets and malls packed with duty-free goods. Port Elizabeth in Bequia, in the Grenadines, is a sleepy, slow-paced harbour town; bars overlooking its horseshoe bay and yachts at anchor are the perfect place to idle over a cold Hairoun beer. History lovers can take pleasure in seeking out the colonial architecture of Charlestown in Nevis and Bridgetown, Barbados.
The Caribbean Countryside
On the volcanic islands, interiors rise to gently or steeply undulating hills covered in tropical woodland or rainforest. At Tobago’s Main Ridge Forest Reserve and Grenada’s Grand Etang National Park, hiking trails cut through pathways of ferns, mahogany, and bamboo to find hidden waterfalls. In St. Barts and arid Anguilla, salt-pans are a haven for egrets and herons. Marine birds also thrive in the eerie mangrove-tree habitats of St. Lucia’s Mankote Mangrove Swamp and Codrington Lagoon on Antigua’s sister isle, Barbuda.
Active pursuits in the Caribbean
A horse-ride along the beach in Mustique or St Barts; taking a bamboo river-rafting trip past limestone outcrops down Jamaica’s Rio Grande; or mountain-biking through rainforest canopies in St. Lucia… there are plenty of ways to explore the Caribbean. In Antigua a zip-line tour cuts through the gullies of a tropical forest near the island’s highest point, Obama Peak. Offshore reefs are a diver’s or snorkeller’s delight. The waters around Tobago and Young Island in the Grenadines are like a natural aquarium, with resident turtles, rays, and seahorses.
Nature in Caribbean
The coastal reefs and rainforest habitats support plenty of endemic and migrant wildlife. Whales journey through the waters off St. Lucia; North American yellowlegs winter on Tobago, where over two hundred species of bird have been spotted. The Tobago Cays Marine Park in the Grenadines offers the chance to snorkel with hawksbill turtles. African Green and Mona monkeys—introduced during the colonial era—live in the rainforests of Nevis and Grenada.
Eating and drinking in the Caribbean
Fine-dining restaurants on Anguilla, Barbados, and St. Barts serve Kobe beef and foie-gras. Roadside oil-drum barbecues in Jamaica cook up fiery jerk chicken. Pull up a chair at a cafe in one of Antigua’s harbour towns and you can tuck into pepperpot, a pot-luck, peppery soup made from leftover meats and vegetables. The Indian heritage of Tobago’s inhabitants is evident in the island’s spicy crab curry.
Caribbean nightlife and entertainment
Calypso, soca, and reggae are the authentic sounds of the Caribbean. West Indians know how to party, and you can join the locals ‘liming’—letting their hair down—on the beaches. In Antigua the weekend ends on a high at Shirley Heights, where steel bands strike up from sunset on Sunday. Sunday is also the day when islanders gather at the seaside town of Buccoo in Tobago for live music and dance event, Sunday School.
Relaxation in the Caribbean
Holidays in the Caribbean encourage plenty of non-activities—like lying on a hammock tied between palm trees on a gently curving bay of white sand on Palm Island, the Grenadines. Sightseeing is made easy in St. Lucia: view the Pitons from a sunset catamaran cruise, rum cocktail in hand. In Nevis spend the afternoon taking tea on the wrap-around veranda of a plantation house. If that all feels like too much, head to one of the many luxury spas. Enjoy a treatment that uses local ingredients, such as coconut oil and aloe vera, beneath the shade of a bamboo gazebo.
The Caribbean Coast
White sands, dotted with palm trees and met by clear, calm turquoise waters—such as Grand Anse on Grenada—are a constant. But they are not the only type of beach you will find in the Caribbean. Crane Beach in Barbados sits beneath towering cliffs and has pink sand met by waves big enough for body surfing. If you want a beach all to yourself that can be arranged on Peter Island: Honeymoon Beach is a hidden cove made available to one couple at a time.