Guest post by Harry Clarke
Comprised of more than 700 islands and islets, the Caribbean has become synonymous with postcard-worthy sceneries and natural beauty. Rarely do travellers escape its almost hypnotising allure, resulting in the region’s tourism growth of 7% last year as stated by the Caribbean Tourism Organization, which has contributed more than US$30 billion to its economy.
British travellers make up a large proportion of the Caribbean’s yearly visitors, with more than 1 million arrivals in the region in 2015. However, if you’re thinking of heading to this tropical paradise, there are some things you need to consider:
The Telegraph says that the region sees its best weather during December until April. For much of the Caribbean, June through November is considered the wet season, with September and October having the highest chances of hurricanes.
For vacationers, Christmas until New Year and Easter tops the list of when the region has the most number of tourists, so it is advisable to find other available holidays if you want to steer clear of huge crowds and higher prices.
With hundreds of islands to choose from, it can be quite hard to decide where to go and which island will appeal most to you. To help you narrow down the list, Lonely Planet has a description of the best Caribbean islands including the best activities to enjoy on each of them.
For island-hoppers, snorkelers, and divers, the top suggestions are the Bahamas, Bonaire, St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos, or the British Virgin Islands. On the other hand, for those seeking adventures such as climbing and trekking, there’s Curacao, Dominica, or Martinique.
If you enjoy nightlife, parties and just want to experience the region’s rich culture, it is recommended to choose among Jamaica, St. Martin, Cuba, Grenada, Trinidad, or Haiti. If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxing, and hassle-free vacation, you may visit Aruba, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts, Tobago, or Barbados.
There are many other islands in the region, but the ones above are the most accessible and frequently visited in all of the Caribbean.
The British passport is still one of the most powerful in the world according to The Daily Mail, allowing British citizens to have visa-free access to 175 countries. This includes the Caribbean islands with a stay of up to 30 days or more for tourists, depending on the exact country within the region as specified by VisaPoint.
Taking into account the bookings, British Airways and Virgin both offer transit to the islands, with two-way ticket prices begins at around £460. If you’re going to the airport and using your own car, you’ll need to book a car parking slot, so be sure to bear that in mind. Most UK international airports, fortunately, have a varied range of car parking and according to Parking4Less these typically include short-stay, long-stay or valet.
Hotel rates are 20% to 50% higher during peak season, which is mid-December to late April so you may want to check that beforehand. For those interested in tours, booking a package tour will cost you less than doing separate ones independently.
On a final note, going to the Caribbean from the UK involves a flight lasting 8 hours or more, with stop-overs depending on the destination, so be sure to bring with you things that will keep you entertained during the long haul flight. Although, the long wait will all be worth it – the Caribbean has built up a strong reputation over the years as being a holiday destination like none other in the world.
For those that have been, which Caribbean islands are your favorite?