6 Top Caribbean Islands for Outdoor Enthusiasts

2018-05-14

Plan a warm-weather getaway filled with postcard-worthy views, scenic hikes and active outdoor pursuits.

Most people think of a Caribbean vacation as a time to relax, let their hair down and let their worries melt away while swinging in a hammock. Sun seekers bring along bathing suits, their favorite books and sip fruity drinks while listening to the calm, lapping surf. But adventurous travelers see the Caribbean in a different light. Sure, the Caribbean has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, but its diverse destinations also offer some of the best opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you want to hike, mountain bike, fish, dive or partake in other active Caribbean adventures, there are plenty of places where you can test your limits and get your adrenaline fix.

If you’re an explorer looking for a vacation where you can embrace the outdoors with tropical beaches nearby, travel to these Caribbean islands, which offer both beautiful natural attractions and heart-pumping thrills.

Nevis

Nevis, which sits adjacent to St. Kitts, offers miles of unspoiled natural surroundings and some of the best hiking and water sports in the Caribbean. After a short boat ride from neighboring St. Kitts, you can kick-back in Nevis for a vacation filled with relaxation, beach time and outdoor activity.

Visitors to this luxurious island can hike the famous Nevis Peak, which is more than 3,200 feet high. Plus, the island’s crystal-clear, calm waters are perfect for snorkeling with sea turtles, wakeboarding or stand-up paddleboarding. On you vacation, you can also tackle Russell’s Rest Nature Hike through the rainforest and waterfalls, bike the 36-mile square mile Nevis Challenge tour or ride by horseback as the sun goes down.

As for hotel options, consider staying in the lap of luxury at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, where you can sign up for the Summit and Spa Experience. This tour includes a guided hike to the top of Nevis Peak, along with an island-inspired lunch and a massage with exotic spices and scents from the West Indies.

Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands were the birthplace of recreational diving, and their clear waters and bounty of dive sites continue to attract sea lovers by the thousands. Grand Cayman boasts the iconic Seven Mile Beach, which is just a short boat ride away from Stingray City – the premier spot for snorkelers and divers to mingle with rays and tropical fish at the nearby reef. And at Rum Point, divers can visit the vibrant coral and spot rare fish and sea life.

Divers can also circle for the USS Kittiwake, a former submarine which now houses beautiful sea creatures nearly 60 feet under the surface. Of course, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman are also well known for their diving sites, too.

When it comes to resort options, the secluded Wyndham Reef Resort, which is located on the east end of Grand Cayman, is an ideal lodging choice. As the only full-service hotel with an all-inclusive option, the Wyndham property makes it easy to enjoy the outdoors with opportunities for jet skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, kite surfing and sailing.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico offers some of the most diverse outdoor recreation options for seasoned travelers. Here, you can partake in an array of water sports from fishing to diving to hiking and exploring the El Yunque National Rainforest to riding the world’s tallest and longest zip lines at Toro Verde adventure park to kayaking through one of the Caribbean’s bioluminescent bays.

El Conquistador, located in Fajardo, offers a convenient resort choice thanks to its proximity to the nation’s bioluminescent bay and El Yunque, along with its own options for outdoor recreation. On the property’s private isle, Palomino Island, you can also participate in activities such as horseback riding, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling and more.

Dominica

Known as “nature island,” Dominica is revered for its natural allures. The isle is home to 365 rivers, volcanoes, mountains, waterfalls and hot springs, along with the second-largest boiling lake in the world and lush rainforests. Travelers can enjoy any combination of outdoor experiences, from hiking to forest bathing to snorkeling through the caves to horseback riding to kayaking to diving. And hikers will especially be thrilled to explore the Waitukubli National Trail, which covers 115 miles.

Travel to Rosalie Bay Resort for an eco-friendly retreat with a premier spot along black-sand beaches where the Rosalie River flows into the sea. The resort is a natural nesting habitat for several species of endangered sea turtles, making it the perfect vacation spot for nature lovers.

Grenada

Grenada is home to breathtaking waterfalls, countless hiking trails, more than 30 world-renowned diving sites and some of the best scenery in the Caribbean. Divers will especially be thrilled to travel to the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean, along with the world’s first underwater sculpture park.

Calypso Island, a small off-shore paradise, is also available for visitors interested in fine dining, water sports and amazing sunsets. You can book sailing and snorkeling tours, or charter a private catamaran for your own water-based adventure. Mount Cinnamon Resort & Beach Club is an ideal for divers in Grenada. With its own on-site dive center, the property is the island’s leader for snorkeling and diving operations in and around beautiful Grand Anse Beach. The resort also offers a special dive package that include a four-night stay, breakfast, a couples massage and up to eight dives.

Curacao

Curacao is an outdoor lover’s paradise. With more than 40 different diving areas, thriving reefs, a tugboat and airplane wreck, and various other natural and man-made wonders to explore, divers will never tire of the local wildlife and crystal-clear waters.

There are also plentiful, beautiful and popular hiking trails to explore across the island that are well-suited for adventurous travelers with unique tropical plants and secluded regions of the island. For a memorable stay at a top-notch hotel, head to Hilton Curacao, which offers its own dive shop with courses for novice and experienced divers of all ages. Adults who want to learn the craft of diving while on vacation can sign up for the PADI Discover Scuba Diving course, which prepares new divers to explore the beautiful ocean on their own.

Courtesy of USNews

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