There’s nothing wrong with just lying on a lounge chair and soaking up the sun, a frosty pina colada in one hand and a trashy novel in the other. But the Caribbean is so much more than just a string of beach-fringed island outposts. And it would be a real shame if all you brought back from the world’s favorite warm-weather destination was a blistering sunburn, a wicked hangover and a cheap souvenir. Instead, pick one (or three) of these singularly Caribbean experiences and come home with memories that’ll last a whole lot longer than that made-in-China fridge magnet.
Dinner a deux at Negril, Jamaica resort The Caves has got to be one of the most romantic experiences in the Caribbean, and possibly the world. Reserve a table for two (there’s only one) in a this craggy cliffside nook and staff will fill it with hundreds of candles, embellish it with bougainvillea blossoms, and give you plenty of privacy to enjoy a sumptuous meal, sweeping sea views, and each other.
I can’t lie; the five-hour clamber up and down Gros Piton, the taller of St. Lucia’s iconic volcanic spires, was no picnic. But the view of St. Lucia spread out 2,619 feet below, neighboring islands seducing from the horizon, is worth the effort. And an ice-cold Piton beer afterward makes a fitting and refreshing reward.
No one knows (or will admit to knowing) how a herd of wild pigs ended up on a deserted islet in the Bahamas’ Exuma Cays. But hundreds of people have experienced the thrill of motoring up to Big Major Cay and being greeted by the leafy-eared porcine armada, who launch themselves into the turquoise waters in search of food from fascinated boaters. If you’re lucky, you’ll be among visitors privileged to have seen them. Consider yourself luckier still if you emerge from the experience with your digits intact and shins unscathed; these are some greedy pigs!
There’s lobster, there’s crawfish, and then there’s the crustacean that beats them all, Anguillian crayfish. One of the best places to get it: Scilly Cay, an islet just offshore. Here Eudoxie Wallace – better known as Gorgeous – and his family serve up ginormous local crayfish nestled on seagrape leaves and drizzled with a peanut citrus sauce, accompanied by fruit, pasta salad and a baguette. The seafood extravaganza will set you back $75, but Gorgeous’ famous and deadly rum punch is just $5 a cup and instantly soothes the sting.
If you can envision a more sensuous and indulgent experience than luxuriating in an outdoor bathtub surrounded by tropical blooms in what was once the home of James Bond creator Ian Fleming, you’ve got a better imagination than I do. But if you don’t, book the Fleming Villa at Oracabessa, Jamaica resort Goldeneye and prepare to be shaken and stirred (in the nicest possible way).