Five Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do In the Caribbean
A Caribbean vacay can be so much more than just sun, sea and sand. Check out these unexpected ways to while away a tropical day. 1. The Bahamas: Swim with pigs
Get up close and personal with “the other white meat” in the turquoise waters of the Exumas, where you can motor your dinghy up to Big Major Cay to feed and swim with paddling porkers. No one quite knows how they got here (some things are better left a mystery) but the foraging flotilla will boldly swim out to visiting boaters and take scraps from their hands. The timid can feed them from the boat; more intrepid visitors just jump right in and swim with them. But beware: those trotters can pack a real punch, so if the pig takes a liking to that sandwich in your hand, let him have it!
2. Geejam, Jamaica: Record a song
Rockers and wanna-be’s head for this hipster hideaway just outside Port Antonio, where three boho-chic, tech-heavy cabins, a suite and a handsome villa are secreted within the lush greenery of the hillside, and my favorite local beach, Frenchman’s Cove, is just down the road. The slick studio where Gwen Stefani has recorded is right on site, so, for an extra charge, you can lay down a track of your own. Whether it becomes a hit or not is up to you.
3. Hard Rock Punta Cana, Dominican Republic: Learn to play the guitar
This music-themed mega-resort goes way beyond the usual all-inclusive inclusions with its Picks program, which allows guests to borrow Fender electric guitars, amps and headphone. Just put down a security deposit and the set-up is delivered to your suite for 24 hours of rock-fueled revelry. Less proficient players can follow along with lessons via on an in-house TV channel.
4. Hotel Chocolat, St. Lucia: Make your own chocolate
If you’re a chocolate company and you build a boutique hotel on a centuries-old working cacao plantation, you really have no choice but to give it a chocolate theme. British chocolatiers Hotel Chocolat have done just that at Rabot Estate, where guests at their 14-suite property dine at a chocolate fusion restaurant and “cocoajuvenate” in a chocolate-themed spa. On three-hour tours, traveling chocaholics can also learn to make their own bars and truffles from cacao pods they pick themselves from the plantation’s trees. Sweet!
5. Strawberry Hill, Jamaica: Snuggle in front of a fire
Mist-cloaked mountains and electric-blanketed beds are hardly what you’d expect to find in the Caribbean, but early-morning and nighttime temps at this gingerbread cottage boutique hotel, 3,000 feet up in Jamaica’s majestic Blue Mountains, mean that you’ll need to pack a sweater as well as sunscreen. Bask in the sun at the mountaintop pool by day, then snuggle with your sweetie in front of a roaring fire in the great house bar as the mercury drops to the 50s and your love really heats up.