For a gloriously authentic Caribbean experience away from the modernised polish of luxury resorts and high-rise hotels, Tobago’s unwaveringly traditional meeting of tropical gardens, wooden-panelled boats and ocean-fronted plantation beach houses is hard to beat.
Visitors to the smaller of the islands comprising both Trinidad and Tobago are treated as such, with a welcoming atmosphere of locals creating a laid-back beach environment unblemished by excessive tourism endorsement.
Hotels, guesthouses, self-catering holiday apartments and holiday rental villas strike the perfect balance between minimalistic relaxation and comfortable amenities. Besides the picture postcard beach space, Tobago offers more than sun and sand, with a biodiverse tropical canopy comprising over 200 bird species within its Main Ridge rainforest, acting as an ideal complement to crystal clear scuba diving within striking underwater ecosystems among the coral reefs.
Trade winds permeate the eastern Caribbean jewel of Saint Lucia, ensuring warm weather even during the traditionally cooler period of January through May, where average temperatures range around 25-degrees Celsius.
A trip to Saint Lucia sees travellers enveloped in a tropical idyll complete with crystalline waters and powder-white sanded beach fronts, particularly on the southern coast, while verdant, nature filled rainforests blanket the inland, and are ripe for exploration.
The only major decision travellers will make during their stay will be which end of the island to set up camp. Rodney Bay to the north sees golden sands as part of an appealing bay stretch incorporating many of the luxurious resort havens, while Soufrière to the south offers a contrasting, yet no less exhilarating a reside, incorporating isolated beach space and traditional dwellings. The south side of the island also features perhaps one of the more remarkable sights in the Caribbean in the Piton Mountains, representing a stunning, coral-reef fringed spectacle.
Ask someone to conjure up images of the Caribbean and it's likely they will describe a typical Barbados scene; such is its archetypal portrayal of everything a tropical beach holiday should be.
High season in Barbados runs from January to mid-April, where travellers can find a more than pleasant climate averaging the upper twenties. This fantasy beach-bound location is ever more intoxicating in reality, with some of the finest accommodation and restaurants available across the entire Caribbean region found on the trendy west coast, which also features tranquil waters for swimming, while adrenaline seekers will enjoy the surf-friendly waves of the south.
The island is steeped in colonial history, with cricket greens and Anglican churches abound, reflective of the warm and accepting nature of the Bajan populace. Sugar cane fields harbour secretive caves among the island’s roaming inland landscape, complete with inviting botanical gardens and plantation houses as part of a memorable cultural journey with every step.
Fly into Montego Bay, the capital of Saint James Parish along Jamaica’s north coast, where travellers can immerse themselves in Jamaica’s second largest city as an entry point to the rest of the island.
The popular resort towns of Ocho Rios and Negril are situated nearby, making this an enticing choice for couples or groups of travellers looking for the definitive all-inclusive hotel reside in the Caribbean. Holidaymakers looking for a Caribbean destination offering vibrant nightlife need look no further, with resort hotels and Negril beach featuring the some of the best late-night entertainment in Jamaica, while those looking for more soothing sounds can venture out to the likes of Blue Beat jazz club in Montego Bay.
There’s also plenty of sights to keep visitors occupied during the sunshine hours, with Walter Fletcher Beach incorporating Aquasol Theme Park, where travellers young and old can take part in a variety of activities ranging from glass-bottom boats to snorkelling and go-kart racing.