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Caribbean castaways – a brief guide to 5 authentic islands

Travel trends can be fickle – one moment the whole world and her dog want to marvel at steamy geysers in Iceland; and then next season it’s all about devouring culture in Malta. Yet some destinations stand the test of time; visit after visit. Undoubtedly that includes the Caribbean. The luxurious playground of the world, these evocative archipelagos of thousands of islands never cease to seduce the senses. Yet despite remaining a top international destination for decades you can still find authenticity, unspoilt scenery and mouth-watering local cuisine. Here’s a few of our favourites. St Lucia Over recent years this verdant forested island with jaw-dropping vistas of volcanic spires and beautiful bays, has developed a sophisticated niche in luxury wellness tourism. Unsurprisingly, since the natural wonders of this lush tropical island embrace visitors in healing tranquillity. Visitors can leave the beaches behind, and head into the interior to hike and bike the forest and mountain trails. Hire a 4×4 and discover your own secret cove on the wild eastern coast. Forget an over-priced rum cocktail and instead eat like a local, tucking into the freshest seafood, like spiny lobster, and discover age-old recipes including ‘green figs’ and saltfish (the national dish of unripe bananas with preserved fish). This is the Caribbean like you dreamed it would be. Barbados Barbados is the quintessential Caribbean island, with its pink sandy beaches made from crushed coral; colonial era architecture in the UNESCO recognised capital of Bridgetown; and dazzling turquoise and azure bays that are so iconic of this part of the world. Yet did you know the island is also home to a tropical forest? Welchman Hall Gully is the place to walk amongst rainforest trees and lush native vegetation. The east of the island offers a perspective of Barbados’ wild beauty, where powerful Atlantic ocean waves break and crash onto the shore. Barbados is probably the culinary capital of the Caribbean with a wealth of upscale fine-dining restaurants as well as some great local hangouts. Here Indian, African, Creole, and European cuisine fuse, long before it was considered fashionable. Bajan food is the best; whether simple, fresh and tasty fish cakes or a salt bread sandwich; to fine-dining dishes of local fish like cou-cou flying fish. Turks and Caicos South of the Bahamas and north of the Dominican Republic, one finds the tropical archipelago of Turks & Caicos. Grand Turk is a popular cruise stop, with an impressive port complex. The island also boasts charming British Bermudan architecture. Many of the exclusive resorts are found on neighbouring Providenciales, with its postcard perfect beaches. Yet take the ferry across to the laid-back North Caicos and Middle Caicos and it’s a natural paradise for outdoor pursuits like hiking, caving and of course enjoying the pristine beaches. If you love snorkelling or diving, the uninhabited islands promise the most spectacular sites to explore. Bahamas Asked to name a Caribbean nation and the chances are the Bahamas will be topping the list. The Islands of the Bahamas are amongst the most popular in the Caribbean. From the swimming pigs of The Exumas to the extraordinary Treasure Cay Beach of The Abacos, there’s plenty to discover; and hundreds of islands to explore. To experience the Bahamas as it must have been before the European colonists and navigators arrived, make a trip to the Acklins and Crooked Islands. Experience kilometres of untouched beaches: enjoy wonderful sites for snorkelling and diving, abundant with sea life; and catch sight of fascinating limestone caves. The Caribbean is worthy of being amongst the world’s favourites holiday destinations. In this breath-takingly beautifully part of the world, there is a rich diversity in cultures, heritage, cuisines, and landscapes; together with experiences for luxury-lovers and adventure-seekers alike. Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Director of Passepartout Homes Ltd. Passepartout Homes Ltd. offers an exclusive portfolio of luxury villa rentals in Italy, France, Greece, Croatia, Thailand and worldwide. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Founder and Director at Passepartout Homes, a curated portfolio of spacious villas, selected for their ease of accommodating extended families, large groups, weddings, corporate retreats and other private events. The company was born out of her desire to share her family holiday home combined with a passion for travel and interior design. Paola prides herself for knowing each client by name and is dedicated to learning their idea of perfect holiday home. Besides running Passepartout Homes, Paola also works as digital Marketing and Social Media Manager for luxury holiday villas and advises home owners on vacation rental best practices.

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  1. Barbados has always been one of my favourite Caribbean Islands. In many ways it is two islands. The Caribbean coast is the focus for visitors with its luxurious hotels and fantastic beaches. Though if you want to get away from it all and get a taste for the old Barbados you can head up to the wild Atlantic coast. It’s much less developed and it’s like the tourist boom never happened.

  2. I’m a little surprised that Antigua didn’t make the cut. It’s a lovely little island with its 365 beaches, one for everyday of the year.You can often find your very own beach and bay for the day.

    1. There are just way too many wonderful Caribbean islands! Sorry I did not mist Antigua on this occasion. Will do next post round.
      Thanks for reminding us of this beautiful island.

  3. I’ve done a Bahamas cruise and I never saw sea the colour that it is in that picture. I think we were really unlucky with the weather, it was a murky deep blue most days.

    1. So sorry to hear you did not manage to experience Bahamas with blue skies. We were lucky indeed. We visited the Bahamas in August. In the picture are my brother, niece and one of my children. We were not expecting to see much of the sun in this season but we were lucky. You should return and give it one more try.

  4. The Caribbean coast is the focus for visitors with its luxurious hotels and fantastic beaches. Though if you want to get away from it all and get a taste for the old Barbados you can head up to the wild Atlantic coast. It’s much less developed and it’s like the tourist boom never happened.

  5. A ‘luxurious playground’ is a wonderful way to sum up the islands. They certainly are evocative and seductive; I’ve never been to any but when I hear ‘Caribbean islands’ I think luxury, beauty, blue sea and gorgeous scenery. Some of them, like Barbados, are well known for being such idyllic getaway locations. I would love to go, though local fare with fish dishes is something that I’d have to skip as I don’t eat anything from the sea. I don’t know why but the thought has always creeped me out, it’s been a phobia since a young age. That said, I imagine there’s a range of food, especially given the number of tourists such islands must cater to.

    It’s brilliant that places like Turks and Caicos offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for adventure and active pursuits, to go sightseeing, or simply to relax and do as little as possible. I would love to go to any of them, I’m not sure I could choose just one from this selection as they all seem to offer their own stunning scenery and culture. You’ve encapsulated the beauty the Caribbean offers perfectly.

    1. Thank you. I hope I have inspired you to visit at last one island.

  6. My wife and I used to visit the Caribbean almost every other year though we have never made it to the Bahamas. Then we just haven’t visited for st least a decade. There was no real reason for it, we just got attracted by other places.

    Reading this post has reminded me of just how good the Caribbean was as a holiday destination. Perhaps next year one of our New Year resolutions should be a return to those tropical paradise islands.

  7. I visited Bahamas and Barbados a few months ago and I really had an amazing time. The islands were breathtakingly beautiful, the water is crystal clear, and the people are very nice. The are also a lot of fine dining restaurants around Barbados such as The Tides and The Cliff. The food there is really enticing. When I go back, I’ll visit the other islands to get a taste of their offerings.

  8. Barbados is somewhere I’ve always considered to be the pinnacle of luxury beach vacations, I guess because of how it’s used in conversations and the media over the past 20 years, but it seems less touchable, perhaps more reserved for the minority or those who can afford it. I imagine things have changed over the years and my view is pretty outdated, so I’ll have to look into 2020 holidays there, especially if there are any decent package trips to be had. I’d love to tick it off the bucket list. Ditto for the Bahamas really, goes fairly hand in hand with Barbados in terms of how I think of it as such a luxury, a perfect kind of place. One of my work colleagues went to St Lucia earlier this year and came back with the most amazing photos. Hard not to want to go when you hear how stunning the Caribbean is. Got to see it to believe it I think.

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