For a tropical climate, white sandy beaches and azure waters, the Caribbean has long been a favourite destination for Brits looking for sunshine and warmer temperatures.
Made up of 700 different islands, the Caribbean includes 13 different sovereign states and 17 dependent countries linked to France, the Netherlands, the US and the UK. Each of these has something unique to offer travellers. From high mountain peaks to shimmering reefs and spicy salsa rhythms to deep rolling reggae, the culture and scenery varies dramatically from island to island.
Nature lovers can hike through lush rainforest or snorkel among primary-coloured fish. Turtles and dolphins can be seen on scuba diving trips, which are made more thrilling by the possibility of spotting a bull, hammerhead or reef shark.
For those who prefer to stay on dry land, there are mountains to hike and volcanoes to climb. Highlights include the Unesco World Heritage listed Gros Pitons in St Lucia, the grumbling active Soufriere volcano in St Vincent, and the rugged Mont Pelee volcano in Martinique.
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Several islands claim to produce the best Caribbean rum, but Jamaica exports more of it than any other Caribbean country. St Lucia is famous for its chocolate, home of the Hotel Chocolat plantation, while the Dominican Republic has just-right conditions for growing coffee.
We’ve rounded up some of the Caribbean’s best holiday destinations along with all the details you need to plan the perfect island getaway.
Soufriere, Saint Lucia
Set towards the southwestern corner of St Lucia, the peaceful district of Soufrière is the best place to stay on St Lucia if you want to explore the twin peaks of the Pitons, which are a protected Unesco World Heritage Site. Gros Piton, the less lofty of the pair, is the island’s most popular trek. It takes around four hours to reach the top for some of the most amazing views of the Caribean.
Soufriere is also an ideal base for visiting the Diamond Falls botanical gardens, where you can bathe in mineral-rich natural spring water that is said to be good for easing the pain associated with various conditions like chronic rheumatism, respiratory complaints or ulcers. A visit to the Sulphur Springs is a must. Thanks to the high amount of silica, bathing in the hot black water…
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