Caribbean - An inside guide
Once a destination for sun-worshippers, the Caribbean is now setting its sights on market sectors including weddings and honeymooners, families, gastronomes and golfers.
"Saint Lucia is the number one Caribbean location for weddings, hosting over 11,000 a year. It has won the ‘World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination’ award eight times at the World Travel Awards."
ATLYN FORD, SAINT LUCIA TOURIST BOARD
- Beaches: Splash out on the beautiful sand beaches lapped by the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea
- Dip into history: Everything from disused forts to the sugar trade and pirates
- Melting pot of cultures: Take British, French, Spanish, Dutch and African cultures, mix them up and voilà – The Caribbean!
- All-inclusive hotels: This is where the all-inclusive concept was born and there’s lots of choice
- Great weather: It’s always warm and sunny in the tropics but look out for the hurricane season
- Dining out: Great-value restaurants serve local dishes packed with spices
- Underwater world: One of the world’s best spots for snorkelling and scuba diving
- Ship to shore: An island-hopping cruise is the easy way to see the Caribbean
- Fun attractions: Ride a Segway in St Lucia, hike the Dominica rainforest or take the sugar train in St Kitts
- Carnival: The streets are alive with music, costumes and parades when carnival is in town
Did you know?
Getting hitched in the Caribbean can cost less than in the UK, even with the added expense of travel and accommodation – but operators and tourist boards report strong demand from moneyed clients prepared to pay for a luxury experience. Funway Holidays lists Beyonce, Jay-Z and Simon Cowell as among those recently spotted in the islands, which are famed for upmarket hotels, boutique villas and as a honeymoon and weddings hotspot.
Hotels: Elegant Hotels Group’s Turtle Beach and Crystal Cove in Barbados have upgraded their all-inclusive offerings to add more of a Bajan feel. As well as offering inclusive water sports they now offer a range of activities under the Elegantly Bajan campaign.
The upmarket resort of Baha Mar opened in Nassau in the Bahamas in March, with 2,200 rooms spread across four hotels, a casino, 40 restaurants and bars and a golf course. A Melia hotel will add 694 rooms.
Sandals Barbados opened in early 2015 after an extensive refurbishment changed it from a Couples resort. It has 280 rooms and 11 restaurants.
The new Paradise Beach Hotel has opened on Nevis with seven three- and four-bedroom villas. The villas are on the beach and come with a concierge and butler or private chef to prepare meals.
Kittitian Hill is a new five-star resort in St Kitts built on the concept of local living. Guests can eat the fruit growing around the resort and golf course, while restaurant menus are based on fresh local produce.
Activities: Mount Cinnamon Resort in Grenada has launched a seven-day adventure package that includes deep-sea fishing, two escorted PADI dives (deducted from price for non-divers), two massages and daily yoga classes. Prices start from $3,100 per couple.