If you find yourself overlooking the Caribbean for fear of being jaded by the lack of adventure and the same-old beach feel, then this archipelago might be just what you need after all. Away from the tourist draws of the Bahamas and Jamaica, venture into the depths of Dominica or Montserrat for a taste of the Caribbean like never before.

Saba

Flowers and lush grasses on a mountain in Saba in the Caribbean

Stefan Krasowski / Flickr.com, CC BY 2.0

Under dense vegetation and between dramatic crags lies the scenic island of Saba, one of the Caribbean’s best-kept-secrets. Perfect for adventurers and those looking to venture off-the-beaten-track, Saba is the Netherlands’ smallest special municipality and just a 12-minute flight from the more popular St Maarten.

Explore the tropical rainforest, visit the settlement towns which are overlooked by a potentially active volcano and dip under the surface of the water for a peek at one of the best marine environments in the Caribbean. The waters are clear and the diving spots remain untouched, meaning you can spot plenty of underwater life from hawksbill turtles, dolphins, lobsters and stingrays to schools of bright, tropical fish.

Dominica

A coastal settlement in Dominica in the Caribbean

Often overlooked by visitors to the region, Dominica has been left to thrive as ‘The Nature Island’ for years, draping itself in waterfalls, mountains, coastal woodlands and nine active volcanoes. This island defies the Caribbean cliché to the extreme with no soft beaches and little tourism – an ideal lure for those who wish to don their hiking boots rather than their flip-flops.

Visit the Boiling Lake, a hot flooded fumarole at the bottom of a sinkhole, or head along the Indian River which is flanked by mangroves and lush foliage, and features a stop at the Bush Bar. With only 70,000 inhabitants the island can feel deserted, making you feel as though you have the place to yourself – perfect for those seeking peaceful getaways.

Barbuda

A sweeping stretch of tree-lined beach in Barbuda in the Caribbean

Andrew Moore / Flickr.com, CC BY-SA 2.0

Sister island to Antigua, Barbuda is one of the most underdeveloped islands in the Caribbean. Measuring only 62-miles and reaching just 124-feet above sea level, the region is secluded and peaceful – making it the perfect place for honeymooners. Though there are beaches here and they are beautifully soft, there is more to this island than meets the eye.

Barbuda is home to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary, the only nesting place for the birds outside of the Galapagos, and is also home to Darby cave, a 300-foot-wide and 70-foot-deep sinkhole that holds historic Petroglyph drawings left by Arawak Indians which can be seen inside Indian Cave.

Montserrat

Lush mountains in Montserrat in the Caribbean

Once an abandoned island due to devastation from the Soufriere Hills volcano in 1995, Montserrat is slowly coming back fighting. The Caribbean’s Emerald Isle, named for its Irish heritage and lush rainforests, is the perfect place to explore volcanic surroundings, follow hiking trails and birdwatch, or just soak up the tranquil ambience.

For real adventure visit the exclusion zone. It is only available to tourists with police permission and a certified guide, and is where you can witness the power of nature first-hand in an abandoned section of the island which is now deemed unsafe to live due to the unexpected Soufrière Hills eruption. Alternatively, hike along the northeast coast at Rendezvous Bay for a view of the sea, grazing wild donkeys and native plants to admire along the way.

With such a vast range of islands within the Caribbean archipelago, it is no wonder some are often forgotten about or become shrouded in mass tourism. With these islands, and more, offering a chance to escape the crowded beaches and busy villages, bump the Caribbean to the top of your 2018 cruise list and see where you can sail with Cruise118.com.

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Emma Smith

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