While Caribbean vacations have become practically synonymous with beachfront all-inclusive resorts, that isn’t the only approach to exploring the sun swept region.
For more intrepid travelers who are looking for an adventure that goes beyond lounging at the beach and dining on resort buffets day after day, TourRadar offers a variety of noteworthy options that explore the region on a far deeper level.
The company’s more than 150 alternative Caribbean vacation ideas have been designed to showcase such things as ecotourism, uninhabited islands and connecting with locals. Here are just some of the alternative possibilities to consider for your next Caribbean getaway.
A Crash Course in Ecotourism
Get away from the tourist (and cruise ship) hubs of Puerto Rico with the seven-day Real Puerto Rico adventure. Starting in San Juan and ending in Mayaguez, visit local restaurants and experience authentic Puerto Rican cuisine in the historic city of Ponce before visiting the El Yunque National Forest, the only rainforest in the US federal park system.
This trip also includes hiking to La Coca Falls and experiencing biodiversity of the island firsthand. Additional highlights include visiting a coffee plantation to sample locally-crafted brews. On your last day, hang out with locals at a chinchorro, enjoying a sampling of alcapurrias, empanadillas, bacalaos, and more.
Starting from $679 per person; departures running until December 2019
A Buccaneering Ocean Voyage
Hoist up the anchor and go Sailing the British Virgin Islands – Tortola to Tortola on this seven-day voyage that explores uninhabited islands and visits the world-famous Willy-T floating bar. You’ll also snorkel over the wreck of the Rhone, and take in the sunset from Saba Rock.
Participants will also learn the ropes of sailing on a 40-foot catamaran including jibing and tacking. There will also be an opportunity to catch and prepare your very own fresh mahi-mahi for lunch and sample local fare including lobster and conch stew during onshore dinners.
Starting from $1,189 per person; departures running October 2019 – April 2020
Connecting with Local Communities
Dive into daily life in the Dominican Republic outside the tourist hubs on an eight-day Heart & Soul of the Dominican adventure.
The trip includes working alongside local people to learn how they’re building bottle homes—homes made out of plastic bottles—to clean up waste and promote environmental awareness. The itinerary also includes visiting the Haitian-Dominican community of La Grua to learn about modern-day relations between the two island regions. There will also be a hike in the nature reserve and freshwater lagoon in Dudu Ecological Park and exploration of the beaches and snorkeling holes of Cabarete, on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast.
Starting from $2,420 per person; departures running year-round
A Singular Solo Adventure
Explore the beaches and bars of Jamaica on a self-guided seven-day Jamaica Experience. Starting and ending in Montego Bay, visit hot spots like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and Rick’s Cafe, enjoy live reggae music and test your mettle by cliff diving.
After a full day in Montego Bay indulging in ginger beer and fresh crab, head to the village of Nine Mile, the birthplace of Bob Marley. Take a scenic drive along the coast to Ochos Rios to hike the lush rainforest of Fern Hully, explore a local craft market, and swim in the world-famous Dunns River Falls.
Starting from $701 per person; departures running year-round.
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