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The hidden wonders of the Caribbean

By JoWednesday 15th August 2018

When you think of the Caribbean, you’ll probably picture a paradise of rolling sandy beaches, turquoise clear seas and tropical rainforests. While there’s plenty of sun and sea to soak in, there’s so much more to see and do than you might expect. The hidden gems of the Caribbean are just waiting to be explored.

The Belize Barrier Reef
The Belize Barrier Reef

Visit the world’s second largest barrier reef and marvel at the abundant marine life, including dolphins, manatees and sea turtles. Huge whale sharks are known to migrate to the reef each year, making it one of the few places on the planet where you can swim with the largest fish in the sea.

Dive into the breathtaking Blue Hole of Belize, the most visually striking part of the reef. This giant underwater sinkhole is famed for its luxurious royal blue colour and is considered one of the top scuba diving sites in the world. Measuring a staggering 300 metres wide and 125 metres deep, the sinkhole can even be seen from space. 

With over seven marine reserves, more than four hundred cayes and three atolls, you’ll have a whale of a time at the Belize Barrier Reef.

Sulphur Springs Park

Sulphur Springs Park

Take a tour through the world’s only drive-in volcano and bathe in bubbling pools at Sulphur Springs Park, St Lucia. Found in the most active volcanic area in the Eastern Caribbean, the Soufriere Volcano last erupted over two hundred years ago. Watch out for hissing fumaroles, boiling springs and temperamental geysers that will keep you on your toes.

Wallow in the famous Sulphur Springs mud bath, renowned for making skin tighter and easing sore joints. Known to have medicinal properties, the sulphuric pools are the perfect place to relax after a bumpy drive through the rocky terrain.

Wash off the mud in the nearby rainforest waterfall, which tumbles fifty feet high from a cliff edge into an enticing lagoon below. 

Christmas Cove and Honeymoon Beach

Christmas Cove and Honeymoon Beach

Plunge into the glistening turquoise waves of Christmas Cove and discover the abundant sea life thriving beneath the surface. Found on the west side of Great St. James Island, the cove is praised by locals as a popular snorkelling location due to its remarkably clear waters and flourishing coral reefs.

Sail on to Water Island aboard a schooner and retreat to the picturesque Honeymoon Beach, located in the Charlotte Amalie harbour in St. Thomas. Lay back on the silky white sand and bask in the refreshing shade of the palm trees which line the beach, or scuba dive in the crystal clear waters. With affable sea turtles and iridescent tropical fish thriving beneath the surface, you’ll never want to leave this slice of paradise.

Dunn’s River Falls

Dunn's River Falls

Bask in the beauty of the picturesque Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica. Surrounded by lush rainforest, swaying palm trees and a chorus of tropical birds, this is the only travertine waterfall in the Caribbean that empties into the sea. Standing 180 feet high, the dome-shaped rocks are perfect for climbing and the dense vegetation shades the area from the scorching sun. If you reach the top, be sure to take a photo next to the congratulatory sign.

Submerge yourself in one of the lagoons surrounding the falls to cool off from your climb, or pamper yourself with a massage from the pummelling waterfall. The sound of cascading water pounding the rocks, cool shade of the palm trees and smell of fresh river water will leave you feeling truly at one with nature.

Dry off and wander onto the pure white-sand beach at the base of the falls and be sure to buy some local handmade souvenirs from the nearby craft market. 

The Hato Caves
Hata Caves

Venture into the 200,000-year-old coral limestone caves on the northern coast of Curacao. Transport yourself back in time as you gaze at the numerous petroglyphs, carvings and cave drawings attributed to the cave’s earliest occupants, the Amerindian Arawaks and Caiquetio Indians. Dip your toes in the romantic pool, used as a wishing well in ancient times, or pay your respects to a stalagmite that bears a resemblance to the Virgin Mary.

Delve into the rich stories of the nearby Historic Area of Willemstad and marvel at the decadent 17th and 18th century architecture. The four districts combine colourful styles from the Netherlands, Spanish and Portuguese colonial towns and are separated by an awe-inspiring natural harbour.

Brave the imposing military forts surrounding Sint Anna Bay. Touch the cannonball blast hole embedded in the southwestern wall of the church in Fort Amsterdam or gaze out to sea from one of the 136 turrets of Waterfort, Punda. Combining colonial history and the tropical paradisiacal style of the Caribbean, Willemstad is the ideal getaway for adventurers and sun seekers alike.

The Natural Pool
The Natural Pool

Dip into the idyllic Natural Pool surrounded by volcanic rocks on the Aruban coast. Located in the rocky Arikok National Park, embark on a bumpy drive or hike from the secluded Daimari Beach. Experience a different terrain than the traditional white sandy beaches and feel like a real explorer as you navigate the rough rocky roads and steep dunes strewn with cacti. Relax, swim or snorkel in the remote pool, listen to the crashing waves and count how many crabs you can see. The aquamarine water is often so clear that you can see the bottom of the cove and with depths varying from two to twenty feet, the pool is perfect for both beginners and experienced swimmers. 

Dive into your own Caribbean escape - there are so many more hidden gems just waiting to be discovered. Explore these hidden gems on one of our shore excursions.

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