Tradewinds sound the metal clang of the rigging on moored sailboat masts, palm fronds on shore waft in the breeze. The seas shift from sapphire to jade, signaling the water’s depth and then, frothy and transparent, gently lap against the shore.
There are sandy beaches in ivory, gold, pink and black, caves and grottos etched by nature and rainforests that literally render a breath of fresh air. Coastal boundaries give way to mountainous interiors where rivers meander rocks, fertile soil and forests and water plunges and cascades from cliffs into emerald lagoons.
This is the Caribbean – a place that oozes romance. Singles become pierced by cupid’s arrow, young couples and newlyweds bond amid nature’s beauty and seasoned couples fall in love all over again.
There are natural wonders like the sea pools beneath giant light filled boulders at the Baths in Virgin Gorda to snorkel and swim, the Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat and the twin volcanic spires of St. Lucia, the Pitons, to hike. St. Lucia also boasts what’s known as the Caribbean’s only “drive-in volcano,” where couples can walk a crater where hot springs bubble and burp sulphur laden steam and then swim in sulphuric pools at Sulphur Springs.
Sulphur springs exist also in Dominica, where couples can otherwise swim in pools beneath any of three waterfalls (Emerald Pool and Trafalgar and Middleham Falls). Dominica’s vapor-clouded, 195-foot deep Boiling Lake bubbles with greyish water that’s been found to be as hot as 197 degrees Fahrenheit along the edges.
St. Vincent, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Puerto Rico boast waterfalls as well. Kayak through Vieques, Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bay on a moonlight night, and watch micro-organisms in this unique environment flash blue and green light around the disrupting boat and paddle. Puerto Rico also boasts the Caribbean’s best known rainforest – the 28,000 acre El Yunque, where couples can hike, fish or camp amid thousands of native plants and hundreds of animal species. SCUBA who want to venture deep beneath the sea might consider the reefs and caves of Bonaire or the Cayman Islands.
A sense of adventure
Between November and April, surfers often venture to places such as Rincon, Puerto Rico, Bathsheba (“The Soup Bowl”) on Barbados, Puerto Plata and Cabarete in the Dominican Republic and Mount Irvine on Tobago.
Parachuting and parasailing are available in the Caribbean. The Turks & Caicos offers opportunities not only to ride horseback along its beaches but to venture saddleback into the sea. Dune buggy safaris are available in the Turks & Caicos s as well, while zip lining awaits adventurers on Trinidad and Jamaica and rivertubing is available on Jamaica and Dominica.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines are well known among yachties, but these tranquil islands also boast shallow snorkel sites and remote beaches such as Mopion. Located near Petit St. Vincent and Mayreau, Mopion is accessible only by boat.
Boat-accessible beaches of the Caribbean also include Tahiti Beach near Great Abaco in the Bahamas, Isla Saona in the Dominican Republic’s Parque Nacional del Este, Sandy Spit off Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, Sandy Island off Carriacou near Grenada and Petit Tabac within the Tobago Cays National Marine Park.
Where to stay
Lodging is available in all shapes and sizes – from intimate bed and breakfasts to full-service resorts with multiple restaurants, pools and bars. Romance packages are often available, and destination weddings can typically be arranged keeping in mind that different islands maintain different legal requirements, such as waiting or residency periods.
Gamblers – or those who want to try their luck at it – might consider Puerto Rico and on Sint Marten, where hotels sometimes include live shows as well as casinos. Rental cottages, houses and villas afford the ultimate privacy and the ability to save on the costs of dining out. All-inclusives provide an opportunity to pay for the majority of a vacation’s costs up front, and many cater exclusively to adults and couples.
For those who prefer to spend most or some of their time at sea, captained and bareboat yacht and sailing charters are available throughout the Caribbean.