Whenever I hear someone say ‘if you’ve been to one Caribbean island, you’ve been to them all,’ I laugh into my strawberry daiquiri because they really don’t get it. At all. It’s like saying that if you’ve been to England, you’ve been to Ireland. Every Caribbean island is unique, with its own personality.
Small but perfectly formed, Tobago is quieter than its neighbours but there’s loads to see and do. No 1 Son was enchanted by the hummingbirds we saw here for the first time and the beaches are wonderful, particularly Pigeon Point, which has one of the most famous ‘Caribbean’ views in the world. Take a glass-bottomed boat ride to see Buccoo coral reef and the ‘Nylon pool’ – named by Princess Margaret on her honeymoon, because she said the water was like nylon. Our absolute favourite restaurant on the island has to be MeShell’s but also try the excellent Kariwak Village.
St Lucia has the most incredibly diverse landscape – from the rainforest to the volcano at Soufriere, the magnificent Piton mountains and fabulous beaches. I’d also recommend taking the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride on the Brig Unicorn (which was actually used in the movie) – great fun, especially the water pistols.
The thing that surprised me most about Jamaica is how utterly, ruggedly beautiful it is – lush and green, with stunning waterfalls. Must-sees include Dunn’s River Falls and it’s worth going to the Jamaican Bobsled Café to see the bobsleigh used by the Olympics team (as in Cool Runnings). We also went on a crocodile safari on the Black River and horse riding along the beach at Rose Hall.
This is where we first heard the phrase ‘Caribbean time’ – which basically means chill out, there’s no hurry; sit back and have another cocktail. It’s also where we tried ‘black pineapple’ – the sweetest, most delicious pineapple in the world, and saw bananas growing for the first time. Antigua has 365 beaches (one for every day of the year) and stunning English Harbour, which really does take your breath away the first time you see it. I’d also recommend a boat ride to nearby Barbuda, which is just the most perfect stretch of white sand and includes a trip to see the ‘Booby’ (Frigate) birds.
Our first experience of the Caribbean was the Bahamas and we just fell totally in love. Warm azure sea, caster sugar sand beaches, unspoilt vistas, just perfect. If you take the Disney Cruise you get to visit their own island, Castaway Cay, which is idyllic.
So those are my favourite Caribbean islands – I’d love to know yours.