Some Lesser Known Caribbean Islands: How Many Have you Visited?
If you are a cruise fan, it’s quite likely that you have already seen the Caribbean and Mexican ports that have the ability to dock the great big ships of today. Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and Nassau come to mind. Some of the small ships like the Royal Clipper my group is sailing on from Barbados in January can anchor or dock in some unique ports of call. I must say that, as a former competitive swimmer, the attraction for me to island life is typically all about the ocean swim and pretty beach. I have a feeling we are going to find lots of that. Let’s go on a treasure hunt! I will share by following the actual itinerary with Star Clippers.
This is the Easternmost island of the entire Caribbean, and is so British that it has a Trafalgar Square! Fascinating fact: This is the only place in the world outside of America that George Washington visited. The east coast has isolated beaches the color of sunrise, it’s reds sands blew all the way across the ocean from the Sahara in Africa! It’s rum and fun-loving people love the Brit traditions like cricket and high tea. You can visit the Mount Gay Rum Visitors Center for a tour and tasting, and enjoy a nature day in the beautiful Harrison caves.
Grenadine Islands-Captain’s Choice!
According to Wiki, “The Grenadines are a chain of small island that lie on a line between the larger islands of Saint Vincent and Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. The northern two-thirds of the chain, including about 32 islands and cays, are part of the country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Nine are inhabited, including the mainland Saint Vincent and the Grenadines islands: Young Island, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island, Mayreau, Petit St Vincent, and Palm Island. The southern third of the chain belongs to the country of Grenada. ”
It’s exciting to learn a bit about these wonderful and relatively untouched islands, and it’s even more fun that we won’t know until we get there which beach we will play on!
The appropriately named island aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla await you. They say it’s fun to follow the old tunnel which was hand built in 1895 to the Esplanade and the old Ft. George for an amazing view of Granada. I can’t wait to shop for some fresh spices! Put your orders in to me now! Grin.
I am expecting some of the best snorkeling EVER here, and I can’t wait! There are four small inlets and a fabulous reef for underwater exploration. It’s a protected National Park, so when you visit, please be sure that if you use sunscreen to choose the one that is considered safe for the coral. I want to take my granddaughter when she’s older, so we must be careful with our oceans!
St. Vincent-Kingstown (AM)
St. Vincent is the largest of the Grenadines. A bustling city of 20,000, this is the “City of Arches”, and I am told we will understand when we arrive. Many of the town’s building date to the 19th century, and there’s a fort on the outskirts of town. Expect to enjoy some history lessons as you explore the many churches and historical buildings, perhaps do some shopping, and they say do not miss the botanical gardens. Sounds like a fun morning! We only stop for a few hours here.
Bequia-Admiralty Bay (PM)
The second largest of the Grenadines at 7 square miles, we will anchor in the beautiful harbour of Young Island, a 10-minute ferry ride from Port Elizabeth at Bequia. A stroll along the beach of Admiralty Bay will be heavenly!
Martinique- Fort de France (AM)
This island, part of the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, is 436 Square miles of classic French beauty. It’s both wild and sophisticated at the same time! You may have heard of Mt. Pelee, which last erupted in 1902, killing 30,000 inhabitants of Saint-Pierre in a matter of minutes. But don’t worry…scientists are monitoring this still active volcano carefully.
This just may be your hiking day. From the tourism website, “There are several paths allowing exploration of the volcanic peaks that unleashed the eruptions of 1902 and 1929. Hikers can tackle the summit from the face, which overhangs the Caribbean Ocean. This route opens onto exceptional views of Saint-Pierre and the coast. The north slope offers a great variety of landscapes, ranging from banana plantations and tropical forests to vast, wind-swept spaces. The route most favored by hikers, past the Aileron and the plateau des Palmistes, begins in the parking area located on the eastern face of the mountain.”
Additionally, you will love the spicy creole cooking and the tempting boutiques in Fort de France. This port will satisfy everyone in your group!
Martinique-Beach Stop (PM)
Here is your ocean swim. Enjoy that!
St. Lucia-Marigot Bay
Both large ships and small will visit St. Lucia, another island of volcanic origin. You have likely seen photos of her majestic Piton peaks, so certainly you may enjoy another hiking day here. But the snorkeling can be fantastic, and the cuisine divine. It has been both British and French, but is now independent. Enjoy this description of the Marigot Bay from their website.
“Marigot Bay is located just off the West Coast road and is home to what most consider to be the most beautiful Bay in the Caribbean as described by Novelist James A. Michener.
Marigot Bay is not just a stunning bay but its deep water and safe location has enabled it to be used by ships and locals as a safe haven during the passing of hurricanes. Pirates, as well as the French and British fleets used Marigot Bay during their long struggle to control St.Lucia. Many films have been made at Marigot Bay, including Dr.Doolittle starring Rex Harrison. Also Fire Power with Sophia Loren and Water, with Michael Caine.”
St. Lucia-Soufriere (PM)
In the afternoon we will anchor here, with a glorious view of the Pitons. You will have a hard time deciding whether to get into the water or hike the land! These are some of the activities and sites to consider, taken directly from Wikipedia. I suggest Diamond Falls and Mineral Baths. Take a dip in the pool under the waterfalls.
- The Pitons – Gros Piton and Petit Piton are two giant volcanic plugs located south of Soufrière and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Sulphur Springs – Soufrière is located within the caldera of the dormant Qualibou volcano and the area is geothermally active. Marketed as a drive-through volcano, there are numerous hot springs and fumaroles.
- Soufrière Estate – also known as Diamond Estate, this is an old colonial estate that is home to a botanical garden, sulphur baths and Diamond Falls.
- Fond Doux Estate – a working plantation where cacao is still processed.
- St Lucia’s Rainforest – there are several rainforest trails in the area with views, wildlife and waterfalls such as the Enbas Saut Falls.
- Anse Chastanet – a resort with a beach and several trails along the coast.
- Volga Nature Trail – a hiking trail with views of both pitons up close with views of Sugar beach.
I hope you get the chance to visit several (or all!) of these ports in your lifetime. Take a serious look at the Star Clippers company for a sailing adventure, too! I am so pumped to do this, as I have always wanted to sail a smaller ship. Granted, this one has lots of bells and whistles and someone will cook and clean for me. Grin. But they do let you pitch in to help hoist sails and such. AND the Royal Clipper we are sailing has a toy deck for playing in port…things like kayaks, stand-up paddle-boards, that sort of thing. As always, I am at your service to make sure your travel experiences are amazing!