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Top 10 Things to Do in the Caribbean
By: Tim Cripps
Number 1: Relaxing on the Beach
Now, OK, we said that Caribbean holidays are not just sand and sun but it does merit the first place on our list of favourite reasons to go there. The beaches of the Caribbean are an attraction in themselves. Spend the day sunbathing on the perfect white sand, swimming in the clear blue sea and sipping colourful rum punch cocktails.
Number 2: Diving
You may be surprised but there are many spectacular diving sites in the Caribbean. With such exotic marine life, the crystal clear waters attract divers from all over the world, regardless of skill level. For professionals, it's the ideal place to explore spectacular reefs and discover new species of fish. For beginners, there's no better place to learn. So slip beneath the surface and see the Caribbean from a different perspective.
Number 3: Snorkelling
If diving's not for you, then snorkelling should be next on your list. Float on top of the warm Caribbean water and marvel at the living coral and tropical sea life beneath you. Gain an appreciation for the natural world beyond the bars and restaurants on land - without having to be a skilled swimmer.
Number 4: Sailing
Take a trip on a catamaran out into the sparkling ocean. As well as being a relaxing activity in itself, these tours take you to places often inaccessible by other means. Available on most islands, some highlights include diving into the Sulphur Springs volcano on St Lucia and swimming with stingrays in Grand Cayman's Stingray City. What's more, that catamaran may just serve you freshly 'caught-that-day' lobster.
Number 5: Swimming with Dolphins
Now this is one experience not to be missed! Many Caribbean islands offer the chance to have fun with these amazing creatures - the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and Jamaica being the favourites. Let the dolphin tow you using their dorsal fin and perform tricks for you.
Number 6: Exploring the Forest
A Caribbean holiday is not just great for water-based activities. There are plenty of highlights on land too! The Caribbean is home to many spectacular forests full of exciting animal and plant life. Explore with a hiking tour through a cloud forest in Puerto Rico, or zip-wire through the forest canopy of St. Lucia for spectacular views. Now I bet you didn't think about forest walks when you first thought of the Caribbean!
Number 7: Reggae in Jamaica
Reggae is the heartbeat of Jamaica, so make sure your trip to the Caribbean includes a journey into this famous musical culture. To get a real flavour of the tradition behind the music, treat yourself to the Bob Marley Experience. You'll learn all about the Rastafarian religion as well as visiting Bob Marley's birthplace and final resting place. Add that little bit of spiciness to your travels.
Number 8: Trinidad Carnival
Most Caribbean islands enjoy a celebration or two but perhaps the most famous festivities occur on Trinidad, which attracts people from all over the world to come and get into the party spirit. Join the carnival swing with masks, dancing and of course plenty of food and drink!
Number 9: Bacardi Rum Distillery
Rum is as much part of the Caribbean's staple diet as jerk chicken - so the world's largest rum distillery is a must-see. Take a guided tour of Bacardi and sample the most authentic Caribbean rum you'll ever taste, then buy some to take home with you. While you're there, take a trip around Old San Juan, the second oldest city in the New World, where the distillery is situated.
Number 10: Traditional Plantations
For our final top 'must-do' in the Caribbean, we have something that you won't find in Britain. No trip to the Caribbean is complete without a visit to a traditional plantation house, lovingly restored to all its former glory. Enjoy an afternoon of English tea and step back in time to get a taste of life back in the 18th and 19th centuries. Anguilla's Wallblake House is one of the few plantation houses where the whole complex has survived virtually intact.
Now there's 10 of the very best reasons to make your holiday that little bit more spicy, that little bit more exotic and that little bit more special. The Caribbean just won't disappoint on any level and will certainly put a smile on your face as well as a dance in your step.
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