Ah, the Caribbean. Some say ‘east’ costs least, others claim that ‘west’ is best. But, whichever way you head out into that balmy spread of sun kissed, indolent little idylls, there are some excursions on Caribbean cruises that really show you the charm, mystique and sheer exuberance of those ‘islands in the sun’ like no other. Here’s five of my favourites for you to consider. Note that most cruise lines will offer these tours, or some variant of them.
A shore thing – 5 recommended Caribbean shore excursions
FULL ISLAND TOUR of ST LUCIA
This takes you round what many consider the most scenic of all the Caribben islands. Drive into Soufriere, the crater of an extinct, bubbling volcano with warm- and pungent- sulphur springs. The botanical gardens are a full on riot of sound and colour, and the views down from the winding coastal roads to the sparkling Caribbean are unforgettable. Here, the stunning twin Pitons are the Caribbean’s most instantly recognised landmark.
STINGRAY CITY in GRAND CAYMAN
This allows you to get in the water and up close and personal with these beguiling, graceful ocean acrobats in a safe environment. Worth doing just for the underwater views alone in one of the undisputed, platinum chip diving capitals of the world.
ATLANTIS SUBMARINE in ANTIGUA
Painted bright yellow for your amusement. This is a small submersible with huge viewing ports. Descend one hundred and thirty feet and gaze in amazement as you circle a sunken steamship, as well as the carcass of a deliberately entombed passenger aircraft. Here, you and the fish can stare each other out in water that has amazing clarity. Definitely one for the story books.
4 X 4 JEEP SAFARI in TORTOLA
Make a date with Taz, Scooby Doo or Miss Piggy. Any of these quaintly named 4 x 4s will take you on an exhilarating, bone shaking, off road adventure through one of the Caribbean’s more mountainous gems. After all that high adrenaline fun, cool down in a hammock on stunning Cane Garden Beach and treat yourself to a Daiquiri. Relax. You’ve earned it.
MAYAN RUINS in COZUMEL
Get away from the sales traps of downtown and go back literally hundreds of years. The stunning step pyramid is an amazing sight as you emerge from the jungle. It forms the centre piece of an entire city that was once sacred to the Mayans. Part history lesson, part blood curdling, and totally awe inspiring.
Words by Anthony Nicholas for The Cruise Line. Copyright 2013.
If you have any Caribbean shore excursions you’d like to recommend, please leave your suggestions in the comments box below!