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August 13, 2015

10 tips for enjoying a Caribbean vacation

So it's been a busy week and I just haven't been able to get a post up since my pre-written Monday's post. Here I am though ... here I am. With some Caribbean goodness.

I'm from the Caribbean and I love Caribbean vacations. I promised to give some Caribbean vacation tips a while back and I thought, not only should I make it a one time thing but I should write more about the Caribbean in general - not too much but ever so often. Its a beautiful place to live and be. One of the beautiful things about living in the Caribbean is the fact that every island feels and looks different so you can truly hop from one to another and think that you've entered an entirely different part of the world.

Being honest, my island isn't a typical "vacation" island. Its an oil producing country so the waters aren't blue and clear - like at all. Also, because of the oil and all of the local and foreign oil and gas companies and the investors that grace our shores, we have a lot of business, busy-ness and bustle here, so it feels very hectic - not at all as relaxed - as other islands. So when I want a vacation, like you, I need to hop over to another island. I've been to Grenada, Barbados, St Lucia, Tobago, and Jamaica. I've learned a thing or two about taking a Caribbean vacation so I thought I'd share.

How to enjoy a Caribbean vacation

1. Stay in a good location - Location is everything when taking a Caribbean vacation. Remember people actually live on these islands, so even the most tourist isle would have "non-vacation" like spots. Stay in locations near the ocean and towns to get a real tourist experience. These locations are obviously more expensive but they are totally worth it. On the other side of that coin, if you want to save a few bucks then go ahead and stay in a location a little further away from typical tourist spots. Either way location is key. 

2. Book an all inclusive resort - One of the fantastic things about most Caribbean isles are that they offer fantastic all inclusive deals. St. Marteen and St Lucia has some fabulous all inclusive hotels and so does Jamaica. Places like Barbados have breakfast inclusive hotels as well, so while not the full all inclusive experience, you do get something. If you're looking to just have a vacation without thinking about all the extras, then book an all inclusive hotel. Thank me later.

3. Rent a beach house - In total contradiction to the one above, how about renting a beach house and letting your vacation do the talking for you. In my opinion, those who rent all inclusive resorts, while it is good, rarely leave their hotels. When you rent a beach house however - there is so much more opportunity to explore. 

4. Look up tours - Tour the islands. Don't just sit there. I love exploring the islands. Each is so unique and has sooooo much more than just beaches. If you're in Jamaica hit up Port Royal and learn about the earthquake that sank part of Jamaica; If you're in Barbados visit the Harrison Caves; In St. Lucia? - learn about the Soufriere, one of the only active Volcanoes in the Caribbean. If you're in Trinidad hit me up and Ill take you down the islands (we have some islands off our coast) - we have sooooo much more than beaches here. 

5. If you cant find a tour RENT A CAR - I cannot scream this enough. Please don't sit inside a hotel all day. Get a map, rent a car and drive. I have literally driven around Barbados hundreds of times (I lived there for two years) with just a map - you can too. 

6. Do activities - Jet Ski, Zipline, fish, snorkel with fishes, paddle board. Don't just sit under an umbrella. 

7. Go to a local party - I genuinely think one of the key things to enjoying a Caribbean vacation is heading out and partying with locals. You will not regret it. 

8. Try some local cuisine - This one is super important to me. When I'm in Europe, I try European food, in Australia, I try Aussie dishes; In India - I ate curry till I was all curried out. I even had curried pizza. I think its good to experience some of the culture through food.

9. Relax - As much as I said you need to get out and do things, please don't let it all overwhelm you, relax and enjoy it all. Its a beautiful place. 

10. Be open minded - I might step on some toes here but here goes. Please remember that while life may look a little different to yours, its sometimes not all that different at all. So remember a few things: Not all locals want to steal from you or use you -  some are genuinely just that friendly; Also - and let me jump on my soap box here for a moment because this is a real pet peeve - please remember that the illiteracy rate in the Caribbean is extremely low - What do I mean by this? - You don't have to treat locals - those selling their products or tour guides or whoever - like they are stupid - they're not. You respect them, they respect you. Everyone has a great time. Embrace the culture, embrace the experience, embrace the adventure and enjoy it.

That's it!! Tips for enjoying a Caribbean vacation a la Kay! You're welcome :D

Would you consider a Caribbean vacay? 

Have a great Thursday guys!

Add your comment

  1. Of course I'm going to take all your tips when we plan our next island adventure! xo, Biana

  2. Excellent and true.
    For me it depends on what I'm wanting out f my holiday. For rest and a good pampering, all inclusive hotels are great. When I want an adventure, I love a cabin or bed and breakfast off the beaten track for some glorious ecotourism - hikes, flora and fauna, sparkling rivers and secluded waterfalls. Green and fresh. The tourists that find these places get the most out of their island experience imho. Loved this post!

    1. Agreed. I think there's a time for adventure and a time for relaxation and it all depends on what you want! :)

  3. Great tips, especially sampling the local cuisine - that's one of my favorite parts of any vacation!

  4. I didn't know that you're from the Caribbean! Cool!

  5. I'm kind of sad that you had to include that last part. I think that's what Americans are notorious for - going to other countries and then acting like everyone else is dumb if there's a communication issue. Totally agree with the activities and local cuisine! My boyfriend is more of a sit under the umbrella kind of person, so I'll save this for fuel when I'm trying to convince him that vacation activities should happen. :)

  6. This whole post makes me to hop on a plane right now!!!! And I agree with what Jenn said about how Americans can sometimes be real doucheholes when visiting other places. Even in our own country, people who vacation to other areas act like they are better or smart than the locals and it is a rather disgusting display.

  7. I'm going to have to pin this for future reference. I've never made it to the Caribbean besides to Haiti, but that was not for a vacation. Sometimes driving around a place is the best way to explore--I've found some hidden gems while lost in a foreign country!!

  8. Fabulous tips girlie! Some I wouldn't have thought of. We always rent a beach house with a group of friends when we go to Tobago and it works out cost effective and you have your own private space. OH and Curry pizza?

  9. in some places, booking a legit tour with legit operators are a MUST....like in JA - don't be going cheap and getting someone to take you around just because it's way cheaper - that's just pure stupid and dangerous! while i LOVE JA (my fam is from there), even they stay away from certain spots and always tell us to make sure we either go with them or legit tour operators.

  10. Oh how I love the Caribbean, and all inclusive is definitely the way to go! I love not worrying about the cost of food and drinks once I get to the location. Whenever we don't go all inclusive, it all adds up really quickly and ends up costing so much more when all is said and done :-P

  11. Such great tips! If I ever have the chance to go to the Caribbean I will definitely keep this in mind! I totally don't get someone talking down to the locals or having a condescending attitude! When I went to France with my college French class we felt like idiots because we barely spoke enough French to make any sense, but the people were SO nice and helped us out! Why go to a place with the mindset that you are better (so not true because we are all equal!) instead of going with a mindset of learning from the people who live there??

  12. so what you're saying is, when I come to the Caribbean, you will hop on a plane and meet me? lol.
    that last part though, that sucks girl. I'm sorry people are stupid, but I feel you.

  13. Such great tips! I love visiting the caribbean!
    melanie @ meandmr.com

  14. YES to not sitting around the hotel, all-inclusive and getting out in the local nightlife. #10 is a fantastic reminder, too :) Take me to the Caribbean and day!

  15. I would love to go the the Caribbean! I'm sure it's so beautiful in person. Trying local food is a must anywhere you go! I hope too many tourists aren't condescending to locals...I could totally understand that being a problem.

  16. I want to visit the Caribbean someday. Great tips. I'd love to try some local cuisine.

  17. Well of course I trust your tips wholly and completely. And oh my god, why am I currently not on a beach in the Caribbean?! Just the sight of that beach, that water, that white sand... sigh. Can I come visit you?? ;)

  18. It's been too long since I've been down that way! Wonderful tips, friend! And if you stepped on some toes w/ #10, so be it. We encounter stereotypes like that about where I'm from and it's sad and frustrating.


  19. Someday I'm going to make it to the Caribbean although I'm not a good traveler at all. It's sad you have to include number 10 at all.

  20. I absolutely loved my time in the Caribbean and can't wait to go back. It's so beautiful and amazing and calming.

  21. I totally want to make it out to the Caribbean. I would do all inclusive for sure and would love to go ziplining.

  22. Love all of these tips, especially the advice to get out and see things! I always stay at an all inclusive resort when I go to island bc let's be real, free booze and beach in the backyard :) but it's disappointing to realize how much of the city/island I don't see bc of that. Will keep in mind in future planning.
    Also, that last bit about respecting locals and not treating people badly - yas! Seriously, not everyone's obsessed with you and your possession lol

  23. Awesome guide and you're so right. There's lots more to do in the islands than just sit at an all exclusive hotel and jet ski. In fact, if that's all you do, the trip to the Caribbean could be to any other place. Visitors should definitely take the
    Opportunity to go out and explore the islands and learn the local something about the culture.

  24. I love the Caribbean! I second all-inclusive hotels. It's nice to pay one price and know all the money you bring on the trip is to get out and explore. Also, I agree to leave the damn resort!! I cannot believe how many people I know book all-inclusives so that they don't have to leave. Um, then you didn't really get to know the country...just the resort. Personally I prefer the non-tourist parts of town. I want to explore and visit to understand what life in that country would be like - instead of only visiting what the tourist department wants you to walk away with.


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