The Very Best of the Caribbean
|If you disagree, or would like to add another category, please contact me.
This short roundup first appeared in Caribbean Travel & Life Magazine after a brainstorming session with the editors. Here's what we all came up with, and what I wrote.
Best View: The Pitons, St. Lucia
Almost a half-mile high, Gros Piton and Petit Piton on St. Lucia's southeast coast near Soufriere are unmistakable reminders of the island's volcanic origins. They were formed by eruptions some 30 to 40 million years ago. The most asked question about the cones: Can you climb them? A definite yes, though Gros Piton is easier because its sides aren't as sheer. Plan on 3-4 grueling hours in hot sun to reach the summit. Take a guide who knows the trail. Not a good place to get lost.
Best Undiscovered Island: Anguilla
Still mostly undeveloped and unspoiled, tiny Anguilla has 30 knockout beaches, particularly 2-mile long Shoal Bay Beach (click for photo). Snorkel there in solitude, then wrap up in a beach towel for a lunch of barbecue chicken or crayfish at Uncle Ernie's beach bar located just yards from the surf. At night, be pampered in outstanding resorts like Cap Juluca and Malliouhana.
Best All-around Island: St. John
Because most of it is still natural and intact. With two-thirds of it safeguarded by the National Park Service, St. John is a mountain of green forest surrounded by legendary beaches at Trunk, Cinnamon and Maho Bays. Almost two-dozen designated hiking trails explore the highlands and seashores, while the Trunk Bay snorkel trail provides a self-guided tour of the marine world. Because of its largely protected status, St. John feels like it's caught in a 1960s time warp. It's a feeling visitors delight in.
Best Eco-Resort: Cinnamon Bay, St. John
At Cinnamon Bay, the heavily foliaged tents and cottages are all within a 2-minute walk of the beach, St. John's longest. It is administered by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, which also operates posh Caneel Bay Resort nearby. Cinnamon Bay is like a small village, providing a message center, safe deposit boxes, a general store, a snack bar and T'Ree Lizards Restaurant, a good spot for barbecue. The watersports center rents windsurfing boards, sea kayaks and sailboats. In season, the National Park Service offers evening programs.
Small Resort: Little Dix Bay,