Here are some highlights.
Beauty extends beyond the beaches of St. Thomas as you step into Zen-like 2.5-acre gardens (boasting 17 incredible orchid varieties) at St. Peter Greathouse, a shining example of West Indian architecture with photo ops from 1,200 feet. When you savor local Caribbean cuisine, you’ll discover a fusion of flavors in one bite: try West African-influenced kallaloo (a spinach, okra and seafood stew) and Native American inspired johnnycakes, a tasty unleavened fry bread.
Get to know the Garifunas people of Roatán who have held onto their traditions, culture and language to this day. Step into a living history village to experience a lively performance of music and dance, and explore an authentic Garifuna hut to see typical cuisine being prepared. If you’re intrigued by Roatán’s famous handcrafted cameos, learn how they’re carved from corals and shells at Cameo Castle and select a keepsake to bring home your own piece of the island.
Delve into island history when you explore Romney Manor, St. Kitts’ oldest sugar plantation, once owned by a descendant of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. Today, this site pays homage to Caribbean traditions through its gardens, filled with tropical flowers, and the fascinating Caribelle Batik workshop — be sure to browse among the brilliantly patterned textiles designed with the traditional Indonesian-inspired batik technique.
Imagine driving into a volcano! La Soufriere is a natural wonder filled with bubbling pools of mud and steaming springs. On a guided excursion, you’ll marvel over this volcanic landscape and then stand on what was once a battleground for St. Lucia’s colonization during the 18th century at Morne Fortune.
Soak up culture and spirituality at Mount St. Benedict’s Monastery, an authentic home of Benedictine monks that’s nestled in a lush mountain setting. In this tranquil retreat, you’ll explore an art gallery, church and a café that serves just-out-of the-oven bread with coffee and tea. Take time for a contemplative stroll through the 61-acre Royal Botanic Gardens, one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens, established in 1818.
Aruba and Curaçao
Dutch-Caribbean culture is on full display in Curaçao, an island located just 40 miles from Venezuela. You’ll see a burst of wild pastels in the UNESCO-listed row-houses lining Willemstad’s St. Anna Bay. In Aruba, Oranjestad’s eclectic dining and architecture tap into the island’s Latin and Dutch heritage. Don’t forget to sample pastechi (flaky stuffed turnovers) at Coco Plum! And if time permits, stray from the shore to see the desert on these arid islands.
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