The Caribbean Is a Wintertime Playground

There is one beach for every day of the year.
The Caribbean Is a Wintertime Playground

With Old Man Winter’s arrival and the accompanying cold winds, you might be thinking of how to escape the snow and frigid temperatures that will descend upon much of the country. Or perhaps you are just in the mood for an inviting sun and sand vacation. It’s time to begin checking out the inviting islands that beckon visitors to the Caribbean Sea. Spending time on the sand or in the crystal-clear aquamarine water that surrounds the islands is why most people come here, and it’s never a bad choice.

The two-island country of Antigua and Barbuda has 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. Most of them line the calm, protected waters of the islands’ Caribbean sides. While some locals are reluctant to divulge their favorites, among those they prefer on Antigua are Ffryes Bay and Darkwood Beach, located on the hilly southwest corner of the island, and Long Bay, which is protected by a reef. So are many of Barbuda’s long pink and white sand beaches, including those on the southwestern shore, some of which stretch as long as 10 miles without interruption.

The pink sand beaches of Barbuda welcome visitors who want to get away from winter's cold. (Alexander Shalamov/Dreamstime)
The pink sand beaches of Barbuda welcome visitors who want to get away from winter's cold. (Alexander Shalamov/Dreamstime)

Many active folks who like to surf head for Apple Bay on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. It overlooks some of the best riding waves in the Caribbean. Fisherman’s Hut Beach on Aruba is one of the best windsurfing locations in the world.

Those who prefer to fish in the inviting Caribbean waters, however, also are in for a treat. The merging Caribbean and northern equatorial currents offshore of Fajardo, Puerto Rico, are home to a wide range of game fish. Blue marlin, wahoo, and yellowfin and blackfin tuna are but a few of the many species that are plentiful there.

Barrier reefs off some secluded Turks and Caicos Islands provide a welcoming habitat for snapper, grouper, and bonefish. Hard-to-hook bonefish are the primary prey for anglers in the Bahamas.

People who would rather skim over the water than fish in it find a sailor’s paradise in the Caribbean. Islands, cays, and reefs await exploration, many lined by inviting beaches and dotted by picturesque harbors.

It's possible to combine two Caribbean island pleasures by fishing from a paddleboard. (Allnaturalbeth/Dreamstime)
It's possible to combine two Caribbean island pleasures by fishing from a paddleboard. (Allnaturalbeth/Dreamstime)

The twin harbors of Antigua provide docking space for luxurious mega-yachts, square-rigged schooners, and many other vessels. That collection of craft underscores the island’s claim to be the yachting center of the West Indies. Charter boats are available for lease by those who don’t have their own. Antigua hosts an annual Sailing Week, when yachts from around the world convene and compete.

Taking to the sea to watch for whales is another popular pastime for visitors to the Caribbean islands. Warm weather, clear water, and an abundance of food combine to make this one of the best whale-watching destinations anywhere. Humpback whales migrate from northern climes to breed and give birth in protected waters near the Dominican Republic. An estimated 200-plus sperm whales live year-round in sea depths surrounding Dominica.

For sheer variety nothing beats Guadeloupe, which is surrounded by a virtual who’s who of Caribbean whales. They often include pilot, melon-headed and rare Antilles beaked whales, among others.

This diversity of diversions doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. For adventure-seekers, the Caribbean islands offer kite-surfing, caving, canyoning, zip-lining through treetops and parasailing behind and above a speedboat as well as a list of other sometimes challenging, sometimes heart-stopping adventures.

Other experiences include strolling through lush tropical gardens, checking out art museums, rocking to the beat of reggae music, and delving into the fascinating history and culture of each island. Their heritage legacies include English, French, Spanish, and Dutch backgrounds, and the melding of European traditions with the melting pot of civilizations and mores of people from around the world combines to create a fascinating melange.

Reggae performers entertain visitors to the Caribbean islands. (Bunyos/Dreamstime)
Reggae performers entertain visitors to the Caribbean islands. (Bunyos/Dreamstime)
Whether you’re seeking sunbathing or sailing, adventure or art appreciation, fishing, whale-watching, or immersion in the local culture and color, one or more Caribbean islands may meet your interests and provide a full menu of inviting alternatives. The challenge may be selecting a destination when there are so many from which to choose.

When You Go

The Caribbean Tourism Organization, headquartered in Barbados, is the region’s tourism development agency, comprising membership of 24 countries and territories, including Dutch, English, French, and Spanish. It promotes the Caribbean as a year-round warm-weather destination with a goal of sustainable tourism. For more information:
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Victor Block is a freelance writer. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at COPYRIGHT 2022 CREATORS.COM
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