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Take 3 Authentic Caribbean Holidays

Top beach hotels with a real island feel

Sun, sea and sand... check! If you want to ‘fly and flop’ then this is the destination for you. But there’s so much more to a holiday in the Caribbean than just a place to chill on the beach. 
Each island is home to a culture that’s uniquely its own, offering visitors delicious dishes, stunning landscapes and beautiful traditions to add authenticity to a Caribbean holiday that’s different on every island.  
Looking for inspiration? Here are our Been & Seen top three destinations for an authentic Caribbean holiday: 
The ‘Spice Isle’ is a peaceful Caribbean Island to experience a luxury holiday with added authenticity. Aside from the white sand beaches and clear waters, there’s rainforests scattered with waterfalls and home to incredible wildlife nestled alongside nutmeg and cocoa plantations. There’s rum shacks serving the island’s famous tipple and pretty harbours to explore that boast a fascinating maritime history.  
Here the 5-star Mount Cinnamon hotel has gone to great lengths to ensure guests feel immersed in island life and go home with a genuine experience of Grenadian life. The owners have a strong sense of conservation too, protecting the hotel’s natural environment through recycling, energy efficient practices and growing their own produce; all of which has led to it being named a Green Globe Certified resort.  
Pack for a Purpose is another initiative the hotel supports, where guests are encouraged to bring a few supplies in their suitcase to donate to children at a local school.  
So, if you’re staying at Mount Cinnamon with Travel Seen, here’s our Been & Seen checklist of must-see sights on Grenada:  
Experience the epic Grand Anse Bay – wander along the beach, paddleboard on the surface or jump right in for a snorkel amongst tropical fish.  
Divers should make time to explore one of the island’s many underwater sites including top-class wrecks and the world’s first underwater sculpture park. 
Staying November to May? Ask your Concierge to book a whale watching trip. 
A walking tour through the island’s National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and rainforests will uncover all manner of natural wonders. 
The inland waterways make for a glorious day out too, from hot springs and crater lakes to river tubing and waterfalls with natural bathing pools.  
St Lucia  
Iconic St Lucia is often the island that comes first to mind when people think of the Caribbean, its majestic twin peak Pitons rising up out of the clear blue waters covered in rainforest and blanketed in sunshine.  
To enjoy these views from a vantage point unlike any other we recommend a stay at the romantic Jade Mountain where each suite has its fourth wall open to the vistas of Caribbean Sea and Piti and Gros Piton mountains. What’s more, attention has been paid to ensure each guest enjoys the St Lucia experience in every detail, such as the organic produce grown on the estate and used in the restaurant, and the island picked elements used in the spa treatments.  
There’s plenty around the resort’s 600 acres to add that authentic feel of St Lucia too, from bird watching in the tropical gardens to snorkelling in one its coral reefs, and you can even take a Behind the Scenes tour to learn more about Jade Mountain’s sustainability efforts.  
Travel Seen’s top pick of St Lucia activities include: 
  • Taking a journey through the world’s only drive-in volcano at Sulphur Springs, where you can have a dip in the mineral-rich waters before heading on to the Emerald Estate for a wander around the fruit and vegetable gardens. Chocolate tours of the estate can be arranged too!  
  • Spot parrots and take a refreshing swim in a natural pool on the Enbas Saut Waterfall trail, trekking through cloud forest and rainforest in one of the island’s most beautiful corners.  
  • Through December to March, you’ll likely spot sperm whales amongst other marine mammals on a dolphin and whale watching catamaran tour.  
  • We love the Rhythm of Rum Tour, taking you on a historical journey of St Lucia’s famous alcoholic export, including a distillery tour and tasting.  
  • If you’ve got the energy and are an experienced hiker, the views from the top of the Pitons won’t disappoint and give a unique opportunity to climb a World Heritage Site.  
Antigua in the Leeward Islands is a Caribbean holiday destination of year-round appeal thanks to its sunshine and 365 beaches.  
Here the Creole cooking, colourful coastal towns and canopy tours through the trees offer a real sense of place that is demonstrably Antiguan. 
One resort to have gone out of its way to ensure guests get a real flavour for island life during their stay is Hermitage Bay. Built to blend into its setting using sustainable materials, owner Andy Thesen has gone to great lengths to create an unspoilt piece of paradise at Hermitage Bay, which celebrates Antigua and consciously works hard to protect its environment.  
Guests are encouraged to experience the best of Antigua, perhaps with a cooking demonstration using locally sourced produce, going on a tour of a nearby historic site or taking a sailing trip around the island to view it from a waterside perspective.  
As one of the Caribbean’s best-loved all-inclusive resorts, the Hermitage Bay menus also encourage an authentic taste of the island, with home-grown organic ingredients from the kitchen garden and evening meals accompanied by a steel drum band. 
If you’re heading to Antigua for a Caribbean holiday, these are our Been & Seen top picks:  
  • Stop off in English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard for an enthralling look into the island’s maritime history.  
  • Thrill-seekers can fly through the trees on a rainforest zipline canopy tour.  
  • Wildlife spot on Great Bird Island – a tiny, protected isle just 3km off the coast of Antigua.  
  • One of the island’s favourite views is from Shirley Heights, which is best visited on a Sunday when you can sample the traditional fish-fry and listen to live music.  
For more travel inspiration, follow our social pages on Instagram and Facebook where you’ll get daily posts of the hottest travel spots and deals, all Been & Seen by those in the know.