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Sunshine, beaches, rum and music: a heady combination that characterises the Caribbean and all its good-time, fun-loving feeling. The idyllic islands offer escapism and relaxation in spades. You can spend hours unwinding on spectacular beaches, pottering around local markets in search of conch and cocktails and exploring the lush green landscapes. Each of its many islands has a unique character, offering a variation in culture, food, activities and weather;there's a definitive vibe that's unique to each island, with joyous exuberance a common theme running from The Bahamas all the way down to Trinidad and Tobago. This makes island hopping all the more fun.
The Caribbean has long been associated with cruising;the short distance between islands and the sheer amount of places to dock lends the sunny island chain to a successful cruise holiday. From the fun-time atmosphere of Antigua, where you can recline on one of a seemingly limitless choice of beaches in the day (one for every day of the year -apparently) before enjoying music and jerk chicken at Shirley Heights at night, to the unspoilt beach haven of Saint Lucia and the glamorous St. Barths, there's a side to the Caribbean everyone can enjoy. It's quirky too: where else can you swim with pigs or stingrays, visit a former Swedish colony in the sun, or sample a hundred different kinds of rum. We'd recommend not trying them all at once.
The Caribbean with A&K
The Caribbean? Translucent shallows, powder beaches and spicy al fresco seafood, with a reggae backbeat. The honeymoon hotspot has many flattering stereotypes - nearly all well deserved - but the happy fact is that each gorgeous island has its own unique personality, landscape and flavour.
To pick the right one, you need an operator with longstanding experience of their individual charms, someone with encyclopaedic knowledge of the boutique hotels, laid back guesthouses, villa rentals and sophisticated resorts.
A&K uses the best, most passionate guides from local specialists to historians, naturalists and diving, sailing and sports fishing experts. We can arrange seamless travel across the region, find you the best deals and, thanks to well-established contacts, provide access to people and experiences off the radar of ordinary tourists.
Take an Abercrombie & Kent Caribbean holiday in 2016, 2017 and you have myriad options. Antigua, boasting 365 beaches - we think there's a little poetic license here - and fascinating colonial architecture, is a water sports heaven, particularly sailing with its world famous April regatta.
There are the exclusive hotels and chic restaurants of Barbados, a winter bolthole for A-list celebrities. Kissed by Atlantic and Caribbean waters, it also oozes local charm with brightly coloured villages dotted among the sugar cane, and a hotspot for polo, horse racing, and naturally, given it's the home of Gordon Greenidge, cricket.
Alternatively you could ferry-hop between some of the 60 British Virgin Islands which blend sun-bleached white beaches - shades are a necessity not a fashion statement - with superb diving and sophisticated hideaways. For more choice, there are the Bahamas, whose 700 islands juxtapose the glitz and casinos of New Providence with the unsullied, undeveloped Out Islands.
And you're only just starting. There's Cuba's beguiling mix of salsa, Hemmingway and Che, with elegantly decaying Havana, lovely colonial towns and a spectacularly diverse interior. Or there's the beautiful reggae capital of Jamaica, crossed by the Blue Mountains, home to rivers, waterfalls and 3,000 species of tropical plant. Elsewhere lush St Lucia effortlessly fuses French and English heritage beneath the distinctive twin peaks of the Pitons, while charming Nevis is a reminder of the Caribbean as it used to be.
You'll find sophisticated St Barths, verdant flower-strewn Grenada and Anguilla's heavenly beaches. That's an awful lot of choice, and with A&K, it's all possible.
Below are some of our suggested places to stay:
Our Islands & Retreats team are experts in designing the perfect holiday to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of our hotels and resorts featured in our portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout the region, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.
Read about our lastest experiences in our Travel Blog pages.
To find out more about our Islands and Retreats team, click on the consultant links below or call them on 01242 547 708 or enquire online
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Our recent awards
We particularly appreciated the friendly staff, who got the professional/casual balance just right; the magnificent breakfast spread; the wafts of frankincense; the sunsets; the sheer relaxation provided by the spa; the library; the open fire; the gym that made room for breakfast and, not least, the alcohol licence!
- JD, London