- Terre de Haut – Guadeloupe
- Lower Oranjestad – Sint Eustatius
Speaking about the Caribbean islands one would instantly think of popular summer destinations like the Dominican Republic or the Bahamas. The obvious reasons are its luxurious hotels kitted out with some premium amenities such as casinos (such as one in Nassau in the Bahamas), a wide range of restaurants, and many inviting pools. But those who wish to explore the authentic side of the Caribbeans, think-typical cuisine, mingle with the locals or visit attractions to learn about the history of the place. While the Caribbeans offer limpid waters and balmy weather few are thankfully not tainted by commercialism. These places offer secluded beaches and a sense of serenity. Looking to escape the crowds? Then here are the most underrated Caribbean destinations to visit.
Davy Hill – Montserrat
The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Montserrat offers both the lush green scenery of its northern region and the Pompeii-like gray southern part. It’s no wonder why visitors come here to cherish its natural beauty, think black sandy beaches of the Woodlands or Bay beach. But perhaps some are very curious to see its southern part, where the notorious Soufriere Hills volcano erupted in 1995 and consequently buried the surrounding areas. Now, these areas are in an exclusion zone, including some of the hilltops that offer a panoramic lunar scape. One can explore the place only with an approved guide.
Head to the northern side of the island and see how the landscape changes dramatically. For instance, the secluded Rendezvous Bay is a place where one can relax and switch off. This off-the-beaten attraction is the island’s only stretch of glorious white beach, towering verdant cliffs, and wildlife including bats. And within a ten-minute drive from here, reach the town of Davy Hill to find conveniences such as accommodation, local restaurants, and shops.
- Recommended Place To Visit: Soufriere Hills Volcano
Tucked on the western side of the butterfly-shaped archipelago, Basse Terre is the most peaceful and underrated part of Guadeloupe. This French town was once inhabited by the American Indians, who were mostly horticulturists and potters. The eastern side of Basse Terre is endowed with green landscapes studded with mountain ranges. On the southern end of the island lies the breathtaking La Grande Soufriere active volcano. Take the challenging 4.3-mile loop trail to reach the summit and bask in the remarkable view of Grande Terre, the other part of Guadeloupe, and the neighboring islands of Saintes and Dominica.
Visitors looking for a decent location to relax can consider the small coastal town of Basse Terre which has laid-back guesthouses and swanky villas overlooking the blue sea. Surf enthusiasts can get their dose of adrenaline rush by chasing the rolling waves at Grand-Anse beach.
While history buffs might want to take a meandering tour through the verdant sugarcane fields to reach the Bologne Distillery, which is about half an hour drive from the Grand Anse beach. Here, one will be able to take an informative guided tour and learn about the heritage of the sugarcane plantation in the area. And to top it off, visitors will get to sample local rum.
- Recommended Place To Visit: Bologne Distillery (Basse Terre)
- Address: Basse-Terre 97100, Guadeloupe
- Cost: About $8 for an hour’s tour, including a rum tasting
Terre de Haut – Guadeloupe
Right from Basse Terre one can take a ferry to the small village of Trois Riviere and head south to the pristine Les Saintes archipelago, where picturesque bays, sandy beaches, and translucent water await. This low-key beach getaway abounds with vibrant Creole houses, and bistros such as La Salako Chez Z’amour, where one can splurge on the local Creole cuisine, and think – typical seafood dishes and the Saintoise dessert Tourment d’Amour whip up with coconut or banana fillings.
Looking for a little adventure? Then enjoy picnicking at the nearby Bay de Pompierre dotted with amenities such as tables and benches. Simply relish the scrumptious meal with a gorgeous view of the beach. For a more secluded setting check out Les Saintes Bay to unwind. Listed among the most beautiful bays in the world by UNESCO, Les Saintes Bay offers plenty of snorkeling and diving opportunities.
- Recommended Restaurant: Salako Chez Z’amour
- Address: 56 Route de Pompierre Guadeloupe
Tucked in the south of the Caribbean, Bonaire doesn’t cease to surprise travelers. From its picturesque pink watered salt pans contrasting with the turquoise blue sea to the majestic Washington Slagbaai National Park bestowed with rich flora and fauna, this tiny island is a true nature’s paradise. The Dutch Island of Bonaire offers adventure-seekers unique opportunities to connect with nature through hiking the dense forests or kayaking the lush sanctuary of Lac Bay. The mangrove forest is one of the best-preserved sites in the region.
But if one prefers the more relaxing side with luxurious convenience at the fingertips then check out the upscale Sabadeco situated on the coastal side of Bonaire’s capital Kralendijk. This luxurious area is packed with swanky dwellings offering a stunning ocean view.
Lower Oranjestad – Sint Eustatius
Once a prosperous trading port, Sint Eustatius or Statia was a strategic place back in the colonial period. It was conquered many times by colonial powers such as the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch. Today thanks to its turquoise water and green sanctuaries like Quill National Park, the island serves as a true haven for those seeking to rejuvenate and experience peace.
Culture-wise, Sint Eustatius has a small population composed of different ethnicities. Experience the local culture by staying in the Lower Town of the island’s capital Oranjestad. Stroll along the streets and find people speaking in English or in Papiamento (local dialect). Consider visiting the chilled-out Boardwalk Café located close to the harbor, where one can tuck in the delicious taco salad, pizza or quesadillas right under a white tent. The best time to visit is a Friday night to enjoy live entertainment and to mingle with the locals.
- Recommended Place To Visit: Quill National Park
- Address: F2HQ+2VV, Oranjestad, Caribbean Netherlands
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