With all the choices traveling to the Caribbean creates, sometimes knowing what you want to see ahead of time makes the decision easier. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 favorite points of interest throughout the islands; enjoy part one and stay tuned for part two!
Coral World Ocean Park, St. Thomas. Unlike other ocean parks, Coral World gives visitors the option to see the sea from a safe, dry distance, or to get up close and personal with its underwater inhabitants. With hands-on, one-of-a-kind experiences like the Sea Lion Swim and Shark Shallows, you have the rare opportunity to be one-on-one with the animals of the sea. And for those scuba diver-wannabes, Coral World has its unique Sea Trek helmet diving excursion, allowing non-divers to get the diving experience without the commotion of traditional diving equipment. Or, for those who want to keep from stripping down to their bathing suits, Coral World’s Undersea Observatory gives guests a chance to get 15 feet underwater while staying dry. A fun-for-the-whole-family-type experience, a day trip to Coral World guarantees fun and adventure, with even a touch of education thrown in.
"California Dunes" at Hudishibana, Aruba. Named for the offshore wreck of the ship “California,” the sand dunes often surprise first-time visitors of the desert-like island. Unlike the rest of the Caribbean, Aruba’s landscape is filled with cacti, aloe and the Divi Divi tree the island is easily recognized by. Though driving over the dunes is prohibited, exploration on foot is enough to get a scope of how vast the dunes are.
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, Bermuda. For a panoramic view of Bermuda and its shorelines, the balcony at the top of Gibbs Hill Lighthouse is the best place go. Built in 1846, Gibbs Hill is the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world, and still operates today, offering a back-up plan to modern shoreline navigation systems, like GPS. At 117 feet tall, with 185 steps to the top, the lighthouse is no easy feat to climb. But the view from the top makes it worth it. Learn more about Bermuda’s history, or just enjoy the beauty the lighthouse has to offer. Either way, this is one landmark you can’t miss.
The Caicos Conch Farm, Turks & Caicos. The only commercial conch farm in the world, the Caicos Conch Farm rests on the shores of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. The farm aims to ease fishing pressure on wild stocks of conch by developing conchs from egg to maturity specifically for consumption, and is open to the public. Guests can visit the farm and learn about the life cycle of the marine snails, witnessing their growth in various phases of development. Fresh conch can be purchased for consumption, and visitors can see conch pearls and even meet the farm’s resident trained conchs. The farm has a small admission fee, but it goes toward further advancement, and founder Chuck Hesse and his crew provide a great show in return. As the only place in the world where you can get an up-close and personal experience learning about conchs, the conch farm is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Boatswain’s Beach Turtle Farm, Cayman Islands. What started as a small turtle farm has evolved into a world-class marine park. Combining research, education, preservation and entertainment, Boatswain’s Beach is the most comprehensive marine operation to date that showcases the Green Sea Turtle. The park encompasses much more though, giving guests the chance to interact with native marine life, including many types of fishes, sharks and, of course, turtles. With many hands-on activities and a plethora of knowledge to gain, Boatswain’s is unlike any marine park in the Caribbean.