The Edit / 10 Top Secrets of the Caribbean

We asked islanders to share their local knowledge and give insider tips on the best beaches to visit, nature trails to wander and wildlife to look out for.

1. Making a splash

There are 33 enticing white beaches to choose from in Anguilla. During high season, Melissa Rosenfield, Director of Vibe and VIP services at Viceroy Anguilla, recommends her favourite places to enjoy a peaceful afternoon. "Shoal Bay West is upscale and perfect for afternoon walks or looking for shells," she says. "Crocus Bay is my other favourite when I'm seeking a little more activity. Next to Da Vida's restaurant is a great beach where you can rent kayaks by the hour. Make the 20-minute journey to Little Bay - a great place for jumping off the rocks or even to go ashore and splash around.

2. Live like a local

If you've ever wondered what an authentic Barbadian home looks like, a visit to the revamped The Fairmont Royal Pavilion will give you a good idea. The resort's Beachfront Junior Suites have been designed with the island's history and culture in mind. The hardwood floors, muted colour schemes and traditional furnishings echo a typical local home - albeit a much more luxurious interpretation.

 Fairmont Royal Pavilion beach

3. A wealth of wildlife

French territory St Barths has an abundance of wildlife living on its eight square miles of land. The sea is also an attraction for nature lovers; the island is situated on a coral plate and turtles, rays and baby nurse sharks are often seen in the water. From April to August female turtles will lay their eggs on the beach, although there's a chance to spot the creatures all year round - the best sites are the Colombier Nature Reserve or Marigot Bay. But visitors to Hotel Guanahani & Spa claim the sea creatures actually venture up to their suites. The trick? Leave hibiscus flowers lying around - turtles love to snack on them.

4. One to watch

Fans of luxury hotel company The Oetker Collection - who own Le Bristol in Paris and Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the south of France - will be pleased to hear the brand is coming to the Caribbean. The Hotel St Barth Isle de France is now part of the collection, and will undergo a renovation this autumn. 12 garden bungalows will be updated, along with public areas including the resort's signature restaurant overlooking Flamands Bay. The hotel group has a reputation for gourmet excellence, so expectations are high.


5. Monkey business

One of the smaller islands in the Caribbean, Nevis is allegedly home to more monkeys than people. Monkey-crossing signs line the roadsides, and from June to October vervet monkeys can often be seen stealing mangoes from trees. If you are having trouble finding them, join a daily 90-minute nature-themed walking tour organised by Four Seasons Resort Nevis. Starting every day at 4pm, a naturalist will guide guests through a plantation, pointing out flora and fauna along the way. The hotel also offers its guests viewing tours of the golf course, where the monkeys like to play.

6. A-list attraction

Days spent by the beach require little planning, but what do you do after dark on Nevis? Vanessa Paris from Four Seasons Resort Nevis recommends Sunshine's Bar on the three-mile Pinney's Beach. The open-air bar is a favourite with local and visiting celebrities and musicians, who come for the nightly bonfires and monthly full moon parties. Try the Killer Bee rum cocktail and fresh Caribbean lobster.

7. Sensational sea views

Waking up to the sound of the ocean is one of the pleasures of staying on a Caribbean island. To ensure you're really close to the action, reserve one of the new Beach Houses at Parrot Cay & COMO Shambhala Retreat, Turks and Caicos, launching in November. Nestled on sand dunes, the three two-bedroom properties have pools and outdoor showers along with a large decking area for soaking up those sea views.

8. Cooking with shells

Patient beachcombers may be lucky enough to find a pink-lipped conch shell on the shores of Harbour Island, but a sighting is guaranteed in the kitchens of the Pink Sands resort. These large marine snails are considered a delicacy and feature in many local dishes. Chef James Van Dyke offers cooking lessons where guests can learn how to create local Bahamian dishes along with the proper procedures for breaking down a conch. The prized dish, also known as hurricane ham, has a sweet clam-like flavour.

Pink Sands

9. In search of lobsters?

Lobsters are a delicacy on the Grenadines, but the best time of year to catch them is November when they're sweet and small. Anyone fanatical about the crustaceans should visit Petit St. Vincent's inaugural Lobster Festival, to be held in November. Guests will have the opportunity to go out on the PSV yacht to Tobago Cays, where they can dive and snorkel to watch fishermen pull up lobsters. In addition, restaurant menus will carry all manner of lobster dishes - for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Petit St Vincent

10. Fast track to paradise

Far away islands definitely have their allure, but the logistics of getting there can often prove stressful. A new flight route to Petit St. Vincent, however, will make this Grenadine island even easier to reach. Launching in November, the flight from Barbados to Union Island will be operated by Mustique Airways.


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