By Matthew Hampton
We’ve come a long way from climbing Dunn’s River Falls. The legendary Jamaican waterfall has seen more than a million visitors scale its slippery stone steps, holding hands in human chains and having plenty of fun along the way. But fighting through crowds and vendors is now tougher than climbing the falls themselves, so to appreciate the Caribbean’s true natural beauty, try a few of these new and old classics.
Light up kayaking, Anguilla
See water sports in a new light in Anguilla – quite literally. Liquid Glow is a night-time kayaking trip through the clear waters of Little Bay in an illuminated boat. The clear plastic kayaks are equipped with LEDs, which create an extraordinary rainbow effect in the water. There are day tours, too, but night-time is more spectacular. From £26; anguillakayak.com
Mystic Mountain Adventure, Jamaica
The rainforest above Ocho Rios is the setting for a network of zip-lines, chairlifts and a rollercoaster ride inspired by the Cool Runnings bobsled team. The coaster is powered by gravity alone, and riders control the speed with the brake (top tip – just leave it off for a more thrilling ride!). The complex has proven so popular that versions have opened in St Maarten, Costa Rica, St Lucia and Panama. From £86; rainforestadventure.com
Sculpture snorkelling, Grenada
Goggle at incredible underwater sculptures in Grenada’s Molinère-Beauséjour marine park. British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor created the installation in 2006 to great acclaim. The Calabash Boutique Hotel at L’Anse Aux Epines Beach has a new snorkelling or diving tour to see the concrete figures. Enjoy a four-night package from £615pp; calabashhotel.com/offers
Climbing Gros Piton, St Lucia
The larger of St Lucia’s iconic Piton mountains is actually easier to climb – and the only one you are allowed to without a specific permit and guide. It’s a rewarding hike through lush rainforest that anyone of reasonable fitness can manage given a bit of time. Climbers do not legally have to take a guide on Gros Piton, but you do need to pay the national park fee of around £10. grospiton.com
The Great Blue Hole, Belize
A genuine adventure for experienced divers, the Great Blue Hole is a 300m-wide sinkhole best reached with a charter from Belize City. Made famous by French ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s, it is effectively a 125m-deep vertical cave that attracts reef sharks and even a hammerhead or two, but mostly divers wishing to tick it off their bucket list. You will need to have logged at least 24 dives to get deep and see the stalagmites, but it is a real achievement when you do. Find a reputable dive master at scubaschoolbelize.com, and expect to pay from £300 with equipment rental.