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Caribbean Outdoor Adventure

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Much more than warm tropical breezes and soft white sand beaches, some of the most appealing outdoor adventure awaits you in the Caribbean. Don’t depend on a short excursion from a cruise ship to experience what these Islands are all about, leave that to the beginners. Come experience the best adventures the Caribbean has to offer.

 

Aruba: Catch a Wave: With continuous headwinds, Aruba is a board head's paradise. With sugar white sand beaches and flat warm waters throughout the year, conditions are ideal for water sports. There are numerous reputable windsurfing shops, schools and an array of diversions away from the beach.

Barbados: Ride the Surf: Since Barbados is located far out into the Atlantic, swells have hundreds of miles to develop before crashing into the island's eastern side. Huge boulders litter the sand, and the sea splits into rows of pounding breakers, especially at a spot deemed "the Soup Bowl." The best surf is found in the winter months but early summer can bring flat waters for body surfing.

Dominican Republic: Get Wet: Although the coastal waters have plenty of temptations, the options get even better when you go inland, like diving at the fishing village of Bayahibe or rappelling down slick waterfalls or swinging through the air over the turbulent waters of the Yaque Norte. When you're ready to take to the water, this river is also home to some Class III rapids and plenty of untouched landscape that can only be viewed from the water.

Grand Cayman: Walk on the Wild Side: Grand Cayman's Mastic Trail serves up all forms of wildlife, lush forests of cedar, mahogany and palms along with lowlands dense with mangrove. Orchids and parrots burst with color, doves and woodpeckers hover overhead, snakes and lizards wander the footpaths through this sub-tropical forest.

Grenada: Hike the Jungle: "The Spice Island," is anything but bland for adventure hikers. A six hour hike from Grand Etang to Concord through the rainforest replete with birds, monkeys and exotic vegetation, then travelers are rewarded with a swim at Concord Waterfalls. Return to Grand Etang and take a five hour trek to Fedons Camp, tucked 2,500 feet above sea level in a misty rainforest. Atop Mount Qua, hikers follow the route from which Grenada's first revolutionaries began their overthrow.

Jamaica: Hike Through the Coffee Fields: Many hike the John Crow National Forest in the Blue Mountains. This hike goes through a rugged terrain of Coffee fields and is filled with sites to challenge adventure travelers of all types; hikers, birders, mountain bikers and more. Keep in mind that Jamaica is not the safest place to veer off the beaten path without a guide or some direction from a tour company.

Puerto Rico: Go Caving: Rmo Camuy Cave Park is the world's third largest underground river cave system. The usual gamut of subterranean sightseeing tours are offered, but you can also get doses of serious caving here. Parts of the caves can close during heavy rain season, July through November.

Puerto Rico: Take a Hike in El Yunque National Rain Forrest: Located in Puerto Rico's interior, the Caribbean National Forest covers 28,000 acres of mountainous rainforest terrain and is the only tropical rainforest habitat in the US Forrest system.

USVI St. John: Go Eco Tenting: The 11,560-acre Virgin Islands National Park encompasses the bulk of the island of St. John. With its miles of tropical growth, postcard-perfect beaches and colorful marine life, your ideal Caribbean vacation may include a palm shaded tent site overlooking the surf. We recommend that you opt for low season.

St. Kitts: Hike with Monkeys: A hike up Mt. Liamuiga, a dormant volcano, is well worth the trip and offers an occasional glimpse of the green verdant monkey. The mountain dominates the surrounding sugarcane fields and can be seen from anywhere on St. Kitts.

St. Lucia: Climb the Pitons: The Pitons are the defining signature photo of St. Lucia. The 2,620-foot Gros Piton and 2,460-foot Petit Piton soar straight up from the sea's edge and offer hiking opportunities that few dare to take. These volcanic peaks are for experienced climbers only. They aren't technical, but landslides are a constant danger and the going is very rugged.

St. Maarten: Race an American Cup Yacht: No other Caribbean destination gives you the chance to actually crew and race an America's Cup yacht; including the Stars and Stripes, the winner of the 1987 America's Cup.

Trinidad: Go On Safari: Trinidad has over 150 mammal and reptile species to explore. Head to the Asa Wright Nature Centre, a rainforest preserve located in Trinidad's Northern Range and part of the South American Andes. Exploring the preserve on foot, you'll tramp along woodland trails and spot exotic species by the score.

Turks and Caicos: Watch the Whales: From December through April, humpback whales migrate through Salt Cay and the Turks Island Passage on their way to the Mouchoir Bank about 30 miles to the southeast. The best view is up close and personal right in the water with the giant mammals. Can't make it during the winter months? These waters are home to the manta ray during the summer months and to dolphins during the winter months.

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