I love to travel and I know many of you share this passion to explore the wider world. If you, or others you know are headed to this part of the world for a vacation in the future, there are important Dos and Don’ts when traveling to the Caribbean. From September 7, 2012 – November 23, 2012, I shared a bit of Caribbean travel advice with readers. Though I decided to discontinue, I’ve left the page intact for anyone who might need a little bit of help. Please continue to feel free to ask questions, or make your own observations in the comments section :).
1) In the right setting, try our accents. Sure, a bad imitation will illicit laughter from those around, but, it could also buy you a drink. It’s fun to hear others make the effort and, a good way to show that you’re generally interested in us.
2) Try the local delicacies. Now that must go without saying, as whenever we travel to a completely new place, one of the things that is greatly enjoyed is trying new foods. Caribbean food is a mixture of various tastes and each island has their own little touches, that makes it something really special overall. So, especially if you’re going island-hopping — travelling between multiple islands, be sure to get in not just the sights, but the tastes :).
5) If you’re going to be driving around in Caribbean countries, exercise extreme caution especially if it’s your first time. ‘Crazy driving’ is not uncommon and in places like Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica, they’re even silent codes drivers acknowledge, though to onlookers it appears that around each corner is an accident waiting to happen. Again I say, be careful.
6) Relax. What’s the point of being on vacation, especially in a tropical paradise and allowing stress to ruin your days? Enjoy the time off, be free and indulge yourself. The bills, issues, treadmills, etc, will still be there when you get back home, might as well live it up ^-^.
7) Courtesy of a valued friend and a regular visitor to Barbados, Rebecca: ‘Do make sure to slap on some sunscreen. No matter how bad you want a tan. There is nothing comfortable or attractive about being a tomato look alike.” Better listen guys ^-^.
1) Walking around in the city wearing little more than a bathing suit (bikini/trunks) doesn’t really work. We know you come to the islands looking for a stress-free relaxed atmosphere, but the same way you wouldn’t expect us in New York or *insert big city here* wearing little more than underwear, we often rather you didn’t either. I’m not saying ‘don’t wear these items of clothing into the city’, it’s just better if you didn’t in their raw form. So, for guys, a vest or t-shirt is fine over those trunks and ladies, cover up with a nice wrap, sundress, skirt, etc. If you disregard this and see people wrinkling their noses in disgust, you were warned :).
2) Assuming that because you can handle quite a bit of liquor back home, the same will be true in the islands, is a dire mistake that many make. Sun and rum can end up being a hilariously horrible combination. Yes, rum punch is pretty, but pace yourself, it isn’t called ‘punch’ just because of the juice.
3) I’m aware of what it says in the brochures — sun, sea, sand, etc, but please, especially now with the changing climates, don’t come to the Caribbean expecting there will only be tanning weather. It rains, quite a lot (something about being tropical islands ^_^). I always feel sorry for vacationers who come in the rainy season, which incidentally also coincides with summer and sometimes they have to deal with days worth of rain. Don’t get me wrong, expect days of nothing but heat too. However, if it didn’t rain in between, our countries wouldn’t be the lush gems you love to visit ^^.
4) Thanks to good friend of mine Monalogy for this one: The various islands have their own brands of beer. For example, Trinidad and Tobago has Carib and Barbados, Banks. This means that you avoid endorsing (in a loud voice), any other beer when in a rum shop, as the pitchforks will rear their pointy heads. As Mona says, “Natives are usually patriotic about their local lagers.”
5) This should go without saying, but sometimes in the excitement of visiting a new place, we forget. Try not to touch plants you know nothing about. Tropical countries have a habit of having some that can induce horrible itching or worse. So, unless you’ve been told otherwise, watch what you touch :).