Image source: Virgin Holidays
Backpacking is one of the most adventurous things anyone could wish to do on a holiday; but in order to get the most from it, the destination should be perfect. It should be packed with great sights, have plenty of tricky yet easily-navigable walking routes, plenty of spots to pitch up a tent and at the very least, comfortable and safe accommodation.
There are many parts of the Caribbean islands which offer all that and a little bit more. With so many different islands to explore, if you take in several during a break you won’t get bored very easily.
If you decide to go backpacking in the Caribbean, indecision is something you’ll be facing. If you’re unsure of where to go, we’ve picked a few places to start.
As a starting point for a backpacking expedition, it’s hard to think of anywhere better than Saint Lucia. The island, which is popular with tourists all year round who want to lie on its golden beaches and get away from it all is a wonderful place for backpackers to spend a week or two.
Perhaps the main attraction for backpackers is Mount Gimie, the country’s highest peak, although the Pitons are nearly as imposing and are perhaps the most iconic sight on Saint Lucia. Beautiful yet dangerous (Saint Lucia is a volcanic island), it’s great for the experienced hiker.
There are numerous places to stay in Soufriere and Castries including Villa Beach Cottages, although they tend to be popular with visitors in peak times. Make sure to book in advance and be careful, especially in the remote rainforest areas.
While Saint Lucia can be exciting to explore by foot, it’s a small island and there’s only so much to see and do. This potential problem is less likely to happen in Jamaica, where there is so much more room to roam.
Backpacking in Jamaica offers endless opportunities to explore the country beyond the beaches and bustling streets of Kingston. Heading inland towards the Blue Mountains, the climate is tropical, although further away it’s a little drier, so that’s something to think about when visiting the colourful island nation.
Accommodation is plentiful in Jamaica, and in many cases, cheap. However, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need for your trip including money. Ideally, Kingston or Montego Bay are the best places to stay as amenities are always nearby.
Trinidad and Tobago
Source: Saltprune416 (Wikimedia)
A little warmer than other parts of the Caribbean, these islands are a little more peaceful, which for many backpackers is ideal. If walking through Trinidad, make sure you visit Maracas Falls, one of the island’s most outstanding beauty spots.
For real tranquillity, Tobago, the smaller, less-populated island, is the best place to go. Dense tropical rainforest greets you, but you want to make sure you have a map and compass handy, as it’s very easy to get lost!
Both islands have great accommodation, but Trinidad, particularly the capital Port of Spain, has more hotels and guest houses than its smaller neighbour.
What to take with you
As with any other type of holiday, you need to make a checklist of what you need. When backpacking, there’s more need to make sure you have all the right equipment. For a backpacking holiday in the Caribbean, you need:
- A change of clothes
- Toiletries like shampoo, soap and toothpaste
- Medical supplies: painkillers, any prescription medication
- Insect repellent
- Vaccinations against diseases such as malaria and dengue
- Emergency money
- A water bottle
- A water filter in case
- A smartphone and charger
- A charger for your digital camera
- A tent and sleeping bag
- A compass
- A map of the local area
- An LED torch