The Ultimate Guide to Experiencing the Caribbean Like a Local

Your bags are packed, you are ready to go, all that is left is to make the final touches on your Caribbean itinerary. Except, if you want to really understand the culture of the Caribbean, it is best to forget strict timings, take off your shoes, and just go with the flow.

For more ways to make the most of your trip, read on for the ultimate guide to experiencing the Caribbean like a local.

1. Know how to stick to a budget.

Locals in all places tend to know the tips and tricks essential to living on a budget day-in and day-out. If you really want to experience this region like a local, then it is critical to overlook the tourist traps and those things deemed “must-sees” and instead open yourself up to getting into the local groove.

To visit when there is the least amount of tourists, opt to travel during the off-season (during the North American fall and winter), as you will not only be able to bypass hoards of tourists, but you will also be able to save up to 30% on the costs of your accommodation.

Additionally, one of the best ways to keep your costs down and to get some exercise (see #2) is to choose to walk around your locale as much as possible. After all, the weather is so perfect, you may as well take advantage of it as much as possible!

When walking around a new destination, you are able to witness and appreciate the slower, more authentic moments of the local’s life, and you are more likely to find yourself facing opportunities to speak with new friends. Those from the Caribbean are known for being friendly and hospitable, and they regard the broader community in the same way they do their family, so put on your walking shoes and get out there.

2. Ensure you stay healthy.

For many people, traveling to a foreign destination means forgetting all about health and wellness; however, if you want to stay healthy while in the Caribbean, it is indeed possible. Your first step is merely to believe that you can do it and to create a plan in advance so that you are prepared upon arrival.

Luckily, the Caribbean is usually considered a healthy environment with an abundance of clean water which means the “tropical diseases” that many other places experience aren’t a problem for those who visit these islands. However, it is always recommended to stay up-to-date on any travel warnings and health recommendations.

In addition to walking as much as possible, do like the locals do and make swimming a daily activity. Whether it is in your hotel pool or in the sea (it does have an 83-degree year-round water temperature!) getting in some laps surely won’t feel like a chore in the Caribbean.

In fact, it is hard for anything to feel like a chore when you are in a place that has such a fantastic work-life balance. This is one of the main reasons that foreigners are interested in second citizenship programs to the Caribbean and consider securing Antigua citizenship by investment or a second passport in St. Kitts, for example.

3. Always opt for the local food and drink.

 

When it comes to really living the local life in the Caribbean (or wherever you are traveling), the key is to always opt for the local food and drink. Not only is Caribbean cuisine delicious, but it will also be the most cost-effective way to eat. By consuming the local specialties, you will get a deeper insight into the country and its people.

So, what should you be eating and drinking?

While all the countries in the Caribbean have their own variations of dishes, you can be assured that fish is one of the most important staples for everyone in the region. Due to the proximity to the ocean, Caribbean cuisine is known for its usage of fresh fish, conch, and other seafood.

Additionally, other local specialities include jerk chicken, roast pork with rice and beans, pepperpot (a rich and thick stew), and goat stew. Whatever dish you opt for, you can guarantee that it is going to include a lot of spices. Throughout the Caribbean, you will notice small roadside cantinas which offer home-style dishes — make sure to indulge in at least one meal here. And don’t forget to try the rum!

Have you ever traveled to the Caribbean? What do you do to ensure you are able to live more of a local life when traveling? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below!

 

 

AUTHOR BIO
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship investment into the Caribbean. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.

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Diving With Turtles in the Cayman Islands

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The Cayman Islands are a quintessential tropical paradise. Located south of Cuba, west of Jamaica and east from Yucatan Peninsula, it’s a grouping of three islands, one big and two significantly smaller ones, that has been lauded as one of the top tourist destinations in the world. With its crystal-clear waters, coral reefs and sunken shipwrecks, how can anyone resist this pirate micro-archipelago?

Naturally, most of the activities in this location are related to water. Deep diving to inspect shipwrecks or diving with the turtles in the Cayman Islands are among the most popular tourist attractions of this kind.

Some context
The Cayman Islands has mostly served as a hideaway for pirates, shipwrecked sailors and deserters from Oliver Cromwell’s Jamaican army throughout most of the seventeenth century until it was finally colonized from Jamaica by the British in the seventeen hundreds. Under the British flag, the Cayman Islands had a pretty placid history up until they finally became independent in 1962.

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However, one of the most significant years in island history is 1833 when slavery was abolished. Many slaves were brought from Africa under English rule, so the majority of natives are of English and African descent.

As far as the islands go
Grand Cayman is the biggest of three islands and it’s located west of the two smaller, sister islands that are grouped closer together – Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Grand Cayman is, in many ways, considered the main island and its biggest city and capital of the Cayman Islands, George Town, to be the hub for all the tourists and activities.

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George Town is home to around 28,000 people, and locals are known for their heart-warming, welcoming attitude towards tourists. This is where most of you will set foot for the first time as you step off the boat or a plane. From this moment onward, the world is your oyster, as they say, as there are so many activities you can enjoy.

Shipwreck diving
The surrounding waters are abundant with impressive shipwrecks. In fact, many divers are so inspired by these sights that they come specifically to dive around these sunken ships. Among the most popular of these is Kittiwake, a 250 feet long beast with five decks that are filled to the burst with marine life. The rust and lichens have given a unique texture to otherwise well-preserved equipment and rooms. You can also “drop by” a former Russian warship now known as the Captain Keith Tibbetts, Balboa, a 375-foot freighter on the depth of 40-50 feet and Oro Verde which has turned into a real marine-life zoo, among others.

Turtle diving

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Have you ever dreamed of swimming through clear azure waters surrounded by marine life so close that you can actually touch it? For such a dream-come-true aquatic activity, Cayman Turtle Divers offer an adventure you’ll never forget. On Grand Cayman, you’ll find the world’s one and only commercial Green Sea Turtle farm. This little slice of sea-side heaven is a home to over 16,000 turtles. Swimming with the turtles is an exciting activity for newcomers of all ages.

Stingray City
You’ll find it only 10 minutes away from the Green Sea Turtle farm. Considering how threatening stingrays can look, and some well-publicized tragic encounters with people, some tourists might feel a bit concerned before stepping in. However, you are surrounded by certified guides and gentle stingrays, no matter how large they are, are easy to pet.

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Even though they are wild animals, stingrays have become accustomed to people over centuries. It all began with fishermen on the barrier reef surrounding the islands. As they caught and cleaned fish, they threw the unwanted bits overboard. This attracted stingrays and soon it turned into one of the most popular tourist attraction on these islands.

These activities are only some of the exotic and unique experiences you can be a part of on the Cayman Islands. The impressive topography of the islands coupled with vibrant mixture of colors under the bright tropical sun will stay scorched into your retinas in the best possible way. You won’t be able to forget the experience, and you’ll be craving for more as soon as you go back to your every-day life. Be sure to start planning your next visit as soon as possible.