People love the Caribbean all year round with its beautiful beaches, cool evening breezes, poolside cocktails and its ability to leave us feeling utterly relaxed and disconnected from our lives at home. I should know, I lived in the Bahamas for close to a year working at the mega resort Atlantis on Paradise Island in Nassau. And no matter how stressed or upset I ever was, as soon as that plane touched Bahamian air space a smile and sense of elation would sweep over my body. While winter may be the most popular time to visit this area of the world, summer offers great savings, and while the temperatures may be warmer it can still be a great time to visit. A lover of the Caribbean I have yet to visit all of its wonderful and unique islands, so I teamed up with some of the best Caribbean experts and put together this list of the best and most sustainable places to visit in summer that won’t leave you sweltering.
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While not an Island this tropical destination is one of Jenn and Ed from Coleman Concierge's current favorite places to visit in the Caribbean.
Located on the Caribbean side of Southern Mexico one wouldn't think of Cozumel as a sustainable destination with its massive cruise ship piers and sprawling beach hotels. However, looking under the surface, you'll find another world. Specifically, under the Caribbean Sea on the Mesoamerican Reef. This is the world's second
largest reef, and its health and preservation depend on Cozumel's steady stream of eco-conscious divers. Cozumel dive guides call out over 35 different dives sites, primarily in the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park which is the third largest
national park in Mexico.
Early summer makes a fabulous time to visit Cozumel too. You'll beat the heat, humidity, and rain of late summer and avoid the crowds of spring break visitors booking out the hotels and filling the dive boats. Cozumel is a small island with ocean breezes blowing through town and water-sports everywhere to keep you cool. Early summer is also turtle season. There's a great chance you'll find turtles swimming on
the reef and maybe even nesting on the beach. Non Divers will enjoy submarine tours, snorkeling in clear aqua blue lagoons, and devouring tacos and margaritas. Cozumel offers something for everyone and bargains abound in their early summer shoulder season.
Jennifer of The Travel Women has a lot to say about the beautiful island of Saint Lucia and the sustainable resort called Jade Mountain.
WATCH THIS VIDEO TO SEE IT
Saint Lucia has to be one of the most romantic Caribbean Islands and a popular place for honeymooners. Located in the eastern Caribbean is is famous for its pair of dramatic mountain tops called the Pitons. The island is home to volcanic beaches, reef diving, rainforest hiking trails that take you to incredible waterfalls, luxurious resorts and small fishing villages.
Saint Lucia is also dedicated to protecting its natural and cultural heritage with several Nature reserves and non profits working to conserve its natural marine environments. Pigeon Island National Landmark and Maria Island are great places to visit for historical and natural significance. Pigeon Island has forts that date back to the British, still dotted with old canons and remnants of the Pirates that once sailed the seas, it also has a beautiful landscape for hiking, swimming and relaxing. Maria Island can also be visited via eco tour, and this nature reserve with its rugged coastline and secluded beaches also protects lizards, birds and more than 80 species of plant and cactus.
You can even set up a diving or snorkeling tour with both Dive Saint Lucia, who's new building earned a LEED Platinum Certification and Scuba St Lucia who received a PADI Green Star Award for its commitment to conservation.
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Cabarete in the Dominican Republic
Recommended by Caitlin from Purposeful Nomad
For many who visit the Dominican Republic, the exploration stops at the boundary of a walled resort, perhaps in Punta Cana. There is an unbelievable amount to see, do and explore beyond the confines of resort-land and many opportunities to practice conscious travel; you just need to look beneath the surface. One of my favorite places on the island is the North Coast, specifically the areas of Cabarete and to the East all the way down to the Samana peninsula.
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Cabarete is a laid-back town with an electric mix of expats, Dominicans and Haitians. I love going here because its small, not too touristy and has a real sense of community. If you are looking for some adventurous outdoor activities check out 27 Charcos, learn to surf or kite-board, explore the local caves, or go hike on nearby trails. For a more relaxed day at the beach head east to the gorgeous gem of Playa Grande.
Here are some of my favorite to sustainable businesses to visit that are locally run and give back to the local community:
Cabarete Coffee Company, owned by the non-profit, The Mariposa Foundation. Chill spot for coffee and treats.
Taino Farm, one of very few farms on the island that is practicing permaculture and aquaponics to bring the community fresh produce, fish, and herbs.
Extreme Hotel, go check out the restaurant here which uses all their produce from Taino Farm!
Mariposa Foundation- Local nonprofit that empowers young Dominican and Haitian girls through education, language, sports and job training. You can also book tours to see a coffee plantation, fish with the locals, and visit the Mariposa school to see what it is all about!
Beachcomber Hotel- One of my favorite places if you are looking for an affordable off-the-beaten place to stay. About 20 minutes outside Cabarete you will find nothing but peace and tranquility on they beach front property. You can book massages, yoga classes and horsebacks rides on the beach.
Bermuda is another place that’s great year round. Just a 90 minute flight from New York we took some advice from Kelley of The Culture Collective and owner of the Impact Travel Alliance (a global network for impactful travel companies) whom hopes Bermuda can be her new weekend getaway and maybe yours too.
Bermuda is full of beautiful rock outcroppings, beaches and great places to snorkel. While summer is one of the most popular times to visit it can also be one of the best times.
Horseshoe Bay: Perhaps my single favorite moment on the trip was when I found myself alone on top of a rock formation and sitting beside a cliff, looking out over the white-sand beaches and crystal clear water with just the wind on my side to keep me company. There is a certain peacefulness that I found in Bermuda, and Horseshoe Bay offered the perfection companionship to take it all in.
Another gorgeous and unspoiled place to visit is Coopers Island Nature Reserve, part of a National Park that was closed to the public until 1995. It's 12 acres of blissful walking trails and serene white sand beaches. On a hot summer day you will also want to book a tour of Crystal Caves followed by an afternoon of snorkeling. Crystal Cave is more than 500 meters long and can be explored via a series of underground walkways. Mark Twain was the first tourist to ever step foot in Crystal Cave and the underground beauty was also the inspiration for Jim Henson's Fraggle Rock.
Kelley also suggests staying at the Haslemere Bed & Breakfast: From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel like you’ve found your long-lost British/Bermudian family. Greeted with hugs at the airport, you’ll quickly discover that Ray and Kay are a wealth of knowledge for not only the best places to go on the island, but also regarding the island’s rich colonial history.
Ray and Kay live in a historic house, which is more than 100 years old, and as Kay explained, actually one of the “newer” houses on the island… But the real pleasure of the stay is the couple’s company. I found myself not wanting to leave the breakfast room every morning, fascinated by their history lessons on the area, as well as their personal recollections and stories from their trips to Kenya, Australia, Ecuador and more.
The Caribbean stretches for thousands of miles and is home to more than 700 islands, so while this list doesn't even scratch the surface, I sure hope it opens your eyes to a few new places to explore. Got another favorite you want added to the list. Let me know in the comments below... AND NEVER STOP EXPLORING
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