Travel insights from Taylor Coulson, contributing editor of The Compass

5 Caribbean Landmarks You Can’t Miss

It’s time to travel authentically and expand your Caribbean experience beyond beaches with white-sand and spring break festivities. These five must-see historical landmarks will help you immerse yourself in the Caribbean's culture and history.

  1. Curacao’s Historic Harbor and Inner City of Willemstad
    Splash into spring break by discovering what makes Curacao so sweet; it’s not the colorful liqueur in Blue Curacao cocktails. Willemstad, its capital, grasps your attention instantly with large and small ships sailing thru the city from the renowned, rotating bridge. The historical harbor’s entry beneath Queen Emma Bridge alongside vibrant, inner city architecture is why it’s a Caribbean UNESCO heritage site. If that doesn’t float your boat, you can tour the two districts divided by St. Anna Bay’s Harbor:
    • Punda, where narrow, downtown streets meet Dutch buildings that house high-end retailers, restaurants and bars.
    • Otrobanda, which is the exact opposite since it’s filled with twisted residential streets. Ironically, it literally translates to “the other side.”
  2. Mastic Trail on Grand Cayman
    Seven Mile Beach isn’t the only place to visit on the Cayman Islands. In the heart of Grand Cayman is one of the last Caribbean subtropical, semi-deciduous dry forests named the Mastic Trail. Ascend to the highest point along a 200-year-old gravel trail that passes through ancient woodlands bordered by the island’s most lively and isolated plant and animal life. Hidden from the sea breeze, the forecast for most hikers on this trail is hot and humid. Trained naturalists bring the trail to life and lead the way.
  3. Grenada’s River Antoine Rum Distillery
    Imbibe at the oldest functioning water-powered rum distillery in the Caribbean in St. Patrick’s, Grenada. Visit River Antoine Rum Distillery and glimpse into the organic and eco-friendly production and history behind one of the country’s most famous exports. It’s exclusively made from combining crushed sugar cane, aka bagasse, with water and the hot Caribbean sun. Sip and smile because soon you’ll be back to reality without rum as a souvenir. It’s so strong that it isn’t allowed through customs!
  4. St. Kitts’ Scenic Railway
    Train tours in the U.S. are luxurious, but the “Last Railway in the West Indies” sounds even better. Discover parts of the eastern Caribbean that aren’t offered at beaches or resorts when you’re riding along St. Kitts’ Scenic Railway. Initially used for transporting sugar cane from fields to factories in Basseterre, today it confirms that “St. Kitts is small enough to see in a day and big enough to explore for a lifetime.” Pass 30 miles of rolling hills, forests, small villages and even Mt. Liamuiga by train and bus so your memories are sweet like the sugar cane.
  5. The Pitons and World’s Only Drive-In Volcano
    Hike high above the Caribbean Sea to see the Pitons summit with splendid views. They’re Saint Lucia’s iconic twin peaks that you’ve probably seen on Instagram, since it’s the Caribbean’s most-photographed site. Gros Piton, the taller of the two, measures at 2,619 feet along the western coast while Petit Piton measures at 2,461 feet. Drive to Sulphur Springs Park to see the world’s only drive-in volcano. Sulphur-laden steam leads the way to hot springs and mud baths sprinkled around to holistically heal sunburn, eczema, arthritis and sore joints from the climb of a lifetime. Plus, locals swear it’ll make you look younger!

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