Discover 4 of the Caribbean’s Best Kept Secrets
The Caribbean is one of the world’s foremost vacation destinations, and as such, you may think you know it pretty well. But with over 700 islands, reefs, and cays, the region holds plenty of overlooked treasures and secrets! Learn our favorite little-known facts about four island destinations.2015-12-28
The Caribbean is one of the world’s foremost vacation destinations, and as such, you may think you know it pretty well. But with over 700 islands, reefs, and cays, the region holds plenty of overlooked treasures and secrets! Below, learn our favorite little-known facts about four island destinations.
1. St. Croix Offers Fantastic Scuba Diving
When you think about the best Caribbean scuba spots, the first destinations to come to mind might be Belize or Grand Cayman. But St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, should not be overlooked as a spectacular diving destination.
St. Croix was formed when a tectonic plate was pushed up, creating a small ledge that surrounds the island. Once you traverse the ledge, there is a sudden drop-off of one to two thousand feet. St. Croix is famous for its wall dives, which explore these vertical cliff walls and the marine life surrounding them. These are great for beginners and more advanced divers; colorful coral and tropical fish can be seen from the top of the wall as well as further down the wall’s surface.
St. Croix is located on the second largest coral reef system in the Caribbean, and coral reef dives explore these long, flat banks where lobsters, crabs, nurse sharks, and southern stingrays live. You can even dive at night, and if you happen to dive during a new moon – when the night sky is at its darkest – you can catch spectacular light displays from marine organisms, called bioluminescence.
Near Christiansted, you’ll find an abundance of ostracods, small crustaceans that live in and around coral reefs. During their mating ritual, males ascend from the bottom of the sea, secreting a special enzyme-laden substance that, when mixed with water, pulses with bright-blue light. From divers’ perspectives, the sea appears to be filled with strings of pearls being lit from top to bottom. With only starlight above and glowing pearls below, the sight is truly unforgettable. This phenomenon has only been observed in the Caribbean, and our villas in St. Croix are nearby some of the best spots to view the display.
2. Jamaica Villas Are Fully Staffed
Many villas come with a maid or cook included, and most offer additional staff members at an extra charge. But Jamaica is unique in that almost every villa we offer on the island comes with a full staff (chef, butler, housekeeper, laundress, and gardener) at no extra charge.
These well-trained staff members are extremely sensitive to guests’ preferences when it comes to food, amenities, and staff visibility, and they often create special experiences for guests – backyard beach parties, mom-and-dad date nights, or golf getaways – spontaneously, and seemingly effortlessly. Past guests in our Jamaica villas always rave about the warmth, the attentiveness, and the expertise of every staff member, often returning year after year to the same villa out of affection for the staff.
3. Jumby Bay, Antigua Is a Real Private Island
Antigua, a tiny island located in the middle of the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands, is known for its powder-soft sand and stunning turquoise water. Just two miles off the coast is Jumby Bay, a 300-acre island accessible only by boat, where most of our Antigua villas are located.
What many people don’t realize is that the only travelers allowed to step foot on Jumby Bay are those with accommodations on the island – no day-trippers are allowed. Jumby Bay’s three beaches, pools, spa, tennis courts, and restaurants are reserved solely for its residents, offering you a truly exclusive and secluded hideaway – a real private island!
4. St. John Is Mostly National Parkland
St. John isn’t only the smallest of the U.S. Virgin Islands – it is also, by far, the greenest. The lush Virgin Islands National Park takes up approximately 60% of the island, making St. John one of the most pristine, unspoiled islands in the Caribbean.
The Virgin Islands National Park contains a staggering array of ecosystems, including forests, ponds, coral reefs, beaches, and mangroves. Its landscape is dramatic, with hills and valleys punctuated by high mountain peaks falling sharply to the sea. Because most of its shoreline is protected as part of the National Park, beachfront villas in St. John are rare – but there are many hillside villa rentals that offer complete peace and serenity. Take a tranquil walk through the park, lounge on the legendary white-sand beaches, or kayak through crystal-clear water.