Alternatives to Sunbathing in the Caribbean

  • 01 of 08

    Not a Beach Bum? There's Much More to Do in the Caribbean Besides Tanning

    Dominican Republic, Young woman climbing palm tree at tropical beach
    Getty Images/Westend61

    When it comes to enjoying a Caribbean vacation, preferences vary: some like to tan, some of like to swim in the ocean, and some like to charm cabana boys into giving us double shots in our drinks. Simply put, to each their own. 

    However, the Caribbean isn’t just about beach escapades, sunbathing, or shaking sand from your clothes three days after getting back from your trip. Vacationing in the Caribbean includes a whole slew of adventurous possibilities, from horseback riding to hiking, to learning a new water sport.

    For those of us who like to vacation beyond the beach, here are some Caribbean activities and alternatives that will leave you talking about your trip long after your coworkers want to keep hearing about it.

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  • 02 of 08

    Stirrup Some Fun

    Horse Riders On Half Moon Bay Hotel Beach At Dawn Montego Bay, Jamaica
    Getty Images/Ian Cumming

    Giddy up! “Sea horse” takes on a whole new meaning with beachside horse-riding expeditions offered by many Caribbean islands and resorts in Nevis, Bermuda, Jamaica, Barbados, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and more. 

    From the historic horseback tours offered by the Four Seasons Nevis, to tours through the tropical forest from Tropical Trail Rides in Puerto Rico, to the classic beach ride at the Grand Lucayan in the Bahamas, horseback riding and tours in the Caribbean are a great way to experience the island without ever having to get your feet wet.

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  • 03 of 08

    Get On the (Banana) Boat

    Watersports, St James Beach, Barbados
    Getty Images/Adina Tovy

     Think riding on banana boats at middle school summer camp was the highlight of your water sporting career? Think again! The Caribbean is a prime spot for channeling your inner water athlete and hitting the waves with expert instructors trained to make sure you have a great time (and don’t get eaten by a native oceanic predator). 

    Kidding aside, banana boats are a great time and even more fun in the warm waters of the Caribbean. The Breezes Runaway Bay Resort in Jamaica offers free banana boat rides to all guests as long as you sign up early Most Caribbean resorts offer banana boat rides with 6 seats or more, making it a great water-sports experience for the whole family.

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  • 04 of 08

    Windsurf Over the Waves

    Martinique, French West Indies, Man wind surfing in sea
    Getty Images/Sylvain Sonnet

    Riding a banana not enough of a challenge? Try windsurfing, which combines the control of sailing with the balance and agility of surfing, making for a smooth ride and​ an awesome way to experience the water. Resorts across the Caribbean offer windsurfing lessons and equipment, including the Aruba Marriott Resort on the Happy Island, which houses a local VELA Windsurf Equipment and Clinic Center right on its main beach. 

    Other popular Caribbean water sports include kayaking, parasailing, and scuba diving/snorkeling, available at most Caribbean resorts. For more information, check out the activities and amenities when you check in for your Caribbean vacation.

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  • 05 of 08

    Join a Bike Tour -- Or Explore On Your Own

    Mountain Biking Along Bonaire's Northwest Coast
    Getty Images/Atlantide Phototravel

    Hit the road with 2-wheels down with bike tours and paths throughout the Caribbean. For family-friendly bike-riding on and off the beach, check out the Grand Cayman Marriott, consistently rated one of the best biking islands (Providenciales) in the Caribbean. Guests at the Marriott can rent bikes for free, and with Seven Mile Beach and well-paved roads right outside your suite’s front door, opportunities for exploration abound. 

    For a more advanced biking experience, travelers can check out intermediate to advanced island tours offered across the Caribbean, offering a variety of coastal and inland biking experiences. 

    Stamina Sports in St. Croix, for example, offers 100+ miles of bike paths including the local triathlon route and 35 miles of coastline, while Arawak Expeditions on St. John offers trips ranging from 3-6 hours in length and including riding time through mountains, historic sites, coastline, and some of the island’s best-kept scenic locations.

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  • 06 of 08

    Take a Hike

    Hiker on the cliffs admires the crashing waves at Devil's Bridge Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda
    Getty Images/Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld

    For perhaps the cheapest in island entertainment, take a hike! No, really, go for a hike. The Caribbean is loaded with awesome destinations that can be reached by foot, as long as you pack some footwear other than flip-flops for your off-road expeditions. Especially interesting is the 18-mile Bermuda Railway Trail, which offers scenic hikes along an old railroad right-of-way.

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  • 07 of 08

    Work on Your Strokes -- But Not in the Water

    If you’d rather be hitting the courts than hitting the beach, check out some of the best tennis resorts in the Caribbean.

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  • 08 of 08

    Ride a Wave

    Barbados west coast beach
    Getty Images/Atlantide Phototravel

    Rather ride the wave than watch it crash? For beginning surfers and advanced surfers alike, the Caribbean is an awesome place to ride the tide. 

    Check out these top Caribbean surfing destinations for more info on where to go to catch the best waves the islands have to offer.