A Beginner’s Guide to Adventure Travel in the Eastern Caribbean

Jeremy walking through jungle and text overlay stating where to find adventure in the eastern caribbean

Taking a cruise through the Eastern Caribbean is all about adventure and high-octane offshore experiences to keep busy–cruises aren’t just for relaxation! But what if you, or your crew, are new to adventurous activities?

If the Eastern Caribbean is your first taste of adventure travel, here’s how to get started, making the most of the unique opportunities in every port.

Catamaran cruise on the island of Grand Turk

1. Where to Find Adventure in Grand Turk

Swim in the Insanely Blue Waters of Grand Turk

Over 600 miles from Miami in the southeast of the Bahamas, lies the 300 islands of Turks and Caicos. The main island, Grand Turk, is surrounded by one of the world’s most stunning coastlines, featuring white sands, azure waters and its very own coral reef. It’s an ideal place for aspiring deep-sea swimmers and snorkelers to get started—you’ll find plenty of options.

If you’re ready to go deeper, there are plenty of experienced dive operators, including all-inclusive packages for experienced divers. 

Paddle into The Living Heart of The Island

This is the next best thing to getting in the water—particularly in a glass-bottom kayak allowing you to see everything down there. Kayaking tours usually head to the fertile mangroves, because that’s where the most dazzling wildlife flits from branch to branch or darts under your kayak in a flash of colors.

There are no certification requirements for kayaking, and even at a leisurely pace it’s still a significant upper body workout, especially on tours like this where you’ll be paddling along for a couple of hours.

Car driving down a street in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

2. Adventure Activities in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Surf San Juan’s Atlantic Waves

The northern edge of San Juan contains the old colonial city center and sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean—so it’s a great place to grab a board and dive into the waves.If you’ve never surfed before, getting started is simple: you paddle out on a longboard, wait for a big wave, stand up—and then you fall off.

Now repeat this a dozen times, or until your body learns to balance. Even just attempting to surf is fun, and it can keep you busy all day. Surfing lessons are a popular shore excursion —and you’ll also find local surf schools at local beaches lining the coast from Old San Juan.

Walk Around Old San Juan In Record Time…If Your Legs Can Take It

If riding the Atlantic seems too tough, try walking—with an adventurous twist.

A brisk walk round Old San Juan requires a good pair of legs. A complete lap of the old city takes at least three hours, without factoring in stops for sightseeing and refreshments. This tour of the ancient fortresses of the old city is rated “Difficult” for a reason—the 500-year-old cobblestones, uneven surfaces and occasionally treacherous steps.

Plane flying overhead Maho Beach in St. Maarten

3. Where to Go for Adventure in St. Maarten

In country-hopping terms, the world’s smallest nationally divided island is a winner with the French Saint-Martin to the north and the Dutch Sint Maarten to the south, which boasts some truly unique, adventurous, (and nerve wracking) activities.

Stand beneath landing planes on Maho Beach

There’s no airport in the world like Princess Juliana International; the main runway starts less than a hundred feet beyond Maho Beach. When the planes fly over, they’re just seconds from touchdown, and less than 100 feet high so you’ll feel like you can touch them!

Danger sign at Maho beach for planes flying overhead

But takeoff is a rush too—the hot air from the aircraft’s jet engines blasts up to 120 miles per hour; you’ll feel like you’ll be blown out to sea! It’s pretty easy to catch a takeoff or landing but local bars often display airline timetables. 

Ride the Steepest Zip-Line in the World

Zip-lining is all about adrenaline, so get yours pumping with the steepest, most thrilling zip-line in the world. There’s a brand-new chairlift called the Sky Explorer that takes you all the way up Sentry Hill to the highest point on the island. From there, all you have to do is swallow your fear and get onto the Flying Dutchman zip-line, which plunges at a world-record 42-degree angle towards the forest below. You’ll cover half a mile descending more than 1,000 feet at speeds of up to 55 miles an hour. Shrieking allowed.

 Frigate Bay from Timothy Hill, with the Atlantic Ocean on the left and then Caribbean Sea on the right

4. Where to Find Adventure on St. Kitts

Walk Between Oceans at Frigate Bay

St. Kitts is also a meeting of two worlds. Not only is it half of a country (with Nevis, its neighboring island), it’s also where the Pacific meets the Atlantic—and you can certainly feel it. North Frigate Bay is where the Atlantic waves thunder against the shoreline, while South Frigate Bay, noticeably warmer, is where the Caribbean makes its last gasp. 

It’s a good place for a hike—whether along each mile-long bay or in a wide loop. If your legs are feeling up for a challenge, hike up Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano with the charming former name of “Mount Misery.”

Ride the Atlantic Winds—Or Be Blasted into the Sky

With great Atlantic waves come terrific opportunities for watersports—and St. Kitts caters to every kind.

Of the most exciting options available, windsurfing is also the easiest to pick up—honestly! Modern boards are light and stable, and sails are surprisingly easy to handle. Next up the excitement ladder (and requiring more physical fitness), try kitesurfing, where you’re dragged high into the air before your surfboard smacks back onto the water. If you’re really adventurous, take to the air, on twin jets of pressurized water, better known as flyboarding.

Adventure for all 

If you’re wondering how these are “beginner adventures”, turns out there’s actually no such thing! You’re always allowed to do something exciting. When adventurous people see something they want to do, they go and do it. And you can too, if you keep an adventurous mindset. Forget the idea of a “beginner’s guide”, go for it!

This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.