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8 Caribbean Islands To Visit For An Authentic Local Experience

By Rachel George

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Nothing beats vacationing in the Caribbean. Being near the water is just so peaceful, and there’s always something to do. It’s easy to find the newest tourist attraction in another country, let alone on an island. Jet skis, zip-lining, to name a few. Those experiences sound fun, but some travelers are looking for a more authentic experience.

Check out these eight Caribbean islands for a more authentic local experience.

St. Croix

From Feb. 15-19, visitors can attend the Agrifest, a food and culture festival devoted to the island’s finest markets, farms and local businesses. The food features an assorted mix of Caribbean, French and African influences. Popular restaurants are the Chicken Shack and AMA at Cane Bay Restaurant, with deliciously fresh seafood and a breathtaking view of the sunset at the beach. I know the dates have passed, that just means planning for next year begins now.

Cuba

You’ll never want another mojito again once you’ve had one in Cuba. The immaculate taste of natural rum is unmatched compared to anywhere else. The portion of food is small, yet filling at the same time. Indulge in the country’s friendly culture, people and its arts at the local market.

Barbados

Sample authentic local indulgences such as Moon Town Fish Fry or The Bay Tavern located at Martin’s Bay St. John. Stop by Fisherman’s Pub in Speightstown, for Barbados’ national dish, cou-cou and flying fish voted number 3 in the top 10 national dishes. 

@craggynookbarbados

Aruba

Welcome to Happy Island, where everyone you meet is warm and welcoming. Explore Aruba’s rugged history and backcountry. This destination has become popular in the last few years, probably due to the 130 feet dive into the sea you can take.

Puerto Rico

This island is perfect for coffee lovers. Check out the Hacienda San Pedro Coffee Plantation in Jayuya. Try Puerto Rico’s traditional dish Mofongo and El Jibarito’s trifongo: a combination of sweet plantains, cassava, and green plantain.

Guanajuato

One of the most beautiful, yet underrated cities in Mexico is Guanajuato. Make sure you snag a kiss with bae in the Callejón del Beso in Guanajuato Tradition, for seven years of good luck.

Curacao

This country’s history is deeply rooted within its authentic music, food, and lively art scene. With its colorful Dutch-style buildings, it just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the Caribbean, down to the food blending Dutch, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Jewish and Caribbean influences. Don’t forget the floating market at Willemstad. Fresh and ingredients are highly encouraged, especially at family-farm-turned-restaurant Hofi Cas Cora, who uses locally sourced produce and other fruits and veggies from their farm.

The so-called floating market at Willemstad | Getty Images

 

Turks & Caicos

Celebrate Turks and Caicos culture by eating fresh conch at the weekly Fish Fry, with local entertainment and a large multi-ethnic population. Most people never want to leave once they get there. Guess I’ll pack my bags.

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