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Backpacking & Alternative Accommodation R

Take your pick from pretty gingerbread cottages, historic former sugar mills, grand old plantation houses and chic escapes that are big on barefoot luxury

delicately over a vivid hibiscus bloom? It may seem like a dream, but you could simply be staying in one of the atmospheric hotels scattered throughout the Caribbean. There are island resorts in the Grenadines, including


Young Island, just offshore from St Vincent, and luxury retreats Palm Island and Petit St Vincent. Or in Jamaica consider the string of boutique

properties like Strawberry Hill in the Blue Mountains, James Bond author Ian Fleming’s former home GoldenEye and boltholes built into the cliffs of Negril. Then there’s the hip Geejam hotel, near the east coast town of Port Antonio which has its own recording studio. St Kitts and Nevis are known for pretty plantation house hotels including Rawlins Plantation where the remains of an abandoned sugar mill can still be seen. Anguilla is renowned for its swish villas, which makes it popular with the jet-set, but for atmospheric city stays head for Old Havana in Cuba where there are intimate inns such as the Saratoga or the Hotel Telegrafo. Old San Juan in Puerto Rico also serves up rustic surprises with the beautiful former convent El Convento.  families in their homes. Islands including Antigua and Saint Lucia run B&B or small hotels programmes; while Barbados promotes the ‘Intimate Hotels of Barbados’, an online collection of budget properties. Jamaica and The Bahamas have free ‘meet-the-locals’ programmes and Grenada has a Homestay programme.

Off the beaten track The Caribbean holds rich rewards for backpackers.  ferries, it is easy to get around, and travelling by sea not only gives travellers a cheaper and scenic experience, but a more local one too. The Caribbean’s upmarket aura may be fuelled by 

magine waking up to the chattering of monkeys in the trees; and walking on to your balcony to see a hummingbird hovering

holidays, but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives. Locally-run hotels and guesthouses are sprinkled

liberally across the region, offering plenty of West Tobago and Guyana, or in within a traditional Haitian ‘gingerbread’ house adds authentic touches too. A number of islands, such as Anguilla and the

British Virgin Islands also have online directories listing local lodgings. While destinations like Guadeloupe, Belize, Venezuela and Dominica attract those eco-friendly adventurers who want to experience indigenous cultures too. While developed islands including Nassau and

Puerto Rico may contain budget international brands such as Comfort Inn, they also offer a good range of smaller, cheap properties too. Another big plus of travelling around the Caribbean

is that the scenery is free and the beaches public; so too are the colourful markets. Get off the beaten tourist track to local


 food and drink is less too. Another great Caribbean attribute is the people; you’ll welcoming and friendly. Once you’ve experienced the Caribbean as a backpacker, you’re sure to want to come back for more or a taste its many more luxurious offerings.

Main: Backpackers and

budget travellers are warmly welcomed in the Caribbean (Cuba) Above from top: GoldenEye Beach and

Strawberry Hill in Jamaica

24 WWW.CARIBBEAN.CO.UK LovetheCaribbean @_LoveCaribbean

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