When it comes to navigating the Caribbean and exploring everything that the numerous islands have to offer, very few people may actually consider taking in the sights by car – but why not? Getting behind the wheel can be a liberating experience, allowing drivers to see everything at their own pace while really getting into the heart of the action. Traversing the Caribbean Islands by car can also enable tourists to feel a little more at home, giving them the freedom to choose where they go and when. Sound inviting? Then dive right in…
Image thanks to Devils Bridge Antigua
So much to see
With so much to see and do it’s essential for would-be road trippers to have an itinerary before setting off, or else they risk missing some of the most breathtaking sights. The Caribbean comprises more than 7,000 islands, each with their own amazing quirks: unsure where to start? We’ll try and keep it brief…
Rather than taking the quickest route from A to B all the time, it can be enormous fun to journey down the scenic route every now and again. The Caribbean Islands are a plethora of winding mountain roads, lush green valleys, coastal pathways and rocky tracks, all waiting to be explored. La Ruta Panoramica on Puerto Rico, for example, offers stunning views across the Island, whilst Fig Tree Drive is acknowledged to be the most picturesque pathway across Antigua; adventuring across the Caribbean isn’t always about sticking to the well-beaten track and, whilst you may not always know where you’re going, isn’t that part of the fun?
When planning a road trip anywhere it is important to think about what you want to experience, as well as the sights you wish to take in or the routes you’d like to take. For example, do you want to relax on one of Bermuda’s many beach retreats, sample the vintage railroads of St. Kitts and Nevis, experience an off road Safari on the Dominican Republic, swim with dolphins in St. Lucia, stuff yourself with Jamaican cuisine, or explore the jungles of Puerto Rico’s El Yunque National Park? It’s time to write that wish list…
Before you even dream of an itinerary, research car rental companies to see which will give you more for your money; this is a great way of keeping an eye on expenses from early on, as well as ensuring you’re hiring from a reputable company such as Dollar who will be there to help if anything goes wrong.
Before setting out on a road trip around the Caribbean Islands it is essential to learn a few rules and customs. Each Caribbean island will have its own laws and policies in place. Do not assume that one rule fits all, as this could be a costly, or dangerous mistake. It is also important to remember your license no matter where you go, while some islands will require an additional temporary license or pass for car rental purposes. This must be purchased in advance of your journey, so be sure to research local vehicular stipulations.
Familiarize yourself with the highways and byways, which can be narrow and winding, and difficult to navigate on occasion. Stay alert at all times too, as local drivers may be a little more relaxed along the stretches of road that they’re most acquainted with; keep your eyes out for wandering vehicles, loose livestock, and pedestrians exploring the islands on foot.
Be friendly; don’t be afraid to ask for directions, as you may be surprised where your journey will take you upon the recommendations of others. It may also be beneficial to research local customs prior to getting behind the wheel. On some islands, for example, honking your horn can be a friendly greeting, while on others it may signify frustration; it can be useful to know the difference!
Perhaps most importantly, though, remember to relax and enjoy the sights. Rushing between tourist spots may be the quickest way of seeing everything, but it most certainly won’t be the best way to experience it all.