by Sarah Baxter, The Telegraph, October 16, 2018
The best ways to get active in the Caribbean, from cycling in Cuba to underwater yoga in Grenada.
1. Tropical trekking
The Caribbean isn’t renowned for its hiking trails – yet. But new operator Hike Caribbean is seeking to rectify this with a range of on-foot adventures in Antigua, Guadeloupe and Montserrat. Its 14-day Three Islands, Three Cultures trip combines diverse trails on British-influenced Antigua, French-flavoured Guadeloupe and volcanically volatile Montserrat. Highlights include summitting Antigua’s Boggy Peak and climbing 4,813ft La Soufrière, zenith of the Lesser Antilles.
From £3,195, including B&B accommodation and internal flights. International flights cost extra. Departures year round. Hike Caribbean (0333 987 4694; hikecaribbean.com).
2. Tennis escape in Antigua
Hone your tennis skills with a former British No 1 at Curtain Bluff. With the Caribbean on one side and the wilder Atlantic on the other, the resort’s four championship courts are within a lob-shot of the beach.
Guests can take lessons year-round, but November’s Perfect Match week includes training and drills led by Annabel Croft, one-on-one sessions and a tournament finale, plus free yoga, Pilates, water sports, sunshine and rum punch.
From £3,699 for seven nights all-inclusive, including tennis and flights. Departure Nov 24. Caribtours (020 3553 7543; caribtours.co.uk).
3. Make a splash in the BVI
With the British Virgin Islands recovered and open for business following 2017’s devastating hurricane season, SwimTrek is happily reintroducing its seven-day trip to the dazzling archipelago. Guided swims splash between isles and over reefs alongside hawksbill turtles. The trip also includes the two-mile crossing to Flanagan, one of the United States Virgin Islands – a swim from the UK to America, without the bother of tackling the entire Atlantic.
From £1,590 including accommodation and some meals. Flights not included. Departures March and April 2019. SwimTrek (01273 739713; swimtrek.com).
4. Jog on in Jamaica
Channel a bit of Usain Bolt at Jamaica’s Reggae Marathon, a merry, music-blasted festival of running – with 26.2-mile, 13-mile and 10k (six-mile) distances to choose from – along Negril Beach. To make the event a little easier, the well-located Sandals Negril resort offers a Runcation Package to ensure athletes are all set, including a welcome gathering, a carb-loading pasta party, a post-race awards ceremony and a much-needed rest and repair session at the spa.
From £1,919 all-inclusive with Runcation package and flights. Excludes race entry. Departs Nov 27 2018. Sandals (0800 597 0002; sandals.co.uk).
5. Pedal power in Cuba
Exploring laid-back, time-warp Cuba by bike, you can slowly soak up the charm of this singular isle, while getting some leisurely exercise, too. Saddle Skeddadle’s 15-day Cuban Revolutions guided trip is pretty relaxed (covering 18 to 50 miles a day), leaving plenty of energy to devote to the culture and the changing views: the cool Caribbean coast, the haystack-shaped hills of the Viñales Valley, the salsa-swaying streets of Old Havana.
From £2,695, including accommodation and meals. Flights and bike hire extra. Departures between November 2018 and November 2019. Saddle Skedaddle (01912 651110; skedaddle.com).
6. Body buffing in Barbados
Located on the smart, white-sand west coast, Waves Hotel & Spa bills itself as Barbados’s first all-inclusive mind and wellness boutique retreat. In this paradisiacal place to unwind, there are yoga mats in every room, restaurants serving healthy but tasty dishes, free spa treatments and a daily menu of complimentary activities: choose between Pilates, kickboxing and meditation, or strengthen your core while stand-up paddleboarding with turtles.
From £1,995 for seven nights all-inclusive, including flights. Departures year round. The Healthy Holiday Company (020 8968 0501; thehealthyholidaycompany.co.uk).
7. Swim fit in St Kitts & Nevis
Complete a classic swim between islands under the guidance of Olympians. GB stars Keri-Anne Payne and David Carry are running a seven-night Swim Retreat at Nevis’s historic, palm-rustled Nisbet Plantation. Swimmers of all abilities can join pool and open-water sessions; numbers are limited, so everyone receives one-to-one coaching, plus a personal training plan. Then there’s the chance to put new techniques to the test at the annual 21/2-mile (4km) Nevis to St Kitts Cross Channel Swim.
From £2,525 including B&B accommodation and swim retreat package. Flights also included. Departs Mar 27, 2019. Tropic Breeze (01752 880880; tropicbreeze.co.uk).
8. Breathe easy in Grenada
The boutique True Blue Bay resort is top choice for yogi, with its treetop yoga space and experienced teachers. It’s ideal for scuba fans, too, thanks to its highly rated dive school and easy access to wrecks, reefs and underwater sculpture park. It also combines the two: a seven-night Scuba Yoga Retreat, which involves land yoga as well as performing poses underwater to aid anxiety, buoyancy control and breathing.
From $2,034 (£1,543) including full-board accommodation and dive equipment rental. Flights cost extra. The Scuba Yoga Retreat takes place from July 6-13 2019. True Blue Bay (001 473 443 8783; truebluebay.com).
9. The body holiday in St Lucia
There is not a bit of your being that you can’t stretch, tone, pummel, pamper, hone or mend at The BodyHoliday. The gold standard of fitness retreats in paradise, this smart all-inclusive on northern St Lucia’s Cariblue Beach offers a smorgasbord of activities, from Olympian-led boot camps to Zumba, spinning classes, windsurfing, archery and meditation. Guests get a free daily treatment at the world-class spa, too. It’s a top spot for trying something new – or drinking cocktails on the beach.
From £2,300 for seven nights all-inclusive, with flights. Departures year round. Kuoni (0800 540 4819; kuoni.co.uk).
10. Stretching in Turks & Caicos
Fitness holidays don’t have to be a hardship. It’s certainly no chore hiding away at COMO Parrot Cay, an elegant retreat on its own private, car-free, nature-endowed isle. Parrot Cay is an especially good place to stretch: there are daily Pilates and yoga classes – some held on the mile-long beach – as well as a top-class spa and wellness centre offering everything from ayurveda to acupuncture.
From £3,180 for seven nights, including B&B accommodation and wellness programme. Flights cost extra. Departures year round. Health and Fitness Travel (0203 397 8891; healthandfitnesstravel.com).