Taking a Look at The Real Caribbean

 

Horseback Riding
Horseback Riding on a beach in northern St. Lucia.

 

How do you define the real Caribbean? We say it’s up to the client, some of whom may feel, for instance, that sipping rum on the spot where it’s made is the authentic Caribbean experience. Then there are those who wish to spend quality time with locals on the islands.

Either way, we hear that Island Routes is an emerging company that provides clients with adventures a bit off the beaten Caribbean track.

Backgrounder: Adam Stewart of Sandals Resorts International is Island Routes’ CEO. After a recent trip to Africa, which stood out for the intimate experience of the destination, he saw a need for a similar experience in the Caribbean, thereby creating Island Routes.

Today, the company covers adventures in the turquoise waters of Turks and Caicos, tropical rainforests of St. Lucia, white sand beaches of Antigua and Jamaica and the world’s third largest barrier reef in the Bahamas, among others. They also organize the more traditional tours, such as a rum tour of the Appleton Estate or a cultural experience at the historical Bellefield Great House & Gardens, both in Jamaica. The company’s more elaborate excursions include helicopter tours to the Blue Mountains in Jamaica or a hike through the Pitons of St. Lucia.

Luxury travel advisors can also craft bespoke tours for their VIPs. Case in point: The team at Island Routes once had an orphanage director in St. Lucia make arrangements for interested VIPs to spend an afternoon with the children. This included lunch and reading to the kids, who in turn entertained them with their songs.

Another time, a client wanted to propose to his girlfriend in Exuma. The Island Routes team set them up with a “Castaway” tour on a secluded beach, but not before they had it ready with “Will You Marry Me?” spelled out in conch shells.

When the couple arrived at the beach, a butler came out of the brush to serve them champagne. The team also set up a videographer (pretending to be one of the boat’s crew).

Note: Island Routes has a series of niche experiences. Romantic Routes includes horseback riding and sunset catamaran sailing for couples; Family Routes provides learning experiences for parents and children; and Community Routes has programs designed to let clients mingle with the islands’ community. A “give-back” program is now under way.

Luxury travel advisors seeking a custom-made Island Routes experience can contact Island Routes’ Limited Editions Manager Andrea Morris (amorris@islandroutes.com; 011-877-768-8370, ext. 8018).

 

Rafting on the Martha Brae River
Rafting on the Martha Brae River in Jamaica.