Caribbean Checklist


Planning that dream trip to the lovely Caribbean Islands?

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Here’s what you should not leave home without:

1. You will need a good SPF Sunblock

The Caribbean is always prone to leaving you with not only memories but also a good case of the sunburn. Don’t stand out in the crowd as that tourist who was not smart, but rather buy your sunblock. The SPF you will use will depend on your skin type, so ask your pharmacist what is ideal for you. The Neutrogena brand always seems a good one. Remember temperatures can easily go over 28° Celsius (82° Fahrenheit). Also, note that you should put sunblock when you are not on the beach and just touring or shopping as this often involves a lot of sun exposure in the Caribbean as many islands do not have those indoor air-conditioned malls to which you are accustomed.

2. Invest in a big straw hat

Avoid the burn by packing or purchasing a hat that will adequately protect your face, the back of your neck and even the upper part of your shoulders. You don’t want the intense Caribbean sunshine can get to you. Ensure enjoyment by travelling sensibly. For the fashionable women, go for the floppy straw hat that best complements your flowing dresses, little skirts or trousers. For the men, don’t think strawhats are uncool, your skin will thank you.

3. Hydrate, hydrate and then hydrate

No need to pack water, don’t worry we are not that secluded. There is plenty of bottled water on sale in the Caribbean and we carry most of the world’s popular brands. But always be sure to have an adequate stock of bottled water wherever you go. Enjoy your Holidays hydrated, you will need it! Drinking lots of water serves to regulate your body’s temperatures; it lubricates your joints and; transports nutrients and waste material through your metabolism. Also have lots of the tasty tropical fruits while in the Caribbean, they are extremely delicious.

4. Protect your eyes

Though it should go without saying, make sure you have that pair of sunglasses handy. We strongly recommend you do not cut corners on this, but rather purchase a good pair. No cheap sunglasses block all UV light. Those that claim may not be telling the truth or they may be talking only about UV-A, which is the least harmful of the UV bands. Your eyes are more exposed to the unblocked UV bands wearing cheap sunglasses than they would be sunglasses because the one thing cheap sunglasses do well is reduce the overall amount of light, which causes your pupils to open more, which causes your eye’s to be more prone to damage. Also a nice little fashion tip is to walk with a lighter tinted pair as well so you can enjoy the evening without being behind dark shades more suitable for the very bright daytime sunshine.

5. Safety aspects while on your Holidays:

  • Secure your passports carefully, utilize room or hotel safes;
  • Do not walk with excess cash, utilize credit cards;
  • Do not eat food from everyone, most of the Caribbean countries have strict requirements for food establishments. Make sure their certificate (or badge) is displayed clearly, don’t be afraid to ask them to show it to you;
  • Do not take unmarked taxi cabs (some hotels and most airports have their designated taxis);
  • Leave your valuable jewelry safely at home or at the bank.

6. Walk with your preferred flu medicine/basic first aid/buy a bug repellant

There is always a chance that you will catch a cold on holiday. Many of the pharmacies may not carry your preferred brand of medicine. So pack a few pills in their package for safety. Also walk with a few plasters in case you are prone to foot blisters. Many visitors come to the Caribbean and walk in flip-flops, sandals or wear sneakers without socks and they damage their feet. If your feet are accustomed to being in closed shoes most of the year, don’t expect them to suddenly stand up to the rigors of walking, hiking or exploring shops in the Caribbean climate, treat them with care. Finally when you get there, get to a convenience store or pharmacy and purchase a bottle of bug repellant. The Caribbean is not prone to the widespread cases of malaria we sometimes see warnings from some countries to their citizens but bugs can be a hindrance, just a light spray and you will be fine.

7. Careful of spice

Many of our Caribbean islands, e.g. Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and St. Kitts/Nevis to name a few, pride themselves with spicy food. Caribbean spice is not your normal “hot” level; ask for a sample before or else you may spend the better part of your Caribbean Holiday on your “throne”! We go for the famous Habanero and Scotch Bonnet often in our pots. Pepper heat is measured in scoville heat units and these two mentioned rate pretty high. So even if you are a champion at the local wing house back home and even have your photo on that wall of fame, trust us, this heat is not the same, treat with respect. Check out some of the islands best dishes while you are there.

8. Holidays

The Caribbean because of its rich and diverse history celebrates a lot of public holidays throughout the year. Ensure that you research your travel times and communicate with your hotel or travel agent that you will not be adversely affected by any events. Many businesses may close for public holidays. But don’t worry, several of the larger hotels often keep their shops open to cater for guests.

9. Patience

The Caribbean will absolutely, unequivocally, unavoidably be the slowest place you would have visited. Our people are never in a rush and basically give you a crash course in taking life easy, feeling the breeze and living life as it should be. If you go to a restaurant, do not be annoyed if the food takes unbelievably long, when it gets to you it will be worth it. Expect people to want to chat with you and find about where you came from, how you are enjoying your stay and so on. Sip on your favourite drink, kick back and join the legion of total relaxation…as we say in much of the Caribbean – “take it easy”. For your Caribbean Holidays to be truly memorable, we recommend you follow the culture of the people, grab a drink, talk about anything, see nature, realize life is not about material but about you.

10. Walk with your universal convertor

Islands such as St. Vincent have those different outlets than we may not be accustomed to. A valuable hint would be to invest into a universal adapter that has pins adjusting to different countries. It is easily bought online or from your resident supplier such as Best Buy.