I’d recommend either Antigua or St Lucia, or pair both islands together for a two-centred trip. Antigua offers great walking trails for you, and an impressive 365 beaches. Hike up Boggy Peak (or Mount Obama as it was renamed in 2009), where there are panoramic views; take a wander around the historic English Harbour, or walk from Wallings Dam in the rainforest, down through a variety of different woodland to Rendezvous Bay, where you can enjoy a swim from a deserted beach. Sugar Ridge Resort is a great base for all the hikes, with the added benefit of a new yoga pavilion, where you can unwind after a day on the beach or trails. Then head to St Lucia, staying on the south of the island, where you can laze on the beach beneath the Pitons before climbing them. I’d recommend staying at Anse Chastanet, as there are stunning beaches nearby and you can disappear up Mount Gimie, the highest point on the island, and cool off with a dip in a natural plunge pool fed by a waterfall.
Rob Davies, Hike Caribbean
Guadeloupe has a rugged landscape of volcanic peaks, rainforest, canyons and hot springs that will satisfy your adventurous urges, plus plenty of pretty coastline to keep traditional beach bums happy.
If you haven’t heard of this overseas French department, you’re not alone — it’s little-visited by British travellers, but Basse-Terre, the more westerly of the two main islands, is ideal for hiking. There are various trails around Guadeloupe National Park, but I’d recommend La Grande Soufrière, the active volcano at its heart. At 4,813ft, it’s slightly taller than Ben Nevis and has several routes to the top, some a few hours long, others taking an entire day. You can ease aching muscles at Les Baines Jaunes hot springs afterwards. If you fancy something even more adventurous, try canyoning — hiking, climbing, abseiling and leaping into pools — in a gorge under the canopy of the rainforest.
As for beaches, you’re spoilt for choice on Basse-Terre. There are lovely, long sweeps of sand such as Plage de la Perle, while at Plage de Malendure you can snorkel with turtles and a reef full of colourful fish just off shore. Alternatively, take a ferry over to one of Guadeloupe’s smaller islands, Marie-Galante, to lovely — and more deserted — white-sand beaches such as La Feuillère.
Nicola Trup, associate editor, National Geographic Traveller (UK)
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Published in the December 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)