What's So Sexy About the Caribbean?

You get a tingle just thinking about your next vacation. Anticipation builds until finally you’re there. Relaxing to the max, tapping the source of your tropical obsession.
By Colin Channer

The People, the Places: One Love
Because it's such a compelling object of desire, because it unbridles inhibitions and awakens our nature, we know instinctively that the Caribbean is sexy. But every destination has its own distinct style of seduction: Jamaica grabs you by the waist, spins you around, boldly plants a kiss on your neck and makes you love it. Cuba beckons with come-hither stares and mojitos that tempt with the taste of the forbidden. The Bahamas and the Grenadines simply take your breath away.

Every locale is different, yes, but they're also the same. They share a feeling, a vibe, a common sensuality that comes naturally in islands where the sea strokes the shore like an endless massage and night announces itself with a dramatic blaze of color. This slinky sensibility manifests itself in nuanced ways in each locale, and it's the secret, sexy essence of the Caribbean.

There are clues to it in language, in the music of its varied dialects and accents, poetic tribute to a culture made up of people drawn from all over the world. Here Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas have been stirred up into something familiar, refreshing and tantalizingly original — all at the same time. That familiarity puts you in a mood to meet people, and it makes it easy to indulge: Exotic voices, music, landscapes and food all beg to be explored and known intimately.

Exploration is the essence of travel in this diverse region, where something as simple as a stroll can become an adventure: Amble through a stone archway in Old San Juan, where jazz and salsa spice the air; walk along the soft cream sand at Jamaica's Frenchman's Cove, where waves lap against a gently curving shore; or trek through bamboo groves to a fern-shaded stream in St. Vincent, where the sounds of waterfalls induce an afternoon idyll. Brave couples might stroll across a rope bridge to a hot spring in Dominica, where orchids dangle overhead, or through aisles of fine jewelry in St. Maarten, where all pleasures seem guilt- and duty-free. Strolling the Caribbean, the body takes on a new rhythm. The hips learn to roll, the soul is awakened and the body finds new ways to groove.

Here, relaxation is elevated to an art. Indolence partaken with a cheerful spirit (and perhaps a tot or two of rum) is known as a lime. My favorite lime is a cay lime, a lime as sweet as pie. Some of the most romantic cays lie off the oft-overlooked coasts of Panama and Honduras. Invisible until the boatman is almost right on top of them, these islets are like florets of paradise cast into the ocean a million years ago by a goddess playing a game of "He loves me, he loves me not."

As you disembark with a picnic in one hand and your lover's hand in the other, tell the boatman to take his sweet time coming back. That's the common sensual thing to do.

Published: 12 Feb 2009 | Last Updated: 1 Apr 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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