Top Ten Alternative Spring Break Destinations

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Dominica River
ANTI-BEACH BUM: Dominica is the perfect vacation for the active traveler (Corbis)

Hot Spot:
Jacó, Costa Rica
Those looking for a more active or outdoorsy way to spend spring break often gravitate to Costa Rica, one of Latin America's premier eco-travel destinations. The seaside town of Jacó has great surfing and easy access to the rain forests, wildlife, and eco-tours for which Costa Rica is famous. It's also one of the country's most heavily visited destinations, especially during local holidays (like Holy Week, which sometimes overlaps spring break) when locals from San José arrive by the bus load.

As an alternative, consider Dominica, the tiny island-nation between St. Kitts and St. Vincent. Known as the Nature Island of the Caribbean, Dominica has virtually no beaches but makes up for it with a rugged interior that climbs dramatically from the shoreline. Favorite excursions include hiking through a verdant rainforest to 100-foot Middleham Falls, or through the Valley of Desolation to Boiling Lake (both aptly-named). The island also has terrific diving, snorkeling, and kayaking, and is home to the Caribbean's last remaining community of indigenous Caribs.

Cabarete, Dominican Republic
Another eco-tourism gem gaining popularity, Cabarete will be a hot spot before long. It's one of the Caribbean's premier windsurfing and kiteboarding destinations, and numerous shops offer instruction in both sports, plus rentals and retail gear. You can learn to surf here, too, or book a mountain biking tour. The DR is also home to Pico Duarte, the Caribbean's highest peak at 10,417 feet. Tour operators in Cabarete offer guided ascents, which take two to four days—sunrise at the summit is sublime.

Published: 25 Mar 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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