Why the Caribbean will put a smile on your face

It was almost twenty years ago when I first visited the Caribbean. I travelled in the most basic of ways, as a student on a cheap and bumpy flight, carrying nothing but a backpack that contained all my earthly possessions and with a huge smile on my face as I contemplated the adventure I was about to take.  I walked off the plane to a deafening noise that I found to be San Jose and it felt like I had stepped into an alternate life – one that was loud, dusty and stifling hot.

Caribbean tropical island with turquoise waters Image by Darren Lawrence from Pixabay
Caribbean tropical island with turquoise waters Image by Darren Lawrence from Pixabay

I remember my smile faltering as I realised I was terrified.

My first night in the city centre hotel was no better; I barely slept a wink as cockroaches climbed the walls and sang in unison around me.  My hands shook the next morning as I paid the bill and feeling less confident than before I slung my backpack on my shoulders and headed out to the bus to pastures new.

Then I hit the Caribbean coast and happiness wrapped itself around me like a bear hug, serenity came crashing towards me in the form of incredible surfing waves, the sun brought calmness on its rays and my smile returned.

I checked into my basic, but clean hotel on the beach and headed out to the shore.  Unfolding my towel I lay and stared at the blue ocean with different eyes and eventually the weariness from the night before caught up with me and I started to doze.  I remember when I woke I had a companion on my towel – a foot long Iguana had spotted the luxury of my spot and had silently crept on and joined me.  When I let out a little squeal of surprise, he simply blinked one eye picked up his four feet and wandered off.

The overriding memory of my first Caribbean holiday was the rain forests.  If you have not had the pleasure of visiting a Costa Rican rain forest I simply urge you to go.  Imagine being stood in a dense forest, where the heat of the sun is covered by a roof of leaves, around you is an urban silence, no cars, no machinery, no chatter from the street.  In front of you are a gang of monkeys, leaping from tree to tree, and through the foliage sneaks a myriad of wildlife just waiting to be discovered.

It is breath-taking.

I have been to the Caribbean many times since my first encounter all those moons ago and it never fails to fill me with radiance, the beauty of the different Caribbean countries is astounding and leaves images firmly implanted in your brain that never fade.

Now, luckily, I don’t travel in quite the same way and I have never stayed in a cockroach infested hotel since, for those looking to explore the Caribbean I would recommend looking into booking a Caribbean cruise deal so you can experience a range of countries and cultures in one trip. I delighted in sharing memories of countries I had already seen when I took a cruise with my husband and together we made some terrific new memories of sights I had never before seen.

The Caribbean – guaranteed to make you smile.

Join the Conversation


  1. Caribbean is such an amazing place to put a smile on your face and will give a happy heart too. I really like your blog about Caribbean. Thanks for the share!

  2. says: Gabriel

    Haha, that is awesome. I’m in the Dominican Republic now and I’ve waken up to a small lizard falling off a tree onto my face but couldn’t imaging seeing a full sized iguana as my eyes open lol.

  3. says: Bastiaan

    I can totally relate to your feelings about the Caribbean. I have lived on an island called Aruba for 7 months and I really loved it… The relaxed lifestyle, the always smiling people and the beautiful beaches. I am really happy that next year I will go back to Caribbean and to South America to do a lot of volunteering (and of course learn Spanish).

  4. There is nothing like the view of a Caribbean beach. Well…. maybe that feeling of jumping in the crystal clear water. We are currently on Barbados, so we should know!

  5. says: Vid

    Amazing post- we haven’t been to the Caribbean so far, but your job did a good job of tempting us 🙂

  6. My first experience with the Caribbean was a cruise my hubby and I took 7 moths ago – We both fell in love. I would love to spend more time exploring the islands, spending weeks there, not just days. It is definitely a little piece of heaven on earth.

  7. says: Kasauli

    Caribbean is such a tremendous place to place a smile on your face and can provides a happy heart too. i actually like your journal concerning Caribbean. Thanks for the share….. Anglican Church Kasauli

  8. I love the Caribbean. It was the first time I had ever visited a tropical location. It made me think that I could go out and visit all the islands in the world. It was one of my first big travel dreams and it was always great how close it was to Texas. That made everything more real and I always love looking back and thinking about all the great beaches and how many times I just found a place to lay down and take a nap. Good memories and inspiration.

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