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Caribbean island dreams

Thinking of a Caribbean holiday, but struggling to choose which of these gorgeous islands to go for? Here's our run down of three favourites with top things to do and smart places to stay.

Grenada for a taste of adventure

Grenada is often referred to as the Spice Isle. It produces around a 5th of the world's nutmeg as well as fragrant cinnamon, cloves and mace. But the island's stunningly verdant interior isn't just given over to plantation crops. Grenada holidays are ideal for people who like a little activity in between their lazy days on the beach as there's a wealth of rainforest and waterfall-bedecked scenery to explore. The Grand Etang National Park offers hiking trails for all levels of walkers. The trails wind their way around the brooding waters of the vast crater-lake here taking in several waterfalls en route. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys and exotic birds scampering and flitting around the jungle canopy. Closer to the beach, there are several equally fascinating mangrove eco-systems to explore. There are designated kayaking trails that you can paddle around taking in the unusual bird and plant life and pristine protected beaches. Off-shore the coral reefs around Grenada provide plenty of underwater adventures for both snorkelers and divers.
Stay: The luxury all-inclusive resort of La Source Grenada is ideal for active holiday-types as it offers all sorts of activities free of charge including tennis, diving, golf and archery.

Antigua for beachy people

Whilst most Caribbean islands have stunning stretches of sugary sand, Antigua's are particularly good, so if you're a beach creature this friendly isle ticks all the boxes. Locals claim there are 365 beaches here – one for each day of the year. Just a few of these perfect spots of paradise are Dickenson Bay in the northwest which shelves gently into the sea and is perfect for kids, Half Moon Bay in the east which has great surf for the more adventurous and Long Bay which has a long fish-filled reef just off shore - so bring your facemask and snorkel. If you fancy seeing more of the sparkling undersea environment the diving around Antigua and sister island Barbuda is spectacular. Expect to see reefs thronging with brightly coloured fish and if you're lucky turtles too. It's a perfect spot for learning to dive with many of the reefs just a couple of metres below the surface. You don't have to spend all day on the beach on Antigua holidays though. St Johns the friendly capital has a busy market and attractively restored colonial buildings and on the south coast Nelson's Dockyard, the only surviving Georgian harbourside in the world offers a fascinating step back in time.
Stay: The stunning all-inclusive resort of Cocobay is set on the top of a headland with beautiful views and easy access to two lovely beaches.

Barbados for beach parties and off-shore breezes

Barbados holidays are perfect for people who like to party! The island is famous for its Crop Over festival and Congline Carnival and Bajan's love to have fun. Crop Over celebrates the end of the sugar harvest and one legendary by-product of all that sweet sugar cane is rum. You can find out more about the production of rum at the famous Mount Gay Rum Factory just outside the capital Bridgetown. And of course it would be rude not to sample some too! The perfect place for a sundowner rum punch and some seriously local party times is Oistin's Fish Fry. Every Friday locals young and old - and tourists too - head down to the beach at Oistin's to gossip, eat freshly fried fish and party with punch in hand. St Lawrence just nearby is the island's party capital packed with busy beachfront bars where you're guaranteed a good time. You'll also find some great offshore winds around the island which means it's become a bit of a mecca for windsurfing and sailing.
Stay: The Silver Sands is quiet and secluded but within easy reach of the action at St Lawrence. It's also well located for those offshore breezes, so ideal for windsurfing.

For the best last minute Caribbean holiday deals log on to www.virginholidays.co.uk.

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