Though it's hard to imagine a trip to the Caribbean involving lying in the sand with a book and a cocktail, the region’s diverse landscape calls for plenty of adrenaline-pumping adventures beyond the sand. From exploring dark bat caves to swimming with sharks in crystal blue waters, these action-packed Caribbean escapades are guaranteed to satisfy thrill seekers.
Hiking Into a Bat Cave in Trinidad
More than 1,000 feet above sea level, the summit of Mount Tamana is the highest point in Trinidad’s Central Range. Not only will visitors get beautiful views of the island’s Northern and Southern ranges, they’ll also be able to encounter Tamana’s intricate cave system and the countless bats living inside them, including some with one-foot wingspans. Full-day expeditions are offered to give explorers the thrill of a lifetime.
Phosphorescent Kayaking in Puerto Rico
During the day, Laguna Grande in the Cabezas Nature Reserve in Fajardo (an hour’s drive from San Juan) looks like a classic picturesque Puerto Rican coastline. At night, however, the lagoon is illuminated by bioluminescent dinoflagellates, single-celled organisms that emit a flash of light when agitated. Take a guided nighttime tour along the Laguna Grande for an illuminated, magical adventure.
Rappelling Into Canyons in Dominica
The tropical rain forest of Dominica—with seven volcanoes, 5,000-foot mountains and the enormous Boiling Lake hot spring—is a dream location for adventure seekers. A trek to Boiling Lake involves the island’s most exciting activity: canyoning, a combination of hiking, rappelling down waterfalls and plunging into the water wearing a wet suit, helmet and harness. Take part in Extreme Dominica's four-hour excursion for the most thrilling watersport of all.
Papillote Rd., Shawford, Dominica; extremedominica.com
Night Diving in Bermuda
Though technically not in the Caribbean Sea, Bermuda is part of CARICOM, a political alliance of Caribbean nations. It is also ripe with diving opportunities. With more than 300 shipwrecks and one of the healthiest coral-reef systems in the world, the island offers night excursions at Dive Bermuda, located in the picturesque waterside property of Grotto Bay Beach resort. Head down for a different view of the undersea world.
11 Blue Hole Hill, Hamilton, Bermuda; bermudascubagrottobay.com
Snorkeling With Humpback Whales
The Silver Bank, a region in the Atlantic between Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic, is filled with humpback whales. Following the mating and calving season—between January and March—snorkelers can dive into the water and swim with 10- to 12-foot calves while their mothers watch from below, guided by instruction and using inflatable rafts to ensure safety and respect for the privacy of the animals.
Hashing in Grenada
Beyond Grenada’s famous beaches lies an enchanting world of mountains, waterfalls and tropical forests. One unique way to explore inland Granada is to take part in a jungle “hash,” a noncompetitive group walk or run on a scenic trail. Started in 1938 by a group of colonial British soldiers looking to run off the booze they consumed one weekend, hashes have since evolved into a local tradition.
Swimming With Sharks in the Bahamas
Considered a shark diving mecca, the Bahamas is a favorite of visitors looking to swim with a variety of toothy species. Tiger Beach is the most popular location, and if you arrive at the right time of year you’ll be surrounded by lemon sharks, tiger sharks and perhaps even hammerheads within just 20 feet. What a scream.
Alice Town, North Bimini, Bahamas, biminiscubacenter.com/tigerbeach
Swimming Through a Tunnel in Jamaica
With its rich and varied terrain, Jamaica is home to many under-the-radar adventure sites, including Mayfield Falls. Less than two hours from Montego Bay, Mayfield Falls offers a series of more than 20 cascades and waterfalls, as well as an underwater tunnel. This natural spa is one of Jamaica’s hidden gems and unknown (for now) to most travelers.
3254 Norman Manley Blvd., Negril, Jamaica, viator.com