I shadowed the brakes a little, just to get the opportunity to ‘interview’ one of the many business owners providing services at night. I approached the first storefront to squeeze the fruits to make sure they are ripe but was forbidden by my host. I hailed ‘waa gwaan’ to the store owner and to my surprise she asked ‘yaa Jamaican?’ with light in her eyes. ‘Yea Man’ I said and we had a quick chat. She was so happy to see me, a real yaad man, that she volunteered to give me all her fruits for that night. Too bad I wasn’t hungry. I noted however, that business is booming in Barbados.
Tasting new and exotic fruits is not the primary reason to visit other Caribbean countries. In fact most people who visit don’t even know these fruits exist. The experience of visiting other Caribbean countries, however, are good enough to warrant consideration for your next vacation.
We have been increasing internal tourism due to the pandemic and this has given some hope to the tourism industry. It demonstrates the variations in experience we can have right here at home. Even within Jamaica, there is enough difference in cultural norms and dialect to give us a new feel every time we plan a road trip. The point essentially is that you do not need to visit a continent to have a good time.
What its Like to Visit Other Islands
The Caribbean countries are bonded by similar historical backgrounds. With that said, it is the expectation that we will share a variety of cultural norms. We do. we also recognize that we have strength in numbers and for decades we have been pushing for more integration. We have the University of the West Indies, the West Indies Cricket Team and of course we push for the Caribbean Court of Justice in lieu of the Privy Council. Visiting another Caribbean country is therefore expected to make you feel right at home. Then why visit?
Throughout my University life, I’ve met hundreds of Caribbean nationals and they rave about their countries. For example: They rant about the quality and variety of their food. They rant about the low crime rate. They rant about their free access to all beaches, which are of high quality. They event criticize the quality of our taxi service. Well, I can’t argue with the last one. Since then I’ve made several trips to other Caribbean countries so I can refute or support these claims.
It may be unfair to group all the other Caribbean countries in one category but we could talk about food for days. To summarize, the claims are true, there is significant variety in food, especially in Trinidad and Tobago. Rice and peas is not a thing, as it is here in Jamaica. If you are ever in Barbados, Try the King fish steak! The highlight of my food experience I must say is having doubles at Curepe in Trinidad. Spectacular!
Of course you can stream music from anywhere, but experiencing music from the point of origin hits different. Friends make annual pilgrimage to Trinidad for carnival for the best carnival experience. They take it quite seriously as it is big business there. I’ve also heard grand reviews of the poker run boat parties in the British Virgin Islands. Interestingly, listening the radio in other islands provides evidence of the penetration of Jamaican music and culture.
The Women…. and men?
Variety is the spice of life they say, so, if you need a different flavor, feel free to hop over to another island. It is also important to note that given the small population size of these islands, it is ideal to add diversity to the genetic pool to minimize the incidence of birth defects. Save the world gentlemen. Statistic also show that Jamaican women offer jackets when its not winter and bun when you’re not hungry. You may have better luck elsewhere. For me, I’ll take the risk in Jamaica 🤞🏾.
The best beaches in Jamaica require payments to enter. Even beaches on the south coast that aren’t so great require an entry fee. I’ve visited the beaches in other Caribbean countries, and I am yet to pay a cent. It is indeed true what they said.
The disadvantage of visiting other Caribbean countries is the ticket cost. It is surprisingly more expensive to purchase tickets to other Caribbean countries versus visiting the USA. Had the cost been more reasonable I would definitely visit more often. St Vincent and the Grenadines and a few others are on the list of Caribbean countries to visit soon. I’ll be sure to update here.