Summer 2020 has lasted approximately five years, so I, for one, am looking forward to changing leaves and oversized sweaters. However, for many people, the fall and winter months can lead to anxiety and seasonal depression. Studies have shown that a great way to prevent and even treat mental illness is to travel and experience new things. First-hand adventures can literally lift you out of your winter funk and reenergize you for everyday life.
For better or for worse, COVID-19 restrictions are loosening up, so this season may be the perfect time to get an extra dose of sunshine. Where better to do so than in the Caribbean? While cruises are still on hiatus, many islands in the Caribbean that are typically crowded with tourists have been dramatically affected by COVID-19, so not only would you have the luxury of enjoying a usually swarming region while it’s quiet, you would also be contributing some much-needed tourism revenue to an area that depends on it.
Not to mention the beauty and relaxation. The Caribbean offers beautiful and diverse landscapes, extraordinary cuisines, and underwater exploration like nowhere else in the world. From white sands to volcanic black sand and hiking to deep-sea diving, whatever your adventurous spirit is craving can be found in one of the beautiful spots of the Caribbean. There are dozens of islands to choose from, so why not treat yourself to a grand getaway on an island off the beaten path?
Turks and Caicos
Whether your dream vacation consists of snorkeling or spa days, this is the place to be. Even during high-season, beaches are often fairly empty, meaning you can imagine the peace of a deserted island, while also getting the pampered treatment of a private getaway. Private villas will allow you to find the peace you need, while bustling towns will satisfy any extroverted inclinations. As a collection of islands, Turks and Caicos is also a great place to island-hop if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy staying in one place for too long.
St. Lucia is a great option for anyone needing a mental health break now. Currently, St. Lucia is on the CDC’s No Travel Health Notice list, ranking the risk of exposure to COVID-19 very low. The beaches here are just as diverse as the activities, and the black, volcanic sand beach has been nicknamed “sugar beach” for the swirling colors found along the shore. For those looking to get away from the coast, hiking trails leading up volcanic terrain are plentiful in St. Lucia–you may even stumble upon a waterfall or two, straight out of your romantic fantasies.
If it’s good enough for Beyonce, it’s definitely good enough for the rest of us. St. Barts may be small, but its thriving yacht and designer shopping culture make this the go-to destination when you want to feel your star-power. This French island has undergone major renovations after the 2017 hurricane season, and they rebuilt with even more luxury and style. No matter which top tier resort you choose, you’re sure to be pampered while also enjoying the quiet and historic landscape.
This private island was made popular for celebrity and luxury tourists by none other than the late Princess Margaret. The princess was given a plot of land on Mustique as a wedding gift, and it has been known as a favorite hideaway for the royal family ever since — Prince William and Duchess Kate were lounging at Villa Antilles as recent as 2019. Even if you’re not royal, Mustique is a perfect, relaxing escape. The entire island is comprised of villas, and the population is less than 300, all of which work in the tourism industry in some way. Guests can book their own private villa, ensuring they never have to see another guest, except perhaps on the tennis courts or while horseback riding along the shore. For those also looking to escape the paparazzi, Mustique prides themselves on full-time round the clock island security. All guests must check-in when they arrive, and no unauthorized visitors are allowed, making this one of the safest private island getaways you can enjoy.
What are you waiting for?
Turn off the news and unplug this winter for a few days — or weeks — enjoying what the Caribbean has to offer. Dive down below warm blue waters to visit with marine life or climb high into rainforest terrains scattered with volcanic peaks. Whether your best form of medicine is to reconnect with the earth or reconnect with yourself with a little infinity pool meditation, the Caribbean is waiting for you.
Meet the Writer!
Taylor Fox is a New York-based travel and food writer, specializing in the impact of food within culture.
Learn more about Taylor at TaylorPerezFox.