She-Travels.com: What To Expect When You Visit The West Indies
What should you expect as a woman who has NEVER planted her freshly pedicured feet onto West Indian soil? Truthfully, there isn't much to tell you other than what you have already speculated and Googled about the Caribbean its colourful history, and fun locals, It's hot 365 days of the year! That's PRICELESS!
Our goal is to help you open your minds eye and cultural appetite to the true magic and laid back atmosphere of the Caribbean and all of its treasures. Having said that, we have not been to every Caribbean destination, (1 year plan), but some things are common throughout the West Indies. Such as the undeniable heat, a variety of cultures meshed into one creating a cultural smorgasbord. There are many international influences, by explorers who are long gone, having left behind a rich not-so-always-pleasant history, but nevertheless, history. You will definitely see people who look like you, if we want to delve into the colour of ones skin tone etc.), because it's more than black in the Caribbean.
And what about those accents, which can sound like music and at times a riddle to dissect, dynamic landscapes, tantalizing cuisine, and well, whatever else it can throw at you, the visitor/traveller. And with all these cultures, delicious cuisine utilizing the bounty of the land & sea, fresh herbs, sweet varieties of fruits, that North America imports and sells to you for outlandish prices, and a symphony of beautiful people(I can't stop stressing that enough). A destinations people are their greatest resource
As a woman travelling to and throughout the West Indies the same basic rules applies no matter where you may roam in terms of respect for other cultures, use commonsense-if a situation or visited area just does not feel good to you, maintain modesty- it's not about walking the streets in swimwear, adhere to the laws of the land, and be kind to your hosts. Many times I'm saddened by visitors from abroad and their limited acceptance and respect to others. As a visitor to the Caribbean, you will absolutely see many things that just does not work especially with where you are from. At times like this it is not up to you to cause an international uproar about a cow tied to a tree in a farmers field etc. You take it for what it is, Island Life, and move on.
Many years ago I read a visitors review about her trip to St.Lucia, and I was amazed as to this womans' small-mindedness. She went on about "shacks at the side of the road, there were no convenience stores adjacent or close proximity to the hotel, she did not expect that many ethnic people, the sand was too sandy, the food too spicy, she had to walk 5 minutes to the beach from the hotel etc." Ridiculous is what I thought as I read on as to other travellers expressing their distaste for 'IslandLife', because their version of what was to be expected as seen via brochures and tourism commercials had totally muddled their mindset. And then there are those who embark on such a tropical/lifestyle adventure that minds cannot cope with the fabulousness of it all!
REMEMBER: THE WEST INDIES IS NOT NORTH AMERICA or EUROPE etc. - Though it may seem that many are trying to make it so. That's not to say that some things cannot improve, but it's just a different way of life.
Before you travel to the West Indies, may I suggest:
- Conduct your own research - find a local on the island IF you can
- Expect heat (that goes without saying)
- Expect lots of traffic
- Expect car horns blown
- Expect loud music playing (depends on location)
- Expect greetings (Good morning, good afternoon etc.)
- Expect extra attention(you are a woman)
- Expect men whistling at you
- Expect friendly people (sometimes)
- Expect different attitudes laid back everything
- Expect stray dogs(this is Island life)
- Expect THE BEST food and fruit stalls along the roadside
- Expect to see farm animals possibly tied to trees(farmers do at times tie their cows and goes etc.to avoid theft)
- Expect to to see poverty and wealth
- Expect fun and total merriment
- Expect fetes (parties)
- Expect your taste buds to fall in love with tastes so unreal
- Expect that you will calculate everything in your head converting money
- Expect the push to want to relocate because your time was THAT enjoyable
- Expect ATTENTION.
Do remember - YOU ARE BUT A VISITOR - YOUR VISIT WILL END AND YOU WILL RETURN TO YOUR HOME. JUST ENJOY YOUR TIME AND LEAVE WITH AWESOME MEMORIES!