Last updated: 12:56 PM ET, Sat January 02 2016

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  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | January 2, 2016 12:56 PM ET

    Top 5 Caribbean Islands For Active Adventures

    Top 5 Caribbean Islands For Active Adventures

    PHOTO: Martinque view with Mt. Pelee in the distance. (photos by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates)

    The Caribbean Islands are famous for sunny climates and laid back attitudes that encourage lounging on beaches and swaying in hammocks. But what about the adrenaline junkies and gym rats? Does landing on a pretty slip of sand mean you're doomed to move the least amount of muscle possible? Does Caribbean adventure involve more than swimming, snorkeling and chasing after rum drinks?  Yes it does. Despite its relaxed reputation, the Caribbean offers lots of chances to get active and burn off energy — you just have to know where to go. Here's my list for the islands with the best active adventures:

    1. Jamaica

    PHOTO: Port Antonio River, Jamaica.

    With a diverse landscape of beaches, mountains, rivers and rainforests, the “land of wood and water” supplies non-stop adventure. And there's something for every level of ability. Low-key travelers might try rafting the Rio Grande in Port Antonio or caving in Runaway Bay. The more adventurous might enjoy biking the Blue Mountains, cliff jumping in Negril, or hiking through the island's endless valleys and rainforests.

    2. St. Lucia

    PHOTO: Gros Piton, St. Lucia.

    Towering twin-peak mountains and a drive-through volcano provide just a few of the many adventures available on this gorgeous island. On the southern tip of the island, you can find some of the region's best kite surfing as well as paintball and ATV riding. Explore further into the interior at Anse Chastanet where you can jungle bike and hike nature trails. Reach deep into your energy reserves to scale the volcanic mountains of the Gros and Petit Pitons. Gros Piton towers at 2,579 feet and Petit Piton comes in at 2,425. Both are challenging, if scenic climbs.

    3. St. Kitts

    Hilly terrain, scores of wild monkeys and a dormant volcano give St. Kitts lots of adventure options. Biking through the capital of Basseterre supplies a scenic ride as well as challenges if you venture out to the hills and fields of the surrounding area. A hike through the rain forest with the Sky Safari zip line tour ups the ante with five increasingly high platforms to climb and soaring views of the island and the resident monkeys. For an extreme excursion, climbing Mt. Liamuiga, a rugged volcano at 3,792 feet, is the ultimate challenge. Locals don’t call it Mount Misery for nothing.

    4. Puerto Rico

    San Juan captivates everyone who visits but beyond the historic city streets, Puerto Rico provides a host of adrenaline-pumping activities. Head to El Yunque rain forest for an invigorating hike through lush terrain and waterfalls and listen for the chirpy sounds of the coqui tree frogs. Try spelunking in Angels Cave or Rio Camuy Cave Park and then cool off in the natural pools. Surfing in Rincon, where waves reach 35 feet, is a popular option but the highlight of a Puerto Rico adventure is kayaking on the glowing Bioluminescent Bay.

    5. Martinique

    The belle of the Caribbean offers more than just picturesque scenes and gourmet experiences. Hop on a cycling tour of Fort de France and see the bustling city from wheels. For the first time in 14 years, the historic Fort St. Louis, which remains an active naval base, is open for tours. Climb the 17th century walls of the sprawling fort and grab some of the best views the island. Canyoning through the island’s gorges and volcanic landscape is a standout activity, as well as hiking Martinque’s 31 nature trails. Kayaking in glass bottom boats and windsurfing are also popular options.

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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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