From humble beach shacks to high-end dining, the food scene in the Caribbean is among the most exciting in the world. With this in mind, YachtCharterFleet rounds up six of the best Caribbean islands for culinary adventures aboard a luxury charter yacht.
The Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures and these international influences, from Europe and America to Asia and the Middle East, all feature heavily in the region's cooking alongside delicious home-grown specialities.
Add to this the abundant supply of seafood, freshly-picked tropical fruits and tantalizing spices, and you have a varied, vibrant and wonderfully flavour-packed cuisine. What's more, whether you're after classical fine dining or a street food snack on your charter vacation, the Caribbean has it covered.
In recent years, Puerto Rico has been carving out a reputation for itself as the culinary capital of the Caribbean and, combining Spanish, American and First Nation influences, its ever-evolving food scene is unlike any other in the region.
Pork and peppers feature heavily on dinner plates throughout the island, with roast pig on a spit a particular favourite. But yacht-goers after a more exclusive dining experience will not be disappointed with the choice of first-rate restaurants in the capital city of San Juan.
Spearheaded by Michelin-starred chef Juan Jose Cuevas, 1919 Restaurant offers contemporary fine dining with locally sourced produce, while award-winning Augusto’s Cuisine is popular among the city’s elite and Santaella serves up modern Puerto Rican fare in industrial-chic surrounds.
Away from the city, a tantalizing array of fried snacks can be sampled at roadside stalls. It’s definitely worth stepping ashore to try out the coconut arepas, beef-filled plantains known as piononos and bacalaítos, a mix of pancake dough and salted cod.
An island of two personalities, this Leeward Islands gem has a diverse array of dishes to sample from classical European cuisine to West Indian curries. But, with more than 400 restaurants spread across the island's 37 square meters, it can be hard deciding where to book a table.
Grand Case, located in the French part of Saint Martin, is home to many upscale waterfront restaurants, including the Bistrot Caraibes, where monster-size lobsters, smoked duck breast salad and braised red snapper with creamy saffron mussel sauce are bestsellers on the menu.
Delicious food thrives in the Dutch side of St Maartin too, with unmissable eateries in Cupecoy and Simpson Bay and the numerous road-side barbecue stands known locally as lolos.
Don’t set sail without trying a tipple of the local Guavaberry liqueur, made from oak-aged rum, cane sugar and a rare berry harvested from bushes that grow in the central highlands of the island.
The French-inspired cuisine served in the elegant waterfront eateries of St Lucia is as spectacular as the surroundings. This is high praise indeed, considering the island’s remarkable natural beauty.
For a table with a view, try out the world-renowned restaurant Dasheene where classic St Lucian dishes such as roast conch in a yam basket can be enjoyed against the stunning backdrop of the Pitons, the island’s famous twin peaks.
Or, take the superyacht tender to the Rainforest Hideaway, located in the idyllic conservation area of Marigot Bay. Boasting a menu of Creole-infused European food, the magical waterside spot can only be accessed by boat – perfect for luxury yacht-goers.
Despite a plethora of fine dining opportunities, discerning travellers should not shy away from local delicacies such as the national dish of salt fish and green fig, a stew of dried salted codfish and boiled green banana.
Classic St Lucian dishes such as roast conch in a yam basket can be enjoyed against the stunning backdrop of the Pitons
The award-winning dining scene on the tiny British isle of Anguilla has rapidly transformed from ‘culinary backwater to gastronomic paradise’, satisfying the palates of the jetset subset who holiday here.
For an island of its small size, there is a surprisingly large variety of cuisine on offer, ranging from some of the finest Italian and French food to five-star beach shacks serving freshly-caught grilled lobster and crayfish dripping with buttery sauces.
Blanchards, an upscale eatery in Meads Bay, is renowned for its creative and eclectic menu, Mango's in Barnes Bay is a favourite thanks to its fish specialities, and Harbour Island’s Hibernia Restaurant rustles up unorthodox yet delectable culinary pairings.
A thriving street food scene, however, is a mainstay of the island’s local culture and charm. Beachside barbecues and roadside carts cook up traditional local flavours such as deep-fried fritters, soursop – also known as prickly custard apple - and Anguilla Johnny Cakes.
As one of the world’s most chic and sophisticated destinations, it’s no surprise that St Barts is home to delectable, five-star dining. Most menus feature freshly caught fish and top-quality ingredients shipped in from Paris and sensational wine lists are guaranteed.
The red-roofed capital of Gustavia is home to a fine selection of restaurants. Among the best are French establishment Le Sapotillier, the happening harbour-side offering La Guerite and Maya’s Restaurant, which is renowned for its eclectic Creole cuisine.
Those who prefer dining beach-side should try out On the Rocks, which serves up gourmet classics overlooking the idyllic Bay of St Jean, and Christian Liaigre-designed Le Restaurant des Pecheurs on Grand Cul de Sac beach.
Reservations are a must over the Christmas period as is sampling the island’s signature drink. Named ‘ti punch’, the rum concoction is similar to a Brazilian Caipirinha.
Trinidad and Tabago offers a culinary adventure like no other, ensuring travellers never go hungry
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tabago offers a culinary experience like no other. A rich mix of African, Indian, Chinese, European and Middle Eastern influences, the variety of food on offer is jam-packed with flavours and sure to satisfy even the fussiest of eaters.
The easily-accessible street food culture in Trinidad is arguably the best in the region, with edible offerings ranging from roti, jerk meats and Creole corn soup to spicy chow dishes, coconut jelly and home-made ice cream.
Eat like a local and head to St James in the Port of Spain, which is abuzz with vendors selling their freshly cooked fare. More elite dining is to be had, however, at the benchmark-setting Mediterranean restaurant Aioli, upscale Indian eatery Apsara or, for the best steaks and most impressive wine cellar on the island, Prime Restaurant.
Tobago likewise has its share of upmarket eateries, including the romantic Kariwak Village Restaurant, Italian La Tartaruga and Blue Crab Restaurant, which serves up hearty creole dishes.