Travelers can swim with tiger sharks in the Bahamas with operator Stuart Cove’s. // © 2016 Stuart Cove’s
First-time visitors to the Caribbean have a choice of many mainstream tour options with excellent operators. Favorite activities include catamaran cruises, ATV adventures, horseback riding, rum distillery tours, waterfall hikes and snorkeling excursions, among others. But repeat clients to the region may be looking for something a little different. Here are four tours that are guaranteed to shake things up.
Cruise Through Aruba on a Harley
Harley-Davidson Madness Tours of Aruba gets travelers out of their seats on a bus or van and onto the saddle of a hard-charging Harley Davidson motorcycle. During the four-hour excursion around the island of Aruba, guests cruise along mostly backroads in the company of a seasoned tour guide for an off-the-beaten-path experience and inside look at sites such as Alto Vista Chapel, California Lighthouse, Casibari Rock Formation, Frenchmen’s Pass, Baby Beach and the historic town of Savaneta.
Clients will need to have a valid motorcycle license or an endorsement on their driver’s license to ride. They should also be prepared to pay a $1,000 security deposit per motorcycle.
Get Face to Face With Crocodiles in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic’s Lake Enriquillo — located within the 1,840-square-mile UNESCO-designated Jaragua-Bahoruco-Enriquillo Biosphere Reserve — is home to the wild American crocodile, which can grow up to 20 feet in length. Adventurous travelers can show up at the saltwater lake, where a variety of local operators offer daily boat excursions that provide an up-close look at the creatures.
In addition, the boat trip will provide plenty of opportunities for birdwatching, as well as a chance to view rhinoceros iguanas when the vessel makes a stop at the lake’s Isla Cabritos.
Of note: This tour takes some effort to get to, since it’s offered in the western region of the country, a significant distance from tourism centers.
Swim With Tiger Sharks in Grand Bahama
Grand Bahama’s Tiger Beach gets its name from the abundance of sleek and predatory tiger sharks cruising the waters offshore. A number of operators offer shark dive excursions, but I recommend Stuart Cove’s, one of the most experienced.
With the company’s two-tank dive program, clients can observe sharks in the wild during a free-swim experience. During the second part of the dive — feeding time — guests kneel underwater on the sandy bottom to watch the frenzy while a professional shark feeder handles the bait box.
Race a Sailboat in St. Maarten
Clients can add a heaping measure of adrenaline to a sailing excursion by participating in the St. Maarten 12 Metre Challenge, which takes place on Philipsburg’s Great Bay. During the race against another team, they’ll crew on an authentic 39-foot (12-meter) America’s Cup sailboat and receive guidance from two experienced sailors as they work the grinders. Participation isn’t required, but as one of the landlubbers who partook in the challenge, I highly suggest it.
After the race, the teams convene dockside to toast with high-octane rum punch. I’d recommend this for small groups and as a team-building exercise.