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10 Top Places to Camp/Glamp in the Caribbean

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When you’re ready to take a siesta from the sea and stay a few nights onshore, consider camping at one of the Caribbean’s many camping spots. There is everything from bare spots to pitch your own tent in an idyllic beach or mountain setting to more elegant or glamping (glamorous camping) spots that feature cottages with many amenities. Here’s a sampling of nine nifty spots to camp or glamp in the Caribbean.

1. Green Castle Estate, Jamaica.

There’s a 12-room hotel, plus plenty of places to camp on this 1600 acre estate of unspoiled rainforest on the island’s northeast coast. “Camp options are anywhere from a private beach to reservoir to river to hills. For example, next to the Blue Hole, Mingo Falls, an Ancient Spanish Tower with timbers that pre-date Columbus landfall in 1494, an ancient Taino Indian settlement carbon-dated to 900 AD, on clifftops all with fabulous views of the ocean and the Blue Mountain range with many endemic birds and Jamaican wildlife for company. All the above are without setting foot on any public road,” says owner, Richard Padgett. There is access to shower and toilet facilities and good Wi-Fi. Bring your own tent. Tent sites $29 per night. www.gcjamaica.com

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Credit Gerardo Monge
Credit Gerardo Monge

2. Hacienda Monte Rey Campground, Puerto Rico.

The lush green foliage and lazy river waters make this 40-acre property near the town of Luquillo, Puerto Rico, a perfect campsite. “It’s a unique camping experience because all of the campsites are within the walking distance of 50 feet or less of the Sabana River,” says owner/manager, Gerardo Monge. Up to 40 people can camp here at one time, with groups of 2 to 4 people paying $45 per night. There’s a bathroom and picnic tables. There’s also an Airbnb here call Villa del Rio. Nearby are hiking trails, the Las Paylas waterfalls, and the El Yunque National Rain-forest. www.facebook.com/haciendamonterey

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Credit Wikimedia Commons
Credit Wikimedia Commons

3. Flamenco Beach Campground, Culebra.

There is room for 400-plus tents in Culebra, Puerto Rico’s shady shoreside just behind this mile-long north shore beach consistently rated one of the most beautiful in the world. However, you won’t usually find nearly this many except during the Easter holiday and summer. The campground is government-run. There’s an entrance office to register and pay the fee of $30 per night to pitch a tent. While no open fires are permitted, there are grill pits and gas stoves are allowed. Plus nearby kiosks sell pizza, chicken, burgers, water and even piña coladas. Other amenities include picnic tables, fresh-water showers, and restrooms. For information, call (787) 742-0700.

4. Virgin Islands Campground, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Located on Water Island, a 10-minute ferry ride from the Crown Bay Marina, in St. Thomas, this eco-friendly resort features tent-cottages that start at $149 per night. “Each cottage has an ocean view terrace with all the amenities of a hotel room and is a five-minute walk to Honeymoon Beach,” says Deborah Quade, owner and general manager. “Each is set amongst lush foliage offering privacy and cool trade winds that lull you to sleep.” There’s a beach bar and food truck at the beach, but otherwise, stock up on food in St. Thomas to cook in the communal kitchen. www.virginislandscampground.com

5. Camp St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Rent a tent by the newly rehabilitated Sugar Mill at the former Susannaberg Plantation off Centerline Road on St. John. The birds-eye view stretches from the bright white North Shore beaches of the Virgin Islands National Park to the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and the Atlantic Ocean beyond to the north. Tents start at $75 per night. On-property facilities include bathrooms with running water, an outdoor cold-water camp shower, community power source, plus community cookware like an electric griddle, cooler, silverware, stocked coffee station and dishwashing supplies. The Windmill Bar on the property at Neptune’s Lookout is the perfect place for a cold drink. campstjohn.com

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6. Ivan’s Stress-Free Bar & Guest Houses, British Virgin Islands.

The campground at this idyllic stretch of White Bay beach on Jost Van Dyke is still under repair from the double hurricanes of 2017, but there is a quaint beach cabin here that offers all the ambiance of a tent on the sands with a few more frills like a hot plate, microwave and coffee maker. Another cabin and tent spots are planned for the future. The on-property bar serves up cocktails and grilled entrees cooked to order. There are several other beach bars, restaurants and watersports rentals within walking distance down the beach. www.facebook.com/ivansstressfreebarjvd 

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7. Anegada Beach Club, British Virgin Islands.

Glamping is the spot-on way to describe these glamorous upscale camping accommodations on this easternmost BVI. There’s beachfront, surfside and ocean view palapa’s furnished with a king-sized canopy bed, indoor bathroom with hot shower and hairdryer, and decks furnished with chairs and hammocks. One palapa even boasts an extra deck with two bathtubs overlooking the beach. Wi-Fi is available. Rates start at $335 per night. A hotel, restaurant and kitesurfing school and rentals are also on the property. anegadabeachclub.com/palapa-retreats

8. Wild Lotus Camp, Antigua.

Step out of your luxury Lotus Belle tent and straight onto the sands of beautiful Valley Church bay beach on the island’s southwest coast. Tents are erected each November for the season ahead and bathrooms with solar showers are also installed. Inside each tent are antique brass beds and solid oak furniture in a light bright décor. Many people come here for curated natural-based therapies, and activities such as sunrise beach yoga, African cardio-drumming sessions and hikes to a lush rainforest canopy for a massage. Beach BBQs are legendary. Rates start at $400-plus. www.wildlotusglamping.com

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9. Camping Barbados, Barbados.

Choose from one of two campsites. The South Coast location is a large open grass site with roomy tent pitches, private facilities, a fire pit and sea views. The Tropical Forest campsite is off-the-beaten-track for a fully immersive experience in nature with plenty of hiking and nature trails nearby for exploring. Bring your own tent or rent one already pitched, with prices starting at $10 per night. The company also offers several Urban Glamping and Secret Garden tent pitches hosted by local families. Each has hot water showers, an electric hook up, a kitchen area and full-size beds. Some also have pools. www.campingbarbados.com

10. BigO’s Ranch, Trinidad.

Located in the wildly beautiful area of Las Cuevas on the island’s northern shore, this campsite is within a 50-minute hike to the Rincon Waterfall and 1-mile to Las Cuevas Beach. Facilities include two toilets, an outdoor shower, running water, a wash basin and a river near the back of the property. “Being at BigO’s Ranch allows you to experience rugged camping without having to be in the middle of nowhere to do so,” says owner/manager, Jason Gooding. “Only 8 minutes away from Maracas Bay, you can swing by Sam’s Mini-Mart and buy all of the necessities in case you forgot to bring them.” Overnight rates start at $60 per person. www.facebook.com/BigOsRanch/

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Carol M. Bareuther, RD, is a St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands based marine writer and registered dietitian.

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