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The Outdoor Traveler's Guide Caribbean

An excellent book covering outdoor activities in the Caribbean, but well worth a look by any visitor to the islands.

Review by Phil Stripling

Our copy is the first printing from 1989. Kay Showker has written the text; photographs are by Gerry Ellis. Unlike most guidebooks, our copy is printed on the slick paper used in fine art books, which shows the photographs to great effect.

This book lists the islands in geographical order from north to south, starting with Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and ending with the ABC islands, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. This arrangement is aggravating if you do not know the geography of the Caribbean, but it is very nice if you are visiting several islands in the same area. There is an excellent map of the Caribbean in the front of the book for reference if you find yourself confused about where to look for your destination.

There is an excellent introduction which deals briefly with the deceptive distances on Caribbean islands (tortuous, narrow roads on mountainsides take much longer to drive than North American or European drivers may estimate), changeable weather, security, and helpful additional reading. Each chapter is headed by a map of the island or islands covered. The maps in this book are the best we have seen; much better than the usual pen and ink drawings found in books with newsprint paper. In addition, each chapter has its own mini- table of contents. The author spends very little time on the island in general, but goes straight away into exploration of the island. The descriptions are accurate from our experience, although perhaps written under deadline with little personality showing through the prose. The photographs are outstanding, many with wit, all with charm. We have enjoyed paging through the book just looking at the photographs.

Although the book is aimed at persons who enjoy hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities, the descriptions of beaches, along with the photographs, make this book an excellent resource for event the most unregenerate beach chair lounger.

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