“Go outside and get some fresh air!” Who among us doesn’t remember a parent, or grandparent, hollering these words to us as children? And while Ralph Waldo Emerson may have said it more eloquently, “Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air”, the message is the same: nature is a healthy tonic, and the beach is the perfect place to drink it all in. Maybe this is why so many of us choose to live in Cyprus. But as we all know the winter months can often be cold and wet.
How is it that sunshine makes us happy? Why does it feel so good to be barefoot in the sand? And just what is it about beach air that fills us with such contentment? Turns out that sun, sand and surf is indeed a medicinal elixir of sorts, with the science to back it up.
Take sunshine. More than just boosting our body’s essential vitamin D production (only 10 minutes of sunshine a day generates your daily dose, but remember the sunscreen please!), natural light regulates our melatonin and serotonin, too. As soon as our eyes greet daylight, our serotonin awakens, too…and oh how we love that happy, feel good hormone!
Sand and surf play an important role in keeping body and spirit healthy, too. Walking barefoot in the sand not only stimulates the 3,000 to 7,000 never endings in each foot, it also strengthens the muscles in your feet and boosts cardio—and of course the cardio exercise boosts the serotonin, which makes us happy, so you see where we’re going with this.
The simple act of breathing in sea air relieves stress (more serotonin!) and helps us sleep better, too. So for anyone in need of a little “beach therapy” (and let’s be honest, aren’t we all?!), we’ve compiled a snapshot of some the beach destinations visited during Caribbean Cruises this winter that will certainly entice you to heed the words of our elders and Mr. Emerson.
Turks & Caicos, Grand Turk
The crystalline water of Grace Bay is breathtaking, the sand a pure, powdery white, and the coral reef off shore simply spectacular.
St. Barts, French West Indies
Island of celebrity hideaways and posh bungalows, considered by many to be the most elite and glamorous of all the Caribbean isles, St. Barts is home to 22 incredible beaches! Head to Anse de Flamanes for scenery, Baie de St-Jean for its beachside bistros, and Anse de Grand Cul-de-Sac for its watersports.
St. Kitts, West Indies
Pick a color! St. Kitts is known for its exotic black sand beaches—visit Pump Bay to snorkel or the palm-lined Dieppe Bay Beach to bask in the sunshine. For seclusion on a stretch of powder-white sand, Cockleshell Bay Beach offers excellent views of sister isle Nevis, home to the rustic Pinneys Beach, where stunning saffron-colored sands line the shoreline.
Virgin Gorda, British West Indies
The Baths are the showcase beach here, a breathtaking spot where pure white sands anchor huge granite boulders and punctuated by shady trees, caves and grottos.
Grand Cayman, British West Indies
Lined with grand hotels and cafés, Seven Mile Beach consistently ranks at the top of every “Best Beach” poll. Snorkel right from the beach, or just find the perfect spot to dig your toes into the sand.
Guadeloupe, French West Indies
Secluded and situated on the tiny island of Terre-de-Haut,, Les Saintes Bay is recognized by UNESCO as one of the Most Beautiful Bays in the world.
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Cameras ready? Nestled in a deep cove of brilliant waters surrounded by green hills, the mile-long beach at Magens Bay is among the most photogenic in all of the USVI.
Of course, all of this beach therapy is prescribed with a healthy side of good service and great food aboard your favorite ship, where feasts, festivities and more relaxation will renew your spirit.
Barbados, West Indies
Lively calypso beats, stunning natural wonders and some of the world’s best beaches make Barbados a favourite Caribbean island. From the star-studded Platinum Coast to the family-friendly all-inclusives and local fish-fry celebrations, this island has something for everyone.
Antigua, West Indies
Where life’s a beach every day…With zip-lines tours, island safaris and breathtaking mountain lookout points, Antigua boasts thrills for the most intrepid traveller. Beach bums will be just as happy: this lively island has 365 gorgeous beaches.
Saint Lucia, West Indies
Home to the dramatic Pitons, pristine beaches and divine sunsets, a romantic energy oozes from St Lucia. Rainforest treks please the adventurers, while ‘jump up’ parties make for a vibrant nightlife. Foodies flock here for cocoa plantation tours and tasty Creole cuisine.