This piece originally appeared on Travelandleisure.com.
The Caribbean is beloved for its beaches and top-notch hotels, but experiencing the region solely from the seat of a chaise lounge is a big mistake. With more than 7,000 islands—many with their own distinct cuisines, cultures, and characteristics—there’s much more to see than just sun and sand.
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From music festivals and food festivals to raucous street parties, the Caribbean has an unlikely richness not found in many other corners of the planet. Here are five fresh ideas for a Caribbean getaway, each of which guarantees a true taste of island life. And best of all, you can still stay somewhere that will guarantee pampering—such as these Caribbean hotels that guarantee a crowd-free vacation.