Chalky Mount, a prominent natural landmark along the East Coast Road in Barbados. Photo by Above Barbados

Issue 163 (March/April 2021)

It’s been a full year since our last print issue — but Caribbean Beat is back in print and on board Caribbean Airlines flights! And of course, you can continue to read the digital replica of the magazine online (see below)!

In this issue, we head out to explore Trinidad’s north coast by hiking trail; learn about the musical rhythms that animate Santiago, Cuba’s second city; and consider three itineraries for a Barbados road trip. Also, meet T&T’s iconic novelist Merle Hodge and St Lucia’s most medalled athlete, Levern Spencer. Plus our usual coverage of Caribbean music, culture, and more!

National Heroes Square at the heart of Bridgetown. Photo by Agf Sri/Alamy Stock Photo

Barbados by road | Explore

Barbados is world-famous for its spectacular beaches — but when you’re ready to experience the rest of the island’s natural beauty and cultural riches, there’s no better way than a road trip. A full gas tank, your favourite playlist, and good vibes are all you need to enjoy these three itineraries

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Just south of Paria Bay, a short hike into the forest, the river takes a plunge at Paria Falls. Photo by Ziad Joseph

Paria Bay bound, Trinidad | Offtrack

Trinidad’s north coast, where mountains tumble down to the sea, is home to popular beaches like Maracas and Las Cuevas — but also to little-known bays accessible only by hiking, plus forest trails, waterfalls, and some of the island’s most dramatic scenery. Nixon Nelson heads out to Paria Bay, one of the gems of the north coast

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Merle Hodge. Photo by Mark Lyndersay

The Miseducation of Merle Hodge | Backstory

Trinidadian writer Merle Hodge began her career by publishing what would become a beloved Caribbean classic, Crick Crack, Monkey, in 1970. Five decades later, as she prepares to publish her third novel, Hodge tells Andre Bagoo what took so long — and what drives her interest in capturing the often confusing experience of Caribbean childhood on the page

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Looking over the rooftops of Santiago de Cuba to the towers of the cathedral. Photo by Vadim Nefedoff/

Són city, Cuba | Destination

Near the eastern end of Cuba, Santiago is a regional capital, a treasure house of history — and, Donna Yawching writes, the island’s most musical city. The soundtrack is driven by the rhythms of són, she learns — and the soul of Santiago is in its musicians’ fervour for their heritage

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Levern Spencer at the 2019 Palio Città della Quercia athletics meet in Italy. LPS/Roberto Tommasini/Alamy Live News

Levern Spencer: higher and higher | Snapshot

For years, the title of St Lucia’s most medalled athlete has been held by high jumper Levern Spencer, who first made her mark at the age of fourteen, over two decades ago. Her career is a textbook example of the value of persistence, writes Sheldon Waithe — and her biggest goal, an Olympic medal, still lies ahead

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