It’s time for a dream beach holiday

As the plane grinds to a gentle halt on the tarmac, you grab your bag from the overhead cabin and queue for the exit, waiting for that sweet feeling where stale airconditioning makes way for a warm wall of tropical heat.

You’ve landed in the Caribbean, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, welcoming around 25 million tourists every year.

With over 700 islands, islets, and cays, this region has some of the richest culture and most pristine beaches and natural areas on the planet, including the world’s oldest protected rainforest – the Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago.

Master the power of mindfulness exercises

But – first things first – once you’re off the plane and into the airport lounge, you pause for a moment to sit down, take a deep breath, and start to unwind from the long flight – and the working world you’ve left far behind.

FutureLearn’s online mindfulness & wellbeing courses are designed to introduce you to the art of mental wellbeing, teaching you the meditation techniques and tools needed to be able to better manage stress, and tame racing thoughts.

Discover the wonders of the deep

Of course, once the taxi arrives, your only thoughts are about hitting the beach as soon as possible. The Caribbean Sea – the deepest in the world – is home to 9% of the world’s coral reefs, 13,000 species of plants, and 1,000 documented animal species.

You can learn more about the life of the ocean in the University of Southampton’s free course ‘Exploring Our Ocean’ – a deep dive into the world beneath the waves.

If you’re planning on scuba diving or snorkelling to explore life on the seabed, you’ll also enjoy ‘The Importance of Marine Sediments’, designed to help you understand the vital importance of the seafloor for the ecology of the ocean.

Learn to explore a whole new culture

On the drive to the holiday home, the car passes some eye-catching historical and cultural attractions, and your hand automatically reaches for the camera hanging from your neck.

The Caribbean is far from a homogenous entity – it’s a region comprised of over 30 countries and territories, each with their own complex history and culture. From the multi-coloured revolutionary heritage of Havana to the colonial legacy left behind in Barbados, no two destinations here are the same.

Of course, you’ll be well-placed to snap the perfect picture, after exploring our free photography and visual arts courses. And Purdue University’s ‘Develop Your Cultural Intelligence’ course is the perfect primer on how to adapt to and understand new cultures with sensitivity.

A big part of Caribbean culture is its famous culinary delights. From jerk to seafood and stews, Caribbean cuisine has conquered every corner of the world, and with fresh ingredients is tasty and healthy. You can join Taipei Medical University’s ‘Eating to Live Well’, to discover everything you need to know about the benefits of good nutrition.

Get ready to read – and relax

Once you’ve checked into your hotel and flopped on the bed, you start to think about packing your beach bag. You’ve picked your favourite towel and brand-new sunglasses – now, what book to take?

At the airport you picked up that 1,000 page, prize-winning tome everyone’s talking about – but will you even be able to get your head around it? Fortunately, the University of Edinburgh have a course for that – ‘How to Read a Novel’ – which walks you through how to appreciate plot, dialogue, and character to get more from your reading.

Now you’re more than ready to get down the most important part of the holiday – taking a well-earned break. This year, we’ve all earnt it!