Escape Winter and Go Liming in the Caribbean Instead

The art of relaxing—or 'liming'—becomes a lot easier when you're surrounded by crystal clear waters and the soothing sounds of Jamaican reggae.

Photograph by Simone Sleeuw.


The art of relaxing with good company, delicious food and cold drinks without concern for the passage of time. Structure is frowned upon, but long stories with little point beyond entertainment are encouraged.

The Cove Eleuthera, photograph by Hero Images/The Cover Eleuthera.

The fact that I’m trying to figure out how to lime is part of the problem. It should be effortless—as natural as tying your shoelaces or riding a bike. I’m struggling because it requires me to embrace an idea as foreign to many Canadians as cricket matches or all-night fêtes—doing nothing. Not aimlessly checking social media, not settling in with a good book and definitely not adhering to a vacation itinerary.

The term may have originated with British soldiers, but it was the islands of Trinidad and Tobago that made it famous. It has spread across the Caribbean, and even here, at The Lodge at Jaguar Reef in Belize, I see evidence of masters. My family’s two-bedroom suite faces the pool and, shortly after our arrival, we discover a few families with lilting Caribbean accents circling around a palapa. Slowly, effortlessly, as their children wade in three feet of water nearby, they begin the process.

First, two men sit in the Muskoka chairs underneath the shaded palapa. Two more join soon after, carrying cold beers and a large bottle of white rum. Their body language says as much as their rising voices. Stories are being exchanged. There are no cards or dominos in sight, but soon there is music. Jamaican reggae is making its way toward the group thanks to a mini-speaker carried by one of three women who join them. A pool boy appears carrying extra chairs. For the next three hours, the scene varies little. Snippets of conversation and loud laughter fly through the air toward my patio. Shortly after sunset, they wrap up children who need to be bathed and fed something other than plantain chips and wander home.

Photograph by Simone Sleeuw.

I watch a similar scene in town. A local hangout is peppered with men and women who order drinks in their native creole.

“Buy anyone a rum and you’ll get a story,” my cab driver says when I ask if travellers are welcome.

My own attempts at liming don’t go as smoothly, as my tendencies take more than a few hours to fade. My family is making progress, though. Just yesterday, we gathered on a giant mesh daybed stretched out over the sea. This is it, I thought, as I leaned back and began to regale them with random thoughts. We’ve got the relaxation down, it seems, but I’ll need a few more days of paradise to perfect the practice.

Three Places to ‘Take a Lime

Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa, Bermuda

Photograph courtesy of Blú Bar & Grill.

Dine on sushi while watching the sun set over Hamilton Harbour at on-site Blú Bar & Grill. Then, relax in the resort’s hammocks for chats that last into the night.

The Cove, Eleuthera, Bahamas

A full- or half-day charter on the resort’s 26-foot private yacht means you can laze around with up to eight guests, with options to fish, snorkel, dive or swim with pigs.

Curtain Bluff Resort, Antigua

Photograph courtesy of Curtain Bluff Resort.

Spread out in one of the beach bed cabanas while the concierges keep you satiated with fresh fruit and ice-cold treats. Be sure to attend resort matriarch Chelle Hulford’s weekly cocktail party.

[This story appears in the November 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]