Hello, fellow wanderlust seekers! As your cheerful and upbeat travel agent, I am absolutely thrilled to spill the beans on why Punta Cana is the hottest ticket for your next summer getaway. Nestled in...Read more
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|The Welcoming Caribbean|
Offering temperate seas, pristine coral reefs and diverse marine life, the Caribbean is a natural choice for outdoor enthusiasts. For those who prefer their adventures below the waterline, taking the plunge in a glassy realm of constant motion, vivid color and profound silence is thrilling, fun for all ages, and a fantastic way to experience the undersea world.
Curacao’s underwater park, whose trails contain markers identifying the various marine species, is an ideal snorkeling spot. This enticing site, accessible only by boat, offers fantastic visibility for spying the scuttling squid, sea worms and big-eyed fish living among the teeming corals. If you're lucky, you'll even see the occasional moray eel!
Snorkeling enthusiasts will find Bonaire's acclaimed Marine Park an excellent choice, highlighted by splendid coral gardens, vast swarms of shining multi-hued fish, and amazing specimens of sea fans and gorgonians—a type of living coral distinguished by its purple frills. At Fish Bowl Reef off St. John, you’ll find excellent examples of preserved elkhorn and staghorn coral.
In Tobago, snorkel in waist deep water at Buccoo Reef, populated with fields of soft corals and species of turtle swimming in and about their tendrils. The fish here are spectacular: Blue and yellow Queen Angels, red groupers, orange filefish, green parrotfish, blue tangs with iridescent stripes, and more. One important snorkeling tip: Always wear a shirt to protect your back from sunburn.
If you like the idea of undersea explorations without getting wet, a glass bottom boat cruise is ideal. At Stingray City on Grand Cayman Island, enjoy optimal viewing of hundreds of tame stingrays, which crowd the observation window in search of tidbits. And be sure and look for the mounds of brain coral, yellow tube sponges, and gray barrel sponges that resemble giant clams.
On St. Thomas, steep yourselves in the underwater experience with a voyage aboard a semi-submarine. Descend six feet below the waterline and then cruise to several viewing points for close-up looks at the coral gardens surrounding Coki Point. You'll also see a diver conduct a fish feeding in front of the viewing ports.
For more adventurous types, Scuba diving affords dramatic undersea explorations at sites that include shark caves, underwater volcanic peaks, sheer dropoffs and immense rock formations. Some of these dive sites require considerable experience. Others are accessible by all levels of certified divers, even the novice.
Whatever your choices, you'll be mesmerized as the warm Caribbean sun shines through aquamarine waters to a glistening sea floor--with you in its midst!
Illuminated by the tropical sunshine, textiles, beading, masks, paintings, sculpture and baskets seem to capture the lush abundance of your Caribbean surroundings. Why not take home some of that sun-drenched beauty?
Horned vejigante masks combine papier maché, coconut shells, metal, gourds and paint in a festive fusion of African, Spanish and Caribbean cultures. Instruments such as conga and bongo drums, timbales, steel drums, claves and maracas blend music and art into living sculptures. Quilts, rag dolls and clothing incorporate the vibrant colors of flowers, fish, birds and local scenery.
Santos are carved from wood, clay, stone and even gold in the image of protective saints. Seed necklaces and delicate handmade lace are still crafted in the traditional way. Haitian prayer flags are richly encrusted with tens of thousands of sequins and beads. Exquisite yarn and bead paintings are handmade treasures.
Your memories will last even longer if you illustrate them with unique Caribbean artworks.
A Shopper’s Dream!
From authentic handmade crafts to high-end designer goods, the islands of the Caribbean are a shopper’s dream. Known for its duty free shopping and luxurious European goods, the Caribbean islands also offer unique treasures authentic to each island. Here are our favorite shopping finds:
Barbados: With strong ties to Britain, Barbados is known for its bargains on luxurious British goods such as bone china and crystal, as well as wonderful British antiques. Also look for Mount Gay Rum, an authentic Barbados rum with a very distinctive flavor.
Curacao: Look for the famous Curacao liquor made from the laraha fruit, a variety of orange, and Amstel beer, the only beer made with distilled seawater. Also, check out the Floating Market located in St. Anna Bay in Willemstad. Here, fishermen from Venezuela sell fresh vegetables, fruits and plants straight from their boats.
Jamaica: Apart from their famous rum, look for Jamaica’s own Blue Mountain and High Mountain coffees, Tia Maria, a coffee-flavored liqueur made on the islands, and the Pickapeppa Hot Sauce, a secret ingredient for authentic Jamaican jerk chicken.
St. Thomas: Known as one of the shopping capitals of the Caribbean, St. Thomas is a retail dream. On the main street of picturesque Charlotte Amalie, look for duty-free shopping on designer goods, linens, china, crystal and jewelry.
The Caribbean has long been known as a destination of Eden-like islands that evoke a strong sense of romance and high seas adventure. It’s also a perfect place for family fun, where parents and kids can together explore land, surf, and shore. Whether it’s searching for hidden treasure on a sunken ship, swimming with dolphins, building fabulous sandcastles or conquering the beaches in a myriad of other ways, everybody is sure to have the time of their life!
If you’re visiting the Bahamas, you’ll likely find yourselves in its bustling capital city of Nassau. History buffs are sure to appreciate a tour of the 18th-century Balcony House, the city’s oldest wooden residence, now restored as a museum. While adventurers will enjoy a high-speed powerboat excursion to the Exuma Cays that includes private island snorkeling, shark feeding, and a trek to the island’s peak. On the nearby Blue Lagoon Islands, a favorite thrill of many is coming face to face with a grouper or petting a stingray. The whole family is in for a history lesson with tours of the paddle wheel steamer-shaped Fort Fincastle and the canonry of Fort Charlotte. And everyone will adore an afternoon of souvenir-shopping at the colorful Straw Market.
Escape to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands where you might land on Magen’s Beach, whose sugary sands and soft, green hillsides prompted the National Geographic to claim it as one of most beautiful beaches in the world. At Coral World, slip on a deep-sea diving helmet and set out on an undersea trek along a below-water trail outfitted with handholds. Promise the kids dinner at the Hard Rock Café, then indulge your penchant for duty-free shopping in the old wharfside buildings of Charlotte Amalie. Or pack a picnic and hop the ferry to St. John for a day of hiking in the Virgin Islands National Park. Be sure to follow Reef Bay trail past the petroglyphs and ancient carvings of the Arawak Indians.
Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, the Caribbean always makes for a perfect family vacation.
Vincent Vacations - Authorized The Welcoming Caribbean Travel Tips - Vacation Planner
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