Explore the Sunny Caribbean
You’re all packed for your visit. You’ve got the sun tan lotion, the shorts, and the camera ready. Bound for the sunny shoals of a paradise like St. Martin or Barbados, you already feel excited and relaxed at the same time.
It’s going to be one memorable trip! Here are some tips to help you squeeze as much enjoyment as possible out of your Caribbean adventure.
Choosing the Season
Is it better to dip your feet in Caribbean waters on-season or off? The answer to this question depends a lot on your personal preferences. The usual tourist season stretches from December to April. The weather is majestic, but the islands are at their most crowded and expensive. Visiting off season would be more affordable and would afford you more elbow room to boot, but you might run into a tropical storm or construction work.
The Right Island
Caribbean islands are splendid jewels, each as distinctive as it is lovely. While you can stay happily at in a well-furnished luxury villa wherever you go, you need to know where you’re going before you get there! If you’re going for the nightlife, consider Puerto Rico, Aruba, or the Bahamas. If you prefer to hike, Dominica or Grenada might be your destination of choice. And for anyone in search of frequent and inexpensive flights, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Jamaica, and some places in the Bahamas might be best for you.
Have a valid passport ready when visiting a Caribbean island. If you’re headed to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, you should be able to manage it with just a driver’s license, though having a passport handy is never a bad idea.
Regardless of whether you’re travelling in a large group, with a family, or on a honeymoon, you can rest assured that there is a fabulous luxury villa waiting for you at your destination. You can find a house that is spacious, ornate, affordable, and flush with amenities, nestled in the mountains or splayed in the sand, Mediterranean or colonial in style, each choice a finger beckoning you to paradise. Any one of these sumptuous accommodations will enable you to enjoy the splendor of a lush tropical island in comfort and style.
Enjoying the Sea
Wouldn’t it be tragic to visit the Caribbean and not properly enjoy the waters? There are so many ways to approach it. Cruise ships are always a popular option, and you can easily find a travel itinerary to fit your budget. Some are more crowded than others, of course. If you’re more adventurous and have the budget, you can charter a yacht with a captain and a cook, or a boat that you can sail yourself. Imagine sailing off a secluded cove one moonlit night with your party, the waves lapping at the sides of your very own sea craft!
Doing Your Homework
No one could blame you for wanting to avoid tourist traps, scams, and bad experiences generally. If you have an agent that you find reliable, so much the better! But guidebooks and tourist offices are the most consistent sources of good information. Guidebooks are generally written by impartial and experienced writers who want their readers to have a good time while staying on budget. Likewise, tourist offices are staffed with trained experts whose job is to keep visitors returning to the islands every year. They want you to enjoy your trip and tell others back home how enjoyable it was!
Culture blooms outside of the usual tourist traps. In addition to the reputable sources mentioned above, consider asking locals where the best and most authentic shops and eateries are. When you’re on vacation, you’re looking for a fun experience, but when you’re on vacation in another country, part of that experience is learning how the people live and think. There is no island in the Caribbean that is not replete with museums, historical landmarks, ruins, and resplendent art, literature, and music that are the envy of the world. Take some time to learn about the people, their way of life, and their real treasures — works of beauty you can’t find in the airport gift shop for any price!
You might be tempted to rent a car while you’re in the islands. That’s a good way to see out-of-the-way attractions you might otherwise miss. But make sure you’re comfortable driving on the other side of the road, as well as exploring dirt roads with no street signs. Not all of the islands are equally easy to drive in. In Bermuda you can’t rent a car at all. So, be sure to inquire with the tourist office ahead of time. Should you rent a bike or moped, make sure you remember how to drive one. The same must be said of SCUBA diving, waterskiing, and other potentially hazardous activities. Make sure you know what you’re doing, and don’t engage in any activity that you’re not in the right shape for!
Stuff to Pack
Remember to bring:
· bug spray
· first aid
And remember to have fun, and tell us all about it!