Saturday, February 28, 2015

6 Things to Know About Your Dream Caribbean Vacation

Even back during the colonial times, American visitors have always loved to visit the Caribbean. These islands have been the favorite place of many for their dream vacation. In the past 50 years, tourism to the area has increased greatly, and today millions of U.S. citizens visit the islands every year to enjoy all that the islands have to offer – beaches, fun in the sun, exciting water adventure, and communing with nature, as well as local culture and food.  

But just what is it that makes the Caribbean so spectacularly different from all other vacation destinations out there? And how could you maximize on fun during your Caribbean dream vacation? 

On to the Old ‘West Indies 

The first set of explorers who came to the shores of the Caribbean was Europeans. At the time, they were seeking a sea route to India and when they found this tiny group of islands in the middle of the vast sea, they called it simply as the “West Indies,” thinking that they had landed in the Indies (then meaning all of south and east Asia) when in fact they had reached the Americas. Later on, it was changed to the Caribbean, after the Caribs who were one of the dominant Amerindian groups in the region at the time of European contact. 

The Caribbean is actually a region of tropical islands in the Caribbean Sea. It is situated between North and South America and east of Central America. Its more than 7,000 islands extend for nearly 1,700 miles from Cuba in the west to Barbados in the east and are bordered by several islets, reefs, and cayes. There are a total of 25 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. 

Each one of the islands of the Caribbean has their own individualistic flairs and styles. No one island is the same and you get a different experience as you hop from one island to another. It has a wealth of cultures, languages, natural environments, scenery, activities, and entertainment all worth checking out. Whether you want the adrenaline rush of extreme sports, being at one with nature up a hiking trail, complete relaxation under the sun, or a night of dancing and grooving at a rave party – the Caribbean has it all. 

How do you know what you want to see and where to go find it? How do you know which one’s the best out of all those myriad of options? There’s so much information out there there’s no telling how long it would take for you to go through all of them. And that’s exactly what this page is all about. Here you will find a list outlining all the highlight attractions throughout the various areas of the Caribbean. This list will help inform you and guide you along your path to re-discovering these islands of dreams. 

#1 -- Life is a Beach 

Are you a sun worshipper? Are you all for having sand between your toes and the sun beating down on you? Hardly anyone ever goes to the Caribbean if not for its spectacular beaches. In fact, beaches are the one thing that most people look for in a vacation. And in the Caribbean, the beaches come a plenty.


Let’s start with Aruba, an island in the Caribbean with a rich cultural heritage that runs from piracy in the old days to music festivals almost any month of the year in the present. Known for its pristine beaches, the island of Aruba is also perfect for hiking, riding, and exploring the natural beauty of rock formations, natural pools, and more. 

The best beaches to relax and have fun in Aruba include popular Palm Beach. With its soft sand and palm trees that draw crowds, it’s no wonder that Palm Beach is the most popular beach in this gem of an island. Next to it sits Eagle Beach, pretty low-key compared to its highly populated neighbor. The beach offers the same sweet sandy stretches and shady palms but without quite as much bustling, making it perfect for a secluded holiday out in the sun. 

Another island that is just teeming with gorgeous beaches is the Cayman Islands. Crystal waters, beautiful marine life, enchanting sugar sand beaches, these are what makes the Cayman Islands famous among visitors and locals alike. But these aren’t all that the Islands have to offer. When you’re not busy playing in the water, there is also lounging on the beach or seeing some land attractions.

#2 Time for a Little “Alone Time!” 

If you’re tired of the living the busy city life of a working man or woman, then you’ll find the escape you’ve been looking for at the Caribbean. Ask anyone. You’ll find that the name of the place has become synonymous to “rest and relaxation.” 

One of the best islands to search for solitude or perhaps, just a bit of “alone time” is Barbuda in Lesser Antilles where sand and solitude are one inseparable entity. Its curative quality for modern angst is deeply profound, offering you the best setting for a relaxing dream Caribbean vacation. Whatever Barbuda may lack in nightlife, or, for that matter, paved roads, it makes up for it’s finely texture seaside grains. The island has so much sand that it’s the leading export, shipped throughout the Caribbean to replenish eroding shorelines. Even so, visitors to one of Barbuda’s three exclusive resorts or its handful of guesthouses aren’t getting shortchanged. 

As the northern outpost of the Leeward Isles, Anguilla is another island that offers not only solitude in the Caribbean but seclusion as well. Only a sprinkling of luxurious hotels mar the tropical landscape, giving it a whole exclusive feel to it as you gave at mile upon mile pristine sands and offshore coral cays. 

One of the most southerly of the Caribbean islands, Grenadines is a string of pearls afloat on the sea of lapis lazuli. An island superbly undeveloped, it is a favorite among escapists who love the supremely unspoiled and sufficiently inaccessible. On these gorgeous islands, nightlife is conspicuous in its absence, peace and solitude are unsurpassed, offering that other side of the Caribbean for the solitary connoisseur. 

#3 Groove to the Caribbean Beat 

If you think that the Caribbean is all about beaches and solitary communion with nature, think again. Because you’ve never been more wrong in your life. At night when the sun takes a dip in the shining waters of the Caribbean Sea, the islands come alive with a dynamic nightlife that keeps you on your feet all night long. 

Who said the Caribbean is only for the sun worshippers? There’s enough room for the party animals and the night owls who love the excitement that a Caribbean night offers. The casinos, bars, pubs, restaurants, shows, and music of the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Aruba, and Puerto Rico will keep you going way after the sun goes down. The islands, after all, are known for its many different music genres, from meringue, jazz, and reggae to rock and roll.  

Aruba might be known for its beaches, but it holds nearly the same reputation for its nightlife. At least ten casinos present stage shows in addition to the gaming tables. Varying from Las Vegas-style shows to themed entertainments, featuring folklore, steel-pan bands, maybe even limbo, you never have a lack for things to do for fun at night. And if that isn’t enough, there are weekly street festivals showcasing local dance, food, and arts and crafts. 

They say Puerto Rico defines nightlife. Well-known for its many upscale casinos with plenty of sideshows to entertain you between placing your bets, or instead of doing so, people are right in saying that the island is a hopping place to be when the sun goes down.  

#4 Heed the Adrenaline Rush! 

Perhaps your idea of fun is enjoying the more extreme side of life? Then head on to the Caribbean and get wet, get sweaty. Feel the adrenaline rush from a mountain bike ride down rugged landscape of Trinidad and Tobago, the land of Limbo, calypso, steelpan, and Carnival.  

Tobago is known for its beautiful rainforest, coral reef, tropical birds, white sandy beaches, and heavenly blue waters. It has beautiful fauna and flora and a lot of sportive activities to do aside from mountain biking, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, water skiing, horse riding, hiking, tennis, and golf. All of this in one beautiful unspoiled tropical island. 

Scuba diving is another strong draw that brings people to the islands of the Caribbean. There are several fabulous sites on the island where marine life is rich, perfect for a scuba diver. The islands of St. Kitts and Nevis for instance, though not a major Caribbean scuba diving destination, but they do have a spectacular coral reefs, providing you with an excellent diversion. Other notable islands is St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands) which boasts of a deep ocean trench of up to 5,000 feet deep.


The Lesser Antilles islands are located in the Eastern part of the Caribbean region and an excellent site for a real Caribbean adventure. This group of island is a fusion of the rich cultures of Africa, Europe, and East India. Island hopping in cultural extremes can never be as enjoyable as you experience the intensity of these islands’ Carnival tradition and breathe in the warm Caribbean breeze. 

#5 Have Fun with the Family 

Are you looking to bring your family with you when you go on the ultimate Caribbean getaway? No problem then, because the islands have everything you could ever want in a family vacation destination.  

Being the second largest island in the Caribbean, Hispaniola, Dominican Republic is one of the hottest destinations for families on a Caribbean vacation. To the north, you’ll find Amber Coast in Playa Dorado which is only about 20 minutes away from La Union International Airport. The coast is ideal for those traveling with kids or traveling in a group as the choppy seas provide the perfect environment for windsurfing, boogie boarding, and playing in the surf. When not in the water, families can even explore the ancient town of Puerto Plata, founded in 1504 and famous for its many historic forts. 

Another great destination for traveling families is Grenada. Dubbed as the “Spice of the Caribbean”, Grenada in St. George is alive with the sounds of young laughter. Mile wide beaches and sparkling waters provide an enchanting backdrop as you shell-walk with your kids down Grenada and its sister islands of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Acknowledges as having some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean, this travel destination will let you test your snorkeling and scuba skills on clear waters featuring the 600-feet Bianca C Shipwreck. 

#6 Love is In the Air 

But if what you’re looking for in a vacation is to spend some time with your special someone, check out the luxurious offerings in Puerto Rico, the land of romance and salsa. 

A destination full of color, culture, sassy music, historic landmarks, tropical rain forests, smaller island excursions, scientific research centers to tour, exotic wildlife, pristine beaches, great cuisine, and plenty of nightlife – that is exactly what Puerto Rico, the Jewel of the Caribbean is all about. The island is so replete with all things bright and beautiful there truly is no better place on earth for romance to bloom. The sunsets and sunrises just don’t get any better and many visitors find that they never want to leave the streets and beautiful plazas of historic San Juan. The colonial city is one of the most beautiful of all the major Caribbean cities and can charm you in a way few tropical destinations can. From narrow cobblestone lanes and wrought-iron balconies, archways, and plazas, it doesn’t take long to realize you are in an 18th century Spanish colonial city alive with antique shops, art galleries, and small, attractive sidewalk cafes.  

Other Caribbean destinations worth checking out are Antigua, Dominica, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Croix.
The great thing about the Caribbean is that you never have a lack for fun things to do. Life may be a beach, but that could get boring. So why settle for only one thing when a cornucopia of options is being put on display for you?

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