Month: December 2012

Bahamas General Information

Overview

Christened “baja mer” (“shallow sea”) by Columbus himself, the Bahamas offer visitors a paradise retreat like no other. With an almost perfect tourism structure in place, visitors here can expect to be lavished with everything they desire: watersports, golf courses, stunning beaches, bars, restaurants and nature reserves. Vibrant, colorful and exotic, the balance of relaxation and excitement is just right in the Bahamas.

Weather

The Bahamas benefits from an almost-constant year round temperature due to the prevailing trade winds coming from the north east, with average temperatures sitting at around 80-85 degrees. The relatively cooler months of September through to May still offer an average of 70-75 degrees, although temperatures can drop at nighttime all year round. For the mildest temperatures and lowest rainfall, the best time to visit the Bahamas is between November and April. Visitors should be aware that hurricane season runs from June to November, so strong winds and heavy rainfall may be experienced, particularly during the wettest months of June and October.

Time Zone

The Bahamas is on Eastern Daylight Time, which is UTC-4. The islands observe Daylight Saving Time, meaning that between March and November the time zone sits at UTC-5.

Antigua General Information

Overview

Antigua’s beautiful azure waters and white sands are what most people conjure up when they think of the Caribbean. Forming part of the Leeward Islands group, the pace of life in Antigua is relaxed and the sights and activities you will find here are governed by water, much as the island’s history was. Imagine exotic plant and animal life, fresh coconut juice and friendly locals and you are imagining Antigua.

Weather

Being low-lying and volcanic in origin, the weather in Antigua remains warm and relatively dry throughout most of the year. Visitors can expect a pleasant tropical climate with average daily temperatures sitting between 70 – 86 degrees. The temperature rarely falls below 68 degrees. Antigua is also drier than most Caribbean islands, with an average annual rainfall of 1140mm, most of which falls during July and October. Antigua can be susceptible to storms and hurricanes between the months of June and November.

Time Zone

Antigua is on the Atlantic Standard Time which is UTC-4. The island does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Sightseeing 

Take a daytrip to the lesser-known neighboring island of Barbuda, known for its rugged    beauty and wildlife – particularly a large colony of frigate birds

Discover Antigua’s colonial history at Betty’s Hope, a sugar plantation which used to be the core of the sugar industry on the island

Drive the scenic Fig Tree Drive, a winding road which stretches for 20 miles along the picturesque southwest coast through verdant hills and villages

Antigua’s National Parks, which include Indian Town and Half Moon Bay, are a great day out for beach lovers and a chance to see nature-carved blow holes

St John’s Cathedral is an ideal photo opportunity – rebuilt in 1845, it contains figures of St John the Baptist and St John the Divine which were apparently taken from one of Napoleon’s ships

For breathtaking views of the island, climb to Shirley Heights lookout

The Museum of Antigua & Barbuda offers a touch of culture and is also Antigua’s oldest building. Expect the history of the island’s politics and culture, as well as geological artifacts.

Activities

Zip-lining

Bush safari

Cricket

Glass-bottom boat trips

Local markets

Caving

Windsurfing

Waterskiing

Surfing

Snorkelling

Scuba diving

Beaches

Pigeon Point – Calm waters and white sand mean that this lovely beach can often become crowded. Visit on days when there’s no cruise ship in the port to get the best swimming and snorkelling opportunities.

Dickinson Bay – A safe beach and some say one of the prettiest, here you can find many watersports and beach bars.

Johnson’s Point – An old school beach in that there are no facilities or sporting activities here; simply gorgeous clear waters ideal for snorkelling and soft sand on which to sunbathe.

Turner’s Beach – Boasting wonderful views of Monsterrat on a clear day, this beach is one of the best places to sunbathe in Antigua as sun-worshippers can enjoy a cooling breeze from the trade winds.

Carlisle Bay – Flanked by a luxury hotel, two long beaches sit next to ridiculously blue water and a line of coconut trees – what more could you ask for?

Anguilla General Information

Overview

As the northernmost of the Leeward Islands, Anguilla’s calm and clear waters and fine, powdery beaches lure visitors looking for exclusivity and relaxation. Having drawn several high profile celebrities over the years, Anguilla has quickly become a popular Caribbean retreat and boasts high quality dining, water sports and a surprisingly interesting art scene.

Weather

Anguilla’s tropical wet and dry climate means that temperatures vary very little throughout the year. Within the city visitors can expect a particularly dry climate, cooled by the northeast trade winds. Some rainfall can be expected all year round, although in much shorter bursts than the wettest months of September and October. Average temperatures range from 80 degrees in December to 86 degrees in July. Visitors to the island between June and November should be aware that Anguilla can be vulnerable to hurricanes, with the peak hurricane season usually occurring during August and September.

Time Zone

Anguilla is in the Atlantic Time Zone which is UTC-4. The island does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Sightseeing

Anguilla Heritage Trail – Pick up a map and head to a series of 10 historic sights around the island, including several historic stone and wooden houses within the Old Valley

Heritage Collection Museum – Learn about Anguilla’s Arawak past and British colonial history at this well-presented museum. Incudes old artifacts and local household items.

Take a tour of the old salt ponds in Sandy Ground or relax with a drink at the old Pumphouse-turned-bar

Take a guided tour of all of Anguilla’s 15 art galleries

Visit Wallblake House, a restored plantation house from the 18th Century.

Activities

Diving

Golf

Painting

Snorkelling

Glass-bottom kayaking

Parasailing

Windsurfing

Waterskiing

Deep sea fishing

Offshore Island daytrips

Beaches

Shoal Bay East – Perfectly combining calm waters and seclusion with popular beach bars and great snorkelling, this beach should not be confused with its similar namesake Shoal Bay West, which is slightly more touristic.

Rendezvous Bay – Excellent for swimming and stretching for nearly three miles, this beach is the epitome of picture-postcard sunbathing.

Maundays Bay – It isn’t the prime beach for the Cap Juluca resort for nothing; the waters here are calm and clear and the snorkelling opportunities are vast.

Offshore Cays – Dine on delicious grilled lobster or find your own piece of paradise on one of the many sand spits which are dotted around these cays.

Meads Bay – Wonderful snorkelling in turquoise waters and luxury resorts are the order of the day at this serene beach.

Cat Island General Information

Overview

Largely untouched by tourism and named after the pirate Arthur Catt, Cat Island forms the unusual shape of a fishhook and is renowned for its gorgeous beaches. A major draw for boating and diving enthusiasts, the island is relatively inexpensive due to its relative anonymity amongst holiday makers. Home to some of the friendliest people in the Caribbean, Cat Island is both beautiful and untamed.

Weather

Cat Island benefits from an almost-constant year round temperature due to the prevailing trade winds coming from the north east, with average temperatures sitting at around 80-85 degrees. The relatively cooler months of September through to May still offer an average of 70-75 degrees, although temperatures can drop at nighttime all year round. For the mildest temperatures and lowest rainfall, the best time to visit Cat Island is between November and April. Visitors should be aware that hurricane season runs from June to November, so strong winds and heavy rainfall may be experienced, particularly during the wettest months of June and October.

Time Zone

Cat Island is on Eastern Daylight Time, which is UTC-4. The island observes Daylight Saving Time, meaning that between March and November the time zone sits at UTC-5.

Sightseeing

Visit the ruins of some of the island’s original cotton plantations, such as Deveaux Mansion and Armbrister Plantation

Marvel at the view from the top of Mount Alvernia

Discover historical paintings in the Arawak cave atop Columbus Point

Activities

Snorkelling

Scuba diving

Boat tours

Beaches

Greenwood Beach Resort Beach – Eight miles of pink sand overlook the Atlantic Ocean at the tip of the island

Old Bight Beach – Ideal for sunbathing or taking a sunset stroll, this five-mile beach is located in the village of Old Bight

New Bight Beach – A favorite with the locals, bring a picnic or admire the annual Regatta

Fountain Bay Beach – This beach ends in a shallow lagoon with reefs perfect for snorkelling, as well as a natural in-ground fountain

Elbow Cay General Information

Overview

Home to one of the best beaches in the Bahamas, Elbow Cay is a sparkling advertisement for the Caribbean at its best. As the island is almost entirely free of cars, it gives it a distinctly isolated and less-touristed feel, and the architecture screams New England more than the Caribbean, making this palm-fringed island an eclectic but nonetheless laid-back and welcoming retreat.

Weather

Elbow Cay benefits from an almost-constant year round temperature due to the prevailing trade winds coming from the north east, with average temperatures sitting at around 80-85 degrees. The relatively cooler months of September through to May still offer an average of 70-75 degrees, although temperatures can drop at nighttime all year round. For the mildest temperatures and lowest rainfall, the best time to visit Elbow Cay is between November and April. Visitors should be aware that hurricane season runs from June to November, so strong winds and heavy rainfall may be experienced, particularly during the wettest months of June and October.

Time Zone

Elbow Cay is on Eastern Daylight Time, which is UTC-4. The island observes Daylight Saving Time, meaning that between March and November the time zone sits at UTC-5.

Sightseeing

Wander the quaint streets of Hope Town, with its pastel-painted houses and souvenir shops

The Wyannie Malone Museum is an homage to the founder of Hope Town and displays a small collection of island folklore

Climb to the top of the Hope Town lighthouse for wonderful panoramic views of the whole harbor

Activities

Fishing

Scuba diving

Boat trips

Surfing

Beaches

Tahiti Beach – Known as the best beach in the Bahamas, this beach has shallow waters, soft sand and a thick line of palm trees

Garbanzo Beach – A great spot for surfers, this breezy beach is located on the south of the island

Tilloo Cay – Here you’ll find deserted beaches packed with fish; bring your line and spend the day

Nathan’s Bay – A shaded area of beach perfect for families and sailing enthusiasts due to the tranquil waters