Author: Julia

Aruba: The Best Sightseeing and Activities

Fun fact: the popular holiday destination of Aruba actually belongs to the Netherlands! This is one of the many surprising and interesting facts about Aruba that will help you learn more about this tourist destination before you decide to spend your vacation there.

In fact, over a million tourists visit this Dutch island every year, not only to enjoy the picturesque sea views but also to explore the numerous natural treasures of this island.

Here are some major goals that you can set for your Aruba vacation.

Shopping for Local Indulgences

 

Shopping in Aruba

This island is a unique combination of both Dutch and Caribbean cultures, giving you access to amazing, exclusive souvenirs that will make your mouth water in no time. Among the variety of indulgences that you can shop for at local groceries, the European chocolates and cheeses and local spices are very popular. If you have enough to spare, then consider visiting retail stores around the Oranjestad shopping district to get your hands on rare collectables like Dutch sweets, local goods and crafts, and Caribbean papaya sauce (hot), among others.

Exploring the Natural Treasures

 

Arikok National Park

Sightseeing in Aruba is incomplete without making a trip to the famous Arikok National Park. This natural beauty is marked by fascinating plants such as various cacti species, and animal life forms including varieties of snakes and lizards, donkeys, birds of different species and wild goats. The main attraction of this National Park is the Conchi natural pool, where visitors flock to gape at the immaculate beauty of nature. Other intriguing tourist spots include the Ayo Rock Formations and the Casibari Boulders.

Visiting Various Beaches

 

Aruba Palm Beach

One of the most prominent attractions of Aruba is the diverse beaches that this island houses. Not only do you get to enjoy scenic views along these beaches, but they also offer you a wide range of activities to engage in during your Aruba vacation, such as snorkel cruise in Arashi, Mangel Halto and Boca Catalina, surfing in Andicuri and Grapefield, and kite surfing in Boca Grandi. The most popular among the beaches is Eagle Beach, with its white sands and twin trees. Other beaches to visit for sunbathing and swimming include the Druif Beach, Rodger’s Beach, Palm Beach and Baby Beach. If you are a nature lover, you will get your fill in these beaches, as sea turtles and pelicans can be easily spotted just off-shore.

Paying a Visit to the Exquisite Museums

 

Archaeological Museum Aruba

For those of you who are curious to learn more about the history and culture of the Aruba Islands, visiting the museums will enrich your knowledge about this place. The history of Aruba is pretty exciting, with Indians and pirates dominating much of its past. Learn all about the origin of Arawak Indians by visiting the National Archeological Museum in Aruba. The Zoutman Historical Museum is another hot spot for those interested in finding out more about Dutch pirates and settlers of the 1700s.

With all the above items on your to-do list, you and your loved ones can make the most of your holidaying and sightseeing in Aruba.

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Which Caribbean Islands to Visit in May

May is the perfect time of the year to visit the islands of the Caribbean. This is the month when the weather is not only tantalizing but perfect for a good time at the beach. It is also the month when exciting festivals bring great excitement and joy to many islands in the Caribbean region.

The May weather is great for the beach and swimming, plus the danger of hurricanes is significantly reduced. Oh, and did we mention that the accommodation rates are unbelievably low and you get to enjoy a myriad of amazing events?

Below are the five best Caribbean islands to visit in May.

The British Virgin Islands

 

Which Caribbean Islands to Visit in May

This is one of the beautiful Islands that you should consider visiting for your May vacation. Whether you are looking to hit the beach or watch crews racing, the British Virgin Islands has it all. The Foxy Beach Bar offers unparalleled live music 24 hours a day, exotic drinks and food to make your stay there worth your time.

St. Lucia

 

Which Caribbean Islands to Visit in May

The rooms here are insanely cheap. However, that does not keep this gorgeous Island from treating you to a most enviable stay. If you’ve got a thing for jazz music, the St. Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival will keep you hooked. Apart from getting a chance to meet the most adored international jazz stars, you may also get an opportunity to explore your own talent…

Aruba

 

Which Caribbean Islands to Visit in May

The Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival is the real star here. If you are looking to enjoy emotionally fulfilling soul music and have unrivaled fun while at it, then you should definitely consider Aruba in May. This exhilarating event, which starts on Memorial Day and presents five days of utter enjoyment, also brings with it other great performances, beach parties and amazing concerts every night. You also get a rare opportunity to meet and socialize with some top music stars.

Cayman Islands

 

Which Caribbean Islands to Visit in May

The Cayman Islands present you with an exciting melting pot of cultures from the moment you touch down on their soil (or should that be sand?) During the first week of May, you can participate in the Cayman Carnival Batabano, a luxurious event that celebrates Caribbean culture. The event breathes excitement and energy to the amazing streets of George Town with thrilling music and ululations.

If you love costumes and flamboyant dressing, the Cayman Islands set the perfect stage to parade your colorful flamboyance along with thousands of other people.

Puerto Rico

 

Which Caribbean Islands to Visit in May

Puerto Rico boasts of its many affordable hotel rates and more than a thousand activities that travelers can partake in. If you love fun and nonstop events, all while enjoying exotic food and drinks on a beautiful Island, Puerto Rico is where you want to be.

If you love the beach, you will definitely develop unbreakable affection for San Juan’s Escambron Beach. The beach has crystal clear water and golden sands that will make you yearn for more.

 

If you are planning to visit the Caribbean in May, these islands should be your top priorities. They don’t only offer great excitement and breathtaking views of the beaches and water but are also highly affordable in terms of accommodation, food, drinks and a plethora of activities you can enjoy.

 

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Planning Basics for a Caribbean Wedding

Destination weddings are incredibly sensual and romantic. Just imagine how it feels to tie the knot under a palm tree on a sand-kissed beach next to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Go ahead and envision yourself enjoying the gourmet delights of the Caribbean with a spectacular view of the ocean in the background. Every Caribbean wedding is unique in itself. If customary church marriage doesn’t really appeal to you, then you may consider taking your wedding to a cool destination on one of the Caribbean islands. But before that, consider the following planning basics for a Caribbean wedding.

Budget Is Key

 

Planning Basics for a Caribbean Wedding

While the cost of a wedding in the Caribbean is considered a luxury, it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Accommodation and flights often take the biggest portion of the budget in most destination weddings. However, with proper planning, you can control and manage other costs. The most critical thing is to plan to prevent expenses from getting out of hand. Come up with a realistic budget and stick to it. Moreover, be mindful of your guests. You don’t want to bankrupt them because they wanted to be a part of your special day. Give them a broad selection of options that fit their budgets. You still want to be friends with them afterwards and not only on the wedding day!

Consider Hiring a Wedding Planner

 

Planning Basics for a Caribbean Wedding

The hassles of having to organize everything right from reception of guests to the last step can distract your overall wedding experience. Although some couples are daring and often go alone, hiring a wedding planner can save you the time and effort needed to put all things in order. You don’t have to worry about making every guest happy when you’ve got the right wedding planner. The good thing about wedding planners is that they can tailor everything and help you get an appropriate wedding package. These may include rehearsals, personal dressing, private canapé cruise, off-property tours and other activities including hiking and horseback rides.

Legalize Your Wedding

 

Planning Basics for a Caribbean Wedding

While getting married in the Caribbean can be an exciting experience, things might turn complicated if you don’t understand all the legal requirements. Legalizing a wedding event on a foreign beach can be challenging. However, with the help of a planner who can explain all details and give you suggestions, you can make your event even more thrilling. Some legal paperwork might be required before and even after your wedding. For instance, if you are considering getting married on the islands of the Bahamas, you might need to apply for a marriage license. The office of the Registrar General in Nassau issues marriage certificates and licenses.

Pay a Visit to Your Venue

 

Planning Basics for a Caribbean Wedding

If your budget allows it, consider paying a visit to your wedding venue before the big day. Get the chance to know what the destination you’ve chosen looks like when it’s prepared for a ceremony. You’ll also get firsthand opportunity to meet your planner, photographer, officer and even DJ, plus discuss further on what you may need to be adjusted.

Communication Is Paramount

 

Planning Basics for a Caribbean Wedding

You need to communicate if you want things to go smoothly. If you are considering hiring a planner, you will need to communicate effectively. Extend your communication even to those who may not be traveling. Through adequate communication, you can
even get them involved in the wedding albeit they may not be physically present.

What About the Weather?

 

Planning Basics for a Caribbean Wedding

Bad weather can ruin your day. Although this might be the last thing on your mind, it happens. You may need to consider weather conditions on various Caribbean islands before scheduling your event. Additionally, the day you pick matters. If you want guests to attend, you may consider getting married on Friday to Monday, or Thursday to Sunday. Your guests can enjoy three-night packages on
these days.

 

So if you are excited about tying the knot in the Caribbean, then consider the above planning basics. Communicate, plan for travel, accommodation, consider the weather and day, budget and make your wedding legal.

 

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What to Expect on a Caribbean Spa Vacation

Spas and Caribbean resorts go hand-in-hand. The gorgeous beach backdrops, the tranquil surroundings – not to mention the fact that you’re the most relaxed you’re ever likely to be all year – adds up to one truly unforgettable spa experience.

And it isn’t just relaxation or run-of-the-mill facials that a Caribbean spa vacation can offer. Big-name resorts often pull out all the stops when it comes to their spa specialists and treatment areas, meaning that you can often choose from a roster of unusual and enlightening spa rituals in exotic surroundings.

Here’s our pick of some of the best spa resorts to be found in the Caribbean.

Atlantis Coral Towers

 

What to Expect on a Caribbean Spa Vacation
Photo via Atlantis Bahamas

 

The Mandara Spa at the Atlantis Coral Towers is one of the only spas to offer targeted treatments for both sexes. Women can choose from a range of aromatherapy and press-point facials, while men can opt for an Urban Men’s Cleanse or Skin IQ Analysis. The spa features European therapies coupled with ancient Balinese techniques and natural spices, fruits and minerals that are indigenous to the Bahamas.

They also offer a whole range of massages, wraps and scrubs, a beauty salon and a menu of men’s grooming services.

Dreams Punta Cana

 

What to Expect on a Caribbean Spa Vacation
Photo via Dreams Punta Cana

 

The world-class spa at Dreams Punta Cana feels like a Polynesian wonderland. Follow the tiki torches to one of 12 luxury cabins and enjoy a range of cutting-edge facial techniques and massages (one such example is the Winetherapy Massage, which harnesses the antioxidant qualities of grapes).

Other facilities include four experience showers, a fresh fruit bar, hydrotherapy pools and palapas with breathtaking beach views.

St James’s Club Morgan Bay

 

The stunning view from the St James’s Club spa should be reason enough alone to pay it a visit, as it’s located in a peaceful hillside setting overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

When you can tear yourself away from the pool’s stunning view, however, a range of ‘specialty’ massages awaits, such as the Bamboo Massage – that uses bamboo sticks to relieve tension and release stress – and the Caribbean Four Hands Massage which employs the use of two therapists to restore energy levels and wellness.

They also offer a range of body wraps and a small selection of treatments for teens.

The Palms Turks and Caicos

 

What to Expect on a Caribbean Spa Vacation
Photo via The Palms

 

The Palms’ spa is like the perfect mix of Californian beach house and Caribbean tropical retreat, decorated with cool whites and lush palm trees. They offer a range of bespoke treatments, including the Zareeba (an indigenous herbal steam cleansing and meditative ritual) and a body scrub that uses hand-crushed local conch shells as the exfoliant.

Four Seasons Nevis

 

What to Expect on a Caribbean Spa Vacation
Photo via Four Seasons Nevis

 

Not so much a regular spa as a complete relaxation retreat, the Four Seasons Nevis spa offers hatha yoga sessions, massages using local Nevisian ingredients and its own seasonal herb garden.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, you can also enjoy a volcanic hot stone pool, Japanese-inspired cold pool, burbling fountain and jaw-dropping views of the surrounding Nevis landscape.

 

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Caribbean Christmas Events and Festivals Throughout December

While cold and dark winter nights begin to descend upon much of the world in December, the Caribbean offers a sunny and warm escape for those wanting to start their winter off with a tan. As a place that is always a sunny and fun refuge, Holiday events in the Caribbean offer a great opportunity to celebrate the most special time of year with a festive Caribbean twist.

As a result of this special atmosphere, the holidays have become the official start of high season in the Caribbean as many families have made a trip to beach part of their holiday tradition. For those arriving in December, here are our picks for the best holiday events for a Caribbean Christmas to remember.

Nine Mornings Festival – St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Now in its 104th year, the Nine Mornings Festival in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will once again be putting on a show during the wee hours of December this year. Starting on December 16th, residents wake up in the early hours of the morning for nine consecutive nights leading up to Christmas to take sea baths, hold Christmas carol concerts, light festive displays, and play steel drums.

Caribbean Christmas Events and Festivals Throughout December

Junkanoo – The Bahamas

By far the most raucous of the holiday events in the Caribbean, Junkanoo takes place on the evening of December 25th with much fun and fanfare. Elaborately decorated troupes of dancers take to the streets of the Bahamas around 8pm to show off their carefully choreographed routines and costumes that they have worked on literally all year. Visitors are more than encouraged to take part in the fun by watching the parades and celebrating with the dancers. This spectacular event truly has to be seen to be believed.

Caribbean Christmas Events and Festivals Throughout December

Seeing Sinterklaas – The Dutch Caribbean

If you are visiting Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, or Bonaire during the early part of December, be sure to keep an eye out for Sinterklaas and his band of helpers. One of the most famous Holiday events in the Caribbean, Sinterklaas (who is the inspiration for Santa Claus) can be seen touring the islands keeping track of who has been naughty and nice and then leaving presents for those who have been good on December 6th.

White Sand Christmas – The Cayman Islands

You may have thought when you decided to spend part of your holiday season in the Caribbean, you might have bid farewell to your chances of seeing a white Christmas, but you would be wrong. In the Cayman Islands, local tradition has citizens doing something called “backing sand” throughout the fall. What this means, is that they go out on bright moon-filled nights and collect sand off the beach. They then lay it out in their yards come Christmas time, and even have competitions for the best “white sand” yard.

Caribbean Christmas Events and Festivals Throughout December

Old Year’s Night – Jost Van Dyk, British Virgin Islands

Legendary Local beach bar Foxy’s celebrates the end of one year and the beginning of another by hosting a 2 (or more) day party every year. The bay surrounding the laid back watering hole fills up with yachts for days leading up to Old Year’s Night (as they called New Year’s Eve on the island), and once it gets started, the party keeps going well into the New Year. Despite the bar suffering a little damage from Hurrican Irma this year, proceedings will still go ahead, with crowds expected to be just as large as usual.

 

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3

 

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