Caribbean Outdoor Life 

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bulletTop 10 Carbbbean Beach Vacations
bulletTop 10 Beaches in the Caribbean
bulletCaribbean Honeymoons: Top 10 Destinations
bulletWater Sports in the Caribbean
bulletWaterfalls in the Caribbean
bulletLowering the Cost of a Caribbean Vacation
bulletWhy you should consider a summer vacation in the Caribbean
bulletTips for good Caribbean vacation photos
bulletVacationing in the Caribbean

 

Top 10 Caribbean Beach Vacations

Looking for the best Caribbean beach vacation? Hey, I love sharing the highlights of all the places I visit and learn about. Below you'll find my top 10 picks for a great beach vacation with examples of what's special about them. Then you can decide which one you think would be the best beach vacation in the Caribbean for your trip!

Aruba:

This place is for those that like a non-stop vacation with lots of restaurants, bars casinos. The beaches are gorgeous, the water is wonderful and it hardly ever rains. The scuba diving is awesome with great opportunities for photography. The fishing is pretty good too.

Barbados:

Your troubles will simply wash away in the soft island serenity of this great beach vacation destination. Brighton Beach is a great place to stay for your Caribbean beach vacation and the most popular here. If you want a little more privacy you can get secluded villas around the island. Taking that horseback ride on the beach will feel as if you're in a movie and I would highly recommend trying it. Probably my second favorite beach vacation overall.

Turks and Caicos Islands:

Like long beach walks? At 12 miles long, Grace Bay is simply a phenomenal stretch of soft white sand with smaller luxury resorts, spas and great restaurants perfect for a beach honeymoon vacation. And the water color is the most vibrant translucent turquoise... I love it! Seems that many movie stars and rock stars like it too with several owning homes and vacationing here on some of the 8 secluded islands all with fantastic beaches. Turks & Caicos has long been a diver's paradise with great deep-sea and bone fishing too! Taking the kids? Well, Beaches Resort consistently gets high marks as one of the world's best family beach vacation spots.

Bahamas:

Technically not in the Caribbean, but with so many beautiful beaches I had to add it to the best beach vacation list... it's close enough. Paradise Island is great fun especially swimming with the dolphins, which is an experience of a lifetime. The diving here is fantastic because of the calm waters and enjoying the nightlife is all kinds of fun. For a secluded romantic get-a-way try the pink sand beach on Harbor Island.

British Virgin Islands & U.S. Virgin Islands:

Both make great beach vacations, especially for island hopping. Having a chance to easily enjoy not 1, 2, but potentially 3 islands or more each with it's own charm make for one of the best beach vacation spots. Trunk Bay on St. John is particularly gorgeous and popular with calm waters and an underwater snorkeling "trail."

Cayman Islands:

A very entertaining destination with odd things like feeding iguanas grapes while dining at a restaurant. Definitely worth it for the pictures! Three islands in all, its another great place to island hop and enjoy waterfall climbing, extensive shark diving, and swimming with the stingrays and shopping, shopping, shopping.

Dominican Republic:

Here is a place you can go for a cheap beach vacation and still enjoy all the splendid beauty of a Caribbean island. Have a great time scuba diving, swimming with dolphins, deep sea fishing and hiking. Fabulous beaches too!

Anguilla:

A fun Caribbean beach vacation to tell your friends about. It's the only area known in the Caribbean to have beautiful white sandy beaches deserted during peak season, which makes this a great place for couples to enjoy. Especially with activities that include windsurfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Oh, and if you love seafood, all I can say is, "The best chefs in the Caribbean!"

St. Lucia:

A honeymooners delight. Think jazz music, small island, secluded and intimate and that is St. Lucia. Beautiful beaches, lush tropical foliage, scenic mountains, spectacular sunsets and typically many great all-inclusive packages are offered. It all makes for a very seductive beach honeymoon vacation.

Hey, I could add a couple more since the Caribbean is full of beautiful and interesting places. Some may offer a little better snorkeling or fishing, larger or smaller hotels, more seclusion or more nightlife, but all are wonderful in their own way. You really can't go wrong with these when planning and dreaming of your next Caribbean beach vacation!

Author Ryan Burden loves the beach. Ryan is a self-professed expert beach bum, traveler and publisher of Turks and Caicos Beach Vacation.com a guide for planning all your Turks & Caicos adventures. Like Ryan, maybe YOU would like to turn your passion into online profits. Learn how easy it can be with Websites that Work.

 

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Top 10 Beaches in the Caribbean

A holiday to the Caribbean offers you the chance to visit some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. Virtually every island of the Caribbean will have beaches that amaze; with crystal clear blue seas, sugar white sand & palm trees.

To help you choose where to go and more importantly what beach to choose, we have compiled a list of the top 10 beaches in the Caribbean.

1/ Palm Beach (Aruba) – Idyllic beach setting with superb white sand.

2/ Grand Anse Beach (Grenada) – 3km beach with sugar-white sand, lots of space & shallow waters.

3/ Johnson’s Point (Antigua) – Made up of secluded coves; these white soft sand beaches are a must for snorkeling & swimming

4/ Pink Sand Beach ( Bahamas) – One of the world’s most photographed beaches, often voted world’s best by travel publications. 5km’s of salmon pink coloured sand, due to red plankton that has mixed with the fine white sand.

5/ Crane Beach (Barbados) – Often voted as Barbados’ most beautiful beach. Imposing cliffs, a natural coral reef and soft white sands make for a perfect beach.

6/ Negril Beach (Jamaica) – Laid back atmosphere and Jamaica’s prettiest beach. A lot quieter than Seven Mile beach.

7/ Englishman’s Bay (Tobago) – A sheltered beach with fine white sand, crystal waters & surrounded by a palm jungle.

8/ Grace Bay (Turks & Caicos) – Part of a national marine park, this beach has fine white sand, calm turquoise waters and is protected by a barrier reef.

9/ Trunk Bay (US Virgin Islands) – A beautiful beach with crystal clear waters, considered one of the best places for snorkeling in the Caribbean.

10/ Shoal Bay (Anguilla) – Put Angullia on the tourism map; sugar-white sand, crystal clear blue waters & coral reefs.

 

directline-holidays.co.uk provides you with the latest holiday offers, essential information & reviews on destinations worldwide.

 

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Caribbean Honeymoons: Top 10 Destinations

Planning your Caribbean honeymoon shouldn't be as complex as planning your wedding... Right! But with so many enticing options, where do you start? Well, start here of course and let me help you discover the best of the best honeymoon destinations.

Certainly you're looking for a romantic adventure where you'll experience many "first time" events together and every couple wants something a little different. I had a fabulous Caribbean honeymoon and have taken some great trips in my lifetime. Check out these top picks and what makes them special. One of them is perfect for that memorable trip you've been dreaming of!

Barbados

This island is absolutely gorgeous and you will definitely leave feeling spoiled. Stay at the secluded 110-year-old Crane Hotel for nostalgic romance or at the Peach & Quiet for a budget honeymoon. It's the adventurous couples dream with clear blue waters for scuba divers, windsurfers, and sightseeing from the air in a helicopter or underwater in a mini-sub. You'll find decent beaches here, but not the best of the bunch.

Turks & Caicos

If you like small secluded luxury hotels with world-class spas and great restaurants, then you'll love it here on any of the eight inhabited islands. The uncrowded beaches are absolutely fabulous. You may even end up sunbathing next to a movie star as many vacation in the Turks & Caicos. Go horseback riding, sail to one of the many deserted islands and play "Lost" for the day, see flocks of flamingos or thousands of iguanas on Little Water Cay. The scuba diving and snorkeling are phenomenal as is the deep-sea fishing and bone fishing. Kite-boarding, windsurfing and other water sports are also popular. A definite favorite for a perfect beach honeymoon vacation!

St. Lucia

This island is straight out of a fairytale with lush tropical scenery and twin mountain peaks covered in rain forest serenity. The locals are very friendly and seeing the St. Lucia Soufriere volcano from the inside will leave you in awe. Taking a day to tour the island on horseback is one of the major reasons this is in the top ten places to take a Caribbean honeymoon. Also, many hotels really cater to honeymooners with all-inclusive packages. Go in May and you'll catch the Jazz Festival, which is way fun!

Dominican Republic

A great choice for a budget honeymoon that still had beautiful beaches and lots to offer. Taking a catamaran ride to the enchanting Saona Island is just one of the ways to enjoy this romantic getaway. Add a visit to the 600-acre Ecological Park enjoying a dozen blue lagoons is nothing short then a romantic getaway in heaven.

Martinique

A great romantic get-a-way, yet for some reason it's still underrated compared to the rest here. Inhale the French culture along with the tantalizing scents of the beautiful flowers that consume the entire island. Take a canopy tour and go hiking in the rain forest canyons before getting a taste of superb Creole cuisine, going shopping and sampling the fairly lively nightlife.

Anguilla

When people choose a Caribbean honeymoon this island is over-looked more times than not. I have no idea why because it’s built for couples to enjoy. You won't find much commercialization here, the nightlife is pretty low-key and water sports are not a big draw. But you'll have dozens of fantastic beaches to explore and the fine dining is possibly the best in all the Caribbean.

British Virgin Islands (BVI)

You have several islands to choose from with many hotel options for a secluded romantic retreat. Ride a yacht to the famous Baths of Virgin Gorda or find a hidden beach for you and your loved to enjoy all alone. The beach bars on Jost Van Dyke are a fun hangout popular with sailors.

US Virgin Islands (USVI)

All beautiful areas here, the fact that they're all considered part of the United States makes things more convenient. St. John has the best beaches and diving while St. Thomas is known for excellent dining and shopping. Of course, St. Croix is cheaper and also has casinos, so you pick or hop around. The variety of USVI makes it one of the best honeymoon destinations.

Jamaica

I absolutely love Ocho Rios. The Dunn's River Falls has got to be the coolest adventure climb on any island. Climb the waterfall and jump back down into the water... amazing! Horseback riding on the beach, a little reggae music and rum at sunset and you've got yourself a nice romantic getaway plus it's great for a budget honeymoon.

Cayman Islands

Saving this for last simply because if you want to take a romantic Caribbean honeymoon and still feel like your back home this is the closest thing you'll come across. With many American themes you won't feel too far away, but taking in some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in the Caribbean will be breathtaking. Also, if you are into shopping and eating well, then the Caymans have got to be a top pick for you Caribbean honeymoon.

Now that you've got some good ideas, you just have to decide which is the best honeymoon destination for you. Hopefully this list has got you excited and also helped narrow down your choices too. Good luck and have fun. Whichever one you decide on, I hope you two have a wonderful wedding and a romantic honeymoon!

 

Author Ryan Burden loves the beach. Ryan is a self-professed expert beach bum, traveler and publisher of Turks and Caicos Beach Vacation.com an insider's guide for planning all your Turks & Caicos adventures. Like Ryan, maybe YOU would like to turn your passion into online profits. Learn how easy it can be with Websites that Work.

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Water Sports in the Caribbean

The Caribbean islands are the best place for people who enjoy water sports. Whether your own preference is on the water or below it, Caribbean water sports have something to offer you including swimming, waterskiing, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, and so on.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling is probably the most popular of Caribbean watersports because swimmers of all ages can enjoy it. Going snorkeling means getting personal with the wonderful and colorful marine life found in the Caribbean. Due to the immense popularity of this activity, there are many well-marked snorkeling trails across many islands in the Caribbean. Most of the better resorts and hotels in offer snorkeling equipment as well as instruction.

Board watersports

Windsurfing, surfing, and kiteboarding are all forms of board sports. These Caribbean watersports enjoy a lot of popularity because the trade winds in the Caribbean provide unlimited opportunities for them. Kiteboarding is actually the same as windsurfing except that it uses a relatively smaller board. As to surfing, if you are not going to Hawaii then you had better go to the Caribbean. The water is warm, the surf is good, the bays are sheltered and there is always one trade wind or another making waves, what more could you possibly demand? Due to the combination of ideal conditions, the Caribbean attracts surfers from the world over. Instruction and equipment is available through most hotels or through vendors along the beaches.

Parasailing

If you are not the type for on-water or below-water sports then you have this third option among Caribbean watersports. Facilities for training and equipment are available through your hotel or through vendors along the beach. Going parasailing means getting a unique view of the Caribbean with the whole vista of white beaches, clear waters, blue skies, and the wildlife spread below you as you soar on the wind.

Waterskiing

Waterskiing or jetskiing has become quite popular recently. Jetskiing is especially very convenient with many people renting jetskis for a single rider experience or wave runners that can take on 2-4 riders at one time. As usual, your hotel or the beach front can offer you the vendors for this Caribbean watersport.  

Canoeing and Kayaking

There are several guided tours for people who prefer the calm and tranquillity of canoeing or kayaking to the other motorized means of traveling on water. The Caribbean is liberally supplied with mangroves and lagoons.

Sailing

Spend a day on a powerboat, catamaran, sailboat, or trimraran and enjoy sailing in the Caribbean. You can opt between bare boat and crewed boats and there are even special charters for people who are interested in learning how to sail.

Scuba Diving

If you wish to go a step beyond snorkeling then go scuba diving and you will see yet another unique perspective of the Caribbean. There are several popular diving spots in the Cayman Islands and Curacao. Go swimming with tamed stingrays in Stingray City. Do not forget the Buck Island Reef National Monument that has 250 species of fish. 

James Penn runs a highly informative Caribbean website which details exactly how to find Caribbean villa rentals and also the ten best activities in the Caribbean for families and couples alike.

 

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Waterfalls in the Caribbean

There is something special about a waterfall that seems to draw us. Maybe it is the sight of the water flowing over the edge or maybe it is the raw power that the water represents. The ancient Amerindians believed that with so much power the waterfalls were gods. Or maybe it is just that we are drawn to waterfalls because of the refreshing coolness that fills the air around the waterfall. Whatever it is, there is an attraction to waterfalls and the Caribbean has its fair share of waterfalls, from the awe inspiring power of Kaieteur Falls in Guyana to small cascades where you simply slip under the flow and feel the water pummel your shoulders and back.

Grenada’s mountainous nature and pristine environment gives rise to several waterfalls. Wherever you stay in Grenada, there is a waterfall close by. Concorde Falls is a waterfall that is reasonably close to Grenada’s capital, St Georges, being approximately 45 minutes driving time. The road to that part of the island is good and goes through areas with luxuriant green foliage clothing the hills. The Falls are easy to find as there is a large sign on the main road pointing to the waterfall. From the Main Road to the waterfall is approximately 3 kilometers and takes about 5 minutes to drive. This waterfall is in the mountains and as you stand on the road above looking down at the falls, there are mountain peaks towering above you. Around the waterfall tropical growth springs from the soil in abundance, with towering stands of bamboo, nutmeg trees climb the hills and in between mangoes, pomerac, grapefruit, avocado and banana dot the hillsides. For the truly adventurous there is a larger waterfall that is approximately 45 minutes hiking beyond the first waterfall. Known as Au Coin, this waterfall is bigger and taller with a pool for swimming. A third waterfall in the Concorde valley is Fontainbleu which cascades down a 65 foot cliff into a crystal clear pool and is approximately 2 hours hiking up the mountain.

Dominica is a true Caribbean nature island with an unspoilt natural landscape and a variety of waterfalls. One of popular waterfalls in Dominica is called the Three Rivers Waterfall and it is reached after a half-hour walk from 3 Rivers. The trail is both beautiful and extremely easy, and involves a well made track and a little river walking. You can bathe under this 100-foot high cold shower and hear the sound of your screams echoing all around. The water drops close to a massive tree which forms a junction between three rivers. Advanced hikers will enjoy the seven (7) hour hike to Boli Falls. The trail begins in the beautiful village of Casgory, near La Plaine and passes through unspoilt rainforest to arrive at 3 stunning waterfalls and some gorgeous natural pools. There is even a local legend that a mermaid exists in the pools.

St Lucia seems to have waterfalls everywhere you go. Not only does St Lucia have waterfalls but it has variety in its waterfalls from cold water to warm water to even hot water waterfalls. The most visited waterfall in St Lucia is Diamond Waterfall in the town of Soufriere. Here in the midst of a lush well maintained tropical garden bursting with brilliant flowers, the water falls from a height of 45 feet laden with minerals from underground sulphur springs. While bathing under the falls is not allowed, adjacent to the falls are mineral baths where it is said that bathing removes the aches and pains of age and makes you young again. For those who want to combine their waterfall viewing with more rugged hiking then EnBas Saut Waterfall will fill your passion. Getting to these waterfalls requires a two hour hike along a 4 kilometer trail through Rainforest and Cloud Forest. At the base of the falls you are greeted by the sight of two cascading falls and pools.

Trinidad is another Caribbean island that has numerous waterfalls. One of the waterfalls that people often enquire about is Maracas Waterfall. Part of the curiosity about these falls is the mistaken belief that the waterfall is at Maracas Beach. The Maracas Waterfall, which is a little over 91.5m. in height, is situated in cool, beautiful surroundings in the Maracas St Joseph valley. From the car park on Waterfall Road it is 2.4km. to the waterfall. The hike to the waterfall is an uphill walk along a very wide track lined on both sides by Balata trees. After approximately 15 minutes, there is a fork in the track and the track on the right leads to a cascade consisting of three tiers of mini waterfalls with two large pools that are suitable for swimming. A further 20 minutes of walking leads to the main waterfall. There is no pool for bathing at the base of this waterfall. A very popular waterfall in Trinidad for weekend hikers is known as Rio Seco. This trail winds through pathways lined by stately Mora trees along the North Eastern coast of the island to a waterfall and deep, emerald green pool. Upriver of the pool, on the banks of a tributary are the Rio Seco sulphur springs.

You can learn more about the waterfalls in the Caribbean by visiting the Island Adventures Page on the Caribbean Outdoor Life web site and by visiting the Trinidad Waterfalls Page on the Outdoors Trinidad web site.

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Lowering the Cost of a Caribbean Vacation 

by Brian Ramsey

Blue skies, golden sand, azure water and swaying coconut trees is an image etched in the minds of many when they think about the Caribbean. This image often fills the mind with a desire to visit a tropical island but then thoughts about whether it will be too expensive begin to intrude and dampen the desire. This article will look at ways to lower the cost of a Caribbean vacation so that you can visit those glorious beaches.

Getting There

Very often throughout the year there are special offers of reduced prices on airfare to various Caribbean islands. If you check regularly you can find a great deal on airfare. However that great deal may not be for the island that you want to go to or may not be at a time when you want to travel. If that is the case, one way you can reduce the cost of airfare is to be flexible on your travel days. On the major airlines flying to the Caribbean, flights on week days, especially mid-week are priced lower than flights on weekends. If you are also flexible in terms of the time of day you will find that where there are multiple flights to a destination, flights on off-peak hours are even cheaper. You will also find that multi-stop flights are priced lower than direct flights. You can achieve further savings on airfare by booking early, at least one to three months in advance of your departure date.

Accommodation

One of the major cost items in a Caribbean holiday is the cost of accommodation. One way to lower the cost of the accommodation is to consider staying in a house rather than a hotel. Throughout the Caribbean there are numerous villas, houses and cottages available for rental as holiday accommodation. By using a house, you can go on vacation with friends and share the cost of the rental, thus lowering the cost of your vacation.

There are beautiful villas in the Caribbean with all types of amenities including Jacuzzis, swimming pools, maid service, cable TV in every room. Before renting a villa, consider your activities (what do you plan to do) and therefore how much time will you spend in the villa to make use of the amenities. If you plan a very active vacation with plenty of outdoor activities, then you may find that you do not spend much time at the villa other than for sleeping. You may therefore not need a villa with all the amenities and houses with fewer amenities will cost less.

No friends who want to accompany you or maybe you desire privacy and an intimate setting then consider an apartment hotel or self catering hotel. Many self-catering hotels provide all the conveniences of a regular hotel room with the added benefit of a decent sized kitchen or kitchenette. By being able to prepare some of your meals (at least breakfast) you can reduce your vacation food bill. When choosing self-catering hotels, look at the photos of the kitchen area to determine if it will be adequate for your needs.

Caribbean beaches are a major attraction on all islands and most visitors when thinking about a Caribbean vacation think about staying on the beach. Another method to save money on a Caribbean vacation is to consider a location away from the beach as such properties will cost less than accommodation that is directly on the beach. Make sure however that the house is within walking distance of the beach as you do not want to spend on transportation to get to the beach all the money you have saved on accommodation. If you are considering a house or self-catering hotel, find out if there are any supermarkets within walking distance of the property, so that you can easily purchase items. When you visit the supermarket, buy local or regional brands rather than European or North American brands as you will generally find that local brands cost less.

Activities

Research the sights and places of interest before you travel. Very often tour guides take you to places that you could have easily gone to on your own. By researching you will know which places of interest you can easily find and so save the cost of a tour guide. The Internet has made researching sightseeing attractions much easier and one of the places you can learn about the places to visit on different Caribbean islands is at the Island Adventures Page of the Caribbean Outdoor Life web site.

Many of the attractions on the various islands charge a fee for entrance. There are however many other attractions that you can visit for free, particularly historic buildings especially churches, the smaller forts and government buildings. The capital of each island is one location where you are certain to find historic buildings and monuments that are free places to visit.

Getting Around

Renting a car is a great way to do your sightseeing. Many of the attractions on each island can be found once you are armed with a good road map. In addition, having a car allows you to widen the circle of places where you can choose to have dinner. In deciding to rent a car however you should think of the amount of time the car is parked in the parking lot while you are relaxing on the beach in front the hotel or villa or taking an afternoon siesta. While the car is parked and you are not using the car you are still paying the rental for the car for that entire period.

One method of having the benefit of a car and still save some money is to plan your holiday in advance by researching the sights. Once you have completed your research you make a list, then rent a car for only 2 or 3 days and do all the sightseeing on those days. In this way you save on the car rental. On the days that you have the car you can choose to visit restaurants that are not in walking distance of your hotel. Another potential vacation saver can be found in the area of car rental insurance. Check if your home auto insurance or credit card will provide insurance on a rental vehicle while you are on vacation in the Caribbean, thus saving you from purchasing insurance from the car rental company.

On the other days when you do not have a car you can use local transport for getting around. All hotels either have taxis at the hotel or arrangements with taxis who will quickly come to the hotel once they receive a call from the front desk. A much cheaper alternative however is to use the local bus service. The front desk staff can usually provide you with directions and advice on using the bus service.

Eating Out

One of the pleasures of a Caribbean vacation is dining, as there are numerous restaurants on each island serving all types of cuisine. One way to save money during your Caribbean holiday is to eat where the locals eat. You will invariably find that the prices at these establishments are lower as these places cater for locals who do not have the purchasing power of tourists. Part of the benefit of a vacation is to experience the culture of the island and local cuisine is a great way to experience local culture. How to know where to eat; use the time tested method: if it is lunchtime and there are many people lining up then the food must be good and the price must be reasonable.

Street Food is a great way to get a quick meal at a low price and also experience local culture. The Caribbean has great street food, whether it is doubles in Trinidad or bar-b-cued pigtail in Barbados or jerk chicken in Jamaica. Before buying street food however, look at the cleanliness of the surrounding and of the person serving the food.

Other Costs

Although the idea of a vacation is to get away from it all, in today's world most people want to stay connected to the persons at home, even if it is to tell them how much they are enjoying themselves. One of the hidden costs on a vacation can be the cost of Internet access. Many hotels will advertise that they have internet access but this comes at an additional cost. Fortunately the number of places that are offering free Wi-Fi access is increasing. You can check sites like wifi free spot to find outlets at your destination that have free Wi-Fi, and Travel Post for a list of free Wi-Fi carrying airports in the Caribbean. If you do not have a free Wi-Fi hotspot near to where you are staying you can look for an Internet Café. A directory of Internet cafes can be found at cybercaptive. In choosing an Internet café look for places that don't seem to cater to tourists as their prices will generally be lower. Another source of low cost internet access is usually the public library. In some countries, internet access at the library is free, while at others there is a charge but it is significantly lower than at hotels of cafes.

When to go

Any time of year is a good time to visit the Caribbean, however the biggest cost saving on a Caribbean holiday is found by visiting in the summer. During the summer months, hotels and airlines significantly reduce their rates. As such you can save on the cost of your vacation and when combined with the other points in this article you will significantly lower the cost of your Caribbean vacation.

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Why You Should Consider a Summer Vacation in the Caribbean 

by Brian Ramsey

Many people only consider a Caribbean vacation during the months of November to April. This period, known as the winter season, is traditionally the peak period for Caribbean vacations. For many individuals it is a chance to escape the snow and ice of the northern hemisphere with a holiday in sunny climates. The other months are often called the summer season or as known in Caribbean vacation circles, the low season because of the low occupancy at vacation properties. Yet the summer and fall months are a great time for a Caribbean vacation with several activities that are only available during the summer.

One of the reasons some persons do not consider a vacation in the Caribbean during the summer months is a fear of hurricanes. This concern over hurricanes is however somewhat misplaced. In fact only a few islands are ever affected by hurricanes in any one year. Some islands because of their geographic position, such as Trinidad, Aruba, Tobago, Curacao, are considered below the hurricane belt and so are not hit by any hurricanes.

The summer months in the Caribbean are filled with music festivals. You can listen to world renown international artists under sunny skies with an ocean view or against a backdrop of star filled skies with balmy breezes. Among the more popular music festivals are the St Lucia Jazz Festival, Barbados Gospelfest and the Aruba Music Festival in May, the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, the Bonaire Jazz Festival, St Kitts Music Festival and Grenada's Spice Jazz Festival in June. If you are looking for music a little later in the year, there is Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica in July and Dominica's World Creole Music Festival in October.

Summer is also the time for the pulsating rhythms and colorful costumes of Carnival on many islands. In July, it is Carnival time on St Vincent, St Lucia and Barbados, while Antigua's carnival is in August. A summer holiday on any of these Caribbean islands gives you the chance to experience the splendor of the carnival costumes with the relaxation of a beautiful Caribbean beach.

The summer months are also ideal for Caribbean outdoor recreation adventure and each island offers a range of outdoor vacation adventure. Hiking is one of those outdoor adventures and in the Caribbean you can on the same hike alternate from untouched beaches to unspoiled forest. Within those lush untouched natural forests are tall cascading waterfalls, hidden fern grottoes, mountain lakes, boiling lakes, hot springs and mysterious regions of volcanic activity.

Summer is also the time of turtle nesting with May to September being the prime months. During these months thousands of giant marine turtles heave themselves out of the ocean and on to the sandy beaches to lay their eggs. Giant Leatherback turtles, some weighing as much as 1,000 pounds, along with Hawksbill and Green turtles visit these sandy shores. Viewing this rite of nature while on a summer vacation is an experience of a lifetime.

The waters of the Caribbean Sea are wonderful all year round but the warmest water temperature is during the summer, making it ideal for snorkeling. The sparkling blue water provides a world of adventure below its surface. The Caribbean is one of the top regions for scuba diving and snorkeling with breathtaking marine life, shallow coral reefs, new and old wrecks.

Probably the best reason of all for visiting the Caribbean during the summer months is that this is the time of the lowest prices at hotels and airlines have special reduced airfares, so you can have a vacation on a budget.

So if you are thinking of where to go for your summer vacation, consider the Caribbean, it's great in the summer.

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Tips For Good Caribbean Vacation Photos

A vacation in the Caribbean can be fantastic; so many beautiful sights and sounds, so many places to discover and explore. Everyone who goes on holiday in the Caribbean wants to capture those magical moments to be able to remember them for a lifetime and also to share them with friends and family. In this article we provide some tips to help you take good photographs during your vacation in the Caribbean.

Most people will carry their camera when they are going to visit a famous landmark or historic site because they want to record their visit. At other times the individual will often leave their camera in their hotel room or in the car because they may think that they are simply going for a short walk. Sometimes on that short walk, the most fantastic scene appears or unusual event occurs and you do not have your camera to be able to take a picture. The number one tip for taking good vacation pictures therefore is to always carry your camera with you, because you never know when you will encounter a good scene. By always having your camera you avoid missing an unforgettable moment and thus will have a unique photo to share with family and friends.

Allied to always carrying your camera with you is to keep it close at hand. Very often the elements that make a good photo, such as a person in a colourful outfit walking past an old building, pass quickly and if you are searching for your camera you could miss the opportunity for a unique photograph. By having your camera close at hand you give yourself those extra few seconds to properly compose the elements in the photograph and thus take a picture that fully shows all the important elements in the scene.

Individuals on a Caribbean vacation often sleep late. Indeed a vacation is a time for most people to get some much needed rest. As a result persons on a Caribbean holiday often go sightseeing during the midmorning or immediately after lunch. The midday sun in the Caribbean is very bright and there is a lot of reflected glare causing objects in photographs to have sharp angles and harsh shadows. The best time for taking pictures are early mornings and late afternoons. Photos taken at this time usually appear very rich and dramatic. The sunlight is more of a golden colour bringing out the richness of the colours in the scene you are photographing.

Caribbean beaches are a favorite location for vacation photos. Those glorious white sand beaches with a backdrop of sparkling blue water and possibly a pretty yacht sitting on the water, is the type of scene that most people want to capture in a picture as a vacation memory. Yet for many individuals the resulting photo does not seem to capture the beauty of the moment. The culprit is in fact that dazzling white sand and sparkling water. The sand and water reflect that bright Caribbean sun creating glare in the picture. This is especially the case when persons on holiday visit the beach during the middle of the day. Unfortunately for some persons, such as those visiting a Caribbean island on a cruise ship, the middle of the day may be the only time they have for going to a Caribbean beach. One approach for dealing with this problem of excessive sunlight in Caribbean beach photos is to position yourself with your back to the water so that you eliminate the reflected light from the water. Another approach is to change the angle from which you are taking the picture. Instead of aiming directly across the sand and water you can angle yourself so that shooting across the scene. This change in position can reduce the amount of reflected light that appears in your photograph, thus improving the quality of the photo.

Caribbean beaches are also a favorite location for vacation photos because they are the scene of rich tropical sunsets. The golden tones as the sun lights the sky for one final time before it sinks below the horizon is a sight not easily forgotten. There are some beach bars that have become world famous because their location allows romantic tropical sunset photos to be taken. What is important for persons who do not live in the Caribbean to remember is that the time for sunset does not vary by more than two hours throughout the year. During the summer months the sun may stay slightly longer in the sky but by 7.30 in the northern Caribbean (Jamaica and the Bahamas) the sun is setting. As you go further south in the Caribbean the sun set takes place early so that by 6.30pm in the summer the sun is setting in the southern Caribbean. During the winter months, the sunset is earlier, so that by 5.30pm the sun will begin to set in the southern Caribbean. To ensure that you capture the sunset at its richest, you should take note of the approximate times of sun set and then seek to arrive at least 15 minutes early. This is important because the sun does not set at a specific time and there is variability in the moment of sunset. By arriving early you ensure that you are on time to capture the magical moment of sun set. In addition by arriving early you give yourself time to find a good vantage point and to properly set up for taking the picture.

The development of digital cameras means that it is now possible to inexpensively take many pictures while on a Caribbean holiday. To ensure getting good vacation photos you should therefore take many pictures when you see something that you want to photograph. The advantage of taking many photos is that if something unwanted crossed the scene, unknowing to you, it is unlikely to be in all the photos. Although you would have taken many vacation photos, you can easily delete those vacation pictures that you do not like. Although you would have taken many vacation photos, you can easily delete those vacation pictures that you do not like. In addition to taking many vacation photos you should use different angles and different distances to add variety to your photographs.

Finally, before leaving for your Caribbean vacation remember to pack extra batteries and extra media cards. By having these extra items you ensure that you are able to use your camera at all times and avoid having to purchase a cheap camera that may not give you pictures of as good a quality as your own camera.

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Vacationing in the Caribbean

By Brian Ramsey

The name Caribbean is almost synonymous with Sea, Sun and Sand. Magnificent beaches abound ranging from dazzling white sand, to pink sand to rich golden brown through to beautiful black sand beaches. These beaches seem to call you to dive into the sparkling blue water and then relax on the beach soaking in the sun and admiring the beauty of the scene. For those who want more activity at the beach than reclining on a lounge chair sipping a cold drink, Caribbean vacations offer a range of beach activities. On almost every island you can find jet skis, ocean kayaks, parasailing, surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing, water skis and banana boat rides at the major beaches.

Barbados is the surfing paradise of the Caribbean. The island's location far out in the Atlantic Ocean allows waves to travel thousands of kilometers across the sea before finally unleashing their power over Barbados' coral reefs. Barbados receives waves to surf from all directions thus providing for unlimited surfing conditions all over. The number 1 surfing location is the Soup Bowl in Bathsheba, which is internationally recognised. All over the island however there are beaches suited to surfing, from Brandons Beach near Bridgetown to Accra Beach. South Point Beach has a fairly powerful and clean wave while the shorebreak at Inchcape on Silver Sands Beach seems to break 365 days a year.

The Dominican Republic is known as the kiteboarding capital of the world and for the past four years the Kiteboarding World Cup has been held in the Dominican Republic town of Cabarete. Along this region of the North Coast of the Dominican Republic, nature has created the perfect blend of wind, water and waves to generate incomparable kiteboarding and windsurfing conditions. In June of every year, Windsurfers also flock to Cabarete for the annual World Cup Windsurfing Competition.

As fun-filled as Caribbean beaches are, today there is much more to a Caribbean vacation, both beyond and behind the beach. As you move beyond the beach there is a range of activities including deep-sea fishing, Dolphin/Whale Watching and Diving.

Fishing is a recreational pastime on every Caribbean island and throughout the Caribbean certain pelagic game fish can be found with some of the more sought after species being sailfish, marlin, tuna and wahoo. As these species are migratory fish they are more abundant at certain times of the year on each island but there are other species that can usually be found year round at different islands. The game fishing off the waters of Tobago is a sport angler’s dream with some of the world’s most exciting game fish, including blue marlin, white marlin, swordfish, wahoo, tuna, barracuda, dolphin (mahi-mahi) and shark. Jamaica's northern waters are also well-known for deep-sea and sport fishing. Anglers can hook a large number of fish, including mahi mahi, wahoo, blue and white marlin, sailfish, tarpon, barracuda, and bonito. The fishing is usually constant year round with a peak in Marlin in the Fall and Winter months.

Visitors can now go whale and dolphin watching in a number of Caribbean countries including: Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines. In fact, there are an amazing thirty species of whales and dolphins in the Caribbean. The most frequently spotted species include humpback and sperm whales, and bottlenose, spotted and spinner dolphins. Whale watching vessels are usually medium to small-sized vessels carrying less than 75 people, which offer an excellent opportunity to get a great view of the whales. Dominica has become known as the "Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean" and boasts a 90% success rate in spotting whales or dolphins during a whale watching excursion. The island offers excellent year round whale watching opportunities including spectacular sperm whale mother-calf pairs, whose spouts can sometimes even be seen from shore.

Those sparkling blue waters that provide so much enjoyment topside also provide a world of adventure below its surface. The Caribbean is one of the top regions for scuba diving and snorkeling with breathtaking marine life. The Cayman Islands are one of the top areas in the world for diving with crystal clear turquoise waters that run deep with wondrous walls, shallow coral reefs, new and old wrecks and some of the most dynamic marine life. Tobago is another island that offers a myriad of diving opportunities for both the new and experienced diver plus the holiday snorkeler. Home of the elusive manta rays and the Caribbean's largest brain coral, Tobago is a year round scuba diving destination.

Behind the beach on each Caribbean island there is also a range of vacation activities that can include hiking, bird watching, river tubing, visiting natural attractions, history tours and enjoying a vibrant nightlife.

The natural landscape with abundant rain forests makes hiking a popular vacation activity in the Caribbean. Trinidad has a range of hiking opportunities with hikes varying in difficulty from 1 to 8. There are tour guides for those who want guided tours and almost every weekend hiking groups visit various natural attractions. The 32-kilometer trail from Blanchisseuse to Matelot on Trinidad's north coast is considered a jewel. Along the hike one alternates from unspoiled rainforest to untouched beaches. The trail rambles over a succession of small ridges, crossing several small streams and passing through abandoned estate lands with cocoa, coffee, tonka bean, nutmeg and papaya (pawpaw).

Dominica, lying in the Eastern Caribbean between Martinique and Guadeloupe, calls itself the Nature Island and rightfully so. Its landscape is covered with lush untouched natural rain forest. Within those forests are tall cascading waterfalls, hidden fern grottoes, mountain lakes, boiling lakes, hot springs and mysterious regions of volcanic activity. All these natural wonders within a 29 mile by 16 mile island that has almost 300 miles of footpaths, so that in almost every part of the country, trails weave their way into gorges and across valleys, climbing up to 4,000 foot mountains, creating a hiker’s paradise.

In Dominica, there are trails for every level of hiker, varying from easy 30-minute walks to more moderate 45 minute to 2-hour hikes to strenuous 6-hour treks. All of these in a land that seems to bear fruit everywhere, so that all over you see oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, bananas, papayas, guavas, star fruit, breadfruit, passion fruit.

The natural landscape of the Caribbean allows bird watching to be another popular year round vacation activity. Trinidad and Tobago has some of the most diverse bird species to be found in one location with over 460 species in a combined land area of 1,868 square miles. Asa Wright Nature Center, is Trinidad and Tobago’s premier birding location and it has been widely recognized as one of the most successful eco-tourism stories in the world. Asa Wright, with a listing of 159 bird species, is a 270-acre conservatory, located on a former cocoa-coffee-citrus plantation partly reclaimed by secondary forest and largely surrounded by impressive rainforest. The center has several cottages that are available for rent and one can choose to spend a night, a weekend or even longer. There are numerous trails throughout the property and very knowledgeable guides. Two of the highlights are the short walk to the manakin leks to see these beautiful little birds dance to attract a mate and to see and hear the Bearded Bellbird. Another special attraction of the Asa Wright Nature Centre, is a breeding colony of the nocturnal Oilbird, or Guacharo (Steatornis caripensis). Located in Dunston Cave, this is the only known easily accessible colony of this species. These visits must however generally be booked in advance as the number of visits and visitors is limited.

Wet, wild and wonderful are the words that describe yet another popular outdoor Caribbean vacation activity; River Tubing. On Grenada's Balthazar River, Dominica’s Layou River, Jamaica’s White River or Great River you can spin and swirl in large modified tubes as the river currents take you on a thrilling ride down river. Along the way you can enjoy the scenery of natural untouched rain forest and at the end of your ride you can swim in the river’s natural pools.

Nature has blessed the Caribbean in innumerable ways and provided it with a host of natural attractions. On the island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands is a national park known as The Baths. Here giant granite boulders are scattered about a beach lapped by the blue Caribbean Sea. Standing almost 50 feet tall, these massive boulders form a series of grottoes in which to play and explore. Within this seaside labyrinth are many placid pools that create a truly romantic locale.

St. Lucia boasts of one of the most unique Caribbean natural attractions with what is probably the world’s only drive-in volcano. Located at La Soufriere you drive your car to the semi-active volcano and from there you take a guided tour. The five acre wide hissing crater is a red, blue and green tinged landscape, which has 24 steaming vents, that hint at deposits of iron, copper oxide, magnesium and others minerals bubbling to the surface. The entire area gives a fascinating picture of what the earth must have looked like 400,000 years when the dome of molten lava collapsed.

The bioluminescent bay found at Puerto Mosquito (Mosquito Bay) located on the southern shore of the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico has to be rated as one of the things you must see before you die. A trip into the bay on a balmy night is a magical experience because when the calm waters around the bay are disturbed, the microscopic organisms in the bay emit a blue-green light and so swimming or kayaking in the bay is like floating among the stars. This magical bioluminescent bay has been officially declared the brightest recorded in the world by Guiness Book of World Records 2008.

The Caribbean was considered desirable property in the 17th and 18th century, which led to numerous battles between France, England, Spain and Holland and many islands changing ownership several times. The need to protect these islands resulted in numerous fortifications, while the change of ownership led to varying architectural styles. Many of these historic sites are well preserved and provide interesting glimpses of the past. Two of these sites are Brimstone Hill in St Kitts and the Garrison Historic District in Barbados.

The Brimstone Hill Fortress has been converted to a National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of historical, cultural and architectural significance. It has been described as "a monument to the ingenuity of the British military engineers who designed it and to the skill, strength and endurance of the African slaves who built and maintained it". The fortress is considered one of the best preserved historical fortifications in the Americas. Tours of Brimstone Hill are conducted daily, and highlights include the hospital, ammunition stores, artillery officer's quarters, the Prince of Wales Bastion, and the Citadel of Fort George. In addition to learning about the historical significance of the fort, a visit affords one the opportunity to enjoy attractive panoramic vistas of forested mountains, cultivated fields, the historical township of Sandy Point, and the neighboring islands of Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, St. Martin and St. Barts.

The Garrison Historic Area in Barbados surrounds the Garrison Savannah, which is the center of much of the sporting and recreational activity in Barbados. The Savannah however is a historic location for much more than sport. The historical significance of the Garrison Savannah goes back to 1650 when Charles Fort was erected in the area and then in 1705, St. Ann’s Fort was added. This area developed into a military complex and being the site of a military complex, numerous buildings were constructed from the 1660’s to the 1800’s. These buildings today give the Garrison area much of its historical and architectural interest. On any walk around the Garrison area you cannot miss seeing the numerous cannons that are located in the area. These form part of the National Cannon Collection, which constitutes the largest cluster of 17th Century English cannons in the world. One of the prominent buildings in this area is the Main Guard building facing the racetrack. This elegant Georgian building from 1802 with its handsome clock tower and wide verandah is now an information centre and houses exhibits about the West Indian Regiment. As you continue around the Savannah there are numerous 17th- to 19th-century military buildings constructed from brick brought as ballast on ships from England and also several memorials. Another significant building in this area is the Barbados Museum, which is housed in a compound that was formerly a military prison, and centered around a large airy courtyard with trees and flowering shrubs.

When night falls your activities do not end as the Caribbean has an array of bars, clubs and world class restaurants. For true local flavor however, the weekly street parties are unmatched. On the island of St Lucia the fishing village of Gros Islet transforms itself every Friday night into a colorful carnival scene, featuring soca and reggae music and a "jump up" (dancing in the streets). The Fish Fry on Friday’s in Grenada’s village of Gouyave provides you the opportunity to sample an array of freshly caught local seafood to the backdrop of calypso rhythms. Not to be outdone the Sunday School in Tobago’s Buccoo Village held every Sunday night allows you to dance to the music of the steelband while looking out on the fishing boats gently rocking in the bay.

With so much to do on a Caribbean Vacation, your only difficulty is to choose an island.

 

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Last modified: April 15, 2009