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Archived Posts from “Caribbean”

Cuba-More Than Meets The Eye

23

November

Located in the Caribbean, Cuba is sometimes called the Key to the Gulf, as in the Gulf of Mexico, and is the largest island in the West Indies, not to mention, one of the largest in the world. Her geography makes Cuba el capitilio havanaa perfect destination for vacationers looking for an island getaway. Cuba has for instance, the world renowned valleys like Viñales, Yumurí and Los Ingenios, that stretch throughout Cuba, as well as three different mountain ranges, and two separate savanna regions. There are also beautiful rivers, such as Hanabanilla, with enchanting waterfalls, that continue to touch those travelers with a deep love for nature. Cuba also has over three hundred different natural beaches, with crystal clear blue water, and long stretches of soft white sand; one of the most famous of these is Varadero Beach.

There are many fun things to do in Cuba, and one of the most favoured is simply lying on the beach, and soaking up the sun. Other popular activities are going scuba diving, and discovering underwater wildlife, as well as enjoying other nautical activities, like fishing, waterskiing, or boating. Golf is also very popular in Cuba, and there are several beautiful, pristine golf courses throughout the island. Nature oriented individuals will love Cuba for it’s wildlife preserves, national parks, and several different hiking trails, where tourists can get a firsthand experience of Cuba’s natural flora and fauna. Tourists are also urged to watch the local calendars for cultural festivals, and local events that are open to the public; outdoor festivals are fun for both families and individuals, as well as couples out on a romantic excursion, or honeymoon.

The traditional foods found in Cuba are mainly a cultural mixture of Spanish, African, and Caribbean foods, as well as there being surprisingly, a small but definitely apparent influence of Chinese cuisine in the Havana area. This is naturally due to all the different cultures that have immigrated to Cuba, and the slavery on sugar cane farms that caused a lasting effect on the cuisine, with native African recipes. Some traditional favorite Cuban dishes are Ajiaco, a type of soup containing chicken, corn, and two kinds of potatoes, sour cream, avocados, and capers, and Picadillo, which is a mixture of ground beef, mixed with olives, black beans, and capers, but contains no chili powder, and is usually served with rice, or used as a filling for burritos or tacos. In fact, Cuban food is much more mild than most people think, in light of the Mexican influence cuisine, most expect Cuban food to be spicy, but it’s not. For example, the popular tamales in Cuba also omit any chili powder in the recipe.

The best type of accommodation to be found in Cuba are hotels, and they can be found throughout Cuba, easily, from luxury spa resort hotels, and hotels for those who prefer to spend their vacation outside their room. You can easily find hotel reservations for three, four and five star hotels that are under a hundred dollars per night, located in the islets and keys of Cuba, on the beaches, and in the cities, whether you prefer to stay in a vintage historical hotel, or a newer hotel; both are modeled to accommodate guests with every convenience of home. As for getting around in Cuba, for those who prefer to get around quickly, and reliably, the rails that run throughout the island of Cuba are the best idea for getting from one area to the other. Otherwise, there are also buses that go through the cities and urban areas of Cuba, as well as taxis, but travelers are urged, if the take a taxi to keep a close eye on the meter. Other options are renting a car, but be prepared to not be able to find a parking place fairly often, or to park and walk.


Jamaica-Getting Some Island In Your Life

14

November

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean, and also the birthplace of Bob Marley, and James Bond. The island itself is tropical, and beautiful inland, with long hours of Caribbean sunshine, and warmth, whereas the coastline is long stretches of white, sandy beaches, with clear blue water that goes on for miles. There are also high, beautiful waterfalls, further inland on the island, as well as the high, majestic Blue Mountain. Most vacationers and tourists expect Jamaica to be a short trip, and quickly explored; however, as varied, and geographically diverse an island as it is, most travelers will discover that there is more to see than they thought.

montego bayThe foods in Jamaica are various, and very culturally influenced; from the seafood to the fruit, very few menus can compare with all the different foods you may, –or may not, depending on the palate, –be savouring on the island. Just to name a few of the native foods that you might be sampling while in Jamaica, there’s steamed cabbage, codfish balls, Callaloo patties, Ackee and Saltfish patties, sweet Cassava pudding, boiled dumplings of various sorts in many dishes, stuffed roast beef, Callaloo fritters, fried jerk chicken, plenty of corn bread, hominy porridge, and much, much more. Jamaica also has a variety of different fruits to try, such as Jackfruit, Guniep, Hog Pum, Tinkin toe and more.

Jamaica has such a wide variety of foods and people, despite it being an island where most of the population is usually said to be of African descent, it is actually compromised of many different cultures. South American, Asian, African, European, East Indian, and Arabic ancestry as well. Much of the reason for this wide variety of culture is that up until 1962, Jamaica was under British rule, and was frequented by travelers from many travelers in Europe and other continents before it became an independent nation unto itself in 1962.

Some of the places most frequently visited are the parishes in Jamaica. Altogether there are fourteen, but the most beautiful and popular are Portland, St. Ann’s, Manchester and Westmoreland. Tourists are also encouraged to visit orchards and savor some of the fruit native to Jamaica. For shopping and lodging, the northern coast of Jamaica is a great place to visit or to lodge for the duration of your stay. If travelers are interested in suspense, and ghostly history lessons, then they should visit Rose Hall, the home where a woman named Annie Palmer lived once; her husband passed away mysteriously, and then the servants disappeared one at a time. Before therapeutic baths were trendy in Europe, they were well established in Jamaica; to see just how much, try the Milk River Baths in St. Elizabeth.

There are several luxurious hotels on the North Coast of Jamaica as well, which include Beachcomber Club Hotel & Suites, Beaches Royal Plantation, Breezes Montego Bay, Cariblue Hotel, Crane Ridge Hotel, Half Moon Hotel, Devine Destiny, as well as dozens more relaxing, and excellent places for any tourist or vacationer to lodge while staying in Jamaica.


Puerto Rico-Jewel Of The Indies

12

November

Puerto Rico is one of the most beautiful islands in the Indies, and contains several varieties of cultures, cuisine, music, and entertainment venues. The capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan, is the largest and most well established city on the island, while it also provides many attractions for tourists, such as Rio Piedras, the “Universal City” which contains the oldest University in Puerto Rico. The music, architecture, and foods are all influenced mainly by that of it’s ancestral Spain, as well as being home to many other cultures as well, such as African, Western American, and Mexican, to name only a few.

The foods in Puerto Rico have just as many cultural influences and origins as the population of the island itself. Some of the foods are even influenced by Creole culture, as well as Western American, and Spanish. The appetizers and soups you’ll most likely be experiencing at least once while visiting, are empanadillas, which are fritters, and crescent shaped, but filled with a variety of meats and cheeses, such as cod, lobster, beef, or crab meat. Also, classic soups, such as frijoles negros, which is black bean soup, or sopón de pollo con arroz, which is soup made from chicken and rice, both, very rich in flavour. Pastelón de carne, or, meat pies, are a very popular dish, as well as carne frita con cebolla, or beef fried with onions. The desserts however, are possibly once of the best reasons to go to Puerto Rico, serving up delights such as boudin de pasas con coco, or coconut bread pudding, as well as Polvo de amor, which is “love powder,” made from grated coconut, then fried until crisp.

There are numerous places to visit in Puerto Rico, aside from their beautiful, expansive beaches, the go on for miles with white sands, and blue, clear waters. For instance, the historic old sections of San Juan, in the Northern region, as well as Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, and the Rio Camuy Caves in Camuy. In the Easter Region of Puerto Rico, there’s Natural Reserve of Mosquito in Vieques, and also Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve. In the Central Region of Puerto Rico, there’s Caguana Indian Ceremonial Park in Utuado, and you can also visit an area with many restored, historical haciendas in Las Marias. In the Western Region of Puerto Rico, you can find the only zoo on the whole island, the Mayagüez Zoo. In the Southern Region, you can find more historical landmarks, such as the Serralles Castle.

When travelling to Puerto Rico, or anywhere else, the conditions in the area they’re traveling to at the time is important. Sometimes, when avoiding crowds, and going to an area in a certain season, you may be signing up for more trouble on your vacation; the same is true here. While the average temperature, year-round in Puerto Rico is 80 F, the main tourist seasons are December through April, which is usually when most people from the U.S. travel to escape cold climates. However, avoiding crowds in the down season, travelers can go instead through May and November, which unfortunately also happens to run through hurricane season.


Caribbean Cruise Guide

20

November

Comprising of around 50 islands (750 if you count the archipelago of the Bahamas), the Caribbean is a real treasure trove when it comes to cruising. A rich variety of vistas, people and places await, along with swaying palms and idyllic beaches of golden sand. The network of islands in the Caribbean is in fact so extensive that it is possible to book several Caribbean cruises and avoid going to the same islands twice!

There are four basic Caribbean cruise routes used by cruise operators:

Western Caribbean Cruise Route – Departing from seaports in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, the Western Route takes in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, the island of Cozumel, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and any number of islands off the coasts of Honduras and Belize.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise Route – One of the most popular Caribbean cruise routes, the Eastern Route typically departs from Florida and other seaports along the eastern seaboard of the United States. The route calls on destinations such as Key West, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands the Virgin Islands (including St. Thomas and St. Croix), and Puerto Rico.

Southern Caribbean Cruise Route – This route normally commences at San Juan in Puerto Rico, and takes in many possible destinations along the Lesser Antilles and the Netherlands Antilles as far west as Aruba.

Exotic/Long-duration Caribbean Cruise Route – This route takes in any/all of the above destinations, and can sometimes end in a different place to where the cruise started.

Given this broad assortment of destinations available in the Caribbean, it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to make that crucial decision on which islands to fit into your itinerary. After all, you don’t want to miss out on some true Caribbean gems, do you? So, whether you’re planning a short vacation or a longer cruise break away from home, here is a selection of ‘must-sees’ & ‘must-dos’ on your Caribbean adventure.

St Croix (Virgin Islands) – Take a night kayak trip in Salt River National Park and visit the first landing site of Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the New World.

Grenada – Although ravaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Grenada is still well worth a visit for its scuba diving. You can explore the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean here and see an underwater volcano.

St. Thomas (Virgin Islands) – The Cinnamon Bay National Park offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. You can see a wealth of underwater life in the shallow waters around St. Thomas.

Jamaica – Why not try your hand at bamboo rafting in Montego Bay?

Puerto Rico – No Caribbean cruise would be complete without a visit to the world famous Condado Beach on the island of Puerto Rico.

Aruba – Want to find Caribbean paradise? How about relaxing on one of the 365 beaches that surround the Dutch island of Aruba.

St Kitts – Swim with the turtles in the waters around St Kitts and then relax on the pink sand beaches on this beautiful island.

Good luck with planning your trip and happy cruising.
About The Author

FG Cruise provides detailed information on cruise vacations including articles and tips for that perfect cruise. To find out more info visit here: http://www.fgcruise.com.


Family Resorts In The Caribbean

04

November

The Caribbean has become a well known standard for family vacations. There is so much enjoyment to be had and usually contains resorts with a lot of features for the family. You can usually get the following items in a family package

Deluxe swimming pools with water slides
Water sports and the beach
Programs for kids and activities for a family
Drinks on tap and convenient meal times
Pampering services for adults such as dining, cocktail parties and spas to name a few
Good rates for a family
Services such as babysitting

There are so many Caribbean all inclusive family travel resorts available today and considering you are spending your hard earned money and you are taking your whole family you want to choose the best one that fits your needs.

When a package advertises as all inclusive, it doesn’t necessarily mean everything. You do get snacks and meals, kid’s programs and drinks, some water sports among other things but not everything. Consider the following

Water sports like kayaks, wind surfing and aquatrikes are included but things like water skis and jet skis and anything else that is motorized can cost extra.
You can usually do some snorkeling but there may be a time limit to the gear and if you desire to sign up for a boat trip you may have to pay for it.
Scuba usually ends up being extra
The spas are extra most of the time unless you go on a special Caribbean travel deal
There are certain non all inclusive packages that have meals and activities included
If you travel out of the resort you will cost you but usually there is a shuttle or a town within walking distance.

Kid’s Club

The all inclusive family packages offer clubs which consist of one or two rooms filled with toys, a TV and sometimes video games for ages four to twelve. A friendly experienced staff is on hand to supervise them. You can find this on almost all packages; they vary in age group and programs. Some examples of Caribbean family travel specials that offer this service are Beach resorts, Atlantis in the Bahamas and Club Med in Punta Cana.

Babies and Toddlers

It is easier to find infant care and nurseries on many Caribbean travel resorts these days. It is a helpful thing for a parent because you can take a little break for yourself and leave your child taking a nap in the nursery.

There are nurses and doctors on site in the bigger travel resorts so check them out first if that is your concern. And double check the resort before you go to make sure that they have a baby club running during the time you will be there.