Caribbean Holidays – No Longer Once in a Lifetime19 June, 2012
Formerly the preserve of honeymooners, the jet set and the famous, holidays to far-flung and exotic destinations have become a lot more accessible in recent years. With increased flight connections and reduced travelling times, destinations such as the Caribbean are benefitting from a boom in tourism.
No matter what your budget, this exotic paradise of crescent shaped islands, situated between the Gulf of Mexico and South America, offers plenty of choice. A perfect destination to look out for if you’re keen on a bargain and are ready to travel at the drop of a hat, last minute holidays on the beach don’t come better than those offered on the Caribbean’s sandy shores.
While there are more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays to explore, of the 41 inhabited islands, there are four in particular which offer a heady fusion of Latin, African, European and American cultures.
If you have a little more money to spend and are seeking a relaxing and luxurious beach holiday, Antigua in the West Indies will tick all the right boxes. Boasting some of the Caribbean’s most exclusive resorts, nestled within secluded bays and inlets, Antigua is also home to several famous faces; rub shoulders with Eric Clapton, Giorgio Armani and Oprah Winfrey.
Perhaps the biggest draw is the unspoilt white sands and the calm azure waters. If you’re more at home in the sea, visit Sting Ray City to view these exotic fish in their natural habitat. Those who prefer dry land will enjoy a trip to the Montserrat volcano. For the best photo opportunities consider taking a helicopter ride, where you’ll get to see all of the spewing steam and ash.
After a hard day basking in the blissful sunshine, maximise the leisure activities available, such as free water sports, and relax in style at the picturesque Beach Club resort.
An intriguing mix of diverse natural beauty, music and sport, there’s nothing not to like about Barbadian culture. Delve a little deeper; for a lesson in the island’s history visit Barbados Museum, located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Historic Bridgetown.
Savvy travelers will book their trip to coincide with the frequent African street parades that last long into the night – it’ll be too warm not to join the party! Benefiting from the same subtropical climate as its neighboring islands, Barbados basks in temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celsius between June and August.
When considering where to stay in the Caribbean, let your stresses wash away at The Waves resort in Barbados. Choose from tranquil oceanfront or island view rooms overlooking the calm waters and white sands of Prospect Bay.
As the name suggests, Turtle Beach, by Elegant Hotels, is located in close proximity to the famed Turtle Beach, where sea turtles migrate to lay eggs each and every year – a fantastic sight for all nature lovers.
If you’re looking for numerous and varied attractions in the Caribbean, Cuba is bursting with historic sites, entertainment and gastronomic delights. While flights here aren’t as cheap as other destinations, once you arrive you’ll find that your dollars go a long way, making this a fantastic destination for those travelling with an average budget.
To see the real Cuba, head to the capital Havana, one of the smallest cities on the island. Enjoy people watching and the constant ebb and flow of 1950s American motor vehicles, a strong street-culture and a variety of uniquely Cuban bars and cafés, giving a great insight into the slow pace of life enjoyed by Cubans.
Boasting over 200 beautiful coastal bays and more than 400 natural beaches, a great destination for active holiday-makers, Cuba and The Cuban Keys, offer some of the best scuba-diving in the world. Explore life under the sea and swim with dolphins, sharks and breath-taking coral reefs. You’ll also find numerous wrecks buried beneath the surface and the myriad caves that line Cuba’s coast.
When you’re not enjoying the crystal clear seas and sandy shores, Cuba has a vibrant nightlife. From exciting café culture and salsa dancing to delicious tapas food and heavenly rum cocktails there are a variety of fun, authentic ways to unwind.
Perhaps the most renowned island in the Caribbean, it is musical heritage for which Jamaica is most famed. The place to visit for any die-hard music aficionado, explore the birthplace and roots of many popular musical styles such as ska, dancehall and dubstep. A must-see for reggae lovers is the Bob Marley Museum in Jamaica’s capital, Kingston.
Music aside, explorers will love natural attractions such as the Dunn River Falls, the Blue Lagoon and the Palisadoes; a thin tombolo of sand that serves as natural protection for Kingston Harbour.
From its days as the “banana capital of the world” and as the best-kept secret vacation spot of Hollywood’s rich and famous, Port Antonio’s eclectic heritage and majestic landscapes make it the perfect destination for travellers seeking an authentic Jamaican experience.
Wherever you choose to venture in the Caribbean with some careful planning, and for the brave, waiting until the last possible moment, there are plenty of bargains to be had. Book your holiday today and sample a taste of the high life!