THE CARIBBEAN HAS GOT TO BE ON YOUR BUCKET LIST AND FOR YEARLY VACATIONS
Welcome To St. Lucia
Is No Ordinary Island. Equal parts beauty and mystique, Saint Lucia captivates anyone who sets foot on her coastline. Always evocative, she welcomes visitors with her soothing waves, warm beaches, and hospitable people. The only sovereign nation to be named for a woman, the island personifies adventure and inspiration. Her visitors invariably find themselves reluctant to leave and eager to return.
With water so turquoise that it glows, you may find it difficult to stray far from the beach in the Turks and Caicos. Museums, ruins, and other area attractions may not seem nearly as compelling as the beaches, which are among the most incredible you will ever see. Don't be surprised if you wake up on your last morning and realize that you didn't find a lot of time for anything else.
Jamaicans define enthusiasm. Whether the topic is track and field or politics, the spirit of this island comes out in every interaction. Although the country is well known for its tropical beauty, reggae music, and cuisine, you may find that your interactions with local residents are what you truly remember. The island is rich in beauty. Where vacationers opt to stay in Jamaica depends on factors ranging from vacation length to personal interests. With its direct air connections to many U.S. cities, Montego Bay (or Mo'Bay) is favored by Americans taking short trips; many properties are just minutes from the airport. Other parts of Jamaica can be reached from Montego Bay in 60 to 90 minutes, while eastern areas may be more accessible from the other major airport—in the capital, Kingston.
Dominicans will extend a gracious welcome, saying, "This is your home!" and indeed are happy to share their beautiful island bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south. Among its most precious assets are 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of gorgeous beaches studded with coconut palms and sands ranging from pearl-white to golden brown to volcanic black. The Caribbean sun kisses this exotic land, which averages 82°F year-round. In recent years, the D.R. has grown up, as the all-inclusive resorts have become more upscale, and small, stellar boutique properties have opened in all of the most popular tourist areas. The level of service staff and middle management has also improved.
Isolated in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 miles (161 km) due east of St. Lucia, Barbados stands apart from its neighbors in the Lesser Antilles archipelago, the chain of islands that stretches in a graceful arc from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad. It's a sophisticated tropical island with a rich history, lodgings to suit every taste and pocketbook, and plenty to pique your interest both day and night.
Made up of 700 islands—some busy and bustling, some isolated and inhabited by no one but hermit crabs and seagulls—the Bahamas offers an alluring mix of land and sea activities. From Nassau to Eleuthera, you can play golf on a seaside fairway, dive dramatic wrecks and reefs, and sail in crystal clear water. Accommodations run the gamut from simple inns to sophisticated retreats, from practical fishing lodges to romantic honeymoon hideaways. And for those who look a little closer, there's a fascinating and diverse culture to be explored.
Cruise ships gleam in Oranjestad Harbour, and thousands of eager tourists spill out into downtown Oranjestad. The mile-long stretch of L.G. Smith Boulevard (aka "The Strip") is lined with cafés, designer stores, restaurants, and Palm Beach Plaza, a modern shopping mall. The countryside is dotted with colorful cunucu (country-style houses) and stretches out into a cacti-studded rocky desert landscape that becomes Arikok National Park—a protected preserve covering 20% of the island's landmass.
Vacationers appreciate the mellow civility of the islands, and Grand Cayman's exceptional Seven Mile Beach has its share of fans. Divers come to explore the pristine reefs or perhaps to swim with friendly stingrays. Go if you want a safe, family-friendly vacation spot. Don't go if you're trying to save money, because there are few real bargains here.