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Caribbean Travel

April 18, 2012

Your Daily Dose of Armchair Daydreaming from the Shores of the Caribbean Sea



By awayblog
04/18/2012

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Tulum-mexico-march-contest-winner
Tulum and the Caribbean Sea on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico (Rich Baum)

Believed by archaeologists to be a Mayan fort constructed to guard the coastline, Tulum's perch overlooking the Caribbean Sea along Mexico's easterly Yucatan Peninsula is certainly more than just eye candy. But for today's invading hordes—tourists flocking to the popular beach resorts of Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and Cozumel to the north—this may just be one of the region's defining photo ops. Snapped by Away.com reader Rich Baum of Fair Oaks, California, this evocative composition scooped the prize in our March call for your most inspirational Caribbean photographs. Thanks to everyone who shared their amazing pictures of beaches, sunsets, volcanic peaks, wildlife, and more from throughout the Caribbean region's medley of islands and mainland outposts.

Got a once-in-a-lifetime photo that captures your most inspirational national-park experience? Share it in our April photo contest for your chance to win over $1,000 in prizes, including fabulous outdoor gear and two nights at Zion National Park Lodge.

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Exotic Escapes · Travel Photography

September 29, 2011

Top Five Adventures in Bonaire (Besides SCUBA)



By Guest Blogger
09/29/2011

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Bonaire(iStockphoto,Thinkstock)
Bonaire Dive Community (Thinkstock)

Divers have been doing their best to keep Bonaire a secret for decades. They've long considered this Dutch municipality in the Caribbean a veritable home away from home, and happily allowed the rest of the world to think its highly protected reef park is the only thing going for it. But today Bonaire is on the rise, and non-divers are starting to take notice.

From incredible island hiking to world-class windsurfing, Bonaire is an all-around outdoor paradise. Better yet, unlike neighboring Aruba and Curacao, there's not a chain hotel in sight, and its easy roads and well-marked attractions make it eminently explorable, with or without a tour guide. Throw in super-friendly, Dutch-infused locals with an infectious love for their natural landscape, and you've got the DIY traveler's trifecta.

Away.com's Bonaire Travel Guide

Explore Bonaire for yourself with this lineup of the island's top five outdoor adventures—no SCUBA tanks required.

1. Washington Slagbaai National Park
With rolling desert hills and towering cactuses dominating the landscape, the rugged Washington Slagbaai National Park feels more like the American southwest than the Caribbean, except for one thing: You can't turn the bend of a dusty West Texas trail to find a deserted white-sand beach where rolling waves seem to be catered to body surfing. From hiking and mountain biking to bird watching, kayaking and cliff jumping, this park has adventures to top any visitor's must-do list. Car- and bike-friendly roads run alongside hiking trails that include a flat walk through the prickly pears out to Chikita Beach and a not-so-flat climb to the top of Branderis, the island's highest point. Aside from the visitor center at the entrance, the only facilities are found at Slaagbai, a white sand beach on the west side of the park with a single food vendor and picnic area among historic harbor buildings.

Away.com's Washington Slagbaai National Park Travel Guide

Continue reading "Top Five Adventures in Bonaire (Besides SCUBA)" »

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Related Topics: Caribbean Travel · Scuba & Snorkeling · Trip Ideas

January 18, 2011

Five Culinary Highlights of Barbados


Kendra
(Kendra Bailey Morris)

Winter is clearly in full swing (in most parts of the country). If it isn't snowing, it's sleeting, and all of this cold and ice has many of us (myself included) craving an empty beach chair perched on a warm, sandy beach where we can pass away a quiet afternoon with tropical drink in hand.

The good news is, this fantasy may not be as unreachable as you might think. The island of Barbados, with its pristine azure waters, 3,000 hours of annual sunshine, 1,500 rum shops, and amazing traditional Bajan cooking (think the freshest fish, macaroni pie, and Cou-Cou, a cornmeal and okra combo) is a brief three-hour flight from Miami.

So, why not treat yourself to a little taste of the islands, and while you're there, don't miss out on these five must-dos.

1. Eat a Flying-Fish Sandwich
Flying fish was recently declared the National Dish of Barbados along with Cou-Cou. This acrobatic fish earned its name because it can literally break out of the water and "fly" distances of up to 100 yards. Flying fish can be found on a variety of menus, from chalkboards outside the local roadside fish shack where traditional "cutters" (sandwiches made with salt bread) are sold for a few Bahamain dollars, to the fancy faux-leather fold-out menus found in many fine-dining establishments which dot the island.

Continue reading "Five Culinary Highlights of Barbados" »

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Culinary Travel · Food and Drink · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

December 09, 2010

Spring Break already? Yes, please!



By Kate Chandler
12/09/2010

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Basse-Terre-Guadeloupe
Basse Terre, Guadeloupe (Guadeloupe Islands Tourism Board)

We at Away.com hope you have something fabulous planned for the upcoming holidays, even if it means a staycation with delicious food and (non-stressful) family. It's a fun, if not busy, time of year.

But it's not too early to start planning an awesome spring break vacation. For some, that's only three months away...surely you will have recovered from the holidays by then. The first choice you need to make is beach or ski. Those of you who think it's ridiculous to waste away on the beach while there's still snow on the slopes should check out our Top Ski Resorts for Spring Skiing.

For the rest of you who are ready to get somewhere warm pronto, start with our guides to Mexico and the Caribbean. You can also look at Florida, but it isn't unheard of to hit a cold-snap in the panhandle area in March (for those of you with an early spring break). We have the beta on all the top beaches in these spots, but we also have ideas for the whole family and for the active crowd.

If you need a bit more direction, our top ten lists are your go-to. Top Ten Alternative Spring Break Vacations offers ideas beyond the typical Cancun and Panama City-type choices. If you have the kiddos in tow, pick from our Top Ten Spring Break Destinations for Families. And if you need more than warm beaches and cool cocktails (really, you need more than that?), our Top Ten Active Spring Break Vacations should do the trick.

So instead of biding you happy holidays, I'll wish you happy spring break planning!

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Florida Vacation · Mexico Travel · Skiing & Snowboarding

July 22, 2010

Eco-Friendly Adventure in Puerto Rico



By Guest Blogger
07/22/2010

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Ty - The Beast Zipline
The Beat Zipline (Ty Stevens)

Welcome to the Toro Verde Adventure Park & Eco Resort, a 100-acre jungle oasis located in the heart of Puerto Rico. It's the ultimate playground, offering hours of mountain biking, rock climbing, and zip-line adventures with lush jungle landscapes as the backdrop.

Adrenaline junkies can fly on more than 20 canopy zip-lines (with more to come) that range from 100 to 3,000-plus feet in length, and are up to 800 meters high. My favorite fix is "The Beast," touted as the second longest zip-line in the world with average break neck speeds of 50-plus mph. Imagine ripping through the sky in a prone "superman"-style harness. Below on the forest floor is a network of world-class mountain-bike trails linking miles of varied jungle terrain.

The park itself is being developed in three phases, with a projected 316 acres at completion. With phase one complete, phase two promises "more fully sustainable, and primarily natural-surface mountain-bike trails," says seven-time world champion mountain biker and trail designer Marla Streb of Streb Trail Productions. Marla has turned her passion for trails, mountain biking, and land preservation into a full-time pursuit and is responsible for many sustainable development and education projects in several regions of Central America. Her philosophy is to "use, not abuse," expressing the importance of enjoying and interacting with these natural wonders without leaving behind our mark. The idea behind this project, she says, is to work with world-class athletes to design world-class trails, with a variety of options that appeal to beginner and advanced riders and hikers alike.

Continue reading "Eco-Friendly Adventure in Puerto Rico" »

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Related Topics: Caribbean Travel · Eco-Tourism · Exotic Escapes

January 07, 2010

Donate a Coat, Receive a Free Overnight Stay



By Lacy Morris
01/07/2010

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Sheraton
AERIAL VIEW: Sheraton's Freshwater Pool (courtesy, Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort)

If you're in the Bahamas no winter coat is needed, so why not donate it to charity? The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, is giving back by participating in One Warm Coat's "Warm Coats Warm Hearts" drive. Upon checking-in, hand over any winter coat and receive a voucher for a free night's stay on your next visit to the resort. There is a limit of two vouchers per room and the promotion will continue through March 19, 2010.  

The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort is set along one of Nassau's most beautiful white-sand beaches. Scattered throughout the resort's tropical landscape are three freshwater pools, a swim-up bar, and six restaurants and lounges.

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Free Stuff

October 28, 2009

Getting Out There With Afar Magazine


Afar Traveling home from a conference in Québec last week, I picked up a copy of the premier edition of Afar, the newest travel magazine to grace an already crowded category on airport newsstands. An hour later after a thoroughly absorbing in-flight read, I can report that I was impressed. The magazine is "for readers who are curious about everything the planet and its people have to offer," according to founder and editorial director Greg Sullivan. In this day and age, when magazines seek to impress with the most luxurious travel experiences imaginable or cater to a budget-minded, close-to-home crowd, Afar bites off the essence of experiential travel with an honest, open, and upbeat appraisal of the world we explore. A bimonthly publication to start, each issue of Afar will be organized under the typical See, Connect, and Go sections; its first edition profiled everything from Japan's costume-play fetish to a local's guide to East London to the world's best treetop lodging. As someone who reads a pile of travel magazines each month for work, I'm happy to say that this is one travel magazine that will open your eyes, mind, and heart—not just your wallet!

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Related Topics: Africa Travel · Asia Travel · Beach Vacation · Budget Travel · Caribbean Travel · Eco-Tourism · Exotic Escapes · Outdoor Adventures · South America Travel

October 27, 2009

End the Ban on Travel to Cuba Today!



By awayblog
10/27/2009

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Cayo-guillermo-cuba
The Pasarela Hemingway Pier extends out into the clear blue waters of Cayo Guillermo, located on Cuba's northern coast. (Jeremy Woodhouse/Digital Vision/Getty)

In May 2009, online travel agency Orbitz.com (of which Away.com is a subsidiary) spearheaded a push to end the travel ban of U.S. citizens to Cuba. Today, the OpenCuba.org campaign has collected almost 100,000 signatures in support of a petition to end the ban. In addition, 180 U.S. Congressmen and 33 Senators have sponsored the bipartisan Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act, which seeks to open up travel to Cuba for all U.S. citizens. If you have not yet signed the petition, please do so today, plus be sure to encourage at least three of your friends and family to sign the petition via the easy-to-use "tell-a-friend" page. The petition is open to people from anywhere in the world and is not just limited to U.S. citizens.

Discover the many faces of Cuba in this photo gallery from Away.com.

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Related Topics: Caribbean Travel · Travel News

July 08, 2009

Beach Bytes: Barbados in Any Season


Mullins-Bay-Barbados
FRONT ROW SEAT: Mullins Bay in Barbados (Photodisc)

High season in Barbados officially begins in mid-December when North Americans and Brits (in particular) are eager to avoid their cold, beach-less winters. Nightlife comes alive on the island, and holiday activities are hopping. 

But for those in search of a good deal, or who still need a beach getaway even when the weather's warm at home, the good news is that all year is near-perfect season in Barbados.  Spring and summer rates for airfare, lodging, and travel packages are also quite enticing. This beautiful, friendly Caribbean island welcomes guests all year round, with its warm, interesting people the foremost asset. You can golf, dive, surf (or try really any water sport), plus swim with the turtles among the coral; there’s never a shortage of activity. The gorgeous beach itself provides the primary entertainment (at least for me), and beaches range from busy resort areas to secluded spots for napping under swaying palms—with an occasional break for a rum punch.

One of the highlights of summer is the Crop Over Festival, a five-week event underway right now. Its origins date back more than 200 years to when the sugarcane crop harvest was finished and called for a celebration. Though no longer based on the harvest schedule, it is the island's biggest event of the year.  The extravaganza includes dancing, parades, elaborate costumes, music competitions, fabulous food, arts and crafts, and of course lots of calypso, a style of music unique to the Caribbean. The event attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

Continue reading "Beach Bytes: Barbados in Any Season" »

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Trip Ideas

May 28, 2009

Behind the Image: The Night Parade at Curacao's Carnival Celebration


Curacao-carnival
NATURAL NEON: Carnival in Curacao (Nathan Borchelt)

Of all the places that I've been lucky enough to photograph, the Night Parade (or Marcha Despedida) that marks the end of Curacao's weeklong Carnival celebrations each March ranks as one of the downright best times.

Continue reading "Behind the Image: The Night Parade at Curacao's Carnival Celebration" »

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Related Topics: Caribbean Travel · Exotic Escapes · Holidays, Events, & Festivals · Travel Photography
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