Think all sun destinations are the same? If you said yes, you probably haven’t been to Cuba. It has what you would expect from a Caribbean destination –– fantastic beaches with powdery soft sand and swaying palm trees but it also has the unexpected. Its culture has developed in isolation away from the big influential nations of the world. Its music and dance stands alone and isn’t like anything else you’ve experienced. The city of Havana has a shabby chic feel. Paint is peeling off buildings and wrought iron might be rusty, but its beauty is not diminished because of it. Cars from the 1950s serve as taxi cabs, reminding us that Cuba has its roots firmly in the past. It has a unique charm because of that. You’ll find more of that charm sitting in a Cuban café sipping a Cuba Libre (a rum, cola and lime) and people watching. Cuba is a special place unlike any other and shouldn’t be missed.
Sun lovers love Barbados. It has the best of both types of beaches. On one side of the island, the water is calm and placid, and the beach is lively, full of families, street musicians, sunbathers and others. On the other coast, the waves of the Atlantic are mighty and fierce. For those who love to surf and partake in active water sports, this is the place to be. In between the coasts, the roads of Barbados wind through tiny villages with chattel houses, rum bars and pretty churches. A wildlife reserve is home to green monkeys, shy yet mischievous creatures that are entertaining to watch. Locals and tourists mix happily, gathering at events like the Oistins Fish Fry where fresh fish is grilled alongside chunks of breadfruit (much like potato) at street stalls while bands play and diners dance under warm Caribbean skies. It’s great fun.
In St. Lucia, quiet lagoons provide perfect shelter for secluded swims and leisurely sun bathing. Many visitors come by cruise ship for their first trip, but find themselves coming back to explore more of this island nation. It’s the most mountainous of the Caribbean islands, with the peaks of the Pitons serving as St. Lucia’s most famous landmark. The island was born out of volcanic activity so it’s not surprising that there is still evidence remaining from that time. St. Lucia has the world’s only drive-in volcano, a must-do during your island holiday. Meanwhile, Aruba is a stark contrast. It is much more flat, desert-like and strewn with cacti. Though it ended up in the hands of the Dutch, Aruba was bounced around from Spain to Great Britain; all nations have left their mark on the island, making it a unique vacation playground.
Why you should go:
Inexpensive rum makes great souvenirs for family, friends and yourself too.
With so many beaches, you’re likely to find one that is perfect for you.
It’s easy to island hop to other places nearby by plane or by ferry.
Cruising the Caribbean
Friday 7th September 2007
Travel Counsellor: Rachael Higgins
Having enjoyed a ‘mini-cruise’ in Europe in 2006, I was really excited about cruising in the Caribbean, and the trip certainly didn’t disappoint.......
I flew with a group of colleagues from Dublin to London Heathrow with Aer Lingus, and then Heathrow to Miami with British Airways. Both airlines were comfortable, in particular British Airways. In my opinion they offer great facilities for economy passengers: Food was great, seats very comfortable and everyone had personal seat back screen with a variety of channels and movies.
Unfortunately my stay in Miami was only a short one! I stayed 1 night pre- cruise in Miami at the 4* Intercontinental Hotel. The hotel was approximately 20 minutes from the airport and is conveniently located at the port. The rooms were spacious and modern with a lovely bathroom. For a city hotel, it had a relaxed ‘resort’ feel and a lovely pool area. Although this hotel is not within walking distance of the main sights of Miami, I would definitely... view full story
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