Don’t Play Chicken with Barracudas



Caribbean barracudaAn eastern Caribbean cruise is fun on board ship, but what makes any cruise memorable is what happens off the ship.

We have been to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on two cruises. The first cruise was the most memorable because of the barracuda.

Yes, we met some barracuda.

Our excursion involved taking a small sailboat with three other couples to a snorkeling location off St. Thomas.

That in itself was fun because it was a small boat on beautiful water with blue skies and a warm sun.

We reached our destination and jumped into the water. The boat’s captain wasted no time in getting out food for fish, and we were swarmed with the most colorful fish I have ever seen in any Caribbean snorkeling trip. Continue reading


5 Great Caribbean Shore Excursions for Families


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Stingray City

Stingray City. Credit: Wikimedia

The best Caribbean excursions are beauties of nature — something visitors don’t see anywhere else.

Following are five great excursions that we personally enjoyed and highly recommend.

Stingray City

Stingray City is located on a sandbar off Grand Cayman island. Visitors take a boat there, get in the water and play with a school of stingray that live nearby and have become used to human contact.

Visitors put on snorkeling gear and stand or swim in three feet of water. The stingrays glide by and sometimes run their wings over human legs.

Most people thoroughly enjoy the experience, while others get nervous and jump back into the boats.

The stingrays are peaceful and know how to avoid aggressive humans, so injuries are extremely rare. Simply approach them gently and watch how they glide by. Continue reading

Dunn’s River Falls Creates Lasting Family Experience


Family frollicks in Dunn's River Falls. © Jamaica Tourist Board

Family frollicks in Dunn’s River Falls. © Jamaica Tourist Board

One of the best, most popular and most famous excursions in the Caribbean is Dunn’s River Falls near Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

Think of it as one giant water park made by nature.

Visitors climb up 600 feet to the top. That may sound like a big climb, but most visitors are too busy having fun to notice.

The falls consist of a series of pools, steps and mini-falls that give people plenty of time to enjoy themselves, conserve their energy and, of course, get plenty wet.

Climbers actually form a daisy chain — holding hands with each other — in order to get to the top with minimal chance of slipping or getting hurt.

Because the climb is both fun and easy, many families with young children make the trek to the top.

The best part of all is reaching the top and frollicking in the water for some great splashy fun.

The cost to enter the park is $15 for adults and $12 for children for anyone who can drive there.

Visitors coming from longer distances such as the cruise port at Ocho Rios should expect to pay $40 and higher for adults. Visitors from Montego Bay might pay $60 and higher.

Best Turks and Caicos Beaches


Turks and Caicos beach

© Turks & Caicos Tourist Office

Named one of the top two diving destinations in the world (Scuba Diving magazine), the ethereal turquoise seas and powdery white sands sets the one-of-a-kind beaches of Turks & Caicos fully apart.

Planning a vacation in this Caribbean paradise? Sit back and explore the A-list, must see beaches that will be sure to make your vacation memorable. Continue reading

5 Great St. Barts Beaches


 By Scott Bateman

St. Jean Beach

St. Jean Beach; credit: Wikimedia

Ringing the glamorous island of St Barts are spotless strips of sand and ethereal turquoise waters creating renowned beaches that are exceptionally beautiful and extremely inviting. Below is a sneak peek at our top five picks.

1) St. Jean Beach

St. Jean Beach is one of the more popular beaches on St. Barts with beautiful sand and clear waters. The beach is also a haven for photographers looking to get pictures of airplanes taking off and landing.

Several hotels and restaurants are in the area, making it a convenient beach for island visitors. St. Jean is split into two beaches by the Eden Rock hotel, but both are lovely nonetheless, and just steps away from great shopping, dining, a plethora of beachfront hotels, restaurants, and other activities.

Like all of St. Barts’ beaches it has white sand and the calm waters make for good snorkeling.

Continue reading

Curacao’s Handelskade Delivers Grand Shopping Experience



Handelskade waterfront; © Curacao Tourism Board

Curacao offers a great cruise port for people who visit for a day or two.

The port is located in the capital city of Willemstad, which has a beautiful and vibrantly colored central district known as Handelskade.

Handelskade is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the main reason why anyone would want to visit the island.

Cruise visitors will cross the Queen Emma Bridge on the canal leading to the inner harbor to reach the district. Note that the bridge closes periodically to let ships pass through.

They will see a series of open-air restaurants that line the canal that add a festive European air to the surroundings.

Within the district they will find many more restaurants and especially block after block of shopping — ranging from low-end souvenir shops to high-end fashion.

But it’s the district’s colorful, historically and architecturally attractive buildings that make the visit so worthwhile.