Saturday, January 12, 2008

Caribbean and the Canary Islands

Similarities between the Caribbean and the Canary Islands

Both the Caribbean and the Canary Islands lies in the Atlantic Ocean, only difference, they are in the opposite sides of the great Atlantic Ocean. Both have almost similar climate - warm and pleasant all year round and are islands except for some countries like Costa Rica. The economies of both are highly dependent upon the tourism industries. Both are ideal escape destinations from the cold hot spells of various regions with more harsh climates.

The Caribbean

The Caribbean is a region of the Americas consisting of the Caribbean Sea with its islands and the surrounding coasts in between North America and South America. The Caribbean contains more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays plus the coastal regions of the countries of Central America. The Caribbean islands are a chain of islands some 2,500 miles long. There are many independent countries included in the Caribbean.

The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands in contrast comprises only 7 islands - El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and Tenerife. The Canary Islands are an autonomous region of Spain and its ownership is disputed by Moroca on the African continent. The Canary Islands in fact lies closer to the African coast than the Spanish coast.

If you are seeking to escape the very hot or very cold climate of your place of residence, you can have a nice vacation plus save money with a holiday villa in the Canary Islands. Among the seven Canary Islands, the Tenerife Island is the biggest and will be very convenient for those who are in a hurry, for the Tenerife Island have 2 airports - Tenerife North Airport (TFN) and Tenerife South Airport (TFS). For even greater convenience, you can rent a holiday villa in Tenerife online via the environmentally friendly Internet.

If you are far away from the Canary Islands, it is unlikely your first disembarkation point will be on one of the Canary Islands. It will more likely be in peninsular Spain. Since that is the case, you might as well first rent one of the beautiful villas in Spain and have a nice vacation in Peninsular Spain before you head for the Canary Islands. Perhaps you can get some great deals on apartment and villas in Barcelona.

Barcelona is the capital city of Catalonia on the Mediterranean coast and the Barcelona International Airport is the second largest airport in Spain. You can imbibe some culture in Barcelona as it is an important cultural center with a rich cultural heritage and can boast of famous architectural works which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Commonwealth of The Bahamas

St. George Harbor, Nassau, Bahamas
Photo by IrishNYC

Bahamas Facts

The Bahamas is an archipelago comprising 700 islands and 2,000 cays (small islands) located east of Florida, United States and north of Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean. The great majority of the locals speak English, so you should be comfortable communicating with them. Bimini is the closest island to the United States and is thus often referred to as the gateway to the Bahamas. Andros Island is the largest. Other islands include Abaco, Great Inagua, Eleuthera, Cat Island, Long Island, San Salvador Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Exuma, Mayaguana, Grand Bahama and New Providence. The capital city of the Bahamas is Nassau which is located on the island of New Providence. The Bahamas is among one of the richest nations in the Caribbean, its economy mainly driven by the tourism industry, which is again fueled mainly by its neighbour, the United States of America.

Attractions of the Bahamas

The Bahamas has a pleasant subtropical to tropical greatly moderated by the waters of the Gulf Stream. If you are a celebrity watcher, Wikipedia list among its notable residents as Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Shakira, Sidney Poitier, Johnny Depp, Anna Nicole Smith, Dannielynn Marshall Birkhead (Anna Nicole Smith daughter), Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Oprah Winfrey, Rick Fox, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, David Copperfield, Joseph Lewis (486th richest person of Forbes The World's Richest People list 2006), Lenny Kravitz, Sean "Diddy" Combs, John Travolta, Daniel Nestor and Eddie Murphy.

If you like festivals, visit the Bahamas on Boxing Day, 26th of December, when the biggest event, the Junkanoo (a street carnival) is held. Another big event is the New Year's Day (January 1). So if you plan your visit between the 26th of December and the 1st of January, you will witness the 2 biggest event in the Bahamas.

As you can see from the photo above, the water in the Bahamas is crystal clear. Its coral reef, mangroves and sea turtle habitat as well as the unique, quiet lifestyle is a big tourism draw. These, the beautiful beaches, its warm weather, plus the fact that visitors from US, Canada, European Union, Japan and most industrialized countries do not need an advance visa for stays of up to three months are the major attractions of Bahamas. You can sunbath, swim, snorkel, scuba dive, go fishing, etc.

There are other attractions like the gigantic Atlantis casino resort on Paradise Island. Others include Pirates Of Nassau, Ardastra Gardens & Conservation Center, Bay Street, Botanical Gardens, Christ Church Cathedral, Fort Charlotte, Fort Fincastle, Garden Of Remembrance, Government House, Graycliff Cigar Factory, Junkanoo Expo, Straw Market, Hartley's Undersea Walk, Pompey Museum, all on New Providence.

On the Grand Bahama Island, you will have Paradise Cove, Garden of the Groves, Hydroflora Gardens, Underwater Explorers Society, Rand Memorial Nature Center, Parrot Jungle's Garden of the Groves, Port Lucaya Marketplace, The Dolphin Experience and International Bazaar,

At The Abacos, you have Bahamas Lighthouse Preservation Society, and in the Out Islands, there are Albert Lowe Museum, Inagua National Park and Elbow Cay.

Cruise to the Bahamas

Joining a cruise on a luxury liner is a great way to have a vacation to the Bahamas. Many such cruise depart from the Port of Miami, the Cruise Capital of the World. You can even get a one day cruise to the Bahamas, but a longer stay in the Bahamas will be much more enjoyable if you can afford the time. You can even get a free Bahamas fun day cruise during the month of your birthday!!!! This is courtesy of the Discovery Cruise Line. If you are the lucky one and it is now your birthday month, but you will like to take your loved ones along, or it is not your birthday month, but you still want to enjoy a cruise to the Bahamas, they also offer cruise special offers. Check them out. They have other cruise to offer as well.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Caribbean and Hawaii

There are great similarities between the Caribbean and Hawaii. Most of the Caribbean are islands just as Hawaii consists of many islands. Both have tropical and sub-tropical climates. Both lies off the coast of the Americas. Both offers similar activities - sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking in rain forests, etc.

Owners of accommodations for holiday makers should make use of this opportunity of listing their properties for free at rentals. For the moment, this site appear to only feature Hawaiian vacation rentals, but my prediction is you will see much more choices in the future, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Caribbean vacation rentals on that site.

Hawaii consists of hundreds of islands and atolls spread over 1,500 miles, but only eight main islands, including Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and Hawaii Big Island. You will find links to vacation rentals to some of them at vacation rentals including Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Big Island, and specific sites like Waikiki, Kihei, Wailei, etc.

If you want to go to the capital city of Hawaii, which is Honolulu on the Oahu Island, you will have to surf to vacation rental information. Although only the third largest island, Oahu has the largest population of all the Hawaiian islands. Sunset Beach - North Shore is a 2-mile long beach on Oahu. Sunset Beach is one of the best surfing sites in the world, boasting of waves over ten feet high. The Triple Crown of Surfing, a premier event on the professional surfing tour, is actually four separate events. One of them, the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing, is held at Sunset Beach.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Booking accommodation in the Caribbean the easy way

The Caribbean consists of many countries, and having an online hotel booking site like worldwide hotel accommodation will be a real Godsend for a vacationer seeking accommodation in the Caribbean. There is a special site for Caribbean Hotels & Other Lodging. On this site for Caribbean accommodation, you will find a category of 23 regions including Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands. Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saba, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Martin/St. Barts, Trinidad Tobago, Turks and Caicos Isles and Virgin Islands (British and US). Not only that, you have a map with the regions (text) which is clickable. Click on that clickable text, and you will be taken to the site with a list available for that region. This will be very helpful for the indecisive who need help to make up his or her decision as to where to go for that wonderful holiday in the sun.

Travailing with the family? Look for family-friendly hotels. Most of them are for areas in the United States, but I see Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands listed. Worried about what is happening to our one and only Spaceship Earth which still don't have a lifeboat and will like to do your part, look for eco green lodging. I see Caribbean listed in that site too. Got hooked on yoga? There are yoga retreats and such yoga retreats are available in Bahamas and Costa Rica. For the health conscious and spa enthusiasts, there are even more choices for spa resorts. You will find spa resorts at Anguilla, Bahamas, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia and West Indies.

You can also get a no-string attached discount using Special Offer Code SPC7258603 with which you can save $10 for reservations over $100. This offer last till 31st December, 2008.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Vacation rentals for the Caribbean and the rest of the world

The Caribbean comprises many countries, and seeking vacation accommodation country by country can be a big time waster. However, you can find at CARIBBEAN VACATION RENTALS all the Caribbean countries listed and I am sure you will find that a great convenience. However, that site is not only for the Caribbean only, but for the whole world, and you can look for world wide vacation accommodation at vacation rentals. Further, this is not only for vacationers seeking vacation rentals, but also for vacation rentals property owners who wants more exposure to list their properties. For them, all they need to do is to click on List your vacation rentals. When you get someone renting your properties, there will be no referral fees. Instead, there will only be a low annual fee to pay.

Hawaii is not exactly a Caribbean country, but has all the similarities and offers about almost similar activities, both having warm tropical weather, lots of nice beaches and sparkling ocean for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. But there are differences. Hawaii was never colonised, unless you consider joining the federation of the United States of America colonisation. Hawaii culture is Polynesian, American and Asian. Most Caribbean countries were colonised by European countries before, who left some influences. Plus the culture of Caribbean countries is influenced by its African background of most of its population. And in Hawaii, you can get snow in the mountain peaks.

In a survey by the Hawaii's Department of Economic Development and Tourism, 71% of Hawaii's visitors are from continental US while only 54% of visitors to the Caribbean are Americans. I just checked the origin of visitors to this site. The majority (36%) are from the United States and for them, if they go to Hawaii, there is no worry over currency and passport plus electrical voltage.

If you plan to visit Hawaii instead of the Caribbean, you can book your accommodation via Hawaii vacation rentals.

Hawaii consists of hundreds of islands and atolls, but there are only eight main populated island, and the second largest is Maui. If you go by the number of people who have visited that island before and decided eventually to settle there, it must also be the most pleasant and livable. There are many towns in Maui, but the most luxurious and also the most expensive is Wailea. It has lots of high class hotels and holiday resorts plus exclusive golf courses and tennis clubs. Wailea draw celebrities like bees to honey. It is a good place for celebrities watch.

There are less expensive alternatives to Wailea, like the nearby Makena or Kihei. You can enjoy what beautiful Maui have to offer and still take a short hope over to Wailea without having to break your bank. These two towns are also a good place for whale watching from the beach. Just get a good pair of binoculars.

Sold on visiting Maui? Get your accommodation from Maui vacation rentals.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Caribbean Cruise Guide

Caribbean Cruise Guide
by: Jonathan Medcalfe

Comprising of around 50 islands (750 if you count the archipelago of the Bahamas), the Caribbean is a real treasure trove when it comes to cruising. A rich variety of vistas, people and places await, along with swaying palms and idyllic beaches of golden sand. The network of islands in the Caribbean is in fact so extensive that it is possible to book several Caribbean cruises and avoid going to the same islands twice!

There are four basic Caribbean cruise routes used by cruise operators:

Western Caribbean Cruise Route - Departing from seaports in Texas, Louisiana and Florida, the Western Route takes in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, the island of Cozumel, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and any number of islands off the coasts of Honduras and Belize.

Eastern Caribbean Cruise Route - One of the most popular Caribbean cruise routes, the Eastern Route typically departs from Florida and other seaports along the eastern seaboard of the United States. The route calls on destinations such as Key West, The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands the Virgin Islands (including St. Thomas and St. Croix), and Puerto Rico.

Southern Caribbean Cruise Route - This route normally commences at San Juan in Puerto Rico, and takes in many possible destinations along the Lesser Antilles and the Netherlands Antilles as far west as Aruba.

Exotic/Long-duration Caribbean Cruise Route - This route takes in any/all of the above destinations, and can sometimes end in a different place to where the cruise started.

Given this broad assortment of destinations available in the Caribbean, it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to make that crucial decision on which islands to fit into your itinerary. After all, you don't want to miss out on some true Caribbean gems, do you? So, whether you're planning a short vacation or a longer cruise break away from home, here is a selection of 'must-sees' & 'must-dos' on your Caribbean adventure.

St Croix (Virgin Islands) - Take a night kayak trip in Salt River National Park and visit the first landing site of Christopher Columbus on his voyage to the New World.

Grenada - Although ravaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Grenada is still well worth a visit for its scuba diving. You can explore the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean here and see an underwater volcano.

St. Thomas (Virgin Islands) - The Cinnamon Bay National Park offers excellent snorkeling opportunities. You can see a wealth of underwater life in the shallow waters around St. Thomas.

Jamaica - Why not try your hand at bamboo rafting in Montego Bay?

Puerto Rico - No Caribbean cruise would be complete without a visit to the world famous Condado Beach on the island of Puerto Rico.

Aruba - Want to find Caribbean paradise? How about relaxing on one of the 365 beaches that surround the Dutch island of Aruba.

St Kitts - Swim with the turtles in the waters around St Kitts and then relax on the pink sand beaches on this beautiful island.

Good luck with planning your trip and happy cruising.

About The Author
FG Cruise provides detailed information on cruise vacations including articles and tips for that perfect cruise. To find out more info visit here:

Saturday, July 14, 2007

St. Thomas: The Best Place To Shop In The Caribbean

St. Thomas: The Best Place To Shop In The Caribbean
by: Justin Burch

Beautiful beaches and lavish accommodations aside, St. Thomas is widely regarded as the Caribbean’s premier shopping destination. With over one million cruise ship passengers and overnight Caribbean resort guests visiting St. Thomas each year, the island’s ports have long been bustling centers of commerce and trade. Much of the finest duty-free shopping is concentrated near the waterfront of the island’s historic capital, Charlotte Amalie. At discounts of 40-60% off American mainland prices on goods such as jewelry, fine china, crystal, electronics, perfume, clothing and liquor, the bargains are seemingly endless. Adding to the allure is the fact that U.S. citizens are allowed a duty-free shopping allowance of $1,600, twice the amount of any other island in the Caribbean and three times that of European nations.

Visitors to St. Thomas should begin their shopping tour in Charlotte Amalie’s downtown and waterfront areas. The historic Dutch provincial warehouses along Main, Back and Waterfront Streets, beautifully restored to host a plethora of unique shops, allow visitors to shop and sightsee simultaneously. In the alleys surrounding the Main Street area (Royal Dane Mall, Palm Passage, Riise Alley and many others), shoppers will find smaller boutiques specializing in unique local products and Caribbean oddities. Inviting restaurants and entertaining bars are located amongst these stores, ideal for lunch or an island cocktail. Most shops in this exclusive shopping district are open Monday through Saturday; including holidays from 9am to 5pm. Shops in the downtown and waterfront areas are typically closed on Sundays, unless a cruise ship is in port. The shops at larger St. Thomas hotels usually remain open on Sundays, however.

The Havensight district is another concentrated collection of shops catering to St. Thomas’ visitors. Located near the primary cruise ship dock, this shopping area is comprised of The Havensight Shopping Center, The Buccaneer Mall and The Port of Sale. Featuring over 60 distinctive stores within the waterfront warehouses, the Havensight district is another great option for cruise ship passengers with limited time and overnight tourists alike. Like the shops on and around Main Street, tourists will find great prices on jewelry, clothing, perfume, liquor, electronics, music, sunglasses and assorted souvenirs. Also, Havensight is another great location for lunch, featuring a number of friendly cafes. Shops in the Havensight district are generally open from 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week when cruise ships are in port. Yet, during high season some cruise ships stay in port later into the evening. On such days, the shops in the Havensight will remain open until 7pm.

Also in Charlotte Amalie, across from Emancipation Park and Fort Christian, is the Vendors’ Plaza, an assortment of small booths, tables and tents displaying a vast assortment of souvenirs. Here, in addition to the luxury goods found in other shopping districts, you will also find many locally produced products and unique regional food items. Vendors’ Plaza is generally open Monday through Saturday from about 7:30am, when the vendors start setting up, until 5:00pm. On Sundays, fewer vendors set up, though the Vendors’ Plaza is still worth a visit when one or more cruise ships are in port.

Directly across the street from the Vendors’ Plaza is The Native Arts and Crafts Cooperative. Run by local artists, the Cooperative features a plethora of Caribbean artwork not available in any mall or shopping center.

For the more adventurous tourist, smaller shopping areas catering principally to residents are located throughout the island. Such shopping centers as American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook, Lockhart Gardens, Tutu Park Mall and Nisky Center offer visitors distinctive cultural opportunities in addition to essentials like grocery stores, pharmacies and clothing stores. Tillett Gardens is a charming local haven for pottery, silk-screened fabrics, candles, paintings and handcrafted jewelry. The Mountain Top and Paradise Point centers are also interesting options because shopping is accompanied by captivating, hilltop views. In Frenchtown, travelers can find some of the best cuisine the Caribbean has to offer.

As the heart of the U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Thomas continues to astonish travelers with its refined pleasures. Combining a relaxed Caribbean atmosphere with the vibrancy of city streets, St. Thomas may just be the best of both worlds.

About The Author
This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about travel in St. Thomas and other Caribbean resort areas for Marriott Resorts Marriott Resorts