If when you hear the word ‘vacation’ it transcends you into an island paradise when the salty air sticks to your skin and the green waters meet the miles of white sandy shorelines, then visiting the islands of the Caribbean are the answer. Although knowing you want a Caribbean vacation is quite easy; picking the right one among these hundreds of coastal getaways might be a little harder then merely boarding a plane. You know you want plenty of sunshine, tropical weather and as water and beach as far as the eye can see. I have been to a few wonderful islands and I thought that I would share with you some of my favorites – in no particular order:
Jamaica. Everyone has, at one point or another, been beckoned to experience this island oasis – and with good reason. The people are as friendly as any of the other ‘major island’ and aside from the wonderful beaches they have, there is a lot more stuff to do. The one issue that I did have with this island, its pretty much what you see is what you get; granted, you do get a lot. Your taste buds will get a wonderful vacation as well, as the aroma of jerk-whatever fills any beachside grill.
Bahamas. I used to know very little about the Island of the Bahamas other then it seems to always been in the path of a hurricane every year. These small islands take the cake for being so close to the US (a quick 45 minute airplane ride gets you there), and the similarities gone on from there. Nassau is typically where people head too and with good reason; Atlantis is there. This place is enormous and has everything under one roof. A waterslide, miles of private beach, a shark tank and the Caribbean’s biggest casino; are on the agenda at this resort.
Aruba. This is one my very first experience into the Caribbean lifestyle and I’m glad that it broke me in. Together with Bonaire & Curacao, Aruba makes up the ABC Islands of the Leeward Antilles. The temperature is perfect year round (right around 78F on average) and the slight Dutch accent from the inhabitants is a very welcoming. One of the best things about this island is its location; under the hurricane belt which makes this a perfect place to go no matter what time of year. I have found this island to be a little on the expensive side, but it sure is a place to check out.
Barbados. Distance wise, this is probably the furthest island that I have been too. However, even thought its quite a ways from where I call home, it really isn’t too much different from any of the other islands. The people are equally as friendly and the weather is quite comfortable. What makes this island stand out for me, was the beaches that I visited. They seemed like any other beach that you would go, they had the stereotypical white sand and clear water that you come to expect, but there was just something – well – different about it. If I used every word in the dictionary, I don’t believe that I would be able to catch that feeling.
Cozumel. Understandably the scare of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus has everyone really on edge about breathing in the same direction, never mind visiting, Mexico; but this island is something that can change your mind. Outside the craziness of Cancun, Cozumel offers a more relaxed family friendlier spot. Probably one of the best places to go snorkeling and the people there are a pleasure to be around. I spent a week in a very nice all-inclusive there and have been itching to go back ever since.
St. Thomas, St. Croix, – All of the United States Virgin Islands are wonderful, and it reminds you that there is a tropical paradise we Americans can call our own. These wonderful islands are easy to get too (any major cruise ship or a simple flight) and, assuming you’re a US citizen, you don’t even need a passport. As with some of the other islands listed above, you don’t have to worry about converting your US currency. The semi-good news is that you should expect to pay the same amount you would if you were going to any other place in the US, the great news is that you will get a feeling of tropical enjoyment once your there.
This is, admittedly, a very biased list of some islands worth checking out. I have always been a student of trying anything and everything once. There is a whole big world out there surrounded by about 75% water; and some of that water is crashing into some of the most beautiful land masses around. Get out there and find out for yourself!