Thursday, October 30, 2014

Barbados Questions and Answers

Recently Top Villas, a worldwide luxury villa company, asked if I could answer a Q&A about the island of Barbados. 

West Coast Sunrise taken at "The House"


The island has been a long time favorite Caribbean vacation destination, and I was happy to provide an overview of the beaches, cuisine, culture and things to do. 

Calm waters found on West Coast (shown) and South Coast


Each part of the island offers a distinctly different landscape as the island borders the Caribbean Sea on the South and Western coasts, while the East and Northern point offers the fierce waves of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Surfs Up at North Point


Put the land of Flying Fish, Whistling Frogs, Green Monkeys and friendly Bajan's on your travel list - you will not be disappointed. Just keep in mind it will take several trips to truly experience ALL Barbados has to offer.  

Head over to Top Villas Barbados Travel Guide – Ask the Expert, Part 1 
http://www.thetopvillas.com/blog/barbados-travel-guide-ask-expert

  
About Top Villas
Top Villas has over 2,500 luxury villas in their portfolio located in some of the most desirable locations in the world including the United States, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. Based in Sandwich, England, they have a world class team of travel, marketing experts and exclusive concierge services. http://www.thetopvillas.com/


Happy Travels,
Linda


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Destination Curacao - Underwater Aquafari Adventure





Aquafari is a family owned company on the island of Curacao offering non-divers the opportunity to experience the beautiful underwater world of colorful tropical fish, sea creatures and reefs.








The self propelled scooters are supplied with oxygen from a scuba tank attached on the front, and has enough oxygen for a 45-60 minute dive. A buoy is attached to a line which keeps you from sinking to the bottom, along with controling the depth of the dive.  



After a brief training session on how to operate the scooter, you are lowered to approximately 20 feet below the surface. Professional scuba divers accompany the scooters, and direct where to go, or help out in case of any issues. 



Aside from operating the scooter in a sitting position, you can also hold on to the handlebars in a horizontal position. If you have an underwater camera, make sure to bring it and take some fascinating photos. 

The Aquafari Excursion

  • Duration: 1 1/2 hours including instructions (Approx 45 minutes underwater)
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Just sit and enjoy.
  • Open: 7 days a week
  • Location: Pirate Bay Beach, Piscadera weg

http://www.aquafari.net/


Happy Travels,
Linda

What's going on in the Caribbean? Here's the latest news 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blogging the Caribbean

The blogging wrap-up this week covers Jamaica, Anguilla, the Bahamas, Quirky Tourists, and a Tasty Caribbean Cocktail . . . 

National Dance Theater Company (NDTC) of Jamaica


Marlon Simms and Kerry-Ann Henry in 'Minutes and Seconds' choreographed by Momo Sanno and Kerry-Ann Henry. Photo by: Bryan Robinson

The island of Jamaica is known around the globe for many things, however many tourists are not aware of the National Dance Theater Company. 

The NDTC is a voluntary group of dancers, singers, musicians and creative technicians who promote Jamaican culture through traditional dance arts and music.
Photo credit: PanAmerican World 

Learn more about this talented group at Panamerican World
NDTC Jamaica Returns to Toronto with ‘Tribute to Rex’




You May Not Know It Yet, But You Belong in Anguilla

Photo Credit: FathomAway.com

I could definitely relate to the post by by Arlene Gibbs who wrote about not fully appreciating family travels as a teenager. I also was often bored, and only wanted to be back home enjoying the summer vacation with friends. It was only after reaching adulthood that I came to fully appreciate all the wonderful travel experiences and the impact it had on later becoming a travel agent for over a decade.  

Brief excerpt from the blog post "My parents are from St. Martin (totally different from the Dutch side, St. Maarten) and both my grandmothers were Anguillian. Whenever we went to St. Martin to stay with my paternal grandparents, we ferried over to Anguilla to visit family and friends. 

When I was a child it, was fun to hang out with my cousins, go the beaches, and stuff ourselves on Johnnycakes, rice and peas, and salt fish cakes. But as for the stunning white beaches of the island, they were lost on me when I was older. I mean, I was a teenager. Visiting relative after relative while sitting on their verandas for hours drinking Ting was boring" Continue reading at FathomAway 


Rum Journal: The Blue Hole

Recently blogged about Deans Blue Hole on Long Island Bahamas, however that's not the only reason this cocktail caught my attention. I have pinned over 365 drink recipes on my Caribbean Cocktail Pinterest board

The Out Islands of the Bahamas are famous for their mysterious blue holes, underwater caves that draw adventurous divers from all over the world. 

And at Deep Water Cay, a private-island resort just off the east end of Grand Bahama, guests are drawn to another type of blue hole, equally as mesmerizing. Get the recipe, along with what's happening in the Caribbean at Caribbean Journal 



Underwater Ocean Atlas Sculpture - Bahamas
Photo Credit: Design Boom

WOW! The net has been abuzz about Jason Decaires Taylor's 60 ton "Ocean Atlas" underwater sculpture submerged off the western coast of New Providence, Bahamas. 

Take a look at how the sculpture was submerged, and please share the site 


The 5 Tourists You Will Meet in the Caribbean 
Ohhh, I've met each of these quirky travelers . . . 


Funny rant about tourists

Photo Credit: Women Who Live on Rocks

Sometimes we’re the locals and sometimes we’re the tourists. And we all know there is nothing quite like the unearned, false sense of superiority that comes with being a local in a sea of tourists. 

Oh, how we love to mock their unfamiliarity of local customs and foolish, foreign attire. Yet when the tables are turned… oh, how we hope to be seen as the shining individuals of inherent coolness we consider ourselves.
Read full post here 



Happy Travels,
Linda


Recent Posts:

Taste of St Barths Gourmet Festival

10 Reasons You Need to Be In Bonaire on Friday

International Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica

Serving Up a View at Hog Heaven in the British Virgin Islands


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Taste of St Barths Gourmet Festival


October 30 – November 4, 2014


Gourmet Dining in the French Caribbean - Magnifique!
All photo's courtesy of St Barths Tourism


The Caribbean French island of St Barths is known around the globe for its fine dining featuring French, West Indian, Creole, Italian and Asian cuisine.



The variety of food offering in the islands 80 restaurants and grocery stores is quite astounding. However on St Barths it's not about the quantity and variety of food offerings - is all about quality and presentation.



The gourmet festival will feature seven host restaurants presenting multi-course menus every night for a total of 28 dinners.  The Chef Patron of the festival is New York’s acclaimed super chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, accompanied by distinguished visiting chefs from France, Brazil, Japan, USA and Sweden. 



Visiting Chef's and Restaurants:  

  • Jean-Georges Vongerichten - 3-star Michelin Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef in NY, USA - cooking at The Rock
  • Jerome Nutile - 2-star Michelin Star Chef and 2011 Best Craftsman of France from Nimes, France - cooking at Le Bartolomeo
  • Jean-Jacques Noguier - 1-star Michelin Chef at La Ferme de l'Hospital in Bossey, France - cooking at La Plague
  • Thomas Troisgros - Head Chef at Olympe's in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - cooking at Le Sereno 
  • Daniel Berlin - Chef and owner of restaurant Krog in Skae-Tranas, Sweden - cooking at La Case de L’Isle
  • Amandine Chaignot - Bocuse de Bronze 2012 - Paris, France - cooking at Taino
  • Hideaki Matsuo - 3-star Michelin Star Master Chef and Owner at Kashiwaya in Osaka, Japan - cooking at Le Gaiac

In addition to the multi course gourmet meals, a free to the general public offering includes master cooking lessons, cocktail mixing tips from one of France’s top bartenders, and the young chef contest. 

Visit the site for more details
http://www.saintbarth-tourisme.com/en/agenda/taste-st-barth-gourmet-festival.html


Happy Travels,
Linda


What's happening in the Caribbean? Subscribe to Caribbean Daily and be informed!



Saturday, October 25, 2014

10 Reasons Why You Need To Be In Bonaire On Friday

 

Bon Bini means "Welcome" in the Papiamentu language predominately spoken among the locals in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao - the islands of the Dutch Caribbean.


1) Delta’s New Friday Flight to Bonaire
Delta is making it even more convenient to reach Bonaire, and to kick off the weekend early with their new Friday flight. Delta now offers a second weekly non-stop flight from Atlanta to Bonaire, departing on Friday. 



2) Bonaire’s Fall Festival
Throughout the fall, the island’s tourism companies are offering accommodation packages, excursions and activities, and a whole menu of other specials for visitors who are traveling to Bonaire on the Delta Friday flight. The travel window for the promotion is now through December 19, 2014.

3) End the Work Week a Day Early
With Delta’s new Friday flight to Bonaire, visitors will have the luxury of ending their work week on Thursday and spending their Friday on Bonaire.

Photo Credit: Zonvakantie Bonaire - Belmar Oceanfront Apartments


4) Friday Happy Hours
Whether choosing to dine at one of the island’s award winning restaurants, or sip on a cocktail, visitors find that there’s no better place to enjoy a true island happy hour than on Bonaire. The island offers a variety of happy hour options at local beach bars, hotel bars or in and around Kralendijk.

5) Water Sports Galore
Take a dip in the pristine waters of Bonaire. Whether it’s scuba diving, snorkeling, windsurfing, kitesurfing or kayaking, there are plenty of options to get wet.  

Bonaire Salt Plains


6) Only Weekend Traffic is Underwater
86 dive sites without a single traffic light on the entire island, schools of fish are the only traffic on Bonaire.

7) Relax on a Sunset Sail
Bonaire is one of the most tranquil islands in the Caribbean, and there are hundreds of scenic spots to kick back and relax. Unwinds after your flight by starting the weekend with a sunset sail around Bonaire.

8) Gear Up and Dive In
Fridays on Bonaire typically mean that divers have to wrap up their vacation and return their dive gear. Fellow divers will be envious that the Friday travelers are just getting started and are gearing up to dive into the weekend.

9) Switch Up the Friday Routine
The choice of having toes in the sand or putting away groceries and doing laundry on a Friday night is obvious. Change up the schedule - Spend Friday delving into this Dutch Caribbean's islands culture and cuisine. 

10) Two Full Days of Recovery
Post-vacation blues - Visitors who travel on Fridays have two full days to recover from their Bonaire vacation and return to work refreshed.  

Discover Bonaire at www.tourismbonaire.com


Happy Travels,
Linda



Thursday, October 23, 2014

International Reggae Marathon in Negril




Come for the Run . . . Stay for 3 Days of Fun
December 5-7, 2014 - Negril, Jamaica

It's the 14th year for Reggae Marathon, and it looks like a record turnout with participants from 29 countries including Canada, the UK, USA, Japan, Sweden, Poland, and Germany. 





On Saturday, December 6th the race will start promptly at 5:15 a.m. - and that's NOT "Caribbean Time."  (ˆ◡ˆ) 

The race starts before dawn to give runners an hour start before the temperature rises. Volunteers and locals line the course with torches to light the way, and what would a "Reggae" Marathon be without the local reggae steel band playing at the start line? No, this is not your usual international marathon event, but make no mistake it is well organized.  



2014 Reggae Marathon Finisher Medals 
Photo Credit via Reggae Marathon

The race is an IAAF certified marathon and half-marathon course, and both beginners, as well as experienced runners are invited to participate. The race begins at Long Bay Beach Park on the shores of Negril's famous 7 Mile Beach, then heads through the town of Negril, and then northward to the town of Green Island.

It's a lively jammin' run! Along the way locals are cheering, and live reggae bands are set up along the course. Aside from the live bands, there are car radio's and boom boxes blasting the sounds of the island. The race organizers have water hydration stations every mile, and instead of cups, the water is in plastic pouches. Also there are plenty of portable toilets along the course.

At the finish line you are greeted with fresh coconut water, cold Red Stripe beer, and the beach is just a few steps away. 

Included in the registration fee is the infamous "World’s Pasta Party" - an all-you-can-eat pasta extravaganza the night before the race. The menu includes numermous pasta dishes, Jamaican cuisine from the local restaurants, FREE beer, and open bar. 

Note: Beginner runners be advised that alcohol is dehydrating - and you will have to be up at the crack of dawn.

Here's the 3 day schedule:

  • Thursday, December 4, 2014 - Registration Opens - Couples Swept Away Sports Complex
  • Friday, December 5, 2014 - JHTA “World’s Biggest Pasta Party” - Couples Swept Away Sports Complex 
  • Saturday, December 6, 2014 - Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K - Long Bay Beach Park AND the Finish Line Beach Bash - Long Bay Beach Park

Current Registration Fees:
Marathon – US $100.00
Half Marathon – US $95.00
10K – US $70.00

** Prices increase if paid on or after Dec 1, 2014 **

www.reggaemarathon.com

P.S. Donation boxes for your running shoes are set up at the finish line -  they are given to the local children, and will be much appreciated. 


Happy Travels,
Linda


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Serving Up a View at Hog Heaven BVI

At Hog Heaven restaurant in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands  
it's all about BBQ and magnificent views of the North Sound

Our visit to Hog Heaven was right after Tropical Storm Isaac blew through, and we were the first to arrive that day.  While a thick cloudy mist hung over the area, the view of the North Sound was still spectacular . . . 



Hog Heaven hangs over a cliff approximately 1,300 feet above sea level overlooking Leverick Bay, the Bitter End Yacht Club, Mosquito Island, Saba Rock, and Sir Richard Branson's private Necker Island. 


Hog Heaven owner Dale Wheatley got the nickname "Captain Blondie" after the salt water turned his hair blonde after decades of diving. He also owns the Dale Wheatley Agriculture Center which he calls the "Pig Hotel" with the prettiest view of the island. 




The small restaurant seats less than 30 people,, and the menu consists of tasty BBQ pork ribs, chicken, potato salad, cold slaw, and rice. Two sides come with the BBQ, prices are reasonable, and we had enough left over for another meal.  

Hog Heaven is definitely worth a visit on your trip to Virgin Gorda, BVI.


Happy Travels,
Linda

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bahamas 3 Mile Run Color Splash

The 3.1 mile run will be held in Freeport, Bahamas on November 2, 2014

The 242 Colour Run race starts and ends at Garden of the Groves, and along the way participants are splashed with lots of color! 


Slide Show from 242 Colour Run in Freeport on December 8th, 2013 - Photo Credit via Run 242 

This race is just for fun - a great family friendly event. You can run, walk, skip, hop or jump to the finish line. It doesn't matter how long you take to make the 3 mile trek since your finish time is not recorded. While a few random prizes are awarded, there are no prizes awarded for how fast you finish. 

This is a charity event - $40 to register for adults, $30 for kids under 12 -  and kids under 5 are free with their parents.

More information is available at www.run242.com 


Happy Travels,
Linda


Monday, October 20, 2014

Head to St Lucia for Health and Wellness

Each year the entire month of November is dedicated to 
Health & Wellness on the island of St Lucia

Image Credit: St Lucia Now

The Health & Wellness programs are specifically created to help you feel physically and spiritually whole while on the island, and after you leave.  

The awe-inspiring Pitons Mountains are one of the 
most famous Caribbean landmarks

Among the islands attractions are lovely white-brown-beige and even black sand beaches, natural waterfalls, awesome views, authentic creole culture, friendly locals, and the world's only drive through volcano. 

Yes, you will have the opportunity to get a close up view - and smell - of the volcano

For the more adventuresome there's mountain climbing, trekking & zip-lining through exotic rain forests, scenic helicopter excursions, exciting ATV rides, and lots to explore underwater on this unique volcanic island.

St Lucia's leading Hotels and Resorts are offering value-added packages with Free Nights, Discounted Rates, Complimentary Dinners & Spa Treatments 

Participating Hotels:

  • Anse Chastanet
  • Boucan by Hotel Chocolat
  • Capella Marigot Bay
  • Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa
  • Cotton Bay Village
  • Crystals
  • East Winds Inn
  • Fond Doux Holiday Plantation
  • Jade Mountain
  • Royal by rex resorts
  • Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort
  • The Landings
  • Ti Kaye Resort & Spa
  • Villa Capri

Visit stlucianow.com/live/health-and-wellness to learn more


Happy Travels,
Linda