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Robert Curley

Caribbean Travel

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The Best Villas on Barbados

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Moon-Reach-Villa.jpgEven just saying, "I rented a villa in Barbados" sounds kind of hoity-toity. But the truth is that renting a villa can be one of the most affordable ways to experience the charms of Barbados. On the other hand, if hoity-toity is actually what you're looking for, Bajan villas have you covered, too ...

The Best Villas on Barbados

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(Photo of Moon Reach Villa © Wheretostay.com)

Aruba Connects Cruise Port to Downtown with Trolley Service

Friday April 11, 2014

Trolley car in downtown Oranjestad, ArubaA pair of adorable trolley cars are now cruising the streets of Oranjestad, Aruba, trundling along 3/4 of a mile of track starting at the cruise pier and transiting the length of the city's Main Street. The single- and double-decker trolleys -- the latter with a sunny, open-air top deck -- are intended to encourage cruise passengers to venture deeper into town when visiting.

The trolley tracks pass right in front of the Aruba Archaeological Museum and offer easy access to the palm-lined shops downtown. Get off on Main Street and you'll be a short walk away from Aruba's most important historic site, Fort Zoutman, as well as the high-end mall at the Aruba Renaissance resort and the shops and restaurants at the Renaissance Marketplace.

 

The trolley ride is free; departures from the cruise port take place at roughly 25 minute intervals and passengers can get on and off at about a half-dozen stops along the way.

 

St. Croix Food and Wine Fest Starts This Weekend

Friday April 4, 2014

The annual St. Croix Food & Wine Experience is nearly upon us -- it's a must-do if you're heading down to STX next weekend and while some events are sold out, there are still some tickets available at the event website, including for the main course -- the Taste of St. Croix at the Divi Carina Bay Resort. Other events include a "food fight" between top chefs, beach BBQs, wine tastings, and a kids' cooking class. You can buy tickets here.

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Readers' Discount for Miami Rum Festival

Friday April 4, 2014

One of our favorite annual events, the Miami Rum Festival is coming up soon -- April 25-27, and as a loyal reader of About Caribbean Travel you can get in on the best celebration of the Caribbean's favorite spirits at a big discount. Purchase a single-day or three-day VIP pass to the festival and you'll get a second VIP pass free when you use the promo code FFD14MRF.

Both passes include access to special VIP events, early admission to the Grand Tasting on Saturday and Sunday, and a rum guide and show program. That means you get in three hours earlier than the regular crowd, which will give you plenty of time to sample dozens of unique rums in a relaxed and fun atmosphere!

Single-day passes for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday are $75; the three-day pass is $150.

More details on the festival can be found here.

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Beware of Bermuda Beaches, U.S. Warns

Wednesday April 2, 2014

In an unusual warning, the U.S. Consulate in Bermuda is advising visitors that beaches on the island's south shore may be contaminated with sewage.

Research shows that "ongoing dumping of raw sewage off Bermuda's south coast causes intermittent contamination of the waters along the island's south shore beaches, creating a public health hazard," according to the warning. "Changing weather conditions - wind, swells, tides, and rain - can bring rapid degradation of water quality along the beaches, resulting in human bacteria levels from fecal contamination up to four times the acceptable U.S. standard."

People intending to swim on the island's south shore "may wish to consider Hepatitis A and typhoid immunizations prior to doing so," the Consulate advised.

The warning noted that the Bermuda government has vowed to reduce or eliminate the sewage outflow "but as of March 2014, the dumping continues unabated."

Much of the immediate reaction in the Bermuda press was over how the announcement could impact tourist on the island.

"While Bermuda's land mass may be small, its surrounding marine environment is many times larger and stands-up along side the finest international destination. It is a 'national treasure' and one that offers significant opportunity for the growth of our tourism economy," said Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Bill Hanbury. "Because of this, we can only say that any pollution in our marine environment, or on our shores, is simply unacceptable.

"We understand the dilemma Government faces and the enormous competition for limited financial resources. We also understand that the needed long-term fix, the creation of treatment facilities that mitigates potentially dangerous pollution, must be somewhat down the road. But, we must look for and find immediate solutions that ensure there is simply no pollution that our visitors can come into contact with. There can be no equivocation on this matter."

The Bermuda Health Ministry said that water quality on Bermuda beaches is sampled twice weekly to ensure that it meets U.S. EPA standards and that "our beaches are safe for swimming and recreational use."

Our take: Bermuda is hardly the only island, or the only beach community, to struggle with water quality and pollution. On the East Coast of the U.S., for example, most summers include days where beaches are closed due to pollution runoff or sewage overflows after storms. In the Caribbean at large, the only difference with Bermuda in some cases is not that the water is purer but unfortunately that nobody is monitoring quite so closely.

Water pollution is a global problem. Nonetheless, Bermuda, which is highly dependent on tourism, needs to address its problem quickly or risk tarnishing its reputation with international visitors who can still choose to go elsewhere for clean beaches and safe waters.


 

Tips for a Safe Visit to Nassau, Bahamas

Tuesday April 1, 2014

Arawak Cay, Nassau, BahamasThe U.S. State Department has some timely crime and safety tips for Spring Break visitors to Nassau, Bahamas, but they're just as relevant to other visitors coming off cruise ships or vacationing on Cable Beach, Paradise Island or elsewhere on New Providence Island...

Bahamas Travel Safety Tips

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(Photo of Arawak Cay, Bahamas © Bob Curley)

Crime Situation Improves in Haiti

Monday March 31, 2014

haitiflagwiki.pngViolent crime has declined in Haiti, according to the U.S. State Department in what is the most optimistic assessment of the security situation in the Caribbean nation in recent memory.

A revised travel warning issued earlier this month notes that both kidnapping and homicides are down, including in the capital city of Port au Prince, which has long been notorious for its shaky security situation.

"Hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Haiti each year, but the poor state of Haiti's emergency response network should be carefully considered when planning travel," the warning advises, and travelers are strongly urged to purchase emergency medical evacuation insurance if they visit Haiti.

Some U.S. citizens have been robbed shortly after landing at Port au Prince's international airport, and thieves are known to monitor banks and ATMs in search of victims.

"Regions of Haiti outside the capital [Port au Prince] have fewer reported incidents of crime," according to the U.S. State Department. "However, the Haitian authorities' ability to respond to emergencies is limited and in some areas nonexistent."

Read the full Haiti travel warning here.

More on Caribbean Crime and Safety

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Warning Issued on Armed Robberies in Nassau, Bahamas

Sunday March 30, 2014

Bahamas flagU.S. citizens are being warned about a recent rash of armed robberies in the busy cruise port and Bahamian capital, Nassau. The U.S. Embassy in Nassau highlighted five incidents taking place in locations popular with tourists within the last several weeks, including a robbery involving gunfire at Arawak Cay, an attempted carjacking at Caves Village Plaza, an attempted robbery of an armored car at the Wendy's restaurant near Cable Beach, and gunfire outside the Waterloo nightclub.

"Armed robbery and violent crime remain major threats facing both U.S. citizens and residents of The Bahamas, including in areas frequented by tourists on New Providence and Grand Bahama Island.  In the past year, a number of U.S. citizens have fallen victim to armed robbery," the warning noted, adding that Bahamian police have stepped up their anti-crime efforts and that visitors should carry their ID and driver's licenses at all times and cooperate at police traffic stops and ID checks.

More Information on Crime and Safety in the Bahamas

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Hermitage Bay, Antigua: A Resort of Simple Elegance

Saturday March 29, 2014

hermitage_bay_home_3.jpgDining is sometimes a secondary concern when you're staying at an all-inclusive resort -- good-but-not-great can be an acceptable standard if your main concern is a low-cost beach vacation. At Antigua's Hermitage Bay, however, the food (and how to get it) plays a starring role, whether you're joining chef Desi Bahnan on a cockle hunt, touring his gardens, or dining on lobster or local Antiguan "chop"...

Hermitage Bay, Antigua: A Resort of Simple Elegance

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Top Attractions in Grenada

Friday March 28, 2014

Grenada nutmegEver wonder where the nutmeg in your cream sauce or the cocoa in your hot chocolate comes from? The place to find out is the "Spice Island" of Grenada, where you can tour a working nutmeg factory and visit a historic cocoa plantation as well as exploring wildlife sanctuaries and going local at one of the best Friday night fish frys in the Caribbean ...

Top Attractions in Grenada

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