Thursday, October 3, 2013

There be Pirates in these Waters!

As my time has been spent recently focusing on my work, I know I can not stray too far from home. Luckily for me, I live in Florida and paradise is never too far away. Personally, I have not had the pleasure of visiting any of the breathtaking islands just a few hours from my home. Until recently I have been caught up in the history and elegance of Europe, the wild and ancient ruins of Central America, and the utterly uniqueness of the U.S.
I have started to research the tropical land and seascapes of the Caribbean and what I've found is more than just honeymooners and boozecruises... although there are plenty of those! Here are some of my tips:

Prices vary considerably in the Caribbean depending on the season. To get the best rates, travel during off-season (from July 1 through September 30), which coincides with hurricane season. Many hotels, restaurants and airlines lower their rates (some, up to 50%!) during this period. Don't be crippled with worry about storms: some Caribbean islands fall south of the "hurricane belt" and are rarely affected by the rains. High season is generally from mid December through early January, so it's best to avoid it!

Keep a close watch on travel sites that offer frequent fare sales. Be flexible with your dates and try to travel outside high season to get the very best rates on air fares. Many low-cost carriers such as JetBlue and AirTran have entered the Caribbean market, so there are deals to be found if you're vigilant.

Entertain the advantages of renting a villa or condo versus staying at a luxury resort. Some condos or villas can hold between two and twelve people. If you're traveling with several family members or friends, you can easily find a home that can accommodate your entire party in separate rooms.
A beautiful 3 bedroom villa with a private pool and maid service may only run $2000 for a week. With 6 people traveling, this winds up costing only $47 per night per person -- far cheaper than any island resort. There are also small guest houses on many islands that cater to couples and honeymooners. Look into these as they are normally family run, may include some meals, and the prices can be highly affordable. You all know my 1st choice!

Some of the very best dining in the islands is the local fare being served from small shanties on the beach grilling fresh seafood or corner stands with scrumptious and budget priced dahls, rotis and johnny cakes. You can gorge yourself on fresh local food cooked by islanders on less than $10 per person.

The natural beauty of the islands allows for a variety of activities such as sailing, hiking, horseback riding, bird watching, river rafting, zip-lining, golfing, or touring historical sites. I've recently become a fan of diving, but just be care that you're going with a legitimate operation- Safety first!
Coupled with the array of beach activities available, it can be fairly inexpensive to find engaging sports for everyone to enjoy. Of course, most islands also have cultural centers where you can see how life was in the past, as well as museums and other public events.

Hope these help you. I'm excited to plan a trip soon. Keep an eye out for it ;)


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