Tag Archives: Bahamas

Bahamas Andros Blue Hole

Unique Bahamas Snorkel Adventures


Snorkeling is one of the world’s most popular water sports. Hit the shore at most any tropical destination in the world, and you can don mask and snorkel for a fish watching session. The Bahamas certainly has its share of pretty coral reefs and fishy shallows, but these islands also offer a number of unique in-water adventures. Here are five of our favorites.

The Sapona Shipwreck

It’s not often that snorkelers can visit an actual shipwreck. But there’s no need for scuba gear to explore the remains of the SS Sapona. This cargo steamer ran aground on a sand bar just south of the island of Bimini in 1926, and has been a local landmark ever since. The ship lies in 20 feet of water, and rises another 30 feet above the surface. There are a number of breaches in the hull, and snorkelers can fin their way into the cargo holds, which have become a haven for tropical fish and lobsters. The sand banks surrounding the wreck are also worth checking out, as stingrays and eagle rays often glide past.

Sapona Shipwreck

A snorkeler descends into the hold of the SS Sapona. This is one of the few shipwrecks in the world that lies within snorkel depths. It is easily reached from the island of Bimini. Photo: Atmoji Photography/Flickr

Current Cut

On the northwest corner of the island of Eleuthera, tidal currents are funneled through a narrow channel. This creates free rides for divers and snorkelers who are swept along with the moving water. Snorkeling Current Cut requires a support boat to drop participants at the start of the drift, and pick them up at the other end of the channel. Drifts begin outside the cut, where currents are mild. As the channel narrows, speeds pick up, and snorkelers are soon gliding along at a brisk pace as they are funneled between the rock walls of the 30-foot deep cut. The sensation is akin to flight, and to add to the excitement, the cut is often filled with schooling fish and a number of resident reef sharks. Don’t worry, they aren’t interested in humans.

Current Cut Eleuthera

An aerial view of Current Cut. With each tide change, waters flow through this narrow channel at speeds of up to 4 miles an hour, creating an opportunity for exciting snorkel drifts. Photo: Randy Roe/Flickr

Thunderball Grotto

Fans of the classic film Thunderball will recognize this semi-submerged underwater cave where James Bond was briefly trapped. Reliving the adventure begins with a trip to Staniel Cay in the Exuma Islands. The best time for snorkelers to explore this maze of interconnected caverns is at low tide, when several entrances are revealed, and there’s no need to make a breath-hold dive to access the interior air chambers. Inside, the ceiling drops to within a few feet of the water in some areas, and soars to more that 20 feet overhead in others. Natural openings send shafts of sunlight into the water, and there is always an abundance of tropical fish swirling about.

Thunderball Grotto

The semi-submerged chambers of Thunderball Grotto can be reached through one of several openings. Some like this one pictured require snorkelers to duck below the surface to enter. Photo: Ryan Crutchfield/Flickr

White Sand Ridge

Dolphin encounters don’t have to take place at amusement parks. North of the island of Grand Bahamas, a large sand bank known as White Sand Ridge is home to pods of spotted dolphins that roam free, but aren’t shy about meeting up with visiting humans. Encounters begin with a boat ride of 30 to 40 miles for land-based snorkelers, or just jump overboard from one of the live aboard charter boats that make overnight and multiple-day trips to the site. When dolphins are located, snorkelers enter the water, and are usually met by the more curious and playful members of the pod. These intelligent marine mammals seem to enjoy the interaction, and may involve snorkelers in favorite games such as tag or keep-away, which involves passing a clump of seaweed back and forth, enticing their human visitors to try and take it away. Waters on the sand banks are typically 10 to 20 feet deep, and very clear, which makes for excellent photo ops.

White Sand Ridge Dolphins

At White Sand Ridge, spotted dolphins interact with humans. These are wild animals who make contact of their own free will, which makes the experience all the more special. Photo: Atmoji Photography/Flickr

Blue Holes

The islands of the Bahamas sit on a limestone substrate riddled with crevices and flooded caverns. When the ceilings of an underwater chamber collapses, a blue hole is formed. The island best known for these blue holes is Andros. A flight over this large and mostly unsettled landscape reveals dozens of circular ponds hidden by the surrounding jungle. Cave divers have explored some of these holes to great depths, and have mapped mile-long passageways. Such adventures are best left to the professionals, but with just mask, snorkel and a decent pair of walking shoes, anyone can follow pathways through the forests of Andros to the waters of an interior blue hole. Fish life isn’t the attraction at these sites, but the unique geology of these flooded sinkholes makes for a memorable experience. A number of the small guesthouses on the island offer guided trips, and can provide directions to the holes.

Andros Blue Hole

Andros is known for its blue holes. The island has 178 inland and 50 in the sea. which lead to intricate cave systems that run under the island and along the sea floor. Photo: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism



Kitesurfing Aruba

The Caribbean’s Top Kiteboarding Beaches


Over the past decade, kitesurfing has grown from a niche activity to one of the world’s most popular wind sports. Innovations in equipment and teaching methods allow people off all ages to embrace the sport. The islands of the Caribbean are ideal destinations for kiteboarders, as they offer warm waters and stead trade winds. The best locations have winds that blow from on shore or side shore to the beach, and waters that are sheltered from ocean waves. Here are six of the region’s kiting hot spots.

Palm Beach, Aruba

Windsurfers discovered Aruba in the 1980s, and the island’s west coast remains a hotbed for sailing activity. These days, the area known as the Fisherman’s Huts sees more kites than sails, as it offers all the right ingredients. Trade winds sweep in from the east, which allows kites to be deployed over the water, and rides to start right from the beach in shallow water. Beginners are able to hone their skills in flat water and forgiving near shore conditions, while advancing riders can ramp up the action by moving a few yards offshore to make long, fast runs along the beach. More experienced riders can also venture to Boca Grandi, a small bay on the island’s south side where winds and waters are more intense.

Aruba Kite Boarding

Aruba’s Boca Grandi is the place where advanced kiteboarders gather to play in the chop, or venture beyond the mouth of the bay to launch off larger waves. Photo: Robinszeggs/Flickr

Great Exuma, Bahamas

Running north to south through the central Bahamas, the Exumas are a chain of small, green islands surrounded by white sand shoals and the deep blue waters of the Atlantic. In summer, lighter winds create relaxing conditions for kiteboard runs in calm bays and passages between islands. Stronger winter fronts amp up the action with chances to play in the waves and power up for high-flying aerial chop hops. The largest island in the group, Grand Exuma, is the starting point for most kiting excursions, and Exuma Kitesurfing is the outfitter of choice. This full-service shop offers rentals, lessons with certified instructors, and taxi boat services to begin long downwind runs, or excursions to remote, wind-swept sandbars.

Exumas Bahamas Kite Boarding

The Exuma Islands are known for white sands and emerald waters. In recent years, these islands have gained a reputation as the premier kiteboarding destination in the Bahamas. Photo: Billy Bosch/Flickr

Atlantis Beach, Bonaire

Bonaire is best known for it’s world-class shore diving, but the sheltered waters of the island’s west coast are also prime kiteboarding territory. Three miles south of the town of Kralendijk, Atlantis Beach is the local mecca for kiting. Two companies, Kiteboarding Bonaire and the Bonaire Kite School, offer gear, lessons and chase boat support. It’s an ideal place to learn the basics, as the trade winds that sweep across the island’s southern salt flats are steady and predictable, and instruction can take place in knee-deep water over a forgiving sand bottom. The kiteboarding area is located on the southwest tip of Bonaire and can be found by following the brightly colored kites soaring through the air.

Bonaire Kite Boarding

A kiteboarder makes a sunset run in the waters off Bonaire’s Atlantis Beach. With winds blowing from across the island, sailors can make easy launches from this west-facing beach. Photo: Tourism Bonaire

Cabarete, Dominican Republic

Like other breezy spots in the Caribbean, the north shore of the Dominican Republic was first discovered by windsurfers. They came not only for the consistent winds, but also the varied sailing conditions, which included not only flat water bays for instruction and speed runs, but also ocean swells and beach breaks that became the playground of the world’s best riders. The same conditions now stoke kiters, and a number of the world’s top pros have made Cabarete a seasonal home. There are several IKO (International Kiting Organization) certified schools in the area, and new riders can master the basics in the flat water lagoon at Kite Beach, where consistent side- shore winds make for easy launches. Cabarete Bay is where the experts play, both inside the reef, on the breakers and in open ocean swells.

Dominican Republic Cabarete Kite Surfing

On the north coast of the Dominican Republic, Cabarete Bay has become one of the world’s premier kitesurfing destinations, both for novices and pros. Photo: Remon Rijper/Flickr

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Mention the Caymans, and most people think of either scuba diving or offshore banking. Although not as well known as a kiting destination, the island of Grand Cayman has several sites that are well suited to the sport. The prime season for kiting is between November and June, when the easterly trades blow steady. The most popular kiting area is Barkers Beach on the island’s northwest corner. Here, a large sand flat provides waist to chest deep water inside a protective barrier reef, and a large expanse of beach to launch kites without fear of tangling lines with other sailors. On the other side of North Sound, near the Rum Point area, a lagoon known as Kaibo is also popular, and savvy kiters know of a spot on the island’s east end called the Sweet Spot. Here, there is both a reef protected flat-water lagoon, and a chance to move out into open water to play in the waves.

Grand Cayman Kite Surfing

Grand Cayman’s North Sound offers large expanses of sheltered water where kiteboarders can spread out and sail without concerns of crossing lines or tangling kites. Photo: Don McDougall/ Cayman Islands Department of Tourism

Long Bay, Providenciales

Kiteboarding came relatively late to the islands of the Turks & Caicos, but once sailors discovered what awaited on the southwest shores of the island of Providenciales, it didn’t take long for the word to spread. This three-mile- long beach combines soft, powder white sand with clear waters and expansive shallows. Today, there are four kiteboarding schools on Long Bay Beach, and during the prime sailing season, which typical runs from November to May, aspiring riders fill the expansive lagoon. This entire area has water depths of two to three feet, which creates very friendly learning conditions. Aspiring kiters don’t have to tread water as they recover and relaunch after a spill, and there’s no danger of being blown onto the breaking waves of a reef. The flat waters are also prized by more advanced sailors, who can enjoy three-mile-long speed runs along the shore.

Turks and Caicos Providenciales Kite Boarding

On the Island of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos, the waters of Long Bay lures kiters with the promise of steady winds and the chance for long, fast runs. Photo: S.Neller/Flickr

BVI Snorkel

Unique Caribbean Snorkel Adventures


Sure, you’ve explored the shore in front of the hotel, and maybe even signed up for a boat trip to a nearby coral reef. But are you ready for a snorkeling adventure with a wow factor and maybe some bragging rights? These adventures exist in places across the Caribbean. But though they can be thrilling, they aren’t dangerous. Here are five of my favorite Caribbean snorkel adventures that go beyond the usual reef tour.

Blackbeard’s Treasure Caverns, Norman Island, BVI

Legend has it that the infamous pirate known as Blackbeard once stashed chests of gold and plunder in the sea caves of Norman Island. But even those who doubt that tale would agree that the real treasure is the chance to snorkel into this trio of semi-submerged caverns, which are cut into a cliff face just south of the popular harbor known as The Bight. It’s suitable for all ages, because there’s always a hint of sunlight in the caves, and no branching passages. I’ve brought dozens of snorkelers to this site during charter trips, and usually give them a waterproof light so they can hunt for marine live in the nooks and crannies, and admire the purple and red patterns on the rock faces inside.

BVI Snorkel

The caves at Norman Island are said to have once held treasures hidden by the pirate Blackbeard. Snorkelers can safely explore these mysterious caverns. Dale Harrison/Flickr

Bimini Road, Bahamas

Legends of the Bermuda Triangle meet tales of the lost city of Atlantis just off the shores of the tiny Bahamian island of Bimini. On the island’s western shore, a half-mile-long line of rectangular limestone blocks runs parallel to the shore. This unusual formation was first discovered by free diving legend Jacque Mayol, and in the years since, all manner of experts have speculated about the origins and purpose of the structure. Some say it’s the remains of a wall or a pier, while others have pegged it as a highway that was once part of the fabled lost city of Atlantis. I’ve explored this site on scuba dives several times, but actually enjoy it more when seen from above. When floating on the surface with mask and snorkel, you can make out the full extent of the formation in the clear waters below, and then form your own opinion on its origins.

Bimini Snorkel

A snorkeler descends in clear Bahamian water to examine the unique formation known as the Bimini Road. Some believe it to be part of the ruins of the ancient city of Atlantis. Photo: Atmoji Photography/Flickr

Great Blue Hole, Belize

The aerial view of Captain Jacque Cousteau’s Calypso floating in the center of a gigantic submerged crater in the center of a Caribbean coral reef became a world-famous image. This perfectly round geological anomaly measures more than 1,000 feet across, and plunges down to more than 400 feet. I’ve done deep dives into the Belize Blue Hole, but honestly, the most interesting sights are right at the top, where the shallow rim of the hole is ringed in growths of coral. It takes a two-hour boat ride from Belize City or one of the resorts on Ambergris Caye to get to Lighthouse Reef and the Blue Hole, but the reward is a chance to glide over the cliff-like edge of the hole into deep water, then spend time watching tropical fish among the corals. Keep an eye open, because there’s always a chance to catch a glimpse of large tarpon or reef sharks emerging from the shadows below.

Belize Great Blue Hole

The Belize Blue hole is a massive 400-foot-deep pit set in the center of Lighthouse Reef. The rim of the hole is covered in coral gardens that are ideal for snorkelers to explore. Photo: Kasia Kaczy?ska/Flickr

Dos Ojos Cenote, Riviera Maya

Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is riddled with cenotes, which are natural sinkholes in the limestone bedrock that fill with clear fresh water. Many of these cenotes are connected to underground rivers that form the longest underwater caves in the world. But you don’t have to be a bold explorer to enjoy these amazing places. With just a mask and snorkel, I’ve swum in dozens of these natural pools. Often, the walls overhang the water, creating a chance to swim into the twilight zone and discover marble-white stalactites hanging from the ceiling. A personal favorite is Dos Ojos Cenote, where swimmers can follow a set of guidelines through a maze of caverns that connect a pair of sunlit pools. You can explore for yourself, or hire a guide to lead the way.

Riviera Maya Cenotes

The cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula are filled with clear fresh water. At Dos Ojos, snorkelers can swim through overhanging ledges that lead to stalactite-decorated chambers. Photo: Guillén Pérez/Flickr

Lac Bay Mangrove, Bonaire

This snorkel adventure is more about relaxation than excitement, but that doesn’t make it any less memorable. It begins with a trip to the undeveloped east coast of Bonaire, and a stop at the Mangrove Information Center within Lac Bay National Park. Here, you’ll sign up for a guided kayak tour that leads through the twisting channels that lace the mangrove forest. Once you reach a hidden bay deep in the reserve, you’ll have a chance to get out of the boat and wade in waist deep water. There’s not much to see out in the middle of the sand bottom bay, because the real show begins when you swim closer to the tangled underwater roots of the mangroves themselves. These roots provide shelter for numerous species of small and juvenile marine life, making Lac Bay the island’s primary fish nursery. If you are lucky, you might also be treated to a swim by from one of the bay’s resident snook or tarpon.

Bonaire Snorkel

A snorkeler glides through a sand channel in the mangrove forest of Bonaire’s Lac Bay. The tangled roots of these trees create habitat for small fish and other marine life. Photo: Mangrove Information Center

Miami Art Basel

Where You Should Go in 2018


If you’re tired of hearing “you should have been there,” then maybe it’s time to start showing up. To help you plan those memory-making moments, we’ve put together a short list of epic and must-do events for 2018 that are taking place at locations all across the tropics.


Forget standing in the cold to watch the ball drop. Instead, head to the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgins for the legendary Old Year’s Night Party of Foxy’s Bar. For a slice of authentic Mexican culture, plan a visit to the Colonial era city of Merida for the month long Merida Fest, which encompasses a long list of art exhibits, concerts, theater performances and street celebrations. If good food is your thing, reserve the week of January 10-14 for the Cayman Cookout, when celebrity chefs descend onto the island to showcase a savory array of culinary masterpieces.

Cayman Cookout

A group of celebrity chefs participating in the Cayman Cookout take a break from the kitchen to pose barefoot on the sands of Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. Photo: Rebecca Davidson/Cayman Islands Department of Tourism


There are carnival celebrations all over the Caribbean, but the big event takes place on the island of Trinidad, where Calypso singers, costumes and steel drum bands hit the streets, and travelers can get in on lavish nightly parties. Spend President’s Day weekend ogling the world’s largest collection of yachts and pleasure boats at the Miami Boat Show. On February 11, head to Oahu’s Chinatown, where fireworks and processions welcome in the Chinese New Year. Get a jump on the baseball season at the Caribbean Series Championship, which will bring teams from across the Caribbean to Mexico for a round robin playoff.

Trinidad Carnival

Colorful costumes and elaborate masks are hallmarks of Trinidad’s annual Carnival, which showcases some of the world’s best Calypsonians and steel drum orchestras. Photo: iStock


Reserve your place on the boat for a rare chance to swim with humpback whales as they migrate through the waters of the Silver Banks in the Dominican Republic. Join the locals at Anguilla’s Festival del Mar, where you can finish off a day of boat races and fishing tournaments with a dinner of grilled lobster, then dance the night away to live music. Montserrat is the only place outside of Ireland where St. Patrick’s Day is an official national holiday, and the island’s weeklong festival highlights Montserrat’s blended African and Irish heritage.

Montserrat St Patricks Day

The traditions of Africa and Ireland merge on the island of Montserrat, which is the only country outside Ireland where St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday. Photo: Abi Kamalei/Montserrat Tourism Board


Come to the Big Island of Hawaii the first week of April to enjoy the sensuous rhythms of the hula dance during the Merrie Monarch Festival, which is the site of the Hawaiian Hula Olympics. Thousands gather in the Colombian town of Vallenato to watch folk music legends compete for the title of Accordion King during the Festival de la Leyenda Vallenata. Nelson’s Dockyard is the center of both racing action and shore side parties during Antigua’s annual Sailing Week, which kicks off on the 28th, and attracts gleaming racing yachts from around the world. For a different take on the maritime life, join locals at the National Family Island Regatta, which draws hometown crews from around the Bahamas.

Bahamas Island Regatta

Island sloops fill the waters of Elizabeth Harbour during the annual Family Island Regatta, which draws sailing teams from across the Bahamas. Photo: Bahamas Ministry of Tourism


Start the month off at Hawaii’s largest May Day and Lei Day celebration, when Oahu’s Queen Kapiolani Park becomes the site of lei making contests, hula performances, concerts and a gathering of craft and food vendors. On nearby Waikiki Beach, there are more contests and free outrigger canoe rides. The month also holds a number of notable musical happenings. More than 50 bands converge on the Palm Beach waterfront for four days of live music at SunFest. A broad sampling of authentic Caribbean musical traditions is showcased during Grenada’s Pure Music Festival. For smoother sounds, head to St. Lucia for the Jazz Festival, which showcases a mix of local, regional and international talents.

Grenada Pure Music Festival

Local talents share the stage with international performers during the Pure Music Festival, which raises funds for a foundation that promotes young musical talent in Grenada. Photo: Grenada Tourism Authority


Go native during the Heiva i Tahiti festival, which celebrates the traditions of Polynesia, with performances and parties on a number of the islands in Tahiti. Earn bragging rights by traveling to the Mexican island of Isla Mujeres to swim with huge but harmless whale sharks. For faster action, make your way to Ensenada, Mexico for the annual running of the Baja 500 Off-road Race. Looking for something a bit more sophisticated? You’ll find it among the chic and beautiful people who descend on Jamaica for Caribbean Fashion Week.

Bora Bora Heiva Festival

A traditional choir performs on the island of Bora Bora during the annual Heiva i Tahiti festival, which takes place on islands across much of French Polynesia. Photo: Mikito411/Flickr


Grove to roots rhythms during Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest, which draws reggae and dancehall fans from around the world. Different musical traditions are on display during the Festival del Merengue de Santo Domingo, in the capital of the Dominican Republic, which showcases this homegrown musical genre with dance performances and concerts. Take in a savory combination of good food and live art performances at the Haleiwa Arts Festival, which brings more than 140 visual artists to the island of Oahu. Grab a mask and snorkel and head for the Florida Keys for the Sportsman’s Lobster Season, where everyone has a chance to bag some tasty crustaceans.

Florida Keys Lobstering

Spiny lobster are the prize catch during Florida’s annual Sportsman Season, which takes place on the last weekend in July, and draws thousands to the waters of the Florida Keys. Photo: Reel Bliss/Flickr


Barbados’s Crop Over festivities stretch through most of the summer, but the can’t miss event is August’s Grand Kadooment, which is a day-long street procession and carnival featuring elaborate costumes, music and libations. On the other side of the globe, adventurous travelers head to the island of Tonga for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with humpback whales in clear blue waters. The old ways are honored during Belize’s Costa Maya Festival, when persons of Mayan heritage from Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico gather on Ambergris Caye for a weekend of traditional dances, pageants, food, and songs. The Dormition of Virgin Mary is one of Greece’s most anticipated public holidays, and a time of festivities and feasts. Many consider the best place to celebrate the day is on the island of Ikaria, at the colorful village of Christos Raches.

Tonga Whales

From July to October, humpback whales migrate to the coastal waters of Tonga’s Vavau Island group, providing a unique opportunity for swimming encounters. Photo: Kirkland/Tourism Tonga


The islands of Hawaii celebrate their cultural roots during Aloha Week, which includes parades, traditional dance performances, island music and block parties. As the Caribbean heads into the fall, hatchling sea turtles emerge from nests and take to the sea. One of the prime places to witness this phenomenon is with a stay at Jamaica’s Goldeneye Resort, where more than 10,000 tiny turtles scramble across the sands of Golden Beach. In Male, the capital of the Maldives, the Hindu festival of Kuda Eid culminates in processions and a day of group feasting, dances and athletic competitions. September 15, not May 5, is Mexico’s true Independence Day. On this national holiday, thousands converge on the small town of Dolores Hidalgo, for a reenactment of “El Grito de Dolores,” the day in 1810 when bells rang to signal the start of the revolution.

Jamaica Sea Turtle

Fresh from the nest, a newly hatched sea turtle inches across the golden sands of a Jamaican beach. Visitors to the island can witness this phenomenon during the month of September. Photo: iStock


The Hawaii Food & Wine Festival is the Pacific Rim’s premier epicurean event. This seven-day festival features a roster of more than 80 international master chefs, culinary personalities, and wine and spirit producers. More eclectic flavors are showcased during the Blue Food Festival on the island of Tobago, which focuses on recipes based on a local staple, the dasheen root. Spectators converge on the island of Kona to watch the world’s elite endurance athletes compete in the Iron Man World Championships.

Hawaii Food And Wine Festival

Fireworks light the sky over the Ko Olina Lagoon during the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, which brings more than 100 master chefs to the islands of Hawaii. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority


In recent years, Mexico’s traditional Day of the Dead ceremonies has evolved into a massive costume party that takes place in Mexico City. Less boisterous but equally colorful is Trinidad’s Diwali Festival of Lights. Catch the on file action and take part in the post game parties during the World Rugby Classic, hosted in Bermuda. When costumed swashbucklers swarm ashore on Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach, it marks the start of Pirates Week festivities. More sophisticated indulgences await during the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival.

Cayman Islands Pirates

Swashbuckling action on the decks of the Cayman Valhalla sailing ship is just part of the fun during the Pirates Week Festival of the Cayman Islands. Photo: Juan José Marroquín/Cayman Islands Department of Tourism


The world’s best wave riders gather on Oahu’s north shore to compete in the Billabong Pipe Maters surf competition. In Miami, unique creations and avant-garde visions are the focus of Art Basel. Adventurous travelers make their way to the highlands of Guatemala, where the indigenous K’iche’ Maya people gather in the village of Chichicastenango to honor Santo Tomás with days of colorful rituals and dances. On the Bahamian island of New Providence, dance and drum troops march through the streets of Nassau during the all night Junkanoo.

Oahu Billabong Pipeline

World Champion surfer Kelly Slater catches a wave during the Billabong Pipe Masters, which brings the world’s best wave riders to the island of Oahu each December. Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Negril Jamaica Couples Resort

Caribbean Black Friday/Cyber Monday Specials


Sure, you could save on home appliances or a new TV right after Thanksgiving, but maybe you should think bigger. Over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, hotels across the Caribbean are offering special online deals. Here’s what to look for.

The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua

This eco-friendly luxury resort is nestled along Antigua’s pristine northeast coast, situated amongst a backdrop of lush green gardens, and facing the turquoise waters of a protected cove. The all-inclusive plan allows guests access to a wide range of resort amenities and activities, including dining experiences that range from fine international fare to casual favorites and unique Caribbean-fusion presentations. Nightly programs include local entertainment; live music, dancers, DJs, karaoke and performers. By booking before November 27, 2017, travelers can save 35 percent on vacations through 2018 and January 2019. Book at www.verandahresortandspa.com/special-offers.

Verandah Resort Antigua

The view from a waterfront suite at the Verandah Resort, which perches on a wooded hillside overlooking a secluded cove. Photo: Steven Graffham/Elite Island Resorts

Resorts World Bimini, Bahamas

Catch the ferry from Miami or hop a quick flight across the blue waters of the Gulf Stream. Either choice gets you to the island of Bimini and the lavish Resorts World vacation complex. Snorkel, fish, hit the beach, indulge at the spa or try your luck at the casino. Best of all, this two-night getaway can be had for $199 per person including airfare from Florida via Tropic Airways or Silver Airways, or ferry travel from Miami via FRS Caribbean. The offer is valid from November 27, 2017 through March 1, 2018, and can be booked during the Cyber Monday sale at www.rwbimini.com.

Bimini Resort Bahamas

Located on the northwest corner of the Bahamian island of Bimini, the Resorts World vacation complex includes an upscale Hilton hotel with beachfront rooms. Photo: RWB

The Somerset on Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

This intimate five-star resort welcomes both couples and families, with exquisitely styled accommodations from one-bedroom villas to five-bedroom penthouses. Each elegant villa opens to a private patio or balcony with views of lush tropical gardens, refreshing pools or the flawless Grace Bay Beach. All feature spacious living areas, gourmet kitchens, marble floors and bathrooms and more. During the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, all stays of four nights or more booked for travel between January 3 and September 3, 2018 are offered at a 30 percent savings, along with daily full breakfast. Package rates for a one-bedroom luxury residence villa begin at $364 per night. Go to www.thesomerset.com/blackfriday.

Somerset Turks And Caicos

Somerset on Grace Bay in Turks & Caicos offers 53 one- to five- bedrooms villas and suites, two restaurants and bars and two freshwater pools. Photo: Somerset

St. James’s Club Resort & Villas, Antigua

Tucked away on a secluded 100-acre peninsula on the southeastern coast of Antigua, the St. James’s Club is a casual yet exclusive hideaway that caters to families, singles and couples. With two beaches to choose from, guests can either snorkel in the aquarium-like waters of Coco Beach, or enjoy water sports in the calm waters of Mamora Bay. The resort offers complimentary non-motorized water sports and includes six distinctive swimming pools, a spa and salon, six tennis courts, a fitness center and children’s club. All these amenities and more can be had with savings of up to 60 percent by booking before November 30, 2017 for travel through January 2019. Visit www.stjamesclubantigua.com/special-offers.

St James Antigua

The St. James Club occupies a small peninsula on the southeastern shore of Antigua, with an excellent snorkeling reef within easy swimming distance. Photo: Elite Island Resorts

Wyndham Reef Resort, Grand Cayman

The Wyndham’s East End location provides guests an oasis calm far removed from the busy resort scene of Seven Mile Beach. The beach is flanked by a coral reef that creates a sheltered lagoon for snorkeling and paddle sports. Each of the property’s 152 oceanfront suites provide direct water views from balconies and porches, and in addition to an on-site water sports center, there are tennis courts, a spa and fitness center. Travelers can save up to 40 percent on three-night or longer stays between April 7 and December 14, 2018 by booking between November 23 and 27, 2017 at OnlyinCayman.com.

Wyndham Reef Grand Cayman

Each room at the Wyndham Reef Resort Grand Cayman enjoys direct water views of the island’s eastern shore from a private terrace or balcony. Photo: Wyndham

Frangipani Beach Resort, Anguilla

The family-owned Frangipani Beach Resort is known as Anguilla’s premier luxury boutique resort. Located on Meads Bay, this 19- room property provides the backdrop for an exquisite island getaway. Book the Suite Getaway for Two package and for a fixed price of $2800 + taxes, you will enjoy five nights in a one-bedroom suite, access to complimentary water sports, tennis court, and fitness center, daily breakfast credit to award-winning Straw Hat Restaurant, a beach hopping boat trip aboard FrangiCat, a bottle of champagne on arrival, and a complimentary couples massage. This offer is valid for stays from April 15 to August 31, 2018. Reservations can be made via email at info@frangipaniresort.com or by calling 1-264-497-6442.http://www.frangipaniresort.com/

Anguilla Frangipani

Rooms at the Frangipani Beach Resort have unrivaled views of Meads Bay, and immediate access to the soft white sands of its namesake beach. Photo: Thierry Dehove/Frangipani Resort

The Landings Hotel & Spa, St. Lucia

The upscale villas at St. Lucia’s Landings Hotel set the standard for luxury island living. Each one, two or three-bedroom suite is luxuriously furnished, and includes private terraces overlooking the resort’s luxury yacht marina or the beach and Rodney Bay. The five-star guest experience includes a full range of recreational activities and resort facilities, including a children’s club and water sports center. By booking during the special online promotion running from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 to 11:59 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27, travelers can receive up to 50 percent off standard rates, starting at $335/night. This offer is valid for travel between April and August 2018. Visit www.landingsstlucia.com with promo code CYBER.

The Landings St. Lucia

The four-story lobby atrium at The Landings Hotel & Spa showcases the premier workmanship and upscale features of the property’s guest residences. Photo: The Landings

Nisbet Plantation Beach Club, Nevis

Blending Old-World charm and attentive service with modern-day conveniences, Nisbet Plantation Beach Club is the Caribbean’s only historic plantation inn located on the beach. During the Club’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday promotion, travelers have a unique opportunity to enjoy substantial savings at this iconic property during the highly desirable peak winter season. In addition to a guaranteed best available rate, with a 30 percent savings, the package includes full daily breakfast, 25 percent savings on all spa treatments, complimentary dinner for two at Nisbet Plantation’s signature Thursday night BBQ, a $150 beverage credit, a free upgrade at check-in, based on availability, and complimentary round trip airport transfers. This special can be booked November 24 to 27, 2017 for travel during peak winter season between January 3 and March 31, 2018. Book online at NisbetPlantation.com/black-friday.html.

Nevis Nisbet Plantation

Cottage-style accommodations at the Nisbet Plantation Beach Club are spread across the expansive landscaped grounds to provide guests privacy. Photo: Ryan Delano/Nisbet Plantation

Couples Resorts, Jamaica

Jamaica is home to some of the best all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, and the boutique properties of the family-owned Couples Resorts group sets the standards for relaxation and indulgences. There are four unique properties in the Couples collection to choose from in Negril and Ocho Rios, and all are offering a tempting offer for winter vacationers. Guests who book a six-night stay will receive the seventh night free in addition to $250 resort credit. This promotion can be used at any of the four properties and begins at $185 per night/per person. This offer is valid for stays between November 22, 2017 and April 30, 2018. couples.com.

Negril Couples Swept Away

The swim-up bar at the Couples Swept Away resort. This property is set on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, which is considered the best on the island. Photo: Couples Resorts

Warwick Paradise Island, Bahamas

This four-star resort is set along Nassau Harbor, with views of Nassau and Paradise Island. Amenities of the all-inclusive package include a white-sand beach, five dining options, two bars, a fully equipped fitness center, entertainment and activities, and a tour desk offering sightseeing options to the destination’s attractions. Guests who book between November 22 and 27 can realize savings of up to 60 percent off the resort’s “Best Flexible” rate, with nightly rates starting from $226 per room, double occupancy, in an island view double/double or island view king. Go to warwickhotels.com/paradise-island-bahamas and click the “Book Now” button.

Bahamas Paradise Island Warwick

Rising 12 stories above the waterfront at Nassau Harbour, rooms at the Warwick Paradise Island resort enjoy panoramic views. Photo: Craig Lenihan/Warwick

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman

The sprawling 140-grounds of this premier five-star resort extends from the shores of Grand Cayman’s pristine North Sound to the sands of world famous Seven Mile Beach. Guests can relax in luxurious private beach cabanas, play a round of golf at the on- site Greg Norman designed course, or savor the creations of an award-winning culinary team. This premium vacation experience can be enjoyed with special savings, with rates starting at $399 for winter season travel between November 23, 2017 and December 23, 2017. Book between November 21 and December 4, 2017 and visit OnlyinCayman.com for details.

Ritz Grand Cayman

The ultra-lux penthouse suite at the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman includes a private terrace that sits high above the sands of Seven Mile Beach. Photo: Ritz-Carlton

Ocean Club Resorts, Turks and Caicos

In the heart of world renowned Grace Bay Beach, the sister properties of Ocean Club and Ocean Club West provide upscale accommodations ranging from intimate studio suites to spacious 3-bedroom condominium apartments, all beautifully appointed and equipped with all the comforts of home. Guests of either resort can enjoy all the amenities and activities of both properties, and they can now do it with savings of 20 percent off standard rates for one-bedroom suites only when booking a five-night stay between January 6 and April 30, 2018. The promotional offer may be used at either Ocean Club or Ocean Club West and can be booked online at www.oceanclubresorts.com

Ocean Club Turks And Caicos

On the island of Providenciales, the Ocean Club Resorts sit directly on the shores of Grace Bay, which has been named as one of the world’s best beaches. Photo: Ocean Club Resorts

Sugar Beach, St. Lucia

Set in the shadow of the famous Piton peaks, Sugar Beach indulges guests with amenities such as private plunge pools, personal butlers and 24-hour room service. Whether choosing a sugar mill room, luxury villa or beachfront bungalow, guests will have spectacular views of the Pitons or the Caribbean Sea. On site are the world-class Rainforest Spa, a water sports and dive facility and beachfront and fine dining options. By booking on Cyber Monday, travelers can lock in discounts of 30 percent on stays in a luxury villa or higher room category. This offer applies to travel dates between April 16 and December 18, 2018. www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/sugarbeach

St. Lucia Sugar Beach

A hillside terrace at St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach resort combines amenities such as a private plunge pool with spectacular views of the Piton peaks and the Caribbean. Photo: Sugar Beach

Caribbean Club, Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman’s most exclusive boutique hotel offers just 37 spacious 1 to 3 bedroom suites and villas, set on the water overlooking Seven Mile Beach. Guests arrive to a fully stocked gourmet kitchen, and are provided with attentive personal service and indulgences such as in-room massage and private beach cabanas with wait services. A special one-time opportunity for 50 percent savings is offered to travelers who book between November 21 and 25, for travel from December 10 to 17, 2017. Visit www.OnlyinCayman.com for details.

Grand Cayman Club

Luxury villas at the Caribbean Club, Grand Cayman are finished with upscale furnishings and appliances, and guests enjoy concierge-level service. Photo: Caribbean Club

Pineapple Beach Club, Antigua

Located on a quarter-mile crescent of white sand beach, the 30- acre grounds of the Pineapple Beach Club offer Caribbean-style accommodations and a full range of resort amenities. Guests can swim in the resort’s two freshwater pools, enjoy spa treatments, or enjoy water sports such as sailing, kayaking and snorkeling. Amenities include three restaurants and bars, tennis courts and a fitness center. The Cyber Sale promotion provides special savings of up to 60 percent when booking between November 22 and 27, 2017, for stays before January 2019. Visit www.pineapplebeachclub.com

Pineapple Beach Club Antigua

The lagoon-style pool at Antigua’s Pineapple Beach Club delights with details such as palm-lined rock sculptures, bridges and a waterfall feature. Photo: Elite Island Resorts

Margaritaville Beach Resort, Grand Cayman

This Seven Mile Beach resort encourages you to embrace the “parrot head” lifestyle inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett. Representing one of the best values on Grand Cayman, rooms include kitchenettes, and amenities include two restaurants and bars, an on-site dive shop, convenience store, spa, and three pools. Travelers can lock in rates starting at $139 per night by booking before December 19, 2017 for travel between January 1 through April 1, 2018. Visit OnlyinCayman.com for details.

Grand Cayman Margaritaville

The décor at the Margaritaville Beach Resort Grand Cayman was created to evoke the causal beachfront lifestyle of its namesake song. Photo: Margaritaville Resort

Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua

With just 98 guest rooms, this intimate Caribbean hideaway delights guests with a refined, unpretentious atmosphere and its relaxing, all-inclusive vacation packages. The 40-acre resort is set on a three-quarter-mile white sand beach, with rooms tucked into the landscape along the ocean, or hidden amid the gardens, with lagoon views. Three open-air restaurants are complemented by afternoon tea, evening hors d’oeuvres, live entertainment, cocktail parties and Caribbean barbecues. By day, guests can enjoy a full array of complimentary water sports equipment and instruction. Travelers can lock in savings of up to 55 percent by booking before November 30, 2017 for travel through January 2019. Visit www.galleybayresort.com/special-offers.

Galley Bay Antigua

At the Galley Bay Resort, Ismay’s restaurant serves a savory mix of Caribbean-fusion, local and indigenous cuisines. Photo: Steven Graffham/Elite Island Resorts

St. James’s Club Morgan Bay, St. Lucia

Set on one of St. Lucia’s most scenic beaches, this all-inclusive resort caters to both families and couples, and has been named one of the most kid-friendly hotels in St. Lucia. The property offers quiet relaxation, but is just minutes from the world-class Rodney Bay Marina, Cap Estate Golf Course, and the island’s lively capital city of Castries. The Club’s attractive all-inclusive rates include dining and drinks at six restaurants, plus an extensive array of activities, water sports and nightly entertainment. Even better values can be had during the Cyber Sale, when bookings made before November 30, 2017 will yield savings of up to 50 percent for travel through January 2019. Visit www.morganbayresort.com/special-offers.

St James Club St Lucia

The main pool at the St. James’s Club Morgan Bay. Just steps away is a white sand beach where guests can enjoy a variety of complimentary water sports. Photo: Elite Island Resorts

Grand Caymanian Resort and Suites, Grand Cayman

The only luxury resort on Grand Cayman’s North Sound provides convenient access to all of Grand Cayman’s attractions. Guests enjoy large rooms and suites, complimentary Wi-Fi, area shuttles, an on-site gym and unlimited access to the World gym, tennis, kayaking, beach towels and chairs and more. Travelers who book early can save up to 20 percent on travel in 2018, with children staying for free. The booking window for these savings extends from November 21 to December 3, 2017, and applies to stays of five nights or more. Bookings can be made online at www.grandcaymanian.ky, or by calling 855-722-9626 using promo code EBBGD for special discounted rates.

Grand Caymanian Resort

Aerial view of Grand Caymanian where guest rooms and suites offer either an island, pool, garden or ocean view with a patio or balcony. Photo: Grand Caymanian



Dominican Republic Casa de Campo

Caribbean Resorts with Fall Specials


Somewhere between a summer vacation and a winter escape, there’s a travel season that hasn’t received much attention in the past. But fall getaways are becoming a thing, and hotels across the Caribbean are responding with special offers to entice travelers to put off raking leaves and putting up winter storm shutters to spend a few days relaxing on a beach in warm tropical sunshine. Here are some of the properties that are offering special incentives for autumn getaways.

Casa de Campo Resort & Villas, Dominican Republic

This ultra-elegant 7,000-acre resort community on the southeastern coast of the Dominica Republic offers white sand beaches, fine culinary experiences and many options for active lifestyles. Guests can enjoy water sports, play three of the Caribbean’s most storied golf courses, visit an artisan village modeled after a 16th century Mediterranean city, watch a performance at a 5,000 seat amphitheater, or simply relax in the world-class spa. During the Fall Getaway Sale, guests enjoy 20 percent savings on all guest rooms and 30 percent on villas that can accommodate up to 10 adults and five children. Rates start at $150 per night for rooms and $769 per night for villas. The offer includes a complimentary four-passenger golf cart for use through the stay, free Wi-Fi, unlimited use of fitness center, two complimentary tickets to Genesis Nightclub and more. Reservations must be made by November 15, 2017 for travel by December 24, 2017. www.casadecampo.com.do

Casa de Campo Room DR

An elite room at Casa de Campo pampers guests with premium bedding and linens, and includes marble floors and private balconies with ocean or golf course views. Photo: Casa de Campo

French Leave Resort, Eleuthera, The Bahamas

At the French Leave Resort, guests stay in private villas that overlook beautiful pink sand beaches and a picturesque harbor. With just 12 villas, the resort provides attentive personal service and an intimate ambiance. Luxurious amenities include a beach concierge, private golf carts, and in-room i-Pads that serve as a digital butler. The resort’s water sports center can arrange fishing, snorkeling or scuba excursions, and the historic village of Governor’s Harbour is just a short stroll away. The signature 1648 restaurant showcases Island cuisine inspired by freshly caught Bahamian seafood and locally grown produce, and guests can also enjoy private poolside or beachside meal service. A special fall offer allows guests to enjoy this remote paradise for less, as a four-night stay earns a fifth night for free. The offer is valid until December 21, 2017. Visit www. frenchleaveautograph.com and use booking code BOG.

French Leave Resort Eleuthera

The dining room at The Crane is perched cliffside above the Atlantic Ocean, with floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase expansive views of Barbados’s surf-washed eastern coast. Photo: The Crane

The Crane, Barbados

The Crane is Barbados’s original luxury resort, and for more than 150 years, it has remained the island’s destination of choice for discriminating travelers. It sits cliffside overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the island’s most scenic pink beach, providing luxurious oceanfront accommodations that include colonial-style suites and villas that feature lush gardens, private pools and rooftop terraces, and contemporary suites offering sweeping views and luxurious finishes. Five onsite restaurants serve up a range of options that range from Thai and Japanese cuisine, to Caribbean specialties, southern Italian offerings and international favorites. Additional amenities include a spa and fitness center, retail shops, a movie theater and a grand stretch of pink sand beach. The Fall Savings Package takes 30 percent off contemporary suites with an additional $80 resort credit, or 35 percent off all other room categories with an $80 resort credit. Book by November 30, 2017 for stays between October 16 and December 23, 2017. Minimum stay is three nights. Visit www.thecrane.com.

Barbados The Crane

The dining room at The Crane is perched cliffside above the Atlantic Ocean, with floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase expansive views of Barbados’s surf-washed eastern coast. Photo: The Crane

St. Kitts Marriott Resort, Frigate Bay, St. Kitts

The premier resort destination on the island of St. Kitts overlooks a stretch of golden sand on the Atlantic coast, and is just steps from the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club. Eight on-site restaurants provide a wealth of dining experiences. On property, guests can roll the dice at the Vegas-style casino, sip a cocktail at the swim- up bar, unwind with a signature bamboo massage in the Emerald Mist Spa or tee up with views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Accommodations choices include ocean-view rooms, and one or two-bedroom suites, all featuring pastel color palettes, plush bedding and ample natural lighting. During the Get Three For Free promotion, guests who stay four nights at the resort receive the fifth, sixth and seventh for free. This offer is valid through December 21, 2017, with rates staring at $206 per night. Visit Marriott.com/STKDeals and use promo code ZJL to book.

St. Kitts Marriott

Umbrella-shaded chase lounges line the beach at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort. Located on the island’s southeastern coast, this property is cooled by seasonal trade winds. Photo: St. Kitts Marriott

The Landings Hotel & Spa, St. Lucia

This luxury residential resort is tucked away on the shores of Rodney Bay, facing one of the best white-sand beaches on the island of St. Lucia. Guests are housed in spacious villas adorned with warm wood, bamboo and rattan furnishings, each offering full kitchens, en-suite bedrooms, and laundry facilities. Guests of this family-friendly property have access to a private beach club, three pools, tennis courts, marina, a luxurious 7,000 square foot- spa and a kids’ club. When adventure calls, travelers can venture to the nearby settlement of Rodney Bay, which is a hub for shopping, dining and nightlife, tee off at the St. Lucia Golf & Country Club, or spend the day exploring Pigeon Island National Park. During the resort’s Ultimate Fall Escape promotion, guests can save up to 50 percent on villas, with rates starting at $297 per night. The offer is valid for booking through December 1, and travel is valid through December 16, 2017. Visit www.landingsstlucia.com.

St. Lucia The Landings

On the northwest coast of St. Lucia, an elegant villa at The Landings Hotel & Spa looks out over the waters of Rodney Bay to the profile of Pigeon Island. Photo: The Landings

Grand Lucayan, Grand Bahama Island

Lighthouse Pointe is the latest addition to the expansive Grand Lucayan resort complex. With just 196 guest rooms, this all- inclusive property offers a more intimate vacation experience, while also providing all the resort amenities and recreations of Grand Lucaya. Play golf and enjoy water sports at no additional charge. Sample gourmet meals and premium cocktails, engage in activities from beach parties and rum tastings to movies under the stars, or just unwind at Senses Spa. Book during the Grand Bahamas Getaway All Inclusive sale and save up to 35 percent on stays at Lighthouse Point, along with 20 percent discounts on select spa treatments. The resort’s room and ferry packages include daytime ferry service from Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island. Book by December 15 for travel through December 20, 2017. www.grandlucayan.com

Grand Lucayan Grand Bahama

The China Beach Grill overlooks the main pool at the Grand Lucayan Resort. It is one of ten specialty restaurants located on the resort’s expansive grounds. Photo: Grand Lucayan

Tamarind, Barbados

Tamarind is a contemporary, Mediterranean-style property that provides a perfect vacation setting for both couples and families. The grounds include three pools, and face a 750-foot crescent of palm-lined, white-sand beach. Children enjoy specials at the Kid’s Club, and teens can hang at Club Tamarind. Meanwhile, the dedicated adults only area provides couples and parents with an oasis of quiet. Guests can try stand up paddle boarding, learn to cook popular Bajan recipes with a top chef and dive into the turquoise blue waters to swim with the resident sea turtles offshore. Packages include breakfast daily, complimentary water sports and classes at the on-site fitness center that includes yoga, Pilates and aqua aerobics. Guests can save up to 35 percent when booking by December 1 for travel through December 18, 2017, with rates starting at $308 per night. Visit www. eleganthotels.com/tamarind.

Barbados Tamarind Pool

The main pool at Barbados’ Tamarind Resort is convenient to the beach. A second adults-only pool provides an oasis of quiet in a more cloistered setting. Photo: Tamarind Resort

Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Bahamas Out Island Snorkel Resorts


Millions of people snorkel in tropical waters each year, and there are hundreds of charter boats that gather groups from hotels and cruise ships for an hour or two of supervised water time on an often-visited reef. If this isn’t your idea of a snorkeling adventure, you need to set your sights farther afield. In the Bahamas, this means leaving the busy tourism centers of Nassau and Freeport behind, and heading for the Out Islands, where small beach lodges replace high rise resorts, unspoiled beaches stretch for miles, and only a fortunate few visit the coral reefs that line island shores. If you are looking to discover the best underwater scenery in the Bahamas, here are three of the best Out Island resorts to base your explorations.

Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Exumas

Stretching more than 100 miles through the center of the Bahamas, the Exumas are a chain of small islands and sand flats that line up along deep blue waters to the east. Seen from above, they resemble an emerald and ivory necklace. One of the crown jewels of this string is Staniel Cay, which is home to one of the few significant villages in the Exumas, along with the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Since the 1950s, this low-key resort and marina has attracted in-the-know travelers, including a laundry list of A-listers who come for small island privacy and the luxury of anonymity. The big draw is ambiance rather than amenities, as the club’s 14 waterfront bungalows are designed for comfort rather than show. Expected creature comforts such as air conditioning, premium bedding and waterfront verandahs are provided, but it is the views rather than the décor that is the focus. All bungalows are just a short walk from the dining room and clubhouse, where patrons and locals rub shoulders and swap stories with visiting yachtsmen. Guests who opt for the amenities package can enjoy three meals a day, access to a 17ft skiff, snorkeling gear, bicycles, ocean kayaks and paddleboards. The island is served by one of the few airports in the region, and there are direct flights from the U.S. mainland.

Exumas Beach

A view from the beach at Staniel Cay Yacht Club shows expansive sand flat prized by bonefish anglers. Snorkeling reefs lie in deeper water beyond the sand. Photo: Rick Gomez/Staniel Cay Yacht Club

With water all around, there is no shortage of premier snorkeling sites within a short boat ride of Staniel Cay. Some of the best reefs lie within the boundaries of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. The Club can provide a local guide for snorkeling excursions, including trips to the Exuma’s most famous snorkeling spot, Thunderball Grotto. This partially flooded cave was featured in the namesake James Bond film, and it is both easy and safe to explore with mask and snorkel. This trip is often combined with a visit to the swimming pigs of Big Major Cay for a chance with an in-water selfie with these famous aquatic swine. Other unexpected snorkeling adventures can include a trip to the starfish reserve and a hunt for queen conch, which the guide may later transform into a delicious dish of conch salad.

Out Islands Exumas Reef

A short boat ride away from Staniel Cay, a Nassau grouper cruises through shallow coral formations in the protected waters of the Exumas Land and Sea Park. Photo: Rick Gomez/Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Fernandez Bay Village, Cat Island

The Armbrister family has dedicated more than four decades to creating this idyllic beachfront retreat, but their ties to Cat Island go much deeper. Five generations have passed since British Loyalist John Armbrister settled on this quiet island, and save for electricity and a handful of cars, little has changed in the centuries since. Cat Island is still a place where you can walk deserted beaches by starlight, and the island’s entire population wouldn’t more than half fill a small cruise ship. This is the setting for Fernandez Bay Village, an intimate collection of seven stone walled cottages and five spacious villas facing a mile of private beach on the island’s calm western shore. At the center of the village, the vaulted thatch roof of the open-air clubhouse is the focal point for meals and social activity, which often spills out onto the adjacent waterfront patio and the tiki bar. The resort is home to the island’s best restaurant, and the dining room and bar are a favorite with passing yachtsmen. Guests can choose between cozy cottages or a villa that includes a kitchen and living areas that open to ocean views.

Villa Bahamas Out Islands Cat Island Fernandez Bay

Villas and cottages at Fernandez Bay Village are built from native limestone rock and island pine. Living areas feature French doors that open to terraces with ocean views. Photo: Fernandez Bay Village

With the pristine waters of Fernandez Bay literally in their front yard, guests have immediate access to exceptional snorkeling just steps away. The sand and grass flats immediately in front of the resort provide a relaxing environment for youngsters and novices to perfect their snorkeling skills. A but farther out, the rock outcropping known as Dry Head is surrounded by a shallow reef covered in sea fans and colorful corals. A number of additional reefs are just a short boat ride away, and the Fernandez Bay staff can arrange for transportation, or provide directions. One of the most intriguing sites in the area isn’t a reef, but instead an inland body of water known as the Boiling Hole, which is a submerged sinkhole that opens into a labyrinth of water-filled passages. In addition to snorkeling, guests can arrange for diving and fishing trips, or take a paddleboard or kayak into the shallow creek at the southern end of Fernandez Bay for a peaceful, quiet trip through twisting and turning waterways that are a nursery for baby sharks, manta rays and other small fish.

Bahamas Fernandez Bay Village

Fernandez Bay Village overlooks a mile-long crescent of private white sand beach on Cat Island. This family-owned resort is known for it’s relaxed atmosphere and personal service. Photo: Fernandez Bay Village

Small Hope Bay, Andros

Andros Island lies less than 30 miles to the east of the mega resorts of Nassau and Paradise Island, but it is a world away. Wild and sparsely settled, it is a land of pine forests and expansive networks of mangrove-lined creeks, flanked to the east by the world’s third longest barrier reef. In the heart of this natural landscape is Small Hope Bay, a collection of cottages created by the Birch family, who transformed native coral rock and pine timbers into an elegantly simple but quite civilized respite from the world beyond. It is a destination that has drawn world leaders, famous artists and average travelers, who prize it not only for what is offered, but also what is excluded. There are no televisions, newspapers or Internet feeds to intrude on days devoted to fishing, diving, snorkeling, exploring the natural surroundings or simply relaxing on an island that is as close to deserted as one can find in the 21st century. Each cottage sits on the edge of a white-sand beach, with barefoot-friendly pathways that lead to the dining room and it’s adjacent waterfront terrace. Small Hope operates as a fully inclusive property, with all meals, drinks, activities and services covered in the daily rate. Leaving guests with no other decisions to make other than “what shall we do today.”

Andros Bahamas Hope Bay Lodge Cabin

The beachfront cabins at Small Hope Bay blend out island simplicity with appropriate creature comforts such as air conditioning, plush bedding and ample supplies of fresh water. Photo: Small Hope Bay

Snorkelers will find tropical fish and corals just yards from the beach at Small Hope Bay, and there are miles of shallow reefs extending to the north and south. The resort provides daily boat trips to a variety of sites along the Andros Barrier Reef, as well as overland trips to swim and snorkel in the freshwater blue holes that pockmark the Andros landscape. The reefs will delight veteran snorkelers, but Small Hope is also an ideal destination for first-time snorkelers, as the staff provides complimentary instruction in the basics of snorkeling, as well as introduction to diving experiences. One of the most exciting adventures available to both divers and snorkelers is the resort’s famous Shark Observation Experience, which allows participants to observe gatherings of reef and nurse sharks in clear water. Fishermen flock to Small Hope to stalk elusive bonefish on the island’s extensive sand flats, or head into the deep waters of the Tongue of the Ocean for trophy game fish. Guests can also use kayaks and paddleboards to explore the miles of creeks and bays that surround the resort, or put on walking shoes for a guided nature walk or birding tour.

Bahamas Andros Hope Bay Lodge Dock

The resort pier at Small Hope Bay is the starting point for fishing, diving and snorkeling trips to nearby reefs. Guests can also snorkel to shallow coral formations right from the beach. Photo: Small Hope Bay


St Lucia The Landings

Hot Summer Deals in the Caribbean


This summer, don’t settle for the usual drive to the shore. Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen and head to the Caribbean, where the beaches aren’t crowded, and there’s no traffic to fight. Best of all, hoteliers are offering special incentives and pricing that lasts through the summer and beyond.

St. Kitts Marriott Resort & The Royal Beach Casino, St. Kitts

To showcase the multi-million dollar update now nearing completion, the St. Kitts Marriott is offering special rates for stays in their luxurious guest rooms. Designed to encourage relaxation, the hotel’s new décor incorporates texture and colors envisioned to reflect the surroundings, with a breezy palette of ocean blues, off whites and sunny yellows that complement the chic and innovative furnishings. Resort guests will also enjoy a full service spa, fitness center, pool, golf course and a prime beachfront location, with the lively beach bars and shops of Frigate Bay strip just around the bend. The Renewed Paradise package includes daily breakfast and a $50 resort credit per day, maximum of $200. Rates start at $174 per night and reservations must be made before September 6, 2017 for travel through December 15, 2017. www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/skbrb-st-kitts-marriott-resort- and-the-royal-beach-casino, 800-228-9290;

St Kitts Marriott

The lobby bar at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort reflects the chic new design motif that was the result of a property-wide update that also includes a total renovation of all 389 guest rooms. Photo: St. Kitts Marriott

Warwick Paradise Island, Bahamas

The Warwick Paradise Island is a new star of the Paradise Island scene. Make that four stars. This upscale adults-only all inclusive started welcoming guests in the spring of 2017, and is now giving vacationers a chance for substantial savings for stays through 2018—but only if you book soon. The Paradise Summer Savings promotion saves up to 44 percent on nightly rates. As an added bonus, when booking three or more nights, guests also receive a spa credit of $30 to $150 to use at the Amber Spa. The Warwick is a 250-room property that offers a white sand beach, five dining options, two bars, a fully equipped fitness center, entertainment and activities from beach volleyball, bocce, basketball, tennis, horseshoes and bike riding. Distinct to the property is the 10,000 square foot sunset terrace, great for cocktails or dinner at the Edgewater Grill. Promotional rates start from $389 per room, per night, based on double occupancy, and bookings must be made by July 31, 2017. warwickhotels.com/paradise-island-bahamas, 888- 645-5550

Warwick Nassau

The lagoon-style pool at Warwick Paradise Island is complemented by an adjacent private beach. Guests enjoy harbor views and easy access to all of the island’s amenities. Photo: Craig Lenihan/Warwick

Rosalie Bay Resort, Dominica

Embrace nature on the greenest island in the Caribbean. Dominica is known for its 365 rivers, spectacular waterfalls, volcanic peaks and pristine waters. Visitors come to the island to hike, paddle, and snorkel the vibrant coral reefs, and one of the best places to launch these adventures is the Rosalie Bay Resort. This eco- friendly property is located on the southeast coast of Dominica, tucked between the Rosalie River and the black sand shores of the Atlantic Sea. In addition to organic cuisine and a range of nature and wellness themed activities, the resort is known for its sea turtle program. The turtle-nesting season runs from March to September, and during this time guests can participate in patrolling beaches and assist in nesting and hatching programs. As an added enticement, Rosalie Bay is now offering 25 percent off room rates for five nights or more during the remainder of 2017. The rate includes daily healthful continental breakfast, in-room Wi-Fi, and instructor led Hatha yoga and guided nature hikes on the resort’s 22 acres. rosaliebay.com, 800-831-9249

Dominica Rosalie Bay

Dominica’s Rosalie Bay was handcrafted by the owners to adhere to the principles of sustainability and eco consciousness. The property’s 28 luxury rooms are powered by wind and solar energy. Photo: Rosalie Bay

The Landings Resort & Spa, St. Lucia

Thanks to special summer pricing, families can enjoy spacious villa accommodations during a first-class beach vacation on St. Lucia. The Landings Resort & Spa is an all villa property located on the shores of Rodney Bay, with one, two and three-bedroom accommodations that overlook the resort’s marina or the beach. The Forever Summer Getaway package not only provides 50 percent off standard rates, but also allows children to stay in room for free with adults. The rate includes room, daily breakfast buffet, non-motorized water sports, Wi-Fi in room and throughout the resort, beach and pool services, health club and recreational activities and kids club access. For the ultimate convenience, guests may choose to add on the all-inclusive package, which includes all meals, beach snacks and unlimited deluxe beverage service, with certain exclusions. Travel must be booked by July 31, 2017 for stays of three nights or more before December 16, 2017. www.landingsstlucia.com

The Landing St Lucia

A villa balcony at The Landings Resort & Spa delivers stunning views of St. Lucia’s Rodney Bay. Amenities include upscale touches such as private plunge pools, full kitchens and living rooms. Photo: The Landings

Frangipani Beach Resort, Anguilla

The views of Meads Bay may be priceless, but through the summer of 2017, they are also 25 percent off when you stay at the Frangipani Beach Resort. This family-owned boutique resort is perched on a stunning white sand beach facing turquoise Caribbean waters on Anguilla’s southwest coast. The property is home to the award winning Straw Hat Restaurant, and luxury rooms and suites are just steps from pool and beach. Water sports enthusiasts have access to snorkeling gear, stand up paddleboards, Hobie Cats and kayaks for exploring the waters of Meads Bay. Frangipani’s summer special package rewards guests who stay at least four nights with a 25 percent savings on room rates, along with a complimentary boat cruise to see the island from the sea. The special is valid from June 25 through August 27,2017. Mention code SUMMER17 to receive the discount. Reservations must be prepaid. www.frangipaniresort.com, 877- 593-8988.

Frangipania Anguilla

Both the pool and open-air restaurant at Anguilla’s Frangipani Beach Resort are just steps away from the soft sands and clear waters of Meads Bay Beach. Photo: Thierry Dehove/Frangipani Resort


Bahamas Abaco Club

Best Out Island Resorts in the Bahamas


There are no cruise ships. No high rises. No tourist clogged straw markets. Welcome to the Out Islands. This is a very different side of the Bahamas, one where traditional fishing villages are served by the weekly mail boat, cell phones may not work, and the stars can be seen each night from beaches far, far away from streetlights. If this is your idea of an ideal vacation, there are properties where you can indulge your desires for Out Island isolation while still enjoying a few upscale luxuries and plenty of exciting activities. Here are four of our favorites.

Abaco Club on Winding Bay

If you love the Abacos, join the club. That’s the opportunity offered to guests of this exclusive enclave. The Abaco Club is not a resort, but a private club where members can get away to golf, swim, play tennis and enjoy fine dining. Here, you are isolated from the outside world, as the property is set on a private peninsula on the southeastern shore of Great Abaco Island, overlooking 2.5 miles of deserted beaches and clear water. Members enjoy a wide range of water sports from paddle boarding, kayaking, Hobie Cat sailing, windsurfing, snorkeling and fishing. For the active minded, there are beach boot camps, a fitness center and tennis courts, and the on-site spa offers a full range of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments. The club’s attraction is the Scottish-style links course, created by renowned British golf course architects Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie.

Abaco Club Room

The one-bedroom cabanas at the Abaco Beach Club are available for rent. Each of these freestanding residences includes a screen porch, and easy access to the beach. Photo: Abaco Club

To share a taste of island life, the club welcomes visitors, who are free to enjoy all the club’s activities and amenities. Guests can choose from a range of rental accommodations that range from cozy one-bedroom cabanas and two to four-bedroom cottages, or even a grand oceanfront estate home. Private decks provide inspiring ocean views, and each fully equipped residence is positioned on the landscaped grounds to ensure privacy. Guests are provided with golf carts for easy access to all parts of the club’s grounds and facilities, and a dedicated staff is on call for any requests. The only requirement asked of guests is that after three visits, they must become a member or resident to continue to visit. For many, this seems a tempting offer after their first stay.

Abaco Club Pool

The Abaco Club’s club pool commands a prime site on Ocean Point ridge, with panoramic views of Winding Bay and the ocean. The neighboring observation deck is a favorite gathering point. Photo: Abaco Club

Resorts World Bimini

For decades, the small islands of Bimini were the exclusive playground of the boaters and big game fishermen. Most made the run from South Florida in private boats, and that changed with the opening of a large-scale resort complex on the island of North Bimini. The 750-acre development known as Resorts World Bimini includes private residences, villas, cottages and a 305-room hotel by Hilton. A centerpiece of the resort is the 10,000 square foot casino, which is the only one in the world with panoramic water views. There are four pools, including an infinity-edge rooftop oasis with panoramic views and full food and beverage service, to the family-friendly lazy river at ground level. Guests have nine restaurants and lounges to chose from, along with exclusive beach access to Paradise Beach, private cabana rentals, and numerous water sports activities to enjoy.

Bimini Resort

The five-story Hilton Hotel opened in 2016 as Bimini’s first large- scale, full-service resort. This family-friendly property includes a spa, a kids’ club, and a beachfront amphitheater. Photo: Resorts World Bimini

Guests arriving by water can dock right at the resort, which is now home to the largest marina complex in the Bahamas. There are actually two marinas. The one percent can dock their 200-foot showboats at the Mega Yacht Marina, while sport fishermen and family boaters will prefer the Fisherman’s Village Marina, which includes open air shopping venues and a dining promenade. No boat? No problem. Resort World is served by seaplane flights, conventional air service to the adjacent island of South Bimini and a daily fast ferry from Miami.

Bimini Hilton Rooftop Pool

The rooftop infinity-edge pool at the Hilton looks out over the shallows of North Bimini Sound, which has long been a favorite destination for sport fishermen stalking bonefish. Resorts World Bimini

French Leave Resort, Eleuthera

The name of this unique resort comes from a traditional British expression meaning to escape without notice, which is what guests can do effortlessly when they arrive on the quiet island of Eleuthera. Here, it’s easy to fall into the lifestyle and openness of the Out Islands. The resort sits on 270 acres that includes an exclusive stretch of pink sand beach. Accommodations are limited to just 20 seaside cottages, which combine traditional Out Island architecture with a contemporary British West Indies décor. Each cottage includes all the amenities needed for a self-sufficient stay, including full kitchens and laundry facilities. But if cooking isn’t on the agenda, there’s also room service, and a personal golf cart to whisk you to the resort’s signature 1648 restaurant, or one of the eateries in the nearby village of Governor’s Harbor. A nice added touch is the in-room, on-demand iPad that allows for maximum beach and downtime, as guests can request everything from additional towels to lunches packed to go.

French Leave Resort Eleuthera

On the island of Eleuthera, the tidy Colonial-style cottages of French Leave Resort sit on immaculately landscaped grounds facing the Atlantic Ocean and the property’s private marina. Photo: French Leave Resort

Eleuthera is an island of deserted beaches and wild coastlines that are wonderful for long walks. There are small, authentic Out Island villages to explore, while activity seekers will find kayaks, snorkel gear and paddleboards on hand, right at the resort. So too is the marina that is the launching point for diving and fishing excursions. Two island favorites are horseback riding along the shoreline and cliff jumping into the clear water. For an authentic taste of Out Island life, guests can try the Friday night fish fry at Governor’s Harbour, check out the Historic Hanes Library or visit the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve for some inside history and background on the island. It’s easy to become a local on this island.

Eluethera French Leave

With separate living and dining spaces, the cottages at French Leave Resort are more home than hotel room, and include everything needed for a comfortable and self-sufficient stay. Photo: French Leave

Coral Sands, Harbour Island

Small, colorful and far away from the crowds, Harbour Island has long been the favorite hush-hush escape in the Bahamas for the wealthy and well traveled. Many visitors rent private homes or villas, and spend days relaxing on the island’s famous pink sand beach. Of the limited number of small hotels that are available, a favorite is the Coral Sands. Fresh from a three million dollar renovation, this boutique eight-acre property now includes several additional ocean view cottages and a new soaking pool. In addition to these high-level renovations, interiors were refreshed with a modern, island theme that complements the property’s British Colonial style. Guests can opt for individual rooms, suites or a spacious two-bedroom cottage, all providing direct access to the beach.

Coral Sands Restaurant Harbour Island

At the Coral Sands resort on Harbour Island, the imagined Latitude 25 restaurant complements sea views with an innovative menu that pairs fresh and organic local foods with a premier wine list. Photo: Coral Sands

The Coral Sands is home to the Latitude 25 restaurant, which is noted both for it’s food and the open air dining terrace, which delivers sweeping views of the beach. At night the lights are dimmed, candles flicker, and Chef Ludovic Jarland serves Caribbean cuisine with a French flair. The resort is just steps away from the colorful cottages and small shops of Dunmore Town, and those who are able to resist the sirens song of the beach can venture to the west side of the island to charter a fishing boat, book a diving or snorkel trip, or just join the locals relaxing at the town dock. Getting to Coral Sands will require an island hopping flight, a taxi ride and then a boat trip across a sheltered lagoon. But as anyone who has visited this charming Out Island can attest, the reward is well worth the journey.

Coral Sands Harbour Island

The new beachside cottages of the Coral Sands resort set rich wood tones and bright geometric accents against white walls and large windows, all designed to complement the water views. Photo: Coral Sands

Bahia Mar

Baha Mar Resort Opens for Business


Dignitaries including the Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie were on hand for the ribbon cutting of the Baha Mar Resort & Casino, which will begin hosting guests in late May of this year.

WHAT: Opening of Baha Mar

WHERE: New Providence, Bahamas

WHEN: Beginning May 29, 2017

DETAILS: The Baha Mar is a 4.2 billion dollar complex that will become the largest resort and casino complex in the Caribbean travel market. Among it’s facilities are the Jack Nicklaus designed Royal Blue golf course, the Espa spa, a convention center, casino, and 40 restaurants and bars.

INFO: www.bahamar.com