Tag Archives: Barbados

Barbados Treasure Beach

Elegant Hotels’ Spur-of-the-Moment Specials


The Elegant Hotel group manages a number of the best resorts on the island of Barbados. As a special reward for travelers who are ready to book a late winter or early spring vacation, they are offering special savings of up to 65 percent at several of their premier properties. And just so you know, by right now we mean you will need to book by February 28 for travel between March 1 and April 17, 2018.

Treasure Beach

Small, quiet and personal. These are the special qualities that draw discerning travelers to this 35-room, adult’s only retreat, which sits on a white sand beach on the island’s calm western shore. The resort is dedicated to both the epicurean and the visual arts. Guests dine on locally inspired cuisine at Tapestry Restaurant, sample fine wines with the on-property sommelier, and participate in the Treasure Beach Art Crawl, which is a curated gallery tour that showcases masterpieces created by local Bajan artists. The property also invites guests to explore their creative sides with complimentary easels, paints and meditation mandala classes. For the more active minded, there are unlimited water sports, while those seeking relaxation can savor a craft cocktail served at the Batik Bar, or take in striking island views from plunge pools on private balconies. To book, visit eleganthotels.com/treasure-beach. Rates start at $328/night.

Barbados Treasure Beach

Treasure Beach provides a low-key and relaxing atmosphere for adults who share an appreciation for fine dining, premium wines and a range of cultural and artistic activities. Photo: Treasure Beach

Colony Club

Genteel plantation style meets tropical lagoon at this upscale Barbados enclave. The Colony Club pampers guests in opulent style, with spacious, classically decorated rooms that feature vaulted wooden ceilings, canopied beds, and unexpected touches like in-room yoga mats and offerings of signature Bajan rum punch. Second floor balconies include private steps that lead to the landscaped oasis of the hotel’s lagoon style pools, where cascading flows and stonework details evoke a tropical waterfall. Families are welcome, and explorers of all ages can swim and snorkel with the native hawksbills that swim close to the beach. For a hands-on fishing experience, the Bait to Plate excursion takes guests out to sea to hook their dinner, and then head back to land to watch the head chef prepare the day’s catch. To book, visit eleganthotels.com/colony-club. Rates start at $364/night.

Barbados Colony Club

The ambiance and décor at the Colony Club is island Colonial, but the lushly landscaped pool makes guests feel as if they have been transported to a hidden lagoon. Photo: Colony Club


If you are traveling with teenagers who are sure all family vacations are “lame,” take them to Tamarind. Between the beach, three pools, fitness center, teen lounge and special programs like the teens-only spa days and water sports workshops, they won’t have to do anything lame like hanging out with their younger siblings, or being seen with mom and dad. And it’s not just about them, because everyone in the family will find something to their liking, from water trampolines and standup paddle boards, to Bajan cooking classes with a top chef, or snorkeling with sea turtles. To book, visit eleganthotels.com/tamarind. Rates start at $299/night.

Barbados Tamarind

Rooms at the Tamarind resort feature a modern, stylish décor with amenities such as flat-screen televisions and in-room docking stations for personal electronic devices. Photo: Tamarind

St Lucia Anse Chastanet

Romantic Caribbean Resort Getaways


Add some heat to February’s winter chills by escaping to the Caribbean for a romantic interlude. Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day treat for old flames, or a destination wedding for new couples, there are a select number of resorts that provide special romance packages for the month of February and beyond.

Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia

With its lush landscapes, sparkling waters and pristine beaches, St. Lucia is the ultimate setting for a memorable romantic escape. And there is no place better to stage this escape than Anse Chastanet resort, which nestles in the shadows of the iconic Pitons, and faces the island’s finest coral reef. Romance-minded couples and honeymooners can take in the Lover’s Early Bird Special, which offers a 7th night free for weeklong stays. This “total romance” package pairs accommodations with an all- inclusive meal plan that includes afternoon tea and most alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Also included are airport transfers, a welcoming bottle of champagne and a one-hour Swedish massage per person. For activities outside the room, there are tours to the island’s volcano, sulphur springs, and Diamond Mineral Baths, escorted walks of the Old French Colonial Plantation, guided boat snorkel trips, a resort scuba diving course for beginners, or 2 dives per person for certified divers, half-day jungle biking in Anse Mamin Valley and half-day sailing on the Serenity. As an added thank, you, the resort provides a $500 credit to be used on a return trip. Rates per couple start at $6,876.To book call 800-223- 1108; visit www.ansechastanet.com.

St. Lucia Anse Chastane

A guest room at St. Lucia’s Anse Chastanet resort perches on a slope high above the Caribbean Sea. The room offers views of the ocean and the Piton Peaks. Photo: Anse Chastanet

Couples Tower Isle, Jamaica

Named one of the top ten most romantic getaways in the world, Tower Isle is a place couples can unwind and reconnect in an intimate beachfront setting. From breakfast in bed to a candlelit beach dinner, every guest experience is tailored to create a memorable stay. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, the Romance Package is offered for stays of 4 nights or more. Couples are met with candles, rose petals, chocolates and a bottle of sparkling wine when they arrive. The package includes a romantic private dinner overlooking the beach, and a 50-minute spa treatment. Options and add-ons include the One Love package for bride, groom and up to four guests, with ceremonies documented by a photographer and videographer. The Vow Renewal package adds in a private beachfront dinner for bride and groom plus four guests. Rates start at $250 per person per night. For this getaway offer, you’ll need to travel by February 18, 2018. For details visit www.couples.com or call 877-793-1913.

Jamaica Ochos Rios

Twilight falls as couples enjoy happy hour libations at Couples Tower Isle in Jamaica. This adult-centric resort is an Ocho Rios landmark that benefits from a sweeping renovation. Photo: Couples

Mango Bay Hotel, Barbados

Whether you are looking to tie the knot for the first time, or are ready to renew your vows, this boutique-style, all-inclusive beachfront property has a package to fit. Mango Bay offers several “Say I do in Paradise” options that allow lovebirds to stage a fairytale wedding in a tropical oasis highlighted by warm breezes, delightful Caribbean sunshine and picturesque beaches. Hotel rates start at US$515 per room, per night, based on double occupancy. For wedding add-ons, a dedicated team of wedding specialists work with couples to personalize and coordinate all the details for a seamless and stress free celebration. The Standard Wedding Package is priced at $1,125 and includes the personalized services of a wedding coordinator, officiating clergyman, marriage license fees, round trip transfers to obtain the marriage license, decorated wedding gazebo, bridal wedding bouquet, bottle of sparkling wine and a 12” cake. The Ultimate Wedding Package is priced at $1,910 and adds champagne, a steel pan soloist for one hour, a couples half-hour massage at Elements Spa, breakfast in bed on the morning after the wedding and a one-hour sunset cruise. A Mango Bay vacation includes all meals, afternoon tea, local and brand name drinks, wine with dinner, use of the on-site gym; nightly entertainment; watersports include waterskiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, Hobie Cat sailing, pedal boating and snorkeling; complimentary scuba diving lessons, and off-property sightseeing excursions including a glass-bottom boat trip and a catamaran sail. For more information call 246- 626- 1384 or visit www.mangobaybarbados.com.

Barbados Mango Bay

The pool at Mango Bay. This small-scale all-inclusive resort offers 76 rooms set on a pristine beach, within minutes of boutiques, restaurants, and bars in Barbados’s historic Holetown. Photo: Mango Bay

The Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort, Panama

This Valentine’s Day, this newly named Autograph Collection Hotel is offering a special package that mixes romance with recreation. Couples are sequestered in the romantic ambiance of this exclusive beach and golf community, where they can enjoy a championship Jack Nicklaus design golf course, go horseback riding, or take advantage of full access to a sports club complex and water sports. The 118-key Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort provides guests with nine restaurants and bars, the Corotu Spa, seven swimming pools, personal plunge pools, kids and teen club and the Buenaventura Zoo. The romance experience promotion includes a welcome cocktail, daily breakfast for two, and a romantic dinner at any one of the resort’s fine dining restaurants. The special offer is valid through February 28, 2018. The package starts at $324 per night per couple, with a two-night minimum stay. To book visit www.buenaventurahotel.com or call 507-908- 3318.

Panama Buenaventura Golf Beach Resort

The Buenaventura Golf & Beach Resort is one of Panama’s premier beachfront destinations, offering elegant accommodations and suites set in lush gardens and a lagoon on the Pacific Ocean. Photo: Buenaventura Resort

Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina, St. Lucia

Love is in the air at Marigot Bay. This picturesque upscale resort overlooks the palm tree-lined bay, and a marina filled with gleaming yachts. Rooms feature an elegant yet welcoming West Indian-inspired décor, while pampering amenities such as hot tubs, on-call personal assistants and private balconies with water views set the tone for relaxation and romance. Five-star service and gourmet dining with farm-to-table offerings are signatures of the resort, which remains a favorite with honeymooners. The Valentine’s package includes, a bottle of Prosecco delivered to your room upon arrival, full breakfast each day, a 3-course dinner at The Grill, couples massage at The Auriga Spa, rose petal turndown and taxes and service charges. This experience is priced from $580 per person for a two-night stay and is available throughout the month of February. Use rate code VAL18 to book, visit www.marigotbay.com or call 877-384-8037.

Marigot Bay St. Lucia

A pool suite at St. Lucia’s Marigot Bay Resort & Marina is set within lush island landscaping. Views from room and balcony take in one of the island’s most picturesque bays. Photo: Marigot Bay

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

Crane Barbados

Special Pre-Christmas savings at a Barbados landmark hotel


The Crane is not only one of Barbados’s premier resort properties, it is also the oldest continuously operated hotel in the Caribbean. Historic but also fully updated to provide today’s travelers with a full range of amenities and luxuries; it overlooks its namesake beach on the island’s southeast coast.

WHAT: Save 45 percent on contemporary suites and 40 percent on all other room categories, and enjoy an additional $80 resort credit. WHERE: The Crane Resort, St. Philip, Barbados

WHEN: Dec 1 to 23, 2017

DETAILS: Pricing applies to 7 night or longer stays booked by Dec 22, 2017. Guests must check in on Saturday and check out the following Saturday. Discounts not applicable to meal plans or extra person charges. Offer applicable to new bookings only.


Barbados Paynes Bay Beach

Cyber Monday Specials in Barbados


The calm western coast of Barbados is lined with some of the finest beach resorts in the Caribbean. Travelers looking to score a great rate at one of the island’s prime properties can log on during the weekend after Thanksgiving to take advantage of special Cyber Monday pricing. Here are the deals to look for.

Turtle Beach

From meals and beverages to water sports, fitness and wellness classes, special children’s programs and even a daily round of golf, everything needed for a first class vacation is included at Turtle Beach. A member of the Elegant Hotels group, this upscale all- inclusive property sits on a private beach on the southern coast of Barbados. During the Cyber Monday sale, guests can save up to 50 percent on room rates starting a $438 a night, for stays from December 2017 to June 2018, plus September and October 2018. Go to www.turtlebeachresortbarbados.com to book with promo code CYBER.

Turtle Beach Barbados

Turtle Beach is an all-suite property on Barbados’s Dover Beach. Each guest accommodation opens to a private balcony or patio. Photo: Turtle Beach

Crystal Cove

Set on eight garden-like acres along Barbados’s desirable Platinum Coast, the rooms and suites of this upscale all-inclusive wrap around a trio of uniquely appointed pools, with some having direct water views of the Caribbean from private balconies and terraces. Thanks to Cyber Monday specials, travelers can experience Crystal Cove for up to 50 percent of standard rates, starting at $479 a night. The deal is available for select periods that include December 2017 to January 2018, March to June 2018 and September and October 2018. Visit www.crystalcovebarbados.com and use promo code CYBER.

Crystal Cove Barbados

The Reflections pool at Barbados’s Crystal Cove is finished in native rock, and provides a water accent for diners at the open-air restaurant of the same name. Photo: Crystal Cove

The Club Barbados Resort & Spa

Located on one of Barbados’s best west coast beaches, this adults-only property delivers a sophisticated take on the all- inclusive resort lifestyle. Guests relax at three pools, unwind at the Tranquility Body & Soul Spa, and enjoy premier dining and libations at two restaurants, and four bars. Beach activities include snorkeling, paddleboards, fishing, water skiing and boat trips. Guests who book a stay by November 30, 2017 for travel through January of 2019 can enjoy savings of up to 50 percent. Visit www.theclubbarbados.com/specials

Club Barbados

An ocean view suite at The Club Barbados Resort includes a private balcony that provides sweeping views of the Caribbean. Photo: Elite Island Resorts


Rooms and suites at this contemporary beach resort are designed to blend indoor and outdoor living spaces. Each room features a balcony or patio with spectacular views of lushly landscaped gardens or breathtaking stretches of oceanfront. With the all- inclusive plan, guests enjoy not only meals and service, but also a full range of water sports such as waterskiing, tubing, banana boat rides, sailing and snorkeling. All this comes with 50 percent savings during the Cyber Monday sale, with rates starting at $395 a night for vacations between March and October 2018. Book at www.tamarindbarbados.com with promo code CYBER.

Barbados Tamarind

At the Tamarind Resort, indoor and outdoor living spaces merge in a second story oceanfront suite set just yards from the Caribbean Sea. Photo: Tamarind Resort

The House

The House is an elegant, adults-only ocean retreat designed with romance in mind. With just 34 rooms, the property exudes an intimate atmosphere that encourages couples to reconnect and recharge. Guests are cared for by House Ambassadors, who provide attentive services such as arranging romantic beach dinners or sending champagne and strawberries to your suite. These special moments can be had at savings of 50 percent during the Cyber Monday promotion. Rates apply to stays from March to September 2018. Visit www.thehousebarbados.com with promo code CYBER.

The House Barbados

The pool deck at The House provides a tranquil oasis for relaxation. Guests are provided the highest level of personal service at this small resort. Photo: The House

Treasure Beach

Indulge in the sweet life at this intimate 35-suite resort enclave. Treasure Beach is an adults-only property that melds art and design with an emphasis on the finer things, from meet and greets with local artists to gallery tours and exclusive culinary experiences and classic cinema under the stars. Savings of 50 percent are offered during the Cyber Monday sale, valid for travel between January and September 2018. Use promo code CYBER when visiting www.treasurebeachhotel.com.

Treasure Beach Hotel Barbados

Rooms at Treasure Beach showcase artwork and feature a chic design that is in keeping with the resort’s sophisticated yet unpretentious atmosphere. Photo: Treasure Beach

Waves Hotel & Spa

Health and relaxation are the themes at this chic, boutique-style all-inclusive resort, where meals, snacks, cocktails, water sports, spa treatments and fitness classes are all part of the package. Each of the 70 recently renovated guest rooms and suites offer a spacious sanctuary of calm where guests can experience stunning ocean and lush island views, award winning personal service and amenities geared toward a lifestyle of wellness. With rates starting at $387 per night, travelers can enjoy savings of up to 50 percent on stays booked for March, April and September of 2018. Book at www.eleganthotels.com/waves-hotel-spa during the Cyber Monday promotion using code CYBER.

Waves Hotel Barbados

The open-air lobby at the Waves Hotel & Spa welcomes guests into an oasis of calm relaxation and recreation. Photo: Kirk Watkins/Waves Hotel

Oahu Hawaii Outrigger Waikiki Beach

Christmas, Island Style


If your idea of a white Christmas involves ivory colored sands, accented by palm tree green and ocean blues, then you need to head for the tropics, where islanders celebrate the holiday season in unique ways that combine familiar traditions with elements of the local culture and setting. To help you start planning, here are six idyllic destinations where you can experience Christmas island style.


Christmas is a big event in Hawaii, but they do things island style. Santa sheds his polar garb in favor of board shorts and an Aloha shirt, and trades his sleigh in for an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins. Locals decorate palm trees with lights and sing carols in the Hawaiian language accompanied by ukulele, but they also cue up for the arrival of the Christmas ships that bring more traditional pines from the mainland. You may see locals adding a Santa hat to their swimsuits, and call out “Mele Kalikimaka” as they head to the beach. Christmas dinner is served luau-style, with a roast pig as the centerpiece. The best place to catch all the tropical traditions of the season is at Waikiki Beach, with a stay at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, where the trees are decorated with tiny flip flops and surfboards, and hula performers replace Christmas carolers. This is also where Santa paddles his outrigger canoe ashore each year to have breakfast with hotel guests.

Oahu Outrigger Aloha Christmas

At Oahu’s Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, the lobby Christmas tree provides a traditional reminder of the season, while ukulele tunes and bare feet proclaim: “you are in the islands.” Photo: Outrigger Waikiki

St. Kitts

Forget the twelve days of Christmas. On the island of St. Kitts, the holiday season lasts from late November through the first of January. This is the time of the Sugar Mas, an island-wide celebration that combines elements of Carnival with English Yuletide traditions. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, streets are filled with a series of colorful parades and processions. Clowns, stilt-walking moko jumbies and troupes of street performers dance to the rhythms of soca and calypso music, while pageant contestants showcase elaborate costumes. Christmas provides a brief respite as families and friends gather for special holiday meals, then the party returns with J’ouvert, when costumed dancers fill the streets of Basseterre on Boxing Day. The six-week celebration culminates with the Grand Parade on January first. All are welcome at these street parties, but guests who want to mix revelry with relaxation might want to choose a quieter setting for their home base. A favorite is Belle Monte Farm, where cottages sit within a 400-acre farm on the foothills of Mount Liamuiga. This setting provides an authentic sense of local culture, while also reward palates with exceptional dining opportunities.

St. Kitts Holiday Dish

In St. Kitts, Christmas is a time to enjoy the island’s national dish, which showcases flavors of the island with stewed salt fish and spicy plantains, seasoned breadfruit and coconut dumplings. Photo: St. Kitts Tourism Authority


In the Islands of Fiji, the Christmas season is about family, fellowship and food. Beginning several weeks before Christmas Day, homes are decorated with candles, lamps and ribbons, and entire communities come together to sing and perform traditional dances. Christmas Eve is the time for traditional lovo feasts, and a special holiday dish is palusami, which is spiced mutton wrapped in leaves and cooked in coconut cream. On Christmas Day, most islanders head to church in the morning, then head to the beach for more food and fellowship. The best ways for visitors to tap into the community spirit is with a stay at a small property such as Navini Island Resort, which is located on a small coral cay near Malolo Island, and accommodates just 20 guests in ten traditional villas. On Christmas morning, the staff begins Christmas Day by singing carols outside of guest villas, and all are invited to partake in a Christmas service. In the evening, the kitchen also serves a traditional western Christmas dinner complete with plum pudding.

Fiji Yasawa Islands

Singing is a core element of Fijian culture. At Christmas time, traditional choirs may perform a mixture of Polynesian folk tunes and European carols. Photo: Chris McLennan/Tourism Fiji

Bora Bora

In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, the island of Bora Bora is humming with preparations. The town of Vaitape becomes the site of Le Village de Noel—the Christmas Fair. Here on the town’s central square, vendors set up stalls that offer a wide variety of local products that includes shell and mother of pearl jewelry to hand-made clothing, colorful pottery and traditional musical instruments. The market overflows with local fruits and flowers, and crowds browse to the sounds of ukuleles and guitar music. An island-wide party takes place on the Saturday before Christmas, beginning with a parade of colorful floats, followed by a night of dancing and dining from ‘roulottes‘, the island’s iconic mobile restaurants. On Sunday, crowds gather once again for Christmas caroling, with performances from island choirs. Visitors can complement these public events with a private holiday celebration at the Four Seasons Resort, where the first class festive package begins with an arrival by private chartered jet and a stay at a premier over-water bungalow. Participants are treated to a special five- course dinner on Christmas Eve, and an even more sumptuous nine-course New Year’s Eve feast, followed by fireworks on the beach.

Bora Bora Christmas Four Seasons

At the Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, the deck at the Sunset Bar becomes the setting for memorable celebrations at Christmas time and New Years. Photo: Timothy Joyce/Flickr


On an island where Caribbean and British cultures blend with seamless ease, holiday traditions dating from the old country still hold sway. Radio stations play traditional carols, homes and businesses are decorated in festive arrays, downtown Bridgetown glows under red and green holiday lights, and even the traffic roundabouts are transformed to depict Christmas themes. Locals don their seasonal best to attend the annual Christmas morning service at Queen’s Park, with music performed by the Royal Barbados Police Force Band. Christmas dinner is another cherished tradition, and centerpieces of this meal are great cake, jug-jug and clove-studded ham. Jug-jug is a traditional dish inspired by the Scottish dish known as haggis. The Barbados version is made with pigeon peas, guinea corn flour, herbs and salted meat. Great cake is a seasonal favorite made with dried fruits and generous quantities of liquor. Visitors can sample this traditional fare on the Christmas day luncheon at The Crane. This landmark hotel embraces the spirit of the season with lights, nightly caroling and special holiday menus.

Barbados Christmas

The Barbados Royal Police Band ushers in the Christmas season with traditional Christmas tunes during the annual Caroling on the Green concert in St. James, Barbados. Photo: Andrew Browne/Barbados Tourism

Key West

The town of Key West lights up for the Christmas season—literally. There is the lighted boat parade, the lighted bicycle parade, the City Lights tour aboard the Old Town Trolley, and the Harbor Walk of Lights, featuring whimsical Christmas trees created from lobster traps, fishing floats and other nautical paraphernalia. Organized walking tours of the historic district visit festively lit inns and take in private homes decked out for the season. And not all the events are visual, as there are also performances of Christmas music, The Nutcracker Ballet, Handel’s Messiah, and more. And as expected from a town that loves its parties, Christmas celebrations meld into the island’s legendary New Year’s pageants and parades. Most festivities take place in the downtown district centered around Duval Street. The best place to stay for a Key West Christmas is the Pier House. Here, guests can enjoy a private swath of beach and spectacular sunsets yet are just a few blocks away from the action.

Key West Holidays Dewey House

Like many of Key West’s downtown inns and guesthouses, the Dewey House Bed & Breakfast celebrates the holiday spirit with Christmas decorations and lights. Photo: Florida Keys News Bureau

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

Barbados Saint Peter Bay Resort

Top Caribbean Summer Vacation Specials


This summer, why not flip the script and head south to the Caribbean, where the water’s warm and clear, the crowds are light and some of the best hotels are offering special deals and pricing. Here’s the lowdown on some of the best summer values in the islands.

The Palms, Turks & Caicos

Whether it’s a couple’s escape or a family trip, this top-rated resort delivers all the ingredients needed for a premier beach vacation. With just 72 spacious suites, the property has an intimate feel, but it also delivers a full range of upscale amenities, including gourmet dining, a world-class spa and a stunning infinity pool overlooking Grace Bay. This summer, guests can experience the total luxury of the Palms for less, as the resort is bringing back its “A Taste of the Good Life” offer for stays before August 31, 2017. With this all-inclusive package, you can choose a pool view, one-bedroom suite from $1,099 per night, double occupancy or the garden view junior suite, double occupancy from $799 per night. The offer requires a four-night minimum stay, and rates include three meals per day, unlimited beverages by the glass, daily afternoon tea, airport transfers, kids club activities, butler service, and more. www.thepalmstc.com

The Palms Turks And Caicos

The serpentine shaped infinity pool at The Palms is the ideal spot to cool off with poolside Wi-Fi, sun pods with umbrellas and a hot tub island.  Photo: The Palms

Jamaica Inn, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

This iconic property has been an international favorite since it first came on the scene in 1950. The resort’s 48 suites and cottages are finished in a white and Wedgewood blue décor, which complements the tropical greens of the surrounding landscape and the turquoise sea. Guests indulge in spa treatments near the waters edge, relax on the resort’s private 700-foot beach and enjoy the sounds of nature in the garden-like setting. For summer months and into fall, guests enjoy free nights when staying at least three nights before October 31, 2017. The longer you stay, the more free nights you earn and the more beach time you receive. Stay 4 nights and pay for three, stay 7 nights for the price of five, or stretch your vacation to stay for 14 nights and pay for 10. Call 855-441-2044, www.jamaicainn.com

Jamaica Ocho Rios

Though conveniently located in the heart of the Ocho Rios resort area, the Jamaica Inn remains a quiet oasis of upscale luxury, with a private beach and manicured grounds. Photo: David Massey/Jamaica Inn

San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, Puerto Rico

Beach time and city life come together at this landmark property, which sits in the heart of San Juan’s Condado district. The vibe is sophisticated yet family-friendly. Everyone will enjoy the expansive double-level pool with it gushing fountains and swim up bar. There’s a game room for the youngsters, while adults can try their luck at the casino or gather in the Red Coral Lounge to hear local bands. All the action of the Condado strip is within walking distance, and the culture, history and authentic Puerto Rican cuisines of Old San Juan are just a short ride away. In addition to lower summer rates, the hotel is offering up to $100 in resort credits for stays booked before September 5, 2017 for stays up to October 14, 2017. Use promotions code: SUM, www.marriottsanjuan.com

San Juan Marriott

The beachfront pool deck is the centerpiece of the San Juan Marriott Resort. Just steps away are the La Vista Beachside Grill and the La Isla Beach Bar. Photo: Dan Ham/San Juan Marriott

Port Ferdinand, Barbados

This new marina development port of call is located on the historical northwest coast of the Barbados Riviera. Located at Six Men’s Beach in St. Peter, near the picturesque seaside town of Speightstown. The resort’s one to three- bedroom contemporary homes are elegantly furnished and feature fully equipped kitchens and over-sized balconies with water views. The pool and marina are focal points, with fine dining on outdoor tables near the water’s edge. Guests enjoy a meet and greet at the airport, daily breakfast and complimentary use of paddleboards, kayaks and snorkeling equipment, with the added bonus of a guided snorkeling and swimming trip with the turtles. During the summer sale, travelers can take 45 percent off all accommodations. Reservations must booked by June 30, 2017 for stays up until December 14, 2017. Use book code: PFSS17, www.portferdinand.com

Barbados Port Ferdinand

The marina at Port Ferdinand is one of the most advanced boating facilities in the southern Caribbean, with 120 boat slips and a floating wave attenuation system to ensure calm water. Photo: Port Ferdinand

Jade Mountain, St. Lucia

It’s not just a hotel room; it’s an immersive experience. Each of Jade Mountain’s 24 hillside sanctuaries opens to a private terrace and a personal plunge pool, where sweeping views take in the famous Piton peaks and Anse Chastanet Bay. Unique artwork and individual decors are enlivened by a rainbow palette of colors, while tropical woods and furnishings add an eclectic flair. This one-of-a-kind experience can now be enjoyed for less with Jade Mountain’s “Summer Sanctuary” offer. When you stay four nights, you’ll pay for three and if you book at 7 nights stay you’ll pay for five. The offer is valid for the Sky Jacuzzi suites and the Star and Moon infinity pool sanctuaries. Call 800-223-1108, http://www.jademountain.com/promotions.html

Jade Mountain St. Lucia

Suites at Jade Mountain Resort have just three walls, as the forth is open to allow for unobstructed views of the sea and the Pitons. Photo: Lou Metzger/Jade Mountain

Spice Island Beach Resort, Grenada

Experience true Grenadian hospitality at this elegant family run- resort, which occupies a prime position on Grande Anse, the island’s best beach. Suites are set in tropical gardens that offer privacy and seclusion. The property is a luxury all-inclusive where gourmet dining, cocktails and afternoon tea is taken care of. The onsite spa offers pampering, and when activity calls, there are complimentary water spots such as Hobie cats, snorkeling and kayaking. Tennis, cycling and golf greens fees are also included. Guests can save with the “Spice Isle Getaway” summer offer, which provides free nights. For stays before October 31, 2017, guests can book a minimum of 7 nights in any category and pay for 6 nights, book 14 nights and pay for 12 or book 21 nights and pay for 18. www.spiceislandbeachresort.com

Grenada Spice Island Resort

The Spice Island Resort is Grenada’s premier all-inclusive beach resort. It is home to the Janissa’s Spa, which is ranking among the finest spas in the Caribbean. Photo: Dehoog/Spice Island Resort

Saint Peter’s Bay, Barbados

This all suite-hotel delivers traditional Barbadian architecture and hospitality. Floor plans include outdoor spaces with grand views of the sea and beach. The 57 villas include family-friendly three- and four-bedroom beachfront suites with fully equipped kitchens. The hotel has a lagoon-style pool and breezy gazebo restaurant. Guests can enjoy paddleboard, kayaks and snorkeling equipment, or participate in daily yoga and Pilates classes. There is a complimentary taxi service to the sister property of Port Ferdinand, with pool and beach service at both resorts. During the summer sale promotion, guests can save 20 percent on all accommodations. This offer is valid for stays through December 14, 2017 when booked by June 30, 2017. Use booking code: SPBSS17, www.stpetersbaybarbados.com

St Peters Bay Patio Barbados

Residences at St. Peter’s Bay Resort open to spacious terraces providing sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea. Each is furnished with hot tubs and al fresco dining areas. Photo: St. Peter’s Bay

Antigua Carnival

The Best Caribbean Summer Parties


Summer is a great time to be in the Caribbean. The winter season crowds are long gone, and the locals come out to play. Parties and festivals pop up on islands across the region, offering everything from intriguing cultural experiences to unabashed beach parties. Here are a dozen must-do island parties for the summer.

Riviera Maya Film Festival

In the first week of June, the international film community converges on the beach town of Playa del Carmen. Now in its seventh year, the Riviera Maya Film Festival has garnered the attention of film buffs, who come together for showings of award-winning Mexican and international films. The 2017 festival is expected to draw more than 80,000 spectators for both indoor and outdoor free showings, which take place in restored historic cinemas, and in open-air beachfront settings.

Riviera Maya Film Festival

In addition to showcasing new releases, the Riviera Maya Film Festival supports RivieraLAB, which nurtures projects by Mexican filmmakers in the development stage. Photo: Jerry Aguirre/RMFF

St. Kitts Music Fest

This small island is home to one of the Caribbean’s biggest musical happenings. Now in its 21st year, the three-day event draws some of the biggest names in soca, jazz, R&B, gospel and reggae. Performances are in the evening, but many festival goers gather at Warner Park Stadium early to spread a blanket on the lawn and make a picnic from the offerings of the numerous local food vendors. This year’s festival runs from June 26 to 28.

St Kitts Music Fest

Reggae artist Zemenfest Kidus performs for a home-town crowd at St. Kitts Music Fest. He returned to the island following a successful recording career in Jamaica. Photo: Modern Elegance/ St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Fiesta de Santiago Apostol, Puerto Rico

Each year, Puerto Rico celebrates its Spanish heritage in the town of Loiza, with a two-day festival that is equal parts religious observance and street party. Processions honoring St. James bring thousands into the streets to follow large, colorful statues carried on the shoulders of costumed and masked marchers. These observances are followed up with dance shows, music and gatherings of street vendors offering crafts and traditional food. Processions take place on July 22 and 23.

Puerto Rico Loiza Mask

Puerto Rico’s Fiesta de Santiago Apostol has its roots in Spanish traditions dating back 400 years. This annual procession through the streets features masked knights and demons. Photo: Carlos A. Aviles/Flickr

LIV Bermuda

On the first weekend in July, islanders and overseas guests from around the world come together for Bermuda’s most anticipated party. Billed as a chance to “experience Bermuda like a local,” the gatherings include beach parties, boat cruises and floating “raft ups.” Staged as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters Bermuda, admission to these parties provides an all- inclusive experience with dancing, libations and live music.

LIV Bermuda

The 2017 edition of LIV Bermuda will take place from July 7 to 10. All- inclusive ticket packages for the four-day event give total access to a range of beach activities, concerts and parties. Photo: LIV Bermuda

Junkanoo Summer Festival

No need to wait for Christmas to experience the sights and sounds of the Bahamian Junkanoo. Each Saturday in the month of July, the waterfront at Nassau’s Arawak Cay comes alive with drumming, dancing and music as costumed troops strut their stuff and compete for top honors. The revelry starts at noon and lasts till midnight, and when it’s time for refreshments or a nosh, onlookers can duck into one of the many pubs or seafood restaurants that line the cay.

Junkanoo Nassau

During Nassau’s colorful mid-summer Junkanoo parades, rival dance and drum troops compete for top honors and prizes. The costumed processions have roots dating to African traditions. Photo: Brian & Leigh/Flickr

Christmas in July

Each summer, flotillas of pleasure boats depart Puerto Rico for the Virgin Islands for a week of gatherings and beach parties that have been given the name “Christmas in July.” But you don’t have to own a boat to enjoy the fun, as beach bars through the U.S. and British Virgins welcome one and all with day-long celebrations that start with volleyball tournaments and barbecues and end with evening fireworks and live bands that keep revelers dancing on the sand till the wee hours.

BVI Jost Van Dyke

Christmas in July is the whimsical name for the mid-summer invasion of the Virgin Islands by fleets of vacationing Puerto Rican boaters. Destinations such as White Sound are favorite stops. Photo: Michael Rubenstein/Flickr

Anguilla Summer Festival

One of the longest-running festivals in the Caribbean takes place on the otherwise quiet island of Anguilla. The 40th anniversary of this island-wide celebration will include beach parties, sailing races, pageants, parades, calypso concerts and more, each staged at different villages and resorts around the island. A highlight of the festival is J’ouvert morning, when a street jam begins at 4:30 a.m. when floats, drummers and festival-goers parade from the island’s capital to the beach at Sandy Ground for a day of music, food and water sports. The festival runs from July 2 to August 10.

Anguilla Summer Fest

Anguilla’s twelve-day-long Summer Festival delivers a non-stop schedule of events ranging from pageants and parades to soca raves, calypso competitions, and a massive all-day beach party. Photo: Anguilla Summer Festival

Reggae Sumfest

Jamaica’s largest music festival is also the island’s biggest party. The weeklong celebration is staged at Montego Bay, and features local reggae and dancehall artists. Before the music starts, the fun kicks off with a beach party, a musical day cruise and the famous “All White Party.” When the concerts get underway, audiences arrive with their own “reggae beds” — flattened cardboard boxes for sitting and chilling between dance sessions. The 2017 Sumfest runs from July 16 to 22.

Jamaica Montego Bay

Crowds gather at the main stage of Reggae Sumfest, which is Jamaica’s largest and most acclaimed music festival, with an international lineup that includes the biggest names in reggae and dancehall music. Photo: Jamaica Tourist Board

Crop Over

On Barbados, one party isn’t enough. The annual Crop Over is a three- month string of celebrations that dates back to the island’s colonial-era agricultural roots, when the end of the harvest season became a time for relaxation and revelry. The tradition continues with a three-month series of festivals, concerts, cultural events, and street parties. A highlight of the season is the “road march”, when troops of costumed revelers take over the streets of Bridgetown on Kadooment Day. This annual parade turned street party takes place on August 7.

Barbados Cropover

The culmination of Bardados‘ three-month Crop Over celebration is the Grand Kadooment, a carnival-like parade that features large bands with members dressed in elaborate costumes. Photo: Barbados Tourism

Antigua Carnival

On the last week in July, the island of Antigua explodes in a riot of feather– clad costumes, bright body paint and floats booming heavy calypso beats. The party kicks off in the capital St. John’s with J’ouvert, where steel drum musicians, calypso and soca singers entertain crowds of revelers. Over the next ten days, towns across the island will stage music competitions, local food fairs, cultural shows and cultural workshops that create chances for visitors to immerse in the local culture and join the fun. Carnival time starts July 26 and runs till August 5.

Antigua Carnival

In addition to street parades and open-air concerts, Antigua’s annual Carnival includes a series of island-wide talent shows, singing competitions and stage performances. Photo: Wayne Mariette/ Antigua Carnival Celebration

Tobago Heritage Festival

The sister island of Trinidad may be home to the Caribbean’s best-known carnival, but Tobago also knows how to throw a party, and it spreads the fun out over two weeks from July 17 to August 1. Heritage Festival is an island- wide happening, with each village and community staging events such as concerts, street parades, storytelling sessions, folk dances and African drumming sessions. The island’s heritage is celebrated with unique events such as goat races and historical re-enactments.

Tobago Heritage Festival

Modern dance melds with traditional cultural roots during a live performance staged for Tobago’s annual Heritage Festival. Staged by local communities, the performances are open to all. Photo: Terrell George/Flickr

North Sea Jazz Fest

In keeping with its reputation as a regional center of art, culture and sophistication, the island of Curacao welcomes some of the biggest names in soul, jazz, hip-hop and R&B to its iconic jazz festival. Headliners for 2017 induce Bruno Mars, Chaka Khan, Dianne Reeves, Nile Rodgers and Chic, and Juan Luis Guerra, with performances taking place on three stages. In addition to the all-star acts, the festival is known for it’s lively after parties, which often keep going all night. The two-day happening takes place on August 29 and 30.

Curucao North Sea Jazz

Curacao’s North Sea Jazz Festival is the Caribbean’s version of the original performance event of the same name that is held each summer in the Netherlands. Photo: Wassef Sokkari/ Curacao Tourist Board


Caribbean Escapes for Mother’s Day


From the sun-washed beaches of Provo to the turquoise waters of Cancun, the Caribbean offers a tempting array of luxury resorts that are ideal for treating mom to a well-deserved getaway. And in honor of Mother’s Day, a select number of destinations are offering special incentives and pricing. Here are some great choices for a tropical escape.

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

Pack light when you take mom to this luxurious all-inclusive, because they will take care of everything, right down to the chocolate-covered strawberries. Mom can unwind and indulge with unlimited 24-hour room service for those late night cravings or mornings that get a late start. All meals, snacks and drinks are on the hotel’s tab, including premium house brand liquors for those celebratory moments. When it comes time to burn some calories, the gym is open 24 hours and there is a personal trainer on call for a session. For Mother’s Day, the resort offers 40 percent off standard rates, plus $100 resort credit per day. This offer is valid for travel from May 2 to December 20, 2017, with a booking window from May 2-24, 2017. To book, visit grandresidencesrivieracancun.com/offers/all-in-grand-experience

Cancun Grand Residences

Ocean-view suites at the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun come with 24-hour room service and private terraces or balconies overlooking a pristine beach. Photo: Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

Palm Island Resort & Spa, The Grenadines

Mom can relax beachside or be as active as she wants on this 135- acre gem in the southern Grenadines. There are five beaches for swimming and exploring. Just offshore are shallow coral reefs that attract an abundance of marine life, and are ideal for a day of snorkeling. And just a boat ride away is the Tobago Cays Marine Park, where mom can have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim with sea turtles. Back on the island, there is tennis, croquet and bicycling on landscaped paths. Scenic nature trails offer easy climbs to panoramic views, with plenty of spots for capturing that memorable photo. At the end of the day, mom can sit back and enjoy a cocktail at the Sunset Grill while gazing out over the sea. Rates are all-inclusive with three venues for dining and afternoon tea. Book by April 30, 2017 and save 35 percent. Visit www.palmislandresortgrenadines.com/special-offer.htm

Palm Island Grenadines Resort

Guests at Palm Island have exclusive access to five private beaches, and snorkeling reefs lie just offshore. Day trips to the nearby Tobago Cays can also be arranged. Photo: Elite Island Resorts

Ocean Club Resorts, Turks & Caicos

On an island ringed by drop-dead gorgeous beaches, you’ll want mom to be right there on Grace Bay, which is known as one of the world’s top strands. The Ocean Club and Ocean Club West place mom front and center, with direct access to sugary sand beaches backed by turquoise seas. Days can be devoted to swimming, strolling the beach or doing absolutely nothing at all. In honor of Mother’s Days the resorts have put together a package that sees to all her needs and more. It includes 4 nights’ accommodations, a chilled bottle of champagne and a tropical fruit basket in the room, a $200 spa credit for massages or facials at Spa Tropique, a spectacular evening sunset cruise, dinner with wine for two at the Opus Restaurant, lunch for two at the Cabana Bar & Grille or Solana and a $50 on-site merchant credit, all including taxes and service fees. The 4-night package rate for the junior suite is $2,507, a one bedroom is $2,717, and a two bedroom is $3,927, all based on double occupancy. This Mother’s Day package is valid for travel from May 1 to August 31 and can be booked through August 30. Book by calling 800-457-8787 and mentioning the Mother’s Day package or online at www.oceanclubresorts.com

Ocean Club Turks And Caicos

The two oceanfront properties of the Ocean Club Resorts are located in the heart of Grace Bay, which is often named as one of the world’s best beaches. Photo: Ocean Club Resorts

The Club Barbados Resort & Spa

Whisk mom off to Barbados where the ambience is deliciously British, but with a Caribbean flair. Enjoy afternoon tea with scones and Devonshire cream; take in a game of cricket or a polo match. The countryside here is green and lush, with narrow winding roads that pass through small towns and grand estates where the stonework is reminiscent of a castle in Kent. Adding to the mix are views of the turquoise Caribbean from the Club’s beachfront setting on the island’s platinum coast. You’ll have to leave the little ones behind, as this is an all-inclusive adults-only resort—the only one on the island. Ask for an oceanfront room where you are literally steps off the sand, and the sound of the waves will lull you to sleep. The resort provides a full range of water sports that includes, snorkeling, waterskiing, windsurfing, kayaking and Hobie Cat sailing. Meals are a special occasion and the Barbados rum flows freely. Take advantage of the spring savings for Mother’s Day and receive up to 45 percent off standard rates, plus receive a $250 resort credit. For details visit www.theclubbarbados.com

Barbados Club

There are three freshwater swimming pools at The Club Barbados Resort & Spa. This adults-only, all-inclusive property is located on a prime waterfront site on the island’s west coast. Photo: Elite Island Resorts

Villa del Palmar Cancun

A stay at this resort provides all the ingredients needed for the prefect Mother’s Day escape. Have the concierge order a custom- made floral arrangement to be delivered to her room when she arrives. Make sure you book her a one-bedroom suite with a soaking tub, and order a bottle of champagne on ice. Include a full day at The Village Spa, which is set up like a Mayan village, with each of the treatment rooms representing one of the natural elements from the surrounding area. Spa services are based on Mayan healing rituals and relaxation techniques. From a Mexican agave anti-aging facial to a geothermal hot springs ritual mom will never want to leave. She can linger in the steam room, cold plunge pool, Swiss shower, hot and warm Jacuzzis and rest up around the outdoor garden until its time for dinner. For details visit www.villapalmarcancun.com

Villa de Palmar Cancun

The spa at the Villa del Palmar Cancun is enveloped in a lush garden environment, and offers treatments inspired by Mayan healing rituals and relaxation techniques. Photo: Villa del Palmar Cancun