Choice Getaways in the Caribbean

Net hammock hanging from an arching palm tree on a white sand beach in the Caribbean. The Farmers’ Almanac predicts record-breaking snowfall in the Northeast this winter with forecasters expecting a polar vertex. Here in Upstate New York, temperatures have dropped dramatically and we’ve already seen the first snow storms of the season. Conditions are ripe for a Caribbean getaway; here are seven great choices for an island destination vacation.

Giveaway Alert

GIVEAWAY: Capture the Caribbean sweepstakes gives people the chance to win a (4) night stay for 2 at either Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach OR Comfort Suites Paradise Island, ground transportation, airfare and spending money! To enter, visit CapturetheCaribbean.com or post on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #CapturetheCaribbean and #Sweepstakes.

Where to Go in the Caribbean

Oranjestad, Aruba: Staying at La Cabana Beach Resort and Casino places you in the perfect location to access the Dutch island’s attractions. Known as the wreck diving capital of the world–with 11 dive-friendly wrecks–it’s tops on any adventure traveler’s bucket list.

Abaco, Bahamas: Serious divers head to the Bahamas’ Abaco Islands for the amazing Blue Hole cave diving. But even if your idea of an adventure is driving a golf cart (the easiest way to explore the island on land) Hope Town Harbour Lodge is an excellent base for discovering Bahamas’ Out Islands.

Woman puckers up to kiss a stingray at Stingray City in the Cayman Islands.

Smooches at Stingray City in the Grand Caymans.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands: Located in the heart of Grand Cayman, on one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful beaches, Comfort Suites Seven Mile Beach is convenient to all that the island has to offer. The Cayman Islands have a well-deserved reputation for being a great place to learn how to scuba dive. Excellent visibility, calm conditions, and a plethora of colorful reefs, including an extraordinary underwater sculpture gardens, facilitate instruction but also beg to be photographed. When you’re ready to take underwater photography to the next level, or even if you’re just getting started, visit Cathy Church’s Photo Centre.

Willemstad, Curacao: Once the capital of Netherland Antilles, before dissolution in 2010, the historic area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Established in 1634, the former Dutch settlement showcases colonial town planning and trading history. ACOYA Hotel Suites & Villas, situated just 15 minutes away by car from Punda, the oldest of the historic districts, is perfectly situated for exploring the family of cities that “illustrate the organic growth of a multicultural community over three centuries.”

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: The Quality Hotel Real Aeropuerto Santo Domingo is a good choice for late arrivals to or early departures from the Dominican Republic. But it also makes an excellent base for seeing another UNESCO World Heritage site, the Colonial City of Santo Domingo. Established not long after Christopher Colombus’ visit in 1492, it is the oldest permanent European settlement in the New World–and home port for legendary explorers from Ponce de Leon to Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

San Juan, Puerto Rico: There are many reasons to visit El Condado, the hip urban center of Puerto Rico. Topping that list is a vibrant, cutting edge art scene. Le Consulatan upscale boutique hotel on Magdalena Avenue, puts you in easy reach–either by car or public transportation–of major museums such as the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and the colorful galleries on historic Calle Cristo in Old San Juan.

Beach and souvenir shop next to fence enclosing landing strip at Princess Julia International Airport in St. Maarten.

Beach and souvenir shop next to landing strip at Princess Julia International Airport in St. Maarten.

Simpson Bay, St. Maarten: The world’s coolest landing, also its most terrifying–Dutch carrier KLM’s Boeing 747 skimming Maho Beach on approach to Princess Juliana International Airport–came to an end in late October 2016 when the airline replaced the flight with the much smaller Airbus. That doesn’t stop visitors from gawking at what are still some of the most challenging arrivals and departures. Alegria Hotel St. Maarten is located just close enough, 20 minutes on foot, that it’s easy to get to this sight, as well as all the bars and restaurants nearby. But it’s also just far enough away that you can forget all about it while sipping a cocktail and looking out at a technicolor sunset over the Caribbean Sea.

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Choice Hotels Caribbean Getaway - 7 Island Destinations

Disclosure: Choice Hotels sent Getaway Maven Sandra Foyt to the Abaco Islands to research the destination. They hosted her stay at Hope Town Harbour Lodge and covered all trip expenses. As always, our opinions are our own. Please refer to our Editorial Policy for more details.

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In Category: Beach Vacations, Caribbean, Travel The World

Sandra Foyt is a storyteller, photographer, and road trip junkie. A veteran of many cross-country road trips, she drove Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the fossil freeway, the extraterrestrial highway, and even “the loneliest road in America.” Nowadays, she stars in her own version of "Where's Waldo?," always in search of sweet treats and grand adventures.

Show 1 Comment
  • James December 18, 2016, 8:27 am

    Sandra – Great list of destinations. I personally haven’t stayed in any of these hotels but any of the islands is worth a trip. Especially if you’re in the North East where it’s getting white outside… And unfortunately, it’s not white sand… 😉

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