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.
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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.
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 Consulat, an 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.
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.
You Might Like:
- Capture The Caribbean
- Nassau Bahamas; Fun In Paradise Island
- It’s Better in the The Abacos Islands, The Other Side of the Bahamas
- Travel to Cuba Legally and Cheaply: What You Need To Know Now
- Cabrera, Dominican Republic, The All-Inclusive Alternative
- 7 Unusual Attractions in Grand Cayman
- St. Barths (aka Saint Barthélemy,) French Caribbean Lux
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.