It’s the ultimate escape from the ordinary, each destination with its unique rhythms and flavors.
This island, shared by Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin, fuses Caribbean hospitality and European style. Sugary-white beaches are abundant, and life-rich waters provide superb boating and fishing as well as excellent diving and snorkeling. The gently rolling interior is ideal for biking, horseback riding, and exploration. Aquamarine bays are perfect for water sports, swimming, and snorkeling. The island’s casinos (all on the Dutch side) are a major attraction and the gaming is European style, subdued and sophisticated. All-inclusive resorts are embraced by miles of blue hues, acres of tropical greenery, and fantastic beaches.
ABC Islands (Lesser Antilles)
The ABC islands, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are part of the Lesser Antilles, situated just off the coast of Venezuela and outside the Caribbean hurricane belt. Aruba is a windswept island of white sand beaches and blue-green waters. The island is known for its one-of-a-kind cuisine, a blend of Dutch, Caribbean, and Spanish influences. Bonaire is a quiet island, undeveloped and a diver’s paradise due to the beauty of its protected reef and shore diving options. Curacao’s capital, Willemstad, is one of the few UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Caribbean and a treat for the eyes, with its sherbet-colored Dutch colonial architecture.
On Barbados’ West Coast, beaches of fine white sand stretch along the blue-green water and coral reefs fringe the shore. Along the East Coast, steady trade winds give Barbados its mild tropical climate. Visit the island’s capital, Bridgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Go horseback riding through the island’s rolling hills, explore Harrison’s Cave, and take the rum tour at Mount Gay. Try wreck diving in Carlisle Bay, cruise along the coast on a catamaran or snorkel and walk the plank of the Jolly Roger pirate ship. Dominoes is the national table game, played with such spirit that the slap of the dominoes on the table may give you a start. But, of course, it is all in fun!
St. Kitts is one of the most seductive spots in the Caribbean. More than a quarter of the island is a National Park, with a rainforest that is actually expanding in size rather than shrinking. Hidden among lush vegetation, discover cascading waterfalls, chattering monkeys, scurrying families of mongoose, swinging vines, and hidden trails. Hike through the Valley of Giants, zip line through the forest canopy, and climb up to sit on Sofa Rock, once the very cap of a volcano. Then be guided 100 feet down to its steaming crater floor. Admire restored plantation homes and vast sugarcane fields that kiss the shoreline. In St. Kitts, the water is deepest closer to shore, so you won't have far to go to snorkel along the perfect reef.
This escapist's dream is situated on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, where the Atlantic and the Caribbean meet. Known for its spectacular beaches and clear waters, coral reefs protect the shore, keeping the water calm. Golf is excellent, and one of the most popular courses is Punta Cana Golf Club, owned by Oscar De La Renta and singer Julio Iglesias, and designed by Pete B. Dye, with seven holes along magnificent white sandy beaches. The ambience in Punta Cana is "Europe in the Tropics," with more formal dress codes and an interest in soccer, rather than American football or baseball. The climate is tropical and temperatures vary little, with a year-round average temperature of 77⁰F.
On the eastern side of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is the area known as the Mayan Riviera. Cancun is here, and just south is trendy Playa del Carmen, with its famed Fifth Avenue shopping promenade. Take the ferry to Cozumel, for old world Mexican charm and access to the Palancar Reef, the second largest reef system in the world. Deep-sea fishing is spectacular in these turquoise waters and watersports include windsurfing, scuba diving, jet skiing, snorkeling, sailing, and water-skiing. Visit Mayan ruins nestled in the jungle at Coba or overlooking the Caribbean at Tulum, and explore the eco-theme parks at Xel-Ha and Xcaret. Plan a day trip to Chichen Itza, a sacred site of the ancient Mayans.
Whether soaking up the sun on one of its many beautiful beaches, shopping along the downtown waterfront, or touring historical sites spanning nearly three centuries, St. Thomas is an island that combines all the ingredients for the perfect tropical getaway. The capital city, Charlotte Amalie, captivates with its white and pastel-colored homes rising against a backdrop of emerald hills. Boats of all sizes and shapes dock along the waterfront and dot the harbor. Play a round of golf at the amazing Mahogany Run Golf Course or discover the treasures beneath the water’s surface from pristine coral reefs to mysterious shipwrecks.