It’s the ultimate escape from the ordinary, each destination with its unique rhythms and flavors.
Edged with white sand beaches and aquamarine water, Grand Cayman offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling sites in the Caribbean, as well as the abundant natural beauty of its interior, and picture perfect sunsets. Feed the wildlife at Stingray City, send a postcard home from the town of Hell, or swim with turtles at Boatswain's Beach. Savor Cayman cuisine, from conch fritters and "Heavy Cake," to Tortuga Rum and Stingray Beer. Explore the underwater world without getting wet aboard a submarine or explore Pedro St. James, Cayman's oldest surviving stone structure.
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.
Divide your days between beach naps and adventure. Catamaran tours take you to the best snorkeling locations or into the sunset. Scuba, deep sea fishing, sailing, and speed boating are tempting options. On land, enjoy golf, tennis, mountain biking, hiking, and zip lining, as well as jeep safaris and off-road buggy trips through the inland tropical forest. Discover the rich history of Antigua with a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes Betty’s Hope, Nelson’s Dockyard, and Shirley Heights. Golf, tennis, mountain biking, hiking zip lines, as well as jeep safari and off-road buggy trips through the inland tropical forest.
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.