Welcome to the New Season

Welcome back to my blog. It has been long since I last talked to you, but due to my busy work schedule, I haven’t had the time to dedicate myself to the blog. But now, ever since the coronavirus pandemic started and many trips have been canceled, I decided that this is the perfect moment to restart my blog and fill you in on everything that we have to offer for next season.

I must admit that we took the coronavirus and its seriousness for granted and in these times when we are recommended to stay home, here I come with my newest updates to lighten the mood and luckily get your mind off of the whole situation. Many of you, including me, might have been daydreaming about their next vacation once the borders reopen. As my personal go-to, idyllic vacation place, I stand by the Caribbean Islands and whichever island you choose to visit, it won’t let you down.

Whether you’re planning your honeymoon or a vacation with your friends and family, or you engage in a trip to explore the islands to enjoy and relax in the beautiful sunsets and sunrises, this is your chance. For many years the Caribbean has been catching the eyes of tourists due to the traditions that they have to offer, the cuisine, the luxury hotels and resorts, the private house accommodations, and most importantly, the sky-blue waters on the coasts.

The ongoing tourists’ interest to visit these places has obligated accommodation owners to make changes in their operating system every year to meet the number of tourists that visit their hotels or homes. They are extending rooms, changing suites, enlarging pool and recreation areas, and what I find interesting is how many of them have switched to gas water heaters for it seems to be a more efficient way to meet the needs for hot water that every hotel or resort has to offer. These changes are usually done in the off-season period when the visitations are drastically lower than at the peak of the season.

Every day is wisely spent to make each and every location match your expectations, and this has been proven over the past years with the ongoing growth of the number of tourists visiting. If you want to spend your next vacation in a magical paradise, this is it. The shimmering-blue sea awaits. The walk along the powdery white sand awaits. The golden sunset awaits.

Before You Go: Travel Tips from a Pro

Travel Tips from a Pro

In my field, I have found that the more prep you do beforehand, the better the outcome of your vacation. So here are a few things to do (and other things to know) before you go:

  • If you are a worrier or plan to travel during hurricane season (from June 1st through November 30th, but especially from late August through September), please consider travel insurance. I know it seems like an added, unnecessary expense, but I have seen honeymoons disappear when couples don’t bother with it and then their flights were cancelled or their resort was damaged in a storm, and they can’t afford all the rescheduling fees they would have to make the trip happen. Other places have critical or dangerous events occur and then you might not be able to travel there. Travel insurance will also help you if you have to cancel or reschedule your trip for any reason, even past those point of no return non-refundable dates and change fees. Other people are very unhappy to find out that their health insurance plan doesn’t actually cover them when they are overseas, and then they are stuck paying out of pocket for medical emergencies far from home. Trust me, I have had all of these things, and more, happen to clients. Travel insurance is a huge piece of mind and a gigantic time saver if anything goes wrong.
  • Pack appropriately. Your travel agent will be able to steer you correctly here. Especially if you are going overseas, you need to know what the cultural norms are. Looking like a tourist is to be expected, but you don’t actually want to offend your host country. Other places may require sturdy footwear because there aren’t many paved roads or sidewalks. Some places may have lots of rain and others not at all, or temperature fluctuations either at various points during the year or even from day to night. If you know what to bring with you, packing won’t feel so overwhelming, and you’ll have the right clothes to feel comfortable on your trip.
  • Know what you need to have before you go. Be sure to have the correct travel documents and identification. Get familiar with the State Department’s travel website (or your country’s equivalent). It will give you information on what you need to get in and out of the country, and give you background on the place you’re visiting. Also visit the CDC’s website to find out if you need any vaccinations before you travel, and how soon you’ll need them. Be sure to schedule them promptly and retain documentation that it has been done. Remember, you can also ask your friendly travel agent, who will be able to advise you on everything you’ll need as far as these things go!
  • With the use of debit and credit cards being so widespread, you don’t necessarily need to have a lot of cash or travelers checks on hand. However, you may want to exchange some currency for incidentals, or if you are going somewhere that may not have extensive electronic access. Be aware of any fees that your bank or credit card may charge you with for withdrawals or exchanges in currency. You also can let your financial institutions know before you travel so that they don’t think your card has been stolen, but if you charge things like your airfare and hotel to the same card, they can usually figure it out on their own.

I hope these things help you make planning a trip easier and less stressful! Let me know if there’s anything you feel I have missed or with questions.

Finding Time for Fitness

I am a bit of a fitness buff. I dread sitting at the computer hour after hour—it’s such a sedentary life. They say it is really bad for your health. You need to stand up every so often or move about once every hour. Of course, I rely on my gym to take care of my physical fitness needs. Don’t we all? You can go early in the morning before work or just after. Some lucky souls squeeze an hour in a lunch. The point is to be regular with your program. If you are lucky enough to have a trainer, he or she will teach you about all the various machines. I must say that I don’t know how to operate most of them. I watch other people, but I can’t figure out what weight level is right for me.

The usual equipment is popular with gym patrons: treadmills, ellipticals, and the like. Every gym has a weight room and all kinds of equipment that works on the principal of resistance. One of my most favorite is the good ol’ rowing machine. It is simple to operate and provides a good upper body workout. I like it so much that I am thinking about getting one at home. I have a little space in the garage. All I have to do is put a heater nearby. I think part of the problem is that the gym only has one rower and I have to wait in line to use it. This is so frustrating. I can’t get there any earlier which might solve the problem. Work is a priority, and while the gym should be, I can’t always make the schedules work.

A rowing machine is a long metal bar with a seat on it. You strap your feet in. A handlebar is in front of you and you reach for it with two hands and then pull it all the way into your chest. The idea is to be consistent with the movement and to increase speed as you attain a selected goal of so many seconds, such as 500, my usual target. It challenges your upper body strength and the trainers say never to get below a certain resistance level. So you keep pumping back and forth while accelerating your heart beat. It is a good machine to use to start an exercise regime as it in effect serves as a warm up.

I am going to love having one of my own so I can use it day or night or on weekends. No more waiting for slowpokes at the gym who are not considerate when they see people waiting. I don’t have to be at the mercy of someone else’s schedule. These rowers come in different sizes so I am making ample space next to my car in the garage. I will buy a plastic cover to protect it from dust and roof leaks. It is not ideal. I would prefer to put it in the house; but that would eliminate my guest room. Right now, that is not an option. No matter.

Dream Vacation Home

I have daydreams sometimes of the perfect vacation home in the Caribbean of course. Each island has its own unique style of architecture, but ideal home away from home abodes usually have certain things in common. Rental homes are not always deluxe, but you want a comfortable amount of space. First and foremost you want a living room or sitting area with a water view. How great is that! You want to survey the beach and watch the waves from your picture window. You want a yard so you can enjoy the sunny climate without having to go more than a few feet. A balcony that overlooks such a garden will also do nicely. It all adds up to a feeling of openness and expansive space. You don’t want to be cooped up in a small efficiency condo. A single family house it must be if you are to enjoy a top-flight vacation. This can run into some money, but certain island locales are cheaper than others and it pays to ask an agent like me. You can go online, but you have to week through so much information; but at least you will have photos. Basically, you want to imagine yourself and your family in the space. Does it feel right?

You also want nice large bedrooms so you can spread out and not feel cramped. You must have at least a minimal closet and a place to stow luggage to keep it from being underfoot. You also want a view from the bedrooms if you can. Then there is the matter of the kitchen. Some are so darned antiquated and you can barely turn on the stove. So some modernization is required if you ae listing the qualities of your perfect vacation home. It doesn’t matter if it is gas or electric as long as the appliance works. It should be clean as a whistle and contain at least an apartment sized fridge. No doubt you won’t be cooking much since you will want to taste the local fare for your meals.

Let’s not forget the bathrooms. For some people, they make or break a deal. You will be lucky to get more than one and hopefully it will be a decent size. You want a full-size shower and a nice soaker tub/Jacuzzi and some decorative fixtures so that it feels clean and modern. One house I saw for a client had the most beautiful oil-rubbed bronze faucet. I think I was sold on the property for her just because of that. The expense of the faucet continued and the rest of the bathroom had matching towel bars and cupboard pulls. It was lovely. I like these kinds of little details—like hand-painted tiles in the kitchen or a plethora of plants on the back stoop. The bedrooms each was painted a bright island color and the living room had a glorious hand-loomed area rug. Finding something out of the ordinary is always my goal.

Why Go Caribbean?

Why Go Caribbean

This is an honest question, and one I get asked all the time. With so many amazing places to vacation around the globe, why go Caribbean? I’ll tell you why: because the beaches, the culture, and the relaxed atmosphere make it a perfect destination for just about anyone.

The Caribbean checks off many of the boxes people have for vacations: great food, adventures for all ages, and wonderful escapes!

Foodies don’t often think of the Caribbean as an ultimate destination, but they are so wrong! Many of the Caribbean islands had native peoples who were then colonized by other countries. Which means a unique cuisine unlike any other. Remember, the main reason many of the imperial countries who colonized these places were looking for spices and produce that can’t be found anywhere else. The result is a fantastic mix of traditional local flavors are mixed with exotic spices and techniques. You get the foods of different nations, sometimes thousands of miles apart, in relatively close vicinities. I highly recommend Caribbean cruises for my foodies. They get to experience a wonderful blend of African, Arab, European, East Indian, Asian, and even some Native American cuisine. Yet they don’t have to travel all over the world to get it.

If you are looking for adventures, it is not hard to find a multitude of activities. The fantastic weather and gorgeous waters around the Caribbean mean there are great water sports available. Everything from scuba diving to explore a shipwreck, scenic boating, and amazing sportfishing, or exciting kayaking and waterskiing; there are tons to do. If the water isn’t your thing, there is always hiking through gorgeous rainforests, ziplining over a waterfall, or meeting exotic creatures. There are so many different cultures to explore as well—old forts and plantations, rum factory tours, and lots of museums and cultural centers. I always set my clients up with reputable local guides and tours to be sure that they will be getting the best out of anything they decide to do.

The majority of people going on vacation are the ones who come in looking for a great escape, whether it be to recharge their batteries or reconnect with loved ones. Maybe they just want to sit on a beach chair with their feet in the sand, listening to the waves crash as they read a book or take a nap. They want that Corona commercial. Or they want to frolic in the fun and sun with their kids. The Caribbean can certainly give them that! Some of the world’s most famous beaches can be found in this section of the world. National Geographic has St. Bart’s in its top 10 best beaches in the world. Condé Nast Traveler has St. John’sV.I., Anguilla, Bermuda, and Puerto Rico in their top 20 list. And with over 1,000 islands, beaches are everywhere. You could go to the Caribbean every year and not have to visit the same place twice. For these types of clients, I can usually find the perfect vacation destination by determining what level of crowd they are willing to tolerate and what resort level they are thinking of. This makes it super easy to narrow it down to a manageable amount of choices for them to pick from.

So there you have it. The Caribbean is a fabulous destination that can fulfill every one of your vacation dreams.

Staying Healthy, One Drop at a Time

I am not too busy planning Caribbean vacations to stop for a moment and think about my health. In fact, vacations and health go hand in hand. Resting up on a sunny island is one of the best things you can do for yourself to curb stress and refresh to go back to the trials of ordinary daily life. You don’t realize the value of time off until you don’t have any. I counsel people all the time not to miss at least one vacation session per year of one week or more. Life is so full of demands these days and you have to treat yourself now and then to a bit of a respite. The Caribbean offers a myriad of choices for those who love sunbathing, hiking, and water sports. Speaking of health, it was actually on one such vacation stays on an island that I got sick from the water. At least I assume as such. You are perpetually warned anywhere you travel outside the US to avoid tap water and to carry bottles with you at all times. I always comply with this dictum, but somehow I managed to drink something, perhaps a local iced tea or coffee drink that contain impurities.

This got my attention. When you are feeling bad, you want to prevent a recurrence. Not only am I going to take a small portable water purifier on trips in the future (the straw type), but I am going to install a system in the kitchen attached to the faucet. I am going to stay healthy one drop of water at a time. Precautions are necessary as you never know when a tummy ache and/or chills will strike. Water filters are great these days. They are affordable, easy to install, and help you save on expensive cases of bottled water. It is amazing how many of those little bottles we consume per day. You can refill them with you filtered tap water and stretch your budget.

I was thinking that I was going to save enough to put in a fancy Culligan reverse osmosis drinking water filter, a little more elaborate a plan than I had anticipated. They offer an elegant designer faucet in a variety of styles to match any kitchen. The filter is said to reduce harmful impurities like lead, radium, aesthetic chlorine, hexavalent chromium (chromium-6), and arsenic. That makes me feel safe and happy. I also feel good about going green by eliminating wasteful plastic bottles. For those of you who are new to the subject, such a filter system also improves the taste of baby formula, coffee, tea, powdered drinks, soups and recipes.

With my filtering system, I can free up space in the fridge where all the bottled water used to go. The company offers a great warranty and maintenance plan to keep your system operational at optimal levels. A local Culligan man to handle everything from installation to refills. I love convenience!

Fishing Excursion Ideas

Instead of chartering a boat for a fishing trip, try some other options: fly fishing, or fishing from a kayak instead.

Today you are going to be treated to a lesson in how to buy a fishing kayak. I am actually gearing this information to my clients who enjoy water sports like stand up paddle boarding when they go island hopping in the Caribbean. Some want to practice a bit at home before they go. Kayaking is a great alternative to other forms of boating, whether you intend to catch fish or not. You don’t need to charter a boat once you find out about fly fishing and fishing from kayak. The point is that I recommend a fishing excursion of some type for every island vacation. Tourists constantly rave about the experience, prompting me to include it on every must do list. People like to go native, so they tend to go with the flow when they get to their destination. Kayaking is very common.

When scouting out good quality fishing kayaks, I found the Blackfood HB Angler. It comes highly recommended. Named after the legendary Blackfoot River in Montana, Aquaglide’s rugged kayak will effortlessly glide you into your favorite honey hole on the river of your choice whether it be in the wilds of the US or on an island. With plentiful Scotty mounts within reach, the Blackfoot can be completely customized to tackle the wildest angling missions of your dreams. Industry leading stiffness, crucial for efficient paddling and casting, is forged through the use of premium-grade drop-stitch combined with a proprietary powerstrip. The commercial-grade Duratex hull construction provides long-lasting performance, while the forward Splash-Guard helps keep you dry while you paddle to your secret fishing spot. With sturdy molded handles positioned around the boat, you will be able to board the boat easily and quickly. A mounted Rugged Core seat lets you paddle comfortably for hours. Equipped with a high backrest, mesh storage pocket, integrated fishing-rod holders, fore and aft support straps, and an infinite adjustment system for a longer and more comfortable fishing experience. The Blackfoot Angler comes with a high-performance fin system which includes a stiff, durable, foiled fin with unique quick-release for easy setup. Adjustable footrest improves comfort and paddling efficiency. High-pressure HB floor creates a solid Hard-Bottom platform that is incredibly stiff and responsive. HB floor supports up to 12 psi air pressure for a hull that is as stiff as fiberglass and stable enough to tolerate standing. High-pressure spring valve uses common Halkey-Roberts type fitting. A convenient backpack-style travel bag included. 400-lb. capacity. The kayak weighs 32 lbs. 10’6″L x 3.

If it sounds complicated, don’t be intimidated. All these features are meant to make you feel secure. All you really need to know is that you get:

  • Premium-grade drop-stitch construction
  • Rugged core seat for longer-lasting comfort
  • Integrated fishing rod holders
  • Infinite adjustment system
  • Convenient backpack travel bag included

You probably are no expert by now, but this is a basic guide for what you should look for. I hope you enjoy your kayak.

Taking a Road Less Traveled

I’ve been a travel agent for ten years now. I specialize in creating memorable vacations to the gorgeous Caribbean islands. They are pretty spectacular places beyond anything you can imagine in your wildest dreams of beauty and natural richness. Most everyone has one or two places on the top of their must see list. A vacation there is a real getaway, full of mystery and magic, and new things to explore. There is so much variety of cultures, languages, cuisines, and scenic extravaganzas. I love sending people off to sunny shores and soft sand and making that dream turn into a reality! At the very least, I hope to inspire people to consider the Caribbean at least once in a while. Meanwhile, through this blog you will get to know me a little and learn something of my day to day life.

Today, I wish to encourage travelers to be ready wherever they go to do their touring with some advance planning. You need a guidebook or at least notes from your travel agent and some basic gear on the road. What should you take with you in your trusty but cool backpack? I assume you will have a roomy one: most tourists do. They want to pack an extra shirt in case it rains and they get soaked, a bathing suit, a small towel, some sunscreen and suntan lotion, and a pair of sun glasses. A fold up rain poncho is a nice option. You can enjoy yourself more when you are out and about if you are not caught by surprise and are missing something vital. One thing that comes to mind is a broad-brimmed hat. They fold up into neat little packets and they are essential when island hopping.

In addition to the above items, you also will want a bottle or two of water, a granola bar when food is not readily available (as it is often lacking in those out of the way places), and some type of protein source such as nuts. You want to crank up your energy when it flags. People who are in the sun for long periods of time forget about nutrition and they can fall ill. So you have practical things and you can add some optional items like a digital camera (unless you are dead set on using your cell phone exclusively). I like the idea of an alternative in case the phone goes dead and needs recharging. Then you won’t miss some lovely photos that will serve as your vacation mementos. You may want a tablet or laptop if you like to work on location, but this adds a lot of bulk to your backpack, and you should ask yourself if all this is really necessary. Are you on vacation to see the sights or to work?

Island life is exotic and irresistible. I encourage clients to explore wherever they go. Knowing a bit about the culture in advance focuses the journey and helps you try to encounter it with an open mind.

Go on Your Honeymoon

Go on Your Honeymoon

Caribbean islands are popular destinations for honeymooners. It can be a fantastic place to go! Here are my top two recommendations for that first trip as a married couple:

  1. Saint Lucia. It is gorgeous, lush, tropical, and yet remains one of the lesser known islands, so it is not as crowded as places like Jamaica can be. It has rainforests, verdant tropical peaks, and picture perfect beaches. This former French and British colony has a multitude of old forts to explore, colorful fishing villages full of charming locals, storybook forests teeming with vibrant wildlife, and some of the most photogenic beaches around. I highly recommend staying in Castries, the island’s capital, because the beaches are beautiful and you have plenty of resort options. However, one of my favorite properties is the AnseChastenet, located in the historic town of Soufriere. This gorgeous hotel rises up from a pristine beach straight into a luscious rainforest and offers such romantic treats as a private dinner on the beach and couples’ massages.
  2. The Bahamas. I love these islands because the temperatures are very consistent—fabulous any time of year! When you think of tropical islands, chances are you are visualizing somewhere in the Bahamas. The islands are dotted with brightly colored resorts, light sand beaches, and gorgeously blue water. There are the more showy places like Atlantis, but if you want a truly romantic getaway, I can’t say enough good things about Kamalame Cay. It is the only resort on a secluded island, so it is not built up or packed. The romantically cozy rooms in the main resort and fabulous island villas will make you feel like a celebrity on your own private island! Every year, I have clients who actually come back into my office to tell me how much they loved it there.

The best part about the Caribbean is that there are a tremendous amount of options as far as locations and accommodations to fit a variety of tastes and budgets. If you are considering the Caribbean, definitely visit a knowledgeable travel agent who can create the honeymoon of your dreams for you. Seriously, we live for this stuff!

I also have a little advice: think about the time of year you are getting married. The one drawback to the Caribbean is hurricane season, generally considered to be from June 1st through November 30th; more realistically think mid-August through mid-September, especially for Eastern Caribbean locations. But, two things to understand about hurricane season: the first is if you get married that time of year, a hurricane may affect your travel plans even if you aren’t going to an affected area. How many times have you been delayed at an airport because of weather somewhere else because that’s where your plane was coming from? The second thing is that hurricane season is basically what travel insurance was MADE for. It can be a serious stress reducer to purchase it, and it is actually a benefit on some of the credit cards you may already have. Something to think about.

Winter is Coming

It’s time to start thinking about winter. Yes, I did say winter. It’s not actually too soon to think about as you will soon find out. As they say, it is coming. When you are in the throes of summer heat, and you are sitting on a Caribbean island sipping iced tea, winter is the farthest thing from your mind. As your toes curl in the sand, you can’t imagine snow, sleet, rain, or hail. That’s why you take these island vacations. So that in wintertime you have memories of better days under the sun and azure blue skies. You bring to mind the crystal clear waters speckled with white froth. You see in your mind’s eye the crashing waves, lapping gently at the shore. You are frolicking about in that new two-piece bathing suit you bought for the occasion. You love stocking up on gear for summer fun. But there is winter gear to stock up on, too, such as a wood stove for the basement as a backup heat source.

Yes, it is time to think of winter. You want to buy your wood stove off season to get the best price. I am thinking an absolute steel hybrid stove which is an affordable medium-sized unit with an about two and a half cubic feet firebox. It operates on a combustion system that produces ultra-low emissions, high efficiency, and unmatched fire viewing pleasure through a large, clean front window.

The fire viewing is completely different than an ordinary woodstove or fireplace, because the stove can burn both wood and exhaust gasses in the firebox at the same time. This produces flames at both the bottom and top of the firebox with exceptional intensity, color, and composition.  Beware… you will likely find watching the fire much more interesting than anything on TV. The inside of the absolute steel wood stove, most of the “plumbing” is in the back and the top, keeping the sides free for easy left or right loading.  The catalyst is easily accessible under the lift top, and can be removed without any tools!  The back has a built-in outside air adapter, and the damper control is axial to minimize air leakage around the adapter.  There are no air intakes that are not protected by the outside air adapter, so the woodstove can be isolated from negative house pressure.  Also noteworthy on this model is automatic catalyst air, so that the catalyst cannot become oxygen starved at high burn rates.

So I have the model picked out as described above. I looked into it carefully for functionality, reliability, and safety. A wood stove doesn’t have to be overly simple or excessively basic. I like the complexity of the hybrid and relish the thought of the heat come the colder months. Yes, it is a backup in case the power goes out; but it will be a nice addition to the basement recreational space on its own for sheer looks and heat production.

Book Before You Go!

One of the coolest things about traveling to new places for me is getting out there and exploring. And if you’re going to the Caribbean, the options are limitless! I know I always want to see and do as much as possible. Whether it’s a cultural adventure with a tour of a museum, a nighttime ghost walk, hike up a cliff in the middle of a rainforest to see a beautiful waterfall, or playing hide and seek with a fish in some coral while snorkeling, I want to come home having experienced something. And I want all of my clients to have that same chance. The best way to accomplish this is to go on tours and excursions when you are on your trip. I pride myself on finding that perfect moment for everyone who comes to me. Even my clients who tell me that all they want to do is read a book in a beach chair will positively drool when I talk about the opportunity to charter glass bottomed Catamaran that will take them to a private island for a day, complete with a picnic lunch.

Once I had a client who pulled me aside to tell me that he was going to propose to his girlfriend on their trip and really wanted to surprise her. I talked to the property manager at their resort and arranged a horseback ride along the beach to a secluded lagoon where they had a private candlelight dinner prepared by the resort’s award-winning chef. The whole thing went off spectacularly and they came in to see me after the trip so she could show off her engagement ring!

This is the biggest advantage a travel agent has over booking trips over the internet. Over the years, I have cultivated good relationships with various properties and travel services in the areas I specialize in. Concierges call me to let me know about new tour guides they’ve met, new excursions they have added to their roster, and new equipment acquired by their hotels. I find out about new nightspots and trendy new restaurants straight from the local source. Guides will sometimes work with me to tailor events especially for my clients because they know that if they do a great job, I’ll recommend their services to more people.

With a skilled travel agent like me, you can have everything pre-vetted by a pro, scheduled and paid for before you even set foot on the plane. Everything will be clearly documented in a daily itinerary with transportation and contact information for anyone hired, maps if necessary, and then there’s the best part: if anything goes wrong, you have an ally to reach out to that can straighten things out.

Once you get there, if you haven’t booked anything, you will end up having to arrange things yourself. If you don’t speak the language, it can be a real challenge and can lead to some serious misunderstandings. Also, if you are not staying at a resort with a concierge, you may wind up asking random locals like shopkeepers and restaurant staff for tour guide advice. I’m not saying that everyone will be out to take advantage of you, but for every great recommendation from a waiter you’re going to get some doozies; there will always be that guy who sets you up with his cousin who takes you in his rattletrap pickup truck to some horrendous backwoods swamp when you thought you were going to a hotspring.

That’s when you’ll remember that for the same price, I could have had you at an exclusive spa enjoying a massage right on the beach. Whoops.

Do yourself a favor and tell your travel agent what you’d like to do, then have them help you book some great excursions to add that personal touch to what will be a fabulous vacation!

My Top 3 Vacation Getaways

My Top 3 Vacation Getaways

I do a lot of travel booking for clients, but the trips typically fall into one of three categories: family vacations, romantic getaways, and bonding trips with friends. The best part about specializing in an area as great as the Caribbean is that there are so many wonderful locations that will fit the bill for my clients. I keep up to date on the best islands and resorts in the area and guide my clients accordingly. Today, though, I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you. Here are my top recommendations for each type of trip:

  1. The family vacation: Bahamas. There are so many resorts in the Bahamas that you can find something to fit your family’s budget. Atlantis is the absolute coolest place to take kids of any age. They have everything from available cribs and cots to kid’s camps and a program where the kids get to shadow the hotel marine life trainers. They have a tween/teen dance club, an arcade, and even a movie theater. Plus there’s the water park, kid pool, and the beach. If the idea of spending that much time in a kid-centered environment makes you concerned you’ll never get any sleep, here’s a tip: you can stay at their sister resort, the One & Only Ocean Club. You get all the amenities of Atlantis but get to stay in a fabulous resort just a free shuttle ride away. If you’re not into these, I also recommend Grand Lucayan Resort. It has everything—babysitting, kid’s club, super easy access to a fabulous beach, and stuff for parents too, like a golf course and spa.Everyone wins!
  1. The couple’s vacation: Jamaica. I could spend weeks talking about all great getaway locations available to lovebirds in the Caribbean, but there is a reason this laid-back island has its romantic reputation! There are accommodations appealing to every taste and budget. There are romantic and secluded places like Geejam in Port Antonio, which is so private and exclusive that there isn’t even a hotel lobby (yet you have around the clock room service, plus a private driver to take you wherever you may want to go); and classic all-inclusive places like Sandals or Couples Resorts, or lovely historic places like the Jamaica Inn, whose private beach is world-class.
  1. The Girls/Guy’s Trip: Puerto Rico. I know everyone thinks of Las Vegas for friend getaways, but Puerto Rico also has casinos and nightlife, along with the added bonus of being in the Caribbean instead of a tourist mecca in the middle of the desert. You get beautiful beaches, interesting night clubs, great water sports and more. And all without that “Vegas, baby!” attitude. This small island boasts some of the best, most consistent fishing grounds in the world, and you can catch everything from tuna and wahoo to marlins and sailfish. San Juan has a variety of hotel/casino options (my clients seem to like the Marriott’s Stellaris Casino, which even offers lessons for beginners). Then there are the golf courses, which are some of the best in the Caribbean. The courses at Dorado Beach, part of the TPC network, has been a winner for my clients in the past, so I usually recommend the Plantation Resort. If you’re looking for quality time with the girls and some serious pampering, there’s the Gran Meliá and the fabulous Ritz-Carlton in Dorado Beach. Both offer great spa services and are sure to leave you relaxed and refreshed.

Based on my experience, these are some of the best places to achieve the type of vacations my clients are usually looking for. Hope this was helpful!