Posted February 16, 2011 by BookingBuddy
It’s only about an hour’s flight from Miami, but life on Turks and Caico’s seems a world away from the fast pace of city life. Don’t worry if you can’t quite decide where you want to spend your break – the islands are small enough and close enough that you can easily squeeze several of them in during a short break. You’ll find all the trappings of a must-visit Caribbean destination here – crystal clear waters, fine white sand and colourful reefs. You may also be able to spot a herd of humpback whales off the coast, or a donkey wandering the streets of a quiet country town.
Grand Turk Lighthouse – This working lighthouse has had a long and rather turbulent history, starting with its construction in the UK over 150 years ago. It was then brought over to Grand Turk brick by brick, and rebuilt on the island’s northern tip. The lighthouse runs on electricity these days, and the old lens is now on display in the museum.
Da Conch Shack – True to its name, Da Conch Shack’s specialty is conch, served cracked, curried, stewed and almost any other way you can think of. The conchs are served fresh from the sea, caught by local fishermen and kept in pens near the shack. Those who aren’t into conch needn’t worry, there’s plenty of other seafood and even jerk chicken on the menu. Wash down all down with a pitcher of Jan’s Infamous Rum Punch, and enjoy a rum cake or real rum and raisin ice cream before you leave.
Osprey Beach Hotel – Fall asleep to the calming sounds of the waves lapping against the shore at the Osprey Beach Hotel in Grand Turk. There are 27 rooms that open onto the beachfront, and another 10 more that look into a lush tropical courtyard. The suites are equipped with kitchens so you can enjoy your own home-cooked meals, or head to the Birdcage Restaurant for some local cuisine. Room rates start from around £65.
Check here for Turks and Caicos travel information.
Posted February 15, 2011 by BookingBuddy
Like her Caribbean neighbours, Jamaica has plenty of sun, sea and sand, but it is its turbulent past and distinctive culture that set it apart. The local cuisine is unforgettable – take some time out to try some ackee and saltfish, and local fruits such as star apples, guineps and jackfruits. Negril’s dramatic black and blue landscape and laidback lifestyle is perfect for those who want a relaxing holiday. The Blue Mountains offers visitors a chance to see the world’s second largest butterfly and numerous unique plants, as well as some of the best coffee in the world.
Hot Pot – This casual, unpretentious joint serves food that’s nothing like the bland hotel fare you’ll find in the tourist traps nearby. The menu at Hot Pot features comfortable Jamaican home-cooking, the sort of stuff you’ll enjoy if you had a Jamaican grandmother. Enjoy ackee and saltfish, curried mutton, stewed pork or beef, and a plethora of animal parts served with beans. Wash it all down with a can of Red Stripe or refreshingly cold coconut water.
Blue Cave Castle – True to its name, the Blue Cave Castle is an incredible castle-shaped building, set just above a glittering blue cave rumoured to be a former pirates’ hideout. All the rooms here have wonderful views, and a couple of rooms have direct access to the ocean and the eponymous Blue Cave via a series of steps chiselled into the cliff. Room rates start from £38.
Dunn’s River Falls – If you think Dunn’s River Falls look familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen it in a film or two. Jamaica’s most spectacular waterfalls are popular with visitors as well as filmmakers. It’s a wonderful escape on hot days, as the water cools you down while you’re hiking up the falls. Pack a skimpy swimsuit and pretend you’re Ursula Andress (or Sean Connery) while splashing about in the pools here.
Check here for Jamaica travel information.
Posted February 9, 2011 by BookingBuddy
Discover the spicy side of life with a holiday in Grenada! The beaches here are less crowded than some other Caribbean islands, but they are no less beautiful. Away from the beaches, you’ll discover an abundance of cool waterfalls, flourishing nature reserves, and notable forts. Visitors may also want to check out the spice plantations and bring home some freshly harvested spices for themselves.
Petit Anse Hotel – Located in a beautiful, secluded cove, the Petit Anse Hotel provides guests with beachfront views, as well as a tranquil garden to relax in. Unwind on your four poster bed while the ceiling fan keeps you cool in your room. The hotel is not far from a beach where turtles lay their eggs, so you may even be able to go turtle-watching! Room rates start from £75.
Gouyave Nutmeg Factory – Visit this nutmeg processing plant to for an insight into why Grenada is known as the ‘Island of Spice’. Nutmeg and mace, the island’s most popular exports, are sorted and processed in this factory, one of Grenada’s largest processing facilities. Get a personalised jute bag from the stencil room to remember your trip, and visit ‘Nutmeg World’ for pre-packaged spices.
La Sagesse – Sitting on a stretch of dramatic black sand beach, La Sagesse is famous for its fresh fish and seafood, as well as for its take on Grenadian cuisine. Their ‘Catch of the Day’ platter features the best of the day’s catch. Other dishes include savoury lambi (conch) creole, grilled lobster tail, filet mignon and chicken piccata.
Check here for Grenada travel information.
Posted February 8, 2011 by BookingBuddy
It may be better known as a tax haven, but you don’t need to have a chunky bank account to enjoy yourself in the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman’s long coastline is the millionaires’ playground, filled with glitzy hotels and expensive shops. If you’re seeking somewhere less commercial, then head for Little Cayman, where you’re more likely to run into a scaly blue iguana than a blue suited banker. The clear waters and colourful reefs around the island have made it a firm favourite with divers.
Hell – Your friends back home may not believe you when you say you’ve been to Hell and back, so remember to send them a postcard! Hell is not other people, but a series of craggy ironshore formations on Grand Cayman. The formations have become quite a popular attraction, and can be seen from two viewing platforms. You can also visit the Hell-themed post office nearby or pop into the gift shop for a photo with ‘Satan’.
Aunt Sha’s Kitchen – Follow the locals to this hot pink building on Cayman Brac for some tasty homecooked goodness. The best seats in the house are on the patio during high tide, when you’ll be able to dine with the sharks as they swim in the water beneath. Enjoy Caymanian cuisine such as conch fritters, grilled kingfish and key lime pie.
Pirates Point Resort – Unlike the pirates, you won’t be suffering from scurvy while at Pirates Point Resort, as the resort’s owner is an award-winning chef, and the daily buffet spreads are laid on by highly trained gourmet chefs. With such a stellar line-up in the kitchen, you may be tempted to stay in the dining room all day. Work off those calories with a dip in the freshwater swimming pool, or a stroll along the private beach. Room rates start from around £90.
Check here for Cayman Islands travel information.
Posted February 3, 2011 by BookingBuddy
Having trouble deciding on your next holiday destination? What about enjoying a trip to Barbados, where it’s summer all year round! This Caribbean island’s white beaches and clear waters have made it a firm favourite with visitors. The lush green hills inland are dotted with beautiful colonial buildings – many of which have been turned into restaurants or hotels. Grab your scuba gear and explore the jewel-like coral reefs that ring the island, or brave the swells for a spot of unforgettable surf.
Sunbury Plantation House – Learn about the history of Barbados at this sprawling colonial house. The walls of this 300 year old mansion are built from coral (from the surrounding reefs) and ballast stones (from the English ships that exported sugar from the island). Join a tour to see the interior, still furnished in original pieces from the colonial era.
The Sandpiper – Kick off your dream holiday with a stay at this elegant beachside resort. The Sandpiper is set in the midst of a peaceful tropical garden and is fronted by a sandy beach. Accommodation here ranges from standard rooms and suites, to the luxurious Tree Top Suites, each with their own private terrace and swimming pool. Enjoy Caribbean-inspired dishes from the restaurant’s menu, or indulge in a relaxing treatment at the spa. Room rates start from £130.
Oistins – A fish fry completes the quintessential Bajan experience, so head to the town of Oistins for a Friday night knees-up with the locals. Get freshly caught and grilled fish from the little huts on the beach – chose from tuna, marlin, lobster and of course, flying fish. Top it all off with a hearty serving of macaroni pie, coleslaw, or breadfruit, and then work off the calories with a dance or stroll along the beach.
Check here for Barbados travel information.
Posted February 2, 2011 by BookingBuddy
Paradise is only a plane ride away when you take a break in the Bahamas. Go island-hopping around the archipelago, and discover great discounts in the shopping centres on Grand Bahama, or just relax on a beach on the evocatively-named Paradise Island. The clear, shallow waters around the islands are ringed by beautiful coral reefs that are a snorkeler’s treasure chest. Seafood features on plenty of menus here – enjoy a casual fish fry with the locals, or splurge in one of the fancier restaurants.
Sunrise Beach Clubs and Villas - Head to Paradise Island for a bit of relaxation. These villas are located not far from the capital Nassau, but offer a measure of tranquillity that you may not find in larger resorts. Choose from villas with one to five bedrooms, all equipped with kitchens so you can prepare your own meals. Room rates start from about £130.
Twin Brothers - Grab a seat under the palm covered shacks and enjoy some good old Bahamian cuisine here. Feast on cracked conch or lobster, fried shrimp or grilled lobster tail, and wash it all down with some Sky Juice – icy cold coconut water – or a couple of pina coladas.
Lucayan National Park – The islands of the Bahamas are home to a diverse range of ecosystems, but you don’t have to visit every island to see them all – just head over to Lucayan National Park! The park boasts more than 6 miles of caves and subterranean caverns, which shelter a variety of unique native creatures. Blind, pale remipedia – a group of tiny crustaceans – can be found in the cool waters of the cave system, while lush bromeliads and orchids bloom above ground.
Check here for Bahamas travel information.
Posted January 26, 2011 by BookingBuddy
Discover an island paradise with white sandy beaches, clear blue waters and perfect weather all year. Aruba has all these and more – distinctive scenery, scrumptious food and historic towns. Unforgettable sights here include natural stone bridges and lopsided trees, as well as the flamboyant historic architecture in the capital Oranjestad. A trip to the Arikok National Park is a great way to admire the island’s indigenous flora and fauna.
Gasparito – This family-owned restaurant is located in the homestead of the Ridderstap family. It is also an art gallery, with most of the dining room walls covered in works by local artists. The menu is a combination of local specialties and well-known favourites. Keshi yena is a plate of melted cheese, served with either seafood or chicken. There’s also the Aruban combo - a platter of local favourites – for those who can’t decide what to pick.
My Aruban Home – Enjoy the comforts of home while in Aruba, with a stay at My Aruban Home. The resort’s name gives you a good idea of what you can expect here – a relaxing, homely atmosphere in comfortable accommodation. The units consist of kitchenettes and living areas, and come fully air-conditioned to help you beat the heat. Room rates start from £47, and include pick-up and drop-off at the airport.
Arikok National Park – Discover Aruba’s unique plant and animal life within the confines of Arikok National Park. The park shelters a number of animals found only on Aruba, such as the cat-eyed snake, the Aruban rattlesnake, and the Aruban burrowing owl. There are also some archaeological sites in Arikok, as well as the remains of a goldmining complex known as Miralamar.
Check here for Aruba travel information.