Ten Top Tips for Independent Travellers in the Caribbean on a Budget

Ten Top Tips for Independent Travellers in the Caribbean on a Budget

We travelled for nearly 3 months island hopping through the Caribbean and attempted to live on what we consider to be a mid-range budget i.e. $AUS300/$US230 per day for the two of us. That's all inclusive – transport, accommodation, meals and activities. Here's what we learned from our trip.

Read More

Five of Jamaica's Best Places to Visit

Five of Jamaica's Best Places to Visit

Reggae, rastafarians, rum and resorts. That's what comes to mind for most people when you mention Jamaica. We had a stay of just over a week and found that all these things were present, but we also found the Jamaican people to be some of the friendliest and most welcoming we've ever met.  If you have limited time and want a couple of ideas for things to do here are 5 activities that are done out of the three biggest towns: Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.

Read More

Parque Nacional Los Haitises Day Trip, Dominican Republic

Parque Nacional Los Haitises Day Trip, Dominican Republic

Parque Nacional Los Haitieses is a 1375 sq. km park in the NE of the Dominican Republic. The park's northern border is the Bahia de Samana which opens to the Atlantic. Small limestone karst mountains, 30 – 50m high fringe much of the coast. It's an unusual place that we were keen to visit. So we took a day trip to the park, which wasn't quite what we'd hoped for. Here's what happened.

Read More

Puerto Rico: A Tale of Two Cities

Puerto Rico: A Tale of Two Cities

To North Americans Puerto Rico is their backyard. It has the busiest cruise port in the Caribbean in San Juan, the capital. Puerto Rico (PR) receives over 2 million visitors a year. But to Australians it is the other side of the world, it is somewhere we hear little about and so it is high on our “exotic places to visit” list.

Knowing that it is such a popular tourist destination meant that we approached our visit with some concern that it might be 'too popular' to the point of tackiness, but we needn’t have worried. We spent a week in PR splitting our time between the two biggest cities, San Juan and Ponce and both were well worth taking the time to visit. Here's what we found.

Read More

Virgin Island Classics

Virgin Island Classics

Both the British and US Virgin Islands are popular holiday destinations with people from north America and Europe and they have a reputation for being expensive for accommodation. But you can find mid-range guesthouses and hotels on both sets of islands and you can visit the classic, but pricey destinations such as Virgin Gorda and St John, as day trips from the less exotic capitals of Road Town and Charlotte Amarlie. Here are four great days out that we had in the Virgin Islands.

Read More

Two Islands in One: Saint Martin/Sint Maarten

Two Islands in One: Saint Martin/Sint Maarten

The island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is written this way, with two names, because it is an island shared by two cultures, two nations, France and the Netherlands. Each half of the island has a quite different feel to the other. The Dutch half is resort central, where big is beautiful, while the French section is much more low key and laid back. Both sides have their charms and so are worth a visit. Here is a bit about our time with each.

Read More

Saba's Mount Scenery Trek: the Highest Point in the Netherlands

Saba's Mount Scenery Trek: the Highest Point in the Netherlands

Quiz question: What's the highest point in the Netherlands. Answer: Mt Scenery on the island of Saba in the Dutch Antillies.

Describe Saba: tropical rainforest full of bird and other wildlife, steep dramatic peaks, quaint red and white uniformed towns, and the highest peak in the Netherlands. We decided to check out Saba for ourselves. Here's what we found.

Read More

St Kitts and Nevis Snippets

St Kitts and Nevis Snippets

After some extensive island hopping over the previous couple of months we decided to “lime” (Caribbean slang for taking it easy, just hanging out) for a few days in SKN.

We did not do the St Kitts scenic steam train trip or visit the impressive Brimstone Hill Fortress (built by the British in the 17th century). No zip lining took place and hiking did not occur on either island, despite the dramatic tropical backdrops of Mt Liamuiga (St Kitts) and Nevis Peak (Nevis).

So what did we do? Here are a few snippets from our SKN liming.

Read More

Montserrat – A Modern Day Pompeii in the Caribbean

Montserrat – A Modern Day Pompeii in the Caribbean

In 1995 the Soufriere Hills volcano on the island of Montserrat began a series of eruptions that rained volcanic dust, lava and gases on the capital Plymouth. The town was evacuated and the continuing activity of the volcano over subsequent years gradually buried much of the town and put paid to any possibility that the people could return. To this day Plymouth remains as a modern day Pompeii in the Caribbean. We were fortunate to visit the island and see for ourselves. This is what we learned.

Read More

Good Morning, Welcome to Dominica, Nature Isle

Good Morning, Welcome to Dominica, Nature Isle

There are no big resorts on Dominica, black volcanic sand beaches take the place of the usual white, and there are no direct flights to North America or Europe. But what you do have is nature in abundance, incredible rainforests, volcanic sulphur springs, monumental waterfalls, the Caribbean's last community of it's original Carib Indian inhabitants, and some of the friendliest people you're ever likely to meet.

If you make the effort to go to Dominica you won't regret it.

Read More

St Lucia – Thylacines, Potfish and a Stairway to Heaven

St Lucia – Thylacines, Potfish and a Stairway to Heaven

St Lucia is a small, tropical Caribbean Island in the Windward Islands group. It owes it's existence to it's volcanic past (and present). It's many rugged peaks are covered in lush green vegetation and it's coastline has a multitude of fantastic beaches. But more than anything else we enjoyed the friemndly and welcoming attitude and approach of the locals we met during our short stay. Here is a bit about our experience.

Read More

Postcard from Bequia, St Vincent & the Grenadines

Postcard from Bequia, St Vincent & the Grenadines

St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is a small Caribbean island nation to the north of Grenada and south of St Lucia in the Windward Islands. It is made up of St Vincent in the north, the largest island and a number of smaller Grenadines stretching to the south. The five main ones are Bequia (pronounced Bek-way), Mustique (playground of the rich and famous), Canouan, Mayreau and Union.

We visited Union, Bequia and St Vincent, but by far our favourite spot was Bequia. Here is our postcard from Bequia.

Read More

Gorgeous Grenada

Gorgeous Grenada

Through long, cold Tasmanian winters fantasies of tropical islands are commonplace. There is generally no specific place in mind – it's the image that's important. Long, white sand beaches and clean, calm water; palm, mango and banana trees, and lots of other lush greenery; cold beers, fresh seafood, Caribbean music (reggae will do) and plenty of friendly locals. But most of all warmth, lots of warm weather (with a gentle sea breeze).

Well, it turns out that this anonymous tropical fantasy has a name, and it's name is Grenada. If you're lucky enough to go there here are some possibilities for things to do.

Post includes section at the end: How to get from Grenada (Carriacou) to St Vincent and the Grenadines (Union Is) on a budget.

Read More

Five Things to do in Barbados

Barbados, in the Windward Islands of the SE Caribbean, is a popular holiday destination with people from the US and Europe, particularly the UK. Many people come for a couple of weeks and see little outside of their resort and the strip of beach in front of it.

And while it does have great beaches there is a lot more to Barbados including a fascinating history, great botanical gardens, cricket and music loving locals, and good food and drink.

Here are five possibilities of things to do when visiting Barbados.

Read More

Ten Things to do in Aruba & Curaçao

Ten Things to do in Aruba & Curaçao

Aruba and Curaçao, previously part of the Dutch Antilles, but now independent within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, are islands very different in history, culture and landscape to other Caribbean destinations. Their proximity to South America and historical links provide a Latin feel, but their Dutch Colonial past is also prominent and very apparent in the architecture of Willemstad, Curaçao's capital. Both have stunning beaches and iridescently blue water. They make for a very interesting visit.

Read More