Caribbean BlogWelcome to the Caribbean an amazingly untouched beauty awaits. Welcoming people and amazing activities to transform you in mind body and spirit.
One of the biggest regrets you hear from people who have completed their gap year is that they wish they had something to show for it, some kind of achievement. Now we know that a gap year is all about enjoying yourself and exploring the world, but we have the perfect solution for those of you wanting to achieve something while on your adventures. Why not gain a PADI qualification in the Caribbean ?
The Caribbean is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, above and below the water. The archipelago is made up of islands that are all unique and distinctive in their own rights with different landscapes and individual cultures and histories. One thing that they all have in common is that the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea surround them. The whole area is rich in marine life and offers some of the best diving in the world. All of the islands offer dives of varying degrees of difficulty making it the perfect place to learn, and then progress with your new-found diving skills. Not only will you feel a sense of pride and satisfaction for having done something worthwhile with your gap year, as opposed to constantly bumming around on the beach, but if you enjoy diving then you can use your PADI qualification on future holidays without having to waste precious time off work learning the skills first. The benefits of diving on your gap year are numerous.
Here is a look at what we think are the best three locations to gain your PADI qualifications in the Caribbean.
Variety and choice
If you're looking for a wide choice of dive sites with an impressive mix of difficulty levels that are all easy to reach, then Grenada is the island for you. The island's waters contain wrecks, reefs in abundance, a volcano and even an underwater sculpture park. When you are learning to dive the last thing you want to do is spend hours aboard a boat travelling to and from dive sites. To make the most of your valuable diving time, and to spend the maximum amount of time actually in the water, give Grenada a go.
A choice of shallow sites such as MV Veronica, Dragon Bay, Flamingo Bay and the underwater sculpture park at Molinere Bay mean that you will never get bored as a learner diver. There is also a huge range of dive schools to choose from. The majority are based on the island's famous Grande Anse Beach.
The island of Bonaire is blessed with an almost continuous reef surrounding it. In many places this reef is only a few yards from the shore meaning you can simply wade out to experience some fantastic shallow diving. Bonaire is also well set up for visiting divers. Yellow markers along the coastal road indicate where the dive sites are. All you have to do is park up and walk out to the relevant site.
As you progress with your diving skills there are also some great off shore sites to be reached by boat as well as the uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire which also falls under the protection of the Bonaire National Marine Park.
There are many Caribbean islands to choose from and you can find one that is just right for your vacation and budget. Apart from going on a vacation, any person interested in theatredeals can also dream of living in the Caribbean and they can find an island paradise that they can relocate to. These are wonderful islands that have a lot to offer. The following is a list of some of the best islands that you can find in the Caribbean. 1. St. Martin If there is any complaint about this island that is filled with resorts, restaurants and nightclubs is that there is too much of everything. However, the construction boom has slowed down because of global economic meltdown. The activities that a visitor can enjoy include going on a hike and diving in the marine park. 2. Aruba Luxury hotels, designer boutiques and glitzy casinos are concentrated in the western edge of this island. Spectacular sunsets can be enjoyed and even if you are not a morning person, you can rise up early to enjoy a street party called Carubbean Festival that is held every week. 3. Bahamas This island is ideal if you would like some bit of solitude. Proximity and peace are directly related and the further one travels, the quieter it becomes. 4. US Virgin Islands There are three islands to choose from and they include St. Croix, St. John and St. Croix. The most remote island is St. Croix and it is also less developed compared to the other two. If you are a sports enthusiast, this is a perfect getaway for you. 5. Puerto Rico The Vieques National Wildlife Refuge is very impressive and it is not as crowded as the other beaches in the island. The laid back personality of the island is what draws tourists and even celebrities. 6. Bermuda In the Atlantic Ocean, you will find this island sitting all alone. Its architecture, customs and foods are more British colonial that a tropical paradise. Even though the island is pricey, visitors can find reduce golfing fees, lower airfares and cheaper hotels. 7. Cayman Islands These islands are synonymous with wealthy pursuits and they are offshore banking and deep sea diving. It is rare to find an affordable hotel in these islands. However, a hotel that is recommended goes by the name Sunshine Suites. 8. Dominican Republic Affordable, all inclusive packages are available especially in Punta Cana. The Residencial Casa Linda Villas are more like your local neighborhood as opposed to a resort. Daily housekeeping services are available and a two bedroom villa can cost $100. 9. Jamaica This is an island that caters for every kind of traveler. A honeymooner can find an ideal package while the island is also family friendly. Ocho Rios is an ideal location for a cruiser. 10. Trinidad and Tobago Tobago is just like the backyard of Trinidad. This 116 square mile haven is just a twenty minute flight from Trinidad. You can find restaurants and nightclubs here and you can find peaceful accommodation at the Gloucester Place Guest House.
In gorgeous garden settings or by the pool or in air conditioned restaurants you can find time to let time pass. A good place to watch the sunset is in the west end village in Roatan there head for sundowners or the blue marlin.
Those who do not wish to go diving can relax on the beaches and enjoy the nice warm sun a plenty otherwise there are many land based activities like horse riding or ziplining. A good idea would be to first look up the internet to get an idea of some exclusive resorts and hotels at the island you wish to visit. You will find a list of a number of recommended hotels and resorts where the best of accommodation, drinks and food is served.Check The Weather Chart Online To get an idea of the climatic or weather conditions at the preferred Bay Island, you can always look up the weather chart on the internet before planning a trip to the islands. If you are looking for particular resorts only then you could even look up rankings of various resorts on the web and accordingly make a decision on the type of resort you want to stay in on reaching the Bay Islands. Once you make the first trip to any of the islands in the Caribbean you are sure to make many more annual trips to the beautiful island in the future too. With increasing numbers getting attracted to the region, there are now many hotels and resorts of your choice to access at the Bay Islands and that too at rates you can afford.
An article looking at scuba diving, enjoying the sport whilst on holiday, how beginners can start and how experienced divers can develop.
Many people enjoy an adventure and at some point most of us will travel for a holiday whether it's abroad or in our own country, we like to see new things, take in new sights, explore new destinations. But there is a whole world out there that many of us never even think about, let alone visit. The world under the sea. When you've been on holiday you've probably enjoyed taking a dip in the sea. There's nothing like the warm waters of the Mediterranean or the Caribbean for helping to float your cares away. Perhaps you've also tried snorkelling and seen some of the beautiful wildlife beneath the surface of the water. But to really get an idea of marine life below the sea then you need to give scuba diving a try. Under the sea If the thought of being under water without access to air is frightening, then that's a very understandable but unnecessary fear. For most people, the first time they go scuba diving can be a little unsettling and learning how to breathe from an oxygen tank can seem peculiar to say the least. Whether it's a one-off experience or you are taking a course of lessons, make sure you are with a reputable diving school. When you're underwater there are other considerations than just breathing to think about too! You will be weighted to make sure you're not rolling about all over the place underwater so you need to give your correct weight to the instructor. It can be tempting to knock off a few pounds when you're telling someone your weight, but this won't do you any favours as you won't be weighted properly and could end up in some discomfort. You will also be taught how to equalise properly. This will help you counter the effects of the water pressure, otherwise you could end up with an uncomfortable sensation in your head and sinuses. Again, a reputable school will tackle all this. If you are an experienced diver, then you might want to book a specific diving holiday. Destinations like the Red Sea in Egypt, the Maldives and the Philippines are very popular with divers. There are some fantastic hotels in these regions which act as a great base during your break. Some hotels also offer lessons in their own swimming pools, which are great if you have never tried diving before, or perhaps if you are travelling with more seasoned divers and would like some practise in a pool before you move onto diving in the sea. Once you have started to dive you're sure to become addicted. Being up close to the wonderful marine life is life changing and you will be amazed to discover the world under the sea. Whether you learn to dive in a swimming pool in the UK or the Mediterranean Sea, it is an experience not to be missed.
Baloon Tours Caribbean
The Caribbean Islands are amazing places and they are worth exploring from all angles. Floating over picturesque Caribbean islands offers an amazing perspective.
If you are looking for a unique, special experience for your next holiday, why not try a ride in a hot air balloon. Whether a fan of photography, nature, architecture or adventure, hot air balloon flights have lots to offer. Imagine passing over ancient ruins, tranquil jungles, or beautiful beaches, seeing an entire island from the sky.
If you don't feel like taking to the skies for balloon rides, consider visiting during the Caribbean Hot Air Balloon Festival, which takes place each year on Antigua during the last week of November and the first week of December. This festival is amazing to watch, even from the ground, as you see hundreds of brightly coloured balloons flying by, filling the sky with a rainbow of colours.
The official hurricane season for the Caribbean is from 1 June until 30 November.
For Antigua the period 15 August - 15 October is considered the active period peaking middle of September.
The last three hurricanes to hit the island directly were 1995, 1998 and 1999.
The official exchange rate is US$1 = EC$2.68 with variations based on the bank (currency code: XCD)
Info kindly provided by indigo divers Antigua.
The Caribbean is a delightful location – a selection of white sand beaches; palm trees; holiday resorts; and nature reserves. It's islands vary in size and makeup, but the laid-back attitude is common to all. It’s where you go when you want to get the benefit of sun, sea and sand without the crowds or the overt tourism.
Clearly there is tourism in the Caribbean, of course – it’s just of a slightly different order. Where mainstream package tourism is often crowded and not very relaxing, the price mark-up on a Caribbean tour ensures that a higher level of service and experience is usually achieved.
If you’ve never been on a Caribbean cruise before, you’ll need some packing tips. You’ve got a smart luggage set; you’ve got the guide book – now, apart from that guide book of course, what do you put in your cases?Packing for the Caribbean
Let’s start with the basics. Sun cream (sun tan lotion), after sun cream, and mosquito and insect repellent. Don’t underestimate the power of the tropical sun, which can have you blistered in less than an hour. If you’re British, you’re not used to it for sure. Take sun cream with a factor around 25% stronger than you think you need. SPF50 and above should do the trick. You can start to reduce to 30 and 15, don't risk just 30 initially.
After sun lotion is an absolute lifesaver in the tropics – particularly when you are so near to the sea. On and off your ship, you’re likely to be buffeted by gentle sea breezes most of the day – very pleasant indeed, until you realise they’ve been tricking you into feeling cooler than you actually are. When you inevitable burn your forehead or your ears, after sun lotion can take the heat and pain away in seconds.
There are many romantic places on earth, but it seems that their concentration is highest in the Caribbean region. It comes as no surprise that the travel destinations there are among the most sought after by couples in love, newly-weds and families. So, let us check the places that all those in a romantic mood want to visit. The first spot on our list is the island of Barbados, which has an interesting British atmosphere. Thus, one can expect afternoon tea and garden parties, left car driving and games of cricket. One of the most pleasant places here is the Bathsheba Beach, which must be visited for a great romantic walk. Expect nice places for dining out and luxurious accommodation spots with spa procedures.
The second romantic spot on our list is the French island of St. Barthelemy. This trendy place is preferred by the rich people and one can find famous faces here. The beaches here are fabulous, the cafes are trendy, the restaurants are fantastic and the hotels are exclusive, luxurious and expensive. Thus, if the couple is on a budget, this is not the place to go to.The third place that deserves to be mentioned is the island of Saint Martin, which is one third Dutch and two-thirds French, so the couple can experience both atmospheres. The beaches here are incredible, the best of them being Dawn Beach, Grand Case, Longue Beach and Orient Beach.
If the idea of the couple is to have a romantic, but also a relaxed holiday, then Jamaica is the place to go. The reggae music, the dances, the options for diving are just ideal if you dream about real recreation. Another fantastic place with reasonably priced resorts is the Dominican Republic. This destination is perfect for those who love adventures, as there is plenty to be done here. The couple can go hiking and scuba diving, snorkeling and windsurfing. In addition, one can try sailing with humpback whales. Among the finest spots to be checked here is the Cabarete bay, which is great place for windsurfing. For those couples in love that secluded beaches and beautiful scenery, the place to go is the island of Anguilla, which is appreciated by many famous artists and singers. This is a fantastic spot for those who love snorkeling and also for the food connoisseurs, as there are plenty of restaurants with various types of cuisine.
If the idea of the holiday is to lay on the beach and get great skin complexion, then the couple should head towards Antigua. It is famous for its long sandy beaches, many small and secluded beach zones and great options for watersports. The place though is not very suitable for kids. In case you want an active holiday with parties, shopping, and watersports, then the place to go is Aruba. The island is great for kite surfing, scuba diving and also wind surfing. If diving is the passion of the couple, another great destination for that are the Cayman Islands, which are famous for the crystal water, the great diversity of fish and the tales for the Sunken City of Atlantis.
There are some really good informations on scuba diving st lucia here - just thought I would share.
in fact there are good resources on other islands in the caribbean as well.
So you've got your PADI, you've checked out a few of the world's regular diving hotspots but now you've really caught the diving bug. If you're keen to plunge ocean depths in style, there are some great ways to do this with a luxury edge.
There are many exclusive five star resorts across the world that count among their offering scuba diving courses and facilities. You can choose your destination based on the kind of diving you are interested in. Grenada for example is one of the key locations for wreck diving, so if you fancy exploring sunken treasures this could be the place for you. If you're looking for sea life on a large scale, Mozambique could be a good choice. It's famed for year round sightings of stunning Whale Sharks and Manta Rays. Whatever your choice, diving breaks with a base in a luxury resort offer the comfort of a five star hotel by night and the freedom of the waves by day. Some would certainly consider this the best of both worlds.
Went diving today from my resort in reduit beach, long trip to the boat called dive fair helen via castries. But all good from then on excellent service and care though there was no dive shop as such the boat had all we needed - everything was done on board then off southwards to the marine park and soufriere. Two dive sites keyhole peaks and before that site was superman's flight normally a drift dive but today not much current to speak of. If you are looking to dive a lot in St Lucia you should make sure you get closer to the dive shop or find a closer one which may be another solution. The transfer was really killing it for me so for 1 hour 45 minutes of time in the water it took from 8.30 to past 4. So this isn't a workable solution for me staying in the st lucian by rex resorts. I hope I can do more diving and I would do this again but not more. Lee concurred with me who was staying even further north in smugglers cove, its a torrid minibus ride - I hate those things. Come on guys where is the water transport ?
On another subject, the most number of people injured by one single shark was in
Madagascar, Feb. 1997, 500 injured and 98 dead!
What happened was that a fisherman caught a shark, cut it up for sale in the market,
500 people who ate the shark meat ended up in the hospital with ciguatera fish poisoning
and 98 of those died!
This is the kind of thing you can expect when learning to dive in Jamaica, the line allows for a safe descent and the dive is shallow - you will have been taught a lot in the pool or confined safe water area at this point and you will never go outside your comfort zone !Learning to Dive in Jamaica at Sandals !
From the underwater artist Jason De Caires Taylor himself we present some recent updates for you to share.
Why Choose the Sandals Difference?Are you vacationing to the Caribbean? Experience the Sandals Difference – our hassle-free Luxury Included® vacations include an unparalleled array of amenities for you to enjoy during your tropical getaway. Whether you’re vacationing in Jamaica, St. Lucia, the Bahamas or Antigua, our luxury all inclusive Caribbean resorts offer a variety of quality amenities, superb service and lavish accommodations – we offer more inclusions than any other resort in the world.Top-Notch DiningSandals Resorts are renowned for offering their guests an array of gourmet dining choices to enjoy during an all inclusive Caribbean vacation – we provide up to 15 unforgettable restaurants per resort, including at least one authentic island dining experience. Sandals offers over 50 specialty restaurants, with fine dining selections from all over the world, including authentic Japanese sushi, fresh seafood, brick-oven pizza, classic French, British pub fare, Thai, contemporary Caribbean, Bahamian, Italian and light and healthy choices for health-conscious diners. The ambiance is as varied as our dining selections – enjoy romantic dinners by candlelight, dine on the beach, or enjoy a hearty meal at a pub – it’s your choice!
What would an all inclusive Caribbean vacation be without premium top-shelf drinks? Sandals all inclusive luxury vacations provide unlimited top-shelf drinks at no extra cost – our Luxury Included® vacations offer drinks 24/7, served throughout the resort. There are as many as 12 bars to choose from per resort, each staffed by friendly, experienced bartenders.Don’t want to leave the pool? Sandals’ signature swim-up pool bars are innovative, convenient and fun! Want to enjoy top-shelf drinks in style? Our Caribbean luxury resorts offer chic piano bars and unique themed bars, depending on your location – and if you don’t want to leave the white, soft sand of the Caribbean beach behind, enjoy unlimited premium-brand drinks and fine Beringer wines at our beachfront bars. There’s something for everyone at Sandals all inclusive Caribbean resorts.Luxurious AccommodationsSandals provides the finest, most luxurious rooms and suites at our all inclusive Caribbean resorts – we offer an array of accommodations to appease any type of traveler. Do you want to swim to your room? The swim-up suites of Sandals Negril makes it easy to go from the pool to your private sanctuary in no time. Each of our Caribbean luxury resorts offers something unique and special - enjoy a cliff-top sanctuary with a 180-degree view of the Caribbean sea in St. Lucia, enjoy enchanting seaside villas at Emerald Bay, relax in the privacy of our Mediterranean Plunge Pool Villa suites at Sandals Grande Antigua and more. No matter which accommodations you choose, Sandals’ all inclusive Caribbean rooms and suites include a variety of extravagant amenities to make your stay as luxurious and relaxing as possible, including daily turndown service, satellite TV, pillow menus, Egyptian cotton linens, plush robes and even iPod docking stations – just ask us to see what your accommodations will include. Upgrade to our top-tier all inclusive Caribbean suites and experience premium personal butler service from a butler who is trained in accordance to the standards of the Guild of Professional English Butlers.EntertainmentYou’ll never be bored at our all inclusive Caribbean resorts – there are endless activities to enjoy, day or night. Whether you’re in the mood for a live show, an extravagant beach party, a costume party, karaoke or talent shows, we’ve got an array of entertainment for you to choose from.
Dress up and sip a top-shelf cocktail at one of our elegant piano bars, or enjoy the delicious food and drinks at one of our weekly beach parties while watching exciting fire eaters and limbo dancers. Sway to the steel drum band under the stars or dance the night away in one of our discos or nightclubs – you’ll never run out of things to do at our Caribbean beach resorts.Beautiful Wedding Themes
When you book a honeymoon at one of our all inclusive Caribbean resorts for six nights or longer, we’ll provide you with a free Beautiful Beginnings wedding, ensuring that your special day is entirely hassle-free. Our wedding themes are known for elegance and simplicity, featuring a charming white fondant cake, a personal pre-wedding planner, a dedicated resort wedding team, assistance with marriage document preparation, pre-recorded music, sparkling wine and a hors d’oeuvres cocktail reception, and even a mimosa breakfast in bed – we’ve got it all!And if the Beautiful Beginnings wedding isn’t your style, you can apply the value of this wedding towards a theme of your choice – Sandals Luxury Included® Resorts offer six exclusive pre-designed themes to meet the needs of any bride. What’s more, brides-to-be can use our Sandals Destination Wedding Designer tool to completely customize a dream wedding from scratch – no other resorts in the world provide you with so much!Sandals Luxury Included® Caribbean ResortsOne could spend an endless amount of time explaining the top-notch amenities, services and accommodations available at Sandals all inclusive Caribbean resorts – including an unlimited scuba diving program, access to the award-winning, world-class Red Lane spa, or trips to Sandals exclusive offshore islands, just minutes away from the main resort. But talk is cheap – experience for yourselves why Sandals Luxury Included® vacations represent unparalleled relaxation, perfection and elegance – you’ll get more for less.
Today I went out with Jolly Dive for a couple of tanks. The first dive (Dive 1) was at Cades Reef - a firm favorite here as it provides a good dive almost every time. My dive was no exception - Nurse Shark, Octopus, Ray, and then some smaller stuff flamingo tongue - sea slugs. Paul took the effort to point out the various unidentifiable for me using his slate. The purple patches of Sargent Major eggs for example that the other fishes were taking bites out of ! The vis was good but apparently it wasn't I was told we could see 20ft ! A good torch and the ability to look into all the crevices pays dividends here and at this Paul and Connie the dive masters are excellent.The second Dive (Dive 2) was a shallow 30 ft max dive on Bluff Cut. The vis was again not to the normal high standard for Antigua and this was due to slightly wet weather systems around. I am always confused as to the poor reviews given for Antigua Diving and I have to imagine that is is the first impression of steep dropoffs or walls isn't there - but the diving and fish life are equal to many other islands. See the videos here on this site for tiger sharks !The weather is a bit off and on this time of year but it was in fact very enjoyable for us in total for 2 weeks there may have been 3 hours of rain at the most and it was refreshing along with the ever present winds.Related Links and further reading
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