Caribbean

Five Fab Caribbean Beaches To Plant Your Bum by JetSetSarah

JetSetSarah blogs for CheapCaribbean.com

By: JetSetSarah

Get washed up on one of these beaches and cross your fingers that that no one comes to rescue you.

1. Bambarra Beach, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands­

Over on Provo, Grace Bay gets all the love. But one of my favorite strands is just a 30-minute ferry and less than 35 miles away from the Turks and Caicos Island tourist hub, secreted on sleepy Middle Caicos (pop. 300). You can’t help but be captivated by the beach at Bambarra, where, for about a quarter-mile, sun-warmed ankle-deep, crystal-clear water skims a rippled carpet of ivory sand. The tiny islet of Pelican Cay beckons you from the horizon, and in no time flat you’ll be answering its call, splashing your way towards it verdant landscape. While it might take you a minute to find this gem (there’s only a half-obscured hand-painted sign to direct you off the main road and down a gravel path to this casuarina tree-fringed beauty), Bambarra is totally worth the effort.

Turks & Caicos Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

2. Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

My favorite Jamaican beach is one of the island’s most picturesque, with a wide white-sand strand whose placid waters wash up against a sheltered cove. A small river flows through the 48-acre property, meeting the warm sea at the beach’s western end, where children fling themselves off a rope swing into refreshing waters. Cinematically beautiful (the movie Cocktail was shot here), blissfully quiet on a weekday, and located in what I think is Jamaica’s most idyllic quarter, Frenchman’s is a beach lover’s dream come true.

3. Seven-Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

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Somehow the Caribbean sun seems to shine its brightest on Grand Cayman’s marquee strand, possibly the hottest beach I’ve ever had the pleasure to bask on. I love nothing better than to chillax on a chaise and watch the parade of people go by: oiled-up European tourists in big chains and tiny bikinis; conventioneers freshly escaped from the frigidly air-conditioned confines of their hotel conference rooms; cruise ship day-trippers making a bee-line for a bucket of beer at Calico Jack’s. It might be a bit of a cliché, but Seven-Mile Beach is a classic Caribbean choice  – and a great one.

4. Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

What’s not to love about this 12-mile long sweep of sand bordered by warm, clear turquoise water? When I first visited Grace Bay in Provo more back in the 90s, you could step out onto the shore, look up and down, and not see a single soul. Now, of course, the scene is completely different, with swanky mid-rise hotels and restaurants bordering the shore. But the beach bum-basics are still there: sand as fine as confectioner’s sugar, gin-clear sea, and a laidback vibe that encourages you to slow down, pop open a frosty Turks Head, and take it all in.

5. Maundays Bay, Anguilla

Like all of Anguilla’s 33 beaches, Maundays Bay is public, so you don’t have to be a guest of plush Cap Juluca (the resort which has pride of place on its sands), to enjoy it. If you are, however, more’s the better. Hotel guests enjoy the services of beach butlers, who, as soon as they see you coming, will open a beach umbrella, dress your chaise with a towel and pillow, and set down a cooler of drinks for your seaside refreshment. But whether you’re staying at Cap J or not, this spectacular combo of mesmerizingly blue water and bone-white sands is yours to enjoy, whether for a few days or for just one blissful hour.

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Photo Credit by Tiare Scott

Jet Set Sarah, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, is a Caribbean travel expert, award-winning travel journalist, and TV personality. Former executive editor of Caribbean Travel +Life magazine, she ventures to the beach and beyond, sharing the diverse culture, relaxed lifestyle and colorful people of the world’s favorite warm-weather destination. She is also jetsetter-in-chief at JetSetSarah.com, where travel and shopping meet.

Celebrate Carnival Caribbean Style

It’s time to celebrate! Carnival is in its prime peak in the Caribbean. This means you’ll find lots of parties, parades and celebrations honoring the time leading up to Lent, a holiday that many islands participate in. For all the party animals out there, here’s a few celebrations happening amongst the Caribbean this Carnival season.

Aruba Does Carnival Right

Aruba is one of the choice Caribbean islands that celebrates Carnival all throughout January and the beginning of February. The entire schedule of events includes exciting parades, jump-ups, beautiful costumes and a truly vibrant atmosphere that you can only imagine by experiencing it.

There have been four major eras of Carnival in Aruba, with the first starting in 1921. This era was marked by debutante balls and costumed parties that took place at specific social clubs. The second era lasted 11 years through 1954 and was marked by the Lago Oil refinery success. This time period saw the introduction of carnival queen elections and the first parades were hold by Aruba’s oldest social club, the Tivoli social club. During the third era through 1965 is where the first island-wide public carnival took place. This also signifies the introduction of the island’s two grand parades seen each year. The fourth and current era has established a large majority of the tradition you’ll see at Carnival in Aruba. In 1966, when the era began, The Stichting Arubaanse Carnaval committee was founded at exactly 11:11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month. This day has been named Fools Day.

Carnival Celebrations in Aruba from Cheapcaribbean.com

The Grand Parade in San Nicolas showcases the Carnival Queen, as well as the colorful, traditional parade floats. Photo credit from VisitAruba.com

With a colorful January full of parties, costumes and celebrations Aruba’s Carnival begins to unwind during February. The final Carnival parade takes place on Sunday, February 10th. This year marks the 59th Grand Parade and will include traditional, extravagant costumes and floats celebrating a successful Carnival season. There will also be an appearance by the elected Carnival Queen. And what’s the best way to reward the island’s successful Carnival season and allow people to prepare for Lent that starts on Ash Wednesday? Carnival Monday, also known as Burnout Monday, is a national holiday recognizing a national day of rest.

Cozumel is one of Mexico’s biggest Carnival celebrations. The week leading up to Fat Tuesday is full of parties, celebrations and a series of parades with a Final Grand Carnival Parade down the Seafront Downtown. On Wednesday, February 6th the Grand Opening and Coronation of Carnival King and Queen will take place. This weekend will bring costume and dance competitions, as well as a Second Grand Carnival Parade. There’s even a costume contest for children and pets!

Cozumel Carnival Celebrations 2013 from Cheapcaribbean.com

Children, parents and even the pets get all dressed up in the festive Carnival attire. A friendly competition has emerged awarding the best costumes awards! Photo credit: CARNAVAL COZUMEL

If you ever want to plan a trip to experience all the rich culture and festivities of Carnival in Cozumel, you’ll want to make sure to attend one of the three Carnival Balls. Each ball is on a different night and features a concert or costume competition, with the final ball occurring on the evening of Fat Tuesday. Mexico’s version of Mardi Gras happens on the Cozumel seafront, offering iconic beach views the whole time. The Wednesday after Fat Tuesday there’s an award ceremony to acknowledge outstanding carnival participants. And after the final award is given marks the monumental burning of Juan Carnaval. Fires are started to burn the revelry associated with Carnival and begin the preparation for Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Let’s Party All Year Long

Carnival is celebrated at all different times throughout the year. And don’t worry, if you weren’t able to catch one of these festivities, there are plenty of other opportunities to celebrate. Jamaica has just begun their 25th annual Bacchanal Festival, which lasts all the way through April. With a Le Masqurade theme, there’s a series of parties all throughout February, March and April you won't want to miss.

St. Thomas’ Carnival attraction takes place throughout the month of April as well. It's a month long of dazzling pageants and talent shows that take place to name royalty over the festival. You can expect traditional music, food and a rich representation of this island’s vibrant culture.

Each parade has performers that perform different routines in traditional, vibrant costumes. Photo Credit by Virgin Islands Carnival

These are just a few of the celebrations that are to come this year. No matter when you’re looking to party, there’s a Caribbean or Mexico destination with a celebration with your name on it.

See What Life has to Offer Underneath the Water

A lot of times when we imagine jetting away to a Caribbean island, we think of beautiful beach views, ice-cold beverages and lots of R&R. And while this all sounds like a perfect way to spend your time off, there’s plenty of other activities to explore, including some under the water. The Caribbean and Mexico are home to some of the most beautiful beaches and some even more stunning sea life. Here are a few of the best Caribbean & Mexico snorkeling resorts, where you can discover the wonders of the sea with your very own eyes.

Snorkeling's Best Kept Secret: Riviera Maya

The first ‘Snorkeler's Paradise’ we’d recommend is in Riviera Maya. Located just outside of Cancun, Riviera Maya is an ideal Mexican destination to embark on an underwater adventure but also still enjoy everything an all-inclusive resort has to offer. One of our favorites here is 5-star, all-inclusive Valentin Imperial Maya. This large resort is located on Playa del Secreto, or “The Secret Beach,” making it a perfect hiding place to catch some beautiful snorkeling views as well.

Best Snorkeling Beaches in Mexico & Caribbean from Cheapcaribbean.com

It’s been rumored that there is a very active sea turtle life here. In fact, there’s a good chance you can catch a mother turtle harvesting her eggs somewhere along the half-mile stretch of stunning beach.

The great thing about the location of this resort is it makes for quick, easy access to Cozumel, which also boosts some unforgettable snorkeling and adventure. When you aren’t busy wearing out your goggles and mask, be sure to take advantage of all the amenities this resort offers. There are eight full restaurants, all sampling different cuisines from all over the world and nine bars with all types of concoctions and beverages that will leave you thirsty for more.  And during the day, bounce between the three different pools, Jacuzzi and even get a round of sand volleyball going. This secluded resort is the perfect place to lay your head after a long day of thrill seeking mixed with a little relaxation.

Luxury and Snorkeling Combined: Grand Cayman Island

If you’re interested in understated luxury paired with the best Caribbean snorkeling, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort is an absolute must.  Grand Cayman Island sits on Seven Mile Beach, which is infamous for its breathtaking scenery, as well as underwater views. Reefs like Cemetery Reef surround this island, where schools of Sergeant Majors surround the swimmers or Cheeseburger Reef, where 10 feet of water is home to plenty of friendly fish and iconic coral. And don’t underestimate the beaches on the Marriott shore…these current-free waters are home to parrotfish, yellowtail damsels and other colorful species just waiting to show off for snorkelers.

Best Snorkeling Beaches in Caribbean & Mexico, Grand Cayman Island from Cheapcaribbean.com

The crystal clear waters of Seven Mile Beach will practically be summoning you into diving underwater and seeing what colorful sea life accompanies these beaches.

Not only will you find colorful coral and playful sea creatures, this resort is home to 303 guests rooms and 4 deluxe suites that are the most spacious on the island. A recent renovation now allows for guests to take advantage of an all-inclusive option, fully equipped with four different restaurants and unlimited cocktails. When you’re not busy taking in the views on the iconic Seven Mile Beach, take a dip in the free form pool and hot tub that stretches 85 feet along the beach. With a resort that’s focused on luxury AND located on some of the best snorkeling waters in the world, your vacation and underwater adventure is calling…and we suggest picking up that call.

One Stop Shop for Snorkeling and Fun: Cancun 

For those of you that have been to Cancun, you know that this destination is never lacking in its imperial beaches, saucy nightlife and a wide selection of resorts that are sure not to disappoint. Named one of the “Top 20 Resorts in Mexico,” by Travel +Leisure, Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa is one of our favorites if you’re looking for quality time with some of earth’s friendliest creatures.

Best Snorkeling Beaches in Caribbean & Mexico, Cancun from Cheapcaribbean.com

The onsite lagoon makes it easier than ever to spend some quality time with Mother Nature's creatures of the sea.

Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa is the only area resort offering beaches on three sides and a chance to swim with dolphins right on the hotel grounds. You can even book a room with a view of the dolphin pool. The private saltwater lagoon, unique to Dreams Cancun, is filled with sea turtles and tropical fish. There are also dolphins at Delphinus Dreams Cancun complex, making it easy to take a dip with these fun, friendly creatures. This Dreams resort is the ultimate family vacation with an Explorer’s Club for the kids, private beach, freshwater pool and a ton of all-inclusive dining and drinking options. Look no further if your idea of the ultimate family vacation has everything you need all in one place.

No matter if you spend so much time in the water you almost consider yourself an honorary member of the sea, or just like to spend a little bit of time seeing what's beneath the surface, these destination hot spots and resorts are the ideal way to see it all. If you're dying for more recommendations on snorkeling spots or looking for more insights as your gearing up for your next vacation, check out all of our vacation articles here.

Ooh La Luxe, Luxury Resort Deals You Can’t Pass Up

When we are shopping for vacations we’re often looking for the package that’s going to give us the most for our money. No surprise there. In fact, all our favorite vacation packages this week highlight luxury but are still slim on your budget. Take a peek and see what you think.

Boutique Luxury on a Budget

Los Cabos is an area that’s packed full of high-end, luxury resorts, including this Condé Nast Traveler pick as one of the “Top Ten Mexico Hotels.” Pueblo Bonito Pacifica is a boutique spa resort that is the perfect spot for the adult only vacation you’re planning. This trendy hotel offers tranquil views and ultimate relaxation. Couples and singles both enjoy the all-inclusive beachfront luxe life here.

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel in Los Cabos from Cheapcaribbean.com

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica serves up beautiful Pacific Ocean views as well as pure relaxation and tranquility.

Spend your days lounging on a Bali bed on the beach or making friends with the bartender at the swim up bar at one of the two beachfront pools. You’ll also want to check out the daily scheduled activities, such as wine or tequila tastings, which make for a great way to give some new drinks a try. Don’t forget to schedule a customized spa treatment at Armonia Spa. We recommend the couples spa day with massages in the private couples suite, equipped with champagne and strawberries.

As the evening approaches, you’ll have to decide between one of the four signature restaurants home to this 5-star resort. Fresh local ingredients fill the menu at Siempre where chocolate fettuccine with lobster and salmon ravioli leave guests raving. There are also five bars, all with a different atmosphere, perfect for any mood you’re in. End the night by heading off to your Ocean View Suite, which comes equipped with your own butler and will prepare your room so you’ll have no trouble drifting off after a jam packed day. The best part of this whole vacation is the exclusive rates you’ll find for this winter and spring. With three night deals starting at $769 and even a $50 spa credit, this is an ultimate luxury getaway you won’t want to pass up.

Luxury Comes Alive

Cancun is home to tons of resorts and no matter what your occasion is, you can usually find a top-notch resort perfect for you. The occasion for this vacation is luxury, luxury and more luxury. And that’s just what you’ll find at Live Aqua Cancun. This resort was named “The Best Resort in Mexico” by Caribbean Travel + Life and is a beach enthusiast’s dream. Perfectly placed in Cancun’s hotel zone, all the hotel rooms at this resort have a patio that offers an ocean and pool view. Meaning you’ll wake up to crystal clear waters and beautiful Cancun sun that reminds you paradise really does exist. Not to mention, Live Aqua’s 371 rooms all offer Egyptian-cotton sheets and aromatherapy kits that might even make it hard to open the shades and get out of the beach.

Best Luxury Resort Live Aqua Cancun from Cheapcaribbean.com

Live Aqua Cancun is a luxe paradise that offers endless amenities to leave you feeling spoiled rotten.

Start your day off by reserving a private cabana and ordering a cocktail from the pool concierge and staff. You can bounce between the gorgeous infinity pools or the private swim up bar pool. Also, make sure to take advantage of the full staff and service on the beach. When it comes to dining options, choose from one of the four restaurants including MB, where celebrity chef, Guillermo Gomez prepares Latin-inspired dishes that are sure to leave you satisfied. End your evening with a stop at Ergos Bar where a DJ spins late into the night and cocktails are always flowing. And one final detail we’re sure not to leave out…for a short time only, Live Aqua Cancun four night deals start at just $879.

Jamaican Luxury, Come One, Come All

Jamaica is the epitome of the ideal Caribbean destination. Perfectly placed on a Caribbean shore with warm sun and an even warmer culture, this is a vacation that you can’t turn down. Don’t worry, Jamaica isn’t slacking on high-end, luxury resorts that fulfill your Caribbean vacation dreams either. Jewel Dunn’s River is a great luxury option that will send you home feeling pampered and relaxed, two necessities when returning from vacation.

During the day, spend some quality time on the resort’s private beach on Mammee Bay, fully equipped with lounge chairs and cabanas. Or wander back to the Jewel Dunn’s River Resort to take advantage of the Sunken Treasure swim-up bar and pool concierge service. Yep, that’s right someone will greet you at your poolside lounger to offer fresh fruit, ice-cold face towels or a mist of cool water. If a poolside concierge service doesn’t spell out luxury, then we don’t know what does.

Best Luxury Resorts in Jamaica, Jewel Dunn's River from Cheapcaribbean.com

Jewel Dunn's River is Jamaica's top pick for an adult only vacation that won't sacrifice budget or luxury.

When it comes to food, try one of the six outstanding dining options. We're big fans of the  Mediterranean fare at Moonstone by Dominic or the teppanyaki-style options at Jade Samurai, just to name a few. Jewel Dunn's River also has six different bars to sample all the local Jamaican drinks from. And the actual resort is located right in the heart of adventure with daily tours to Ocho Rios and quick cab rides to Montego Bay for some nightlife options. And of course, the best part of this vacation is three night deals start at $659, all-inclusive. Sounds a steal you can't pass up, right? That's what we thought too.

This year do your vacation right. Since budget won't a problem with these spectacular deals, it's easy to get everything you were hoping for on your getaway. You work hard and you deserve to have it all. But you'll want to grab one of the deals quick...who knows how long they'll stick around. Happy Vacation Planning!

The Caribbean’s Most Exotic Beaches Made Just for You

Shut down the computer. Turn off the cell phone. Put that out-of-office reply on your email. It’s time to get away. And not just on a typical vacation…how about a trip to one of the Caribbean’s most secluded, exotic beaches? This week, we’re all about destinations that offer complete privacy and utter relaxation…and not to mention some of the most stunning views in the world.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are made of a series of small islands. The largest of these islands, Grand Cayman is a top choice if you’ve got your sights on a mesmerizing view. On the west side of Grand Cayman is the world-famous Seven Mile Beach. This beach is a crescent-shaped natural wonder that lends itself to calm, crystal clear waters and pure silk sand. It’s also one of the lesser-populated beaches in the Caribbean, making it the perfect place to jet away to for that private, serene vacation you’re seeking.

Caribbean Vacations Cayman Islands from Cheapcaribbean.com

For some of the best views and quietest places to lounge on your vacation, Grand Cayman Island is the perfect exotic beach to runaway to.

One of our top picks for accommodations on Grand Cayman Island is Grand Cayman Beach Suites. Located on the famous sparkling white sand of Seven Mile Beach, this hotel resort is the perfect compliment to a trip full of serenity and a fresh mind. There are two spectacular pools, even one with a swim-up bar. We also recommend a stop at the 12-person, deluxe European boutique spa and indulge in a treatment that will leave you feeling rested and rejuvenated.

Grand Cayman Islands Caribbean Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Bounce between the powdery white sand and the pool with the swim-up bar for a vacation day well spent.

Make sure to stop in at Hemingways Restaurant located on site of this resort. It was recently voted in the “Top 3 Restaurants in the Caribbean,” by Wine Spectator and will prove to be an iconic memory of your trip.

Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos

Another place in the Caribbean that’s quick to be named as one of the most exotic spots in the Caribbean is Turks & Caicos. And while there’s a good chance any part of this island will promise picture perfect views, our favorite is Grace Bay Beach. This area is home to a ton of top-of-the-line resorts that are all tucked perfectly on the shores of this beautiful beach, making it the ideal place to stay on your Turks & Caicos vacation.

Turks & Caicos Caribbean Vacation from Cheapcaribbean.com

Grab a refreshing cocktail and spend some quality time with the bluest beach you've ever seen at Grace Bay Beach.

Seven Stars Resort is just the place to stay if you’re looking to experience this iconic beach for yourself.  This 5-star resort sits right on TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Award top-rated beach. Yes, we’re talking about the infamous Grace Bay Beach. Embrace a vacation full of romance and relaxation at this picture perfect Turks & Caicos resort.

Turks & Caicos Caribbean Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Surround yourself with beautiful views at this iconic Turks & Caicos resorts.

Start your vacation off right - grab a mojito from Sand Dollar, the poolside bar and take a dip in the heated saltwater pool or relax in a Caribbean lounger. You can also fill your days with a round of golf at the nearby Provo Golf & Country Club or hit the waves in a Hobie cat. When its time for a bite, stop at Seven for a thick cut steak or fresh seafood. If you’re looking a night out you can check out the downtown Provo nightlife that’s just right outside your hotel door.

St. John, USVI

Caribbean Travel + Life names St. John the “emerald jewel of the U.S. Virgin Islands,” which is one of the many reasons we add St. John to our list of must-see exotic beaches. Although this is a rather small island, St. John is home to 31 of the most beautiful beaches in the world and definitely an island you’ll want to add to your bucket list. Stop off at Trunk Bay to snorkel through the underwater trail or visit Cinnamon Bay’s prehistoric archaeological site and not to mention, iconic views you’ll never forget.

St. John, USVI Caribbean Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Your vacation to St. John should be spent exploring all of the critically acclaimed beaches on this island.

Being that St. John is the perfect destination to take to the whole family to, we’d suggest a family vacation to the Westin St. John Resort & Villas. This resort sits right on the edge of Cruz Bay, which offers aqua-clear tranquil waters, perfect for a trip with the kids to test out the snorkeling gear in the shallow waters. Don’t worry, if you’re looking for a little adult time, the kids can gladly hang out at the Westin Kids Club with plenty of fun activities that might keep the kiddos from wanting to leave.

St. John, USVI Caribbean vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

The Westin St. John has everything you'll need to make your family vacation complete.

Be sure to take advantage of the quarter-acre, freshwater pool fully equipped with a underwater-light show and two Jacuzzis, perfect for lounging. And when you’re hungry, the family can grab a bite at Snorkel’s Bar or Beach Café for lunch and give Cruz Bay Prime a try for an elegant, delicious dinner that will accompany your ideal vacation.

A vacation is something that you’ll remember forever. So why not make the trip that will leave you with memories on some of the most beautiful, exotic beaches in the world? It’s time to cross this off your bucket list.