USVI

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.

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.

No passport, No problem!

Your guide to traveling to the Caribbean sans passport!

You’re dying to head to the Caribbean, but your passport has hidden itself in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, or maybe you never even had one. Quick! What do you do? Head to Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands, of course! With no passport, it’s no problem... These two stunning destinations are perfect no passport beach getaways.

With temperatures in that “it feels sooo good outside range,” St. Thomas, USVI, and San Juan, Puerto Rico is simply perfect-o. The tropical mountains on one side, and ocean breeze on the other, create a ridiculous panoramic that pictures don’t do justice.

Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Beach Resort

If you’re not interested in the multitude of water activities like snorkeling, windsurfing, zip lining, kite boarding, scuba diving, sailing, fishing, parasailing, and kayaking… there’s also some duty free shopping and superb historical heritage to check out and write home about.

The best part of St. Thomas is the Marriott Frenchman’s Reef Resort. It sits on the side of a cliff, which might be the coolest thing we’ve seen in quite some time. We've also got a whole lotta love for the Conrad San Juan, Puerto Rico in no passport paradise. Give us a break, palm tree swaying in the wind… you can’t be this perfect all the time! Or, can you?!

Conrad San Juan, Puerto Rico

Two words. Infinity. Pool. They’re so cool when you look at the edge and it looks like they’re dropping off into the ocean. Especially when the sun is stuck at high noon and you can’t tell which blue is pool and which blue is ocean.

Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Beach Resort

See, you really don’t have to wait for a new passport to book your summer vacation to the Caribbean. The options for no passport travel have just arrived!

PS – Don't miss out on our Mega Marriott exclusive cheapcaribbean.com sale. Hurry, book now thru Thursday at any Marriott resort for insane savings!!