St Thomas U.S.V.I. , An Island Treasure

St, Thomas U.S.V.I.Although considered to be a small island, St Thomas has 2 official cities: Red Hook and Charlotte Amalie. Also known as the “East End,” Red Hook offers more activities and nightlife, and you can see more restaurants on this side of the island. You can take a taxi to go to East End, and it can take around thirty minutes from downtown to East End. Considered as the island’s capital city, Charlotte Amalie is also called “downtown.” You can find a great number of cruise ships in this city. It has over 300 stores, some of which are frequented by tourists almost every day. At night, Frenchtown, its downtown area is a classy place to be, where you can get good drinks and food. You will enjoy your stay in this fantastic island when you try as many activities as you can and watch its many different tourist attractions, from historic houses to old churches and from gardens to parks. Below are some of the most wonderful St Thomas tourist attractions that you should not miss!

Butterfly Garden

For the butterfly enthusiasts, touring the butterfly garden will truly become a delightful experience for them as they get to see a plethora of butterflies from across the world. The tour takes about 25 minutes, and the visitors can expect to see many different lovely species of butterflies and local plants during the tour. If you like to attract some butterflies to go near you, you simply try to don some perfumed lotions and bright-colored apparel.

Coral World Ocean Park

St Thomas’s pride, Coral World is a wonderful place for the whole family to visit during the entire day. You will be fascinated with the Caribbean aquatic life. Through the Undersea Observatory, you can view the Caribbean coral reef. You can get the chance to hand feed a beautiful lorikeet or a fascinating stingray. What else, there are other unique activities that are worth trying as well. These activities include Nautilus Semi-Submarine, Turtle and Shark Encounters and Snuba Diving, among others. The park also has several shower facilities, cafes and gift shops.

Tillett Gardens

Located in an old farm building, Tillett Gardens was created due to the idea of Jim Tillett, a silkscreen artist. Those who visit the garden can appreciate creativity in the work. At the garden, there are shops where you can find photography, candles, jewelry, paintings, silkscreen prints and other art products. Visitors can also go to the bar and restaurant located in its premises. Tillet Gardens is a famous venue for many interesting events all-year round. Such events include crafts and local arts shows. It is also a popular venue for jazz, folk and classical music concerts.

For those searching for lots of activities while traveling, St Thomas can offer them some fun and excitement. They can go on a scuba diving tour, play golf, take nature hikes, join some themed events, go kayaking, go zip lining and try the walking and running tours, among others.

St Thomas sells affordable liquor. Most bars especially serve bottled liquor. Bars are more common than nightclubs in the island. They are usually found in most restaurants and resorts. If however you prefer to go to a nightclub, you must bear in mind that only a small number of nightclubs can be found particularly in Red Hook and Frenchtown. There is an interesting fruit drink that you should try as well. The famous coconut milk juice is a healthy drink that you should not miss while you are in the island.

You will have many choices when it comes to food served in the island. Aside from its milk juice, the coconut meat is also very delicious. You must have a taste of it to see for yourself. Just like in any tourist destination, St Lucia has high-end and affordable restaurants. If you would like to try some West Indian fare, Shawny’s Shack is an ideal place to be. If you wish to have some fine dining, you can enjoy your favorite seafood and steaks at “Room with a View.” If you prefer a meal with a more distinct taste, you will absolutely have a great meal at Rancho Latino, which serves flavorful Spanish and Caribbean (Dominican) fare. You will definitely enjoy your meal at Glady’s Cafe, where there is warm ambience and a bar. If however you want a place where there are lots of menu choices, you will truly appreciate the long list of lunch menu at Frenchtown Deli, where you can eat excellent sandwiches and salads. It is also a popular place among the government officials, who start their day with a coffee or hold their meetings here.

If you are into shopping, you will absolutely have a blast in the island of St Thomas as it is considered as the Caribbean’s largest shopping place. Visitors can pay using the US currency as it is accepted in almost any part of the island. Dozens of stores can be found in the downtown area and in the malls located anywhere in the island. The famous of which is Yacht Haven Grande where you can see high-quality branded stores and restaurants. When you go to Vendor’s Plaza you will be delighted to see so many colorful items such as rainwear, caftans, shirts and more! In addition to these items, you will also find lots of other great items to bring back home for your loved ones. If you’ve got enough to spend, items such as china, fine crystal, electronics, optics, cameras, linens, perfumes, cosmetics, watches, jewelry and gems are also great buys from St Thomas. If you wish to get a bargain, you must try to search some items from some stores or open-air bazaars.

With its great-tasting sandwiches and seafood, St Thomas has its own gastronomic appeal that visitors find just quite irresistible. Filled with exciting land and water attractions, St Thomas can offer its visitors an exhilarating experience during their stay. Indeed, if you are searching for a Caribbean holiday destination for your weekend getaway or week-long vacation, you must include St Thomas in your list.


San Juan Puerto Rico

San Juan Puerto RicoRegarded as Puerto Rico’s largest and capital city, San Juan consists of 395,000 residents. It has an outstanding Caribbean harbor. The city is Puerto Rico’s political and economic center. It takes pride in its bustling economic district, active harbor and ancient architecture. The best time to visit San Juan is during the winter season since the weather is pleasant in this time of year. San Juan residents or otherwise called as sanjuaneros are jovial and love to celebrate. No wonder wherever you go you can see discotheques and bars throughout the city. The city features superb beaches, museums, historic sites, plazas, etc., making it an interesting place to stay. Below are some of San Juan’s best tourist attractions that you should not miss:

Festival Casals

A popular celebration in the month of June, Festival Casals is a famous celebration that is known across the globe. It features orchestral music. It originated in 1956 due to the efforts of Pablo Casals, the famous Spanish cellist. At the time of the celebration, many conductors and musicians from across the globe visit Puerto Rico to join the celebration. Throughout the entire festival, visitors can watch the Puerto Rican Symphony Orchestra as it performs along with some special guests every night.

Isla Verde

Located in the east is Isla Verde. It is the city’s suburb and considered as an exclusive spot. It is associated with upscale shopping, restaurants and hotels. The hotels especially are located nearby the sea. It is a cosmopolitan area and built mainly for tourists. This is one interesting place where various cultures meet. It is not uncommon to see some beach goers getting a tan at the beach or enjoying the typical water sports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing or surfing when you visit Isla Verde.

Bacardi Rum Factory

This 127-acre factory is an interesting spot as well. Visitors to the factory will enjoy the trolley ride as they tour around the factory. Also called as the “Cathedral of Rum,” this rum factory offers free tour to all its guests. The visitors are introduced to the process of making rum, the history and other facts pertaining to the factory.

Centro de Bellas Artes

This center is considered as the Caribbean’s largest fine arts building. This center has hosted operas, plays and concerts since 1981. Those who love watching operas, plays and concerts will truly find this center interesting.

Palacio de Santa Catalina

This very old executive mansion is recognized by UNESCO as a “World Heritage Site.” This is also called as “El Palacio de Santa Catalina” or “La Fortaleza” by the locals. This is where Puerto Rico’s Governor officially resides. This structure was built from 1533 to 1540 for the purpose of defending the city’s harbor.

There are just so many activities to do while you are in this beautiful city. If you love to try some new food, you can sign up for the “Flavors of San Juan Food and Culture Tours” so that you can get the chance to try the best local foods, coffee and rum. What’s more, through joining the tour you will be able to gain more information about the city just like any other San Juan resident. You can watch concerts, ballets, plays or other events at The Teatro Tapia. If you like the outdoors, you can play baseball or tennis, go jogging or just stroll at the Central Park or at any other city park nearby. San Juan beaches are also quite irresistible and strolling along the seashore is a good idea to feel the soothing breeze of the sea. What’s more, you can go to some seaside restaurants and enjoy your hearty seafood meal.

When it comes to the city’s drinking culture, you should know that some bars and pubs open around 11:30am and close around 1am to 4am the next morning, while others open rather late from 6pm to 10pm and close from 3am to 4am the next morning. If you wish to try a great-tasting burger, you will enjoy your time at BUNS Burger Shop, which offers top quality beef and provides more than 40 beers. If you wish to meet some fashionable locals, you can go to Piera one weekend to see for yourself. If you prefer live entertainment, you will definitely have a great time at El Patio de Sam, where you can taste some of the great beers they offer.

For the food lovers, San Juan also has some great restaurants that serve great food. If you prefer a more casual and elegant atmosphere, you will absolutely like the setting at UVVA Restaurant and Tantra, where you can get the chance to eat delicious international cuisine. You will definitely enjoy your lip-smacking appetizers and tapas at Pamela’s Caribbean Cuisine, which is located beside the beach. If you want an authentic San Juan taste, La Bombonera is an ideal place to try the local cuisine. It also serves great-tasting coffee and fresh pastries at affordable prices. If you wish to try more cuisines, you can go to Tierra del Fuego which serves tasty Argentinean cuisine; Margarita’s which offers delicious Mexican cuisine and El Alcázar which serves savory Spanish food.

When you are in the mood for shopping, you can always go to Old San Juan, where you can see many stores. Stores include branded outlets, crafts, arts, fine jewelers, etc. If however you want popular brands such as American Eagle, Lacoste, Macy’s, JC Penney and more, you will have a shopping spree at Plaza las Américas. You should not miss the widest Sears shop in the world as well. The Butterfly People shop sells acrylic encased butterflies, which make a great souvenir for your loved ones back home.

With its century-old architecture, great-tasting local cuisine and outstanding beaches, San Juan will always be regarded as an interesting tourist destination. Whether you are planning on visiting the place for your weekend getaway or week-long vacation, it always has something special for you. Thus, your visit to San Juan will definitely be worth remembering.


Nassau Bahamas, A Bright Holiday Spot

Nassau BahamasNassau is known as the Bahamas’ largest and capital city. Having a total of 260,000 residents, it is also the Bahamas’ most populated city. The city is characterized by its laid back atmosphere and low-rise buildings. Its gigantic cruise ships and pastel pink-colored government buildings are only some of its features that distinguish it from the rest of the tourist destinations. Tourists who like the subtropical climate will most likely adore Nassau since it has a subtropical climate. Its climate actually is very similar to the climate of South Florida where the weather is usually humid and warm all-year round, with occasional cool nights in the winter season. With its famous glitzy resorts, grand hotels, old forts and candy-colored historic structures, Nassau is an interesting location for all tourists from many different parts of the world. Below are some of Nassau’s most famous tourist attractions that are worth your visit:

National Art Gallery of the Bahamas

Opened to the public in 2003, the Art Gallery is regarded as the country’s major art institution. This renovated historic mansion was built by the Bahamas Chief Justice William Henry Doyle around 1860. The Art Gallery features Bahamian art dating back from the prehistoric period up to the current time. It houses outstanding collections of textiles, photography, ceramics, sculpture and paintings. Art lovers will truly find lots of artistic treasures in this art gallery.

Cable Beach

With its turquoise waters and fine white sand, many tourists from across the globe consider Cable Beach as their favorite attraction in Nassau. Visitors can also have a great time at any of the great resorts found in the area. Whether you prefer Wyndham Nassau Resort, Royal Bahamian, Sandals, Breezes or Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort, you can definitely enjoy your vacation. You can get a good tan or swim in the clean waters anytime of the day.

Atlantis

Atlantis is considered as a very significant Bahamian attraction. It is an entertainment complex, a water park, an aquarium and a luxury hotel rolled into one. Visitors are fascinated with its elaborate decorations that represent mythical and real creatures such as gigantic doors made of bronze, helmeted domes, seahorses, etc. The impressive aquarium is filled with many tropical species of fish found in the Bahamas region. The spectacular water park is loved by adults and children alike. Because of its magnificent structures and fantastic features, this theme resort is said to be a good match with those found in Vegas.

Queen’s Staircase

Made of 66 solid limestone steps, Queen’s Staircase was made by the slaves in the later part of the18th century. Over 100 years after, this staircase that leads to the Fort Fincastle was named Queen’s Staircase to give honor to Queen Victoria. Visitors will appreciate the cooling cascade that flank the staircase as they climb it. Once the visitors reach the topmost level of the fort, they will absolutely enjoy the stunning views of the city.

Just like in any tourist destination, there are certain activities to enjoy in Nassau. You can enjoy sightseeing, getting a tan in the famous beaches, satisfying your gastronomic cravings with awesome seafood delicacies and dishes and doing a variety of other exciting activities while you are staying in Nassau. The famous activity that many tourists love is joining the bus tour, where they are taken around the city to see and learn about the city’s local government, old forts and major locations as well as have a glimpse of Paradise Island.

The drinking establishments in Nassau usually close at around 3 to 4am. If you prefer to meet lots of locals, you can go to Club Fluid. The locals you will meet here are sure to give you a great deal of recommendations. You should know that the drinks served in clubs can be generally costly. However, if you prefer a cheaper drink, you should order rum as it is not only cheap but it is also always available.
 

 
When it comes to food, Nassau offers great seafood dishes. The seafood dishes are especially so delicious at the many seafood restaurants you can find at the waterside. These upscale seafood restaurants serve great-tasting seafood dishes that you will definitely love. Although the dishes may be a bit expensive their taste is excellent and they are definitely worth trying. If you don’t mind splurging, Cafe Matisse will absolutely satisfy your cravings for Italian cuisine. If however you prefer a mid-range budget meal, you can order some good fish and a guava duff dessert at a price you are willing to pay at The Shoal Restaurant and Lounge, where you can get to see many locals eat. If you wish to eat at a hole in the wall, you just need to go downtown to get a good meal consisting of desserts, sides and greasy fish for a more affordable price. Moreover, there are also a variety of cheaper meals served at fast-food restaurants such as McDonalds, Sbarros and some Chinese restaurants. Thus, you will definitely have many great food choices when you visit Nassau. At Potter’s Cay, you will get to try lots of exotic local produce, Bahamian delicacies, conch fritters and conch salad.

When it comes to shopping, Bay Street is filled with souvenir shops and jewelry boutiques. If you wish to bring some nice things back home for your loved ones, Straw Market has everything you will need as it focuses on selling touristy knickknacks, from woven products such as baskets, mats, hats, colorful fabrics to wooden carvings and a lot more! They offer many interesting souvenirs to choose from so you are sure to find something special for each of your loved ones. What’s great about this place is that you can actually haggle on the price. You can easily avail of great discounts if you try to buy more items. You will also enjoy shopping at their duty-free shops located in the downtown area.

With all its outstanding beaches, stunning marine attractions and superb seafood delicacies, Nassau is also a great place to spend a vacation. Nassau is not only an ideal destination for ocean lovers and beach goers but is also a perfect spot for those who want to explore a city with unique and colorful features.


Montego Bay Jamaica, Feel the Rhythm of the Island

Montego Bay Jamaica
Photo Credit: © Op. Deo

Also referred to as “MoBay,” Montego Bay is not Jamaica’s capital city but it is its 2nd largest city. This port city has historic plantations, attractive coral reefs, lovely palm-covered hills and beautiful beaches that allure many visitors from across the globe. Tourists come and go to this popular destination for its remarkable tourist attractions, from awesome beaches to beautiful gardens. Below are some important tourist spots you should include in your itinerary when you visit Montego Bay:

Rocklands Bird Sanctuary

For those who love to feed the birds, this sanctuary can give them sheer delight as they feed endemic and exotic bird species. What’s great about this place is that visitors are allowed to view the birds and take pictures of their favorite bird species. For the bird lovers, this is a very nice location to have fun and relax as they feed the birds. As soon as they enter the sanctuary, visitors are given some amounts of nectar in a bottle to attract hummingbirds. You can also get to see the Doctor Bird, the Jamaican national bird.

Greenwood Great House

Situated in the serene hills, this antique home was inhabited by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (English poet) and her family over 200 years ago. This is among the most-preserved houses found in Jamaica. All the guests can especially see the antique furniture of which the home is filled with. What’s more, they will get to see the panoramic views of the countryside that surrounds the home.

Croydon in the Mountains

This 132-acre plantation is situated in the Catadupa Mountains foothills. It produces honey and its main crops include citrus, plantains, pineapples and coffee. Visitors will definitely love the magnificent countryside views. During their visit, visitors gain some information on the various crops planted and can try some of the produce. They are also given some fresh fruit juices which they can sip while strolling around the vicinity with other visitors. After their tour around the area, visitors are served with a barbecued meal for lunch and the Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

Doctor’s Cave Beach

This is a very popular beach in Jamaica that has white sand and clear waters. Some believe its waters come from mineral springs. Around the 1920s, a well-known British osteopathic doctor went swimming and discovered the curative powers of its waters. Since then, Montego Bay has been known across the globe and this beach has become a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can stay at any of the many hotels lining the beach. They can also rent any beach equipment they need during their stay, they can choose from among the many different items sold at the gift shops and they can eat their favorite treats at the restaurants. Cruise liner passengers often frequent this beach as well.

Gloucester Avenue

Otherwise called as Hip Strip, this avenue is popular among tourists as well. This is situated nearby a famous beach. Visitors can see many different shops, cafés, art galleries and restaurants in this very lively avenue. If you wish to find many souvenir items and t-shirts, this place has everything you need. The most popular restaurant in this avenue that you should not miss is Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, which has wide-screen televisions and blaring tunes.

Montego Bay offers many interesting activities to all its visitors. If you prefer to go on a sightseeing tour or a cruise liner tour, Best Jamaica or Travel Around Jamaica Tours can provide you with excellent service. Another popular tour company is the Dreamer Catamaran Cruises, which offers a variety of exciting activities for the visitors such as sun bathing, drinking, snorkeling and sightseeing. Visitors will especially enjoy some sporting events, concerts or festivals during their visit as well. The most popular events most visitors love are the Reggae Sumfest and Pineapple Cup Montego Bay Race. Other activities you can enjoy while visiting Montego Bay include golf, river rides, zip lining, fishing, horseback riding, para-sailing and a lot more!

Although you can find various selections of drinks at the restaurants, it is a good idea to try the Jamaican fruit punch, Jamaican ginger beer or Stripe Beer. Jamaican tropical drinks are especially a perfect match for Jamaican food. Jamaican drinks have a distinct taste that you will surely love! The Royal Stocks English Pub is a popular location for tourists and locals.
 

 
There are numerous restaurants in the city. Whether you wish to eat at a fast food restaurant or at a formal dining restaurant, you can always find the kind of eating place you prefer. If you really wish to taste some real good food, you must go to the Pelican. It has served the locals and tourists alike with good food for over 35 years. Pork Pit serves great-tasting jerk chicken, pork, sausages, fish and a lot more! Your dining experience in the beautiful city of Montego Bay will never be complete until you try the very flavorful Ackee & Saltfish, Jamaica’s national dish. Moreover, another Jamaican delicacy that you must try is the tasty Jamaican Patty with vegetable, lobster, fish or chicken filling. This is best served either at lunchtime or at snack time. At Evelyn’s, you can savor excellent food that you can get at great prices. What’s more, you will absolutely love the seafood served at Pier One Seafood.

When it comes to shopping, there are many souvenir or gift shops, where you can buy almost any souvenir item from. The best souvenir products to buy include key chains, caps, T-shirts, rum, coffee, coffee mugs, beaded jewelry, wood carvings, hats and spices. Rum costs less if you buy it from the duty-free shop. If you wish to buy Jamaican fragrance body oils, art pieces, spices or gourmet coffee at very reasonable prices, Montego Bay Shopping Center has it all for you. The Harbor Street shopping area, where you can see vendors taking pride in their goods, is particularly popular among cruise liner passengers.

Indeed, Jamaican coffee tastes like no other and you can appreciate its taste more as you sip a cup of it from the land where it is produced. Also, you can only appreciate the healing qualities of Doctor’s Cave Beach once you swim in its clear waters. With all its superb beaches, great-tasting food, fantastic tourist attractions, exciting activities, Montego Bay truly deserves to be considered as among the most popular tourist destinations in the world.