POPULAR CARIBBEAN PORTS OF CALL
Some call the Caribbean Sea and its hundreds of islands Paradise. As with any heaven-on-earth, there is much to enjoy, see and do. The most important things that the Caribbean is known for are its beaches, boats, and bikinis.The Caribbean Sea is one of the world's most colorful and marine-rich bodies of water. But this number one tourist playground also offers exquisite beauty... palm tree covered mountains, lush green valleys of sugar cane and bananas, and seashore in abundance.
The Caribbean, originally inhabited by the Carib indians, includes all of the islands in the Caribbean Sea from the Bahamas, past Cuba and all the way down to South America. They are influenced by many different cultures such as British, Dutch, Spanish, American, French, Danish and even Swedish.
Caribbean cities were established long before the car, and their communities' magnificent architecture reflects it. In the Caribbean islands, you can enjoy every imaginable land and water sport, with some of the best snorkeling and diving anywhere in the world; not to mention exotic fine dining, electrifying nightlife and glorious pyramids and other historical sites. For an unforgettable vacation, the islands of the Caribbean will never disappoint you!
The beaches, dining and shopping are great on this tiny tropical isle just 12 miles off Mexico's coast. But it's the coral reef just off shore and the sacred Mayan ruins that are the primary attractions. Palm-lined beaches throb with activity, while a dense jungle interior showcases Cozumel's primeval side. Spectacular Palancar Reef, part of the second longest coral reef system in the world, beckons divers the world over. Non-divers can kick back on a sun drenched beach, or enjoy any number of seaside activities, such as shopping the deals at the colorful marketplaces or dining in an open-air cafe. Cozumel's history is centered on its importance to the Mayan culture as one of three ceremonial centers in the region, and this link to the past can be further explored by paying a visit to one of 40 archeological sites still present on the island.
Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras
You'll receive a welcome as warm as the weather in this rustic, banana-shaped idyll of brilliant blue water, palm-fringed beaches and cooling trade winds. One of three Bay Islands just off the coast of Honduras, Roatan is home to a mix of eight different cultures who share a common pride in their homeland. Just off shore, the pristine Belizean Reef teeming with marine life and some of the best pillar coral in the Caribbean is considered one of the best dive destinations in the world.
Cancun is a stunning Caribbean paradise with a dual history, one rich in ancient Mayan influences and Spanish imperialism, and the other a modern lesson on the growth of this slender island into a fascinating tourist Mecca. In 1967, the government of Mexico began an exhaustive search to find a complete tourist destination on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. In Cancun, they discovered a site that had it all: unparalleled natural and cultural beauty highlighted in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, the stunning white sand beaches, and the incredible off-shore reefs. Cancun enjoys 15 miles of beautiful powdery
white sand beaches and an endless view of the Caribbean Sea. Its surrounding waters are ideal for aquatic sports including snorkeling, diving, and parasailing. Golfing is also readily accessible year round. More than 1200 archeological sites, many completely restored, are within a few hours drive from Cancun. Popular guided day tours of the ruins of Tulum (excursions also available from Cozumel), Coba, and Chichen-Itza (also available from the Port of Progreso) can be arranged upon your arrival. Once the sun sets, Cancun offers a large selection of entertainment that includes Mexican-style bars and sophisticated
nightclubs, playing anything from salsa music to modern dance club mixes. Dining in one of Cancun's excellent gourmet restaurants that offer live dancing and music shows, or browsing through an exclusive Mexican shopping pavilion, are just two of the many things you can look forward to on your visit to this Mexican paradise.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
The word Jamaica conjures up strong images in everyone's mind. Whether it's visions of impeccable Caribbean beaches, or the jungles and mountains, this small island has made a large impression on the world's stage. Montego Bay is the second largest city in Jamaica, but it may be the king of tourist destinations. Situated on the northwest side of the island, Montego Bay is the usual entryway for air and cruise passengers from the United States. Those who come here find immaculate beaches, world class resorts, top-notch golf courses and tennis courts, and five-star restaurants. Mo Bay, as it is affectionately known, got its start as a tourist destination in the early 20th Century. Jamaica lies 90 miles south of Cuba and is lush and green inland, with a mountain range that contrasts sharply with the coastline. Travelers to Jamaica need not feel unsafe. As long as you take the same precautions that you would take in any major American city, you will have little to worry about. On the whole, Jamaica's people are friendly and hospitable, and they are proud to welcome you to their island paradise.
Calica/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
If you’re a diver or a snorkeling enthusiast, you’ll be fascinated by the brilliant colors of Calica’s underwater world. Or you can just enjoy basking in the sun on one of the many beautiful beaches. Special excursions are also available for the adventurous… from scuba diving or snorkeling the coral reefs, dune-buggying, horseback riding on the beach, exploring underground caves, to party boats and beach parties.
Splendid regional dishes and traditional music and dances local to this region are found in restaurants, theaters and shops housed in palatial mansions along Paseo de Montejo - a boulevard fashioned after Paris' Champs Elyse. Progreso, Merida's port city, is only 30 kilometres north. Being centrally located, Merida is a practical hub to explore all of the splendors of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Belize City, Belize
Belize has more in common with its island neighbors than with the fiery volatility of the rest of Central America. Belize is English-speaking, and Creole-dominated. This geographically endowed region features lush lowlands and tremendous wetlands, timbered mountains, prime rainforests and karstic landscapes pocketed by caves and caverns. Oh, and a pristine coastline protected by the second longest barrier reef in the world. Belize has some of the best diving in the world, dramatic Mayan ruins looming out of the untouched jungle and secluded ecolodges catering to the most sedentary adventurers. The country's dense rain forest is home to a wide range of tropical wildlife, ranging from
jaguars and ocelots to keel-boated macaws and howler monkeys. And Belize's easygoing ways, a legacy of its past as a British colony, feels far more akin to a small Caribbean island than a Central American republic.
Georgetown, Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman is one of a group of three magnificent tropical islands Christopher Columbus called "Las Tortugas" (the turtles) for the sea creatures he found in the ocean water. The designation did not endure, however, for on later maps the islands were labeled the Caimanau, the Carib Indian word for "crocodile." The name "Caimanas" refers inaccurately to the iguanas native to the islands, which were perhaps at one point mistaken for crocodiles. Among other attractions, visitors to the island will enjoy learning about the turtles, visiting the town of Hell, exploring Seven-Mile Beach and enjoying the undersea world.
Costa Maya, Mexico
Costa Maya, once a trading post for the Mayan Empire, is located in the Mexican Caribbean and is best known for its jungles, beaches, lagoons and Mayan ruins. Recent development and building restrictions are making Costa Maya the perfect port of call.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Historic San Juan comes alive in a city and rum distillery tour. Spend a full day swimming and exploring the rain forest. During the evening, let the night reverberate with the Latin rhythms of a Rumba Show. History buffs will love the various museums and even El Morro, a six-level fort with 140-foot walls. Whatever your fancy is, the whole city is a must see.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Experience St. Thomas from both air and sea. Get a bird's-eye view of the Virgin Islands when you view them from a helicopter. Take a submarine tour of the undersea world. Beachcombers will enjoy a sun-soaked nap on an excursion to Magen's Bay Beach.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Water lovers will appreciate the aquatic adventures that await in St. Maarten. Gear up for snorkeling or take a certified dive. Indulge in a rare opportunity to race a multi-million dollar America's Cup sailboat. Or, take it easy with shopping and island sightseeing.