A southern Caribbean cruise has a charisma all to its own. Travelers to this region will find that these ports retain their rich heritage and cultures, and are less developed and remain unchanged. This region boasts some of the most spectacular places in the Caribbean. The distance of these islands from the U.S. mainland and cruise ports, make this area ideal for cruises with a lengthier voyage.
Here are two popular southern cruise destinations and two of the lesser known, but just as dazzling, Caribbean island jewels.
Aruba – Located just about 20 miles north of Venezuela, Aruba is one of the Caribbean’s most southern island destinations. Visited by about a half million people annually, this tiny island paradise with its welcoming hospitality and very friendly people, is for vacationers seeking excitement and non stop activities. Aruba’s southern coast is lined with hotels, resorts and spas, fine restaurants, shops, malls, and bazaars. Those interested in Aruba’s nightlife will find casinos, night clubs, discothèques, theaters and cinemas. Family activities run the gamut here in Aruba. From water fun and excitement while wind and kite surfing, sailing and boating, deep sea fishing, and parasailing above the crystal clear turquoise water, to underwater adventures while snorkeling and scuba diving, and tours in a submarine exploring shipwrecks, coral reefs, and witnessing the rainbow of colors of the marine life. Families will find island tours by bicycle, ATV, jeep or bus, horseback riding, tennis and golf. The pristine beaches, endless sunshine, cooling trade winds, natural beauty, and rich cultural history, bring vacationers back to this “happy little island”, Aruba.
Barbados – The Caribbean’s most southeastern island, Barbados, is often referred to as “little England”. Upon arrival to the island, visitors immediately feel a sense of British history, culture, and customs with the presence of many British vacationers, cricket tournaments, and afternoon tea. With 70 square miles of beaches on Barbados, beach goers can find rough surf and swells on the north and east coasts ideal for seasoned surfers, a blend of the Caribbean and Atlantic waters on the southern coast with resorts, cafes, restaurants, entertainment, and water sports equipment rentals. Calm and sapphire blue water, with powdery sand beaches are found on the west coast, perfect for spending a lazy afternoon swimming, snorkeling, or just absorbing the Barbadian sunshine. A must see attraction is Barbados Ocean Park Aquarium. A marine aquarium featuring exciting displays of ocean life viewed from underneath the water, as well as fresh water exhibits and outdoor gardens. Renting a car and touring Barbados is a great way to leisurely view the country’s wildlife, sugarcane plantations, and historical places. Remember to drive on the left side of the road. Be sure to partake in one of the many festivals in Barbados, complete with parades, music and dance, brightly colored costumes, and Caribbean cuisine and arts and crafts.
Grenada – Often referred to as “The Spice Island”, Grenada welcomes travelers with the scents of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa, and vanilla carried on the air by the balmy tropical breezes. Grenada is one of the most picturesque islands in the southern Caribbean. With its lush mountain vegetation, mangroves, lakes, coral reefs, and gorgeous beaches, this island provides vacationers with plenty of photo opportunities of the varied landscapes, diverse plant and animal life, and the remains of colonial forts. Not to be missed are the numerous cascading waterfalls and taking a plunge in the refreshing pools found at the end some of the rainforest trails. Many different tours are available such as hiking, all terrain, kayaking, and snorkeling. The cuisine is a fusion of West Indies, African, Spanish and French that highlight exotic fruits, spices and seafood. A little island, a little far off, a little less crowded, Grenada is big on beauty in paradise.
St. Lucia – The island of St. Lucia is such a natural beauty with its twin peaks known as the Pitons rising 2,000 feet, sheltering a rain forest full of wild orchids, gigantic ferns, and beautiful birds of paradise, will make vacationers believe they are in the South Pacific. St. Lucia’s National Rain Forest covers some 19,000 acres of tropical forest and rich fertile valleys complete with invigorating waterfalls and mineral pools. Many different types of nature tours allow vacationers exciting views of the panoramic countryside, brightly colored and rare birds and other exotic wildlife, sea turtles, whales, and dolphins. St. Lucia is also home to the world’s only drive-in dormant volcanic crater. Being lesser known compared to its neighbors, St. Lucia remains a haven for travelers who wish to step back into colonial times and enjoy a place that is slower, exotic, and having a wealth of breath taking natural beauty.
If you plan a longer cruise voyage, consider a southern Caribbean cruise. You will find excitement, non stop activities, and something more relaxing, peaceful, and serene on these island beauties.