Tag: Christmas in the Caribbean

Things To Do in Grand Turk

If you ever find yourself in Turks and Caicos then make sure to island hop over to Grand Turk! Grand Turk is the territory’s capital island, and the cutest little island. To make the most of your experience on this piece of Caribbean paradise, check out this list of things to do!

Rent Fun Transportation

Grand Turk is very small (6.95 square miles), so it is very easy to navigate! Rent a car, scooter, golf cart or bicycle and scoot around the island checking out the sites. Keep in mind the island-wide speed limit is 20MPH and they drive on the left side of the road. There are also taxis available, but I think it is so much more fun to go at your own pace. If you do rent an open air vehicle, make sure to wear sunscreen!

Splashdown at Grand Turk

Did you know Grand Turk played a roll in the space age? John Glenn’s Friendship 7 splashed down off the coast of Grand Turk. You can find a replica of the Friendship 7 on display at the entrance to the Grand Turk Island airport. There is also an exhibit dedicated to Grand Turk’s role in the space age inside the Cruise Center.

Grand Turk Lighthouse

The Grand Turk Lighthouse is the only lighthouse on the island, and holds quite a bit of history. Prefabricated in England, the lighthouse was constructed in 1852 to help ward off ships that wrecked off the northern coast. However, it was not very effective since the light was only visible for 15 miles. A visit to this lighthouse provides a little history of this quaint Caribbean island, like how it could be the first place Christopher Columbus landed in the new world, and stunning views of the ocean.

Swim with Stingrays

Ever wanted to swim with stingrays? Then you need to find your way over to Gibbs Cay. This small uninhabitaded island is located about a mile off the shores of Grand Turk. The shallow waters make it the perfect location for stingrays, which come ashore with the boats. There are several tour companies that provide tours out to Gibbs Cay, otherwise known as Stingray City, and several include snorkeling. Be sure to give one a kiss before you leave!

Explore the Reefs

Go under the sea and explore the amazing reefs Grand Turk has to offer. Several of the ancient coral shelves can be accessed from shore, near Cockburn Town Beach and English Point. You can also opt for a boat tour that will take you out further. We opted for this option, and the shelves were stunning! Also, if you visit between January and April you might catch a glimpse of the humpbackwhales as they migrate south.

Stroll Cockburn Town

If strolling the town is more your style, then be sure to stop in Cockburn Town and stroll down Duke and Front Streets. The town provides a wonderful selection of historical buildings, and is definitely worth checking out while you are there. Note: You pass through Cockburn Town on your way from the cruise center or airport to the lighthouse.

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Discover Cueva Ventana

Heading to Puerto Rico anytime soon? Then I highly recommend you add Cueva Ventana to your agenda.

Cueva Ventana translates into “Window Cave”, and one look at the photo above explains why! The Cueva Ventana caves are located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico about an hour and half from San Juan. The trail leading to the caves is unassuming and located next to a gas station. At the top of the trail is a check-in desk to receive your helmet. Then you hit the trail to the caves.

As you meander through the cave, the tour guide points out interesting rock formations, plants, and points out some of the local inhabitants. The guides also discuss the history of the Taino Indians and the importance of these caves for that culture. You can even see some of the Taino petroglyphs.

The best is saved for last—the “Window Cave”! After strolling through caves, seeing bats, the most spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, you reach a fantastic view of the Río Grande de Arecibo valley.

This tour is absolutely worth getting a little muddy!

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Sightseeing in St. Thomas

The U.S. Virgin Islands is a very popular tourist stop in the Caribbean.The islands offer a vast variety of character on each island. We had the opportunity to spend the day exploring the views of St. Thomas during one of our port calls on our Christmas cruise.

Due to weather, our day of snorkling and diving was canceled so we opted to take a driving tour around the island to see some of the best sites of “Rock City”, as it is known by many locals.

Beacon Point

Our first stop was to Beacon Point, which is situated on the eastern end of Skyline Drive. This view offers a view of Charlotte Amalie and Magens Bay.

Skyline Drive Overlook

On your way to this overlook from Beacon Point, keep your camera handy because each turn offers a different view. Skyline Driver Overlook offers beautiful panoramic views of Charlotte Amalie, Hassel Island and Water Island.

Mountain Top

Montain Top, our third location, is the highest point on St. Thomas, situated ove 1,500 feet above Magens Bay. This first major tourist attraction on the island offers views (on a clear day) of St. John, St. Croix and the British Virgin Islands, and it is also home to the world famous banana daquiri, so be sure to grab one before you head out on to the deck for outstanding views!

Magens Bay

Our last stop was Magens Bay, one of the most popular tourist destinations on the island as well as a gathering place for locals. This beach is three quarters of a mile long and is stiuated at the head of a deep bay. It is a little slice of paradise.

A couple of suggestions for your next visit to U.S. Virgin Islands:

  • I recommend grabbing a taxi or renting a car and exploring the island. The island is 31 square miles so it’s easy to get around. Note: USVI drives on the left side of the road.
  • We found that a lot of the island closes its doors at 5:00 PM local time. Some of the restaurants stay open late, so make sure you check before you head out at night.
  • U.S. Virgin Islands are expensive, so keep this in mind as you are planning your trip.

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What is your favorite location in the U.S. Virgin Islands?

Snorkling in Sosúa, Dominican Republic

Snorkling is one of my favorite activities when it comes to exploring the Caribbean. So when we had the chance to do something a bit different during our port call in the Dominican Republic, we jumped on it! Our adventure of power snorkling  took place in Sosúa, a popular resort town in the Puerto Plata province, which is about a 45 minute drive from the port of Amber Cove.

Once in Sosúa, we boarded a boat and headed out into the bay. For a couple of hours, we “jetted” around the water looking at the reefs and the fishes. Our guides provided us with bread to feed the fish and pineapple with honey to feed us. If you have not tried pineapple with honey, then I recommend it because it is quite the treat!

Power snorkeling was quite the experience, and something I will definitely try again. The scooters helped when we had strong currents and prevented us from getting tired as quickly. I only wish we had a longer amount of time to explore the reefs before we had to head back to port.

vroom vroom

A video posted by Caitlin (@soexhilaration) on

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What is your favorite place to snorkel?