Increased Tourism in the Caribbean: Tobago, Curaçao, Barbados, Belize, Suriname, Cuba, & Haiti

Increased Tourism in the Caribbean: Tobago, Curaçao, Barbados, Belize, Suriname, Cuba, & Haiti

Island vacations are in high demand, hotels in the region are getting deluxe upgrades and airlines are opening more routes connecting the world to the Caribbean -- all of which has made for tourism growth that's outshining the rest of the world's. 

The Caribbean opened its arms to 7% more tourists last year, growth that was higher than every other region, and nearly double the 4.4% global average tourism growth in 2015, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Jet Blue was the Caribbean's biggest fan, adding flights from the U.S. to Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, the Bahamas, and soon, Haiti. Delta increased air capacity to Belize and St. Croix, and Alitalia added flights from Milan to Antigua & Barbuda.

 

For all-to-yourself beaches: Tobago

updated tobago beach

When basking in the beauty of beaches, the biggest problem, after choosing which swimwear to sport, might be where to find secluded shores. 

In Tobago, the 25-mile-long sister island of Trinidad, beaches are unspoilt and still unencumbered by crowds. 

At Englishman's Bay, visitors will have a half-mile of palm-lined sand to themselves, and at Pirate's Bay a 157-step descent leads to crystal-clear waters many don't know are there. 

Jemma's Seaview Kitchen, built into a tree on the beach in Speyside, serves up homegrown favorites like king fish and callaloo. 

 

For adventure: Curaçao

updated curacao

For visitors ready to go from the water's edge to its depths, Curacao offers up some of the Caribbean's best below-the-sea exploits.

Thanks to a bubble-like mini submarine, non-divers can get close with the Dutch island's coral reefs and the colorful inhabitants 500-feet below shore. 

Substation Curacao mans the cute submersible, called Curasub, taking regular people wearing regular clothes under the sea, and even on night "dives" for those feeling extra intrepid. The sub departs near the Curacao Sea Aquarium in Willemstad.

 

For swimming and sunning: Barbados

updated barbados beach

Barbados rarely gets left off of best beach lists -- the island's Crane Beach has regularly been ranked among the 10 best beaches in the world. 

But there are 59 others if that one somehow doesn't suit. 

Then there's the flying fish.

They're not hard to find since the flying fish is a national symbol of Barbados. 

The one to try comes in a sandwich, called a cutter, from Cuz's Fish Stand in Bridgetown, an unassuming beach shack with rave reviews and a perpetual line.

 

 

For going beyond the beach: Belize's jungle

updated belize forest

Belize is more than beaches, it's got mountains and jungles and waterfalls too. 

Up in the Maya Mountains at the edge of the island's Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, there's a 16-cabana ecotourism gem, Gaia Riverlodge, that peeks over a waterfall and a river that powers it. 

Inside, indigenous Belizean hardwood adorns private, thatched-roof rooms where names like "Sun" and "Cascade" sub for numbers and the chef makes staples like fish serre with organic ingredients from Gaia's garden. 

Beyond the lodge, at Barton Creek Caves, visitors can kayak into an archaeological wonder where ancient Maya called on rain gods as early as 200 A.D.

 

For being at one with nature: Suriname

updated suriname monkey

Suriname is on an upswing as a tourist destination, meaning going now puts travelers ahead of the influx and makes for a dialed-back break. 

There's hopping a mini plane to plunge into the interior of virgin rainforest.

Or scaling the Voltzberg dome accompanied by eight species of monkeys for panoramic tropical vistas.

And looking for giant leatherback turtles at Galibi Nature Reserve.

Either way, visitors are unlikely to see much of their hotel room.

 

For colonial relics: Cuba

updated cuba

It's possible to land in Cuba without any plans and still have the most memorable trip of your life. 

Now that travel restrictions are easing for many, dreams of strolling the storied cobblestone streets on the island can come true. 

The Spanish Colonial architecture has remained startlingly unchanged since the 19th-century sugar boom, with its pastel hues and ornate ironwork. 

When night falls, the salsa rhythms heat up at Casa de la Musica, a live music street dance under the stars.

 

For private grottos: Haiti

updated haiti bassin

Haiti has emerged as a big-time travel destination and the island's best lure is Bassins Bleu near Jacmel in southern Haiti.

As with most gems, the hidden Haitian trio of blue water basins can be tricky to find, but once travelers have hiked the hike, dropped a straw into a refreshing hacked-open coconut and descended the rope to get to the pools, they might have the grotto all to themselves.

Adventurers have been known to jump from the waterfalls that fill the pools, but Bassins Bleu has a daily visitor limit to protect its perfection, so it's best to plan ahead.

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| 48 views | November, 21st, 2017

Miami Broward Carnival - 2017

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