One of the busiest destinations in the Caribbean, Grand Cayman is a relatively rich country that boasts close to a thousand banks. There are no panhandlers here and little crime. There are lush accommodations, fabulous restaurants, and good shopping. This destination offers a 7-mile beach, which is one of the Caribbean's longest stretches of sand. However, the reason most travelers come to the Grand Caymans is for diving. The underwater visibility, which is approximately 120 feet, is one of the best in the Caribbean. There are nearby healthy reefs as well. One of the most amazing experiences is a visit to Stingray City where you can snorkel with stingray. Here you can pet stingray and feed them right out of your hand. Eden Rock is a popular destination that is known for its unique underwater grottos, as is Cemetery Reef, where you can go snorkeling right from the beach.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Many people enjoy visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands as they can have a tropical vacation without leaving the United States. As a U.S. citizen, you don't even need a passport. The Virgin Islands are made up of: St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. Many people enjoy the international shopping experience here. Others come for the tropical weather, turquoise water, and white sandy beaches with plenty of sunshine.
For those who love the outdoors, visit the national forests and go hiking, biking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, or mountain bike riding. Visit a wildlife reserve or experience an ecological tour. Take a horseback ride on one of the many beautiful beaches. Dive or snorkel in the clear blue water. Stroll down to Mages Bay, a heart-shaped white sand beach, arguably the most beautiful beach in the world. Visit Udder Delight and have a Virgin Island milk shake with a splash of rum, an island tradition.
Pamper yourself at one of the spas and enjoy fine dinning in one of the incredible restaurants. Boogie the night away in one of the many nightclubs. There are luxury hotels here, but there are also quite affordable.
An island nation of the Greater Antilles, Jamaica is 146 miles in length and as much as 51 miles wide. It is located approximately 90 miles south of Cuba. Jamaica boasts a population of 2.8 million people, of which 91.2% are black. Once a Spanish possession, it is now a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations with Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch. Visitors to Jamaica participate in a wide variety of activities, including mountain biking, diving, snorkeling, golfing, fishing, river rafting, horseback riding, and a dolphin swim program. Negril offers the island's best beaches, In Ochos Rios, literally eight rivers, you can visit stunning waterfalls and beaches and interesting colonial-period buildings. Hike 3 miles down Fern Gully, an former river bed, where you can see 600 different types of magnificent ferns. Climb 600 feet up Dunn's River Falls in your swimsuit, holding the hand of the person ahead of you for an incredible experience. Of course, no trip to Jamaica is complete without listening and enjoying the reggae music.
St. Lucia is one of the small Caribbean islands that seems to have it all. It is one of the Lesser Antilles islands located between Martinique and St. Vincents. It is only 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, but it is packed with adventure. St. Lucia is an ecological wonder, and the country is placing serious efforts in conservation and protection of the environment. It has set aside 19,000 acres of lush mountains in a rain forest as a National Park. Here, in the home of the St. Lucia parrot, you can hike and see a wide variety of flora and fauna. St. Lucia's most famous landmark is The Pitons or Les Pitons. These twin peaks are 2,000 feet high. Truly adventurous climbers have made the summit here. Less adventurous climbers can take a guided tour up Mt. Gimie, which is taller than The Pitons, but easier to climb.
Visit the world's only drive-in volcano, a steamy, bubbling sulfur spring where you can learn more about volcanoes. Additionally, you can go on a wide variety of tours by bus, foot, horse, helicopter, or boat. Other activities include windsurfing, scuba diving/snorkeling, water skiing, sailing, and deep sea fishing. You can play golf, tennis, or squash. Visit a mangrove or watch the leatherback sea turtles rise from the surf by starlight from a tent on the coast.
Aruba, located below the hurricane belt in the southern portion of the Caribbean, is one of the desert islands with a dry sunny climate. Its year-round temperature of 83 degrees is made comfortable by the trade winds. It has the distinction of having the most repeat visitors in the Caribbean, which is due to the friendliness of the Aruban people and their emphasis on tourism and treating guests to their island well. The winds and the water conspire to make this a natural location for windsurfing and parasailing. Go deep sea fishing, rent water skis, swim, or dive in any of 42 different sites. If you tire of the water, rent a four-wheel drive vehicle and tour the island north side or go horseback riding. Aruba is the site of two golf courses, one of which is of professional caliber. There is an ATP-sanctioned tennis center. Enjoy the racquetball courts or even bowl at one of several alleys. Hike the Arikok National Park, tour a coconut plantation, or go bird watching in a protected sanctuary. There is plenty of night life here as well with discos, theme parties, and even casinos.