Don’t let your Jamaica vacation end when you get to the airport. Continue the island relaxation and fun by spending your last hours in Jamaica at Club Mobay Departure Lounge in Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.
Club Mobay is an airport lounge to rival all airport lounges. Feel like you’re flying first class as you step into the nearly 12,000 square foot lounge and take in the comfortable chairs, stylish bar, large televisions and well-stocked snack bar. There is also a business center with computers for those that need a peaceful place to catch up on work emails or do other online projects before heading up into the air. High-speed Wi-Fi is available throughout the lounge. Club Mobay also has a great area for kids called Pickney Place that has arcade games and other activities. There are also shower facilities if you’d like to freshen up before your flight.
The national park-protected Saona Island (or Isla Saona) lies just off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.
Lovely beaches fringe this remote slice of heaven, with the best swimming at Mano Juan and Punta Gorda. It’s an ideal beach getaway for a day’s excursion by catamaran.
The population numbers little more than 300 lucky souls, and beach and eco-touring activities are the main drawcards, along with the island’s lagoons, caves and offshore snorkeling.
The island measures around 15 miles long by 3 miles wide (25 kilometers by 5 kilometers).
Clear blue waters and white sandy beaches make Macao an ideal spot to experience the real Caribbean. Because it’s public, this beach attracts both far-off travelers and close-to-home locals. Visitors won’t have to worry about aggressive vendors or crowded shores, either, making this an ideal spot for a peaceful morning stroll or an active outdoor afternoon.
Travelers can lounge in the sand, boogie board or learn to surf near Macao Beach’s bigger breakers. And for those who prefer to stay dry on land and keep out of the water, an afternoon horseback ride still offers stunning coastal views and fresh saltwater air, without the hassle of getting wet.
By day, Fajardo’s famous “Bio Bay” looks like a regular Puerto Rican coastline. By night, however, the bay becomes an eerie lagoon that literally shines a fluorescent hue with every movement or splash. Due to the presence of microscopic plankton that thrive in the shallow waters, every stroke of a kayak paddle creates a trailing ribbon of light. Officially known as “bioluminescence,” there are only a handful of places worldwide where the phenomenon is consistently found. One of those is here at Laguna Grande just off the shores of Fajardo, where kayak tours literally allow visitors the chance to set the water aglow. For as eerie and almost unnatural as that sounds, watching the water glow on your fingertips isn’t the spookiest part. Rather, that would be kayaking through dense mangroves under a total canopy of darkness, where every creak, groan, and jungle sound reminds you’re not indoors.
Little Bay Beach is a secluded hideaway just outside of Philipsburg. The beach itself sits just over the western peninsula of Great Bay, and it’s soft white sand offer an enticing backdrop to the idyllic turquoise water that ever so gently laps the shore. Because of the consistently calm water, Little Bay Beach is a great spot for snorkeling, and you can also find watersports like jetskiing, paddleboats and parasailing, not to mention a selection of bars and restaurants, among the handful of resorts along the bay. From the eastern end of Little Bay Beach, you can take a short hike to the tip of the peninsula to explore Fort Amsterdam, which was built by the Dutch in 1631.
Dreams of the Bahamas are usually comprised of an empty, white-sand beach, set on the shores of a deserted island that’s surrounded by a turquoise sea. Finding that beach can be tough, however, as much of the development located around Nassau leaves little sense of seclusion.
Just off the shore of Nassau, however, the uninhabited sands of Rose Island are closer to that tropical dream. A lone beach bar and a few palm trees that skank to the rhythm of the breeze, and an exclusive setting for snorkeling and sunbathing in a private corner of paradise. On a full day getaway to Sandy Toes, leave the first set of footprints in the white sand that has been wiped clear by the tide. Order a drink at the beachfront bar and swim in the crystalline waters, or colonize an empty, oceanfront hammock and not do anything at all. It’s a getaway from your getaway where you can completely press pause and soak up the relaxation, or ramp up the energy on the tropical holiday.
A local institution, Rick's Cafe was the first public bar and restaurant of its type on the West End cliffs.
Opening its doors in 1974 when Negril was still a sleepy fishing village, Rick's is now a popular spot to view the sunset, which regularly provokes a round of applause from an appreciative crowd.
It's a touristy but laid-back spot on cliffs that plunge 33 ft (10 m) into the ocean. Local cliff divers and foolhardy visitors often make the jump from several platforms into the sea below.
Occupying a spot of Montego Bay’s “hip strip,” Doctor’s Cave Beach is the best-known beach in Jamaica. It's a top party destination with plenty of sand-and-sea-centric activities available at good rates. Its white sand descends into the turquoise of the Caribbean, as beachgoers soak up sun in a tropical paradise.
Rent a beach umbrella and unwind with a can of Red Stripe, or grab some snorkel gear and marvel at the stunning variety of marine life in water so clear you can see all the way to the bottom. Doctor’s Cave Beach provides easy access to the 15-acre Montego Bay Marine Park, and you can also rent Jet skis, parasailing and glass bottom boat rides from private operators located nearby. When you’re done with all your sea and shore activities, you’re just a short walk from the restaurants and bars in one of Jamaica’s hottest entertainment districts.
Blue Hole is a natural wonder located near Ocho Rios. A deep cavern within the tropical mountains of Jamaica, Blue Hole gets its name from the deep hue of the water here. This site isn’t just pretty water, though. There are also waterfalls pouring into the hole from the sides and thick vegetation growing around the edges and from crevices in its rocky perimeter. Vines hang down into Blue Hole as well, giving it an even more exotic appearance. It is an excellent place to go swimming and cliff jumping.
You might be surprised to find out that the most visited attraction in Nassau is a 31 m (102 ft) staircase. But the staircase's value resides not just in its 65 steps, but in its importance to Bahamian cultural history. The steps were carved out of solid limestone by slaves sometime between 1793 and 1794; a century later the staircase was renamed to honor the 65 year reign of Queen Victoria as well as her role in helping bring about the abolition of slavery in the Bahamas.
Today, come and marvel at the serene majesty of the steep, sloping staircase, still considered a remarkable construction feat. In order to carve the steps, the slaves had to cut through the rocks with axes and other sharp hand tools. The staircase leads to the back of Fort Fincastle.
Hidden in a lush jungle, the Damajagua Falls are a series of 27 cascading waterfalls only discovered as recently as the early 1990s. You can climb, jump off and slide down this natural, watery assault course, which can become treacherous after heavy rain.
The best way to see the falls is on a tour. Tour guides will take you as far as the 7th waterfall and will provide you with appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets and life jackets. It is possible to explore further than the 7th waterfall but you will need to arrange your own transport from Puerto Plata and a guide and safety equipment upon arrival at the falls.
High atop a hillside overlooking the harbor of Nassau is the British-colonial Fort Charlotte—the largest fort in Nassau. Constructed in the late 18th century for a battle that never took place, this historic site offers picturesque views, hidden underground passages, a waterless mote, remote dungeons and even authentic canons. Guides are available to help travelers navigate through subterranean halls far below the fort, but well-place signage and plenty of light means visitors can just as easily explore the grounds on their own.
By itself, kayaking at night beneath the stars is an adventurous and romantic experience, where the only sound is that of your paddles slowly breaking the surface of the water. Crane your neck skywards to look at the stars and navigate only by the moon, as the only sight is the faint bit of lining shining down from the dark sky above. Here off the island of Vieques, however, at Bioluminescent Bay, the adventure is ratcheted up a notch by water that glows when you touch it. Thanks to microorganisms that are best known simply as “dinos,” when you swirl your paddle or fingers in the water of this famous Puerto Rican bay, a flash of neon blue and green will burst right next to your kayak. It’s an experience that runs counter to all your senses, since touching doesn’t usually mean seeing, and a sight that continuously manages to surprise with you with every stroke that you take.
Nine Mile is synonymous with one of Jamaica’s most famous sons, the late great master of reggae Bob Marley.
Thanks to guided tours led by Rastafarian guides, you can visit the former home of Bob Marley, as well as the musician’s beloved Mt. Zion Rock and his mausoleum. Many of the guides are Bob’s fellow musicians, relatives, and friends.
You can admire Bob’s gold and platinum records on display, along with musical instruments, his favorite chair and other personal effects.
Another highlight of a visit to Nine Mile is the Jamaican scenery you’ll see on the drive from the coast.
Could Marigot Bay be “the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean” as novelist James A. Michener described it? It’s certainly among the most photographed and filmed, its white sands, swaying palms, turquoise waters and verdant green hillsides ticking every box in the “tropical paradise” questionnaire.
Minimal development has ensured that this remains a dreamlike location, with the most obvious signs of life being the luxury yachts lolling in the bay or moored at the marina. The luxury Marigot Bay Hotel draws discerning guests but there is no charge to come to the beach for the day and enjoy this island idyll.
Built in 1806, the Government House is considered by many to be the leading example of Georgian Colonial architecture in all the West Indies. Its vibrant exterior gives this traditional building that sits atop Mount Fitzwilliam a uniquely island vibe, with a coral-colored paintjob that nods to Nassau’s famous conch. An impressive entryway, towering Ionic columns and a proud statue of Christopher Columbus lend a noble air to the mansion the visiting representative of the Queen calls home. Climb the hilltop for breathtaking views of Paradise Island or hang around the gates to catch the changing of the guards—both offer photo ops that are uniquely Nassau.
An interesting attraction of the Turks and Caicos are the rather large iguanas that are native to the little island archipelago. While they may seem to jar with your traditional notion of a Caribbean getaway, these green guys are actually native to the islands. To find them, head on over to Little Water Cay (known locally as Iguana Island) for some white sand and good old fashioned lizard-hunting.
Little Water Cay is just shy of 500 yards from Providenciales, so it’s easy to spot while looking for things to do on the island. You can take a tour boat or ferry over to the island, and the exercise enthusiast or outdoorsman of the group will enjoy a brisk kayak over to the shores of Little Water Cay - but be careful of the currents that run between the two islands (for this reason, a swim is not recommended).
What makes an underwater experience great isn’t always what you see – sometimes it’s what you do. And while the Turks and Caicos have some amazing snorkeling and diving spots, Gibb's Cay is a place where animal lovers can come and have an altogether different experience – one playing with gentle sting rays.
Don’t let their harsh name fool you – these underwater flying creatures are often as gentle as a cat. While you disembark from your boat, you’ll likely notice the velvety feel of friendly sting rays about your feet. Something of a symbiosis has developed here over the years, and now stingrays approach boats and people by the dozens to play with them and be fed by them. The stingrays are wild, and so best treated with the utmost respect, but Gibbs Cay offers what other islands cannot – a magical experience and a chance to interact with one of Mother Nature’s most delicate underwater creatures.
This seafood paradise—ripe with fresh fish and strong drinks—is a destination for diners looking to truly taste Nassau. What began with a few tiny stalls selling locally sourced conch quickly grew to include a variety fish and a more extensive list of traditional Bahamian fare. Travelers line up for famous conch salad and crispy conch fritters that local cooks fry to order. But visitors can sample shrimp, lobster and snapper prepared street side, too. Be sure to request a hit of local hot sauce, made with the island’s special blend of spicy peppers and juicy limes.
Arawak Cay is a fun stop for an afternoon snack or a delicious local dinner. And since the streets come alive at dusk, this waterfront spot is an ideal destination for a frosty beer or a strong sipping sundowner to round out the night.
A steady pile of rock and cacti under the big open Caribbean sky, the Ayo and Casibari rock formations are, nevertheless, an Aruba highlight. They offer a unique perspective of the inner workings of the volcanic forces at work on the island of Aruba and make for a great day trip exploring the island and, for the intrepid traveler willing to clamber to the top of them, a great view of the whole of Aruba. A fun opportunity for exploration, bring the family to see what geologic forces can compose with enough time, pressure and Caribbean sun.