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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thrill seekers who visit Ocho Rios, Jamaica, must make time to visit Mystic Mountain for some stomach jumping and gravity defying adventures. Mystic Mountain is a nature park located in Jamaica’s lush rainforest. You’ll see and experience the island from different vantage points through three different types of excursions.
Mystic Mountain’s zipline course sets you racing through the rainforest as you slide down thick cables while strapped to them via a harness. As you reach each new platform that is part of the zipline course you’ll not only get a rush of adrenaline, but you’ll also see gorgeous views of the rainforest as the zipline course takes you through a distance of over 550 feet.
The Rainforest Bobsled Jamaica will get you feeling like an Olympian as you race around twists and turns on the bobsled track – no snow or ice required. You can speed up for thrills or slow down to enjoy views of the rainforest and Caribbean Sea as you slide around the track.
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.
Saint Lucia is one of the most mountainous Caribbean islands and of its numerous peaks the ones which will most surely stick in your mind are the Pitons. Together they’re the country’s number one landmark, but these aren’t so much 'mountains' in the normal sense, as dramatic, conical outcrops looming over the sea.
Gros Piton is the larger of the two (the other one being – logically enough – Petit Piton). It’s a popular climbing destination but a glance at its steep slopes will tell you it’s no walk in the park, especially in the tropical heat. But if you’ve got some climbing experience, your ascent to the 2,619 foot (786 meter) summit will reward you with awe-inspiring views of the sapphire blue sea and lush green coastline.
Established in 1949, The San Juan National Historic Site is home to some of the city’s most famous attractions. Visitors can climb to Castillo San Felibe del Morro, overlooking the San Juan Bay, for an up close look at military efforts more than 250 years ago. Travelers can learn about historic battles that took place against the English and Dutch while visiting the restored lighthouse, chapel and vintage cannons.
History buffs will also love Castillo San Cristobal, near the gate of Old San Juan. While El Morro protected Puerto Rico from seaside attacks, Castillo San Cristobal was designed to stop intruders approaching by land. With grounds stretching some 27 acres, this is Puerto Rico’s largest fortification site, as well as the biggest built by the Spanish after discovering the New World.
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.
If you like the idea of getting marooned for a day on an idyllic desert island in the Caribbean, join a boat trip to the Prickly Pear Cays. This pair of uninhabited islets sits six miles northwest of Anguilla, boasting exquisite white-sand beaches, and fringing reefs protected as one Anguilla’s marine protected areas. A day here can include snorkeling among the colorful corals and shipwrecks that are scattered around the cays. Then you can swim ashore to spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the sun and sand, along with a lunch of barbecue ribs and cold cocktails from the on-island restaurants.
Providenciales’ cotton plantation past is revealed at Cheshire Hall. The plantation is now in ruins, but more than 200 years ago it was a thriving complex of buildings and cultivated land. The property dates back to around 1790 and the ensuing years when Loyalist brothers Wade and Thomas Stubbs worked the cotton plantation, named for their English home county of Cheshire. Overlooking the island was the property’s hilltop main building, the Great House, surrounded by outbuildings and the industrial machines of the cotton age. The plantation was worked for around 30 years, before succumbing to the climate, hurricane and impoverished soil conditions. Today, all that remains is grass-covered rubble and a solitary cannon. Cheshire Hall is protected by the National Trust. On a visit to the site you can take a wander through the grounds via stone-lined trails. The remains of several buildings are identified, including the kitchen and Great House, cotton gin and cotton press.
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.
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.
This tiny island just 1.5 miles off the mainland provides a peaceful respite for those looking to escape the hustle of Dominican Republic’s busier city streets. Most hotels offer shuttle buses to boat docks. A reasonable ride delivers passengers to the sand dunes, mangroves and coral reefs that make this island a destination for visitors. Avid divers will enjoy weaving in and out of the numerous reefs that surround Isla Cantina. Stingrays and tropical fish are a near guarantee here. Less experienced water lovers can spend the day snorkeling in some of the clearest waters this country has to offer.
Fort San Felipe was built in 1564 by order of Philip II of Spain and is Puerto Plata's oldest surviving building. It was a formidable construction, designed to strike fear into any would-be-invader's heart. Its 2m- (7ft) thick walls, squat doorways and moat filled with sharp coral and swords served to keep people out and, when the fort later became a prison, worked just as effectively at keeping people in - including one of its most notable captives - Juan Pablo Duarte, who served time here in 1844.
The tower contains a small museum of wartime artifacts such as guns, artillery shells, and cannonballs. Fort San Felipe's main attraction, however, is its sweeping views across the Atlantic.
The newest cruise port in the Dominica Republic is Amber Cove, near the northern coast town of Puerta Plata. Built by the Carnival cruise line, Amber Cove opened in November 2015, and it’s a convenient jumping off spot for all kinds of activities, from snorkeling trips to ATV adventures in the nearby mountains. This area of the county is famous as the spot where Christopher Columbus first settled in the New World, and it’s also known for an abundance of amber, a rare orange jewel stone from ancient, petrified tree sap. The cove’s welcome center has myriad shops, bars and restaurants, along with a Sky Bar perched on a 60-foot hill, where visitors can get an overhead view of the port.