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5 Places to Vacation after the 2017 Hurricanes

5 Places to Vacation after the 2017 Hurricanes

As many Caribbean Islands rebuild after the 2017 Hurricanes, travelers are struggling with where to go.  Popular destinations such as  St. Thomas USVI, St. Croix USVI, Puerto Rico, St. Martin, and St. Martinique were devastated and are trying to recover.  Still, there are some familiar destinations with excellent tours and excursions you may want to consider.  Here are 5 places to Vacation after the 2017 Hurricanes.    

The Bahamas 

Made up of over 2500 islands and cays, most travelers only visit the main 2 Bahamas islands of Nassau, New Providence and Freeport, Grand Bahamas.  The Bahamas offers some wonderful experiences on Eleuthera & Harbour Island, Bimini, The Exumas islands, and The Abacos islands. Bimini can now be reached via ferry boat from Miami thanks to FRS Caribbean.  Nassau is the Capital of the Bahamas and by far is the largest city.  It has beautiful beaches.  Lots of shopping.  Top notch resorts including All Inclusive to stay in.  The nightlife in Nassau offers dancing, restaurants and one of the largest Fish Frys in the Caribbean on Saturday Night.  

Fire Dancer

Port Lucaya on Grand Bahamas Island is a hot spot for tourist.  They have a great straw market, gorgeous white sand beaches along with restaurants galore.  If you are looking for some entertainment don’t miss Count Basie’s Square, where you can find nightly shows displaying Bahamas Culture.  You will find everything from Reggae, Caribbean Dancers to Limbo exhibitions. Grand Bahamas Island has a relaxed atmosphere, along with other settlements to explore.  Make sure you stop at Smith’s Point and get some fresh fish.  If you want a fancy meal the try Ruby Swiss you won’t be disappointed.  

Jamaica

The Island of Jamaica is the 3rd largest Caribbean island.  For tourists, they offer 3 great areas for vacationers to visit Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, and Negril. If you love food with flavor then Jamaica should be your spot.  No matter if you like your food Jerked, Curried or Calypso it is all available.  Jamaica houses many different resorts most of which are All Inclusive.  Jamaica provides the opportunity for those who dare to stay in clothing optional resorts.  The island has outstanding beaches in each city.  The main attractions in Jamaica are Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, Martha Brae River Rafting in Montego Bay and Cliff Diving and Amazing Sunset in Negril both on the property of Rick’s Cafe.  

Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica

Dunn’s River Falls in Jamaica

Grand Cayman Islands

The Grand Cayman Island has a lot to offer.  If you visit by Cruise Ship then you have your choice of all the regular excursions.  ATV, snorkel, horseback riding, catamaran, fishing etc.  If you like beaches then we recommend Seven Mile Beach.  Looking for a unique experience then stop by and take pictures or mail a postcard from “Hell”.  Like turtles then visit the Turtle Farms and see the many products made from turtles.  The Grand Caymans has almost every restaurant imaginable.  From US chains to authentic local flavors.  You will be sure to find what you are looking for.  Shopping is also abundant in the Cayman Islands.  If you come by plane you will find fascinating Resorts to your liking.

If you want to really do something different then we recommend Stingray City!  About 30 minutes off the coast of Grand Cayman Island you will find a sandbar that creates a natural pool, about 3.5 to 4 feet deep, where Stingrays sunbathe and hang out.  You can take a tour that will bring you there to experience Stingrays face to face in a safe environment.  There you will hold, touch and interact with a Stingray. You can also get some memorable pictures with you and Stingrays that will allow the 45 minutes to an hour to live on forever.

 

The Dominican Republic

The DR offers multiple vacation destinations.  The 3 most popular are Puerto Plata in the North, Punta Cana in the East and La Romana in the Southeast.  Punta Cana is a vacation destination that has become very popular in the last ten to fifteen years.  Punta Cana has lovely resorts with picturesque white sand beaches.  The artwork is plentiful and you are bound to find a piece you can use to add an exotic touch to your home.  Punta Cana is just the place to relax but if you are looking for some nightlife you can find everything from a Party in a Cave to a high energy nightclub like CoCo Bongo!  We recommend Coco Bongo!

Puerto Plata is located on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Dominican Republic and has a rich history and a captivating city tour.  The area offers mountains in addition to the remarkable beaches.  Fresh fish is almost everywhere so be sure to have some.  As far as nightlife we recommend Playa De Rodas area.  They also have the better resorts and the best beaches!  La Romana is in the Southeast nestled in the Caribbean Sea.  It offers excellent diving and snorkeling.   Bayahibe beach is our favorite in the area.  However, the showstopper is Altos de Chavon!  Altos de Chavon is a replica of a Mediterranean Fishing Village filled with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment above the Chavon river.  

Visit La Picina Natural  on the way to Isla Saona and see real Starfish in the Dominican Republic
Starfish in the Natural Pool in the Ocean

Starfish at La Picina Natural

If you like Starfish then about 30 minutes away from La Romana via boat is another Piscina Natural similar to Stingray City on the way to Isla Saona.  This sandbar in the middle of the ocean is about 3 to 4 feet deep and is home to giant starfish!  It is a once and a lifetime opportunity.  The pictures the starfish and standing up in the middle of the ocean is something you will not want to miss.  

Mexico

The Country of Mexico has everything you could ever ask for on a vacation.  Mexico is a Country spread out in multiple time zones like the United States.  Similar to the US each region offers different attractions.  Most popular is Cancun, however, Mexico takes in visitors from the West to the East and everywhere in between.  

Bill in Mexico

Bill in Mexico

The main vacation areas in West Mexico are Tijuana, Ensenada,  and Cabo San Lucas.  Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco are located in the equivalent of our Mountain Time Zone in the US.  Although the weather is much warmer because of how far South Mexico is.  Playa del Carmen, Cancun, the Mexican Island of Cozumel and Costa Maya are the primary vacation destinations on the East Coast of Mexico.

Shopping Market in Mexico

Shopping Market in Mexico

Mexico has All Inclusive Resorts, recognizable International and US Hotel brands, as well as local resorts, inns and bed, and breakfasts.  Nightlife in Mexico is some of the best in the world.  It is easy to find music in English in every corner of the country.  Of course, Latin music is even easier to locate. Mexico has shopping second to none.  With the current exchange rate, our US dollar goes a long way in Mexico.  Food in Mexico is fresh and flavorful.  Mexican Drinks are legendary starting and ending with Tequila!  The only thing better than the Food and Beverages has to be the outstanding customer service.  The service we have received at restaurants and hotels have been nothing but first class!

Are these Countries Safe?

People will try to tell you that some countries are not safe.  I will tell you as a person who worked at the United States Department of State that no place is safe if you are looking for drugs or women.  If you go looking for drugs or to pick up women, Orlando Florida, the “Happiest Place on Earth” is not safe.  If you are after fun, sun, food, drinks, souvenirs, culture and history you will be fine.  Honestly, have you ever heard of tourist having a problem at a beach?

Many countries are rebuilding after the 2017 Hurricanes.  This leaves travelers in a quandary as to where to go.  Cruisers should look at Western Caribbean Cruises.  If you are looking to stay on the island then think about the 5 countries we have outlined above.  Even if you have gone there before go back and do the things you like and take the time to try something new.  Those are 5 places you can vacation today even after the 2017 Hurricanes.  

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Bill Collins

Bill Collins is a former Army Officer turned veteran traveler. I have traveled to 28 different Countries mainly concentrated in the Central & Latin America and have spent the last 16 years exploring the Caribbean Islands.

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