This fabled sea, covering more than a million square miles and 7,000 islands with diverse languages, cultures, and ecosystems, has become probably the planet's premier vacation playground. Here it's all about its regional issues and allures. And yes, the (Plus) means we're including the Bahamas and Bermuda!

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The jewel in Puerto Rico's eco crown: El Yunque rainforest

Javier_Art_Photography The "Isle of Enchantment" offers an amazingly diverse menu of options to visitors, in capital San Juan and well beyond - history and culture, for sure, but also tasty eating, drinking, and beaching, along with memorable partying and much much more. But one side of Puerto Rico you should definitely not miss is its wealth of eco opportunities, from glowing "bioluminescent" bays to spectacular waterfalls, and most especially a large swath about an hour's drive from San Juan:…

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St. Lucia is one of ´7 of the Top Destination Brands of 2023´

govt.lc Ditto for the Caribbean, where Saint Lucia took “World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination” thanks to its romantic landscapes (especially its irresistibly photogenic twink peaks, the Pitons) and beaches. Meanwhile, Jamaica of course continues to be one of the region´s top tourism powerhouses, and these awards came away with the twin honors of the top family and cruise destination.   read post    

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6 Highlights of French St. Martin

 Paul Sableman The northern part of the island shared with Dutch Sint Maarten was colonized by the French in the early 17th century, and today Saint-Martin (population just over 39,000) is a “collectivity” of France, an overseas territory with considerable autonomy. This side of the island is known for its French influence, gastronomic delights, and beautiful beaches.read post 

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  • The Caribbean ain´t particularly cheap these days, so I found this recent T+L piece welcome: https://www.travelandleisure.com/cheap-caribbean-vacations-6833246
  • I´ve been to two of these and they´re spot on, so I´m sure they´re right about the rest: https://travelnoire.com/sink-your-toes-into-these-5-famous-caribbea...
    Sink Your Toes Into These 5 Famous Caribbean Beaches - Travel Noire
    If there’s one thing the Caribbean isn’t lacking, it’s beaches. From the sugary sands of Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos to Pig Beach in in The...
  • You can pretty much not go wrong snorkeling anywhere in the Caribbean, but Lonely Planet recently pinpointed what its writer declares are the best of the best. If you've done the mask-and-fins thing down here, do you agree with her choices? https://www.lonelyplanet.com/articles/best-places-to-snorkel-in-car...
    The top 8 places to snorkel in the Caribbean
    Kaleidoscopic tropical fish, spectacular coral reefs and year-round warm waters make the Caribbean one of the best places for snorkeling.
  • Looks like the Caribbean - except for Haiti - has bounced back splendidly since the pandemic - in some cases even surpassing pre-COVID visitor numbers: https://news.yahoo.com/caribbean-sees-jump-visitors-since-191600843...
    Caribbean sees jump in visitors since pandemic began
    Tourists flocked to the Caribbean last year in numbers not seen since the pandemic began, with the Dutch Caribbean and U.S. territories like Puerto R…
    • This caught my eye, I guess because I've been dealing with Puerto Rico and the Dutch Caribbean a good deal in recent months. And my perspective and takeaway is entirely different from the CTO official (whose org closed down in NYC as an active organization sometime back in 2021?) Anyway - I think there's hope ahead for Puerto Rico/USVI and perhaps the Dutch Caribbean - but, that's because they're heavily subsidized by the U.S./Netherlands. The indie countries though, and to make that leap in the generalized statement about "Caribbean sees jump..."? Not so much. I suspect, again just from recent first-hand dealing elsewhere in the wider region, and which is my region going back over 20 plus years, that much has changed and in fact very much in a financial black hole given the double whammy of COVID plus rip-roaring inflation of the past 18 months plus - all of which directly affected that predominant travel component of the past half century - namely the middle classes with the budget to take leisure travel offshore. Bascially, I observe individual entrepreneurs in those individual destinations you mention still emerging and recovering. But not the massive quantity of travelers that the all-inclusive/package deal market relied on. And if they did start to travel again - it was probably very much a one-shot deal, the so-called "pent-up demand" which also by definition also means that it was a one-shot deal for that traveler. "Near travel" is the alternative for the North American ordinary person till things get much much better. Of course, "the rich are always with us" but hey, they rent luxe villas or suites at the Four Seasons, not week packages at Sandals.
  • The Caribbean Journal recently surveyed the this year's top hotel/resort openings: https://www.caribjournal.com/2023/01/01/caribbean-hotels-new-hot-co...
    15 Hot New Caribbean Hotels to Visit in 2023 - Caribbean Journal
    We’ve gathered a list of the new Caribbean hotels we’re excited about in 2023, with some that just opened their doors and others coming soon.
  • Carnival season is around the corner, and veteran Caribbean writer Bob Curley lists eight of the islands' top celebrations: https://www.10best.com/interests/festivals-events/eight-caribbean-c...
    The Caribbean's top carnivals you can't miss
    People flock to the Caribbean to swim among colorful marine life in crystal-blue water; yet, the most vibrant colors can be found on land during carn…
  • Several months ago Le Monde's English-language edition ran a report detailing how the Dominican tourism industry is finally focusing on the dark side of mass tourism in the country, now seen as potentially strangling the goose that lays the golden egg with threats like sargassum brown algae; drinking water shortages; illegal garbage dumps; and seawater pollution/overwarming: https://www.lemonde.fr/en/environment/article/2022/07/27/dominican-...
    Dominican Republic awakens to mass tourism's environmental damage
    The nation's tourism industry is finally beginning to take responsibility for damage to its ecosystems, which are now also posing a threat to profits.
    • Jose, this was of great interest to me at the moment since I was in the D.R. just this August and still presently producing work from that trip. While I was only in the Santo Domingo area on this occasion, what's described in this link doesn't surprise me too much - I had a general impression in walking the streets that the urban infrastructure might be potentially fragile in the event of extreme weather or daily degradation, and as far as the offshore aquatic access, not very good even in good times. Sporadic electric outages also happened even in the short space of time I was on island. Hopefully, the private and public sectors involved in mass tourism have had enough wake-up calls at this point to take meaningful action on the human and natural environmental fronts. The sargassum challenge has become a wider issue within the region, and probably something which area governments need to collaborate meaningfully on short and long-term solutions.
  • Too many Caribbean islands succumb to the allure of cruise tourism, but Anguilla is a notable standout, citing its negative environmental impact. Of course, it's easier for them, since they make more from their exclusive, high-end brand of tourism. But commendable nonetheless! https://www.express.co.uk/travel/cruise/1669741/caribbean-cruise-sh...
    Stunning Caribbean island bans cruise ships - 'Not debatable'
    A CARIBBEAN island has said that cruise tourism is not worth the environmental impact. The Government has said it doesn't want to encourage cruise sh…
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