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Archive for the ‘Beaches of the Caribbean’ Category

Curacao – Island of the Fortresses

Posted by E.G.D. on January 28, 2013

Today’s Featured Writer is Grace Bailey.

The Caribbean is one of the most attractive places on the planet for a beach vacation. The region consists of many vary-sized islands, each one unique and nice to visit. What makes the land interesting is the rich historical heritage.  The places of interest can not be seen anywhere else.

The Caribbean island of Curacao is amazing and truly unique.  Though it is far away from the European continent, it is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Handelskade, Willemstad, Curacao (photo by Rodry 1 at Wikimedia Commons)

Handelskade, Willemstad, Curacao (photo by Rodry 1 at Wikimedia Commons)

When a person decides to take a trip to this island, he can anticipate the many old and interesting fortresses he will find when he arrives. The general purpose of these forts was once to protect the island from all sides, though today they are no longer in use except as tourist attractions.  Eight of the forts have survived, in whole or part, into the modern day. Here are the five I found most interesting:

The first fort on the island was made in the 17th century. Though the Dutch of the time were mighty, they never felt safe on the island. Their enemies were surrounding them from all sides. Other countries with colonial ambitions, like England and France, were a real threat.  Venezuela and other local neighbors were hardly more friendly.  So, Fort Water was built in 1634. Unfortunately, visitors today will not be able to see the original structure. For many reasons it was replaced back in 1827, and in the modern day, the complex has been re-purposed.  It has many stores, medical service and even stables. It is actually the perfect place for lunch near the sea! From this fort-turned-mall, a visitor can take in an amazing view and remember its history, as well as shop and eat.

The next guard of the island was made just one year after the first fort. This was Fort Amsterdam. Named after the capital of the Netherlands, this fort protected the eastern part of the island.  This is actually the most notable and important of all the forts to visit on the island. That is why it is included in a UNESCO Heritage site (the Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour). Today the building hosts government offices and one not-to-be-missed museum.

Fort Beekenburg was made in the beginning of the 18th century and guarded the inner bay in the area. It is named after the person who made the defense plans for the city. The stories say that the fort was several times captured by pirates in the past. Today it is situated next to some of the best beaches in the area. Visitors can combine an afternoon of water sports at the beach with a visit to the complex.

Curacao's Caribbean Sea (photo from Shutter Stock)

Curacao’s Caribbean Sea (photo from Shutter Stock)

Fort Nassau is the one that has closest maintained its “original look.” It was once dedicated to protecting St. Anna Bay. Besides functioning as a fort, it was responsible for regulating the opening and closing the Pontoon Bridge. It now houses a restaurant.

Rif Fort was the last one made in the 19th century. It is today a shopping center with many restaurants, bars and coffee shops.

When you’ve finished fort hopping, there are more than 38 beaches to explore!  The official Curacao Travel Guide website recommends a list of 15 of them, and they all look spectacular and inviting.

About the Author: Grace is a passionate writer who enjoys sharing her traveling adventures. Visit her at HolidayArticles.com.

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Coming soon: The Best Beaches of Curacao!

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Posted in Beaches of the Caribbean, Featured Guest Writer, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Rise and Shine! The Sunrise Tellin

Posted by Jody on October 25, 2012

Rise and shine! It’s beachcombing time!

The Sunrise Tellin (Tellina radiata) is a colorful, smooth and glossy seashell.  Plentiful throughout the Caribbean, this rather large bivalve (2 – 41/2″)  is white to yellowish-white with a pattern consisting of bands that radiate from the top of the shell to the edge, varying in width and number. The beautiful Sunrise Tellin is often decorated with brilliant pinkish-brown rays, hence the common name “sunrise.” Clever, huh? :-)

Sunrise Tellin (exterior)

The interior of this lovely seashell is white with a large area of yellow in the center. The exterior’s bright radiating lines are often somewhat visible on the inside of the seashell.

Sunrise Tellin (interior)

These marine mollusks live buried in sand in water from 5-48″ deep. Their entire range is from southern Florida to northern South America.

I’ve come across more than one source that suggests that Sunrise Tellin seashells are not to be collected on various beaches. On some, it appears that they may even be a protected species. No matter where you beach comb, it’s always important to check the local laws and ordinances before you kick off those flip flops and head to the shoreline.

Here are a couple of  related posts on beachcombing regulations:

Beachcombing? Shelling Regulations Abound!

Beachcombers Beware! ~ Regulation Variation at National Seashores

Know before you go! And have a great time beachcombing!

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Beaches of the Caribbean, Seashells | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Beautiful Baby Beach, Aruba!

Posted by Jody on September 3, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer is Mary Hilgart

Baby Beach is located at the south eastern tip of the island of Aruba, far away from the tourist or hotel district in an area known as Seroe Colorado. The sand is a beautiful powdery white color and the water is one of the most beautiful turquoise that I have ever seen. The calm water makes for perfect snorkeling. The water is also very shallow, so you can wade pretty far out while still being able to touch the bottom. There is also a concession stand located on the beach, and a beach rental stand where you can get chairs or beach toys.

Baby Beach, Aruba (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

This is a picture of my husband, Bruno and my son, Kevin showing me how shallow the water was at the point they were standing.

Baby Beach, Aruba (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

The odd part about this beach is that the Lago Oil Refinery is located on the horizon, which makes for a kind of bizarre contradictory landscape.

When I visited Baby Beach during the New Year 2007, it was not very crowded. It seemed to be mostly locals, maybe because of the long drive to get there. Although, it is also a popular place for cruise ships to stop.

Posted in Beaches of the Caribbean, Featured Guest Writer, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Jamaica’s Top 5 Beaches

Posted by alainaflute on July 17, 2012

When I think of Jamaica, a few things come to mind: Rastafarianism, Reggae music, bobsledding, and beaches – beaches being the best part of them all. Although I’ve never been to this island of the Greater Antilles, the idea of dipping into the beautiful waters of the Caribbean tickles my travel-lust fancy.

Jamaica (Vardion/Wikimedia Commons)

With several beaches to choose from, we’ve turned to Island Buzz Jamaica (the Official Blog for Destination Jamaica by the Jamaica Tourist Board) to discover 5 of Jamaica’s best beaches.

Doctor’s Cave Beach Club, Montego Bay, Jamaica (Mattes/Wikimedia Commons)

Vacationers are enticed by the white sands and clear waters of Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay (on Jamaica’s north coast). According to Island Buzz Jamaica, this beach, “is nestled between the Marine Park and the Hip Strip. The translucent water is known for its mineral content and its golden sands and turquoise water provide the perfect place to enjoy the tranquil warmth of the Caribbean Sea.” With a feel that is simultaneously tropical and metropolitan, beach-goers can enjoy this lively beach not too far off the beaten path. Take a dip and then head off to dine at one of the many nearby restaurants.

Doctor’s Cave Beach, Montego Bay, Jamaica (Ezhiki/Wikimedia Commons)

The next beach to hit is Frenchman’s Cove, located on Jamaica’s eastern coast near Port Antonio. This secluded beach is “one of the most beautiful beaches in The Caribbean, let alone Jamaica.“With its “white-sanded shore, set against a magnificent backdrop of exotic tropical gardens and crystal-clear mountain streams,“this beach is “so idyllic; it’s no wonder it was featured in the major motion pictures Club Paradise and Treasure Island.” There is a small entrance fee, but once you pass through the lush gardens into the beautiful secluded beach cove, you’ll find that it was well worth it. A fresh water river flows right into the beach, and there is a jerk hut with food made to order (and clean restrooms).

Frenchman’s Cove Beach, Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica (Chaoleonard/Wikimedia Commons)

If you are looking for a “tiny slice of heaven,” then Reggae Beach is the beach for you. This famous Jamaican landmark (surprisingly) doesn’t get crowded, even though it really has it all: beautiful scenery, lounge chairs, kayaking, snorkeling (clownfish, rays, and fan coral), seaside massage, and the “Village Beach Bar.”

Reggae Beach, Jamaica (Chad Richardson/Wikimedia Commons)

Winnifred Beach, located between Blue Lagoon and Boston Bay, is “one of the most appealing beaches in all of Jamaica.“Located “in the Fairy Hill community in Portland on the island’s lesser traveled east coast, this beach is home to a delightful reef just offshore that’s not only perfect for snorkeling, but for its clear, calm, bright-blue water justly popular with locals.” With several vendors nearby, you won’t go thirsty or hungry! If you go on a weekend, you can take a horseback riding tour or a boat trip to Monkey Island.

Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica (Chaoleonard/Wikimedia Commons)

With its laid-back pace and natural beauty, Negril is a “favorite escape for locals and visitors alike.” Come as you are and “outrun your cares on seven miles of white sand beach on the island’s western-most point. Stake out a blanket-sized spot of paradise or meander along soft white sand.” Relaxing by day and exciting by night, Seven Mile Beach is famous for its “dramatic sunsets, silky white sands, clear turquoise waters, and spontaneous island spirit.” Soak in the sun, hit the waves (snorkeling, jet skiing, and windsurfing are all available), or take a ride on a glass-bottomed boat.

If you’re looking for fun in the tropical sand, sun, and surf, Jamaica just might be the Caribbean island of your dreams. The laid-back island atmosphere is sure to be contagious. On which Jamaican beach will we be finding you?

Posted in A Treasure of a Beach (Best Beaches), Beaches of the Caribbean, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Beaches, Botany and Beaten Paths of St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Posted by E.G.D. on May 7, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer: Lori Hughes:

The smallest of the three U.S. Virgin Islands, St. John is a secluded paradise of untouched beaches, hiking trails and beautiful botanical gardens. The Virgin Islands National Park consists of thousands of acres both above and below the sea’s sapphire surface, making St. John a true nature retreat and the perfect place to get away from it all. Campgrounds, eco-lodges, small inns and luxury resorts appeal to many levels of landscape lover.

Reef Bay and Virgin Islands National Park (Photo: Galen S. Swint/Wikimedia Commons)

Hitting the Beaten Paths

Hiking, biking, bird-watching and horseback riding are just a few of the ways to experience the nature of St. John. The Reef Bay Trail and Petroglyphs is the most popular trail in the National Park. The well-kept trail begins on Centerline Road and takes hikers through a tropical forest setting of stone stairways, lush vegetation and mango trees. Hike past the remains of sugar plantations and ancient petroglyph rock carvings.

Dating back to 1780, the Annaberg Sugar Plantation once produced sugar, molasses and rum. Today, hikers can see the ruins of an old windmill and view demonstrations on gardening, bread making and basket weaving.

Plumeria Alba, St. John (Doug/Wikimedia Commons)

Botanical Gardens and Butterflies

As visitors navigate the 18-hole miniature golf course at Pastory Gardens, they can take in botanical gardens filled with tropical flowers, banana trees, small streams and waterfalls. A butterfly conservatory offers a peek at the many varieties of St. John’s winged wildlife. The restaurant serves lunch, dinner and a late-night menu. Sit back with a tall fruity drink and enjoy the sunset views of Pillsbury Sound.

Beach Breezes

The sandy strands of St. John border beautiful blue-green water in shades of turquoise, teal and cobalt. Cinnamon Bay is a great beach for snorkeling, windsurfing and kayaking, as well as hiking the Cinnamon Bay trail. Located next to a campground, this beach offers the amenities of lockers, restrooms, showers, picnic tables and barbecue grills. Leinster Bay, next to the Annaberg Ruins, is quiet and popular with boaters and snorkelers for its array of turtles, starfish and stingrays.

Trunk Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands (Photo: Ben Whitney/Wikimedia Commons)

The most famous snorkeling site in the Virgin Islands is found at Trunk Bay. Perfect for beginner and experienced snorkelers, soft white sand leads the way to an underwater trail marked with descriptive plaques to identify the coral and marine life found in the area, which includes turtles, stingrays and tropical fish.

Cruz Bay is the main port and site of ferry service to St. Thomas and the British Virgin Islands. There are galleries, a museum, cafés and beach bars to while away the hours. Decked out in Caribbean colors with flowing tropical vines and flowers, this beachfront shopping area offers jewelry, beach gifts, tropical apparel, local handicrafts, spices, tea and island art.

Lori Hughes, founder and owner of Island Trader, is an entrepreneur, traveller, writer, and relaxation expert. She travels the world in search of turquoise water and island breezes, an island inspired lifestyle and tropical drinks.

Posted in Beaches of the Caribbean, Featured Guest Writer, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Costa Maya, A Very Popular Cruise Ship Port

Posted by Jody on April 23, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer: Mary Hilgart

A very popular cruise ship port, Costa Maya is in the coastal region of the Caribbean in the south of the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It runs from Punta Herrero in the north to Xcalak in the south. Costa Maya is separated from Belize by the river Boca Bacalar Chico.

Photo by Mary Hilgart

There is a very large coral reef that runs from Belize to Costa Maya which makes this a very popular destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can make out some of it in this picture.

According to the Orcacle Think Quest Education Foundation, the Belize Coral Reef is the second largest coral reef in the world. It is second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It is 180 miles long and stretches for the entire length of Belize. It is considered the largest continuous reef system in the Western Atlantic. It is also the largest Coral Reef in the Northern and Western Hemispheres. It is off the shore by about 1000 feet, but touches the shore at Rocky Point.

Photo by Mary Hilgart

Costa Maya has only two small fishermen villages – Mahahual and Xcalak. The picture above is the beach at Mahahual which is the main town. It consists of a concrete sidewalk that runs between the beach and a few souvenir shops, beach bars and restaurants.

Photo by Mary Hilgart

You can easily see the cruise ship port from the beach, but it would be too far to walk. Costa Maya is an authentic Mexican town, untouched by too much tourism. Our excursion on this cruise ship stop was a dune buggy tour, which was lots of fun, and I would highly recommend it!

Posted in Beaches of North America, Beaches of the Caribbean, Featured Guest Writer, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas

Posted by Jody on February 20, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer: Mary Hilgart

Gold Rock Beach at Lucayan National Park is dubbed by the locals as one of the most beautiful beaches on Grand Bahama Island.  After seeing it, I believe they are right!  Located about 45 minutes from Lucaya, and connected to Lucayan National Park (across the road), we paid $5 entrance fee to both the park and the beach.  The park itself is worth a look, with approximately 1.5 miles of hiking trails that lead to caves and burial grounds of ancient Indian settlers.

To get to the beach, you cross the street and walk the path about 1/4 mile through the mangroves to the beach.  Be sure to watch for wildlife on the trail, as we saw a family of raccoons, and many different types of fish in the lagoon.

Racoon Along the Trail (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

Once you get to the beach, you will be amazed by the beauty of the shimmering sun on the water, the aqua color of the water, and the amount of large driftwood that has washed up on shore.

Driftwood on the Shore, Gold Rock Beach, Grand Bahama Island (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

There are also some really great sandbars on this beach, which are easy to wade out to without getting too wet.

Gold Rock Beach, Grand Bahama Island (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

Gold Rock Beach, Grand Bahama Island (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

If you are fortunate enough to be able to get on a boat, be sure to visit this little island off the coast of Gold Rock Beach called Peterson Cay National Park.

Peterson Cay National Park, Bahamas (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

Peterson Cay National Park, Bahamas (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

This is a tiny uninhabited island that is home to a bird sanctuary.

Beach Birds, Peterson Cay National Park, Bahamas (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

And also a great place to snorkel and look for sea shells and sand dollars!

While snorkeling, my brother Joe found a six point starfish, which is extremely rare – almost like finding a four leaf clover!

Snorkeling at Peterson Cay National Park, Bahamas (Photo by Mary Hilgart)

Mary, Wow!  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks so much for the awesome Guest Post and all of the beautiful photos!  By the way, Joe hasn’t changed a bit.~ Jody

Posted in Beaches of the Caribbean, Featured Guest Writer, Monday Miscellaneous | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Green Sea Turtles: North Shore of Oahu & Hatchlings Head to Sea, Bahamas

Posted by Jody on August 16, 2011

Three Places to Spot Green Sea Turtles on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii

It’s really exciting to spot a green sea turtle!  I’ve been to Hawaii many times and each time it’s been an absolute pleasure to see these  beautiful, playful creatures.  It’s not always easy to get a good photo of a swimming “honu” but the memories will remain forever!

Green Sea Turtles, The Big Island, Hawaii (Photo by Jody Diehl)

Green Sea Turtles, The Big Island, Hawaii (Photo by Jody Diehl)

We’ve never set out to find green sea turtles.  If you’re lucky, it just happens.   So, if you are out on the beach and people are gathered around, looking out to sea and pointing, just join in and ask! It’s a rather good bet that someone caught sight of a green sea turtle or other marine critter! The folks at AlohaUpdate.com have given us three good, rather easy-to-find places for spotting  honu on the North Shore of Oahu.

The green sea turtle is a federally protected threatened species.  Remember to always keep your distance and never try to feed them or touch them.

Green Sea Turtles Hatch on Paradise Island, Bahamas

They had a little help from Atlantis’ Marine Aquarium Operations. Here’s the story of green sea turtle hatchlings on Paradise Beach, Paradise Island, Bahamas from TheBahamasWeekly.com.  You’ll see some wonderful photos of the little ones heading for the sea, too!

Enjoy! -J-

Posted in Beaches of the Caribbean, Beaches of The Hawaiian Islands, Sea Turtles | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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