Best viewpoints in Barbados!

Barbados has some fantastic natural landscapes, and there is no better way to see the island in all its glory than by visiting some of its most stunning viewpoints. No matter where your luxury villa rental is located, you are sure to have one of these viewpoints nearby. As the majority of them are quite remote, they are easiest to get to if you have a hire car, so you can include them in a day trip exploring the island.

Animal Flower Cave

Located in the upper part of the island, the Animal Flower Cave offers stunning views of the wide expanse that is the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll feel on top of the world standing on the cliff edge that looks down into a foaming natural pool. You can enjoy a meal at the cliff top restaurant or take a guided tour of the caves below.

Bathsheba


This is one of the most other worldly of all the views in Barbados. Stunning boulders fill the area which are actually rock formations that have broken away from ancient coral, and add to the unique landscape. It is a must see for anyone renting a house in Barbados.

Cherry Tree Hill

Even the name of this viewpoint sounds attractive. The steep climb up the hill will be well worth when you reach the top, it as you will be rewarded with stunning views of the whole of the east coast of Barbados. The road that leads up to the hill is lined with mahogany and offers some beautiful photo opportunities.

Ragged Point Lighthouse

If you want to see the beauty of a Caribbean sunset, then Ragged Point Lighthouse is the place to be. With the sea stretching out in front of you, and the Barbados countryside all around, it should definitely be on your list of scenic viewpoints to visit on a day trip from your Barbados villa.


Celebrity spotting in the Dominican Republic

There is a valid reason why so many tourists flee to the Dominican Republic every year. In addition to the golden beaches and sunny weather, there is also an abundance of things to do and see. As such, it is hardly surprising that many celebrities are also attracted to the Caribbean shores of the Dominican Republic.

Casa Q in Puerto Plata

The country’s proximity the United States has helped create a constant stream of celebs arriving throughout the years. Being just a short 1.5-hour flight from Florida, and 3.5 hours from New York, it is easily accessible.

The main attraction for celebs seems to be that it offers an ideal escape from their hectic everyday lives. They enjoy a villa with a private pool in the Dominican Republic just as much as the rest of us do.

Stars seem to count on the fact that they won’t be mobbed by reporters and photographers the minute that they step off the plane, and the many ultra-lavish, exclusive hideaways ensure that they will get this sort of privacy. Even real estate has been catching the eyes of many celebs, from seafront villas in the Dominican Republic to country estates, this Caribbean island has become a playground for the rich and famous in recent years.

Luxurious villa views

Singers like Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, and Shakira have all come to see what the Dominican Republic has to offer. Actors such as Vanessa Williams, Vin Diesel, Angelina Jolie, Matt Dillon, Mimi Rogers, Marcia Gray, and many more have also been spotted walking along the island’s beaches and streets.

Additionally, even politicians and royalty seem to enjoy the Caribbean way of life, with former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush frequently jumping on a plane to the island, and the King of Morocco is known to have thrown a lavish party on the island.

If you want to live a life like the rich and famous, rent a house in the Dominican Republic and enjoy the high life for a few weeks!


Havana’s ‘Golden Mile’

While there are many wonderful locations to rent a house in Havana, many long to stay as close as possible to the Golden Mile, right in the heart of the city’s historic centre. The Golden Mile is located at the Paseo del Prado end of the Obispo, a busy pedestrianised street that’s a true hub of activity. 

The Golden Mile is where you’ll find some of Havana’s best restaurants, most lively bars, and even the Tourist Information Office, which can be useful if you can’t remember how to get back to your Havana accommodation. It’s arguably one of the best preserved parts of the Old Town.

When you picture Havana in your head, you picture the Golden Mile. This is a place of old, cobbled streets that feel uneven underfoot, it’s a place of colonial architecture of days gone by, and it’s a place where the  Havana holiday home waits to welcome visitors to Cuba.

Street musicians fill the Golden Mile with soft music, and flower sellers add a touch of colour and vibrancy. Cuba is very much a country where old meets new, and that’s exactly what you get when you stroll along the Golden Mile.

But the Old Town isn’t just about the Golden Mile. In fact, there are many reasons to rent a villa in Cuba in this part of Havana. Not only are you near the city’s cultural district by the Paseo del Prado, which features a number of museums, but you’re also just a stone’s throw from the grand El Capitolio building.

Although there are some travellers who enjoy staying close to The Malecón, others prefer being close to the Obispo, and the Golden Mile. However, whatever location in Havana you choose, it’s hard to go wrong. The city is such a fascinating place, with something new to see around every corner!

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Five lunch stops in Puerto Plata

When you’re lounging at your Dominican Republic vacation rental, soaking up the sun and enjoying a relaxing holiday, it’s easy to rely on your kitchen’s contents for a sustainable meal. But if you’re craving some authentic Dominican food or simply want the dishes you would find in your own home town, it’s best to hop in your rental car and drive to the town of Puerto Plata for the widest culinary variety. Here are five great places for you to grab some lunch in Puerto Plata!

Views from Big Lee’s Beach Bar.

Big Lee’s Beach Bar

If you’re seeking traditional American fare, try Big Lee’s Beach Bar! It is run by an American from Chicago who retired in Puerto Plata seven years ago. You can enjoy a beach view while you eat, not to mention the relaxed and playful atmosphere that always surrounds the beach area. Try their specialty of beer-battered fish and chips, featuring their freshly-made French fries.

Kaffe

Looking for indoor/outdoor seating in a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere? Look no further than Kaffe. They have a beautiful outdoor area, half uncovered and open to the warm Caribbean sun, the other half covered by a patio. From the lush, tropical vegetation to the quaint, antiquated furnishings, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience. They serve Caribbean-style cuisine, with some International influences as well.

Green Jack Restaurant

Sleek, modern and beautiful are the best words to describe the Green Jack Restaurant. With fantastically decorated indoor and outdoor seating, you can enjoy a cool lunch inside, or check out the ocean breezes outside, surrounded by lush greenery. The food is mainly Caribbean-style but the menu also has vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. It is part of the Playa Dorada complex with friendly waitstaff, unique food, and delicious drinks.

Playa Dorada.

Sebastian

Craving Italian on your island adventure? Check out Sebastian! Their covered patio seating area is brightly colored, clean, and fresh. You’ll get cool breezes with a beach vibe, though not on the beach. There is a full bar, amazing Italian cuisine, and delicious desserts.

Los Charros y Los Pinches Chaparros

Mexican and Latin food are all the rage at the Los Charros y Los Pinches Chaparros restaurant. Their beautiful, clean interior offers a full bar and delicious dishes for everyone to enjoy!

With your palate satiated, head back to your vacation villa in the Dominican Republic for a long, satisfying siesta.

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Celebrate Easter in the Dominican Republic

Easter in the Dominican Republic is one of the of the most celebrated holidays of the year. The majority of people who live on the island are Catholic, so it is considered a time of both reflection and significance. Whenever Easter falls, it is a lovely time to rent a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic and take part in the festivities.

Easter week is also known as Semana Santa and is the perfect time to sample some traditional foods of the area. Habichuelas (sweet cream of beans) is a delicious dessert typical of this time of year, and it is one of the most loved and distinctive treats of the country. No matter where your Dominican Republic vacation rental is located, you are sure to find somewhere that serves this delicious dessert.

Habichuelas con dulce

Good Friday is often referred to as the calm before the storm. Many of the locals retire to their homes to spend time with friends and family. Loud music is frowned upon and if possible, motorsports are also limited. The sales of alcohol near beaches and public spaces is prohibited as part of religious tradition.

On the north coast, it is best to book a Dominican Republic vacation villa well in advance as accommodations fill up fairly quickly. Roads and beaches can be packed with people enjoying the season’s sunshine. As the weekend continues, expect picnics and music and a celebratory atmosphere as at night, with stages set up on the beach and music blasting until the early hours of the morning.

Church Convento de los Dominicos, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Many local churches take part in a religious theatre piece to commemorate the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Cool off from the heat and excitement by retiring in your Dominican Republic villa with a private pool. Additionally in cities like Santo Domingo, it is not unusual to find many streets scattered with inflatable pools!

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Dominican Republic festival guide

A holiday in the Dominican Republic wouldn’t be the same without witnessing at least one of the many annual festivals and celebrations. The ‘Fuestas Patronales’ range from crazy street parties complete with costumes and dancing to complex religious ceremonies.

The festivals are a great way to experience the cultural influences that help make the country so unique. The seemingly never-ending celebrations will certainly keep you busy. After a crazy day, a villa with private pool in the Dominican Republic will be exactly what you are looking for.

Here are some of the best festivals that the country has to offer.

Carnaval de Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo Carnival

If you have a vacation rental in the Dominican Republic in the Santo Domingo area, you shouldn’t miss the annual carnival celebrating, which, takes place in February. It is the biggest annual celebration in the whole country, with a street party taking place every Sunday of the month. The festivities culminate in a huge 24-hour party along the sea front, complete with processions, music, floats, and more!

Cabarete Sand Castle Festival

Also taking place in February, Cabarete is transformed into a giant sand sculpture park for 10 days! The work is of amazing quality with sculptures of all shapes and sizes and of varying themes.

Cabarete Sand Castle Festival

Semana Santa

You will have to be in your Dominican Republic villa in April to experience this Catholic Easter celebration. Fused with Afro-Dominican Vodu celebrations, these two festivals make April a very interesting time to travel to the country. The inhabitants of the town of Cabral dress as devils and ‘mock’ those that are passing by. Although this may not be the best idea of a festival to some, it is a great example of the fusion of two different cultures in the Dominican Republic.

Festival de Merengue

This festival takes place in Malecon in July and August, and is a music lover’s dream. The music is pumping all night and when you get tired, there are many food and drink tents where you can enjoy some delicious Dominican fare.

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Top 4 beaches in the Dominican Republic

When imaging an ideal vacation spot, the Dominican Republic fits the bill as a relaxing getaway where you can unwind from your normal life. The paradisal beaches of the Dominican Republic offer myriad opportunities for such repose, including the top four that are listed below.

1. Bavaro Beach
White sands, crystal clear water, and gorgeous palm trees are just a taste of what Bavaro Beach offers! Grab your beach chair, towel, or rent one of the many lounge chairs available. You can even find tropical umbrellas for your lounging needs! There are miles of beach with plenty of watersports, restaurants, bars, and resorts to satisfy every need.

Bavaro Beach

2. Macao Beach
If you prefer a quieter, more secluded experience, you’ll love Macao Beach with its cliffs, white sands, clear waters, and tropical foilage. Although there are fewer restaurants, it also means there will be fewer people around, so if you want to escape the world and relax in a private-feeling beach, Macao is a magnificent choice.

3. Playa Bonita
Playa Bonita offers a unique experience. Though it still has the beautiful sands and clear water typical of the Dominican Republic, you’ll also find beautiful tropical nature with walking paths, green areas to sit and sun yourself, old trees sea-logged on the sand, and coral reefs that are perfect for snorkeling! This beach is also more isolated than some of the other choices because it sits on the edge of town, therefore giving you a quiet, relaxing time away from the world.

Playa Rincón

4. Playa Rincón
Mountains in the background, turquoise waters, rocks scattered here and there, white sands, and luscious tropical plant life make this beach a gorgeous stop on your tour of island beaches. Playa Rincon connects to the nearby Caño Frío (a river) which offers a secondary environment for you to enjoy.

When you’ve explored these four amazing beaches, you’ll be ready to return to your rental villa in the Dominican Republic to continue the tranquility.

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Swimming in Havana, Cuba

When you’re on holiday in Cuba and the Caribbean sun is blazing down, there’s one great way to cool off: take a swim! But where are the best places to swim in Havana? Here are a few great options.

Your Villa with a Private Pool in Havana

If you love swimming but hate crowds, why not treat yourself to a luxury villa with a pool in Havana? Wake up and enjoy an invigorating swim before breakfast on the patio, or cool off in the pool at the end of a busy day sightseeing.

Hotels

If you’ve opted for a villa in Havana without a pool or a downtown apartment, don’t worry! Many of the big resort hotels in the city offer day passes for non-hotel guests which provide access to many of the building’s facilities, including swimming pools and gymnasiums. Day passes can be very inexpensive, which makes them a good choice.

Public Swimming Pools

Although these are few and far between, there is one olympic-sized swimming pool in Havana which is open to the public between competition events. Located on Avenida Monumental, Complejo de Piscinas Baraguá is famous for hosting events during the 1991 Pan-American Games.

Beaches

The nearest beach to Havana that offers clean and safe swimming opportunities is Playa Santa Maria, which can be reached from your Havana accommodation in about 25 minutes by local bus or taxi. Playa Guanabo is another beach neighbourhood that can be reached on foot from some of our Havana villas!

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Dive into Havana’s delicious street food

In the United States and United Kingdom, street food has become a culinary trend in major cities, exposing locals to food from all over the world. However, if you’ve taken Caribbean islands vacations before, you’ll notice that in this part of the world, street food is already a very well-established concept, and that both visitors and locals alike flock to these street-side carts for tasty and filling snacks.

What is Havana Street Food?

Unlike in the United States, where traditional street food means hot dogs or gyros, street food in Havana is much more diverse and varied. If you take a walk from your Havana villa to any major attraction in the city, you’ll likely come across little stalls selling everything from pizza slices and sandwiches to fresh fruit pastries and deep fried churros. Specialities in Havana include chicharritas, which are fried plantains, frituras de malanga, which is fried malanga root, and tostones, which are twice-fried plantain slices.

Tostones are also big in the Dominican Republic. However, if you’re staying in a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic, be sure to ask for the local ‘fritos verdes’ which is the correct term for this location.

Why Street Food?

Quite simply, this is a chance to eat like a local and to try foods that you may not have tried otherwise. While there are many great restaurants in Havana (and great local markets, too, if you want to whip up something at your Havana vacation rental), there really isn’t anything that beats strolling along the Malecon with a cone full of freshly fried banana chips. Caribbean islands vacations are ideal for self-proclaimed ‘foodies’, offering a wide range of mouthwatering foods that are far different from what can be found at home.


Where to stay in the Dominican Republic

Where should you rent a house in the Dominican Republic? The answer depends on what you’re looking for from your Dominican Republic holiday. This Caribbean country offers everything from untouched beaches to busy and bustling city centres. See below for a brief look at a few of the different neighbourhoods.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the capital of the country, so the city is naturally very active and lively, and serves as a great place for shopping, nightlife, and experiencing the ‘real’ Dominican Republic. The historic Zona Colonial district is bursting with culture, featuring plenty of museums, sights, and attractions to keep you busy. Rather than staying at big resorts, the vacation rental homes in Santo Domingo are quite personal and private.

Punta Cana and Puerto Plata

Want to stay in a luxury villa with private pool in the Dominican Republic with quick and easy access to the beach? Consider staying in Punta Cana or Puerto Plata, which are two of the country’s best loved resort towns. Ideal for sunbathing, water sports, and resort-style nightlife, Punta Cana and Puerto Plata can provide a typical Caribbean island vacation, full of golden sands, cocktails, and a chilled vibe.

The Samaná Peninsula

In recent years, the Dominican Republic has solidified its place as one of the best destinations for ecotourism, and the Samaná Peninsula is a real ecotourism hotspot. With many local tour operators observing the code of conduct of the Center for the Conservation and Eco-Development of Samaná Bay and its surroundings, this is a great place to explore and do your part for the environment.

At the end of the day, however, it really doesn’t matter where your vacation rental in the Dominican Republic is located. The whole country has something wonderful to offer, from great scenery, history, and culture, to beaches, water sports, or shopping. Why not take a trip and see for yourself!

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