Island Highlight – St Jean

Although Gustavia may be the most populated part of the island, then second most popular tourist area on the island is St. Jean. Located in St Barts heart, it is a town simply full of amazing dining opportunities, large and uncrowded shopping plazas, and a range of tiny, unique boutique establishments. It is also nearby the islands only airport, making transport links to your villa in Barbados easy.

Once you have filled your days with shopping, wandering down the picturesque streets and having a bite to eat in one of the many pavement cafes or upscale restaurants, it is time to hit the beach. The beach of St. Jean is actually two beaches, split by the Eden Rock which sits proudly on the coastline, with a hotel perched on the top.

The bay is a beautiful crescent of powder soft, white sands, and is home to a natural coral reef which helps to make it a swimming hot spot. People come from vacation rentals all over the island to dive beneath the waves and see the huge array of marine life that thrive just below the surface.

If water sports are your thing, then there are a number of water sport centres around the town and bay that offer the rental of sporting equipment such as snorkel gear,snorkel gear, windsurfers and much more, as well as an array of other beach toys.

Due to the stunning bay, St. Jean is also home to the St. Barts Fun Cup in February, which is three days of Regattas. The lively atmosphere, excitable crowd and festival atmosphere make it a great time to have accommodation in Barbados.


The Incredible Nightlife of Curacao

The island of Curacao is known for many things, but people flock to get a villa in Curacao in droves in order to make the most of its legendary night life. For such a small island, there are a large number of venues throughout Curacao where you can dance the night away, admire the views with a drink in hand or listen to some live music. It is not surprising that the majority of the nightlife scene comes alive on the weekends, so here is where to head when on your Caribbean vacation:


Thursday

 

On Thursday, there are plenty of entertainment options, especially in the Pietermaai District. This area of the island is seriously trendy, with a huge number of old historic homes being renovated and transformed into a range of unique bars and restaurants. Expect live jazz and blues music, with a spectacular sunset backdrop.

 

Friday

 

If dancing is more your thing, then Friday night is your night to go out. The evening is known as Drink, Dine and Dance, and you can enjoy endless salsa dancing between the 100 year old walls of the Rif Fort. If you are not brave enough to take to the dance floor yourself, you could simply spend the night enjoying a dinner if cocktail and watching the dancers before you head back to your vacation rental in Curacao.

 

Saturday and Sunday

 

On Saturday and Sunday evening, the most popular spots for nightlife really come alive. The four best nightlife bars are arguably Hemingway, Madero Ocean Club, Cabana Beach and Wet & Wild. After starting with the live music at Hemingway, move with the crowds over to the other clubs where DJs set up on the beach, dancers flock to the sand and there are some excellent drink deals. Make sure you get a Caribbean villa nearby, so you don’t have far to travel home!


Eco-Tourism in the Dominican Republic

There are so many natural wonders to explore in Punta Cana and all throughout the Dominican Republic that it can be hard to know where to start during your vacation in the Dominican Republic. Many resorts offer an array of eco-tourism adventures, including (but not limited to) the following.

Zip Lining

One of the best ways to see the rainforests of the Caribbean in style is by flying through them in one of the many zip lining adventures available. Buckle up and zoom through the trees in style. Why not see if you can find one near your Dominican Republic vacation rental.

Natura Sinkholes

A unique experience in the Dominican Republic is to take tip into a secluded cenote, which is essentially a natural sinkhole. With a guide, you can take a hike along a nature trail, before jumping off a cliff into the clear, turquoise waters below.

Safari Adventure

Taking a safari tour is a great way to learn more about the country where you are visiting. You are likely to be picked up from near your villa in the Dominican Republic in an open top truck, and be taken deep into the Dominican countryside to learn about the local produce and local customs.

Horseback Riding

If you have been looking for a new and exciting way to explore the shores of Punta Cana, then horse riding could be your answer. Whether you are an experienced rider or a complete novice, horseback riding offers you a unique way to explore your surroundings.

Cable Cars

A ride in a cable car doesn’t have to be just for skiing holidays. You can take a ride up to the top of Mount Isabel de Torres and enjoy the view from the top. You might even be able to see your Caribbean villa. The park is also home to a great botanical garden so you can make a full day of your visit.

El Limon

If you are looking for a trip that will take your breath away, you should book a trip to the El Limon waterfall. The mountains in this region reach an incredible 2100 feet and are full of vegetation. You are able to swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall or just take in the amazing sites.


Spas in Aruba

When looking for an idyllic Caribbean vacation, the first thing that often springs to mind is relaxation. Aruba is a hotspot for sunbathing, sipping drinks at a beach bar or lazing round a pool at your luxury villa rental.

What many people don’t know however, is just how many locations there are on this small island to be pampered from head to toe. Whether it is for a couple’s beach massage or a speciality treatment, Aruba has it all.

Okeanos Spa

This spa offers a huge range of services from its two locations on the island. They have both and indoor spa and a beach spa, which is often referred to as Spa Cove. While there, why not take a few photos with the world famous pink flamingos that also call it their home? Imagine breath-taking beauty as you relax with some healing treatments, some of which include the native aloe vera.

Zoia Spa

This new Spa concept was introduced back in 2012 and specialises in a range of spa treatments. The design of the spa incorporates sustainable products and materials throughout the space, and offers both indoor and outdoor treatments.

Larimar Spa

Under a beach side cabana, this spa really knows how to pamper its guests. Lots of visitors opt for the rum and aloe vera massage, the spa’s speciality inspired by ingenious ingredients. After the treatment, you will be heading back to your accommodation in Aruba in ultimate bliss.

Spa del Sol

Spa del Sol has taken full advantage of Aruba’s beaches when it chose its location. The spa is located under a few gazebos on the beach and offers a range of treatments such as massages, manicures and pedicures. What makes it even better, is there is even a steam room and whirl pool. Seeing as the island is so small, no matter where your vacation rental is location, it is easy to reach Spa del Sol.


Picnic Spots in Barbados!

When on holiday, you may not always want to splash out on lavish meals at posh restaurants. Sometimes, it is far nicer to pack your own basket of local goodies in your villa in Barbados and find that ultimate picnic spot. The stunning island of Barbados has its fair share of these picturesque spots that make an ideal place to lay down a rug and spend some quality time in the Caribbean air with friends and family.

A few requirements for a good picnic spot includes ample shade, parking, and easy access. It is also handy if there is a nearby shop or deli where you can pick up supplies if there is anything that you have forgotten.

Miami Beach- Miami Beach is a stunning beach on the south coast which is has many trees to supply shade and picnic benches and public facilities. The water is calm and great for swimming on one side, and deeper with more waves on the other.
Bottom Bay- This is a picture perfect image of tropical paradise, and is often used in films due to its natural beauty. There is plenty of shade and refreshments for sale, including fresh green water coconuts, picked from the surrounding trees. The steps down can be a little challenging, but the view is worth the walk.

Bathsheba- A popular surfing spot, Bathsheba offers lunch and a show, with many eager surfers hitting the wave throughout the year. There are plenty of picnic tables and public facilities, as well as parking nearby. In addition to sand, there is also a wide expanse of grass and the surrounding areas provide some lovely walks once you have finished eating.

Mount Hillaby- If you are up for a bit of a challenge, Mount Hillaby is the highest point of the island, standing at 343m above sea level. From this picnic vantage point you will be rewarded with stunning views of Barbados and the coastline. You may even be able to spot your Barbados accommodation.
Cherry Tree Hill – The road leading up Cherry Tree Hill is lined with mahogany trees and offer an excellent view of the ‘Scotland District’. Once you have filled yourself up with picnic goodies, be sure to explore the St. Nicholas Abbey Plantation and the on-site run distillery.


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!


Urban farming in Cuba

Many people choose to rent a villa in Cuba so that they can experience how it feels to step back in time. It is not uncommon to see decades-old cars driving down the street and buildings rich in history, dating to the 1950s. Cuban agriculture is another factor that seems to have stood the test of time.

In 1991, the country’s economy seemed to collapse overnight due to the collapse of its trade partner, the Soviet Union. During this period, Cuba lost its source of affordable agricultural tools and machinery. Lacking this modern equipment, Cuba suddenly had to abandon their former industrial agriculture and make the switch to urban farming. No longer were farmers using chemicals and machinery that required fuel; instead they were forced to transition back to traditional methods such as using machetes, composting worms, and oxen-drawn plows. If you have a Cuba holiday rental in the countryside, you will see some of these methods at work.

Along with farmers, individuals have also begun to utilise any land that they own to grow their own produce and raise animals. During the worst years of the financial crisis, residents could even purchase baby chicks from the government, take them home, and raise them in their backyards.

Although much of the country’s economy has bounced back, it seems like the farming sector has changed for the better, and now there are thousands of urban farms across Cuba.

No matter where you rent a house in Cuba, It is likely that you will see many local homes with windowsills lined with crops, and livestock wondering around in front yards. Local markets burst with fresh, organic produce that you can purchase to cook your own delicious Cuban meals in the comfort of your Cuba accommodation.

If you are interested in this aspect of the country’s history and want to learn more about urban agriculture, there are specially arranged tours available wherein visitors can interact with local farmers to gain a unique insight into their individual histories and methods, a side to Cuban that many people miss out on.


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!


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.


Whale-watching in the Dominican Republic

People from all over the globe rent a vacation villa in the Dominican Republic in the hopes of spotting the beautiful humpback whales during their mating season, which falls between mid-December and the end of March. A boat trip out to witness these magnificent animals is one of the most popular excursions that the country offers.

For the best chance to see a whale, arrange to rent a villa in the Dominican Republic in Samana Bay and the Silver Bank, in the northwest region of the country. Each year more than 2,000 humpbacks come to these waters to mate due to the warmer temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean. A recent study has shown that all populations in the Atlantic come from Iceland, Greenland, Canada and North America, to these waters, so it is likely that you will be able to spot a few whales during your visit.

It is no wonder that some many people rent a house in the Dominican Republic at this time of year as the show is an impressive one. A fairly common sighting is a 40-ton male who jumps out of the water to win the female’s attraction or sings along and monotonous song that the other whales can hear up to 30 kilometres away.

Samana

Samana became a sanctuary for the protection of the whales in 1986 and is considered one of the best places in the world for humpback whale-watching. As mammals, the whales have to come up to the surface fairly regularly to breathe and can be on the surface for up to 20 minutes. During their long trip to the Samana Bay area, the whales do not feed, and even while spending the winter on the shores of the Dominican Republic, they still go without eating. In this time, many will lose up to one-fifth of their original weight.

Samana

The whales need warmer waters because when they are born, they only have a very thin layer of fat, which makes it hard to withstand the cold waters. To form this protective layer, the young will consume approximately 200 litres of breast milk a day.

Safety

Due to the increased popularity of whale-watching in the area, The Dominican government enforces strict whale protection laws and guidelines to ensure the protection of these incredible creatures. It can be an amazing experience for anyone renting a villa in the Dominican Republic, but their protection comes first, and tour companies will not do anything that could potentially harm these creatures.

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