South View Eagle Beach Live Cam
The lighthearted atmosphere perfectly captures both the Aruban spirit and the Caribbean region's unique style and flair
- Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort
- L.G. Smith Boulevard #55B - Eagle Beach
- Aruba - Dutch Caribbean
- + (297) 583-1100
- [email protected]
The Renaissance Island and De Palm Island
Casino gambling enthusiasts find resorts throughout the Caribbean ideal. There are 17 casino destinations throughout the Caribbean but the glitziest, busiest casinos are in Aruba, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten/St. Martin where casino-hopping is an interesting and colorful amusement, even for those who approach the games with caution.
Most have lively bars (often featuring live entertainment), dinner/cabaret theaters with flashy revues and popular restaurants for the convenience of customers. They are popular stops on the nightlife route.
Gambling also exists (in some abridged form) in Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Curacao, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, St. Martin, St. Kitts, St. Vincent and the Turks and Caicos.
Casinos are usually open all day (for slots and limited table play), picking up small crowds and opening more games in late afternoon. After dinner and far on into the night, activ cut rate air fare and accommodations are often offered to "high rollers" by major casino operators. On a smaller scale, many casinos offer regular players amenities and discounts tied to the frequency of casino visits and the size of their investment.
Dozens of Caribbean destinations and resorts offer prime possibilities for fun family vacations. A number of prestige hotel chains have day camps for children which open for the convenience of parents during the evening with limited planned activities and basic baby sitting services. Cots and cribs are provided for the early-to-bed set. In most cases, children under 12 stay free in their parents' room but an additional daily charge covers camp, lunch, snacks and activities.
(Children may stay for all or part of the day but must be checked in and out by the adult who registered them.) Outdoor activities include playground games, relay races, swimming lessons, snorkeling and scuba instruction, fishing, shelling, nature walks and classes and handicrafts. High-tech touches -- television, video libraries, computers (instruction is often available), computer games and tapes and CDs for listening, dance and exercise periods -- are often available.
Culture corners teach local history and facts about festivals, food and music. On some islands, campers can learn a foreign language or work on the local "lingo." Hey, mon, the Caribbean is great fun for families! Several all-inclusive resorts cater exclusively to families. Children share rooms with parents. Rates are affordable and include lots of supervised activity -- land and water sports (with instruction), entertainment, meals, beverages, snacks and baby sitting services -- "the works!" Often, restaurants are reserved for children (who may or may not choose to bring adults) during the day and for families at night.
The Caribbean Culinary Federation, with hundreds of resorts and restaurant chefs as members, is focused on producing and maintaining memorable, high quality Caribbean cuisine. Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cancun, Cozumel and Cuba offer Spanish specialties including rich black bean soup, succulent seafood paella and fried plantains. Food in the French islands is outstanding. Some joke that St. Bart's beaches, however magnificent, are just places to kill time between gourmet meals. Guadeloupe has an annual festival, "Fete des Cuisineres," focused entirely on cooks and cooking (eating, too) as part of the event. Jamaica is known for its favorite breakfast, codfish with ackee, and for pungent, aromatic jerk spiced chicken and pork, pit-barbecued outdoors.
Flying fish (watch them skim the surface of the sea) is the national dish in Barbados. Buy some packaged to take home. "Mountain chicken," actually large frogs legs, are a delicacy in the Eastern Caribbean. The Dutch islands feature an Indonesian-influenced "rijstaffel" (rice table), an interesting buffet with an assortment of subtle flavors and "keshi yena," specialty, a hearty stuffed gouda cheese. Breadfruit, a Caribbean diet staple, was brought to St. Vincent from Tahiti by Captain Bligh. Grenada is a world-renowned producer of nutmeg (try the ice cream) and other spices. Emphasis on a healthy diet is region-wide. With locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables (bananas, mangos, guavas, soursoup, sweetsop, papayas, pears (avocados), christophine and others) and straight-from-the-sea ingredients (including succulent Caribbean lobster), interesting, light menu items are "naturals". Fast food restaurants, offering convenience and budget pricing to delight families with children, have also appeared throughout the region.
In the jargon of the '90s, "ecotourism" combines the spirit of adventure and exploration with the concern for maintaining the health of our natural, cultural (and historical) surroundings -- and preserving them for ourselves and generations to come. Caribbean nations have recently jumped on the ecotourism bandwagon with great enthusiasm. The result is a profusion of awareness and preservation programs throughout the region to bring its overall product to an optimum level for visitors. There's new and greater concern for ecological issues within the hotel community and active participation in ecotourism conferences focused on exchanging applicable state-of-the art information and techniques. American Express sponsors an annual series of Caribbean Historic Preservation Awards. Islands Magazine offers citations for the development of Ecotourism projects. The Caribbean Hotel Association recognizes hoteliers implementing major environmental awareness efforts.
Historic restorations throughout the Region are at an all-time high. Societies and foundations have been organized (or reactivated) in most destinations to interpret and catalog the culture. Museums are being upgraded. Marine park development is burgeoning, to the delight of divers and snorkelers who are practicing proponents of the "look, but don't touch" school of underwater exploration. The protection of endangered species is a major concern. Birdwatchers, botanists, hikers and bikers take to the hills, delighting in nature Caribbean-style. Consult destination listings for reference to specific attractions.
Caribbean resorts offer both all-inclusive and a la carte vacations with emphasis on mental and physical fitness. From simple straightforward yoga retreats to European-style super-pampering package programs in spectacular sybaritic surroundings, it's all available -- and in many destinations. Some all-inclusive resorts offer a wide range of spa-based amenities in their standard packages. Others include basic spa features plus an impressive menu of add-ons for guests who prefer to design it themselves. These may include hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, body polishing, paraffin, bronzing or seaweed compression, facials, manicures, pedicures, body and scalp massages. Many resorts include complimentary use of fitness facilities and charge for spa services as they are used.
Fitness centers may feature state-of-the-art gymnasiums (Nautilus and Universal) with treadmills, stair climbers, free weights, bench and leg presses, rowing and curling machines and more. Professional trainers offer guidance and encouragement -- and take-home fitness programs for guests with personal short and long-term conditioning goals. Some also analyze body composition. Classes are regularly scheduled for bend, stretch and toning, aerobics and aquacise at various skill levels. Tennis, volleyball and squash are available (often with instruction). Saunas and plunge pools, jacuzzis, hiking, jogging and nature trails complete the picture. Visitors will find that emphasis on healthy menus is a Region-wide phenomenon, not confined to spa resorts. Locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables and straight-from-the-sea ingredients make interesting, diet-conscious cuisine possible -- and plentiful.
Hotels of all sizes and types throughout the Caribbean host meetings and conventions of as many varieties. In search of a perfect meeting place? The Caribbean has it all. A hectic schedule of speeches, seminars and workshops is made less so by a walk on the beach, a splash in the sea or cocktails on the terrace at sunset. So the Caribbean naturally qualifies as a top choice for corporate getaways. Many companies now choose travel for individual and group incentive rewards, recognizing the power of a Caribbean vacation as an employee motivator.
Lists of properties with group facilities are available from most tourist boards. Use them to select a "short list" of resorts. Analyze the components of your program and inquire about custom-tailored packages. Compare offers to determine the best price/value combination. A coordinator will be assigned to supervise a group program from start to finish. Group coordinators know the ins and outs of audio visual requirements, the intricacies of planning meetings, the resort and its services and all the options for recreation and entertainment. Package plans may be "bare bones" (budget) or super-amenitized when the sky's the limit and management wants to make an indelible impression.
All-inclusive resorts are not new to the Caribbean -- but their popularity has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. Created for couples, the all-inclusive concept has spread to encompass vacations for families and singles as well. Properties offering inclusive plans range from simple seaside spots with a casual style to grand luxe resorts with gourmet restaurants and yacht cruises. There are all-inclusive resorts of all sizes for budgets of all sizes.
Wondering if an all-inclusive is right for you? There's an at-ease idea behind all-inclusive thinking -- just the pure pleasure of planning a vacation in advance, paying "up front" and going virtually wallet and worry free from there. Air transportation, airport transfers, accommodations, meals, drinks, all sports, activities and entertainment, taxes and gratuities are wrapped in most all-inclusive resort packages. Some resorts will cheerfully include a wedding for couples who stay a week or more. When there's family focus, day-long supervised activities programs and separate dining rooms are offered for children. Baby-sitting service is often provided to allow adults to enjoy the evening entertainment.
An all-inclusive vacation makes it easy to plan and budget your expenses in advance. But not all all-inclusive resorts are the same. Ask a travel agent to help compare plans and be sure to read the brochures since all-inclusive amenities vary between resorts. And some regular resorts are now offering all-inclusive package plans.
Golf ranks high on the list of activities attracting visitors to the region. Devotees visit often to play one or more of the Caribbean's challenging world-class courses. Fairways banked with flowers and tropical foliage, perched at the edge of the sea or looming high over harbors with unbeatable views are typical of the region. Caribbean golf is spectacularly scenic and players are drawn year 'round by the excellent facilities and the delightful, dependable climate. Many Caribbean courses were designed by the masters -- Peter Dye, Robert Trent Jones (Sr. and Jr.), Joe Lee or Dick Wilson. Nature provides prime growing conditions while state-of-the-art maintenance systems contribute to keeping the fairways a seamless velvety green. Some combination of 9 and 18-hole courses, resort and public, can be found in most destinations but these are particular favorites:
Bermuda (with more courses per square mile than anywhere else in the world), the Dominican Republic (and its legendary "Teeth of the Dog"), St. Thomas (Mahogany Run), St. Croix (Carambola), Guadeloupe (St. Francois), the Bahamas, Jamaica and Puerto Rico, each with a number of top-notch courses. Instruction can be arranged through pro shops and practice ranges are plentiful.
Golf is a standard amenity at several all-inclusive resorts. And some offer free lessons. European Plan properties often offer golf packages with greens and cart fees included, lowering the cost of play. Tournaments with large prize purses are held at the region's most challenging courses such as Tryall in Jamaica. Consult tourist boards for schedules and information.