Paris Permenter & John Bigley's
Caribbean Family Tripper travel guide

Your guide to Caribbean family vacations from a husband-wife team of professional travel writers and guidebook authors.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

POTD: Pumpkin in Abaco, Bahamas

A carved pumpkin on the small island of Abaco in the Bahamas greets visitors.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

POTD: Ferry to Isla Mujeres, Mexico

From Cancun, ferry service connects visitors to the small island of Isla Mujeres. Here a small town atmosphere makes it easy for families to tour on golf carts and bicycles or explore on foot.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

POTD: Pool Fun, Paradisus Palma Real

Organized pool activities--like this exercise class at Paradisus Palma Real--are scheduled at many all-inclusives several times a day. You'll find that many Caribbean resorts have a main pool with activities like this as well as pool volleyball and other sports plus a quiet pool perfect for relaxing with a good book.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

POTD: Display at Interactive Aquarium Cancun

Living coral and other forms of sea life highlight the excellent displays at the Interactive Aquarium Cancun, one of the top family attractions in Cancun.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

POTD: Somerset Falls, Jamaica

You and the kids can grab a ride on a small rowboat at Somerset Falls, located just west of Port Antonio, Jamaica, and literally ride under the falls into a small cave.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

POTD: Cayman Brac

It's known as the "brac," a cliff that outlines the island of Cayman Brac, one of the three Cayman Islands. On the rocky beach below, it's common to see stacks of sea-polished rocks standing like quiet sentries on the shore.

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New Antigua Resort Offers Kids' Club

The latest addition to Antigua's resort offerings has opened its doors. The Verandah Resort & Spa, which is located on the northeast coast, is a family-friendly, upscale eco-resort and a member of Elite Island Resorts.

"This is a very special place. We've only built on 12 of the resort's 30 acres, making the resort one of the most spacious Caribbean properties," says Steven E. Heydt, Elite Island Resorts president. "We designed the property with an emphasis on environmental responsibility and sustainable tourism, while not sacrificing the luxury aspects of an upscale resort."

The resort overlooks Dian Bay and is bordered by Devil's Bridge National Park with its dramatic landmark rock arch. The tranquil waters of the resort's two sheltered beaches are perfect for family activities including non-motorized water sports such as kayaking, windsurfing, and snorkeling.

The resort, which has the island's largest free-form swimming pool, is also home to a a dedicated kid's club with its own pool and restaurant. There is a surcharge for use of the kids' club.

Other features include a state-of-the-art fitness center and a mini-cinema, as well as a choice of restaurants and bars. There's also a spa featuring exotic techniques from around the world, including Thai Yoga massage and Sabai Stone treatments.

The resort is composed of 200 villa-style suites, all with seaview verandahs. Suites have flat-screen TVs, king-size beds, Internet access, a microwave, mini-fridge and a living room area.

Special Rates: Through December 20, 2007, the resort features an introductory savings of 50%, with nightly all-inclusive double rates starting at $243.

For More Information:
• call (800) 345-0356
• visit www.verandahresortandspa.com


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

POTD: Haunted Rose Hall??

Jamaica's most famous greathouse is Rose Hall, a place where mistress Annie Palmer was said to have murdered three husbands and numerous slaves. Guided tours here take a look at the historic home and tell the tales of Annie. Tours may be a little too scary for younger children but older kids and teens enjoy the haunted stories including the one about this portrait. The children in the photo have never been identified but some people believe the girl in the red dress is Annie, whose eyes are said to follow you as you walk around the room. (We tried it and it really does seem to happen!)

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Monday, October 22, 2007

POTD: The Sand Streets of San Pedro, Belize

The sand streets of Belize's San Pedro, located on Ambergris Caye, are best explored on foot and by electric golf cart, always a family favorite!

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Jumby Bay Offers Thanksgiving Package

Most Caribbean resorts do something special for Thanksgiving although, since it's an American holiday, it's not a major event at many properties. At Antigua's Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort, however, the holiday will be celebrated with a "Island of Thanks" getaway. The private island resort located off the coast of Antigua is offering five days of festivities for all ages, from pumpkin carving for the little ones to rum tasting for the big ones, and the most delicious Thanksgiving feast in the Caribbean, prepared by new Executive Chef, Erik Gremmer.

The Event: Highlights include:

Wednesday, November 21:
Welcome amenity and Manager's holiday-themed cocktail party

Thursday, November 22:
Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings by Jumby Bay's Executive Chef Erik Gremmer.

Friday, November 23:
Holiday Cookie Decorating Class, Family guided bicycle tour with en-route refreshments, and Family Bingo with tasty snacks at The Verandah.

Saturday, November 24:
Holiday Crafts for the Kids, Children's Pizza Party and holiday movie at The Verandah, Holiday Rum Tasting and dinner at The Estate House

Sunday, November 25:
Farewell Holiday Brunch

Rates starting at $875 per night, plus 10.5% Government Tax and 10% Service, subject to availability. There is a minimal charge for children's activities.

Why It's Good for Families: Recently honored as the World's Best Caribbean Resort by the readers of Travel + Leisure, the 300-acre private island offers three tennis courts, two white-sand beaches, and complimentary Caloi bicycles. Parents can reserve downtime for themselves with the resort's Nanny Service for infants and scheduled activities at the Children's Center for children ages three years and older.

For more information:

• call 888-ROSEWOOD
• visit www.jumbybayresort.com

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Discount Cruises for Military Families

If yours is a military family, check out the new Carnival Cruise Lines promotion in honor of Veteran's Day. Throughout the month of November, active and retired military personnel can book up to three "Fun Ship" staterooms for themselves and their friends and family members at special discounted rates, starting at low as $189 per person.

Dates: Reservations must be made between Nov. 1-30, 2007, to qualify for this promotion, which is available in conjunction with a wide range of three- to 12-day "Fun Ship" departures through Dec. 31, 2008.

Price: Rates start at $189 per person for three-day cruises from Miami, Florida; $249 per person for five-day cruises from Mobile, Alabama, and Jacksonville, Florida and $399 per person for seven-day cruises from Miami.

Details: The promotion is valid for individual bookings only, capacity controlled and not applicable with any other discount offer. Fare code CPM1 must be requested during the reservations process and military personnel must provide proof of service. Certain other restrictions apply.

For more information:
• call 1-800-CARNIVAL
• visit carnival.com


Friday, October 19, 2007

POTD: Cacti in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Think all Caribbean islands are dotted with palm trees and hibiscus? Think again. Look for cacti on many islands; this shot was taken on the island of Providenciales (better known as Provo) in the Turks and Caicos.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

POTD: Exploring Aruba...Safari Style

Hop a jeep and take a safari tour of Aruba on your next visit! Our family has enjoyed this adventure which includes a stop at the gold ruins and the island caves. Bring along some old clothes for the trip because you WILL get dusty!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

POTD: Grand Turk Island

The island of Grand Turk, which serves as capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands, offers a quiet getaway for families. Best known for its surrounding waters, the island is also home to an excellent museum featuring a Caribbean shipwreck.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A New Contest for CaribbeanFamilyTripper!

It's time for a new contest! For this contest we're pairing up with our sister site, JamaicaTripper.com, for a contest that celebrates the youthful spirit of Jamaica with a prize that includes a children's book about the boyhood of Bob Marley, written by his daughter Cedella. For all the details and prizes, see our contest page. Good luck!


Outbreak Notice: Dengue, Tropical and Subtropical Regions | CDC Travelers' Health

Thanks to heavy rains during Hurricane Dean and other storms, the mosquito population has been on the rise on some islands and with that an increase in tropical diseases like dengue. The US Centers for Disease Control is reporting that Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico are experiencing dengue cases. For more, see:

Outbreak Notice: Dengue, Tropical and Subtropical Regions | CDC Travelers' Health

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Congratulations to our latest contest winner

Congratulations to Stephanie in Akron, Ohio; she wins our latest Prize Pail! We'll be adding a new contest on October 16, a joint contest with our sister site, JamaicaTripper. Look for a children's book about Bob Marley's boyhood in Jamaica and more!


POTD: Swimming with Turtles, Grand Cayman

During a snorkel trip to Stingray City on Grand Cayman, this large turtle decided to join in the fun.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

POTD: Seatrek Fun in Aruba

If you've wondered what it would be like to walk on the floor of the ocean, wonder no more. SeaTrek, with installations on many islands including this one on Aruba, offers visitors the chance to wear high-tech helmets and walk on the ocean floor. This photo is of our daughter Lauren; as you can see, she's wearing her glasses and her hair is not even wet. SeaTrek can be enjoyed by non-swimmers and no experience is necessary.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

POTD: Anguilla's Shoal Bay

The small, exclusive island of Anguilla (located just a short ferry ride from St. Martin) is noted for its exceptional beaches such as this one at Shoal Bay.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

POTD: Annaberg Ruins, St. John, USVI

Annaberg is home to the ruins of one of over two dozen sugar plantations that once thrived on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Today these ruins are open to the public and administered by the National Park Service. Your family can tour the ruins on your own for a look back at St. John's history and some great oceanviews from this perch as well. (A tip from us: bring insect repellent! Depending on the time of year you visit, this area can be plagued with sand flies.)

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Carnival Offers Expanded "Towel Creations" Book

Above: "Swans" greet guests at a Jamaica hotel room.

How many times have you returned to your resort guest room or your cruise stateroom and found a towel "animal" awaiting...then tried to recreate it on your own with no luck? That dilemma is now solved: Carnival Cruise Lines has issued a new book offering step-by-step instructions and photos for creating the line's incredibly popular "towel animals" that greet guests when they arrive in their "Fun Ship" staterooms each evening.

The book is titled "Carnival Towel Creations with Freddy" and it features easy-to-follow directions and diagrams for creating more than 80 different creatures, including new variations such as a snail, bat, cow, stingray and goat.

The new 90-page book expands upon Carnival's original towel creations book published two years ago which featured instructions for 40 animals and sold 100,000 copies.

It is estimated that each year Carnival stateroom stewards create nine million towel animals which are featured within the line's more than 25,000 staterooms fleetwide. Stateroom stewards also often incorporate guests' sunglasses, hats and other accessories to create custom-designed towel animals for guests' enjoyment and amusement.

Miniature "towel pal" plush toys of several popular creations are available in the line's gift shops fleetwide or on-line at www.carnivaltowelpals.com.

"Carnival Towel Creations with Freddy" is sold in the Formalities gift shops throughout the line's 22-vessel fleet. The cost is $14.95.


POTD: Caribbean Crafts Markets

A visit to a Caribbean crafts market like this Jamaican market can be a highlight of your family trip--or a time to pull your hair out. Be sure to have some preset spending limits for each member of the family before you head off for the market. Also, do a little research and find out the practices of the market before you go. Will bartering be expected or will prices be set? What are the best items to buy on that particular island? Is there a best time to shop? (Early mornings are often best for bargains as are days when there are no cruise ships in town.)

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Monday, October 08, 2007

POTD: Pedro St. James, Grand Cayman

Pedro St. James National Historic Site (sometimes called Pedro's Castle) is also known as the birthplace of Cayman democracy. The site is a favorite with kids thanks to its multisensory 3-D theater where wind and fog transport visitors back to the days when settlers first called Cayman home. Visitors can also tour the great house and walk along trails that offer excellent sea views.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

POTD: Swimming with Dolphins in Cancun

Cancun's Interactive Aquarium offers swim with the dolphin opportunities in a large pool. Check with the aquarium for height requirements and be sure to prebook if you're interested in this activity; it is limited to small groups.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

POTD: Steel Pan in St. Thomas

Steel pan takes center stage at this parade in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Steel pan bands such as this one perform at carnival and many island holidays.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

POTD: Cancun's Interactive Aquarium

Walk beneath these bullet-shaped barracuda at the Interactive Aquarium in Cancun. Located in the Hotel Zone, this modern aquarium offers an indoor and an outdoor section with plenty of hands-on opportunities.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

POTD: Aruba's Butterfly Farm

Aruba's Butterfly Farm is one of several in the Caribbean (the same company also operates a butterfly farm in St. Martin and a brand new butterfly farm in St. Thomas by the cruise dock). The farm is near the hotels of Palm Beach and is a great activity for kids and teens; you'll enter the free-flying area where hundreds of tropical butterflies flit around around. Guides explain the life cycle of the butterfly and talk about the life of the butterfly, from what they eat to how they eat it.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

POTD: Hamilton, Bermuda

Bermuda's largest city, Hamilton, is a colorful collection of sherbet-toned buildings. Families can enjoy a walk in the downtown area for a look at shops or a stop in one of the many restaurants. With its extremely high standard of living, the crime rate is low and the living is easy in beautiful Bermuda.

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