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

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Beaches Resorts Named World's Leading Family All-Inclusive

At the annual World Travel Awards, this year held in the Turks and Caicos, Beaches Resorts came home with several impressive family travel awards:

• World’s Leading Family All-Inclusive – Beaches Resorts (10th year)
• World’s Leading Family Resort – Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa
• Caribbean’s Leading Family All-Inclusive – Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa (2nd year)
• Turks & Caicos’ Leading Resort – Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa (3rd year)

This year’s voting campaign reached a total of 167,000 travel professionals worldwide, including 110,000 travel agents in over 200 countries around the world.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Turks and Caicos Plans 2008 Development

Once a very quiet getaway, the Turks and Caicos islands are quickly growing and adding more properties. Here's word of new developments planned for 2008:

Leeward Resort and Marina on Providenciales (opening in early winter 2008) - This international motor yacht destination resort features private docking facilities, waterfront residences and ownership opportunities in a comprehensive, active resort. The property includes a secluded white sand beach, swimming pools and hydra-spas, and a private, penthouse-level Turks & Caicos Yacht Club.

Molasses Reef, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve on West Caicos (opening winter 2008) – Surrounded by unique natural habitats and rare wildlife, this 125-suite boutique hotel and one-of-a-kind exclusive resort community boasts an additional 60 Ritz-Carlton-branded villas, secluded single-family homes, custom homes, cottages and marina town homes. Oceanfront estate lots, marina town homes and Ritz-branded Island Villas are selling from $2.2 to $5 million.

Royal Reef Resort on North Caicos – This new beachfront condo resort and five star hotel is situated on 17 acres, boasting six-plus pools. The resort will be operational by the middle of 2008 and completed by the middle of 2009. Reservations will be accepted starting December 2007.

· THE ESTATE at Grace Bay Club on Providenciales (opening 2008) – Stretching along 1,100 feet of beach frontage with five acres designated exclusively to oceanfront development, the new expansion includes 22 custom residences, including two unique penthouse properties, and five different floor plans. Residents will have access to the European-style Ajani Spa and Fitness Center and famous Anaconda restaurant.

· Seven Stars Resort on Grace Bay (opening July 2008) – This exclusive property located on the finest part of 12-mile-long Grace Bay beach, offers a signature oceanfront swimming pool, tropical island style restaurant onsite, a secured gate house and a clubhouse with business center, game room and owners’ lounge.

· Angara Resort & Spa on Grand Turk (development taking place in 2008) – This five-star hotel and spa will be the first Asian Spa and Resort on Grand Turk. The Angara boasts 45 luxury beachfront villas and more than 120 one-, two-, and three-bedroom condominiums with large outside patios and penthouses, conference and entertainment centers.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

New CaribbeanFamilyTripper Contest!

It's time for a new contest! To start off the new year with the right Caribbean spirit, we're giving away a copy of Caribbean Islands 2008 Calendar: Tropical Sea, Sand, and Sun! Check out our contest page for all the details.

Congratulations to Connie in North Carolina; our December winner wins our St. Martin prize package!

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

POTD: Sunset on Seven Mile Beach


Another Grand Cayman day draws to a close on Seven Mile Beach. This beach (which is actually closer to five miles long...but who's counting?) is lined with some of the island's best hotels and restaurants.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Subtropical Storm Olga Hits the Caribbean

Almost two weeks after the official end of hurricane season and here comes another storm: Olga. It's too late to call it a tropical storm so this is being called SubTropical Storm Olga. Here's the latest from AccuWeather.com:

State College, Pa. -- December 11, 2007 -- AccuWeather.com reports the area of disturbed weather near the Virgin Islands has become better organized and is now Subtropical Storm Olga. This system will pass by Puerto Rico and Hispaniola over the next couple of days, bringing locally heavy rain to the islands. The main threat from Olga will be the potential flash flooding and mudslides the heavy rain brings, especially in and near the mountainous regions.

By Wednesday, the combined effects of Olga passing over land and becoming under the influence of shearing, should weaken and gradually dissipate the storm. Moisture from Olga may bring an increase in shower activity to the Bahamas and parts of Florida later in the week. The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center will closely monitor this storm.

The government of the Dominican Republic has issued a tropical storm warning for the northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engaño westward to Bahio de Manzanillo. A tropical storm watch is in effect for the southern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Engano to Punta Palenque.

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POTD: Fire Eater in Jamaica


Fire eating/fire breathing shows aren't quite as common across the Caribbean as they seemed to be when we first started visiting the region but still show up at special events and some resort shows. This fire eater show took place at Jamaica's Half Moon Village just outside Ocho Rios. Definitely a time for that "don't try this at home" talk with the kids!

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Friday, December 07, 2007

POTD: Conch Shells, Providenciales


Conch shells line the sand on a beach in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos islands, located just east of the Bahamas.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

POTD: Coral World, St. Thomas


In St. Thomas, Coral World offers both indoor and outdoor aquariums to introduce young travelers to Caribbean corals, fishes, and more. The aquarium has several touch tanks as well.

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Spirit Vacations and Grand Bahama Island Plan Discount, Kids Stay Free Offers

Spirit Vacations is offering an exclusive instant $200 savings as well as up to 35 percent off and kids stay free specials for several trips to Grand Bahama Island.

How to Get Your Discount: Customers will receive an additional $200 instant savings off air-inclusive vacations to Grand Bahama Island when paying in full with a MasterCard card and staying a minimum of three nights. Or when staying two nights they'll receive a $100 instant savings. In order to receive the exclusive instant savings customers will need to enter the promo code FPOMC200 when booking three nights or longer and FPOMC100 when booking two nights.

Dates: This special is valid for bookings made December 1, 2007 through February 12, 2008 for customers who travel December 13, 2007 through February 14, 2008.

What It Includes:
Spirit Vacations packages include roundtrip air travel on Spirit Airlines(r), hotel accommodations, roundtrip airport/hotel transfers, hotel taxes and service charges and Customer Care Service. All-Inclusive vacations also include all meals, snacks, beverages, non-motorized watersports, entertainment and much more.

Packages:
Vacations start at the following per person rates, excluding taxes and fees*. Customers will receive an additional $200 instant savings ($100 per person) off of the rates listed below when paying with their MasterCard card:

* Port Lucaya Resort & Yacht Club - Kids Stay Free.

Dates: Five-night Wednesday departures January 9 through February 27 and March 26 through April 30, 2008.

Price: $449* from Ft. Lauderdale; $517* from Orlando or Tampa; $633* from Atlanta, Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, New York/LaGuardia or Washington, D.C./Reagan National. Customers will receive an additional $200 savings ($100 per person) off of these rates when paying with their MasterCard card.


* Best Western Castaways Resort and Suites - Kids Stay Free.

Dates: Five-night Wednesday departures January 9 through April 30, 2008.

Price: $479* from Ft. Lauderdale; $544* from Orlando or Tampa; $660* from Atlanta, Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, New York/LaGuardia or Washington, D.C./Reagan National. Customers will receive an additional $200 savings ($100 per person) off of these rates when paying with their MasterCard card.

* The Sheraton Grand Bahama Island Our Lucaya Resort - Rates are 35 percent off and kids stay free.

Dates: Five-night Wednesday departures January 9 through February 6, 2008; February 20 through March 12 and March 26 through April 30, 2008.

Price: $599* from Ft. Lauderdale; $672* from Orlando or Tampa; $788* from Atlanta, Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, New York/LaGuardia or Washington, D.C./Reagan National. Customers will receive an additional $200 savings ($100 per person) off of these rates when paying with their MasterCard card.

· Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach - All-Inclusive - Rates are 15 percent off, kids stay free. 3 night minimum stay required.

Dates: Five-night Wednesday departures January 9 through February 20, 2008.

Price: $659* from Ft. Lauderdale; $726* from Orlando or Tampa; $842* from Atlanta, Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, New York/LaGuardia or Washington, D.C./Reagan National. Customers will receive an additional $200 savings ($100 per person) off of these rates when paying with their MasterCard card.


* The Westin Grand Bahama Island Our Lucaya Resort
- Rates are 30 percent off and kids stay free.

Dates: Five-night Wednesday departures January 16 through February 6, 2008; February 20; March 5; March 12; and March 26 through April 30, 2008.

Price: $729* from Ft. Lauderdale; $799* from Orlando or Tampa; $915* from Atlanta, Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, New York/LaGuardia or Washington, D.C./Reagan National. Customers will receive an additional $200 savings ($100 per person) off of these rates when paying with their MasterCard card.

* Pelican Bay - Kids stay free.

Dates: Five-night Wednesday departures January 16 through March 12 and March 26 through April 30, 2008.

Price: $799* from Ft. Lauderdale; $866* from Orlando or Tampa; $982* from Atlanta, Atlantic City, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Myrtle Beach, New York/LaGuardia or Washington, D.C./Reagan National. Customers will receive an additional $200 savings ($100 per person) off of these rates when paying with their MasterCard card.

Additional hotel rates are available. Additional dates are available at slightly higher prices.


Special Notes: Rates are per person, based on double occupancy for bookings and must be booked by January 31, 2008. Rates are based on availability and are subject to change with or without notice. All travel is in Coach Class. See hotel profile on spiritvacations.com for individual hotel value-added/specials restrictions. Taxes and fees details: Rates do not include hotel charges typically paid by the customer directly to the hotel (e.g., room service, telephone charges, etc.), government imposed international travel taxes of up to $91.20, airport passenger facility charges of up to $18, the September 11th Security Fee of up to $10 per person and federal excise taxes of $3.40 which will be imposed on each domestic flight segment of each passenger's itinerary. A flight segment is defined as a takeoff and a landing. Other conditions apply.

For More Information:
• call Spirit Vacations at 1-800-617-3325
• visit www.spiritvacations.com

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

POTD: Windmill at St. Croix's Whim Plantation


The Danish heritage of St. Croix is especially visible at Whim Plantation, the oldest sugar plantation museum in the Virgin Islands. Along with a great house which is open for tours, the 12-acre grounds of the museum include this historic windmill.

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Jamaica to Star in New Beacon Street Girls Book

KINGSTON, JAMAICA - December 4, 2007 - The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) and B*tween Productions have partnered to create the latest Beacon Street Girls® special adventure book, Katani’s Jamaican Holiday. Scheduled for release in May 2008, the fictional story, the latest in the successful book series, teaches tween girls to nurture their own family roots while they learn about Jamaica, its rich history, culture and lifestyle.

A Powerful Role Model

Set in Jamaica, the story targets a readership of tween girls aged 9 to 13, offering a powerful role model in one of its main characters, Katani, whose roots are Jamaican. Readers will be drawn into an authentic Jamaican experience as Katani explores the island. In search of a truly appropriate and knowledgeable author, the JTB and B*tween Productions sent out a call for submissions to children’s book authors throughout Jamaica. The author selected is Hazel D. Campbell from Kingston; Ms. Campbell has five published children’s books to her credit and has an intimate knowledge of Jamaica.

“We’re thrilled the Beacon Street Girls have chosen to make Jamaica a part of their world,” said Basil Smith, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “Jamaica offers a fascinating range of historic sites, including our forts, plantations and grand estates that all reflect the rich Jamaican heritage. The Beacon Street Girls team has gone to great lengths to present an accurate portrait of Jamaica today while immersing readers in our history, our traditions and our lifestyle. And the book is a smart way of addressing difficult issues that young girls face today.”

Chance to Win a Family Trip


A series of special in-store promotions, online and live book release events is planned to build excitement for Katani’s Jamaican Holiday. In the months leading up to the release, fans can enter an online sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to Jamaica. The winners and their families will visit Jamaica together and sample the nation’s top family-friendly attractions. A special travel package is also being planned.

“The essence of a Beacon Street Girls book is to portray real-life experiences and issues through a rich, exciting story with realistic characters and authentic details,” said Addie Swartz, CEO of B*tween Productions. “Girls everywhere will be able to experience the real Jamaica through this story. As an added bonus, some lucky girls will have a chance to visit the destination.”

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Monday, December 03, 2007

POTD: Prospect Plantation


Located just east of Ocho Rios, Prospect Plantation offers jitney tours of an authentic plantation where fruit trees are labeled and identified, perfect for first-time visitors. At one point on the tour, visitors get out and sample a variety of Jamaican fruits grown at the farm. Camel and horseback rides are also available here and there's also a small butterfly aviary.

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