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

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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

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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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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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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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

POTD: St. Croix's The Buccaneer

The Buccaneer, located on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, has been a family favorite for over 60 years, and it's a popular multi-generational getaway thanks to its long history. Along with the main house (above) which includes guest rooms as well as many public areas, newer accommodations at the water's edge are also popular with families. The resort offers an excellent tennis program and golf while kids 2-12 can take part in the complimentary kids' program.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

POTD: Walk to Fort Louis, Marigot, St. Martin

It's a long walk up the hill to Fort Louis in Marigot, St. Martin but one well worth the climb. A stroll past a residential neighborhood brings you up to the fort with is open as a park now and offers an unobstructed view of the city, the sea, and on to neighboring Anguilla. Kids enjoy a look at the cannons at the hilltop. Bring water for your walk up the hill; you won't find facilities selling water once you reach the summit.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

POTD: Ferry Terminal, Marigot, St. Martin

Island hopping is easy in St. Martin; your family can hop a ferry from Marigot to Anguilla at this terminal located adjacent to the market. The ride takes under half an hour and you can just walk up and buy your ticket...but don't forget your passports!

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Friday, November 23, 2007

POTD: Conch Farm, Turks and Caicos

Wonder where all the conch for those conch fritters comes from? Some of it just might be from the Conch Farm in Providenciales, better known as Provo. This island in the Turks and Caicos is home to the world's only conch farm, a place you can visit to learn about the life cycle of the Queen Conch. The farm is open for tours Monday through Saturday.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

POTD: Little Cayman

Little Cayman, the smallest of the three Cayman Islands, makes a laid back getaway for families thanks to its low population and low visitor count. Your family can grab a bike and pedal around the small island...but keep an eye out for iguanas...they have the right of way!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

POTD: Ardastra Gardens, Nassau, Bahamas

On the island of New Providence just outside Nassau, Ardastra Gardens, Zoo and Conservation Center is home to nearly 300 animals and birds, many from the Caribbean. The Marching Flamingos have long been the star of the show at Ardastra and they perform in shows three times per day.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

POTD: Steel Pan in Trinidad's Carnival

Young steel pan musicians ride through the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad during the annual pre-Lenten Carnival celebrations, the largest in the Caribbean.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

POTD: Capt. Hodges Playground, Sint Maarten

Whether you're coming in on a water taxi from one of the cruise ships or just strolling around Philipsburg during your resort stay in Sint Maarten, here's a good family stop: Captain Hodges Playground. Located on the boardwalk in Philipsburg, this playground is open Sunday through Thursday 10am - 8pm and Friday and Saturday 10am - 10pm. It's open for use by families with children ages 2-12.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

POTD: Largest Playground in Sint Maarten

Here's a little trivia question for you family travelers: where's the largest playground in St. Martin/Sint Maarten? Give up? It's at the Sint Maarten Park, the zoo just minutes from Philipsburg (on the Dutch side). This zoo is fairly small but very family-friendly with zero crowds, plenty of shade, wide trails, and a great gift shop.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

POTC: Abaco's Shallow Waters

In the clear, shallow waters surrounding Abaco, it's easy to see the origin for the name Bahamas. "Baha Mar" or "shallow water" was an appropriate description for these islands which are surrounded by shallow water perfect for family swimming.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

POTD: Amber Jewelry in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

We're always on the lookout for true souvenirs from destinations...ones that are made right on the island. Here's one of the most unique souvenirs in the Caribbean: amber. This fossilized sap is mined in the Dominican Republic and sold all over the country. Larger pieces and ones with "inclusions" (remember the mosquito in Jurassic Park?) can be pricey but we've bought fun bracelets and small earrings for under $10; we even got a small piece with a gnat encapsulated in the sap for just a few dollars more.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

POTD: Blackbeard in St. Thomas

Ahoy, matey! Several pirate statues--in fact, the world's largest collection of bronze pirate statues--is found on St. Thomas at Blackbeard's Tower. This historic site includes a stone tower built in the 1700s by the Danish.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

POTD: Conch House, Grand Cayman

Driving tours of Grand Cayman usually pull over for a quick look at the Conch House, a house that's, well, bricked with conch shells!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

POTD: St. Croix's Fort Christiansvaern

Built in the 1770s to protect the harbor of Christiansted in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands, Fort Christiansvaern is now administered by the US National Park Service. Kids enjoy the historic fort which was built during Danish occupation; it's located literally steps from the shopping area in Christiansted so it makes an easy stop. The grounds are a great place to have a picnic lunch and you can then take a self-guided tour of the fort.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

POTD: Sint Maarten Park

Birds from throughout the Caribbean, Central America and even parts of South America are found at the Sint Maarten Park, a zoo near Philipsburg.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

POTD: Caiman at Sint Maarten Park

This caiman catches some sun at the Sint Maarten Park, a zoo that features many Caribbean animals, birds and reptiles. The caiman, which looks like a small crocodile, is found on many islands (and was the namesake for the Cayman Islands).

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Friday, November 02, 2007

POTD: Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia

Rooms at the beautiful Anse Chastanet resort overlook the two Piton mountains that are symbols of St. Lucia. The beach here has largely black sand, reminders of the volcanic activity that formed much of the island. The volcano's sulfuric deposits can also be credited for the huge amount of sea life found just offshore; the rich water is filled with corals which attract a variety of fish species.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

POTD: Christopher Columbus Statue, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

A statue of Christopher Columbus stands in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. The island claims to be the final resting spot of the early explorer but Spain also believes it possesses the remains of Columbus.

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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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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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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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Monday, October 15, 2007

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

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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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Photo of the Day Feature

Today we're starting a new feature on CaribbeanFamilyTripper: Photo of the Day (POTD). In our blog, check for a daily photo from the Caribbean, ones to remind you of a past trip or inspire you for a future trip!

Today's shot comes from Jamaica. This shot comes from poolside at Rooms on the Beach, Ocho Rios, a property that's owned and operated by SuperClubs but operates as (like the name suggests) as a rooms-only property without an all-inclusive plan. The hotel is located on Turtle Beach with a great view of the very popular cruise terminal:

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