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k  A bird of paradise in constant bloom, the Caribbean perpetually renews itself —

jen judge
new places to stay in favorite destinations, new combinations of beloved flavors. Best of all
for the winter-weary, many Caribbean islands lie just hours away by air from American hubs, with
bargains still to be had. Our team of writers and photographers fanned out from the Leewards to
the Windwards, from the Bahamas to the Dutch Antilles to the Costa Maya, to see what the near
blue sea has done lately. We brought back the news and views of beaches, mountains, hotels and
spas — canyon adventure and candlelight, underwater phantasmagoria and eco-friendly farm-
ing, glow-in-the-dark bays and a sustainable pig — the best of the new, plus a few irrepressible

�what we love about�

classics, all of it swaddled in luxury and steeped in rum. Eat. Drink. Bask. Play. More to come!

Th e Car ibbean

The view across

the British Virgin
Islands hints at
just how vibrant the
k pl an yo u r t r i p p . 117 Caribbean is today.

44 J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om 45
what we love about
The Caribbean

�natural flavor
south andros

tiamo resorts
culinary experience

l  Chef Joanne
Gibson of Tiamo
Grand Etang forest reserve Resorts watches as a
guest chops an onion
to make chicken pica-
dilla empanadas. “You

q  Cloaked in clouds in Grenada’s mountainous interior, the Grand Etang Forest

Reserve serves as a reminder of nature's power to heal itself. In 2004, Hurricane
Ivan knocked down half of the reserve’s canopy trees and stripped the leaves off the other
have to rock the knife,”
Joanne says, her Baha-
mian accent echoing the
half. The popular hiking trails were closed for more than six months. But crews built new soft waves that lap the
railings, placed steps to provide traction, added gravel for drainage and made the trails beach outside this South
­adventure-ready.Take the Mount Qua QuaTrail to sweeping views from the 2,370-foot summit. Andros Island eco-resort.
On the Shoreline and Morne LaBaye trails, see giant gommier trees, wild orchids, cattle Joanne demonstrates and
egrets and mona monkeys. And on the St. Margaret'sTrail, view the Seven Sisters waterfalls then gently hands back
for a sense of renewal. See our map and photos at — jon whittle the knife. “Careful,” she
coos. As part of Tiamo’s
new Culinary Experience
package, guests learn
not only how to cook, but
also how to embrace the
everything’s-all-right vibe
of the Bahamian people.
Caribbean-inspired f r o m t o p : k imb e r ly t. e d g a r ; j o n w hitt l e ( 2 )

dishes like jerked rack

of lamb with coconut
red-wine glaze and
seared yellow-fin snap-
per with pineapple sauce,
plus wine-tasting and
cocktail-mixing sessions
make learning delectable.
Find recipes at The beach at Tiamo
on South Andros in the Bahamas
— jennica peterson shows its colors.

46 J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om 47
what we love about
The Caribbean


bio Bay
Tunnels of red man-
groves obscure
­Puerto Rico’s night
sky as paddlers slip
through silky black
water on the way
to Vieques’ Puerto
Mosquito. That’s OK
because the real
show is happening
below their paddles.
Tiny bioluminescent
dinoflagellates twinkle
with every ripple
in the water. On a
moonless night, you
might even catch the
outline of a grouper
as it darts by. For the
ultimate experience,

ta msi n e y l e s / p h o t o g r a p h e r ' s d i r e ct; o p p o sit e : davi d hi l l e g as

get in the warm water
and make a biolu- bequia
minescent “snow

�artistic vistas
angel.” (Don’t worry,
the dinoflagellates Moonhole houses
s t. b a r t s
are too small to bite.)
Then spend the night
on Vieques — there’s
no transportation off m  Built of stone, exotic woods, whale bones and other “treasures of dubi-
ous value,” each rental house on Bequia’s Moonhole peninsula has
gallery m  Beware — ­ the decadence of a croissant and French-roast coffee served seaside at Eden Rock’s open-air cafe
on St. Barts might awaken your inner Renoir. And fortunately, Janes Gallery — situated beside the white-sand
beach, with doors usually open to the sea breeze — welcomes wandering guests looking to express their creativity.
the island after dark
— and do some star-
gazing of the regular
a personality all its own. Overlooking Moonhole Beach, these homes were
created by hand starting in 1961, with the contours of the site dictating the
floor plans. That’s why the multilevel buildings sit amid their natural surround-
at eden The artist in residence props an easel wherever inspiration strikes. Guests can paint, too, or browse the current sort. Find ­i mages ings so uniquely. Some travelers might consider this roughing it — there’s no
rock gallery exhibit. This artistic infusion comes courtesy of co-owner Jane Matthews. Her career includes a brush with at electricity — but kerosene lamps and daily maid service help. And the moon
hotel the arts, a fascination evidenced throughout the hotel. Like any good artistic movement, this one is constantly evolving, puertorico. rising through the namesake Moonhole rock arch offers cosmic alignment.
with a new exhibit and artist in residence every season. See artwork at — adrienne egolf — josh sampiero Find photos from our visit at — l o r i b a r b e l y

what we love about
The Caribbean

s t . k i tt s
get wet

Wilbert the Pig

o Sit back. Relax.
It sounds easy
enough, except when
rappelling down the
When the Turtle Bay rock face of a water-
Bar & Grill on St. fall, and when sitting
Kitts succumbed to a back means trusting
developer’s bulldozer a harness whose
in 2007, it wasn’t the effectiveness relies
potent margaritas, on just-learned
the grilled lobster or belaying techniques.
the idyllic seaside Of course, the guide
setting that devotees offers a quicker
missed most. It was alternative: “You
Wilbert, an affable could jump.” He’s not
500-pound hog who kidding. This is can­
had become the bar’s yoneering — a sport
beloved mascot. equal parts rappelling,
Owner Gary Pereira cliff jumping, hiking
rescued Wilbert as a and swimming. And
piglet from his fate on in Cabarete, can­
the dinner plate. Rest yoneering with Get
assured, Wilbert has Wet tours accesses
the run of the beach the Dominican
St . L u c i a
(when he’s not wal- Republic’s remote
lowing in the bay) at
the edge restaurant Bar & sushi Pereira’s new Reggae
z ach st ova l l ; o p p o sit e : davi d hi l l e g as ( 4 )
jungle interior. The
Magic Mushroom
Beach Bar & Grill, waterfall (bottom
now running full-tilt right) is part of a

m  The “honeymoon table,” a.k.a. table 33 at the Edge Restaurant in

Rodney Bay Village, St. Lucia, glows with Caribbean chic. Couples
have been sharing this table since the marina-front restaurant opened
at nearby Cockelshell
Bay. Relish the food
(anything but pork),
half-day tour that’s
safe for all. For those
more daring, the 75-
in 2005, but moonlight and white linen make everything new. Taste the relax with drinks foot cliff jump on the
romance (and the rum) in the award-winning Mango Tease Me, made with (mudslide?) and don’t full-day Big Bastard
sweet Julie mangos. The “Eurobbean” menu includes classics like the cevi- forget to pat the pig. tour beckons. Zoom
che trio, and seasonal twists keep it fresh. With true St. Lucian hospitality, Read more at in on the map at
­Scandinavian chef Bobo Bergström mingles with guests wherever they
may be seated. Watch our new video at — a e — t ed alan s t edman — eddy patricelli

50 51
b e r m u d a & b e l i z e c ay e s

Bungalows of 9 Beaches and Cayo Espanto

oq  Long the accommodation of choice in places like Fiji and Tahiti, over-water bungalows
are popping up here, different in feel from their South Pacific predecessors but no less
luxurious. Sporting a New England vibe in a Caribbean-style setting, Bermuda’s 9 Beaches features
soft-sided cabanas made of a material like sailcloth, and a casual, flip-flops-required dress code.
Cell phones provided at check-in let guests contact the concierge or order roving room service. ­The
private-island resort of Cayo Espanto in the Belize Cayes offers one new over-water bungalow in addition
to five over-land villas. The island itself is a great jumping-off point for excursions like snorkeling
in Shark Ray Alley (where nurse sharks play like puppies) and for bonefishing. Enjoy an open-air
shower and an alfresco massage and then order a three-course dinner under the stars on your own
over-water porch. See more photos at and — lb

g a r y b o g d o n ; o p p o sit e : l o r i b a r b e ly

A room at Cayo
Espanto (left) and
the bungalows of
9 Beaches elevate
Caribbean luxury.

52 J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om 53
what we love about
The Caribbean

�pure experiences�
virgin gorda

Sense Spa, Rosewood Little Dix Bay

n  Fittingly, the Sense

spa itself has
experienced rejuvenation. aruba
The spa recently changed
its approach based on Kiteboarding, Fisherman’s Huts
a simple-yet-ingenious
idea: Make it more Carib-
bean. Perched above the
Rosewood Little Dix Bay
resort on the British Virgin
Islands’ Virgin Gorda, this
q  Boards and bright sails buzz by local fishing boats a short swim offshore. At a
glance, all is as it should be at Aruba’s famed Fisherman’s Huts, long considered
a windsurfer’s paradise. Look closer, however, and you'll see many of those windsurf
Sense spa on
the BVI’s Virgin hilltop jungle enclave of sails have been replaced by kites. Recent gear innovations, like four-line and bow kites,
Gorda offers heal- bougainvillea-scented have made the young sport of kiteboarding safer, and Aruba, with its warm waters and
ing with a view.
privacy overlooking the reliable winds, is an ideal place to give it a try. Numerous beach outfitters offer lessons.
blue-on-blue Sir Francis Most start with kite-flying classes on land. After that, grab a board, hit the water and,
Drake Channel immerses yeah, hang on! Find our map and kiteboarding links at — ep
guests in island culture.
Therapists perform body
scrubs with a blend
of brown sugar, fresh
mango and papaya; body
wraps include local goat
milk, honey and bananas.

f r o m l e ft: j e n j u d g e ( 2 ) ; z ach st ova l l

Your skin gets exfoliated,
and the essence of the
Caribbean enters your
pores. Extended treat-
ment windows allow time
for, as spa director Glen
Ross puts it, “drifting
back into the real world.”
See a map at
bvi. — ken mc alpine

54 J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om 55
what we love about
The Caribbean

�quick trips
g r a n d c ay m a n

Lighthouse Point

g r e e n t u r t l e c ay
k  One 19th-century
shipwreck lies to
Green Turtle Club and Marina the left of the dive dock,
another to the right. Go
straight, and you’ll swim
over the edge of a pris-

q  In less time than it takes to fight through rush hour, you could take a flight to one
of the most relaxing islands in the Caribbean: Green Turtle Cay. It’s an ideal mix
of accessibility and authenticity. The 3-mile-long outpost with its one barely paved road
tine mini-wall that drops
to the sand at 65 feet.
The little-explored North
lies on the outskirts of the Bahamas’ Abaco Islands, yet it’s still just a one-hour plane West Point of Grand
ride (and a 15-minute ferry) from Florida. The 32-room Green Turtle Club and Marina here ­Cayman has always held
is perfect for seasoned travelers who want to show the rest of the family what it’s like to a mystical allure for
take a real island trip — while enjoying a kid-friendly pool and a parent-friendly pool bar savvy divers, and now
(another round of Tipsy Turtles, please). The resort is charmingly retro, with a handful of TV there’s direct access
channels and VHS tapes, yet beautifully high-end, with gourmet local-seafood dinners and from the Caymans’ new
ultra-clean villas. The historic town of New Plymouth and long beaches are a golf-cart ride sustainable condo rentals,
away — no rush hour. View our video and map at — chris tauber Lighthouse Point. (You
can dive now and book

c o u r t e s y g r e e n t u r t l e c l u b & m a r i n a ; o p p o sit e : m a r l i wa k e l i n g / s e a p ics . c o m

now, but it won’t officially
open until this spring.)
Blue adventure meets
green luxe in the world’s
original dive mecca.
Lush reefs attract sea
turtles, tarpon and fat
lobsters; anchors and old
mining equipment harbor
stories. And it’s all within
a one-hour flight from
Miami and a two-minute
swim from the dock. See
our photo gallery and
map at
caymans. — t y s awyer

A loggerhead turtle
shares its warm
Caribbean waters.

56 J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om 57
what we love about
The Caribbean

�exotic indulgence

bay r  Scents of garlic, Scotch bonnet pepper and cilantro waft from the cooking class held in a penthouse at
Grace Bay Club on Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Chefs Kevin and Eion, accustomed to the
view, wait patiently and then present, in a very TV-cooking-show fashion, all the pre-cut, pre-portioned ingredients
club of your meal. The resort’s new class centers around the Caribbean’s signature food — conch — and although this
marine snail (call it escargot of the sea) might not be for everyone, the lessons are. Kevin slices red and green
bell peppers for the raw conch salad while holding your gaze. “Looking down,” he says, “is when you lose a finger.”
Towering Eion, almost 7 feet tall in a chef’s hat, hammers and fries fresh-from-the-sea conch into gastronomic gas- isla holbox
tropod deliciousness. And now it’s your turn. See more photos at — ashl ey knaus
It’s only 40 miles
northwest from
Cancún to Isla ­Holbox
(HOHL-bosh), yet this
rustic island seems
a world and a cen-
tury removed from
the modern revelry
of Mexico’s Riviera
Maya. Boutique
lodgings range from
refined duplexes to
whimsical huts that
Gilligan could have
built, virtually all front-
ing on a sprawling,
7-mile-long beach.
Explore the village
life, sample lobster
pizza at Edelin and
catch the sight
of pink flamingos antigua
preening in Yalahao
Lagoon. From spring
through September, Verandah Resort & Devil’s Bridge
you must don mask,
snorkel and flippers to

g a r y b o g d o n ; o p p o sti e : j o n w hitt l e
mingle with ­Holbox’s
most enduring repeat
visitors: the docile
m  Open to commercial jets since World War II, Antigua has one of the
best-developed collections of resorts in the Caribbean, so new places
have to offer something special. The Verandah Resort & Spa on the ­Atlantic
whale sharks that side flanks its cliffs and secluded pocket beaches with bungalows that
each season con- exude tradition even amid brand-new plantings. Every room has a deck with
gregate offshore. a view of the water. At Devil’s Bridge, a storied natural feature near the
Explore our new resort, incoming waves enter a culvert beneath the cliff’s edge and launch
map at sea foam into the dawn-pink sky. At first light you might have the scene to
holbox. — tas yourself. See more photos at — matthew miller

58 J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om 59
s t. c r o i x

Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute

n  The ruby-red tea tastes like hibiscus and sunlight. The genuine calm in the open-air central
building creates a sense of inclusion and well-being. And Ben Jones, VISFI’s affable founder
and director, smiles as if nothing bad ever happens here. He may be right. This year for the first time,
the farm in St. Croix’s pocket-size rainforest welcomes overnight guests. The farm-stay program offers
accommodations in stilted cabanas and in the stately Hawk’s Nest with its panoramic view. Guests
don’t have to toil in the fields, but most will at least want to learn the practices by which such peace
can be sustained. Find our map, photos and more at — mm • photos by tim olive

60 61
what we love about
The Caribbean

�novel adventures�

cave r  Half an hour into the eerie depths, no one has even broken a sweat — except for Harrison’s Cave itself.
It’s dripping on everything, including the latest group of spelunkers fearlessly riding an electric tram
past ancient mineral formations on a mile-and-a-half circuit. In the Rotunda Room cavern, a breathtaking forest
of stalactites and stalagmites thousands of years in the making flanks a groundwater stream. A few minutes
­beyond, a cascade splashes 20 feet into an emerald pool. The same water, carrying minerals down from the ceiling,
created the cave’s spectacular formations, cut into Barbados’ porous coral limestone foundation. Updated for big Corn island
the 2007 Cricket World Cup, the trams make what would be a rugged, exhausting trek every bit as relaxing as a culebra
day at the beach. Enjoy our photo gallery at — zach stovall j o s t Va n D y k e

The Caribbean still
has secluded hide-
aways perfect for
snorkeling — if you
know where to look.
Nicaragua’s Big Corn
Island offers south-
ern stingrays, green
morays and yellow
fairy basslet fish that
appear to swim up-
side down near over-
hangs. Few travelers
go to Culebra, 25
miles east of Puerto
Rico. Fewer still trek
to Flamenco Beach,
the island’s best
spot for encounter-
ing hawksbill turtles,
squid and angelfish s t. m a a r t e n
among the fingers of
reef. The east tip of
little Jost Van Dyke 12-metre Challenge
attracts eagle rays,

davi d hi l l e g as ; o p p o sit e : z ach st ova l l

pompano, tarpon,
ocean triggerfish and
other large swim-
mers, in addition to
m  While most Caribbean getaways slow the pulse to just above flat-line,
this regatta gets novice sailors — and their hearts — racing. As the
12-Metre Challenge starts in the waters off St. Maarten, five 70-foot yachts
postcard picks such made famous in the America’s Cup (yes, including the Stars & Stripes)
as Creole wrasse and line up to race. Travelers-turned-crew man their posts while their veteran
parrotfish. Find a map captains jockey for position in close quarters and call out commands. That
of more spots at frenzy continues throughout the three-hour race. Many guests come aboard with no skills, but everyone disembarks a (more) competent sailor, win or
— brooke morton lose. Zoom in on the map at — david hillegas

62 J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om 63
what we love about
The Caribbean
Island Outpost’s
Geejam hotel on
Jamaica is more
than just a pretty
place to sleep.

�island sounds�

island outpost’s geejam hotel

l  If resorts could
talk, this one
would say, “I hope you
Carnival Steel-Band Season like jammin’, too.” At
Island Outpost’s new
­Geejam hotel, open
since March, guests live

p  Pan means war. Top

Trinidad steel-pan
drum bands share songs in
out rock ’n’ roll fantasies
(and launch careers),
recording in the state-
the off-season, but when the of-the-art on-site studio.
orchestras swell to 120 per- (Production help and
sons and move from makeshift, backing musicians can
tin-roofed pan yards to the be arranged.) Founder
main stages during Trinidad’s Jon Baker blended tech-
Carnival celebrations, musical nology, posh style and
combat of the fire-tempered- Jamaica’s “one love” vibe
iron variety breaks out. Trinidad without eclipsing the
invented steel drums, made wild setting of San San,

f r o m l e ft: j o n w hitt l e ; c o u r t e s y g e e ja m h o t e l ( 2 )
from oil barrels, and the island close to Port Antonio.
still grooves to their rhythm. Lounge by the central
Tradition figures heavily in the waterfall; dine at Gee-
festivities, held in the weeks jam’s Bushbar (serving
leading up to Fat Tuesday (on stellar Jamaican-Japanese
Feb. 24 in 2009). See if the band cuisine); dodge the pa-
Phase II Pan Groove can de- parazzi. No Doubt, Indie What do YOU
fend its title in the Panorama .Arie and others have love about the
contest. Phase II’s advantage? recorded here, but you Caribbean?
Let us know at
Leader Len “Boogsie” Sharpe don’t have to be a star to
has been called “the Mozart enjoy Geejam. Find more caribbean and
of Pan.” Hear music samples at at you might win a
Caribbean trip! — ­ JW — jenny block

64 J a n u a r y/ Fe b r u a r y 2 0 0 8 isl a n d s . c om
The Caribbean (from p. 65)
k A bird of paradise in constant bloom, the Caribbean perpetually renews itself —

new places to stay in favorite destinations, new combinations of beloved flavors. Best of all
for the winter-weary, many Caribbean islands lie just hours away by air from American hubs, with
bargains still to be had. Our team of writers and photographers fanned out from the Leewards to
the Windwards, from the Bahamas to the Dutch Antilles to the Costa Maya, to see what the near
blue sea has done lately. We brought back the news and views of beaches, mountains, hotels and
spas — canyon adventure and candlelight, underwater phantasmagoria and eco-friendly farm-
ing, glow-in-the-dark bays and a sustainable pig — the best of the new, plus a few irrepressible

�what we love about�

classics, all of it swaddled in luxury and steeped in rum. Eat. Drink. Bask. Play. More to come!


The view across

the British Virgin
Islands hints at
just how vibrant the
k PL AN YO U R T R IP p . 117 Caribbean is today.

44 45

Plan Your Trip: Caribbean

In addition to the resorts in our Caribbean

feature, we recommend these places to stay. Bimini Bay Resort & Marina Green Turtle Club Resort & Marina
� ARUBA The Boardwalk Boutique Hotel Just 48 Miles from South Florida, Bimini Bay Resort Unspoiled. Unhurried. Undiscovered. Located on
Aruba’s private casitas include spacious and Marina features luxurious suites, fine dining, pristine Green Turtle Cay and home to crystal clear
rooms, patios, kitchens and garden views shopping, kids activity center, oversized pools turquoise waters and transquil ocean breezes, this
close to the Fisherman’s Huts. Rates from and state of the art marinas accommodating boutique resort offers the perfect combination of
$126 to $316. mega yachts. serene environment and lavish settings.
� BARBADOS The Coral Reef Club's 88 242-347-2900 866-528-0539 • 242-365-4271
rooms, suites and cottages are nestled in
lush gardens on the quiet west coast. Rates
from $260 to $710.
Condominiums offer studios to penthouses
in styles from ultra white to art deco. Rates
from $60 to $263.
� GRENADA LaSource on Pink Gin Beach
has 100 rooms, seven bars and restaurants,
the Oasis Spa and more. Rates from $315 to
� ISLA HOLBOX Xaloc Resort is a rustic,
eco-friendly getaway with 18 rooms/palapas
topped with palm-leaf roofs and built with
traditional, local methods. Rates from $95 to Palm Bay Beach Club Pelican Bay at Lucaya
Island dreams are made of this..... sugary white Stay 3 nights in one of our Grand Suites for $269
� PUERTO RICO El Conquistador Resort has sandy beach, two swimming pools, jacuzzis, p/n and get the 4th FREE! Located on the water,
nearly everything imaginable, from a marina water sports, and beach bar & grill. Over 70 well furnished in rich mahogany décor, in-room
and spa to casino and water park. Rates from appointed beachside cottages & hillside villas with espresso, steps to beach and minutes to the best
$179 to $1,039.
full or partial kitchens. Perfect for families. shopping on Grand Bahama.
� ST. BARTS Le Sereno on Grand Cul-de-Sac 888-396-0606 866-654-1526
Cove is the Sereno Beach Hotel revamped by
French designer Christian Liaigre. Rates from
480 to 2,980 euros.
� ST. KITTS The Ocean Terrace Inn, overlook- ANDROS ISLAND ABACO
ing the Caribbean and the city of Basseterre,
has 71 rooms with great views. Rates from
$165 to $460.
� ST. LUCIA The Landings is a vacation-
ownership resort still being built, with lagoon
and beach residences now available. Rates
from $350 to $600.
� ST. MAARTEN The Atrium Resort is part
of the Festiva Resorts vacation-ownership
network. Eat up the Indiana Restaurant with
its Indiana Jones theme.
Small Hope Bay Lodge Treasure Cay Resort
� TRINIDAD The Coblentz Inn Boutique Hotel
Hosting scuba divers, nature lovers, & friends at Known for its powdery 3 ½ mile beach and
integrates the island’s history into the decor
of its 16 rooms. Rates from $170 to $210.
our out island getaway in the Bahamas since 1960. un-crowded laid-back atmosphere. Treasure Let us introduce you to this unique island, dive in Cay Resort Hotel and Marina is the ideal base for
the 3rd largest barrier reef, dramatic snorkeling & island hopping, fishing, boat rentals, scuba diving,
world class bone fishing... ALL INCLUSIVE RATES! snorkeling and a variety of water-sports.
1-800-223-6961 1-800-327-1584

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