BY JANET STEINBERG
it is not my favorite color, to me this aqua-blue hue connotes two
things of exceptional beauty…a brilliant aquamarine gemstone and a
brilliant Caribbean sea. For all intents and purposes, when
winter’s frigid breath paints it frosty picture up North, I prefer
On one of my cruises to the Southern Caribbean and Lesser Antilles,
we began with beautiful beaches and ended with beautiful
beaches. And, in between, I was treated to an island that
showcases the unspoiled beauty of nature.
to Aruba. Wherever you wander in Aruba, you’ll find beaches…beaches
that are secluded, sexy, windswept, or historic. As to
where you choose to throw your towel down, that’s another
story. As the saying goes: ‘you pays your money and you
takes your choice’.
YOUR TOWEL DOWN IN ARUBA
Palm Beach, the world-renowned stretch of sand located in front of the
high-rise resorts, offers excellent swimming in very calm shallow
water. The Fisherman’s Huts, where you can rent
surfboards, kite-boards, and kayaks, is located just north of Palm
Eagle Beach, located south of Palm Beach is a 2-mile area of pure white
sand. The long and lovely beaches are perfect for walking sunning,
and water sports. There is also a shaded picnic area.
Arashi Beach and Boca Catalina in Malmok, just south of the lighthouse
near the northwestern tip of Aruba, are both perfect for
snorkeling. The shallow waters and tiny bays are home to a
plethora of fish and corals.
The perfect beach for families with small children is the kid-friendly
Baby Beach, located in Seroe Colorado. The waters are warm and
shallow, and closed off from a deep, choppy area by a
rock barrier. Within walking distance from Baby
Beach is Rodger’s Beach where the pounding sea is conducive to open-air napping
or surfing, whatever is your thing.
If you think the sun shines brightly on Aruban beaches, wait until you
stroll the streets of Oranjestad. You ‘ain’t’ seen nothing
yet. You’ll practically be blinded by a golden glow, but
it’s not from the sun. Dazzling rays of light stream out from
the windows of the jewelry shops that line Main Street as far as the eye
can see. A veritable pirate’s treasure of
gold, diamonds and gemstones, offers a mind-boggling choice of jewelry
that is practically irresistible. Believe it or not,
JEWELRY SHOPS LINE MAIN STREET IN ARUBA
you’re really not into beaches or baubles, how about bridges and
butterflies? You can head to the Butterfly Farm or to a pair of the
island’s most popular attraction, the Natural Bridges.
Sculpted by wind and the sea (as are the divi divi trees you pass
en-route), the Baby Natural Bridge and the Natural Bridge were carved
out of natural coral by the relentless forces
of nature. Unfortunately, the original Natural Bridge
collapsed in September 2005. Only the ruins remain on this
charming Dutch island of Aruba.
beach-y island stops was the island of Dominica (pronounced dah muh NEE
kuh). Dominica is a 290 square mile island that
lies between Martinique and Guadeloupe. One does
not go to Dominica, called “The Nature Island of the Caribbean”, for
beaching. The reason for going to Dominica is to enjoy
the beauty of nature.
The island, some 29-miles long and 16-miles wide is a wild one, with
towering mountains, dramatic waterfalls, and a luxuriant rain
forest. It is also home to the remaining descendents of
the original Caribs who settled the island sometime around 1000 AD.
A WELCOME TO SINECOU, THE CARIB INDIAN TERRITORY
Some of the more adventurous passengers on my cruise
to Domenica, chose the excitement of exhilarating river tubing on the
largest and longest of Dominica’s 365 rivers. Those passengers, who
opted for the breathtaking journey down the Layou River, felt a rush
of excitement as they cascaded downward and maneuvered through the
The less-adventurous tourist can take a mini-van ride to the World
Heritage Trois Piton National Park, home of the Emerald
Pool. The winding path to the small pool, fed by a cascade
of water plunging off a fern-encrusted cliff, was my introduction to the
rain forest. Or you can ride on Dominica’s Rainforest Aerial
Tram that glides you over the treetops, while admiring the verdure of
the forest. It has been said that if Columbus were to return to the
Caribbean today, Domenica would be the only island he would still
|EMERALD POOL IN TROIS PITON NATIONAL PARK|
TURK: Back to
beaches! When one hears about the Turks and Caicos
Islands, situated some 575-miles southeast of Miami, one
immediately thinks of Providenciales (aka “Provo”), the most
developed and most glitzy of this group of
islands. However, it is not at Provo’s Grace Bay that most
ships dock but at a developed beach area on the southern end
of Grand Turk, the tiny capital island of the Turks and Caicos.
A $40-million cruise center opened in February 2006 on what was once a U.
S. Air Force base. It has a spectacular beach, a free-form pool,
shopping, dining, and a world-class Margaritaville where you can get
“wasted away again” on 52 different flavors of margaritas. Taxis or
rental cars are available to take you into Cockburn Town some 3 miles away.
|MARGARITAVILLE IN GRAND TURK’S CRUISE CENTER|
first glance, a walk down Cockburn Town’s historic Duke and Front
Streets reveals a bunch of old buildings in need of paint and
repair. On closer inspection, one is immersed in the history of
the islands as you stroll along streets lined with 18th century
buildings constructed from local limestone and timber salvaged
from ships. Many believe that Grand Turk, a mere
7-miles long and 1-mile wide, was the first landfall of Columbus in
the New World. My time spent in Cockburn Town revealed no shops, no
glitz, or no fancy restaurants…just a glimpse at what I felt the real
Caribbean once looked like.
STREET IN COCKBURN TOWN…A SHARP CONTRAST TO THE CRUISE CENTER
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer and a Travel
Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY.