Island Time: Caribbean Vacation Spots

Sailing crystal-clear waters is heavenly, and these four Caribbean vacation spots have something for everyone.

A Caribbean sea dolphin experience

Photo: iStock


A dose of culture: At this Caribbean vacation spot, boogie to the music at the Educulture Junkanoo museum in Nassau, which celebrates the traditions of the Junkanoo parade.

For the kids: Buy a day pass to Dolphin Cay at Atlantis for its private beach service and dolphin orientation program.

Get active: Explore the beachfront and city sidewalks by Segway tour.

Souvenir to take home: Haggle for handicrafts and colorful island art in Bay Street’s market.

Don’t leave without: Trying conch fritters or conch ceviche at Arawak Cay on West Bay Street.

Local hot sauce and other items for sale at a spice market on St. Maarten

Photo: iStock


A dose of culture: Front Street’s Sint Maarten Museum, in Philipsburg, brims with island artifacts like shipwreck loot and ancient pottery.

For the kids: Bring towels to this Caribbean vacation spot’s world-famous Maho Beach, where planes glide just a few feet above your head as they land on the nearby runway.

Get active: Marvel at the coral reefs surrounding Creole Rock through the clear glass windows of the semi-submersible SeaWorld Explorer.

Souvenir to take home: Hot sauce from the Sint Maarten Guavaberry company, made with an island recipe. (Habanero Lime and Liquid Fire are two favorites.)

Don’t leave without: Going for a horseback ride along Cay Bay at this Caribbean vacation spot.

Relaxing under palapas on Druif Beach

Photo: Aruba Tourism Authority


A dose of culture: Poke around the shops and history museum in downtown Oranjestad, where pastel buildings pay homage to Aruba’s Dutch roots.

For the kids: At this Caribbean vacation spot, join spooky bats on a trek through popular Quadirikiri Cave.

Get active: Green-thumbed travelers will love the flowering cacti and desert-like scenery of Arikok National Park.

Souvenir to take home: Snap a family selfie with the curvaceous divi-divi trees on the island’s beaches.

Don’t leave without: Ordering pastechi (fried dough stuffed with meat or cheese); Bucuti Beach Resort near Oranjestad has the best.

Willemstad, Curacao

Photo: iStock


A dose of culture: Historic Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasts brightly colored Dutch architecture and waterfront shopping.

For the kids: Go to great depths and explore nature aboard the Curaçao Sea Aquarium’s Curasub submarine.

Get active: Swim in turquoise waters filled with colorful fish and coral while snorkeling over a shipwreck in a protected marine park.

Souvenir to take home: Traditional Dutch stroopwafels—crisp, cookie-like waffles with a caramel-like syrup filling—are a sweet-tooth must.

Don’t leave without: Tasting local snacks from stalls at the floating market.

Visit the Caribbean aboard a cruise ship and get a taste for what life would be like on your own private island.

Now you can also visit the largest island in the Caribbean—Cuba! Call 877-396-7159 or click here to contact a AAA Travel Counselor today.

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Janice Yip-Hudson, AAA Travel Counselor, Daly City, Calif.

Today, people's lives are so busy. We're thinking three days ahead just to get through our to-do lists. I love helping my clients plan vacations where they have nothing to do but relax; where time stands still, and you're just on vacation.

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