Imagine Curaçao, an island in the Dutch Antilles, known as the ABC Islands (along with Aruba and Bonaire). An island often overshadowed by neighboring Aruba but equally picturesque and uniquely its’ own. Imagine a Caribbean island without the threat of hurricanes and where rain is rarely in the forecast. Curaçao sits below the hurricane belt and remains a stunning 80 degrees year round. This Caribbean island proved to be the perfect place for a getaway. Allow this Curaçao photo diary to transport you to the beautiful beaches and through the vibrant streets of Willemstad.
Upon arrival, I made my way to the Hilton Curaçao which would be my home for the next week. I arrived just in time for sunset. The sunsets in Curaçao would prove to be some of the most intense I have ever seen. It was apparent that I have arrived in paradise. The sunset hues casted a warm glow over the beach and pool.
I woke early each morning to witness the soft sunrise before enjoying a day at the beach. The warm Caribbean breeze blew against the straw umbrellas that lined the beach. I meandered during those lazy mornings until the afternoon sun sent me running for a dip in the Sea.
The water in Curaçao was perfectly refreshing. There is no better way to enjoy a Caribbean Island than swimming the day away.
Curaçao is the perfect blend of beach destination and colorful Caribbean city. The capital city of Willemstad has an array of colorful buildings and shops. My first sighting of Willemstad was from across the Queen Emma Bridge. From the second I laid my eyes on this colorful view, I couldn’t wait to see more of the city.
I wandered the streets of Willemstad in search for the most colorful building. This was an easy task as almost every building in Curaçao is painted in vibrant hues of blues, pinks and yellows. The beautifully vibrant hues of Willemstad left me cheerful. There is something to be said about a place that brings you happiness simply from the color of the buildings.
When it comes to island hopping, unless you have the use of a private jet (don’t we all wish!), cruising is the perfect way to go. From respites filled with lush beaches and historic sites to locales peppered with modern amenities and yachts galore, here are 8 islands not to miss in the Caribbean Sea.
Antigua is peppered with soft sandy beaches next to clear waters with an aqua hue. The Caribbean wouldn’t have it any other way! Heading out to any of the beaches via car rental (which is less expensive and more readily available than you might think) allows you to experience multiple beaches for lounging, seeing beautiful views, and experiencing the sunset.
Not to be missed is Nelson’s Dockyard, which is a set of older buildings that now house shops and restaurants. Because of the historical aspect, it is associated with the parks system, which includes a few vantage points such as Shirley Heights. It’s a must for your list as the area truly offers some of the best views in the Caribbean. They will take your breath away!
This little-known island is…well, little. At only 18 square km, Bequia is small on size, but big on views. A leisurely pace is kept by expats and locals alike, and quaint, beachside villas are available for those who would like to stay a while.
One favorite spot is Princess Margaret Beach. A walkway made of wood and stone takes visitors to a sandy beach with gorgeous views of the boats in the harbor. Beachgoers can relax in either the sun or shade as they look out onto the aqua waters.
The island is popular with expats, some of whom create and sell artisan wares, such as lovely paintings and wooden, miniature boats that float. Those who like rum punch will be thrilled with the many two-for-one offerings at the ocean side restaurants where you can stop and grab a bite.
The port of St. George’s has the typical shops and activity of a town, yet it also houses museums such as the Grenada Museum and the House of Chocolate (yum!). Venturing out from the port showcases a lovely inland harbor filled with colorful boats.
One of the highlights of the island is the impressive Underwater Sculpture Park. Snorkeling or scuba diving allows visitors to view underwater statues where sea life has begun to take residence, creating a delicate balance between art and nature. Feeling adventurous? Head to Annadale Falls to relax by the sounds of falling water.
A favorite stop of many, the port of Les Saintes in Guadeloupe is both quaint and filled with shops and restaurants. There is plenty to do within walking distance. A short, but steep hike will take you up to Fort Napoleon, where there are lovely views of the harbor. Walking to the other side of the island offers a different view of lovely homes, interesting cemeteries, and a beach area with vigorous waves.
Especially endearing are the swimming areas, which are spread along working beaches peppered with fishing boats. The folks on this French-speaking island are sweet and accommodating, but be prepared to do a bit of hand signaling as native English speakers in Les Saintes are few and far between.
Those who love shopping and artisan wares will adore the port of Anse Mitan, which has many local restaurants and boutique shops to peruse. Also of note is the smattering of artisans with their handmade wares. Patrons can purchase one of their ready-made items or have a custom piece made as a souvenir.
To avoid crowds, head to one of the lesser-known beaches, such as Pointe du Bout, which has shade, palm trees, and clear water that is perfect for snorkeling. For those who want to venture out, a ferry is available to other points. A ride on the ferry affords beautiful outlooks and a relaxing experience.
Want to experience living like the rich and famous – even if only for a day? Then this island, more commonly known as St. Barts, is where to head. The port of Gustavia is filled with impressive yachts and upscale stores.
ATV rentals are available at a few shops around the port, which opens up a whole host of areas to explore. The secluded Rockefeller Beach is a 20-minute hike from the road, but the once private beach is the perfect place to sunbathe and swim in clear waters.
Although your cruise ship may offer excursions, this island is easy to navigate if you are daring enough to rent an ATV in the port of Basseterre. Encompassing 175 square km, the views from the coastline are breathtaking. Brimstone Hill Fortress is a worthy vantage point while adding a bit of history to your stop.
Also of note is Wingfield Estate, which showcases sugar cane processing ruins. Romney Manor is next door, where patrons can view the delicate process of making batik fabric.
Heading along the coastline will also cause you to encounter Black Rock Beach, which is just that – a beach line filled with stately black rock formations. St. Kitts has plenty of lounging beaches around the island for you to discover, and if you have time, popping over to the nearby island of Nevis is a possibility.
For those who crave a bit of adventure, Pigeon Island is a fabulous stop. It is filled with rainforest canopies, so heading one to one of many ziplines is a thrill. Line guides watch for safety and also take photos and videos with your phone as you whiz by.
The port itself has a fort that overlooks the harbor and white sand beaches with clear water like only the Caribbean can offer.
It’s that time of year. The grey, dreary weather of the winter has got us really dragging our feet. Summer seems leagues away from our realities. Isn’t this just the perfect time to hop on a jet to a tropical island? We think yes! Here are our top ten tropical destinations we’d highly suggest for any Dame Traveler ready for some sun and relaxation this winter!
Ah, yes. The ultimate tropical oasis. The Maldives crystal clear waters, oceanic surroundings and warm air have us swooning. If jet-setting to the most magical blue waters of the Maldives is on your bucket list, be sure to check out our guide to this paradise.
“Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama.” The Beach Boys knew what they were talking about when they included this island in their lyrics. Bermuda’s sunsets are unlike anything we’ve ever seen. And trust us, it’s the perfect setting for the ultimate girls getaway!
Paradise found. Cozumel’s lagoons, lapping ocean waters and watercolor sunsets are calling our name during this blisteringly cold season! When booking your dream vacay, be sure to pick a hotel that offers beach front views like this one. For the adventurous soul, Cozumel is also well connected to some of the most historic Mayan Ruins and other seaside towns too!
30 miles of beaches that are yours for the sunning in. Maui’s incredible pools, waterfalls and winding tropical roads are incredible. Maui is plush with rainforests and city living perks too. And it’s the perfect starting point for adventurers who want some relaxation before jetting to the other, more wild and adventurous islands like Kauai. When you’re planning your get away to Maui, check out this post on our top five experiences to have!
Okay, listen. We know Havana isn’t a typical tropical island per say… but it’s always going to top our list of warmer destinations in the bleak midwinter. There’s no place like Havana. Truly. It’s a place stuck in time. Vintage cars, pastel hued architecture, cigars, warm and inviting locals, hot weather? Yeah, count us in.
Koh Samui, Thailand
Koh Samui is a favorite destination for adventurers for good reason. It’s affordable and has the perfect mix of relaxing atmosphere with the option for many a party on any given night!
This seaside city is sure to swoon you. Rio de Janeiro is best known for its wild and wonderful Carnaval festival – but we’d highly suggest checking it out in any time of year! And besides, who wouldn’t want to escape to Copacabana in the coldest season of the year?
To round out our list, we had to include Jamaica! The home of reggae music, lush and rainforest laden environment, surrounded by the bluest waters and dotted with incredible resorts. Jamaica is a great place to find yourself getting a tan in the middle of winter (and even find love) – don’t you think?
What do you say? Time to hop on a plane and catch some sun? We’re totally down!
Bermuda is the land of crystal clear waters, sandy, cliffside beaches and pure natural beauty. In the midst of rainy, dreary weather, I was thrilled to team up with Cheap Caribbean, an online travel agency focused on tropical beach vacations, to explore sunny, warm Bermuda with other Dame Travelers in tow on our second Dame Traveler Trip of the year! In between soaking in the delicious warmth and swaying palm trees, the brilliant and genius Jess of The Wondering Dreamer and I took a deep dive into our how-tos travel photography and were able to give our insight and expertise to some absolutely wonderful girls. This deliciously beautiful island nation has plenty of gorgeous vantage points to photograph. But where should a girl start? Jess and I spent a lot of time curating the perfect spots for you to capture some lovely photographs of Bermuda. Here is our Instagrammable guide to Bermuda, its many beaches, outlooks, photogenic alley ways and quiet corners!
An Instagrammable Guide To Bermuda
With two photograph-obsessed leaders like Jess and I creating an itinerary with Cheap Caribbean around Bermuda, it’s easy to see how much fun it is to explore a new place with a camera in tow. Our goal was to give our gal pals the chance to explore the island nation with a photographic eye, while also teaching them how to capture their travels. In between traipsing through sunny Bermuda, we hosted tutorial sessions and photo shoots throughout the trip and even gave the girls a fabulous book of tips for them to keep!
If there’s ever been a perfect setting to watch a stunning sunset, it might be right on Elbow Beach. The girls, Jess and I had so much fun savoring the watercolor skies and cotton candy clouds as the sun said goodbye for the day. No better way to end the day.
Exploring St. George’s
This quaint and charming little town is filled with so many gems! Wandering down the narrow streets of St. George is a feast for the eyes – so many textures, colors and sights to see. Be sure to visit St. Peter’s Church and its iconic and photogenic staircase, as well as the many local restaurants and boutiques. We had an absolute ball capturing portraits of each other throughout the city.
Nestled and tucked away, Jobson Cove is the perfect little escape. It’s also incredibly photogenic with the craggy stones that catapult directly into the electric ocean blues. Couldn’t you just imagine Ariel from The Little Mermaid brushing her hair in this cove? It’s oh so dreamy!
Bermuda’s best scenes are those that make you feel close to the power of the ocean. That’s why I loved shooting Horseshoe Bay’s volcanic looking rocks and crystal clear ocean tides. Doesn’t this bay look like a place stuck in time? Maneuvering around these rocks was quite a fete, but absolutely worth it!
Sunset On Abbotts Cliff
Who doesn’t love a sunset overlooking a sprawling, colorful scene? Jess and I knew that we wanted to have as many opportunities as possible to capture Bermuda’s iconically gorgeous sunsets, so we did our research and discovered Abbotts Cliff. Although it can be a hike to reach the top of the cliff, all of us did it in dresses… yeah girl power! Taking a few minutes to be grateful, appreciative and mindful on top of the cliff while hearing the crashing and lapping of the ocean waves was so rejuvenating.
Hamilton Princess Hotel & Beach Club
The Hamilton Princess Hotel is the cutest, chicest and Instagrammable lodgings in Bermuda. The iconic millennial pink is the perfect color that pops against the swaying, green palms and the bright sky blue. We had a blast finding tucked away corners to shoot portraits against the pastel pink facade of the hotel! Be sure to sip on some wine or enjoy a luxurious tea here in between beaching, sunning and exploring this beautiful island nation.
Admiralty House Park
Pack a picnic (sushi was divine, if you want to follow our lead!), slip your shoes off and be sure to aim your camera because the Admiralty House Park is so lush… it’d be a shame not to capture its beauty. Feeling so close and connected to the water, dipping our toes in between playing with photo compositions and long talks about the good things in life…. HEAVEN!
If you’re looking for paradise, it’s only about a two hour flight from JFK airport! Here’s hoping when you visit Bermuda that you find peace, relaxation… and capture some stunning photographs along the way!
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.
In the midst of bleak mid-winter weather, cruising to the Caribbean islands sounds like a perpetual dream stuck in all our minds, isn’t it? Escaping the bitter cold in favor of some crisp rosé on the deck during a warm, golden sunset, feeling the salty ocean air make our hair knotty and windswept, exploring the coasts of tropical islands far, far away from the troubles of day to day life… don’t make me go on!
The truth is, these daydreams we found ourselves lost in are luxurious, sure, but they are absolutely attainable with the amount of cruise lines available for every type of traveler. No longer are cruise ships following the one-size-fits-all mentality. From value ships to excursion focused adventures, foodie cruises, family focused lines and everything in between, there seems to be a type of cruise for each and every type of traveler. And that, my friends, is a glorious, glorious (yet kind of overwhelming) thing!
It’s funny, when it comes to selecting what cruise line to go with, the best comparison that comes to mind is that choosing the right cruise ship is like picking out a new pair of shoes. The selection process is filled with a dizzying amount to research to sift through: details must be vetted, comfort is key, but you also want to be dazzled nonetheless. But on the flip side, making the wrong decision could mean one hell of a time (and I mean not in a good way). Imagine walking around Manhattan sized city blocks in eight inch heels for a full week to ten days – no no no! The same goes for hunting for the right type of vacation cruise. Finding the best fit requires research and a sensible dose of practicality.
Before you start your research, check in with yourself. What do you travel for? Are you an adventure-seeking explorer who wants to see it all, do it all and spend less time onboard? Are you a luxury seeking type of gal who wants to spend some much needed time relaxing and indulging in some delicious bites? What are your schedule and budget limitations? Is there a specific location or region you’re longing to see? These are questions I asked myself before delving into my own inquiry about what cruise was best for me. Take the time to tune-in to the realities of how I travel allowed me to find the best option.
With the incredible amount of information out there on the internet, I was happy to have an organized, focused resource like Cruise Critic’s website to help me with my planning. Cruise Critic organizes everything in such user-friendly way, I had a blast sifting through each category of reviewed cruise lines. Knowing that I was dreaming of escaping to the warm tropicals seas, I loved reading their insight on finding the right Caribbean cruise for me. Seeing their pros and cons lists, as well as their handy “bottom line” feature that condenses everything down to a T while also knowing that millions of people leave honest reviews on their experiences on board ships gave me the peace of mind I was looking for. By the way, for any of you gals who are hesitant about cruise lines or haven’t cruised before, I loved reading their roundup of best cruises for first-timers!
After doing my own research on Cruise Critic, I booked a three night Carnival Victory trip to the beautiful Bahamas. Being able to explore the stunning islands with my very tight schedule was a dream come true! Our itinerary allowed us to experience vibrant Miami’s nightlife, nostalgic cars lining the streets and delicious foods as well as Nassau’s soft sand beaches and dynamic tropical energy. And not only was I able to drink in all the tropical magic of the Caribbean waters, but our time on the ship was filled with sundrenched drinks on the deck, tasty treats and lots of quality time spent with my dear mother. Quality time with momma while delighting in palm trees and open, crystal clear waters? Dream mother-daughter bonding time! Cruising together to the gorgeous Bahama islands is something I’m sure we will never forget.
If you could cruise anywhere in the world, where would you go? Are you more of a luxury cruiser, a party-loving vacationer or something else entirely? Comment below… I’d love to know!
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.
I was invited as guest by Cruise Critic and Carnival. As always, all opinions are my own.