Annette M. Benjamin
After months of being stuck at home, I know we are all ready to feel the sand between our toes before Summer is over. If you MUST go, there are a number of islands that have reopened or are in the process of reopening.
Consider these 5 locations for your last minute tropical getaway. All locations have Covid-19 policies in place that you should review before finalizing your plans. Links to the most up-to-date information for each location is provided.
The US Virgin Islands
As a native of St. Thomas, I am always pleased to share why the U.S. Virgin Islands should be considered when planning your next beach vacation and where passports are not required!
A stay on St. Thomas can give you the best of day trips to Water Island, St. John or St. Croix to visit some of the world's most beautiful beaches and enjoy unique eco-tours. St. Thomas offers some of the best duty free shopping on Main Street. Explore Water Island through snorkeling and discover the local marine life and reefs. You can be mesmerized in the crystal clear water of Trunk Bay on St. John, which has been voted one of the most beautiful places in the world. Travel to St Croix and scuba dive around Buck Island and bathe in the natural tide pools.
Be sure to indulge in the tasty local cuisine such as conch in butter sauce or fried fish and johnny cake. America's Paradise can be the perfect vacation with a United States destination.
Jamaica is quite popular and the third largest island in the Caribbean and is widely known as the birthplace of Bob Marley and Reggae Music. Jamaica has different types of accommodations to match just about every type of budget. There are excursions, experiences and events throughout the island for the whole family to enjoy.
Be sure to get off the resort property and check out Rick's Cafe in Negril for cliff jumping, cuisine trying, artifact shopping fun and Dunn's River Falls & Park in Ocho Rios for water adventures.
Eat like a local while in Jamaica and try Ackee & Saltfish or a plate of Jerk Chicken. Your taste buds will love you for it.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda are two islands in the Caribbean not overly saturated with the traditional All-Inclusive resort options. Antigua, which is the larger of the islands, boasts a beach for every day of the year. Barbuda is 28 miles away and is the home to the Frigate Bird Sanctuary. Pink and white sand beaches and water sports are some of the reasons why you should consider vacationing in Antigua.
Be sure to take pictures at Devil's Bridge and Shirley Heights Lookout on Antigua and plan a day trip to Barbuda using the Barbuda Express Ferry Service to Barbuda.
While in Antigua try some of the favorite local dishes which includes boil fish and fungee and callaloo.
The islands of the Bahamas are a large archipelago of islands located off the coast of Florida. There are many islands to choose from depending on the experience that you would like to have. Bimini, Grand Bahama Island, Exuma and New Providence are some of the most popular vacation destinations.
While in Exuma visit KariJava Coffee House, check out the Atlantis Marine Habitat in Nassau, New Providence or enjoy the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Pilgrimage Tour in Bimini.
Cracked conch, conch salad and spiny tail lobster (Rock Lobster) are some of the favorite dishes served in the Bahamas.
Aruba known as the "Happy Island" is a Dutch island in the Southern Caribbean 18 miles north of the coast of Venezuela. Aruba enjoys an arid, desert like climate unlike most other Caribbean islands.
Explore the island with the Aruba Trike Tour and enjoy the pink flamingos while visiting the All-Inclusive De Palm Island.
Local dishes in Aruba that you should try are Keshi Yena (hollowed out cheese rind filled with meat & vegetables) or curry goat/chicken with rice or roti (round flatbread).
Contact us to assist with planning your next sublimeXcursion.
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By Kendra Julion (instagram @k_cinique)
To be honest, given the whole pandemic that’s happening (A.K.A the Rona), I was considering changing the topic of this blog post and focusing on things our fellow stir-crazy travelers could do until its time to roam this world again. I thought about it and remembered how happy traveling to Amsterdam made me, and decided to share what I loved about it to provide you something else to read, give you a (very) brief escape, and/or persuade you to put Amsterdam on your travel to-do list.
I will tell you right now that Amsterdam was never on my travel list. I saw how cute it was, saw a bunch of our diaspora traveling there and raving about their experience, and even had a close friend tell me how amazing Amsterdam was, but I usually like to travel to destinations that give me a full blast of sun, beach, culture, and good foooooood. I ended up in Amsterdam this past February because my mom had to travel for work and I love being a work trip stowaway. After spending a week there, I am a convert and here’s why:
I know everybody uses the foodie term (as they should- who doesn’t love food?!)...but I luhhhhh food. I legit dedicate time/energy to research restaurants I want to visit at home in Chicago, as well as where I should be eating when I’m traveling and bug my fellow foodie friends on where I should eat. I even create a restaurant list for my clients lol. Bad food on vacations/anytime offends me. After reading a few blog posts and based on my PERSONAL preferences, I decided I was going to eat mostly Surinamese food(a sexy blend of African, Caribbean, Indonesian, Chinese, and Dutch cuisine), poffertjes (mini Dutch pancakes that all of my pancake lovers will fall in love with) and every stroopwafel (a.k.a 2 homemade warm waffles with decadent caramel in the middle) I can inhale.
Sorry- no I didn’t try the “must try” pickled herring and that mayo on the frites offended me and my mother-even though the Dutch know their way around a frite. She’s cute in this picture though. Clearly a before we tried it shot
I’m drawn to places that have my type of swag and Amsterdam has it. It’s a beautifully diverse city, kinda friendly people for Europeans lol (too friendly freaks me out) and the canals are stunning. I mean, look at it. When we went in February, it was definitely their rainy season, which I will say, put me in a mood not to bump around the city (again, I’m a sun child), but we powered through and discovered that their metro/bus/train system is impeccable. It’s so easy to get around anywhere at any time. Also, Uber is there so if you are not a public transportation person you’re good. This next point is really random but the Dutch sure have the outerwear/scarf game on lock. I’ve never seen so many amazing scarves, coats, gloves! I bought several scarves from the infamous Albert Cyup Market (my seller even warmed it up for me on a heater before giving it to me).
Once I discovered Surinamese cuisine and learned Suriname was a former Dutch colony with indigenous people and African slaves ( it was actually a British colony that was “traded” to the Dutch for New York but that’s a story for another day), I wanted to learn more about my fellow African diaspora’s experience, presence, and history in the Netherlands and Black Heritage Tours did just that. For two hours, we walked around Dam Square & then took an amazing canal boat learning this hidden history, had a fruitful discussion over mimosas and stroopwaffels, and then took their very fabulous founder/owner up on a drink at Wynand Fockink. Our fun bartender quizzed us on what we liked in a drank and helped us pick out our perfect genever and then we Kopstoot (a.k.a headbutt) where your genever is poured to the top of a tulip glass, you bend at the waist, and take your first sip.
Comment below & let us know what you loved about Amsterdam!