|Resort to the Caribbean|
|These tropical digs provide fun and more in the sun|
|By Theresa Russell
Vibrant shades of blue color the sea beyond sandy beaches that typify the Caribbean. Each beach and destination possesses its own characteristic identity.
The same can be said for the multitude of resorts that welcome guests to this region of sun and sand. Families, couples, adults, spa and water sport enthusiasts will find many options from which to choose.
Jamaica, a popular honeymoon destination, offers a wealth of resorts that cater to newlyweds, as well as adults and families.
The elegant Royal Plantation Spa and Golf Resort, a Sandals property on the islands northern coast, suits those with a preference for luxury. The colonial-style buildings and atmosphere reflect the British heritage of the area. The low-key ambience of this distinctive, all-inclusive resort soothes the spirit and calms the soul.
Guests 16 years and older looking for more activities and a lively, yet unobtrusive, atmosphere might select the Grande Sport Villa Golf Resort and Spa, an all-inclusive Beaches resort located near Ocho Rios. The Grande Sport offers a wonderful spa and 91 swimming pools. The units are configured to accommodate a group of up to six people who would share a common swimming pool. Those guests looking for more privacy should select the honeymoon villas with a private pool.
Just up the road, the newly renovated Beaches Boscobel Resort and Golf Club welcomes families with open arms. The all-inclusive programs include organized activities and clubs for children. Plenty of events happen throughout the day, with water sports being a main attraction.
Free scuba diving lessons and golf are included in all the above resort packages.
Moving toward the western part of the island is the small village of Negril and a most interesting concept in resorts. Scattered throughout 10 lush acres, Negril Cabins offer a real tropical forest experience. This resort is quieter and smaller than most with just 86 units. The beach is a short walk across the street on what some consider the nicest stretch of sand in Jamaica.
While families are welcome here, there are not a lot of pre-planned activities for children. Like all resorts, Negril Cabins organizes trips into town to seek out restaurants and bars and can organize personal trips of any nature.
Negril Cabins has received several awards for its commitment to its environmentally friendly practices. The staff here emphasizes warm Jamaican hospitality, something that visitors will find throughout the island.
Set sail in Antigua
Tiny Antigua is steeped in maritime history and is a pleasant and easy island to drive around.
It also benefits from the trade winds that blow most of the year, and Sunsail Club Colonna takes advantage of them. The resort offers extensive programs to any guest who would like to learn to sail. Whether you want to sail a small one-man boat or a yacht, this certified school will provide all the instruction using new and well-maintained equipment.
After passing a yacht course, there is the possibility of renting a boat and cruising around the islands.
The resort is on the European plan, which gives guests the chance to eat off property and explore the island. Children can participate in the kids club, while parents try their hands at sailing or windsurfing.
The United States Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands consists of three main islands, each with its distinctive personality.
Lively St. Thomas is where the cruise ships call and release their passengers into its downtown shoppers paradise. This part of the island bustles with activity, but there is more to St. Thomas than shopping.
Beyond the downtown, several resorts offer respite from this frenetic pace. Built into a hillside, the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort and Spa affords outstanding views of the bay and sunsets from its balconies. The design gives this all-inclusive getaway a secluded feel, but also provides good exercise climbing to and from the beach if guests prefer not to use the shuttle.
St. Thomas offers kayaking, snorkeling and diving among its selection of activities.
A short ferry or seaplane ride away is St. Croix. The rugged eastern coastline sets the backdrop for several small resorts that dot this scenic stretch of beach. These resorts are simple, yet still with a tropical feel. Located on the shore, their doors open to the sound of crashing waves and tropical breezes.
The Cane Bay Reef Club, with its laid-back atmosphere, consists of nine fully furnished suites, perfect for those who want to feel right at home. Restaurant offerings vary daily, with a free Friday buffet.
On the opposite side of the island, Waves at Cane Bay copies the suite setup. Down the road, almost directly across from the casino, the Divi Carina cools guests with its very tropical décor. Fresh sherbet colors brighten the rooms.
Be sure to experience the outstanding snorkeling at one of the two national parks, the Virgin Islands National Park off St. John and Buck Island Reef National Monument. The Virgin Islands National Park covers two-thirds of tiny St. John. Hiking, water sports and beaches attract visitors to this special protected area that will remain pristine for future visitors.
One of the special spots on the water is the Westin St. John Resort. Rooms with high ceilings open to the sea. The beach includes a variety of equipment for water sports and a water trampoline that children enjoy. The spa offers services to relax the muscles after a day on or in the water. For solitude seekers, St. John should be a first choice.
Make it Mexico
Cancun and the Mayan Riviera constantly evolve. On Cancuns south shore, 10 minutes from the airport, the Moon Palace all-inclusive resort accommodates families and groups in casually elegant surroundings without pretension. The waterfront is the draw here. A huge pool snakes along through the resort. Ten restaurants serve a la carte and buffet meals, making dining an adventure in itself.
Think about all-inclusive resorts when planning a vacation
Everyone has heard the phrase you get what you pay for. When youre paying for an all-inclusive resort vacation, you get quite a lot.
^ to top | previous page