How about a little break from the American electoral intensity?
In the past I had been posting about the Caribbean. I thought I might now share some experiences and information about some of the islands. It is an amazingly diverse universe. We tend to think of them as just a collection of palm tree covered islands with beaches and numerous large resorts. Not so.
This island is a possession of France and therefore has a large French population. The island itself is gorgeous. In the south it is relatively flat with some hills but as you proceed north you arrive at two large mountains, one of which is an active volcano. The rain forests on them are lovely. In that area is one of my most favorite resorts. At the edge of the rain forest sits a restored plantation house with a large pool area in front. We went off season and it was quiet. One evening we had dinner in the main area all to ourselves. Habitation LaGrange was a treat.
The grocery stores feature French delicacies and a luscious array of wines. There is an array of small and larger French resorts. Since the French treat their colonies as if they are in France proper, the roads are excellent and everything is up to date. Since we were looking for properties to rent for our business we got acquainted with the Beké who are the descendants of the original planter families. We made some good friends.
Highly recommended. If you speak a little French it is better but not essential. Almost everyone speaks English. But you must say Bonjour! My joke is that if you speak no French, they speak no English. If you speak a little French they speak perfect English.
A little further out in the Atlantic is an island which is a part of the sea floor that got pushed up long ago. Its fairly flat but has truly lovely beaches. It is English speaking with some wealthy English in residence. We found restaurants very much to our liking. There are no mountain vistas but if you want to hang out at the beach it is quite nice. Very comfortable villas and hotels.
St. Martin/Sint Maarten
For a reason I never understood this island is half French and half Dutch which gives it diversity. Again, everyone speaks English and there are really nice small hotels to choose from if you aren’t interested in a large chain’s resort. With the French influence the dining out was quite nice. It is much favored by Americans.
The Cayman Islands
Very well known by the scuba set. Everything is air conditioned and you can see screens on all windows. That is because sometimes there are a lot of mosquitos —not always. It is generally best to stay in a beachfront resort on the beach because it is a coral island and less well tended beaches have sharp coral in the water. Best to wear booties. The center of the island is scrub and not very attractive. Look out to sea and go scuba diving.
Turks & Caicos Islands
A huge attraction is that they are not far off the Florida coast so they are easy to get to. Not highly developed oddly enough. Nice resorts and villas. The water colors are magnificent and the beaches absolutely lovely. Uncrowded and laid back. Just below the Bahamas. If there have been recent hurricanes check it out carefully to know if things have been repaired.
An Array of Other Islands
The islands listed above are the ones we handled to rent villas but there are many others such as the Netherland Antilles just off the coast of South America, tiny islands like St. Vincent and Dominica. If you like to move around year to year the Caribbean islands offer a glorious display.
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