Moving to the Island of Aruba

Vela Aruba
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Rodger's Beach, San Nicolas, Aruba
Rodger’s Beach, San Nicolas, Aruba

If you want to enjoy beautiful white sand beaches, friendly locals, windsurfing, kitesurfing or terrific diving – Aruba is a good place to call home (1). You may have been searching for the perfect spot in paradise to retire – or you may just be looking for adventure in a faraway and tropical country. Either way, Aruba could be the right choice for your next destination.

Though you may have spent months or years looking before deciding to choose Aruba, the process of moving can also take time. You’ll need to prepare yourself beforehand, by packing up your household and selecting a qualified international moving service provider. A key part of preparation is also getting all the required paperwork pulled together, and learning about the various import regulations and duties. Here’s most of what you need to know, in one easy guide.

What Are the Duties?

Sunset in Aruba
Sunset in Aruba

Duties can add a significant amount to the total cost of your move, but fortunately Aruba allows you to be exempted from this expense. To receive import duty exemption, there’s a handful of requirements that you must meet.

First, your primary place of residence must have been outside of Aruba, for a minimum of the last year. This means you must have lived at that address, for a minimum of 185 days in the previous 12 months. You must demonstrate that you lived there for a job, and if not – then show documentation proving you were indeed residing there (not just had an address at that location). Second, you cannot already be a resident of Aruba.

The third requirement is that the belongings you’ll be importing, be used in the same way as in the origin country. For example, if an item was for personal (not commercial) use in your previous residence, it should remain so in Aruba. Fourth, these goods are required to have been used by you, in your residence within your country of origin for at least six months. Fifth, only used goods are eligible for duty exemption (2). Finally, you’re not allowed to sell, let others borrow or even give away these items while in the country (3).

Import Regulations

A Shade Tree on a Beach in Aruba
A Shade Tree on a Beach in Aruba

Customs has some regulations that you must follow, when importing your belongings into the country. There’s a time limit to receive duty exemption, and you can’t import a shipment more than 12 months after you enter Aruba (some sources say 6 months). However, if you need more time, it’s possible that an extension may be granted by the Customs Commissioner (if you request it). You can also only receive duty exemption on two shipments total of household goods (4).

Appeal Process

If your shipment is denied duty exemption by customs, you have one month to appeal this decision (the Commissioner of Customs will make the final determination). If your appeal to the Commissioner of Customs is again denied – you have another month to appeal to the Board of Appeals in Tax Affairs. It appears that the board’s decision will be final (5).

Clearance Process

Aruba requires that you be at the point or port of entry, during the processing of your shipment. Be aware that customs has the full legal authority to examine your shipment, and this could take up to one month to complete. If your shipment violates the import regulations, the Customs Authority can impose fines or disciplinary action. Finally, you’re required to speak with the agent working on your behalf in Aruba, as soon as you enter the country (6).

What Paperwork Will You Need?

Palm Beach, Aruba
Palm Beach, Aruba

When it comes to importing your household belongings, customs requires that you provide the necessary paperwork for your shipment. This includes your passport and Original Bill of Lading (for sea shipments) or Air Waybill (for air shipments). An import declaration and Tax ID from the Tax Service Office are also required (7). An ID card may also be needed, and whether this is a separate document isn’t clear.

For census purposes, you’ll also need a Certificate of Registration from the Population Register in Aruba (customs will want this in triplicate). You’ll also need a Residence Permit from the Directorate of Alien Integration, Policy & Admission (DIMAS for short). A packing list is also mandatory documentation, along with a Household Goods Form and Exemption Declaration Form. A Duty Exemption Request Form (Form C420) should also be provided (8).

Finally, customs will need to see a comprehensive inventory, which includes monetary values for all of your items. This also must be submitted in triplicate, and it should bear your signature and the date (9).

What Are the Duties For Your Vehicle?

Sailboat Off the Coast of Aruba
Sailboat Off the Coast of Aruba

Turning from the importation of your household goods to your vehicle, you may be wondering what duties you’ll pay. You’ll be relieved to discover, that Aruba does allow you to be exempt from import duties – if you meet a single requirement. You must have owned and used the vehicle at your previous primary residence, for a minimum of the last six months.

If your vehicle successfully receives duty exemption, you’re not allowed to sell or transfer ownership of it while in the country. The vehicle also can’t be lent to others, used as security or placed in escrow. Exceptions to these rules are possible, but you must request one from the Commissioner of Customs. You also must give the Technical Department of Customs the Excise Documents for the vehicle – and you’re not guaranteed approval of your request (10).

Import Regulations For Your Vehicle

Oranjestad, Aruba
Oranjestad, Aruba

Aruba is quite open to the importation of all different types of vehicles. If you meet the requirement for exemption covered above, it’s possible to import not only your personal motor vehicle – but also your motorcycle, boat, sports craft or airplane without paying duty. Whether you can bring in more than one of these vehicles at a time isn’t specified, so speak to customs to learn more.

Another regulation imposed by customs, is that your Original Bill of Lading display the engine and chassis numbers, make, model, year and the size of the engine (11). Your shipment can also be examined by customs. Just like with your household goods, this process may take as long as one month. Also, once again if you’re found to be in violation of any regulations – you could face fines or disciplinary action (12).

What Paperwork Is Required For Your Vehicle?

J.E. Irausquin Blvd 59, Oranjestad-West, Aruba
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 59, Oranjestad-West, Aruba

Failure to provide the necessary paperwork, can delay the processing of your shipment – or cause it to be denied entry altogether. Therefore, it’s important that you have the correct documentation. According to knowledgeable international vehicle shipper A1 Auto Transport, Inc. – you’ll need to have your passport, driver’s license and proof of insurance. You’ll also need to show both the title (from the origin country) and a purchase invoice or receipt (13).

Registration from the origin country and insurance documents proving you’ve used the vehicle are also required. Finally, any paperwork that demonstrates you’ve owned the vehicle for the necessary six months to receive duty exemption, should also be provided (14). Typically, the purchase invoice is sufficient for this purpose, but you may choose to give customs additional paperwork – like your maintenance records or receipts.

Lastly, if you’ve never been to Aruba and want to experience this paradise island for a few days or weeks, we suggest you book a room at a resort on the beach and rent a car from a local car agency.

SOURCES:

(1)

https://www.royalresortscaribbean.com/top-ten-reasons-to-visit-aruba.php

(2)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(3)

Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Aruba” page.

(4)

Ibid.

(5)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(6)

Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Aruba” page.

(7)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(8)

Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Aruba” page.

(9)

Ibid.

(10)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(11)

Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Aruba” page.

(12)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(13)

https://www.a1autotransport.com/ship-car-to-aruba/

(14)

https://www.a1autotransport.com/ship-car-to-aruba/

Caribbean Comeback: Top Vacation Destination is Better Than Ever After Hurricanes

Caribbean Destination is Better After Hurricanes
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“I hear from clients all the time, today, who think the entire region is decimated, no power, nothing open, no flights,” said one of the thousands of luxury travel advisors attending the annual Virtuoso conference in Las Vegas two weeks ago told me, shaking his head in disbelief.

Totally not true.

In fact, most islands were unscathed by last year’s horrific hurricane season, and even those hit hard are nearly back to the hotel, villa, restaurant and flight levels they enjoyed before the storm. But what may surprise many high-end travelers is the silver lining – because so many hotels rebuilt partially or completely, taking advantage of the opportunity to expand, improve or update, many of the Caribbean’s top resorts are better than ever. Another surprise – occupancy for the coming peak holiday, winter and spring break season is nearly back to normal levels, so don’t expect bargain, and if you are waiting to see what happens and book last minute, you will likely get shut out. For the most part this winter the Caribbean will see business as usual – only better.

Anguilla is a perfect example. One of the most traditionally luxurious islands in the Caribbean, it is home to five top tier luxury resorts and countless deluxe villas, a favorite way to stay on the island. Even after Anguilla was ravaged by storms last summer, owners managed to get 70% of the villas reopened before last Christmas season. Most of the rest of the work was done in the first quarter of this year, and currently the vast majority of the villas, 95% of the island’s restaurants, and three of the five top hotels are already open. The remaining two resorts, the Belmond Cap Juluca and Auberge Resorts’ Malliouhana, are both reopening in time for the holidays. These are two of the best luxury properties in the entire Caribbean and they will essentially be brand new.

Read full article by on www.forbes.com

Branson’s Virgin Group Buys Hurricane-Wrecked Solar Farm to Help Rebuild Caribbean

Branson's Virgin Group Buys Hurricane-Wrecked Solar Farm to Help Rebuild Caribbean
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Virgin Group’s BMR Energy announced Tuesday that it bought a 4-megawatt solar plant from NRG Energy, Inc. in St. Croix that was badly damaged during Hurricane Maria.

BMR Energy will take over the power purchase agreement and restoration efforts of the solar farm, the company said in a press release.

BMR Energy, which develops and operates clean energy projects in the Caribbean and Latin America, was purchased by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group in 2016.

“The world needs to find ways to introduce more resilient clean energy,” Branson said in the release. “The Caribbean has an abundance of clean energy sources, and BMR are taking great strides towards helping create zero-carbon energy supplies for years to come.”

Rebuilding the storm-wrecked region is a cause that is close to the Virgin founder. The billionaire businessman owns a private island in British Virgin Islands where he rode out both hurricanes Irma and Maria in the space of two weeks.

“I’ve never experienced anything quite like Hurricane Irma,” Branson said in an Instagram video in September. “It literally devastated the British Virgin Islands.”

My experience of Hurricane #Irma

A post shared by Richard Branson (@richardbranson) on


Continue reading full article by Lorraine Chow on  www.ecowatch.com.

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas
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Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the BahamasA Pristine Beach in the Bahamas.

Are you ready to make your move, to any of the over 700 islands, islets or cays in the Bahamas? If so, you’re no doubt excited about your upcoming change of scenery. You’ll enjoy picturesque beaches, amazing snorkeling in the clear waters and sunny skies. The speed of life is also much slower and you’ll be able to savor the fresh seafood that’s prominently featured in Bahamian cuisine (1).

However, before you can relax, unwind and take in all of the sights and sounds the Bahamas has to offer – you must do the unpleasant chore of planning and executing your move. International relocation can be a difficult task, and it’s easy to find yourself in over your head. This is why working with an international moving company that has a proven track record is so important.

Yet, even with their professional guidance, you’ll still be responsible for collecting all of the necessary paperwork and paying all of the fees. For this reason, you’ll need to be informed beforehand, about everything that the process entails.

What Duties Will You Pay?

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas
Staniel Cay, The Bahamas

Import duties to bring your shipment of household belongings into any foreign country, can range from free of charge to extremely burdensome. Unfortunately, this point isn’t clear, when it comes to your personal belongings and Bahamian customs.

Sources Disagree
One highly respected source claims that your used personal goods can be imported fully exempt from any duties. This is, provided that you only have reasonable amounts of each item in your shipment, and they are for your own personal use (not for commercial enterprise or to resell) (2).

However, a different source states just the opposite – asserting that you’ll be hit with an import duty of 35% of the CIF value. This is higher than just the value of your belongings, as it includes the cost of freight (or shipping) and insurance into the mix. A separate 7% stamp tax will be added to this as well, at least according to this particular source (3).

What Bahamian Customs Says
When sources disagree in this manner, it’s best to consult the customs website directly. Currently, the Bahamian customs website does have this 35% import duty listed. In addition, according to their site, your shipment will be charged value-added tax (VAT) of 7.5% – though whether this is assessed on all items isn’t clear (but it is likely). You’ll also be charged a separate environmental levy fee, however this is quite small. For example, on a $400 television this fee would be just $5. For a $10,000 vehicle, the environmental levy fee would still be a reasonable $200 (4).

Fee Calculation Examples
Where the process of calculating your charges gets more murky, is the status under which they are imported. For the examples given on the Bahamian customs pages, under both accompanied and unaccompanied baggage declaration forms (C17 or C18), you may be entitled to exempt $300 of a $400 television’s value for fee calculation. That means rather than paying the 35% import duty and 7.5% VAT on the full $400 value – you’d only be paying these charges on a value of $100 instead.

In contrast, examples on their website for courier/parcel list baggage declaration filing (C18A), do not show any such exemption. Therefore, duty and VAT are calculated using the full $400 value of the television.

Why Filing Status Matters
What’s the upshot of these different figures? When able to exempt most of the TV’s value under C17 or C18 filing – you’ll pay just $50.50 USD for duty, the environmental levy and VAT combined. When not able to exempt any of the TV’s value under C18A filing – you’ll pay the much higher $194.13 USD for all of these charges combined (5).

As you can see, filing status makes a profound difference on the total amount that you’ll pay. While a television was used in their examples, the differences in fee rates for different filing statuses, apply to many different items in your shipment.

Different Duty Rates For Specific Items
In addition to the varying total cost (dependent upon how you file and whether you can exempt most of the value of an item) – some specific items have different duty rates assigned to them. These changes were made after the recent implementation of VAT, and they can make the process of determining your import fees extremely complicated indeed.

For example, batteries are charged different rates, depending upon the exact type. Deep cycle batteries carry a 35% duty rate, whereas lead acid or automotive batteries are charged a 65% duty. The full list of items is extremely detailed, with barbeque sauce being charged just 5% duty but aluminum foil incurring a 30% duty. See here for a complete list of items, along with the rate they are charged.

Some Items Are Duty-Free
While duty exemption for your entire shipment isn’t offered, certain items are duty-free. The list is diverse, with items as different as computer printers and condensed milk both being exempt from import duty. See here for the full list of items.

Speak With Customs
With all of these intricacies in the duty and VAT calculation process, it’s vital that you learn beforehand the best filing choice for your shipment – and on what value these charges will be assessed. With such widely different final costs being possible, the best route is to speak to Bahamian customs for yourself. This will allow you to clear up any confusion, and determine how import duty, the environmental levy fee and VAT will be calculated on your shipment.

You will also need to work closely with a professional international moving company, who should help guide you through the process without any errors or missteps.

What Documents Will You Need?

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the BahamasExuma, The Bahamas

While our discussion of fee calculation was quite involved, fortunately documentation requirements to import your shipment are refreshingly simple. When bringing in your personal goods, you’ll need to provide customs with your passport and entry visa. A packing list and a separate inventory list are also required. Also needed is a letter giving your shipping company or other third-party agent, permission to work with customs to clear your shipment (called a Letter of Authorization) (6).

You may also need receipts, your Original Bill of Landing or Air Waybill and possibly your driver’s license. A Home Consumption Entry Form (C13 Form) and a Declaration of Value (C43 Form) may also be required (7). Contact customs to determine the exact paperwork you’ll need to bring your items into the country.

Duties On Your Vehicle

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas One of the Famous Swimming Pigs in Staniel Cay, The Bahamas

In most countries around the world, your vehicle will be handled differently when attempting to clear customs. The Bahamas is no exception, and the import duty rate is based on the vehicle’s value. For a vehicle worth $10,000 USD or under, you’ll pay a 45% import duty. For a vehicle between $10,000 and $20,000 USD – this rate goes up to 50%. Finally, if your vehicle is worth greater than $20,000 USD, then a 65% import duty will be assessed (8).

Bear in mind, that an additional 7% stamp tax on your vehicle is reported by reputable sources (9). However, with the implementation of VAT in the Bahamas, stamp tax may have been rescinded or reduced. Again, you’ll fare far better if you speak with both Bahamian customs and your shipping company – to learn the exact fees that will apply to your specific situation.

Documents For Your Vehicle

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the BahamasNassau, The Bahamas

The paperwork required to import your vehicle into the Bahamas, includes a Certificate of Title and Registration from your country of origin (copies are acceptable). You’ll also need the purchase receipt or invoice, if you bought the vehicle not long ago (10).

According to experienced international vehicle shipping company A1 Auto Transport, Inc – you’ll also need your passport, customs declaration form, Original Bill of Lading and proof of valid insurance. Once your vehicle is cleared for entry by customs, you’re also required to get it inspected, registered and licensed by the Bahamian Road Traffic Department (11). Registration charges are based upon the vehicle’s weight, and you’ll pay anywhere from $160 to $760 USD (which is virtually the same in Bahamian dollars at the current exchange rate) (12).

In order to process your vehicle, the Bahamian Road Traffic Department will need to see your Road Traffic Vehicle Information form – along with your driver’s license from your origin country. Be aware that while your current license will authorize you to drive in the Bahamas for the first three months after moving, you’ll then need to obtain a Bahamian driver’s license to legally operate your motor vehicle (13).

Continue reading “Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas”

A Revolution to Save the Caribbean’s Coral Reefs

A Revolution to Save the Caribbean's Coral Reefs
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The Nature Conservancy is launching a revolution to save our coral reefs throughout the Caribbean and beyond. Joining forces with the world’s best scientists, we are developing and deploying groundbreaking techniques to grow new corals and bring dying reefs back to life.

Learn more about how we’re fighting to save these unique and essential ecosystems before our oceans are irreversibly damaged. The Year of the Reef! Keep up with The Nature Conservancy’s latest efforts to protect nature and preserve life on Twitter (twitter) and Facebook (facebook) Text NATURE to 97779 to join The Nature Conservancy on text.

To sign-up for nature e-news visit:  support.nature.org

Why Renewable Energy Is Essential for the Caribbean

Carib solar tech
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Caribbean countries must transform their energy systems by creating new, greener sources of power.

Puerto Rico lost electricity again on April 18th, seven months after Hurricane Maria first knocked out the island’s power grid. For people in some remote rural areas, the blackout was more of the same. Their power had yet to be restored.

The dangerous fragility of Puerto Rico’s energy systems has put other Caribbean countries on high alert. Across the region, electric grids are dated, ailing, and overburdened—making it easy work for a powerful passing storm.

Caribbean nations also rely heavily on oil and diesel imports to fuel their power plants—a dirty and expensive way to produce energy. So even before the 2017 hurricane season, Caribbean governments were trying to integrate renewable energy sources like wind and solar into their existing grids.

Now that task seems far more urgent. To move beyond fossil fuels, Caribbean countries must transform their energy systems by building in new, greener sources of power. That will also make electric grids more resilient to weather extremes because they will be decentralized—pulling from a diverse array of power sources.

As an environmental scientist working in Jamaica, I recognize many reasons why the Caribbean region must upgrade its outmoded energy systems. Mitigating global climate change, of course, is a big one.

Read Full Article by at Pacific Standard

Dried wood chips lie in a pile at a local bioenergy plant.

Why Aruba Is the Caribbean Island You Have to Visit in 2018

Aruba CoolestCarib Caribbean Island
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An eco-friendly movement is making this the place to be for unspoiled beaches and fresh Caribbean cuisine.

The thought of Aruba conjures up images of fofoti trees leaning lazily over white sand beaches; of tangled mangroves shading still, turquoise waters. But those who venture beyond the idyllic west coast will find it’s an island of topographical contradictions: Just minutes from those familiar tropical scenes, cacti rise from arid earth while volcanic cliffs are beaten down by powerful surf to the east.

Together, these dramatic landscapes form one breathtaking isle, but they make sustainability a complicated matter. In recent years, Aruba’s government has ramped up efforts to boost local farming, chefs have begun to focus on locally grown ingredients, and more hotels have turned their attention toward eco-friendly operations.

Related: Where to Find Aruba’s Most Beautiful, Peaceful, and Hidden Beaches

But it isn’t just Arubans who feel the need to preserve their precious, limited natural resources — tourists are known to pitch in at beach and reef cleanups and embrace green initiatives like the region’s first bikeshare program as though the island were their own. Aruba attracts more repeat visitors than any other Caribbean destination, after all, and they have to make sure there will always be something to come back to.

Read Full Article on travelandleisure.com

by Nina Ruggiero

Antigua: Sargassum forces hotel closure

Caribbean Sargassum
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Antigua Observer:– For the second time in recent years, the St. James’s Club has been forced to close after losing the battle against the dreaded sargassum weed.

The all-inclusive resort will be closed temporarily from July 1 until October 1. Chairman of the Antigua Hotels and Tourist Association Alex Debrito confirmed the information on Sunday.

An official at the hotel also told our newsroom that guests who are currently staying at the hotel will be transferred to other properties.

In recent days workers reached out to OBSERVER media, lamenting the situation and the impact it would have on their families, the business and the tourism sector on a whole.

Read full article online at stluciatimes.com

Cayman Islands – a Hell of a Place

Grand Cayman Caribbean Travel Info Network
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CAYMAN ISLANDS. You might know the Cayman Islands from a famous movie line, like The Firm – starring Gene Hackman and Tom Cruise. Yes, this is probably THE off-shore banking haven outside the USA. Maybe the fact that they have more registered businesses than people (population is around 60k) has something to do with so many banks – one on nearly every street corner – here. In fact, it’s all linked – the government’s primary source of income is indirect taxation: there is no income tax, capital gains tax or corporation tax. Henceforth, based on income, Caymanians enjoy the highest standard of living in the Caribbean and every second person you meet is a banker or finance expert of some sort.

CoolestCarib Caribbean Network
Pic of Grand Cayman from Royalcaribbean.com

Most people find themselves in George Town – on the biggest island – when they visit Grand Cayman. The other ones are called Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, but very few people live there. Maybe you dream of living on a tropical island for a while?

So what is it like to live in Grand Cayman?, you ask. Some locals complain that there’s little to do, but we beg to differ. First off, this island was frequented by many pirates, including the famous Captain Blackbeard. If you don’t believe us, you can go scuba diving in the swimming pool-clear water of the ocean and visit many ship wrecks from this bygone era, amongst others. You can see what the ships looked like in those days and maybe even endeavor to find treasure down there, although that’ll be your own little fantasy trip, nothing we suggested… While you’re at it, you may see amazing sea turtles and stingrays in these deeps. In fact, there are some specific locations on the island where you can swim with stingrays. 

 Shipwreck in Grand Cayman waters from Caribbean360.com

This is not all. The beach is 7 miles long in Grand Cayman – or so the name of the beach says, but we have heard its longer! White, sandy and undulating into clear azure waters, which we already swooned enough about above. Whatever you want to do on this beach can be done – watersports, swimming, splish-splashing, drifting in the water with a cocktail in your hand, rolling in the sand like a kid, sunbathing with your toes in the water – you get it. Considering the big island is 22 miles long and 4 to 8 miles wide, all at pretty much sea level, makes us think you can run around the island and that would mean you completed (nearly) a marathon. If you’re into that kind of thing or about to complain that there’s nothing to do on the island, that is.

Next, you can go to Hell. No, not being rude. There really is a place called Hell. It’s a sight to see – black volcanic, sharp rocks are the only landscape here. Quite different to the rest of the environment. What’s more, there is a little post office right in Hell where you can buy a “postcard from Hell” to send to loved ones to alarm them unnecessarily and cause your grandfather to preach about the evils of travel to foreign countries… But that’s thát story.

Of course, there are great restaurants and shopping on the island, even Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville franchise boasts a prominent spot if you want to get your or any Parrot Head doused in some rum. 

Not only does this place have a Hell, it also has crocodiles. Ever heard of crocodiles found naturally in the Caribbean? Well, hear again. That is where the island gets its name from – Caimans are a specific kind from here. Wait, they have indigenous reptiles – curly tailed lizard iguanas – but also crocs and sea turtles on and around the island!? Cowabunga!

As is known, hurricane season comes every year to the Caribbean. Last year’s monster season didn’t affect the Caymans much – for a change! Unfortunately these islands have the highest record of being hit by hurricanes of all Caribbean islands. In 2004, hurricane Ivan nearly tore the main island into two with severe flooding. Amazingly the locals rebuilt it within about two years. What a nation!

Talk about nation, did you know that Jamaica and Grand Cayman were once considered one? Cayman and Jamaica were governed as a single British colony until 1962, when the Cayman islands became designated a British overseas territory, one of 14 territories under the sovereignty of the UK but not part of the UK, while Jamaica became independent.

As you can gather, this is a Hell of a place. It’s only 400 miles south of Miami, or apparently known as “South Miami” by expats, so you can swim there, ha! Pack your bags and get there before someone else occupies your perfect spot. 

Barbados – Playground of the Rich and Famous

Barbados Travel Info Caribbean Network
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BARBADOS. We have been to many islands, and not only in the Caribbean. So far Barbados, St Barth and Virgin Gorda seem to be the main celebrity playgrounds here. Barbados is just as beautiful as any other island in the Caribbean, so what makes it so special?

There are probably a myriad of reasons why it’s such a favorite with A-listers, but it could boil down to just sun, sand, sea specifically combined with direct flights from major cities like London and New York and high-end hotels aplenty on the island. That is, mostly on the west side of the island where it is quite “over-developed”, some would say.

Sandy Lane is a famous hotel, often hosting clients that are much more well-known than its name. Though quite pricey, if you want to see the likes of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones or Hugh Grant and Simon Cowell (of American Idol) while having your sundowners, you’ll get your money’s worth. Bajan born music celebs often seen here include Rihanna and Shontelle.

Once, we saw Rihanna walk down the street in Holetown, Barbados, in a bikini – like only Rihanna can! In fact, you can take a stroll on a street named after her in Barbados – called Rihanna Drive. It is actually the street where she stayed on and her childhood house can be visited. You can’t miss it – brightly painted to commemorate a big star’s humble beginnings.

Unfortunately, if you want to view the house of Tom Selleck, Bill Gates, Cliff Richard or Elton John, you can only see the outside walls of their estates from the road.

The southern part hosts most tourist resorts, shops and restaurants, making it a very welcoming social scene. Its beautifully scenic and entertaining parts make it a must to explore these environs. Oistins, in particular, is an active fishing town, a hub of activity on weekend nights. On Friday nights it’s Fish Fry at Oistins Bay Gardens where the food is the main draw with excellent fish, (tuna, swordfish, marlin, mahi-mahi, flying fish), lobster, chicken etc. served in an informal setting. Your dish is cooked on the spot in front of you, and you can choose between grilled or fried depending on the vendor. Nice!

Should you be more attracted to the laid-back, tranquil section of an island, the eastern part is for you. People who love surfing and kite boarding frequent especially the Silver Sands beach area or Long Beach, minutes’ walk from each other. This is the Atlantic Ocean side, so the sea is a tad more wild, which makes for an interesting wave riding and wave jumping experience if you’re into kite surfing. Silver Sands in particular is 100% set for kiting with accommodations right on the beach. A kiter’s haven! Any given day you’ll see about 25 kiters doing their thing. Actually, it’s a spectacular sight having those colorful kites parked on the beach or speeding off towards the waves. You’ll see professional athletes among students who are being taught. Apparently it’s a highly disciplined sport and those who partake are very respectful – so we’ve heard.

For kitesurfing lessons in Barbados: www.endlesskiteboarding.com (in Silver Sands), contact Roland Boyce.

For day trippers from the cruise ship dock in Bridgetown, a taxi could cost you $75 for about 5 people there and back – not bad. But if you’re alone, get yourself to the taxi ranks, downtown, and ask for the number 11 Route Taxi. It’s a 10 minute walk from downtown to the route taxi ranks, but it’s ony US$1 (yes, one US dollar) for a forty minute ride to Silver Sands. If you want to meet the real locals and share the taxi with about 10 other Bajans heading in the direction of Silver Sands – do it – it’s a thrill ride.

Roland Boyce Endless Kiteboarding
Roland Boyce (middle)