The statistics vary, but reliable Caribbean and international
entities suggest that the region’s tourism sector is now delivering on
average directly and indirectly about 40.6 percent of the Caribbean’s
Gross Domestic Product (GDP), although, in Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda,
Barbados, The Bahamas, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States
(OECS), and most overseas territories tourism, the figure is much
Detailed country by country analysis and statistics produced by the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest that sustaining the
contribution tourism makes has become critical to the long-term economic
stability of almost every Caribbean nation other than Trinidad and
Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana.
Despite this, little thought has been given to how to future proof the industry as disruptive technologies take their toll, the region’s largely sun, sea and sand high-volume offering becomes subject to multiple global pressures likely to affect traveller sentiment and international competition increases.
In the span of just a few years, the focus at the annual Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation conference has shifted from issues around producing electricity from thermal capacity — usually oil — to what blend of renewable options constitutes the best path forward.
It is not just a theoretical question for the future, says Risto Paldanius, director of business development for Wärtsilä’s Energy Storage and Optimization business unit, a longtime attendee of the conference.
“It has clearly shifted, and now that the [levelized cost of energy, or
LCOE] for renewables is on par or lower than any thermal generation,
it’s all about solar and wind,” said Paldanius. “Then the questions
become how to achieve the 100 percent renewable future everyone is
talking about without causing disturbances in the grid and effectively
managing solar ramp rates and generation optimization.”
They are not questions rooted only in environmental sustainability; they also address life-saving resiliency, as seen with storms that have battered communities and their power grids on many islands with devastating outcomes in the past two years, including in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Anguilla.
The Caribbean region is a
tropical paradise, but there are things you need to know before you
embark on your next sunny holiday to make sure everything runs smoothly.
trees, sandy beaches, turquoise waters, great music… you’ll find all
that, and more, throughout the Caribbean. Most islands are easy to get
to, and easy to vacation at, but even so, there are some things every
traveler needs to know before going to the Caribbean. These helpful tips
will help you decide when and where to go, what to expect when you’re
there, and what you might like to do.
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Bring Your Passport… and U.S. Dollars
You’ll need a valid passport to enter any of the Caribbean islands—and to re-enter the United States—except for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most non-U.S. islands also require a return or ongoing airline ticket. But don’t worry about the local currency. U.S. dollars—but not coins—are widely accepted everywhere. Bring small bills, though, as you’ll almost always get change in local money—including from an ATM. Actually, there are 13 different currencies in the Caribbean: The Bahamas, Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago all have their own dollars; Cuba and the Dominican Republic have pesos; the French islands use euros; the Dutch islands have guilders, although Aruba uses florin; and then there’s the Haitian gourde.
2 OF 15
English Is Widely Spoken
English is commonly understood, spoken, and written throughout the Caribbean, although French is the preferred language on Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barth, St. Martin, and Haiti. You’ll also hear a French-Creole patois spoken in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Haiti. On the Dutch islands, you’ll hear both Dutch and English spoken, while Papiamento (which adds Spanish, Portuguese, French, African, and Arawakan elements to the Dutch/English mix) is the local patois in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Spanish, of course, is the most prevalent language in the Dominican Republic and Cuba; but in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, Spanish and English are both official languages. All of that said, English-speakers should have no problem understanding or being understood in the Caribbean.
Travelers tend to think of all Caribbean islands as verdant and lush, but some Caribbean destinations are decidedly “greener” than others. Dominica, for example, has a well-earned reputation as the Nature Island of the Caribbean, while Bonaire is known for its pristine marine environment and Costa Rica and Belize are among the top eco-friendly travel locales in the world. As for eco-resorts, the ones selected here boast low-impact integration with the native environment, commitment to reduced energy use and/or renewable energy, and activities that support and foster knowledge of the local ecosystem.
Dominica benefits from its marvelous biodiversity, and has chosen to make ecotourism (and the conservation and preservation practices that go along with it) the foundation of its economic development. Dominica has lush jungles for hiking and mysterious rivers for exploring, and visitors can meet Carib Indians and even walk in the footsteps of Capt. Jack Sparrow — some of the wilder scenes in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were filmed here.
Americans are not generally known for their restraint when it comes to development, so St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands is a pleasant surprise. Just twenty square miles, the island is devoted primarily to National Parks, and has some of the best beaches and finest snorkeling in the world. Most of the eco-resorts here are modest, more akin to campgrounds than resorts, generally speaking, but great locations for those looking to appreciate the natural environment in a quiet, more off-the-grid setting.
If your idea of the ideal permanent getaway includes clear turquoise water and white sand beaches, consider these five Caribbean islands.
You can enjoy a relaxing retirement for just $36,000 a year – and that’s on the high end. A report from InternationalLiving.com says these five island locales are beautiful, accessible and, most of all, affordable on an income that’s in line with the average monthly Social Security check for a couple.
For an idea of prices for rent, restaurants, groceries and other daily items, try the calculators on Numbeo or Expatistan. Price data may not be available for some areas.
1. Ambergris Caye, Belize
No longer just a sleepy Caribbean hideaway, the largest island in Belize has a dynamic community. Ambergris Caye is the most popular spot for expats in Belize, according to Escape Artist, a resource for people looking to live abroad. The Belize Barrier Reef, half a mile from shore, draws fishermen and divers.
Two domestic airlines – Tropic Air and Maya Island Air – have frequent flights to the island from Belize City, so getting to Ambergris is easy. You can also reach the island by water taxi.
A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will set you back $55, according to Numbeo. On a monthly budget of $2,900, or $34,800 a year, a couple can enjoy a comfortable retirement in Ambergris Caye, including rent for a house or apartment. If you own a home, expats report it’s possible for a couple to live quite comfortably on less than $24,000 a year.
Mention the word “Caribbean” and most people think of places like Aruba, the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and other tourist-rich dollops of sand. The region conjures well-deserved images of crystal-clear waters and white-sand beaches.
And there’s no question: If you like sun and sand, these islands are great for a vacation. But move there? Most folks assume it’s just too expensive and don’t give it another thought.
But that’s too bad. Because the Caribbean is bigger than many people realize. And when you look beyond the mass-market shores the tourist brochures describe, you’ll find a variety of sun-splashed islands well worth your attention. They’re not only beautiful… but a lot more affordable than most people realize.
Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico all offer islands off their Caribbean coasts—islands that share the same turquoise-blue waters and powder-white beaches you expect when you hear “Caribbean”—only you won’t pay a fortune to live on any of them.
Join us on our adventure through the windy little Antilles islands. During the kitesurf – sailing trip we will look for our personal kite spots around the Grenadines and enjoy the sun, the warm Caribbean Sea, constant wind conditions and the lifestyle of the islands.
The highlight: we spend the entire sailing trip on the water. With our boat the Lagoon 52, a 52 feet long luxury high-sea catamaran, we sail from island to island at our own pace. During island-hopping in the Caribbean the luxury sailing yacht leaves nothing to be desired. Six high-quality cabins, each with there own private bathrooms, a large open kitchen with living area, BBQ grill and open-air lounge, offer the perfect base. A relaxing sailing trip in the Caribbean is guaranteed. Because of the two skids the catamaran is much more stable in the water. A professional skipper is on board of the fully equipped sailing ship. A special highlight is our cook on board who will take care of your physical well-being!
“So if you want to do the very best for the planet, you need to meet the very best Standard there is for sustainable tourism.”
Today businesses across all industries require certification to provide independent assurance that their enterprises operate sustainably. For more than two decades Green Globe has been providing sustainability certification for the various sectors that make up the international travel and tourism industry. The Green Globe International Standard for Sustainability has been applied to a great variety of business types from accommodation and hospitality, to transport and tour operators, conference venues and meeting planners, as well as management and public relations firms.
At Green Globe we know that to truly do good we must all do better. The Green Globe International Standard for Sustainable Tourism has been developed over decades of research and development. It is the original Standard that all tourism eco-labels are based on. So if you want to do the very best for the planet, you need to meet the very best Standard there is for sustainable tourism.
UN Climate Change News, 21 February 2019 – Measuring, reporting and verifying climate action under the Paris Climate Change Agreement is being strengthened in the Caribbean region with the help of a new hub, with support from UN Climate Change.
This month, a Caribbean Measurement, Reporting and Verification “MRV” Hub was formally launched, a unique collaborative technical institution where countries in the region can share expertise to foster regional excellence and generate stronger policy-relevant carbon accounting.
The MRV Hub provides a mechanism through which country experts will function as a true learning, mentoring and resource-sharing technical cooperative
At a meeting of ten countries from the English-speaking Caribbean region convened at St. George’s University in Grenada, UNDP’s Damiano Borgogno delivered a call to action.
“You cannot control what you cannot measure,” he said, noting that countries must be able to measure and track emissions to make informed decisions that result in climate change action.