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Caribbean beach sand

Idyllic Vieques island is “the Caribbean as it used to be.”

But changes are on the horizon.

Travelers smitten with this 21-mile-long island off the coast of Puerto Rico love it as much for what it lacks as for what it has.

Absent are malls, stoplights, casinos and golf courses. Only one lodging has full resort amenities, and it hasn’t been a raging success.

Newcomers are wowed by what Vieques does have. Pristine beaches stretch for miles, the sweep of white sand interrupted only by swaying palms and tangles of mangrove.

A bioluminescent bay lit by billions of microscopic organisms (and considered one of the finest in the world) delights kayakers on moonless nights. Rural guest houses offer laid-back hospitality.

Travel writers are fond of proclaiming Viequesthe Caribbean as it used to be,” usually with the caveat: Get there fast before it changes.

On the horizon: Faster ferry service to the mainland; a proposal to build a tourist-oriented town; and a W hotel, part of a chain more often associated with hip, urban spots than island idyll, opening in 2008.

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Trunk Bay US Virgin Islands Beach

A beach resort in Puerto Rico topped a list of best places for families to stay in the Caribbean based on rankings by readers of Travel + Leisure Family Magazine.

The list of the 10 best tropical destinations appears in the magazine’s spring issue.

Las Casitas Village & Golden Door Spa in Las Croabas, Puerto Rico, was in the No. 1 spot; with doubles from $269. Activities include family golf clinics, horseback riding, and kayaking in the bioluminescent bay, where you’ll see glowing sea creatures on moonless nights.

Next was Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands; from $410 per day for adults, children $95, rates all-inclusive. Kids will love the swim-up juice bar, Xbox stations, and water park.

No. 3 was the Four Seasons Great Exuma at Emerald Bay in the Bahamas; doubles from $495. It offers everything from kite-flying to a teen center to parent-child golf and tennis clinics.

Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas took the No. 4 spot; with doubles from $370. Swim with the dolphins and enjoy the 97-acre waterscape (with slides).

Paradisus Puerto Rico Resort in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, was next, adults from $406, children from $150, rates all-inclusive. Take tennis lessons, or if you prefer, golf or merengue classes.

The Four Seasons Resort Nevis in Charlestown, Nevis, was sixth on the list; doubles from $655. Look for sea turtles nesting on the beach at night.

The Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino in Palm Beach, Aruba, was next; doubles from $450. Kids can enjoy sculpting driftwood or playing volleyball on the sand.

In the No. 8 spot was Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica, doubles from $590. Kids will want to check out the Pineapple Club, and each of the 25 villas has a private pool.

Beaches Negril Resort & Spa in Negril, Jamaica, was ninth on the list; adults from $370, kids from $95, all-inclusive. Accredited nannies, Sesame Street characters, a water park and kids’ reggae parties are a few of the attractions.

Rounding out the list was the Westin St. John Resort & Villas in St. John – (Pictured Above), in the U.S. Virgin Islands; doubles from $759. Check out the water trampolines and iguana safaris, or just play a good old-fashioned game of bingo.

Source: USA Today


Vieques Beach Puerto Rico

When the U.S. Navy left – due to international protest, and from the locals, Vieques has opened its doors to tourism.

Even though more tourist are coming, the atmosphere is very laid back, and this place reflects more of the true culture of rural Puerto Rico. There are over 30 beaches on the island, and a few are quite unique.

Several of the beaches have names that definitely describe them. Blue Beach gets its name from the sapphire blue waters. Here you will find few tourists and locals, and it provides a secluded and quiet place to relax and swim.

On the other hand Green Beach was named for its lush green tropical vegetation that completly surrounds the beach. Now Red Beach is not red, but it is framed by mountains and rocks. The cute little gazebos make this beach unique, and hopefully if you visit, it’s not crowded.

Culebra Island is located off the coast of Puerto Rico. This island is a nature reserve, and its beaches are in pristine condition. One of the most popular is Playa Flamenco with its wide sandy beaches. The water is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and divers can find some great spots off the island. This island is also known to nature lovers who come to view the turtle nesting spots. Culebra is quite stunning in its beauty, and not too crowded – that is for now.

One of the most unusual beaches is the Phosphorescent Bay, also caled Mosquito Bay, which you must visit at night.

Phosphorescent or Mosquito Bay Puerto Rico

There are thousands upon thousands of creatures that glow in the dark, and leave a blue phosphorescent trail as they swim around. The whole Bay is lit up from these tiny sea creatures. It’s one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. And its difficult to capture on film at night.

The white sand crescent shaped Luquillo Beach is right outside San Juan. If you want to see locals, head here. This beach is so popular because it sits in a lagoon protected by coral reefs. The waters are clear and calm. There are tent sites and lots of picnic tables located here – the perfect spot for picnic, family gatherings or just friends spending the day together. This beach always has a fun atmosphere.