The Southern Caribbean offers some of the more exotic islands to be found on any Caribbean itinerary.
Often the Southern Caribbean is explored on longer itineraries than your typical seven-day ones, and this is because of the sheer diversity of the islands located along the southern route. Also, it takes longer to get to these islands in the Southern Caribbean, especially when the cruise departs from one of the more popular Florida ports such as Fort Lauderdale or Miami. Additionally, a Southern Caribbean cruise is often combined with a passage through the Panama Canal, something that every cruise ship traveller has to experience at least once in their life.
Why visit Southern Caribbean?
You can see places that are as different as night from day, and all on the same cruise
Typical stops on a Southern Caribbean itinerary will include the islands of Aruba, Curacao, Margarita Island in Venezuela, Barbados, Antigua and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Each of these island retreats offers its own style of pleasure, and that’s what makes a Southern Caribbean cruise so special. You can see places that are as different as night from day, and all on the same cruise. Some islands will be booming tourist centres with lots of diversions such as happening bars and eateries, while others will be more undeveloped, offering lots in the way of eco tourism with their lush, verdant rain forests and jungle terrain.
One of the most popular island stops on a Southern Caribbean cruise is Aruba. The island offers much to see and do, including visiting the Natural Bridge (which has somewhat disintegrated but still offers wonderful views), the Butterfly Farm, the Aloe Balm Factory, and the old gold mill ruins. You can go shopping for lots of great bargains in the island’s capital of Oranjestad or visit one of the nearby beach areas such as Palm or Druif Beach.
Another great island retreat to visit in the Southern Caribbean is St. Lucia. It is unique from all others with its two landmark Pitons that rise some 2,600 feet from the sea. St. Lucia is steeped in history and tradition, and it is one place that puts the preservation of its unique ecology and way of life above its desire for increased tourism. Cruise ships dock in the town centre, but the more interesting parts of the island must be visited by taxi or bus since they are located more inland and are comprised of small villages, rain forests, white sand beaches and even a few elegant resorts. If your cruise stops here, don’t miss the chance to visit Soufriere which is located on the south side of the island. You can view the Pitons from there, and along the way stop at the top of Mount Fortune for some awesome views of the whole island. You can also visit Sulphur Springs and its unique “drive thru” volcano. You can also sample the nearby Diamond Mineral Baths and its waterfall that actually changes colours during the daylight hours, going from green to yellow to black, and then back again.
Finally, make sure your cruise includes a stop at Barbados, a favourite with British cruisers. It has a lot more than its British roots and flavour to offer, it also has miles and miles of pink sand beaches, which are a favourite, especially with family cruisers. The port city of Bridgetown, along the island’s Gold Coast, is a bustling town centre offering just about every modern amenity cruisers love, including bars and lounges and lots of unique and funky eateries. But get outside of Bridgetown, and you will have the opportunity to experience the islands older, quieter charms such as plantation houses, rum factories, all set among windswept rocky cliffs and gorgeous mountainous terrain.
Cruise ships will offer a variety of shore experiences that passengers can indulge themselves in, but the very nature of these South Caribbean islands encourages independent touring. There is also no shortage of vendors waiting on the pier when cruise ships dock, and often passengers can negotiate their own deals for some highly personalised, customised tours which focus on just those things they like to do at prices that often beat those of the cruise lines.
A cruise to the Southern Caribbean is sure to go down as one of the best holidays you have ever experienced.
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