7 Foods You Need to Try in Antigua

02 of 07

Saltfish and Fungi

Address

Popeshead St, St John's, Antigua and Barbuda

Phone

+1 268-722-7724

Saltfish and fungi (pronounced foon-ji) is the Antiguan national dish. Fungi is an Antiguan version of polenta or grits, made by forming a cornmeal and okra paste into balls. A staple in the Antiguan diet, fungi is frequently served with stews and meats. Saltfish, a salt-cured and flaked white fish, is one of the favored pairings for fungi.

This is stick-to-your-ribs, homestyle Antiguan cuisine and, if you want to try it, head to Suga Beez in St. John’s. Owner Abena Straker serves up traditional Antiguan dishes with a short, simple menu that changes daily. Locals enjoy the meals they grew up eating, like black-eyed pea rice, chop-up (chopped and stewed spinach, okra, and eggplant), conch water (salty broth with conch meat), and the all-important saltfish and fungi. The restaurant even offers vegetarian options for the local Rastafarian population, making it a great spot for vegetarian travelers to eat a tasty, locally-loved meal. 

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Isla Nena Café: The Vieques Bar With Its Own Airport

With long waits, unexplained delays and increasingly strict travel restrictions, most people avoid airports at all costs when they’re not flying. But on the tiny Caribbean paradise of Vieques, Puerto Rico, the airport is home to one of the most popular gathering spots on the island.

Isla Nena Café is an open-air bar and restaurant located in the commuter airport's parking lot. It’s the kind of place where locals meet at the end of the day for a cold beer and friendly conversation. Where the owner has his regulars’ orders waiting for them when they reach the bar. Where residents are quick to offer insiders’ recommendations to visitors fresh off the plane. And where cans of Medalla beer are served in mismatched koozies that patrons can take home as souvenirs.

At the heart of Isla Nena Café is Lyman Tarkowski. Originally from Green Bay, WI, Lyman has lived on Vieques for twenty years. He first arrived as a tourist in and fell in love with the sleepy pace, breathtaking scenery and relaxed island vibes. He soon relocated and, having owned a series of bars and cafes in Wisconsin, he drew upon his expertise and opened The Crabwalk Café on the Malecon, a main drag of bars and eateries across the street from the Caribbean Sea. He sold the business in 2002.

Isla Nena Café went through four owners before Lyman bought it in 2012. “Everyone said ‘you’re not going to make it’,” he recalls, but he was determined to build a viable business. He had tons of friends on the island and he knew food — two elements essential to success. Lyman added a bar and a TV, spruced up the menu, and a new iteration of Isla Nena Café was born.

Lyman credits the café’s success in part to a combination of consistent food and consistent hours. The thatched-roof spot is open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., seven days a week. In addition to burgers, sandwiches, wraps and salads, customers can order breakfast all day, an alluring option on an island packed with late-night service industry workers who wake at lunchtime ready to enjoy some greasy goodness.

One of the most popular items on the menu is not what one would expect at a remote bar in the Caribbean: authentic Chinese dumplings. Lyman’s wife, Shulian, moved from China to Vieques in 2013. As Asian flavors are a rarity on the island, locals flock to Isla Nena Café to enjoy her food. When there’s nothing good to watch on the bar’s big-screen TV, the repartee between Lyman and Shulian provides endless entertainment. Sometimes their cockatoo, Bobbin, chimes in as well.

Much more than just a place to eat and drink, Isla Nena Café offers the comfort and familiarity that the island’s transplants, many of whom come from the mainland United States, crave. Most Americans are at least two plane rides away from their families, and being greeted by name and welcomed with a warm smile is invaluable. If you find yourself nearby, be sure to stop in for a beer, a bite and some island-style banter. And don’t forget to grab your souvenir koozie.

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Where to See Sea Turtles in the Caribbean

Sea turtles are among the most magnificent residents of the Caribbean, but they’re also among the most endangered. Overfishing, pollution, and degradation of nesting areas have made life more difficult on the region’s green, loggerhead, leatherback, and hawksbill sea turtles. On the bright side, there are a number of major initiatives underway designed to preserve and protect the sea turtles, and many a Caribbean resort now includes sea turtle oriented activities and education among its guest offerings — particularly in the summer and fall, which is sea turtle nesting season in the Caribbean.

Educational Programs

Bequia, a charming island in the Grenadines, is home to a major sea-turtle rescue and breeding program, the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary. Booming St. Kitts is also building a Sea Turtle Interpretive Center on Key Beach; the facility will serve as a hub for tours and educational activities by the St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network.

See Turtle Eggs and Hatchlings

Some resorts, like the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort and Spa in Puerto Rico, simply arrange for guests to witness sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs on nearby beaches, or to view the exciting moment when turtle hatchlings leave their nests and make their way back to the sea, where only one in 1,000 will survive to adulthood. (The Wyndham partners with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources to ensure the safety of both guests and turtles.)

Excursions

At The Club resort in Barbados, an inexpensive and quick excursion just down the west coast of the island gives guests an opportunity to swim with leatherback turtles in their natural environment, lured by bread and fish scraps tossed in the water. The Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas runs a similar trip on its catamaran Heavenly Days to Turtle Cove on Buck Island.

The GoldenEye Hotel and Resort in Jamaica guarantees guests who stay for five nights or more in the month of September the chance to see sea turtles hatch on Golden Sea Beach, where more than 10,000 turtles emerge from the sand between May and September each year. For a small fee, hotel guests are led on a hatching excursion by a local sea-turtle expert.

Conservation Efforts

Others, like the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort in Puerto Rico, give guests the option of taking part in conservation efforts. The resort’s leatherback turtle program is led by an on-site marine biologist, helping the property become the Caribbean’s first Audubon International Gold Signature Sanctuary resort.

Even some of the most bustling beaches in Aruba have nesting sea turtle populations; fortunately, the island also is home to one of the most environmentally conscious hotels in the Caribbean, the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resorts. The resort supports the local sea turtle foundation, Turtugaruba, and runs two educational seminars each year on sea turtle conservation — one on Earth Day, the other on the first day of turtle nesting season.

Dominica's Rosalie Bay Resort is fortunate enough to have nesting populations of three types of sea turtles (green, hawksbill, and leatherback); the resort founded the island’s sea-turtle conservation program and enlists guests to patrol beaches to protect nesting turtles, help researchers collect data or aid in relocating nests that are too close to the ocean from the shoreline to the resort’s turtle hatchery.

Comprehensive Experience

One of the most comprehensive sea turtle programs in the Caribbean is at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, whose Pinney’s Beach is a major nesting ground for the critically endangered hawksbill turtle as well as other species. The resort has had a longstanding partnership with the Nevis Turtle Group and the Sea Turtle Conservancy to protect these turtles and involve guests in a variety of related initiatives, including:

  • Educational programs
  • Turtle adoptions
  • Beach patrols
  • A weekly Sea Turtle Camp for kids that includes “turtle tales,” turtle watch beach walks, arts and crafts, postcard drawing contests, interactive games, puzzles, and videos. During turtle nesting season, which runs from June through October, children ages three to nine participating in the Kids for All Seasons turtle education program receive a sea turtle adoption certificate and Sea Turtle Conservancy membership.

Sanctuaries

In Mexico’s Riviera Maya, the Xcaret eco-park also has a turtle sanctuary that periodically releases hatchlings back to the sea and invites visitors to enjoy the spectacle. The nearby Barcelo Maya Beach Resort also protects its resident sea turtles and invites guests to observe them hatch each year.

Want to do more to help sea turtles in the Caribbean and worldwide? Donate to the Sea Turtle Conservancy, the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, or SEE Turtles' Billion Baby Turtles campaign.

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Review: Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

More than 30 years ago, the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic was mostly thick jungle with very few roads. Club Med, the original all-inclusive resort company, saw the tourism potential of the Caribbean gem’s sugar-sand beaches and turquoise waters and snapped up 75 acres of prime beachfront. Other resorts followed suit, transforming the region, and today more than two million tourists a year flock to the area now known as Punta Cana. A sign of Club Med’s commitment to the area is a recent investment of $40 million to renovate and relaunch its resort.

On average, families make up about 70 percent of the guests at Club Med Punta Cana, and that informs the feel of the entire resort. It’s relaxed, with plenty of kids, so there’s no stuffy vibe (plus, it’s a beach resort, which takes things down a notch anyway). With so much space to roam, and so many things to do, kids are on cloud nine. Since the resort is all-inclusive, there’s no need to carry money—and there’s no nickel-and-diming. Food can be had at just about any time of day at one of three buffet-style restaurants, and there are plenty of self-serve beverage stations throughout the beach and pool area.

Club Med’s legendary kids’ clubs welcome children with age-designated groups from newborn to age 17, in dedicated areas in the center of the village. There is Baby Club Med for babies and toddlers ages 4 to 23 months; Petit Club Med for preschoolers ages 2 to 3; Mini Club Med for ages 4 to 10. Tweens and teens ages 11 to 17 can attend Passworld, with contemporary spaces specially designed for them. 

Club Med is known for its enthusiastic and hands-on “GOs” (Gentils Organisateurs), integral to every Club Med village, are especially valuable in the kids’ clubs.  The hours of the programs—from early morning through late evening—mean parents can take advantage of timing that works best for their family’s schedule.  (In need of a little pampering? Check out the new L’Occitane Spa.)  The club has its own pool, mini-water park, and ample indoor space for when little ones need to spend some time in the shade.

 Programming is age-specific, so teens won’t be rolling their eyes at finger painting.

The resort’s main pool has plenty of room, and plenty of seating along the length of it. The 5 Trident/Tiara section has its own infinity pool, and the new adults-only enclave, Zen Oasis, has a pool that’s open to all resort guests 18 years and older. Dotted with palm tress and stretching nearly a half-mile, the resort’s stunning beach is popular with sunbathers and swimmers alike. Younger kids tend to stick to the pool, though, as the beach can be a bit uneven and the water sometimes rough. 

It’s nearly impossible to be bored at the resort, with activities ranging from bocce ball and horseshoes to a fully-outfitted nautical center offering snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, kite-surfing and more.  Resort staff lead fitness classes, dance competitions, tennis lessons and serve as social directors at the resort’s evening functions. One of Club Med’s signature activities, circus school, has been re-launched here as CREACTIVE, an interactive playground experience (think acrobatic bungee jumping, trampolines and flying trapeze) that’s led by Cirque du Soleil-trained instructors.

 

Best rooms: Club Med Punta Cana boasts more than 500 rooms, ranging from standard club rooms and suites, to the super-swank 5 Trident/Tiara lodging option, a “resort within a resort” concept with 32 oceanfront family suites. There’s an option for just about every family type, and the best part is that no matter which room category you’re in, resort amenities are available to all guests.

Rates at the resort range from around $4,500 for a seven-night stay in high season (January-March) for a family of two adults and two children in a standard 365-square-foot club room. That same stay can cost roughly $1,000 less in July. (Rates for 5 Trident are about double those of a club room.)

As an all-inclusive resort, the price includes accommodations, food and beverages, most activities (including kids’ clubs and CREACTIVE), use of the fitness center and fitness classes; golf and tennis lessons. It’s important to note that the rate does not include a Club Med Membership fee of $90 per person, nor a fee for Wi-Fi.  Be sure to check the resort's web site for special offers, which are run just about year-round and can shave a substantial amount off the price.

Best season: The best time to visit Punta Cana is from March to May, after winter's peak season crowds have faded away. The Dominican Republic's temperate climate means that the weather is fairly consistent year-round, with daytime high temperatures generally in the mid 80s, though the summer months can see highs in the 90s.

Keep in mind, though, that, the Dominican Republic can experience some of the effects of the Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts from June through November. (Concerned? Read our essential tips for traveling during hurricane season.)

Getting there:  A valid passport is required for entry to the Dominican Republic, and you’ll also need to purchase a tourist card for US$10 per person. (Tip: save time at customs and buy it online before your trip.) Fly into privately-owned Punta Cana International Airport and you’re just a five-minute car ride from Club Med.

Visited: December 2015

Check reviews at Club Med Punta Cana

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Disclaimer: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.

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Getting Around Jamaica on Public Transport

Jamaica is the largest English speaking country in the Caribbean, and along with its wonderful beaches and great resorts, the language and the ease of travel on the island is one of the reasons that it has become such a popular destination. Many people who will visit Jamaica will be happy to relax at their resort and wander on foot into the nearby town, without really wanting to get too far from the beach or the great restaurants on the island. However, for those who do get the urge to try and explore a little more of this beautiful and diverse island, the public transport network in Jamaica is very affordable and has routes connecting the cities, towns, and villages there.

The Bus Network

The most common and convenient way to explore Jamaica on public transport is by using the extensive bus network in the country, and this is made up of a relatively small number of inter-city buses and many smaller buses serving local routes. The most popular of the major bus routes is the Knutsford Express, a route which serves many of the main destinations on the island, with Kingston to Ocho Rios usually taking around three hours, and the connection from Kingston to Montego Bay taking five hours.

These buses are fairly large and are air-conditioned, making the journey a little more comfortable.

The bus routes in the country are inexpensive, and you will usually see the bus stops at most road junctions, but as they are so inexpensive, you can expect most buses to be quite full, particularly around rush hour. If you are struggling to find the bus stop, most buses will also stop if you hail it from the roadside, and you can also ask the locals who will usually be happy to point you in the direction of the nearest stop.

Route Taxis And Minibuses

While buses make up the majority of the public transport options, another option that will usually be a little more expensive, but also a lot more comfortable will be to take one of the route taxis and minibuses. Those with red number plates starting PPV are licensed public transport, while those with the JUTA initials are just for tourists, and these will usually cover shorter routes to nearby towns. Most towns will have several such routes operating from a station in the center, and unlike buses that try to run to a timetable, these route taxis and minibuses will only run once they have enough people taking the journey.

Metro Systems

The largest city in Jamaica by some distance is Kingston, and it is also the city which has the most modern and developed metro system in the country. There are plenty of buses, many of which have air conditioning, while the prices for these buses are also very competitive. You will also find a selection of route taxis connecting different parts of the city and offering a little more comfort for your journey. The only other city in the country with any kind of metro system is Montego Bay, with three municipal bus routes connecting different suburbs and areas with the city center.

Ferry Services

There is a small ferry route in Jamaica that isn't really as efficient or as cheap as traveling by bus, but taking the journey by sea is a little more scenic and can also be more pleasant too. The ferry generally caters to tourists visiting the country and connects the resorts of Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, and Negril.

Are There Trains In Jamaica?

There is actually a railway network of over two hundred miles of track in Jamaica, but over recent decades there has been a significant deterioration in the condition of the track, and just over fifty miles of that track is currently in use. This is mainly used for transporting bauxite, and the last running passenger service operated in 2012, although there are regular discussions about relaunching services on the railway lines of the country. As of 2016, there are still plans and discussions in government about reintroducing passenger services, but there have been no concrete announcements with regards to this so far.

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Taking a Ferry From Florida to Cuba

The easing of travel restrictions for Americans heading to Cuba has not only opened up new air links between the U.S. and its near Caribbean neighbor but sea routes, as well. In 2015, the U.S. State Department gave several ferry companies permission to begin sailing between South Florida and Cuba, pending approval from Cuban authorities.

When service does launch, expect service to Havana from at least two Florida destinations: Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) and Key West. Miami, Port Manatee, Tampa and St. Petersburg are other departure points being considered by ferry companies. U.S. ferry service is being eyed for the historic, south coast port city of Santiago de Cuba as well as Havana.

“I can hardly imagine anything more exciting than uniting two countries that are so close, and yet have been cut off from each other for more than 55 years,” says Matt Davies, managing director of Direct Ferries, a global booking site for ferry service that will offer Cuba reservations at http://www.cubaferries.com. “We expect Cuba to sign the bilateral agreement very soon, and we will be ready with the widest selection of ferry routes to Cuba.”

Spanish Ferry Company Baleària Expected to Lead

The ferry operators, which include the leading Spanish company Baleària as well as smaller operators, are still waiting for Cuba's OK, which means that ferry service is unlikely to commence any sooner than late 2016, and probably later than that. Other companies that have secured U.S. approval to run ferries to Cuba include Havana Ferry Partners, Baja Ferries, United Caribbean Lines, America Cruise Ferries, and Airline Brokers Co. Baja Ferries, which currently serves Pacific ports in Mexico and California, plans to offer Miami-Havana service.

 America Cruise Ferries, which operates ferries between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, wants to offer passenger and vehicle transportation between Miami and Havana.

Where you depart from will make a big difference in your travel time to Cuba: a traditional ferry from Port Everglades to Havana would take about 10 hours one way, according to Direct Ferries. However, Baleària plans to operate a high-speed ferry between Key West and Havana that would make the crossing of the Florida Strait in just three hours. Baleària already operates high-speed ferries between Port Everglades and Grand Bahama Island (billed as the Bahamas Express) and has proposed building a $35-million ferry terminal in Havana — again, pending approval of the Cuban government.

Cost, Convenience Among the Advantages of Ferry Travel to Cuba

Taking a flight may be faster than a ferry, but there are a number of advantages to traveling to Cuba by sea, particularly lower fares (roundtrip fares could start at around $300) and no weight limits on baggage. And of course, you can't take your car onto a plane (although it's still unknown what restrictions the Cuban government will put on Americans driving their private vehicles on the island).

Ferry service from the U.S. to Cuba is not new: several ferries made daily runs between South Florida and Havana into the early 1960s, with Miami being a popular place for Cuban families to come and do their shopping. The approval of new ferry routes between the two countries is a step behind other transportation links: for example, the cruise ship Adonia, part of Carnival Cruise Lines' ​Fathom Travel fleet, docked in Havana in May 2016 on an excursion from Miami — the first such landing in nearly 40 years.

 Carnival and the French cruise line Ponant are the first to receive permission to cruise from the U.S. to Cuba.​​

Meanwhile, U.S. airlines are rapidly moving forward with plans to launch service between multiple destinations in the U.S. and Cuba, with the first flights expected to begin by the end of 2016. To date, 10 U.S. airlines have won approval to fly from 13 U.S. cities to 10 Cuban destinations, including Havana, Camagüey, Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cienfuegos, Holguín, Manzanillo, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Santiago de Cuba. No matter how Americans travel to Cuba, however, they remain subject to certain unique travel restrictions, including the requirement that all travel itineraries focus on cultural exchanges between Cuban and American citizens.

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The Top 10 Things to Do in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

02 of 10

Dine Out on Fortaleza Street

Address

Calle Fortaleza, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

Dining in Puerto Rico is usually a rewarding experience, whether you're after local classics, gourmet international cuisine, or a delightfully inventive fusion of the Caribbean and global flavors. In Old San Juan, Fortaleza Street has carved out a reputation as a Restaurant Row that includes some of the best restaurants in town. In fact, South Fortaleza, or “SoFo,” as it's known, even has its own biannual culinary festival. 

Of course, you don't need to restrict yourself to Fortaleza Street to enjoy good food in the old city. But the variety and quality found here make it a good bet for a great meal.

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Hedonism III and Runaway Bay in Jamaica

There was a time when singles, couples and even groups of like-minded adults could let go of their inhibitions and shed their swimsuits at the all-inclusive Hedonism III resort under the warm sun of Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Like its sister resort Hedonism II in Negril, this all-inclusive was one of those places couples either loved or hated.

Nude bathing was permitted; children were not. The emphasis was on erotic travel and the environment encouraged unbridled sensuality both day and night. Whether it was the proximity of another Hedonism resort so close by, the general decline of the physical property, competition from the Sandals Resorts of Jamaica (which are not clothing optional but offer private places to undress), or a return to propriety, Hedonism III closed in 2010 and the property has fallen into disuse.

To learn about the Hedonism resorts, read the interview with Chris Santilli, author of The Naked Truth About Hedonism II.

Runaway Bay Today

One of the prettiest coastal towns in Jamaica, Runaway Bay is ten miles east of Ocho Rios and easy to reach from there. Montego Bay lies to the west. And some of the best beaches in the Caribbean surround Runaway Bay, which is protected by a large tropical coral reef.  

Part of Runaway Bay's attraction — aside from the gorgeous scenery and pristine sands — is that it attracts fewer visitors than those other destinations. So your serene holiday alone together won't be overrun by hordes of tourists arriving on cruise ships. With them nowhere to be seen, aggressive vendors and ladies who offer to braid hair will ply their trades in bigger beach destinations where they disembark.

Check Guest Reviews & Prices for Runaway Bay Hotels on TripAdvisor 

Runaway Bay won't dazzle you with things to do, but if all you want on a honeymoon or romantic getaway is a good hotel, perhaps a golf course, and clear turquoise water for swimming and aqua sports, it's worth considering for your next vacation destination. 

Runaway Bay Points of Interest

Unless you join a tour, you will need to rent a car to visit these attractions. Remember that driving is on the left!

Nine Miles – Bob Marley's childhood home and mausoleum is a must-see for reggae fans. Expect a rollicking ride over uneven roads, but the views — of Jamaica's cool Blue Mountains and tiny roadside towns — are priceless. And according to one TripAdvisor commenter, “There is certainly no other tour in the world where you can buy your weed and smoke it while on the tour.”

Seville Great House and at Columbus Park Museum. Considered the birthplaces of modern Jamaica, the park (named for Christopher Columbus who stopped here in 1494) extends 300 acres. The Great House museum reveals the polyglot cultures — Taino Indians, Spanish, English and African — that shaped the country from 650 AD to the late 19th century.  

Green Grotto Caves, this underground system of interconnected caves are estimated to be approximately a half-million years old. The central feature of this natural attraction is the large labyrinthine limestone cave with its unique rock formations, stalactites, stalagmites, grotto lake and overhead ceiling pockets. Don't say you weren't warned about the bats who make their homes there.

Mystic Mountain – close to Ocho Rios, this adventure center offers a variety of jungle adventures that include zip lining, sightseeing by chairlift, and even a bobsled ride through the tropical forest. 

Where did that smiling, helpful hotel staff member learn to cook so well or anticipate your needs? Runaway Bay is also home to the HEART College of Hospitality Services, a school run by the government to help young Jamaicans to develop tourism skills. 

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The 5 Best Foods to Try in Puerto Rico

02 of 05

Lechón

The 5 Best Foods to Try in Puerto Rico

Brandon Rosenblum / Getty Images

Lechón is the famous spit-roasted suckling pig of Puerto Rico and is one of the many traditional delicacies worth traveling for. In fact, it's such a beloved dish that there is one road in Guavate, Puerto Rico that is known as the Ruta del Lechón, or Puerto Rico's Pork Highway. This road is roughly an hour south of San Juan via Highway 52 south to exit 33 and then Road 184. You'll know you've arrived when you start seeing (and smelling) the delicious lechoneras, or rustic, open-air roadside eateries.

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5 Events You Can Enjoy in the Caribbean No Matter When You Travel

  • 01 of 06

    There’s Always Something Fun Happening in the Caribbean

    5 Events You Can Enjoy in the Caribbean No Matter When You Travel

    © Aruba Tourism Authority

    Lots of Caribbean travelers plan trips around festivals or other big events, but there are also fun things happening in most island destinations no matter when you travel. Going to the market is a weekly tradition that both locals and visitors can enjoy, for example, and most islands' social calendar also includes weekly street parties, sometimes called “​jump-ups,” that are a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture, food, music, and spirits.

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  • 02 of 06

    Go to Market

    5 events you can enjoy in the caribbean no matter when you travel 2 - 5 Events You Can Enjoy in the Caribbean No Matter When You Travel

    © Dominica Tourism Authority

    Before the age of supermarkets, going to market each week was a tradition everywhere in the world. In the Caribbean, you'll still find huge open-air and covered markets where vendors gather to sell fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, handicrafts, and more. Some are open daily, but many operate on a once- or twice-weekly basis. On Grand Cayman, for example, Wednesday is market day on (where else?) Market Street in Camana Bay. The Marche d'Epice in Fort de France, Martinique, is open daily and features an amazing variety of spices, local liqueur, and folk medicines for sale.

    Visiting a local market is about as authentic an experience as you'll get in the Caribbean, a memorable way to meet island residents and revel in the sights, sounds, and smells of local life. Check with your hotel concierge for the dates and times that the market in your destination is open.

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  • 03 of 06

    Fishy Fun on Friday Nights

    5 Events You Can Enjoy in the Caribbean No Matter When You Travel

    Dan Costin/CC by 2.0

    Every Friday night on Eleuthera in the Bahamas, there's a big fish fry in Governor's Harbour that attracts both locals and tourists alike. It's just one example of the kind of food, fun, and music festival that island residents turn out for each week in places like Barbados (the Oistins Fish Fry may be the most famous in the Caribbean), Grenada (Fish Fridays in Guoyave), and St. Lucia (in Anse la Reye and Gros Islet). In St. Kitts, the popular Friday night Lobster Fest at the Reggae Beach Bar starts with great food and inevitably continues with rum drinks in the sands of Cockleshell Bay.

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  • 04 of 06

    A Street Party Might Just Be the Most Memorable Part of Your Vacation

    5 Events You Can Enjoy in the Caribbean No Matter When You Travel

    Christof46/CC by SA 4.0

    Call them jump-ups, limes, fetes, or just good old street parties: the Caribbean has some of the best weekly bashes you'll find anywhere. Gros Islet in St. Lucia has a lively Friday night jump up, where adventurous visitors revel in hot dance music and cold beer. In Antigua, the sunset party on Shirley Heights is the place to be each Sunday night. On Tobago, “Sunday School” is the tongue-in-cheek name for the weekly dance party at Buccoo Beach, with steel pan music early and dancehall and soca into the wee hours.

    On other islands, the weekly jump-up may be hosted by a specific hotel (like the Frangipani in Bequia on Thursday nights) or bar (like the Bath and Turtle on Virgin Gorda on Wednesdays). Ask around!

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    Howl at the Full Moon

    5 Events You Can Enjoy in the Caribbean No Matter When You Travel

    Bgabel/CC by SA 2.5

    OK, these are monthly — when the moon is full, obviously — not weekly, but you've still got maybe a one-in-four chance that your trip will coincide with one of these great, all-night parties if you're traveling to Tortola, where the Bomba Shack hosts the Caribbean's looniest party.

    Trellis Bay also hosts a full-moon party (on Beef Island, near the airport), which is somewhat more sedate, though you can still get your freak on amid the raging bonfires and dancing moko jumbies. Free rum punch helps bring the crowds into Sunshine's Bar & Grill on Nevis for its monthly full-moon party, while the bush rum at Kali's in St. Martin (at Friar's Bay) does the same trick.

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  • 06 of 06

    Say Bonbini and Channel the Carnival Spirit of Aruba

    5 Events You Can Enjoy in the Caribbean No Matter When You Travel

    © Aruba Tourism Authority

    Bonbini means “Welcome!” in Aruba's native Papiamento, and this weekly music and dance festival is the perfect introduction to the warmth and hospitality of Aruba’s people. The BonBini Festival takes place in downtown Oranjestad every Tuesday at 6:30 pm in the outdoor courtyard of Fort Zoutman, Aruba’s oldest building.

    The family-friendly Carubbian Festival takes place in San Nicolas — ​Aruba's less visited industrial center — every Thursday night from 6:00 p. m. to 10 p.m., and highlights the multicultural charms of Aruba’s “Sunrise City.” The weekly event features Aruban and Caribbean food and local entertainers parading down a pedestrian mall filled with food and handicraft vendors.

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