Caribbean resources

Turks & Caicos Islands open water swimmingIf you’re thinking about planning a Caribbean vacation early next summer and want to beat the heat, you might consider Provo and Grace Bay Beach in the Turks and Caicos.
In early July 2012 Grace Bay will host its third annual Race for the Conch “open-water swimming” competition. July is typically a hot time of year in the Caribbean, so why not spend most of your time in the water?
The Race for the Conch is a one-mile swimming race that will be hosted by  Grace Bay’s beautiful white-sand beaches. Swimmers will share the water with the usual Caribbean suspects – dolphins, tropical fish, and many different varieties of corals – and it’s a good chance to combine your competitive instincts with a relaxing vacation.
What is open water swimming? While many runners have been traveling to all over the world for 10K’s and marathons for years, open water swimming is running’s aquatic counterpart. Hordes of swimmers gather at a beach clad in swimming trunks and not much else (while fins, paddles, and wetsuits are not be permitted, swimmers generally use goggles) and compete to see who can clear the course the fastest.
As a matter of fact, open water swim racing is one of the fastest growing participatory sports in the world and is the newest Olympic event. On the amateur circuit, the the Waikiki Roughwater Swim is one of the most famous open water swimming events, and the sport is popular around the world from Vanatu to Ireland.
The race course is marked by a series of buoys, and the first half of the course runs west roughly parallel to the beach on Grace Bay. The second half of the course goes east back toward finish line roughly parallel to beach.
Adding a unique TCI touch, a conch shell will be blown signaling the start.
In the Caribbean, besides Grace Bay, open water competitions are held on St. John (www.friendsvinp.org), St. Croix (www.swimrace.com), and Bonaire (www.aquamoonadventures.com), just to name a few. If you want more information about the sport, conact Randy Nutt at Aqua Moon adventures (www.aquamoonadventures.com); Randy has been organizing open water swimming meets since 1979.
Of course, the folks at the Sands at Grace Bay believe that Providenciales provides the ideal open-water swimming experience. After the competition, participants can enjoy Grace Bay’s great beaches, great food and great people – all less than an hour from Miami.
For more information about signing up for the 2012 Race for the Conch, check out www.ecoseaswim.com.
Charles Edwards frequently blogs for the Sands at Grace Bay.

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St Lucia restaurant ideas

August 13, 2011

St Lucia restaurant

A St Lucia restaurant overlooking Soufriere

Long known as the “St Helen of the West Indies”, St Lucia is a beautiful, refined destination for travelers hoping to catch a glimpse of the “true Caribbean”. while many island nations in the region are flat and almost featureless, due to their geological heritage as the remains of ancient coral reefs, St Lucia terrain is volcanic. Tall sultry spires thrust up from the blue Caribbean Sea. It’s a sensual backdrop to what often ends up being a romantic (or is it torrid?) vacation.

The volcanic soil has been kind to the cuisince of the island. While bananas may be the chief export crop of St Lucia, the rich, black soil fosters an incredible variety of produce such as yams, plantains and coconuts. These ingredients always make their way into St Lucia restaurant dishes, along with other local delicacies, such as lamb, roast conch and sugar cane shrimp.
St Lucia cuisine incorporates truly global elements, including spices from South Asia (a legacy of workers imported to the island to work on plantations), French influeces (from when the island was a possession of France more than 200 years ago), as well as, of course, Caribbean and West Indian sensibilities that are at the core of cooking here.
Restaurants here on the island are open at conventional times, and offer all the conventional meals, but what is unconventional are the location of some eateries here on St Lucia. You may have the chance to eat and watch the planes land in Vieux Fort, or you may be able to eat on a fishing wharf jutting out in to the stormy Atlantic.
The best place to eat, of course, is in on a volcanic ridge overlooking the quaint town of Soufriere. The view of the Piton Peaks is amazing, and romantic.
– Charles Edwards frequently blogs on St Lucia restaurant ideas

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Caribbean hotels: Sands at Grace Bay

June 20, 2011

Located less than 90 minutes from Miami, but a world away in terms of scenery, luxury and relaxation, the Sands at Grace Bay is the perfect place to plan a Caribbean vacation. A classic “Caribbean hotel”, the Sands is located along the turquoise waters of Grace Bay, on the island of Providenciales, or “Provo”, the […]

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Investing in the Caribbean

June 15, 2011

The Caribbean region has experienced tremendous economic growth over the past two decades. The area is a global hotspot for tourism and real estate development, and most countries are stable parliamentary democracies with strong civil societies governed by the rule of law. Here are a few resources for those wishing to invest in the Caribbean. […]

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