TRAVEL WITH CHEAP CARIBBEAN
We were recently contacted by a travelagency.com type company called “Cheap Caribbean,” and have just learned about this organization through a colleague. The majority of our travel comes by way of partnerships, which leaves us unaware of the costs. Usually.
And often, we hear from friends: “You have the life. You are seeing places that most people never see. I only wish I can go to where you go.”
To their testament, we sometimes agree, but after visiting the website www.cheapcaribbean.com, we began to question their words.
Little to our knowledge, www.cheapcaribbean.com has been around for over 16 years and has been on a constant conquest creating relationships, experiences, and all inclusive soup to nuts adventures for the everyday traveler looking to experience the crystal blue caribbean without breaking the bank In fact, booking a vacation withtheir site is A LOT cheaper than you think (hence the name), and there’s endless options of fun filled trips
We’re off to embark on one to the ABC Islands…. Just not in that order.
ARUBA WITH CHEAPCARIBBEAN.COM
Where to Stay
We arrive in Aruba. Given we’ve both been to this beautiful Island before, we check our itinerary to see that neither of us have had the experiences we’re to have. We disembark the plane to Aruba’s international airport after a direct flight from Miami.Quickly we are swooped up by our driver to take us to the Marriott Renaissance Hotel, 6 minutes away (thankfully). The wide open and airy lobby leads out to the massive pool with a swim up bar (and walk up) next to one of their many restaurants and a half acre of spots to chill while watching the sun set over the Caribbean. Check in is a flash and off to our newly renovated suite with a balcony overlooking the massive pool and Caribbean waters.
Where to Eat
Quick check on the itinerary. First stop, the Blue Martini bar at their sister building a quick walk away and home to a gorgeous mall, several restaurants, a rooftop pool, and of course their casino.
We arrive to find blue everywhere, happy, lively guests, and a side open space with chill music and their attentive + friendly waitstaff. The menu is littered with colorful and creative tropical drinks served in decorative tiki glassware which they may or may not light on fire, depending on what the recipe calls for. Yummy.
Luckily for us, the Aruba cocktail culture experience does not stop here.
Next stop is dinner, at LG Smith’s Steakhouse, where we are immediately greeted by a speciality mixologist who’s just stirred to get to work, and arrives with his drink cart full of magic potions and tricks to give our cocktails color, lights, and BUBBLES! It’s not often one enjoys tasty drinks concated at their table with a side of entertainment to help work up an appetite for what we discover is an A+ culinary experience. Their head chef curates the menu and experience, and personally comes by to cut and salt the bone in ribeye before it is placed on their grill and served. Coming from someone who has visited every major steakhouse in New York City, I find the dish nothing short of splendid! If there is a word that describes the kissing of two fingers and setting them to the sky, it would be inserted “here”.
An aged single malt follows the meal (apres dessert) to warm up our spirits before we join the tables (with a set budget of course).
We sleep comfortably in our King sized bed excited for the following day to come, an early visit to their two private Islands. Flamingo, and Iguana.
WHAT TO DO IN ONE OF THE ABC ISLANDS: ARUBA
Day 2. We grab the first vessel over to Flamingo and Iguana Island, and as we arrive to the dock their resident Flamingos migrate towards their namesake beach congregate for today’s greeting and feeding.
At our first contact with these animals, we find they are absolutely AWESOME! So many different shades of pink, red, and orange, with quirky personalities and straightforward appetites where there’s no hesitation to eat out of our hands. Their long beaks grazing our skin with each bite makes us giggle and them content enough to pose with us for photos and videos.
It’s opening time for the waterfront bungalows on Iguana Island (20 meters away) with a hammock like net over the water, perfect for a mid morning nap after enjoying one of their colorful and fruity cocktails (or juices, depending on your morning mood), and views looking over the blue Caribbean sea. Both beaches have plenty of beach chairs and umbrellas for those not in need of a splurge.
Lunch is a treat at their beach front restaurant while we notice flamingo flock making their way down Iguana beach, acting as gracious, majestic hosts greeting their guests.
We wrap up up the day with poke bowls near the hotel before we move on to more of Aruba’s cocktail culture at Apotek Speakeasy.
Nightlife in one of the Best ABC Islands in Caribbean: Aruba
Now, we are both New York Natives as adults, and have seen it all in bars, clubs, lounges, etc… and we find Apotek to be an experience beyond any other we’ve seen. Their menu consists of “prescriptions” written on wall as we enter which change each evening and are curated by their expert mixologists.
We keep the first order simple: an Old Fashioned. After the cocktail is concocted by our NEW favorite bartender in the world, he smokes it with tobacco from from a cuban cigar kept in their humidor. How does it taste? PERFECT! How do we feell? Like someone placed a perfect magic spell of relaxation and happiness upon our heads. Watching the guys behind the bar is as dazzling an experience as sipping their creations, and we sit ourselves down for a long while. And for a couple more rounds.
Off to get some rest to continue our boozy bonanza at our next destination in the ABC Islands, Curaçao.
CURAÇAO WITH CHEAP CARIBBEAN
Where to stay in the ABC Islands: Curacao
One would imagine an island hopping quest curated around cocktails would involve the cordial native to Curaçao… and it does. Before heading to the Island’s distillery where Blue Curaçao was created, we head to Dreams Curaçao which is our home for the next two evenings. This Dreams has a HUGE open aired lobby and restaurant with a busy island bar to serve up tasty tropical cocktails which are part of the all inclusive package.
Many guests are half dressed in their diving suits and off in the water there are boats on standby ready to visit the many diving spots on the island. Unfortunately, scuba is not on our itinerary however we are already planning to return to Dreams for their cozy rooms, gorgeous property, and underwater adventures.
We send up the drone to have a look overhead (we love seeing the layouts of boutique, high end resorts), and we notice Dreams successfully built their own little slice of paradise on a well kept modern property.
We put a couple back with our friends in the group, and hit the hay to be prepared for another day of….
The Best Drinks of The ABC Islands: Curacao
Adventures in alcohol! Off to the original Curaçao distillery for a walk through and talk through it’s origination, process of progress, and operation where their product is still hand made. The tour is fun, samples are served, and the kicker is creating our own cocktails made with their beloved booze (and vodka/gin/run of your choice). Their Curaçao is not only blue – it consists of many colors and flavors of their variation of what most of us bartenders know as Triple Sec. Our tour guide overlooks our prep and mixing progress with a bit of encouragement to use a heavy hand.
It’s a fun day indeed, and we finish off the daylight with Prosecco and pool bingo before watching the sun set over the sea and head back for some rest before tomorrow’s adventure.
What to do: Curacao
Awake and away we go! To a large catamaran owned by Blue Finn charters that holds 80 but limits the trip to 60 of our new sailor friends set to sail to Curaçao’s large cay. 10 minutes after we set sail, the bar (open) is serving by their cheerful staff. We observe that most of the yachtsmen and yachtswomen aboard indulge in this offering, but being seasoned seafarers we decide to stick to sparkling waters as we’re spending most of the day in the warm glowing sun.
As we arrive to Klein Cay, the waters become the brightest and most vibrant shade of turquoise one could imagine. We’re free to disembark to venture, swim, float, snorkel, or hike around to the island’s abandoned lighthouse and shipwreck. Lunch is served mid day, created by Blue Finn’s personal chef who cooks up a storm of tasty mediterranean dishes plus chicken, steak and ribs fresh off the boat’s industrial grill near the stern. Between the open bar, unlimited soft drinks, and absolutely delicious meal, we’re surprised at how affordable this one of a kind excursion like this is, which is around ~$120 per person, and can be booked through www.cheapcaribbean.com
Where to Eat: Curacao
Back to Dreams for a gourmet meal at their onsite restaurant Crafty Iguana Brew Pub, where we’re entertained with a cocktail course by three expert mixologists using their well known and beloved cordial, once again, Curaçao! Between the margaritas, blue cocktail of sweetness, and hors devors made especially to accompany our cocktails, we are filled to the brim with content and happiness, and we’re still to dine like Kings and Queens of the same family after conquering two thirds of our trip around the ABC Islands.
We’re awaken by the sunrise for our puddle jumper flight our final stop of the ABC islands tour and adventure, Bonaire. Just when we are about to load onto the van, we’re hit with a tropical storm forcing us to take cover.. This may sound worrisome, however tropical storms come and go like the ice cream man in New York City summermonths. Here one moment (playing an annoying song) and gone the next.
The weather has no effect on our 20 minute flight up and over the clouds which includes a hard left turn back into the atmosphere us humans are accustomed to frolick in.
BONAIRE WITH CHEAP CARIBBEAN
ABC Islands in the Caribbean: Bonaire
And frolic we do on this amazing Island, known to be home to the best diving in the world, to miles of salt flats along bright pink lakes, gleeful goats and delightful donkeys roaming the street-side near hills that turn to bluffs, towering over soft sand beaches and blissful blue Caribbean waters. We are using many positive and colorful adjectives to describe the Island for it’s our favorite stop. Bonaire is home to charming towns, dazzling desert like topography with rolling hills leading salt water ponds decorated with flamingos.
What to do: Bonaire
Bonaire is a natural masterpiece. A true paradise. The daytime offers activities such as a visit to the Hang Out Beach Bar, a charming beach shack where patrons sit oceanside glaring out over the water to a few dozen or so galant windsurfers gliding with the ocean’s gusts, some taking their first swing on the sale. Both are entertaining to watch, and many are in the gallery chilling out with a cocktail while noshing on one of many delicious appetizers on the menu.
There’s also plenty of kitesurfing on the island.
Around the ABC Island: Bonaire
A quick tour with a Dutch guide takes us around Bonaire and through the salt flats near the pink waters next to mountainous mounds of bright white salt, which is the island’s biggest export and is a gorgeous view.
After visiting their state parks, a local distillery and their famous 1000 steps beach, we head back to the Divi Flamingo which is a long stretch of a beach side resort with diving boats lined up to serve their patrons on the daily. Divi Flamingo also has beaches, pools, restaurants, bars, and all the charm one could dream of in a tropical resort. Half our crew bunks up at the Courtyard by Marriott Dive Resort, which is a colorful, modern, and convenient Dutch accented property with a Bonaire flare of multi colored buildings and a riverfront pool.
The Best Nightlife of The ABC Islands: Bonaire
After a sunset cocktail with our newfound family, we head to dinner at Club Trocadero, which is a quick walk into town and serves up a delicious menu, tropical vibes, and a thriving nightlife after 10 pm.
We are committed to one more captivating cocktail experience at the Tiki and Co after dinner. The menu at Tiki is one of a kind with extravagant illustrations connected to each item on their menu. The bartenders are quick, powerful with their flare, and entertain guests by creating dazzling drinks, sometimes set afire along with their bar (which I may add, is completely under control). The gentlemen who created and run this establishment has done so with complete integrity.
Across the street is the island’s most popular bar, littered with Dutch natives singing songs one would think are popular among pirates in the 19th century discovering barrels of caribbean rum after a long and dismal drought.
We rise in the morning with the sun illuminating the colorful facades of Bonaire’s buildings, drying up the evening’s showers, and giving light to the day’s activities.
After only two days in Bonaire, it has become one of our favorite destinations among a very, very long list of countries we’ve visited in the world.
Why you should plan your next trip with Cheap Caribbean
To sum up our time with the cheapcaribbean.com folks, our group, and on the ABC islands, we are quite impressed that an organization that has a name “cheap” attached to it procures experiences and adventures accessible to just about anyone with an average travel budget… and for anyone with a large travel budget.
Cheapcaribbean is not about “cheap.” They’re about delivering value in your Caribbean experience, through decades of exploration and experience.
See for yourself, and visit their website to be shocked at the packages they will quickly put together for your next Caribbean adventure, which will you find thereafter to be completely invaluable.