Six Quick Caribbean Getaways
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
The Caribbean is so close to North America and yet, with connections, lengthy layovers and the almost inevitable flight delays, it can feel SO far away. However, if you live in the South, Northeast or Midwest, you’re in luck. Non-stop morning service to these destinations will have you lounging on the beach by lunchtime. What are you waiting for?
Deep Water Cay, Bahamas
You needn’t be into fishing to enjoy this private-island resort that started out as a fishing lodge and has evolved into a luxe summer camp for grown-ups with plush waterfront cottages, water sports galore, and several white-sand coves. And since it’s just off the coast of Grand Bahama, it’s less than an hour by air from Fort Lauderdale.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
It’s one of the region’s capitals for diving, but it’s also a beach paradise, highlighted by the (deservedly) world-famous Seven Mile Beach. A remarkably diverse destination, you can depart the airport and head to the sand then restaurant-hop in a Caribbean culinary Mecca. And it’s just an hour from Miami. For luxe stays, try the Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman or for a more boutique experience, Cotton Tree.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
How long does it take to “get all right?” Only about an hour and 15 minutes, if you live in Miami. Touch down in Mo’Bay, the gateway to the land of rum, reggae and Rastafarianism for most visitors, and then chill out at the city’s two newest all-inclusives, Hyatt Zilara and Hyatt Ziva. And for a classic stay, the glamorous Round Hill.
St Croix, US Virgin Islands
You don’t even need a passport to visit the Twin City Island; all it takes is a spare four hours for the Delta flight from Atlanta. Once on the ground in STX check in and chill out at The Buccaneer but make sure you make time to visit the Cruzan Rum factory and to cruise to dreamy Buck Island.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Mofongo, historic forts, and frosty pina coladas (this is the place where the cocktail was invented, after all) are three good reasons to visit Puerto Rico’s capital. And the fact that it’s a mere four-hour flight from New York seals the deal. With the beachfront San Juan Marriott (or the lovely boutique O:live) as your base, the salsa-driven city is your oyster.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Cancun? Yes, you can! The Mexican-Caribbean resort city is only four hours from Baltimore via Southwest, so you can be sipping a cerveza by the sea before you know it. In neighboring Puerto Morelos, the luxe Grand Residences resort is close to Cancun’s buzzy scene but far enough to make you feel like you REALLY got away.