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Discovery Caribbean

Discover an ocean of calm Relax in the Lotus Spa with a massage to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit ®

CARIBBEAN — 2012/2013 CRuIsEs

Entertainment to light up the sky Unwind with Movies Under the Stars, Princess signature shows and more

®

1 PlEAsE REtuRN mAgAzINE to stAtERoom At voyAgE ENd

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G R A N D

T U R K

·

G R E N A D A

·

J A M A I C A

( F A L M O U T H

&

O C H O

R I O S )

·

ANTIGUA

&

BARBUDA

·

ARUBA

·

BAHAMAS

(FREEPORT

&

NASSAU)

·

BARBADOS

·

CURACAO

·

ColombianEmeralds.com

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M


)

·

M E X I C O

( C A N C Ú N

&

C O Z U M E L )

·

P R O V I D E N C I A L E S

·

P U E R T O

R I C O

· H O N D U R A S ( R O A T Á N ) · S T . K I T T S

“Come see what I just brought back from the mines.”

·

— Diego Galante

S T . L U C I A · S T . M A A R T E N · S T . T H O M A S

Global Customer Service Certified Appraisal 90 Day Insurance Plan

Follow us on

Member of the Dufry Group, a Swiss company established in 1865 and operating in over 45 countries.

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Table

of contents

Discovery 2012-2013 Cruises

40 44

26 26

18 20 22

Welcome Aboard

2222 40

Service Excellence

Nighttime Activities

Delicious Dilemma

When the sun goes down, the curtain rises on a constellation of thrilling nighttime enticements.

Freshly prepared cuisine Dining options to match your tastes and mood — that’s dining on board your Princess ship.

26

Do It All or Nothing At All Daytime Activities You’ll discover an incredible variety of activities, enrichment programs and other entertaining options each day on board.

The Night Belongs to You

42

Casino

44

Shows & Entertainment

46

Princess Cruises Captain’s CircleSM

48

Future Cruise Sales

49

2013-14 Cruise Calendar

78

Ports of Call

28

Lotus Spa ® & The Sanctuary

30

Boutiques Onboard

32

Princess Photography

part, including but not limited to transmission by any means, in any form — digital, electronic,

33

ScholarShip@Sea ®

from the publisher. The magazine assumes no responsibility for the safekeeping or return of

33

Fine Art Auctions

unsolicited manuscripts, photography, artwork, or other material. Electronic queries only will

34

Princess Cays ®

in Discovery are not necessarily those of the cruise line. Princess Cruises is not responsible for

36

Movies Under the Stars ®

38

Youth & Teen Programs

The contents of this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction, either in whole or in mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise — is forbidden without express, written permission

be acknowledged. E-mail to: editor@onboardmedia.com. Commentary and opinions expressed any claims or offers made in advertisements appearing in Discovery.

COVER PHOTO: St. Thomas, Caribbean courtesy of Greg Snider

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Earn rewards and relax more with the Princess Cruises Rewards Visa card! ®

®

Apply today and enjoy great benefits like these: • Low Introductory APR on balance transfers and NO Annual Fee 1 • Start with up to 10,000 BONUS points with your first Princess Visa purchase and balance transfer 2 • Earn DOUBLE points on all Princess purchases — onboard and ashore 3 • Princess Rewards includes FREE 4 cruises (no blackout dates), cruise discounts, airfare discounts, Lotus Spa treatments & other onboard amenities 4 ®

See your Princess Captain’s Circle Host or Future Cruise Consultant and apply today! 1. Annual Fee: $0. 0% introductory APR on balance transfers is applicable for the first 15 billing cycles after your new account is opened (the “Introductory Period”). For purchases, and for balance transfers after the Introductory Period, the variable APR is 13.99%, 16.99% or 20.99% depending upon our review of your application and your credit history at account opening. The variable APR for cash advances is 25.24%. Subject to applicable law, the APR’s on your account will be increased to a variable Penalty APR which is up to 30.24% if we do not receive timely payments, if you exceed your credit line or if we receive a payment that is not honored by your bank. The APRs on your account will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. The minimum monthly finance charge will be $2.00. Balance Transfer Fee: 4% min. $10. Cash Advance Fee: 5% (min. $10). Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%. The fee for the purchase of cash equivalent transactions (purchase of money orders, traveler’s checks, foreign currency, lottery tickets, gambling chips or wire transfer): 5% (min. $10). This information is accurate as of 02/01/2012 and is subject to change after this date. Contact 1-866-504-8224 for updated information and for more information about the terms of this offer. 2. Bonus Points: After using your Princess Cruises Rewards Visa Signature Card to make an initial Purchase or Balance Transfer, you will be eligible to receive a one-time bonus award of five thousand (5,000) Princess Points. Bonus Points will be posted at the close of your first billing statement after an initial qualifying purchase or Balance Transfer is made. The Balance Transfer is subject to the Balance Transfer Fee set forth in the Terms and Conditions. Balance Transfer Checks and Convenience Checks do not earn bonus points. Bonus points will be awarded at the close of the billing statement in which you make your first purchase or balance transfer and will be then be credited to your Princess Rewards Visa Account. Balance Transfer Checks do not qualify for bonus points. Balance Transfer Bonus Points: Earn one point per $1 in balances that post to your new account in the first 30 days after your account is opened, up to a maximum of 5,000 points. See the Terms and Conditions for complete details about this offer. 3. Princess Rewards Visa cardmembers will earn two (2) points for every one dollar ($1) of net purchases of Princess purchases with the credit card account, and (1) point for every one dollar ($1) of net purchases made everywhere else the account is used. Restrictions apply. 4. The Princess Rewards Program offers cardmembers the opportunity to earn rewards towards discounted, reduced, and even free cruise redemptions. Taxes and fees may apply. Cardmembers will be responsible for all charges incurred in connection with their cruise (including travel to port of departure). Additional charges may include but are not limited to gratuities, onboard purchases, and other charges. Cruise redemptions start at 150,000 points. Other cruise related redemption options are available such as onboard spa experience and merchandise offers. Please visit the Captain’s Circle Host, Future Cruise Consultant or Visa Consultant for a copy of the terms and conditions of this offer and visit princessvisa.com to review full program terms and conditions. The Princess Cruises Rewards Visa Card is issued by Barclays Bank Delaware (“Barclays”). Offer subject to credit approval. Benefits will vary depending upon the card for which you are approved. Not everyone will qualify for the Princess Visa Signature Card and its benefits. If at the time of your application you do not meet the credit criteria previously established for this offer, or the income you report is insufficient based on your obligations, we may not be able to open an account for you or you may receive a Platinum card which has fewer benefits. Please review the materials provided with the Cardmember Agreement you will receive after account opening for more information about the benefits that will apply if you are not approved for the Visa Signature credit card. This offer is available to new cardmembers only. For information about rates, fees, other costs, and the reward program rules (including points accrual rate, bonus points awards, etc.) and benefits associated with the use of this credit card program please see the Terms and Conditions.

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1691 micHigan avenUe, sUite 600, miami beacH, fl 33139 tel: 305-673-0400, fax: 305-674-9396 www.onboardmedia.com saraH betH reno robin rosenbaUm-andras noelle siPos carrie jUlier norma vila

kate mcclare linda brockman brigid cotter HaleY strUtHers kHalila doUZe andrea villalba gail abrams daYana ramireZ george sariego eliZabetH carlisle betH wood rUben carballo violeta manco-rojas COntriButinG writers

jUan itUrriZa james Perdomo robert marenco melissa rodrigUeZ

catHY glover tYler condon jeffreY meister rod mUsUm katHerine terc cristina viera

todd Hedge sHannon cHamberlain kevin mascHke jUan carlos PeÑa

kYle ronellenfitcH wesleY emmer victoria rossi racHel castro marina castillo rina alvarado nadine winter arelYs Zaldivar

president seniOr ViCe president ViCe president, Cruise OperatiOns ViCe president, Cruise reVenue and saLes ViCe president, FinanCe editOriaL and desiGn exeCutiVe editOr seniOr editOr Media COOrdinatOr assOCiate Media COOrdinatOr editOriaL intern editOriaL intern — puBLisHinG direCtOr prOjeCt GrapHiC desiGner prOjeCt GrapHiC desiGner art direCtOr art direCtOr GrapHiC desiGner ad serViCes COOrdinatOr joHn anderson, joHn bigleY, kaY callaHan, sUZanne l. carmel, ricHard carroll, sara cHUrcHville, toni crane, micHael de freitas, ginger dingUs, kHalila doUZe, marjorie klein, cHelle koster walton, ciara lavelle, martY lesHner, linda marx, raYmond niedowski, Paris Permenter, jonatHan siskin, gerrY steckles, jim tHomPson, ricHard varr, andrea villalba, deboraH williams, eleanor wilson, gerald Zarr

prOduCtiOn and distriButiOn prOduCtiOn ManaGer prOduCtiOn COOrdinatOr sHippinG and LOGistiCs ManaGer prOjeCt ManaGer adVertisinG saLes internatiOnaL saLes direCtOr saLes ManaGer saLes ManaGer saLes ManaGer saLes COOrdinatOr saLes COOrdinatOr VideO/FiLM prOduCtiOn direCtOr prOduCtiOn ManaGer seniOr editOr seniOr VideOGrapHer pOrt sHOppinG direCtOr OF Cruise reVenue reGiOnaL MarketinG ManaGer reGiOnaL MarketinG ManaGer OperatiOns direCtOr assistant OperatiOns ManaGer OperatiOns COOrdinatOr CustOMer reLatiOns ManaGer CustOMer reLatiOns assistant ManaGer

all rigHts reserved. tHe entire contents of tHis PUblication are Protected bY coPYrigHt. no Part of tHis PUblication maY be reProdUced, stored in a retrieval sYstem or transmitted in anY form or bY anY means, electronic, mecHanical, PHotocoPYing, recording or otHerwise, witHoUt tHe Prior Permission of tHe coPYrigHt owner. Printed in tHe United states of america. all articles, descriPtions and sUggestions concerning activities, toUrist attractions and otHer vacation oPPortUnities described in tHis PUblication are merelY exPressions of oPinions bY contribUting writers, do not constitUte tHe oPinions of onboard media, inc. or Princess crUises, and Under no circUmstances constitUte assUrances or gUarantees concerning tHe qUalitY or safetY of anY sUcH attraction or activitY. onboard media, inc. and Princess crUises sPecificallY disclaim anY liabilitY for damages incUrred dUe to tHe attendance or ParticiPation bY readers of tHis PUblication in anY sUcH activitY or attraction, and tHe attendance or ParticiPation in anY sUcH activitY or attraction sHall be made solelY at tHe reader’s own risk. we and oUr content Providers (“we”) Have tried to make tHe information in tHis PUblication as accUrate as Possible, bUt it is Provided “as is” and we accePt no resPonsibilitY for anY loss, injUrY or inconvenience sUstained bY anYone resUlting from tHis information.

10

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©2012 onboard media. no claim to original works of Princess crUises or advertisers. sHiPs of bermUdan registrY

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Adventure awaits Turquoise waters caressing soft, sandy beaches; verdant mountains rising from lush forests; delightful shopping choices from merchants who stock wares to fulfill your heart’s desire. These are just some of the pleasures that await you on your cruise. We are happy to act as your guide with Discovery, which is both a directory of Princess® services and activities and an introduction to the ports of call you’ll be visiting. Whether you prefer to stay busy with sports and other active pursuits, or your idea of keeping a hectic schedule is squeezing in an extra massage at the Lotus Spa®, you’ll find this journey to be a perfect fit. Read on for helpful listings and other information on the onboard experiences you’ll enjoy as a passenger with Princess, from delicious dining to exclusive shopping. You’ll also find a calendar of the year’s cruises. Finally, our Ports of Call guide offers a wealth of helpful and intriguing information on Princess destinations. You'll find fascinating insights into the culture and traditions of ports you will visit, while also learning where to find the best deals when shopping. You’ve begun a journey that we know you’ll never forget. Here’s to smooth seas, a fair wind and your most rewarding journey ever. Bon voyage! The staff of Discovery

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EvEry SEcond iS SwEEt MakE tiME SwEEtEr EvEryday kirk Freeport welcomes you to a collection of the most luxurious shopping destinations in the caribbean offering the world’s most prestigious brands. kirk Freeport is proud to be the official rolex dealer of the cayman islands and in addition offers prestigious watch brands including cartier, Patek Philippe, Breitling, omega, tag Heuer, Panerai and many others. visit us today at: kirkFrEEPort.nEt or on Facebook.

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Hello

from your

Princess Shopping Host! Welcome aboard! I’m your Princess Shopping Host — your personal shopping consultant. I’m here to save you time and money both in the boutiques on board and in our fabulous ports of call. During this voyage, I’ll provide you with everything you’ll need to know about shopping. I’ll be hosting the live Shopping Spotlight Show and special events on watches and jewelry, and I’ll be available each evening at the Princess Shopping Desk. I’ll also provide you with maps, brochures, Passport to Value booklets and V.I.P. cards upon request. Few things are more thrilling on a cruise vacation than shopping for dazzling treasures such as watches, diamonds and jewelry — all at amazing duty-free prices. For inside information on how you can indulge your taste for the best, be sure to read Discover Style, our celebrity-packed magazine in your stateroom — and watch the Discover Style show on your stateroom television. You’ll find even more expert guidance on your television, with video replays of the Shopping Spotlight Show and special features about our boutiques on board. With all this expert guidance, you’ll know exactly how to enjoy the unsurpassed savings and selection of shopping on vacation! At your service, Your Princess Shopping Host

Edit ion

Savvy Trave

Cari bbe an

Savvy Trave

Cari bbe an

Edit ion

ler

MORE THAN

$2,000 WORTH OF VALUE

WITH EXCL USIVE SPEC OFFERS AND IAL DISCOUNTS

TURN TO PAGE 529 for grea onboard off t ers

ler

FREE Hear t Necklace

FREE

Del Sol Bag

16

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Finally, you’re here.

Now is the time to relax and let us take care of everything else. Get out

on deck and experience the fresh sea air, explore your ship and all its amenities, or grab a bite to eat. Every aspect of this vacation was designed for you to relax, refresh and rejuvenate. On the following pages, you can learn a bit more about what you can expect in the coming days in this book of discovery. We call it that for a reason — not only because of the wonderful ports you’ll be visiting, but also because of all the distinct pleasures you will find, one by one, on your Princess ® ship. What will be your favorite venue, activity, restaurant? Only the moments ahead will tell…

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Welcome

aboard

Let your

journey begin

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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At your

service Princess Cruises — The Consummate Host

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®

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The Consummate Host

service

On your Princess® ship, gracious and attentive crew members are there to serve you and make your entire vacation memorable.

You first noticed it on the lapel of the officer who welcomed you aboard as you crossed the gangway: a blue-and-gold pin that read "CruisE." Then you saw it again worn by the concierge, and your stateroom steward, and ... What are these pins, and what does CruisE stand for? CRUISE began as a program to help keep the passenger experience top-of-mind for all Princess staff and crew, and that is still one of its important goals. But CRUISE is also how we recognize and reward employees for great performance. CRUISE is how we educate our employees for career and personal growth. CRUISE is how we support our employees' health and welfare so they can perform their jobs with excellence every day. CRUISE is the vehicle through which Princess delivers our core values — we serve, we respect our team, we innovate,

we are consistent, we are accountable, and we do it right — to our staff, and motivates them to live out those values and be The Consummate Host. What does CRUISE mean to you? It means you can expect consistently warm, welcoming service — from courteous greetings in the dining room at dinner to friendly smiles by the stewards — on every ship in our fleet. It means everyone on board is working together to make your vacation a relaxed, rejuvenating retreat at sea. It means all of us know your vacation memories are infinitely precious — and we want you to remember not only our spectacular ships sailing to fantastic destinations, but also how valued you felt while you were on board.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Your ship is a floating destination of culinary delights, with options to match every taste and mood.

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Dining

freshly prepared

Delicious

ilemma

One of the most enticing things about your spectacular Princess 速 ship is the wide variety of tempting onboard options to delight your palate. From specialty restaurants and gracious dining rooms, a warm, freshly cooked meal is never far away. You can have a burger grilled to order out on deck, or grab a slice of handmade pizza to eat by the pool. Maybe all you need is some soft-serve ice cream to fend off the heat. Or keep your eyes open for cookies & milk on deck in the afternoon. From breakfast to dinner to late-night snacks, Princess raises the bar on dining at sea.

A chef in one of the galleys takes a tray of Princess breads from the oven. Each day, an assortment of baked goods are prepared for your enjoyment.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Dining

freshly prepared

We understand

how important

dining is to the vacation experience, which is why we put such an emphasis on the quality and range of our dining options. Our own Master Chef, Alfredo Marzi, designed new menus for our Delectable entrees served in the Princess restaurants range from Italian specialties to aged steak to the freshest fish available.

Traditional and Anytime Dining sM

Ask about the Chef’s Table, yet another

rooms to truly make sure the food is

unique offering — you’ll be invited into

the star. From our signature pastas

the galley for champagne and hors

to our lighter selections, you’ll savor

d’oeuvres, and you'll later dine on

freshly prepared cuisine, utilizing

a special menu conceived by the

ingredients with regional influences.

Executive Chef himself. Or if you

For variety,

happen to have a balcony stateroom, you can choose

you can stay in one evening and

a specialty restaurant like sabatini’s,

we’ll bring the experience to you —

with traditional italian fare, the elegant

with ultimate Balcony Dining.

sM

Crown Grill

sM

or sterling steakhouse

sM

for an aged prime steak or grilled

We invite you to indulge in

seafood, or the Bayou Café & steakhouse

all this and more during your cruise.

for a more southern ambience.

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Restaurants & dining venues on board Restaurants

Style

Traditional & Anytime

Main Dining rooms

Specialty Dining

Breakfast Hours

Lunch Hours

Lunch is available on turnaround days, sea 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM days and in select ports. (see Princess Patter)

Traditional Dining Hours

Anytime Dining

Charges

5:30 PM, 6 PM and 8:15 PM

5:30 PM - 10 PM

None

Style

Breakfast Hours

Lunch Hours

Dinner Hours

Charges

specialty

7:30-10 AM for suites only

N/A

6:30 PM - 11 PM

Cover charge

specialty

N/A

N/A

6:30 PM - 11 PM

Cover charge

specialty

N/A

N/A

6:30 PM - 11 PM

Cover charge

Bayou Café & Steakhouse

specialty

N/A

N/A

6:30 PM - 11 PM

Cover charge

Ultimate Balcony Dining

specialty

7 AM - 11 AM

N/A

5:30 PM - 10 PM

Nominal charge

specialty

N/A

N/A

Onboard reservations accepted only

(subject to change)

Style

Breakfast Hours

Lunch Hours

Dinner Hours

Charges

Casual

N/A

11 AM - 5:30 PM

5:30 PM - Midnight

None

Casual

N/A

11 AM - 2:30 PM

7 PM onward

None

Casual

N/A

11 AM - 6 PM

(Except on Ocean and Pacific Princess)

6:00 PM - onward

None

Casual

6 AM - 10 AM

11:30 AM - 3:30 PM

5:30 PM - Midnight

None

Casual

6 AM - 11:00 AM

11:00 AM - 5:30 PM

(closed for dinner Caribbean, Crown, Emerald & ruby Princess)

None

Casual

6 AM - 11 AM

11 AM - 6 PM

6 PM onward

None

Room service

N/A

24 hours

24 hours

24 hours

None

Afternoon tea

Casual

N/A

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

N/A

None

Casual

7 AM onward

N/A

N/A

Nominal charge

Casual

N/A

11 AM - 5:30 PM

5:30 PM onward

None

Casual

24 hours

24 hours

24 hours

Nominal charge

Casual

N/A

11:00 AM onward (4:30 PM port days)

5 PM - 11 PM

Nominal charge

Casual

N/A

11 AM - 5:30 PM

5:30 PM onward

None

Sabatini’s

SM

Caribbean, Coral, Crown, Diamond, Emerald, Golden, Grand, island, Pacific, ruby, sapphire, star, Ocean Princess

Crown Grill

Caribbean, Crown, Emerald, Golden, ruby, star, Grand Princess

Sterling Steakhouse

SM

Dawn, Diamond, Pacific, sea, sun, Ocean, sapphire Princess Coral, island Princess All Princess ships*

Chef’s Table

Caribbean, Coral, Crown, Diamond, Emerald, Golden, Grand, island, Pacific, ruby, sapphire, sea,** star, Ocean Princess

Casual Dining

$95 per person

Pizzeria (poolside)

Caribbean, Coral, Crown, Diamond, Emerald, Golden, Grand, island, ruby, sapphire, star Princess

Pizzeria/trattoria

Dawn, Pacific, sea, sun, Ocean Princess

Burger & hot dog grill

All Princess ships

Café Caribe

Caribbean, Crown, Emerald, ruby Princess

(sea days only)

Horizon Court/Lido

Caribbean, Coral, Crown, Dawn, Diamond, Emerald, Golden, Grand, island, ruby, sapphire, sea, star, sun Princess

Panorama Buffet

Pacific, Ocean Princess All Princess ships All Princess ships

Pâtisserie

Coral, Dawn, Diamond, island, Pacific, sea, sun, Ocean Princess

Ice cream bar

Caribbean, Coral, Crown, Dawn, Diamond, Emerald, Golden, Grand, island, ruby, sapphire, sea, star, sun Princess

International Café

Caribbean, Crown, Emerald, Golden, Grand, ruby, sapphire, star Princess

Vines Wine Bar

Caribbean, Crown, Emerald, Golden, Grand ^ ruby, sapphire,^ star Princess

Alfredo's Pizzeria

Grand Princess, sapphire Princess

5:30 PM - Midnight

Note: Dining options, locations and venues vary by ship and actual meal times and charges are subject to change based on itinerary and season. While room service is complimentary, charges will apply to certain food and beverage items. Once on board and based on availability, you may switch to Anytime Dining from Traditional Dining with 24 hours notice to the Maître d’Hôtel. Anytime Dining is not available on Pacific, sun, Dawn, sea** or Ocean Princess. Corkage fee of $15 applies. The Chef’s Table program is limited to approximately 10-12 passengers per cruise and is offered at $95 per person. * ultimate Balcony Dining available in select staterooms. ** Anytime Dining and Chef's Table do not apply to sea Princess while operating in Australia. ^Wine bar only.

Attire Smart Casual Evenings: skirts/dresses, slacks and sweaters for ladies. Pants and open-neck shirts for men. Formal Evenings: Evening gowns, cocktail dresses, or elegant pant suits for women. Tuxedo, dark suit or dinner jacket and slacks for men. Note: Dress code is subject to change with the ship’s itinerary. The above is a general guide.

Length of Cruise

# of Formal Evenings

# of Smart Casual Events

3-6 days

1

1-5

7-13 days

2

5-11

14-20 days

3

11-17

21-28 days

4

17-24

29+ days

5

24+ PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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26

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Activities

daytime

Expand your horizons with the Princess ScholarShip@Sea® enrichment program featuring classes in cooking, wine tasting, art, navigation and more.

Do it all

or nothing at all Free time —

something each of us have

precious little of these days. Of course, that’s why you take a vacation. And on your Princess ship, you’ll find you have plenty of time to enjoy the fabulous options your ship offers.

What’s your type?

Are you a fitness

fanatic? Do you like arts & crafts? Do you wish you simply had more hours in the day after work and family commitments to just sit down and read a book? On a Princess voyage, we offer opportunities for every interest to be engaged, which is one of the reasons people often unexpectedly find that it is their time on the ship they remember most fondly. so now that you’re here, we encourage you to follow your mood

Each day, opportunities

to whatever activities and entertainment most interest

unfold from more active

day in your Princess Patter. And the ship’s pools,

to the relaxed and cultural.

and available whenever you feel like dropping in.

you. You’ll find a full schedule of what’s offered each library, fitness centers and other venues are open

it’s up to you to write the script. *Available on select voyages.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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renew yourself

Body & Soul

28

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Health & Wellness

rejuvenate

rejuvenate with luxurious treatments in the Lotus spa or on-deck in ®

The sanctuary.

sitting out on deck, you’ll be lulled into a

The sanctuary – truly special.

blissful state by the sound of waves, the fresh sea air

rejuvenate in the open air at the outdoor oasis

and the knowledge that while you are out here with

reserved exclusively for adults, The sanctuary,

Princess, you don’t have a single care in the world.

available on select ships.*

And if you think that’s a good feeling, just imagine how you’ll feel after a massage or spa treatment!

Pampering

never felt as good as it does on

a Princess ship. The onboard Lotus spa ® rivals most you’ll find on land — offering a sensational selection of services and treatments from facials, scrubs and massages to hot stone therapy, body therapy and body wraps, as well as a full-service salon should you choose to beautify after you unwind. The Lotus spa Fitness Center offers fitness programs designed to help you maximize your wellness with

in this popular haven you can get a massage under a cabana, to the sound of the sea lapping far beneath you. Or you can find yourself an empty chaise lounge in which to enjoy healthy smoothies, energy drinks, and flavored waters. A spa menu exclusive to The sanctuary highlights a variety of light snacks such as lettuce-wrapped spring rolls, fruit skewers, and spicy tuna pâté with baked pita wedges, all served by special serenity stewards. MP3 players are also available with themed playlists, so you can escape completely to the soothing sounds of music.

elements of three fitness components, Core. Balance. Strength, each combined with corresponding classes such as Pilates, Yoga, Yoga Boot Camp and Tour de Cycle. The Lotus spa Fitness Center also features world-class exercise equipment so you can tone on your own.

The Sanctuary is a relaxing oasis on deck that’s perfect for an al fresco massage or a fruit smoothie and some relaxing music.

*The sanctuary is available on most ships. Covered cabanas not available in the sanctuary on all ships.

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Bring home the

Perfect Gift You’ll return home from your Princess ® vacation with experiences to last a lifetime. But why not remind yourself of the carefree time you had onboard as often as possible, with something special from our array of on board boutiques? Browse through the fine jewelry, fashion apparel and accessories on board — you’ll discover a stellar selection of names like swarovski, Lancôme, Estée Lauder and TAG Heuer among the luxurious offerings, as well as a wide variety of signature Princess merchandise. All shops are tax- and duty-free, with savings up to 60% off u.s. retail. Plus, watch for additional savings with special promotions throughout your voyage. And in each of our boutiques, you’ll be greeted by gracious, knowledgeable staff who can help you choose the perfect gift to take home.

f o s s i l • c i t i z e n • ta g h e u e r • P h i l i P s t e i n • c o l u m b i a g e m s • ta r a P e a r l s • D i a m o n D s o f r u s s i a • c r i s l u • s w a r o v s k i • l l a D r o • m u r a n o • a b s o l u t • m a j o r i c a • i n c h o f

g o lD •

j o s e c u e r v o • b o m b ay s a P P h i r e • b e e f e at e r • c r u z a n r u m • c a P ta i n m o r g a n • s t o l i • g l e n f i D D i c h • D e wa r s w h i t e l a b e l • s e a g r a m ’ s v o • j a c k D a n i e l s • c a n a D i a n w h i s k e y

• kahl

m a r l b o r o • b e n s o n & h e D g e s • v i r g i n i a s l i m s • m e r i t • c a m e l • e s t é e l a u D e r • l a n c ô m e • c l i n i q u e • c h a n e l • r a l P h l a u r e n • c a lv i n k l e i n • g i o r g i o a r m a n i • i s s e y

m i ya k e

n i n a r i c c i • c h r i s t i a n D i o r • g u c c i • D u n h i l l • h u g o b o s s • k e n z o • g u e r l a i n • e l i z a b e t h a r D e n • b o u c h e r o n • c a r o l i n a h e r r e r a • P r a D a • e s c a D a • j e a n Pat o u • Pa c o

rabann

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nch of

g o l D • t o r t u g a r u m • g o D i va • b a c a r D i • j o h n n i e w a l k e r • g r e y g o o s e • s m i r n o f f • b a i l e y ’ s • c r o w n r oya l

hiskey

• k a h lu a • s a m b u c a r o m a n o • s h e r i D a n • ta n q u e r ay • c o u r v o i s i e r v s o P • r e m y m a r t i n x o • c h i va s r e g a l

• issey

m i ya k e • D av i D o f f • c a r t i e r • m a r a h l a g o • b u r b e r r y • k e n n e t h c o l e • D k n y • a n g e l • v e r s a c e • g i v e n c h y

• Pa c o

r a b a n n e • y s l • j o s e P h r i b k o f f • o s c a r D e l a r e n ta • D & g • t o m m y b a h a m a • g u e s s • a D i D a s • j e n n i f e r lo P e z

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Enrichment

experiences

the Princess Photo & video team captures

Your Memories at Sea A picture is worth

a thousand words — especially of your cruise with Princess. And we offer many ways for you to relive your vacation with both photos and video. You can have formal and casual portraits taken throughout the ship, with your choice of background, in one of our studio locations each evening. You’ll also notice our professional photographers and videographers at the gangway, in port, and even on select shore excursions. All photos taken will be displayed in the gallery the following day, and the reflections DvD captures all the fun in motion!

Photo-video gallery.

Don’t forget to stop by and check out our great selection of digital cameras, high-quality binoculars, exclusively designed frames, photo albums, Princess collector’s edition DvDs, and much more!

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scholarship @sea

®

set sail with Princess, and you’re in for an adventure that’s more than just sightseeing. You will discover an array of engaging onboard offerings to expand your cultural horizons. Among the wonderful offerings of our scholarship@sea ® enrichment program are an array of classes — up to 40 on every voyage. You can brush up on your cooking skills, expand your navigational knowledge, or join the zumba ® Fitness dance party. Get creative and have fun learning new craft activities and much more. scholarship@sea ® also presents intriguing lectures on selected cruises, including those focusing on the history, culture and geography of the region you are visiting.

Art auctions at sea

An adventure in the

Cultural Engaging enrichment

opportunities and exciting art auctions bring refinement to

are fun, fast-paced and offer a wonderful opportunity to bring home a great work of art at significant savings. You’ll find the art world’s greatest stars — names like Picasso, Chagall, rockwell and Miro — all represented, as well as a variety of works by contemporary art’s most popular figures. There’s no registration necessary, and complimentary champagne and a festive atmosphere make these auctions an exciting highlight of your voyage. Artwork is charged to your shipboard account, then insured, packaged, and shipped to your home or office from a u.s. fulfillment center.

your cruise. PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Princess Cays

®

There is a cabana with your name on it — that is, should you choose to stay on shore versus plunging into the cool blue. Of course, on your own Bahamian island, you can do it all. game of beach volleyball or basketball. You can paddle about the surf on an aqua bike, or relax on a towel to soak up the sun with your toes in the breakers. Local vendors offer handmade souvenirs at a straw market, while bartenders mix rum drinks at the Banana Beach Bar. And pastel bungalows may be reserved in which to relax and watch the hours go by.

Ahoy kids! The infinite blues of Caribbean sea and sky just seem all that much more inviting when you’re enjoying them from a secluded beach in the Bahamas. so Princess ® has reserved just such a sparkling seaside retreat for our passengers. Welcome to Princess Cays.®

Pelicans’ Perch offers a fantastic play area where children can build sandcastles or swashbuckle on a replica pirate galleon. it’s all you could imagine of your own Bahamian playground!

What will a day at this private paradise look like? That all depends on your mood. The dress code is extremely casual — so put on your bathing suit, grab your flip flops and come ashore. Once here, you’ll be able to select from an inviting menu of activities. You can look for fish as you snorkel in the gentle waves, or join a pick-up

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PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Princess

Cays®

There’s always plenty for families to enjoy together on Princess Cays® — including fabulous snorkeling. You can reserve one of our pastel-colored bungalows to enjoy food and drinks with your own private perspective of the island.

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Movies

under the stars®

Princess pioneered the concept — passengers enjoying a feature film ®

poolside on a giant screen — Movies under the stars.

®

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The sky’s the limit Order a drink

, grab a bag of complimentary popcorn, get yourself a lounge chair by the pool — or even better, a coveted spot in the hot tub for the greatest show on the sea. Movies under the stars ® is a real crowd-pleaser, with up to five movies shown poolside during the day, and two feature films at night. What a great way to take advantage of warm nights in the region. A high-tech 300-squarefoot LED screen and 69,000-watt stereo system assure clarity and quality of sound from wherever on the deck you might be sitting.

Even kids get in

on the fun. some of the most popular offerings on the Movies under the stars big screen are our special Playstation® or Nintendo ® Wii TM tournaments. And teens will enjoy late-night screenings just for them, while younger cruisers can take in a colorful matinee with newfound friends!

To keep the entertainment fresh, there are other showings beside movies. Major sporting events such as the super Bowl,® NBA Finals, World series, NCAA Basketball ® tournament and NCAA Bowl Championship series™ are shown on the big screen, weather permitting.* And you’ll often find yourself grooving to a concert video of one of the world’s popular performers.

Viewed from high above, the Movies Under the Stars screen entertains passengers poolside.

Note: Movies under the stars is featured on most Princess ships.

*satellite coverage permitting.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Youth

and teen

kid-sized fun that’s simply

“SeaSational” Moms and dads,

Our youngest guests

be forewarned — aside from mealtimes, you may not see your kids much on this cruise. That’s because Princess ® has one of the best programs for children and teens from 3–17 of any cruise line. On days at sea and in port, the fun begins in the morning and continues throughout the day and into the evening in our supervised Youth Centers & Teen Lounges.

ages 3–7 will love our Princess Pelicans program. They can participate in a variety of programs including art projects, sports and games, educational activities, and even pizza and ice cream parties. Plus, kids can take part in fun events such as talent shows, dance parties, pajama parties and special get-together dinners. They’ll even paint their own T-shirts and create other custom souvenirs of their cruise.

’Tweens will revel in shockwaves — a special venue with activities just for them. They can enjoy parties, join sports tournaments and scavenger hunts, watch movies, learn to cook with our jr.chef@sea program, or participate in talent shows, enjoy educational programs sponsored by the renowned California science Center, and other fun options. Whatever their age, kids on a cruise with Princess will find fun-filled activities suited just for them.

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Parties • Food • dJ • dance Parties PLaYstation® • nintendo® WIITM sPorts coMPetitions • and More

reMix What’s a teen to do

on a Princess ship? Plenty — because

our remix teen program is the hottest thing on the ocean. Come make new friends and hang in your own dedicated Teen Lounge with music, games, dance parties, yoga and Playstation.® There are hip hop classes, karaoke, mocktail parties, late night poolside movies, talent shows, and “teen makeovers.”

if you haven’t checked it out,

come to remix.

it’s the place to be at sea!

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Whether for a few hours in the lounge or an evening of dancing, don’t miss this chance to cut loose and be enchanted by the night.

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Activities

nighttime

the

Night

belongs to you

step out for an evening of adventure and excitement on a ship of dreams

When was the last time you could

go out without a single worry — and have so much to choose from? it’s a rare luxury to be able to walk out of your stateroom any evening, and within a short stroll be able to take in a musical, roll the dice in a lively casino, settle into a piano bar for some cocktails and live music, or dance the night away in a state-of-the-art nightclub. From comedy and magic acts to movies by the pool to champagne in an intimate lounge, there’s always more to do than you could fit in an evening. Fortunately, you’ve got many nights ahead to enjoy all the evenings Princess ® holds in store for you.

Before retiring, you may want to drop by the Atrium for the fabulous Champagne Waterfall, or get out on deck for a stroll beneath the stars in the balmy tropical air.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Casino

gaming

The onboard casinos offer a chance to play, watch the wheel spin, press the slot buttons and bring home the winnings.

Are you feeling lucky? An evening of gaming and good fortune is beckoning you to the casino, where you can try your luck at any of your favorite games of chance. Our fabulous, contemporary casinos blend a bit of the excitement of vegas with an elegant ambience to create a gaming experience unique to Princess. in these lively rooms, you can join other passengers for blackjack, roulette, and of course an array of slot machines. There may even be a poker tournament getting under way with a seat just for you. Whether you’re an avid gamer or just an occasional enthusiast, you’ll love the

Princess is your

Lady

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Princess casinos. Those on our grand ships are some of the largest at sea!

Luck

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Stunning sets, elaborate costumes and memorable music make our original Princess productions a highlight of your voyage.

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Shows

entertainment

Jazz

Music, dance & all that

Ladies and gentlemen,

please take your

seats. The lights are dimming, the curtain’s opening, and the show is about to begin.

Our original musicals

are unforgettable —

combining lavish stage sets and compelling scores with the song and dance of a troupe of professional singers and dancers. On every voyage with Princess,® you’ll have the opportunity to attend several different musical productions, each custom created just for our passengers. Check your Princess Patter each day to find out about that evening’s offering. And we’ll see you at the show!

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Princess

Captain’s Circle

®

Welcome to

The Circle

Whether it’s your first cruise with Princess,® or you’ve sailed with us many times before, you’re sure to enjoy the benefits and rewards of the best loyalty program at sea.

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Gold Members After your 1st completed cruise • member benefits card • special launch savings • reduced Deposit • Preferential pricing offers • circle centersM Online - standBy Programu - referral rewardsu - Circle savings AccountsM • Princess cruises captain’s circle magazine • Princess cruises captain's circle enewsletter • free cruise Photo contestu • access to a circle host onboard • members-only on board events • Princess Passport • gold member Pin

Platinum Members From your 6th-15th cruise, or 51-150 cruise days • credit toward internet café packages†

By voyage’s end, it’s likely

To the right you’ll find

you will have made a new circle of friends at dinner or perhaps in the fitness center, boutiques, bars and lounges of your Princess ® ship. Like you, they’re all members of a very special group — those who’ve sailed with Princess, and those we hope will sail again.

a chart listing the benefits of various levels of membership. To learn more about the program, we encourage you to visit with the Circle Host on board, who can answer any questions you may have.

Welcome

to the best loyalty program at sea. The Princess Captain’s Circle ® was created to thank those passengers who cruise with us frequently — and to offer an incentive to our new passengers who may be joining us for the very first time. A range of rewards awaits you, from exclusive onboard parties and events to access to a Circle Host on board every cruise who can answer any questions you might have about benefits. At higher levels, you’ll receive other perks like Preferred Check-in, complimentary wine tasting, complimentary internet credit, priority disembarkation and more!

You’ll receive a special Member Number as a Circle Member. Be sure to have it handy whenever booking, so you can be certain to take advantage of all your benefits.

But wait, there’s more... Complete 20 cruises and you’ll earn Loyalty Commends onboard credits from $25 to $100. Other benefits include a private luncheon for the top 20 Most Traveled Passengers or a commemorative gift and bottle of champagne for the top 3 Most Traveled Passengers on each voyage. ■

Voyage

Minutes

7 days or less

150

8-20 days

250

21+ days

500

• upgrade to Princess Platinum vacation Protection^u • Preferred shoreside phone line • Platinum Disembarkation lounge • complimentary cruise atlas • Platinum member Pin • Preferred check-in at embarkation

Elite Members From your 16th cruise on, or 151+ cruise days • complimentary shoe polishing, laundry and professional cleaning services • Priority ship to shore tender embarkation • Priority disembarkation • 10% boutique discount • complimentary grapevine wine tasting* • complimentary mini-bar setup* • Deluxe canapés on formal nights (upon request) • upgraded stateroom amenities • traditional afternoon tea in stateroom (upon request) • elite member Pin

NOTE: Members are eligible for a higher tier level on the next cruise following completion of necessary cruises and/or cruise days. Passengers who sail alone in their cabin and pay the exclusive occupancy rate and passengers who pay for and sail in a full suite (mini-suites excluded) receive credit for two cruises. ■

The Loyalty Commend onboard credit is determined by number of completed cruises and is applied per household.

u

u.s. and Canadian residents only.

† For use in the internet Café or through wireless internet. Availability may vary by ship. ^ with purchase of Princess vacation Protection program (u.s. and canada only). excludes same-day service.

* For passengers 21 and over, complimentary Grapevine Wine Tasting is one per cruise per Elite Member. Complimentary mini-bar setup is one-time only, per Elite stateroom.

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PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Plan

a future journey

Book your next cruise

on board

Let a Future Cruise sales Consultant help you plan a future getaway, and you’ll get a reduced deposit and up to $300 in shipboard credits, even if you don’t yet know where you want to sail.

Book a cruise, or place a deposit, while you’re on board and receive a special offer — up to $300 shipboard credit per stateroom. With just a reduced $100 refundable deposit per person, you’ll get a shipboard credit good on your next cruise with Princess. if you’re unsure of your future travel plans, simply make a deposit and take up to 2 years to decide. This exclusive offer is available only to our onboard passengers. see your Future Cruise Consultant for details.

Shipboard Credit*

Cruise Length

Stateroom Type

3-6 days

interior/Oceanview Balcony/Mini/suites

$15 $25

7-10 days

interior/Oceanview Balcony/Mini/suites

$25 $50

11-16 days

interior/Oceanview Balcony/Mini/suites

$75 $100

17+ days

interior/Oceanview Balcony/Mini/suites

$125 $150

(U.S./CAN)

Check the Princess Patter daily for office hours and location.

*Deposit is per person, for 1st and 2nd passenger only.

Note: Future Cruise Deposits are also available to international passengers. see Future Cruise Consultant for details.

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See the world with Princess Cruises® — the destination leader. The Princess fleet is unparalleled, with 16 ships sailing more than 130 unique itineraries and visiting over 330 ports of call. Our ships are designed to meet every traveler’s needs, whether it’s grand cruising or a voyage on one of our small ships. Whichever you prefer, you can expect unsurpassed service and state-of-the-art amenities on every cruise. Princess sails to more worldwide destinations than ever before.

Princes s Cruises 2013 -2014 s ailing s che dule at a G lance

CRUISES DISCOVERY

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HANDBAGS AND ACCESSORIES WWW.PARAZUL.COM

PERSONAL STYLE Parazul scarves and charms are available in many shapes and designs that can be mixed and matched with your bag selection. Patterned after favorite elements of the beautiful Caribbean region, they also make unforgettable mementos of your visit.

TAKE HOME A PIECE OF PARADISE PARAZUL is AvAiLAbLe At these fine RetAiLeRs thROUghOUt the CARibbeAn: AntigUA Diamonds International • ARUbA Diamonds International • bARbADOs Diamonds International beLiZe Diamonds International • beRMUDA Crisson Jewellers • CURAçAO Freeport Jewelers • gRAnD CAYMAn Diamonds International • fReePORt John Heath • fALMOUth Jewels and Time • KeY West Diamonds International, Bumble Bee MOntegO bAY Jewels and Time • nAssAU Diamonds International • OChO RiOs Goldmine, House of Diamonds, Jewels & Time • ROAtAn Diamonds International • st. CROiX Royal Jewelers • sAn JUAn Blue Diamond • st. Kitts Goldmine st. LUCiA Diamonds International, Harry Edwards • st. MAARten Goldfinger Jewelry, Majesty Jewelers st. thOMAs Diamonds International • tORtOLA Mi Amor

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TOP TO BOTTOM:

Navy Scarf Bag with Ocean Bliss scarf an d Logo and Ocean Bliss charm Metallic Demi Bag with Mother of Pearl slim scarfs and Logo charm White Tote Bag with Wild Thing slim scarf and Logo and Wild Thing charms Pink Slim Bag with Flower Power slim scarf and Flower Power charm

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How to Have

A Perfect Day in Port Here’s how to bring home the deals as you explore the ports of call during your vacation

1Meet

Meet your Princess Shopping Host. Visit one of our highly trained professionals during desk hours to get firsthand shopping information.

Get your Savvy Traveler. With your purchase, you’ll receive loads of free gifts and exclusive money-saving gift certificates.

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• Just Add u Say Wo W w! Sun! See • Over 100 Clothing Del Sol products change vibrant colors Options: TT shirts, shorts, • Solize: Polarize outside in the kids apparel, sun! d sunglasses women’s tees • Fun Accesso with lifetime guarantee even and more ries: Nail polish, if you lose them! jewelry, beach bags, flip-flops BVLGARI BOUT , hats and more 14

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Shop with confidence, knowing that carefully se all mercha lected and nts on this each offers map have a 60-day g If a problem been uarantee to arises after cruise line your cruise guests*. please contact but within 60 the Custom days of the er Relation purchase date, s Department at Onboard Media. Shop with Onboard Media, Inc. | 1691 Phone: (80 Michiga ( 0) n Av 0 396-2999 A e. | Suite | Fax: (3 600, Miami Hours: Monday ( 05) 5 673-274 5) Beach, 7 1 | E-mail: 74 – Thursday shoppingissues FL 33139 y, 9:00am – 6:00pm; @onboard.com Friday 9:00am – 5:30pm EST

s will repair repaired or or replace replaced by any unsatisfac the brand service tory item, except centers. For for watches purposes of be authorized and excluding determining by the merchant cases of buyer’s quality and material and/or . Please ask value of jewelry, / verbal promotion /or about individual y only appraisals negligence, buyer’s y, relating to remorse or store return s are approxim ofreplacem the guarantee lost or stolen policies before ate; actual ent value for . Participating merchandise. onboard for carat weight you buy. Merchand insurance purposes merchants immediate Watches and can be provided ise must be have paid assistance. will be accepted other branded by an advertisin inspected . The appraisal merchandise immediately g fee to Onboard participating merchant must come will be by s. The port Media for inclusion from a gem shopping program the purchaser upon laboratory or receipt of items. in this program. is operated All reference If you become by Onboard s to gemstone Media, Inc., aware of a carat which stands problem during behind all customerweight in printed your cruise, please contact relations claims the Port and Shopping Concierge

Bring your Shopping Spotlight newsletter into port. Tuck it into your purse or pocket — so you’ll always be headed to great values.

5SHOP

Shop at the stores listed in the Shopping Spotlight and discover your heart’s desire. See it? Like it? Buy it!

56

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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>>

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Precision timepieces and shimmering jewelry are the finishing touches for that perfect look sought by those in the know. Here, from the top names in design, are the looks you’ll love.

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Raymond Weil

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>>

Korite

>>

Solara pendant

Gift Collection Tiara diamond ring

objects >>

of desire

Safi Kilima

>>

Tanzanite drop earrings

Lagos

Glacier Gemstone Rope bracelet

>>

Philip Stein Prestige Collection watch

>>

John Hardy

Women’s Dot gold and silver bracelet

>>

Roberto Coin Primavera bracelets

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PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Protect Your Watches and JeWelrY BEforE

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Available online and in the Guaranteed Stores in Port After your purchase visit us online at : www.myyesplan.com

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Š KABANA. All designs protected by copyright laws. All rights reserved. Reproduction/Duplication prohibited.

PINK MOTHER OF PEARL and rose gold

MADE IN U.S.A. Since 1975

in the Caribbean exclusively at DiamonDs international For your nearest retailer call 800.521.5986 or visit us at www.kabana.net

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I got mine. Get yours.

Become a Savvy Traveler. For only $25, this value package includes over $2,000 in deals from our guaranteed shops ashore. Whether you’re looking for luxury items or souvenirs for family and friends, the Savvy Traveler is your must-have for shopping in our ports of call.

See your Princess Shopping Host to purchase your very own Savvy Traveler.

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Tune In To

On Your Stateroom Television

Learn the hottest jewelry and watch trends of the season with your host, Carrie Julier. A veteran cruise traveler, Carrie has more than a decade of professional shopping experience.

In Discover Style, the TV companion to the fashion magazine in your stateroom, Carrie gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Discover Style magazine and tells you how you can make today’s looks yours. Join her backstage at high-end photo shoots, and share the excitement as she mingles with designers at special events and talks to style makers and trendsetters.

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what’s on

See all the latest collections from the top designers, and get Carrie’s expert tips on buying watches and jewelry—from the affordable to the extraordinary.

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for Him

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Gold • Blue Diamonds • Mexican Exotic Opals Tanzanite • Pearls • Tennis Bracelets • Men’s Rings • Watches Sapphire • Ruby • Emeralds & Diamond Jewelry

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Michal Bednarek /ShUTTerSTOck .cOM

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Ports of call Caribbean and Other Ports 80 90 108 120 124 126 136 150 164 166 172 174 176 178 186 188 190 214 228 238 270

Antigua Aruba Barbados Belize Bonaire Cabo San Lucas Cozumel Curaçao Dominica Ensenada Fort Lauderdale Galveston Grand Turk Grenada Princess Cays® Roatán San Juan St. Kitts St. Lucia St. Maarten / St. Martin St. Thomas

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Antigua

Eric BakEr/shuttErstock.com

Part of the two-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, this locale is even more focused on the waters surrounding it than you might expect. The scalloped shores, once beloved by colonial navies and smugglers, are now favored by the most zealous beachgoers and sailors.

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Boaters find many cozy spots in which to drop anchor in Antigua.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Beaches, sailing and rich maritime history. IT’S A FACT: Musician Eric Clapton owns a home on the island, and you can see it from the bluffs of Shirley Heights. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Rum, hot pepper sauce and toy steel drums.

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A perfect day in:

Snug coves line the shores of Antigua.

Things We Love AbouT AnTiguA Nicknamed the “Gateway to the Caribbean,” Antigua has been tops with sailors since Britain’s Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson sailed into port in 1784. Today, Nelson’s Dockyard National Park is the world’s only remaining Georgian naval yard, a favorite with yachties and the site of one of the world’s top five regattas. Historic stone buildings here now house boutiques, restaurants and museums. Antigua is well known for its 365 beaches, offering everything from family fun to romantic relaxation to challenging watersports. And shoppers can dive into two special areas on the island. Duty-free shopping reigns at Heritage Quay, where more than 40 shops sell fine jewelry, perfumes, clothing and more. At the waterfront Redcliffe Quay, shops in colorful colonial buildings sell handicrafts and Caribbean artwork. When it’s time for a break, restaurants tempt with the national dish of Antigua: cornmeal-based funghi, and the thick stew known as pepperpot. Dessert is an extra-sweet Antigua black pineapple. And don’t be surprised to see familiar faces in Antigua’s restaurants. Through the years, Eric Clapton, Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman have owned homes on this island, named the Caribbean’s best for celebrity spotting. —J. B. and P. P.

82

FROM TOP: A colorful St. John’s handicraft shop; one of Antigua’s 365 beaches; a steel drum.

HOW TO GET TO TOWN The lively center of St. John’s is an easy walk from the pier — it takes only a minute or two, and you may not even lose sight of your ship.

clockwise, photos by: Dan chippenDale/istockphoto.com; fotosearch.com; holger w./shutterstock.com; peter albrektsen/shutterstock.com

Antigua

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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®

Harbor History It was 1671 when Sir Charles Wheeler, governor of the Leeward Islands, first urged the British Crown to consider the deep, expansive bay called English Harbour, Antigua, as a seaport for the British Navy. By 1704, the harbor sheltered a large part of the British fleet, which set out from here on raids and forays over the next 100 years — a period of constant power struggles be tween British, Spanish, French and Dutch explorers, settlers and pirates. The only remaining Georgian naval dockyard in the world achieved its greatest fame when Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, the man who was to become Britain’s most celebrated naval hero, was headquartered there. During Nelson’s days in Antigua, the Antillean islands ranked higher in importance than the North American 84

colonies, thanks to sugar. The crop was so lucrative that the British government spent a fortune on the dockyard to maintain the might of the Royal Navy and to discourage invaders who sought this precious natural resource. The yard was officially abandoned by the navy in 1889 and soon fell into disrepair. It was restored and reopened in 1961 by a group of Anti­ guans and expatriates who formed an organization known as the Friends of English Harbour. Now a national park, this area is a lively center for sailors, history buffs and anyone who enjoys a nautical atmosphere. — D. W.

TOP: The dockyard where ships and sails were overhauled and repaired. INSET: Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, commander of the dockyard for the Royal Navy’s West Indies Fleet during the late-18th century. BELOW: Image of an original dockyard map, ‘‘A Plan of English Harbour with the King’s Yard and Careening Wharf,’’ “November 1745.”

Jules swickard/istockphoto.com; library of congress.

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LeAtHer BAgS

G U C C I G U I LT Y

LuggAge BeLtS And AcceSSorieS

Heritage Quay, St. John's, Antigua 268 562 5301 longchamp@candw.ag

Casually Chic Clothing For Men & Women Eva Varro • Amy Matto • Flax • C.P. Shades • Comfy • Sweet Pea Antigua’s Newest Duty Free Boutique, #52 Heritage Quay ~ Upper Level Tel: 268-462-8191 Email: cattleyaantigua@gmail.com Website: www.cattleyaantigua.com

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Duty and Tax Free

Heritage Quay duty Free Shopping complex St. John's, Antigua tel: 268.562.5295 passions@candw.ag

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Antigua and Barbuda Museum

s p ec i a l a dv e r t i s i n g f e at u r e

tropical adventures await Tropical Adventures is Antigua’s most established and awarded tour company. We endeavor to provide you with only the best shore excursions during your stay. The Excellence power catamaran, which operates the SEE ANTIGUA BY SEA tour, will take you on a 100% circumnavigation of Antigua’s exotic coastline with a visit to the idyllic Green Island.

For a look back at Antigua’s colonial past, visit this historical museum, housed in the Old Court House. Colonial artifacts, sugar-plantation displays and a life-size replica of an Arawak Indian dwelling can all be found here.

THE BEST OF ANTIGUA: Enjoy the Antigua Island Highlights with narration from local tour guides, on the way to the historic English Harbour. You will visit ancient fortifications to snap some breathtaking photos and then stop at the famed Nelson’s Dockyard, the world’s only operational Georgian shipyard.

Shipping was important to Antigua’s past.

robert freeman

Looking for an adventure? Join the Island Safari tour ISLAND SAFARI Land Rovers, and let our fun drivers take you through the island’s uncharted territories. Make your way through Antigua’s off-road forest reserves and quaint traditional villages. Stop at a white-sand beach for a swim.

troPICaL aDVentUreS

The Mystic sailing catamaran offers the Lobster Lunch & Champagne Cruise. Relax with a refreshing drink as we sail to many beaches on the west coast. Enjoy a grilled-lobster lunch on board the Catamaran.

A SWIMSUIT FOR EVERY body men, women and kids

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St. John’s Style

Whether you feel like shopping or taking in some local history and culture, you’ll find a delightful experience in St. John’s, the capital of Antigua for more than 300 years. Colonial buildings with corrugated-iron roofs and louvered West Indian-style verandas line the downtown streets, making for a lovely stroll on a sunny afternoon. Originally a busy trading area for merchants and shopkeepers centered around the harbor, St. John’s has retained much of the charm and scale of the past while offering excellent duty-free shopping at several international retailers. Popular Antigua attractions such as Nelson’s Dockyard and Shirley Heights are only a few minutes’ car ride away from the ship’s dock at St. John’s.

gingerlily Located upstairs Heritage Quay, Antigua

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REDCLIFFE QUAY, Redcliffe Street, St. John’s, Antigua, W.I.

Fashionable resor t w ear for the st y l ish w oman

The port at St. John’s

Tel/Fax: 1.268.462.3127 • E-mail: noreenphillipscouturiere@hotmail.com

The port at St. John’s

Holger W./SHutterStock.com

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Hand-Embroidered Tablecloths, Runners and Doilies, Souvenir Tea and Kitchen Towels, Bun Warmers, Cutlery Bags and a Variety of Souvenir Items. DUTY-FREE SHOPPING Heritage Quay Shopping Center St. John’s, Antigua Tel: (268) 462-2606

Shoul’s Duty Free LIQUOR

& PERFUMERY

Imported Cigars Pipes, Zippo Lighters Champagne, Wine, Rums of the World Whisky, Gin, Vodka

We are located in:

Heritage Quay Shopping Center, St. John’s, Antigua (268) 462-2606

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Aruba

aruba tourism board

beyond aruba’s famed beaches lies a desert-like countryside studded with prickly cacti, free-form boulders, solitary dunes and unusual trees. Visitors will find colorful architecture and other signs of dutch heritage in the capital city, oranjestad.

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The sun sets on a peaceful beach

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Palm Beach, windsurfing and jeep rides into the countryside. IT’S A FACT: The unusual, sculptured-looking watapana (aka divi-divi), Aruba’s national tree, always points to the southwest — like nature’s compass. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Wheels of Gouda and Edam cheese; aloe vera products; and Delftware porcelain.

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A ru b a

®

A perfect day in:

Aruba

The famous Natural ‘‘Baby’’ Bridge

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT ArUBA Ever y thing Dutch comes alive in Oranjestad — from gabled architecture Delft china. But not all of its attractions are imported. Oranjestad’s picturesque harbor boasts many tempting boutiques at the Renaissance Mall and Marketplace. Treasures such as Mopa Mopa art await in the shops along Caya G. F. Betico Croes, a delightful setting with its classic Dutch gabled, pastel-hued store facades. The legacy at the Numismatic Museum is a rich one, literally: some 40,000 historic coins and paper money from more than 400 countries. More heritage is on display at the Aruba Historical Museum; it can be reached with a walk down bustling L.G.

ABOVE: The Aruba Historical Museum, where fascinating heritage is on display

Smith Boulevard, to Fort Zoutman and the King Willem III Tower. At lunchtime, try a bowl of tasty Keshi Yena, an island specialty made with minced tenderloin and chicken stewed with golden raisins, prunes and nuts, all topped with Dutch Gouda cheese. Adventurous types explore the rugged, arid north side and famous natural bridges, or head to De Palm Island for snorkeling and swimming. It might be wise to first visit the Aruba Aloe Museum and Factory, where Aruba’s signature moisturizing miracle and sunburn remedy is extracted from the island’s bountiful aloe plants. —R. V. 92

FROM TOP: The colorful downtown; happy shoppers; a windmill, sign of Dutch heritage.

HOW TO GET TO TOWN To reach the colorful shops and attractions of Oranjestad, just walk through the cruise terminal and turn left onto L.G. Smith Boulevard.

Prasad Gondi/wikiPedia.com; aruba tourism board; aruba tourism board; aruba tourism board; aruba tourism board; aruba tourism board

to delicious cheeses and exquisite blue

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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A Diverse, Friendly Population Aruba is home to a mixture of people from South America and Europe, the Far East and other islands of the Caribbean, though most are descended from Arawak, Dutch and Spanish ancestors. No fullblooded Indians remain.

Arawak art

economy because of its poor soil and

during a global oversupply, but the

aridity. Instead, the Dutch left the Arawaks to

Coastal Oil Company of Houston, Texas,

graze livestock on the parched landscape,

reopened it in 1991.

using the island to produce meat for other Dutch possessions in the Caribbean. With

moDern PoliTics anD Tourism

the exception of a short period during

In the 1940s, Aruba began to resent

the Napoleonic Wars, when the island fell

playing second fiddle to Curaçao in the

Aruba’s people are keen linguists, using Dutch,

to the British, Aruba has remained Dutch

federation known as the Netherlands

English, Spanish and Papiamento with ease,

ever since.

Antilles (then composed of Aruba, Bonaire,

often all in the same conversation.

Curaçao and Suriname). By 1986, Aruba had

19Th-cenTury golD rush

enough and became an autonomous state

Beginnings

In 1824, Aruba experienced its first economic

within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with

Two thousand years ago, the Arawak

boom when gold was discovered on its

its own constitution and a high degree

people settled Aruba and were still there,

northern coast. A flood of gold-hungry

of self-government. For a while, Aruba

in 1499, when the Spanish conquistador

immigrants arrived from Europe and

toyed with the idea of proceeding to full

Alonso de Ojeda came to claim the island

Venezuela, and the gold rush was on. A

independence but then decided to stay

for Queen Isabella of Spain. The Spanish

smeltery at Bushiribana processed over

Dutch.

didn’t think highly of Aruba, which they

three million tons of raw material until 1916,

found too arid for cultivation — a bad

when the mines were shut down.

In the capital of Oranjestad, or “orange city,” honoring Holland’s reigning House

judgment call, because they missed the

After gold petered out, Aruba became

of Orange, a 21-member legislative

gold that was right under their noses and

the world’s leading producer of aloe, just

assembly elected by popular vote meets

didn’t foresee the economic boom in oil

as the sunbathing craze was taking off

regularly, and a prime minister heads an

and high-rise hotels that the island would

in the States. One can still visit the Aruba

eight-member council of ministers. The

experience. This was a lucky break for the

Aloe Balm Factory and see the production

Netherlands is still responsible for defense

Arawaks, though, who were left alone by

process first-hand — from aloe leaf to

and foreign affairs. Despite its separate

the Spanish for more than a century. Thus

finished lotions and creams.

status, Aruba still retains strong economic,

the Arawak heritage is stronger on Aruba

94

aruba tourism board

by Gerald Zarr

cultural and political ties with the mother

than on most Caribbean islands, thanks

20Th-cenTury Black golD rush

to that laissez-faire approach.

Oil gave Aruba its next economic boom.

Before the first luxury hotel was opened

In 1929, the Standard Oil Company of

in 1959, cruise ships provided the main

The DuTch come To sTay

New Jersey (now Exxon) built what was

source of visitors to the island. Since then,

With their lukewarm attitude toward Aruba,

then the world’s largest oil refinery in San

both ship- and land-based tourism have

the Spanish didn’t resist too fiercely when

Nicolas, on the southeastern coast. This

grown phenomenally. Aruba now boasts

the Dutch came calling in 1636 to seize

refinery employed over 8,000 people — 16

more than 6,000 hotel rooms and over a

Aruba and the sister islands of Bonaire

percent of Aruba’s population — making

million visitors each year. Having supplanted

and Curaçao. Once again, Aruba was

San Nicolas the island’s second-largest

oil as a revenue earner, tourism is now the

saved from the slave trade and a plantation

city. Exxon closed the refinery in 1985

mainstay of the island economy.

country and her sister islands.

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Flavors of

Aruba

by Sara Churchville sand dunes Exploring the island’s desert topography on foot will net you tumbleweed, aloe, cacti — and sand dunes. At Hudishibana, on the northwesternmost part of Aruba, are the sweeping California Dunes, named for a wrecked ship and complete with a stone lighthouse.

fernando arroniz/aruba tourism board; istockphoto.com; limeinteractive/istockphoto.com.

A lighthouse stands guard on the sand dunes.

A male frigate bird

Magnificent frigate Bird With a split tail at the end of its 39-inch body and bowed wings that span 85 inches, this is a species of scavenger bird you aren’t likely to miss. The black creatures are ubiquitous, especially to the south and west of the island and in Oranjestad harbor. The males can be distinguished by their red throats, which, during mating season, expand like a trumpet player’s cheeks.

Rock formations afford great views.

rock forMations Hikers can experience a bit of Stonehenge in the Caribbean thanks to Aruba’s as-yet unexplained rock and boulder formations. Some of the formations are full Pastechis

96

of quartz-diorite, while others, like the ones at Ayo, are

Pastechis

decorated with petroglyphs. A few even seem to have

These pastries, served at any meal and filled with dried fruit,

been stacked atop each other, though apparently not by

spices and meat or seafood, are one of the island’s

human hands. If you scale one, you’ll be rewarded with

best-loved specialties.

wonderful views of the island.

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15 L G Smith Blvd | P.O. Box 76 Oranjestad, Aruba 583-RAMS (7267) | 582-4978 fax rams@setarnet.aw 358.indd 2

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Shopping in

Aruba

Here’s the ultimate insider guide to what’s hot in town. SEE IT? LIKE IT? BUY IT!

FENDI Craz y C arats D i amon ds watc h

ForEVErMArK Ete r na l r i ng

MArAHlAgo S e duc t i o n b ra c elet

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Sunflower by Belle Étoile © 2011 belleetoilejewelry.com

P: 011.297.583.9921 E: diamante@dazzlersaruba.com

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Weststaat 4, Oranjestad Aruba Dutch Caribbean P: 011.297.583.9921 E: diamante@dazzlersaruba.com

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A ru b a

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Shopping in

Aruba

Here’s the ultimate insider guide to what’s hot in town. SEE IT? LIKE IT? BUY IT!

oruMiA Bl a c k a nd whi te di a m o nd e a r r i ng s

Gucci Gu c c i C oupé watc h w i th s teel c as e

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PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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all photos by bruce buck

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A grand gathering room; the cover of Caribbean Elegance; decorative yet Elegance functional jars; the perfect perch; graceful accents and details refine Old World classics.

Elegance in Design As the colonizing nations of Western Europe competed for control of the Caribbean, their planters and merchants brought with them their fine European furniture. But they soon discovered the heat and humidity of the islands were too powerful for the wooden furniture to endure. So local craftsmen were given the task of duplicating imported furnishings using sturdier woods indigenous to the islands. The reproductions proved to be less identical and more interpretive as the years went by. Thus were born the distinctive island design styles. Michael Connors, a distinguished scholar of West Indian decorative arts and furniture, explores this evolution in Caribbean Elegance (New York City: Henry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002). Connors, founder of the art and antiques company Michael Connors International, is the author of several similar books on island design and has designed two lines of colonial-style furniture; he is often credited with establishing colonial West Indian furniture as an independent collecting field. A favorite among design aficionados, his Caribbean Elegance presents the islands’ alignment of form and function, and focuses on the historical events and socioeconomic factors that contributed to the development of Caribbean furniture designs. Its 176 pages include the vivid color photography of Bruce Buck. Connors reveals that although the region’s heritage dates back more than 3,000 years, the development of West Indian furniture did not begin until the 18th century. Over the succeeding 300 years, Spain, England, Holland, Denmark and France all influenced furniture design in the Caribbean. Add to that African and North American influences, as well as expressions from the Caribbean’s history of slavery, and the result is an international art form representing a melting pot of style. 102

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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envy bangles

Boutique Silver Bangle Designs © 2011

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aruba tourism board

Bowing In The Wind

ArubA tourism boArd

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if you’re curious to know which way the wind is blowing on this breezy island, just take a look at the watapana, or divi-divi, trees. these fragile trees have such a weak bark that they bend easily. as the divi-divi grow under the influence of the trade winds that caress aruba, they maintain their bowed shape, sometimes running almost completely parallel to the parched land of the countryside.

Underwater Wonders

aruba tourism board/angela tromp aruba tourism board/angela tromp

A ru b a

aruba’s beauty lies as much below sea level as above. during World War ii, german warships attempted to destroy aruba’s oil refineries, only to be destroyed themselves. now these sunken ships are habitats for a myriad of marine life. at some sites, the visibility runs to 100 feet. Exploring a wreck site

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Dutch Treats

The Dutch influence on the island of Aruba is pervasive, and it’s decidedly apparent in downtown Oranjestad’s charming shops.

mark anja/istockphoto.com; ron Zmiri/shutterstock.com.

Alongside the typical array of luxury goods are some real Dutch treats, including Delftware, the familiar blueand-white porcelain. Delftware dates to late-16th-century Netherlands and takes its name from the town of Delft, where potters and craftsmen created these works of art. The earliest Delftware style was shaped by the influence of products imported from Italy and Asia. The value — and hence the price — of a piece of modern Delf tware is determined by the intricacy of design and the amount of hand-painting involved. To ensure the highest quality, look for the artist’s initials on the bottom of a piece or get a certificate of authenticity to accompany your purchase. —S.L.C.

ABOVE: Delftware pieces make wonderful gifts for anyone. PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Photos courtesy of ArubA tourism boArd

A ru b a

FROM LEFT: An aerial view of Eagle Beach; the Baby Natural Bridge; a rocky beach.

Shimmering Shores This area is known as the Turquoise Coast for good reason — the color of the sea is definitely the best of blues.

In Aruba since 1969 Fine Jewelry, Watches, Silver, Porcelain, Embroidered Tablecloth, Mats and Runners Wi-Fi AVAILABLE

Locations: L. G. Smith Blvd. 90-92 and at the Holiday Inn. Tel.: 297 582 3142 - Email: artistic25@yahoo.com 106

Bon Bini — “Welcome” to Aruba. The island boasts some of the best beaches in all the Caribbean. All beaches on the island are public; the most popular are situated along the southern and protected western coasts. Palm Beach, 30 yards deep with mounds of fine talc-white sand, is one of the most famous beaches in the West Indies. This shore is lined with busy resorts and active windsurfers. Closer to Oranjestad, Eagle Beach is another favorite choice. This beach is generally less crowded than Palm Beach and offers a variety of water sports. Other possibilities on the leeward coast include Druif Bay Beach, less frequented by tourists. Toward the northern tip lies Arashi Beach, boasting an excellent offshore dive site. The easternmost tip of the island cradles a charming cove called Baby Beach, perfect for quiet snoozing. On the windward coast to the north, one happens upon hideaway strips and coves cut out of the limestone brittle of the coastline. Here the water tends to be rough — not advisable for swimming but ideally suited for the local windsurfers and kitesurfers, who especially favor Bachelor’s Beach and Boca Grandi. —W.L.S.

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Sunny and Warm

Yes, “sunny and warm” would certainly be a sure-thing weather prediction for Aruba, caressed as it usually is by 82 delightful degrees of Fahrenheit. But the description applies to more than just the mercury level. It’s also a perfect forecast for the islanders themselves. Now that you’re on vacation, subject yourself to the best antidote to daily-life stress available: the smiling faces and bubbly personalities of the Aruban people. Don’t fight it! Accept that you’ve traveled through a time warp and have emerged in a different world, one where a congenial, laid-back attitude is the rule rather than the exception. You wouldn’t expect anything less from those whose national anthem proclaims: “The greatness of our people is their great cordiality.” Now that’s friendly. They’ll even go out of their way to let you know when things will be slightly delayed. One shop window recently advised: “Today’s Papers Will Be in Tomorrow.” There’s a rumor floating around that those little sunshiny smiley faces you run into back home are actually portraits of typical island residents. Hey, it could be. But true or not, you’ll discover that when someone in Aruba says “Have a nice day,” they actually mean it. —R. N. PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Barbados

graham tomlin/shutterstock.com

With manicured gardens, a centuries-old parliament and plenty of polo games and cricket matches, charming Barbados wears its British heritage like a comfortable tweed cape. But Barbadians have added their own twists to these traditions.

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Swaying palms at Bottom Bay, near Bridgetown in Barbados

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Sugarcane plantations, landscape paintings and cricket matches. IT’S A FACT: The island’s signature Crop Over Festival started, as its name suggests, to celebrate the end of sugarcane harvesting. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Rum, flying fish (yes, they do fly — sort of) and cricket paraphernalia.

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B ar b ad os

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A perfect day in:

Barbados

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT BArBAdOS Bridgetown, capital of Barbados, is a favorite among travelers who want to see “the real Caribbean.” A bustling metropolis in its own right, it doesn’t have the touristy feel some hot spots do. And the island’s panoramic landscape is among the most lush and majestic in the southern Caribbean. Hiking and driving tours of seaside villages, plantations, gardens and 17th-century English country churches make Barbados a great place for adventure or relaxation. Diving is the grand pursuit here: Underwater visibility usually exceeds 100 feet and provides stunning views of magnificent hawksbill turtles and more than 50 varieties of fish gliding through shallow reefs. Popular dives include three sites in particular: Asta Reef; a coral reef two minutes by boat from Sandy Beach; and the stunning, five-mile-long Dottins Reef. Duty-free shopping is as close as the cruise ship terminal at Bridgetown Harbor, where dozens of shops offer everything you would expect: collectible watches, big diamonds and other outrageously luxurious goods not found in any other port. In Bridgetown, Broad Street is home to vendors specializing in fine local products. Best buys are watches, gold jewelry, crystal, perfumes and locally produced Barbados rum and liqueurs. —J. T. A crystallized limestone cavern in Harrison’s Cave 110

FROM TOP: Diving on a vibrant reef; a hawksbill turtle; enjoying the turquoise water

HOW TO GET TO TOWN The downtown area of Bridgetown is located about a mile from the cruise ship pier, about 10 minutes away by taxi. Shuttle buses also are available. The shuttle pick-up point is just to the right of the cruise terminal; drop-off and pick-up for the return trip to the cruise terminal is at the head of Broad Street.

cornel achirei/ShutterStock.com; ramunaS BruzaS/dreamStime.com; BarBadoS touriSt authority; tom doeppner/wikipedia.com; BarBadoS touriSt authority

The Promenade in Bridgetown

Scott t Slattery/ShutterStock.com; de palm tourS; ramunaS BruzaS/dreamStime

Brilliant turquoise water

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Cane and Cricket

Barbados had felt other cultural influences before the British arrived and left their indelible stamp.

Beginnings As early as 1600 B.C., Amerindians canoed across dangerous currents to arrive first on Barbados, followed centuries later by tribes such as the Arawak and the Carib. But the Indians had abandoned the island by the time of its discovery by Europeans in the 1500s. It wasn’t until Portuguese sailors landed here on their way to Brazil in 1536 that Barbados finally got its name, meaning “bearded ones,” from the “bearded” aerial roots of fig trees abundant on the island. When the first British settlers landed here in 1627, establishing Holetown on the island’s western coast, Barbados was uninhabited. In 1639, together with the British governor and the Anglican Church, a local House of Assembly was elected and ruled the island, an unusual amount of autonomy to be given to a British colony. Sugarcane was introduced in the 1650s, and as demand for sugar took off, local plantations struggled to find workers for the labor-intensive crop.

On Barbados, let the trade winds be your compass. To the west, a walk across the island’s miles of sandy beaches followed by a float on the calm turquoise water is a delightful way to spend a few hours. To the north, a rugged, picturesque coastline enchants the eye, while to the east, the pounding Atlantic surf fills the ears until the only other sounds that penetrate are the calls of the clamorous seabirds. Sugarcane fields lie inland, along with the exquisite Flower Forest, an 8-acre former sugar plantation where almost every plant on the island thrives, including the famed bearded fig tree for which the island was named. Bewitching Welchman’s Hall Gully, just south of the Flower Forest, has footpaths that meander through Barbados’ only rainforest. Nearby Andromeda Gardens is home to some of the Caribbean’s finest indigenous tropical flora, flaunting rich botanical blossoms. No matter where one wanders on this beautiful island, at the end of the day, the senses will be sated. — R. C. 112

White indentured servants from the British Isles became the backbone of the labor force prior to the use of African slaves.

Contemporary times Even as the economy suffered from the 1800s onward, cane cultivation was still the dominant industry. But since independence from Britain in 1966, tourism has flourished. Today, Barbados enjoys a healthy economy in its own right, but one British tradition still remains cherished here. When Barbados hosts England in a cricket Test Match, English fans flock to the island to watch the national sport of both countries in a carnival-like setting. Some of Barbados’ most celebrated modern heroes are cricket players, including Clyde Walcott, Frank Worrell and Everton Weekes — the “Three Ws,” all knighted in the 1960s — as well as Garfield “Gary” Sobers, considered to be the greatest cricketer of all time. — J. A.

Barbados Beauty Islands have a specific appeal; the boundaries of an island offer the possibility that we can truly get to know it.

MAT/shuTTersTock.coM; wikipediA

B ar b ad os

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Flavors of

Barbados

by Jim Thompson

BARBADOS FLAG Adopted on the island’s first Independence Day in 1966, the flag of Barbados incorporates two bands of blue to symbolize the ocean, a central band of yellow for the sand, and a black trident. The three points of the trident represent a democratic government of, for and by the people.

COU-COU Tracing its roots to the island’s African ancestry, cou-cou has been a staple in Barbados since early colonial days. When paired with flying fish, this Caribbean polenta — made from cornmeal mixed with okra, pepper, butter and water — is the island’s national dish.

The fish only appears to fly over the waves.

Barbadians’ favorite dish: cou-cou and flying fish

RUM “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.” This liquid libation, distilled from molasses and sugarcane juice, was born in Barbados (Mount Gay Rum dates to the 1600s) and has refreshed thirsty rebels from pirates to America’s colonial revolutionaries. George Washington insisted on having a barrel of Barbados rum at his 1789 presidential inauguration.

RUM PUNCH The nation’s paper bills and coins

CURReNCY Vivid colors and a fixed rate of two Barbadian dollars to one U.S. dollar make it simple to understand Barbados’ currency. The blue $2 bill and the seven-sided silver $1 coin with the image of a flying fish on the face are the mostused currency on the island.

“One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak.” Or: One part pure lime juice (1/4 cup) Two parts sugar (1/2 cup) Three parts Barbados rum (3/4 cup) Four parts water (1 cup) Source: barbados.org (the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia Web site)

Barbados rum drinks pack a punch. 114

Isa Went/Coast CarIbbean Images; noaa/WIkIpedIa.Com; marquIs/shutterstoCk.Com; karen hadley/shutterstoCk.Com

FLYING FISH Called “land of the flying fish,” Barbados has a special reverence for this unusual marine creature, which is depicted on its currency, in sculptures and in the logo of its tourism authority. Using large pectoral fins like wings, the fish can leap from the water and “fly” for up to 45 seconds at speeds of over 40 mph.

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photos courtesy of sunbury plantation house

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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Sunbury Plantation House main dining room; the mansion's exterior; living room.

At Home with the Past

Enjoyable dining experience. Featuring an open-air balcony, overlooking Broad Street. Fresh local juices, full bar, cou cou, flying fish, jerk pork, curried goat, conch fritters

Seriously good food! #33 Broad Street, Bridgetown, Barbados, WI 246-436-1177

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When gentleman farmer Matthew Chapman — one of Barbados’ original settlers — arrived from England and built his plantation house around 1660, little did he know that it would reign, some 350 years later, as one of the island’s foremost tourist attractions. Chapman Plantation included a sugar plantation and a cattle mill by the time Chapman died in 1693, after which it changed hands — and names — several times. When brothers John and George Barrow purchased the estate in 1775, they renamed it “Sunbury,” after their childhood home in Kent, England. Today known as Sunbury Plantation House, the property is owned by the Melville family, who opened it as a museum in January 1984. After a fire in July 1995 nearly destroyed the “great house,” a meticulous restoration returned it to its former glory, and it reopened the following year in its present incarnation. The estate serves as a historical tribute to the genteel side of Barbados’ history, with antique furnishings, a unique collection of horse-drawn carriages and farm implements, and both china and silver, attesting to its storied past. The grounds, gardens and small wooded area surrounding the house are also open to the public and offer a romantic venue for weddings and other special events. —M.S.R.

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Born Free

Green vervet monkeys roam as they like in Barbados, but you may prefer to meet them at the Barbados Wildlife Reserve.

barbados tourist authority

Precious primate

Here, the agile monkeys move f re e l y t h ro u g h t h e m a h o g a n y forest. Indeed, during the day, the primate population — estimated at 8,000 — scampers in and out of the refuge at will, generally returning in time for scheduled afternoon snacks. Opened in 1985, the nearly cagefree reserve houses deer, mongooses, agoutis, iguanas and armadillos, plus five types of tortoise and dozens of bird species. There are wonderful naturalhistory exhibitions to observe and photograph. Brick pathways, open to both people and animals, wind through the woods. If you walk to the flamingo pond and through the huge, screened aviary, remember to watch your step.

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Lighthouse at Belize City

Belize

For a country of its tiny size, Belize is blessed with an incredible share of natural treasures — including the world’s only jaguar preserve and the Western Hemisphere’s longest barrier reef. Belize also offers a bounty of historical and cultural artifacts, especially in ruins of the ancient Maya civilization that made its home here.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Diving, nature preserves and beaches.

SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Mayan astrological charts and pendants; tropical-fruit preserves; and nance liqueur, made with cherries grown in the Yucatán.

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jazzboo/shUtterstoCK.Com

IT’S A FACT: The Garifuna people of Belize are descendants of the original Caribbean residents, the Caribs and Arawaks.

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A perfect day in:

Belize

Colorful coral awaits divers in Belize.

Belize is a country with a rich natural and cultural mix — from jungle animals and colorful fauna, Mayan ruins and artifacts, to its watery landscape of more than 200 tropical island cays that make up the nearly 200-mile-long Belize Barrier Reef. The largest, Ambergris Caye, is reached on a shore excursion where manatee-watching is a must and where a dazzling variety of colorful marine life awaits scuba divers and snorkelers. Caye Caulker, just south of Ambergris, has quiet beaches for the perfect relaxing day trip. A short walk along Albert Street on the Belize City waterfront leads to the Fort George Lighthouse and to the nearby House of Culture Museum, which was once the governor’s residence. The Marine Terminal houses the Coastal Zone Museum showcasing the Barrier Reef’s marine life. Mayan history, through artifacts and pottery, awaits visitors at the Museum of Belize. Many shoppers also snap up hand-carved treasures made from local wood at Market Square. Outside the city limits, visitors flock to the Belize Zoo with its native ocelots and jaguars, or to the Community Baboon Sanctuary where Black Howler monkeys frolic. The 6th-century Temple of the Green Tomb and the Temple of Masonry Altar dominate Altun Ha, Belize’s most extensively excavated Mayan ruin. —R. V.

FROM TOP: The courthouse in Belize City; Mayan ruins at Tikal; a perfect place on the water.

HOW TO GET TO TOWN Cruise guests take a tender from the ship to Belize’s Tourism Village, a 15-minute ride from the ship. Taxis into the city are available at the village.

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joe barbarite/shutterstock.com; ramunas bruzas/Dreamstime; climberjak/shutterstock.com.

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Deep-Blue Belize Crystal-clear turquoise water. Abundant sea life. Temperate conditions year-round. Divers enjoy all this and more when they explore beneath Belize’s surrounding waters. A diverse coastal geography of cays (pronounced “keys”) and offshore atolls, as well as the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, create some of the most exciting underwater experiences in the world for beginner and seasoned scuba divers alike. Descending into Belize’s electric-blue waters, divers encounter a vast and varied ecosystem. At the Great Blue Hole, a perfectly circular coral sinkhole set off the mainland, divers can descend as deep as 200 feet to witness fascinating stalactites and limestone formations, as well as shrimp and hundreds of colorful tropical fish. Divers experienced enough for deeper waters may even spot a hammerhead or black-tip tiger shark. But though the country boasts plenty of unique dive sites, its most famous is the Belize Barrier Reef — and for good reason. Stretching 186 miles, it’s the second-largest coral-reef system in the world, bested only by Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Without the reef’s protection against erosion by strong ocean waves, Belize’s Ambergris Caye likely wouldn’t exist. And that’s not the only credit due to this natural spectacle. Divers here immerse themselves in one of the world’s most complex and diverse underwater ecosystems, with over 500 species of fish and over 100 coral species. Sites like Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan Cut, a few miles south of Ambergris Caye, show off some of the ocean’s most elusive creatures, including spotted eagle rays soaring along the sandy floor and nurse sharks weaving through its narrow coral channel. There’s no telling what you might discover lurking behind the reef’s undulating sea fans, or flitting through the electric-blue currents; schools of rainbowhued tropical fish, gently coasting sea turtles and a barracuda showing off its sharp teeth are just a few thrilling possibilities. — C. L. 122

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Sacred Center

Temple of the Masonry Altars at Altun Ha

Thirty miles north of Belize City and a few miles in from the coast lie the remains of one of the most important centers in the Mayan world: Altun Ha (Water of the Rock), a major trading center for the Maya from a.d. 250 to 900, when, like the rest of the Mayan civilization, it fell into decline. The site consists of 13 temples and structures grouped around two plazas. Among the artifacts that have been recovered here are numerous pieces of jade, a gemstone which was important in Mayan society but is not native to the region; thus its presence is proof that Altun Ha was a trade hub. One of the pieces found is Kinich Ahau, a 6-inchhigh jade bust of the Mayan sun god, the largest piece of Mayan jade sculpture ever recovered. The image now adorns Belizean currency notes. —R. J. S.

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Bonaire

Divers find incomparable beauty off Bonaire.

Considered one of the best diving locales in the Caribbean, Bonaire remains largely unspoiled. You won’t find a single traffic light on the entire island.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Coral reefs, sea turtles and flamingoes. IT’S A FACT: Bonaire’s only significant export is salt, which is cultivated in shallow, man-made ponds and salt beds. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Dutch cheese and chocolates, and miniature kunuku (rustic cottages).

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A perfect day in:

FROM TOP: A solid seat on the water; vibrant coral. BELOW: Kralendijk, the center of things.

HOW TO GET TO TOWN Crystal-clear water brings new worlds into view.

Things We Love AbouT bonAiRe Only gently touched by development, Bonaire is a pristine paradise that abounds with life and color. The island is heaven for divers, but it’s not just surrounded by coral reefs — it is a reef, as it sits atop an underwater mountain. Bonaire claims a population of more than 15,000 pink flamingos and more than 200 other bird species. Giving the island color, and often song, are parrots, terns, parakeets, herons, hummingbirds and big-billed pelicans. Nestled in a bay on the west coast are the pink, orange and green buildings of the island’s capital, Kralendijk, where Kaya Grandi tempts shoppers with gemstone jewelry, wood carvings, leather goods, ceramics, liquors and tobacco. One of the most beautiful stretches in the Antilles is the north road leading from Kralendijk. It winds past dazzling blue water on one side and soaring coral cliffs on the other. The panoramic views from Seroe Largu make the scenic spot an excellent photo stop. —J. T.

It doesn’t take long to reach Bonaire’s center; the ship docks right in town. Visitors have only about a two-minute walk after disembarking. Tropical advenTures; ksenchik30/shuTTersTock.com; Tropical advenTures

anneTJe/shuTTersTock.com; Tomo/shuTTersTock.com; kJersTi Joergensen/shuTTersTock.com; John a. anderson/shuTTersTock; pauline Jacobson/cd islands

Bonaire

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Cabo San Lucas Over the vast terrain of Los Cabos, as this gem of a port is known, sunsets glow for hours. Its lovely beaches rival those in Brazil, and the waters offshore are home to playful seals, gray whales and a medley of other marine life.

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The famed rock formation, Los Arcos, marks Land’s End — where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortés.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: The rock arch, El Arco; whale watching; and sport fishing. IT’S A FACT: Cabo claims to be the striped-marlin capital of the world. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Tequila, pottery and dolphinswim photos.

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A perfect day in:

Cabo San Lucas

An aerial view of Cabo’s busy waterfront

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT cABO SAN LUcAS

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Diving on a vibrant reef; Hawksbill turtle; Brilliant turquoise water

FROM TOP: Preparing to parasail; one of Cabo’s famed beaches; an ATV adventure.

HOW TO GET TO TOWN The center of Cabo San Lucas is reached by tender from the cruise ship. After disembarking, it’s about a 15-minute walk to town. You may prefer to take a taxi.

alan freed/shutterstock.coM; Mexico tourisM board.

Cabo San Lucas is a vacationer’s paradise — done in style. This once-sleepy fishing village at the southernmost tip of the Baja Peninsula now ranks as Mexico’s golfing capital and most high-end resort destination. Here, visitors indulge — and relax — in abounding sunshine upon beaches where a day of fun could include sport fishing and kayaking excursions, whale watching and, for the boldest adventurers, parasailing and ATV treks. For a taste of cultural sightseeing, a stroll along Calle Cabo San Lucas leads to San Lucas Church, completed by Spanish missionaries in 1746. It sits near the town’s main square, which is surrounded by shops and restaurants. Shoppers find their niche at the Puerto Paraíso Entertainment Plaza or within the many other shops and boutiques along nearby Marina Boulevard. Still other adventures may include an expedition to an Indian pueblo, La Candelaria, in the nearby mountains. Day trippers can rent a car and drive along the scenic 20-mile Corridor connecting Cabo San Lucas with San José del Cabo, passing a string of remote beaches and the grassy golf courses that shout “world-class” in this corner of the Pacific coastline. —R. V. PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Mexican Paradise by Richard Varr

Cabo San Lucas’ emergence as a favorite go-to place has been relatively recent. The once-unknown port on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula has more than made up for lost time, but never in a way that mars its unique charm. Upscale restaurants and hotel resorts line the streets and beaches, and delightful small shops add a European flavor to the downtown area. When seen today, it’s indeed hard to believe that less than a century ago Cabo San Lucas was a sleepy fishing village — with just a few hundred residents. It was only in the last three decades that development boomed in the Los Cabos area. The population tripled during the 1990s, when tourists discovered this Mexican paradise and came to bask on sun-drenched beaches, putt on championship golf courses and relax in high-end resorts.

Beginnings Long before Spanish explorers ever set eyes upon the more than 1,000-mile-long Baja Peninsula, nearly 50,000 native Indians had made this remote part of the peninsula home. One of these primitive tribes of hunter-gatherers, the Pericú Indians, settled along the narrow southern tip. The initial voyages by Spanish explorers Hernán Cortés in 1535 and Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1642 provided the gateway to European colonization, though it was Cortés’s navigator, Francisco de Ulloa, who is credited with first sighting Cabo San Lucas in 1537.

R. PeteRkin/shutteRstock.com

Colonization and the age of Pirates The desert terrain and the lack of water initially thwarted Spanish settlements. But British and Dutch buccaneers found the coastline’s secluded inlets to be ideal hiding places from which they could emerge and prey on passing Spanish galleons sailing between Manila and Spain. A momentous raid ensued in 1587: The pirate vessel commanded by the Englishman Thomas Cavendish emerged from its hidden berth along the Cabo San Lucas shoreline and plundered the Spanish galleon Santa Ana. In an attempt to end the terror, in 1602 Spain dispatched General Sebastián Vizcaíno to find safe ports for the galleons. During

Vizcaíno’s journeys, Cabo San Lucas was given its name and placed under the patronage of St. Luke. Soon afterward, the Spanish built a fort at Cabo San Lucas in an attempt to deter lingering pirate activity. The fort did just that and settlers began to trickle into the area. In 1730, the Jesuits established the San José del Cabo mission 20 miles east of Cabo San Lucas, in what is now the town of the same name. Both settlements became fishing villages whose economies eventually became dependent on fishing and fish canning. Significant growth, however, was never realized in Cabo San Lucas because its parched land lacked a viable water supply.

Modern-day CaBo san luCas In the early-20th century, Cabo San Lucas remained low-key, with a population of only around 400. By the 1930s, however, word had gotten out that if one was a fan of fishing and pristine beaches, Los Cabos was the place to go. Interest grew even more after World War II, attracting Hollywood movie stars such as Bing Crosby and Desi Arnaz. Development continued with exclusive hotels and first-rate restaurants. The tourism floodgates opened wide with the completion of the peninsular highway in the mid-1970s. Before then, 1,000 miles of rugged dirt roads had hampered travel to this corner of paradise. Next came an international airport, a modern marina and, perhaps most important, a freshwater pipeline. Cabo San Lucas was on its way to becoming a grand resort town. Today, cruise ships call regularly at this lively port. Visitors can take part in everything from water sports and golf to fascinating day-trip excursions. Cabo San Lucas has morphed from a sleepyvillage past to become one of Mexico’s mosttraveled destinations in the 21st century.

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Flavors of

Cabo San Lucas

by Sara Churchville

El Faro ViEjo Come at the right time of year, and you can watch baby sea turtles hatch near the fragments of a wrecked ship on the beach at El Faro Viejo, where sand dunes rise 500 feet above the water. The sea turtles nest between June and December and between November and February, depending on the species, and the babies hatch 45 days after the mother lays her eggs. The other supposed appeal of the spot is the remnant of an 1890 lighthouse, but it’s actually the view from the sand dunes that folks remember later. new hatchlings making their way to the ocean.

stripEd Marlin Cabo San Lucas is the acknowledged fishing capital of the world for striped marlin. Even a novice casting a line out can expect to haul in a catch of these blue, black and silver fish with their swordfish mouths and lavender stripes. Fortunately for these fish, they aren’t tasty, so after being photographed with their prize, most fishermen release them.

dEsErt surroundings It may feel like the Tropics, but all around are constant reminders of the desert that is Cabo San Lucas. Just as they do in the American Southwest, paloverde and mesquite trees abound, and much of Cabo’s water supply comes from an artesian well. Cabo’s desert landscape

todos santos Palm, mango and bamboo trees are everywhere in this old Indian village in the mountains north of Cabo. Unspoiled beaches and glimpses of village life also attract visitors. ripe, luscious mangoes

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foryouinf/shutterstock.com; holbox/shutterstock.com; Jessie carbonaro/istockphoto; maks narodenko/shutterstock.com.

a striped marlin

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Gold and Silver Jewelry Factory

• • • • •

Handmade Gold Vases Exquisite Silver Jewelry Exotic Opals Gold Jewelry Precious Stones

Boulevard Marina E/Madero y Vicente Guerrero S/N Los Cabos | La Paz | Mazatlán PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Cabo’s Famed Arch

Los Arcos

Once isolated by a thousand miles of rugged, uninviting desert, Cabo San Lucas now receives good publicity as a place where environmental protection and development blend in harmony. Parched mountains crumble into coastal surf, punctuated with shoreside golf-course greens and golden sunsets. Highly touted is the rock formation called Los Arcos, marking Land’s End — where the waters of the Pacific meet the Sea of Cortés. When the tide is right, a sandy shoal appears and leads through the arch itself, a portal to geology. From a distance, the rock formation resembles a dinosaur

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drinking water. On a boat trip cruising the area, the navigator points out other formations, including one that resembles a pig’s head. The tall, jagged one, he says, is an inverted map of Baja California. Use your imagination. On the way, the boat passes by Playa Amor (Lovers Beach), tucked between boulders, a popular spot sunbathers reach by water taxi. But the real reward — rounding the southernmost point of Baja — is views of both sides of the arch. No isolation can be found these days: Plenty of sea lions and pelicans are always around to keep you company. — C. R.

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Frank Herzog/sHutterstock.com; carlos sancHez pereyra/sHutterstock.com.

What Color Is Your Tequila?

A plant with long, spiny leaves that make it resemble an enormous pineapple top, blue agave takes eight to 12 years to mature. Only then can the 40- to 70-pound core be harvested and boiled, and the sweet liquid mosto extracted to produce tequila. What about the worm in the bottle, the one you’ve heard so much about? Here’s a clue. If there’s a worm at the bottom, it’s mescal — not tequila. — G. D.

The national flag isn’t the only thing in Mexico that’s red, white and green. ABOVE: A refreshing margarita. RIGHT: blue agave cactus.

One trendy cocktail is made of red sangrita (a mix of tomato and orange juices spiced with chilies), tequila (white or light golden) and lime juice, each served in a separate glass and lined up side-by-side. Yes, tequila comes in several shades. White tequila, or blanco, is colorless like water and is generally used to mix the classic margarita. The next step up in color,

quality and taste involves aging in oak barrels. By law, the pale golden reposado must rest at least two months in the barrel, where it acquires a mellow, slightly woody taste. Añejo tequila is barrel-aged more than one year. It turns dark amber in color and is smooth and meant for sipping. Mexican law requires genuine tequila to contain at least 51 percent blue agave.

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Cozumel

Tony L. Moore/ShuTTerSTock.coM

This lovely stop on Mexico’s Yucatån is known for its amazing dive sites, and for well-preserved archaeological remnants of the Maya. It was once a sacred destination for that ancient civilization, making it a top destination for students of history.

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The ultimate getaway

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Beaches, diving and eco-parks. IT’S A FACT: At the island’s south-end eco-park, whistling can cause the crocodiles to rise to the lagoon’s surface. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Silver jewelry, serapes and embroidered Mayan blouses.

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A perfect day in:

J. Cameron Gull/shutterstoCk.Com; karen roaCh/shutterstoCk.Com; mexiCo tourism board; FideiComiso para la promoCión turístiCa de la riviera maya.

Cozumel

San Miguel perches on Cozumel’s waterfront.

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT cOzUmEL Cozumel neatly balances its cultural experiences with its more playful reputation for shopping. In San Miguel, the charming town that hugs the waterfront, locally made treasures include silver, turquoise and leather goods, as well as pottery, stone carvings and wooden masks from Cozumel’s artisans. The port also claims its share of duty-free shops offering diamonds, watches and designer jewelry. The avenidas and calles of the town’s core are easily explored by foot. Pleasant encounters are likely with one of the Caribbean’s friendliest people, the Maya, who first settled in Cozumel some 1,700 years ago. Many still live in the thatch-roofed homes designed by their ancestors. Lunch in town should always begin with guacamole; Cozumel’s restaurants are said to serve some of Mexico’s best versions of this classic avocado dip. Many visitors, especially families, head south from San Miguel to visit the dolphins and sea lions at Chankanaab Park. Other natural attractions include the landmark Punta Sur Lighthouse, part of an ecological and cultural preserve, where Mayan El Caracol meteorological structures have been preserved. The road to ruins also leads many visitors to the archaeological site of San Gervasio, close to San Miguel in the island’s center. — C. K. W.

FROM TOP: A Mayan structure; whimsical crafts; Mayan women sharing some of their traditional cuisine.

HOW TO GET TO TOWN The Punta Langosta pier is right in the downtown area. From the International Pier or the Puerto Maya terminal, you’ll want to take a taxi.

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Shopping in

Cozumel

Here’s the ultimate insider guide to what’s hot in town. SEE IT? LIKE IT? BUY IT!

Safi KiLiMa Tan z an i te drop pen dant

Kabana A lha m b ra C o ll e cti on ri n g

gift CoLLeCtion earri n gs

Crown of Light D i a m on d ri n g

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Since 1963, Matis has been famous for its unique selection of handcrafted jewelry and carpets. With 14 chain stores in Turkey and MĂŠxico, including one in Cozumel Unlimited customer service and guaranteed satisfaction for all our clients

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Seafood feast

Food for Thought

If you’re a meat lover, you’ll be interested in carne asada, charcoal-grilled beef or pork. Or perhaps the chuleta yucateca, a pork chop soaked in a spicy marinade called adobo, then perfectly grilled and smothered with sautéed onions. On the lighter side is mole — chicken or turkey baked in a thick, spicy brown sauce. Also pibil — chicken or pork baked in a tangy red sauce with orange juice and wrapped in banana leaves. And there are always tamales — meat or chicken seasoned with chili, rolled in dough and steamed. Seafood lovers will swoon for ceviche — fish, shrimp or conch marinated with lime or lemon, vinegar, onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Or huachinango — red snapper, usually served whole. Those who prefer their fish filleted should try mero — fresh grouper. Mojo de ajo is fish, conch or shrimp that is cooked in a mouthwatering butter and garlic sauce. Other taste treats include plátanos fritos — fried plantains, a relative of the banana; queso relleno — stuffed cheese; and flan — a delectable custard with a slightly burnt topping. Whatever your choice, beware the salsa, which NASA could import for rocket fuel. In particular, ixnepech, a sauce made with turbocharged habanero chilies, is blowtorch-hot. For relief, try horchata, a cold soft drink made from rice or barley with added flavorings, or Jamaica (hah-MYkuh), a mellow flower-based drink. — R. N. 142

Fideicomiso para la promoción TurísTica de la riviera maya

Traveling means expanding your horizons, and that includes trying new foods. Here’s what’s cooking on the island of Cozumel.

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Scouting san Gervasio Once a pilgrimage site for the ancient Maya, the tiny island of Cozumel is home to a number of fascinating Mayan ruins.

TOP LEFT: The site is remarkably well preserved. CENTER: A religious icon. ABOVE: Ancient rites were performed here. 144

photos courtesy of mexico tourism board

San Gervasio, the largest site on the island, is incredibly well preserved. The structures at San Gervasio were used by the Maya primarily as altars and shrines and for gatherings of government officials. The excavated site is divided into four distinct historic districts representing their periods of occupation, ranging from the early Classic period (a.d. 200 to 600) to the late Postclassic period (a.d. 1200 to 1519). Individual ruins are identified by plaques. In addition to tourist services, the site offers a snack bar and several gift shops. — S. L. C.

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A Tale of Tulum

Tulum’s awe-inspiring temple remains, set against a backdrop of aquamarine Caribbean waters, are a striking sight to behold.

Fideicomiso para la promoción TurísTica de la riviera maya; curTis KauTzer/shuTTersTocK.com.

Perched on the cliffs of the Yucatán Peninsula is the ancient city of Tulum, the only Mayan city known to have been built on the coast. Following the paths, visitors can visualize the Indian religious ceremonies that took place here and appreciate the magnificent beauty of this sacred locale. Today there is little to fear from the sacrificial pit, and the only ritual that must be followed is paying a fee for permission to use your video camera. Generally coupled with a trip to Tulum is a visit to Xel-Há Lagoon. An oasis on a hot day, this soothing lagoon contains a national underwater park and provides a wonderful respite after one’s explorations.

TOP: An aerial view of Tulum. ABOVE: Detail of an iconic carving.

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Mayan calendar

The Remarkable

Maya

HannaH GleGHorn/sHutterstock.com

The Maya fashioned one of the most advanced cultures of the Western Hemisphere during the period a.d. 200 to 900. They flourished throughout the Yucatán Peninsula in southeastern Mexico — including today’s Cozumel island — erecting huge, imposing pyramids and temples, creating striking stone sculptures, and achieving a remarkable proficiency in mathematics and astronomy before mysteriously falling into decline. The Maya believed Cozumel to be sacred. A shrine to Ixchel, a moon goddess, invited visitation at least once in a lifetime. She could be a rather testy old crone and was often depicted with crossbones and a serpent. When feeling particularly nasty, Ixchel unleashed calamitous rainstorms and floods on the earth from a large water jug. No wonder common folk were eager to appease the goddess by visiting her shrine. But she also had a bright side — they called her Lady Rainbow — and was worshiped as the protector of weavers and also of women in childbirth. Ixchel’s mate was Itzamná, a mellow moon god who balanced out his spouse’s temper tantrums. — R. N.

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Nature reigns at cozumel’s small sea Not far from the busy shops, restaurants and bars of San Miguel, Chankanaab Park provides nature lovers with 450,000 square feet of pristine space to revel in. Though the name means “small sea,” the park is really a little slice of paradise, with botanical gardens, a lagoon, a beach and a replicated Mayan village. The sparkling Chankanaab Lagoon is home to colorful coral, fish and turtles, as well as a Dolphin Discovery facility. Snorkeling and scuba diving are available from the beach. Pleasant pathways wind through botanical gardens where several hundred species of tropical plants thrive. The archaeological park contains reproductions of stone carvings from well-known ruins around Mexico and is staffed by guides to explain their significance. — S. L. C.

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mexico tourism board

30 years of Mexican dining excellence Great food and drinks, Mexican music and ice cold beer

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ABOVE: A cenote at Aktun Chen near Tulum. BELOW: Divers traversing a cenote filled with fresh water, so amazingly clear it feels like you’re floating on air.

Underground Wonders

Fideicomiso para la promoción TurísTica de la riviera maya

Cozumel has no surface lakes or freshwater rivers, but it does have many underground ponds and caves known as cenotes (sehNOH-tays). Some reach a depth of 210 feet — and to add to their mystery, the opening builds from the bottom up. A cenote forms when a combination of water and carbon dioxide dissolves the limestone. This process cuts fissures in the rocks and creates an upward-reaching cavern resembling a reverse hole. Its vertical walls continue to erode, filling the bottom of the pit with debris, which causes the “hole” to rise. The early Maya believed cenotes were inhabited by gods and provided an underground gateway to heaven. Gifts of gratitude were dropped into the cenotes as thanks to Chac, the god of water, for the much-needed H2O. — E. W.

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Curaçao

PHOTO BY Harris sHiffman/sHuTTersTOck.cOm.

curaçao’s picturesque capital, Willemstad, is built around a well-formed natural harbor and glows in soft pastel shades. Dutch influence pervades the port, with its manor houses, neatly kept streets and delicious varieties of cheese and chocolate.

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Willemstad’s waterfront is lined with colorful buildings as pretty as dollhouses.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Dutch architecture, plentiful shopping and Christoffel National Park. IT’S A FACT: The Amstel beer brewery on the island is the only one in the world that uses seawater in its recipe — desalinated, of course. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Wooden shoes, painted porcelain windmills and Curaçao liqueur.

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A perfect day in:

Gertjan Hooijer/sHutterstock.com; curacao tourist board; bas rabelinG/sHutterstock.com; museum kura Hulanda

Curaçao

Queen Emma Bridge

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT cUrAçAO Willemstad is a history museum within itself. One look at the capital’s classic waterfront reveals why this natural harbor and scenic city center are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The brilliant Caribbean hues emanating from Dutch architecture along Santa Ana Bay — rows of gabled-roofed townhouses gleaming with red tiles — make this one of the most photographed Caribbean waterfronts. Just getting from the Punda district to Otrobanda is a treat: over Santa Ana Bay on the swinging 19th-century Queen Emma Bridge. Crossing into Otrobanda, you’ll find winding and narrow streets with gabled, Dutch-style houses that delight sightseers and locals alike. Many visitors orient themselves with a trolley train tour from historic Fort Amsterdam, where a British cannonball remains embedded in the 1769 Dutch Reform Church. Popular destinations include the renowned Kurá Hulanda museum of African history, which courageously highlights the past slave trade, and the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue — the Western Hemisphere’s oldest, dating from 1651 — with its unique floor of beach sand. A m i d t h e k a l e i d os c o p e o f c o l o rs in Otrobanda’s Floating Market is a vast selection of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, unloaded from Venezuelan schooners. Morelasting mementos are available in the Punda shopping district, along Heerenstraat and Breedestraat, where bargains range from Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue cameras to high-end jewelry. If you’re in the market for something to help you remember this colorful island, the famed Curaçao liqueur or a wheel of Edam or Gouda cheese is a wise choice. — R. V.

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FROM TOP: Carnival performer; Museum Kurá Hulanda

HOW TO GET TO TOWN Willemstad’s shopping area, called Punda, is about a 15-minute walk from the pier. Some visitors prefer to take one of the taxis that are available at the pier.

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MY STORY, MY DESIGN

A VACATION TO REMEMBER

Sterling silver charms from $25

Renaissance M all, unit 209 Tel: 5999.461.2857 โ€ข Curaรงao

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curacao tourist board

C u raç ao

The charming capital, Willemstad

Deep Dutch Roots

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At the turn of the 16th century, the Spanish, under the leadership of Lieutenant Alonso de Ojeda, were the first Europeans to reach Curaçao — a mere seven years

The ornate gables on Willemstad’s colorful waterfront buildings highlight some of the most intriguing architecture in the Caribbean.

They are a reminder of how Curaçao was

after Christopher Columbus initially landed

governed and influenced by the Dutch,

in the New World. According to legend, de

who claimed this arid island in 1634 and,

Ojeda’s crew suffered from scurvy, and

since then, have helped to shape its history

upon eating citrus fruit, were “miraculously”

and culture. Similar to the Dutch capital

cured. The sailors named the island

of Amsterdam, Curaçao espoused racial

Corazón, or “heart,” which eventually led to

tolerance through the years and opened

the island’s name. In 1526, a small group

its doors to many faiths. Today about 50

of Spanish settlers and slaves arrived

different nationalities call this beach-lined

and set up small ranches and farms; they

island home.

maintained control of Curaçao for just

Curaçao was one of the first inhabited

Dutch control

by Richard Varr

Caribbean islands. Archaeological studies

A dramatic shift occurred on the island in

have revealed traces of Indian settlements

1634. Tipped off that the Spanish colony

as early as 4,500 years ago. The first tribes

was very small, a Dutch fleet of warships

were the peaceful Amerindian Arawak.

and soldiers sailed in and conquered

over a century.

Beginnings

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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curacao tourist board; museum kura hulanda.

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Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue

Curaçao. The Dutch West India Company now ruled and appointed the one-legged Peter Stuyvesant, who would later become governor of New Amsterdam (New York), as governor of the island. In the decades that followed, Stuyvesant set up a slave depot that grew to be the largest in the Caribbean;

Kurá Hulanda Museum

close to half of all slaves who crossed the

Emanuel Synagogue in Willemstad, one

proclaim the abolition of slavery, and more

Atlantic passed through the port. It was also

of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere,

than 6,000 slaves on the island finally gained

a hub for merchants trading goods along

which remains a house of worship today.

their freedom.

the South America-Caribbean-Europe trade routes.

In the meantime, the importance of

Following emancipation, the island’s econ-

Curaçao along the trade routes captured

omy suffered until 1915, when the Dutch

During the height of the slave trade,

the attention of England and France. The

established a Shell oil refinery. Subsequently,

Curaçao became the birthplace of the

island came under both English and

a large influx of workers took place as Shell

Papiamento language. A mixture of

French control for short durations, but

became the island’s largest employer.

Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and different

Dutch rule prevailed once again in 1815 with

African dialects, Papiamento evolved as

the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

a means for slaves to communicate with

During World War II, the Allies established a military base on Curaçao for refueling aircraft; after the war, the island

Emancipation and thE 20th cEntury

sought independence. However, in 1954,

Europe and South America fled to Curaçao to escape the Spanish Inquisition; these

Curaçao had several plantations but

the Netherlands Antilles, with the seat of

included the Sephardic Jews from Brazil,

was not a particularly active agricultural

government in Willemstad. While tourism

who became successful merchants. By the

society. Nonetheless, slaves did revolt,

is thriving today, Curaçao is still a major

early 1700s, the island’s Jewish community

unsuccessfully, in 1765 and 1795. Not until

trading hub with one of the largest and

topped 2,000. They built the Mikvé Israel-

1863 did the Netherlands’ King William III

most active ports in the world.

Europeans. At the same time, Jews from

Curaçao instead settled for being part of

C u raçao T I M E L I N E 1499: curaçao is discovered by alonso de ojeda, a lieutenant of christopher columbus.

1642: the dutch West india company appoints Peter stuyvesant as governor. 1634: the dutch conquer curaçao.

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1863: netherlands’ king William iii proclaims the emancipation of slaves. 1815: dutch rule prevails with the signing of the treaty of Paris.

1954: curaçao becomes part of the self-governing netherlands antilles.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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FOR ME. Onde, new from EBEL. Steel, 18K rose gold & diamonds.

©2012 EBEL – REF 1216097

EBEL.COM

Handelskade 9, Punda, Curaçao · Tel. 5999-4612399 · info@freeportjewelers.com

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Flavors of

Curaçao

by Sara Churchville

Gouda cheese is stuffed and baked. Birds adorn Curaçao’s currency.

currencY The color-coded bills of the Netherlands Antilles “florin” or “guilder,” as Curaçao’s currency is interchangeably known, are decorated with drawings of birds that are commonly found in the area: the hummingbird, the flamingo, the refous-collared sparrow and the bananaquit.

Keshi Yena Hollowed-out Edam or Gouda cheese is the shell for this Dutch treat of “stuffed cheese,” filled with chicken, vegetables, spices, and raisins or prunes, and baked in the shell.

curaÇao liqueur

curacao tourist board; istockphoto.com; robert freeman; curacao liqueur.

One man’s fruit is another man’s spirit, as the Spanish discovered when they tried to grow Valencia oranges in Curaçao. The new soil yielded only small, green and inedibly bitter laraha oranges. The oils in the peel, however, became the basis for the clear Curaçao liqueur still made by the original 1896 distiller, Senior Curaçao, as well as for Grand Marnier and Cointreau.

Brewed only for local tastes

amstel Bright Straight from the Amstel brewery on Curaçao comes this light, refreshing Caribbean beer, typically served with a lime and made entirely from ingredients found on the island, including desalinated seawater. Because it’s not exported outside the Antilles, the beer has gained something of a mystique. The signature spirit 158

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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COPPERSTONE We’ve got everything from delicious Dutch cheeses and chocolates to a wide variety of souvenirs! Golf balls • playing cards • Christmas ornaments •Exclusive Coco Handbags • Curaçao Liquour • magnets key rings • Beverages and Caribbean Hot Sauces • Shot Glasses Forgot your snorkel gear? Don’t worry, we’ve got the largest variety on the island and the best prices in snorkels, fins, masks and anything you can think of! Want to look fab on the beach? We’ve got you covered with trendy resort wear and stylish souvenir T-shirts So what are you waiting for? Come in and take a look for yourself!

Two LoCaTionS: Hanchi Snoa no 9, willemstad, Punda • Tel 5999 4615289 wTC opposite Marriott Hotel

CARIBBEAN PARADISE Batik & Beach Wear * * * * * *

Cover-Ups Beach Wraps Batik Dresses Linen wear Caftans Embroidered Garments

* * * * * * *

Hawaiian Shirts Children Sets T-shirts Swimwear Bags & Towels Hats & Caps Souvenirs

Heerenstraat 31 * Curaçao - Tel (599-9) 461-9822 * e-mail: cp@jethani.com PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Shopping in

Curaçao

Here’s the ultimate insider guide to what’s hot in town. SEE IT? LIKE IT? BUY IT!

Crown oF LIGht Crow n Brilliant bracelet

FrUItz H a p py H ou r pi n k watc h

GUCCI B amboo C ollec ti on watc h

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PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Shopping Spree

SietSe Jager/iStockphoto.com; lladro.

Willemstad’s bustling shopping areas, the Punda and Otrobanda districts, boast a few hundred shops and vendors offering an enticing grab bag of international items: Italian silks, French perfumes, Swiss watches, Lladró collectibles from Spain, Hummel figurines from Germany. But what about finding a gift that specifically reflects the island’s proud Dutch heritage? Among the most popular mementos is blue Delft porcelain and ceramic, crafted into lovely pieces such as plates, tea sets, tiles, candleholders and decorative replicas of Dutch windmills and houses. Hand-embroidered linens from Holland add a cozy touch to home décor. Shoes, clogs and even tulips carved of wood are famed national symbols. Other gifts satisfy the palate. Wheels of Dutch cheeses — aged Gouda, slightly salty Edam — are easy to transport home. Dutch licorice and other candy will satisfy any sweet tooth, as will Dutch chocolate, which can be of the dark variety, mint-flavored, or mixed with hazelnuts and raisins. Dutch cookies and jams make great welcoming gifts for those visiting Curaçao for the first time. Curaçao’s artists combine both Dutch and island heritage in their work. An oil or watercolor painting with a scenic view of Willemstad’s timeless Dutch architecture is an unforgettable keepsake. — R. V.

top right: An aerial view of punda District, filled with great shopping. Above: Lladró figurine. PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Curaçao’s Forts

RIGHT: Fort Amsterdam. BELOW: Fort Amsterdam cannon defending the harbor.

CURACAO’S FINEST LINEN STORE

TABLECLOTHS • NAPKINS • LINENS • ACCESSORIES RUNNERS • LACE • CHRISTMAS COLLECTION • DELFT BLUE ...AND MUCH MORE!

HANDELSKADE #3 (ON THE WATERFRONT) TEL: (5999) 462-9588 / 462-9599 • FAX: (5999) 465-2650 EMAIL: ROYALGEMSCURACAO@GMAIL.COM

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Fort Amsterdam is also the official residence of the governor and is not open to the public. Initially, Waterfort was the outer defense of Punda, one of the capital’s two districts. Built in 1634, the original structure was replaced some two centuries later. An imposing building with 136 turrets, Waterfort played an important role during World War II. Riffort, erected in 1828, is the most recent fort. It was constructed across from Waterfort, complementing the earlier fort while defending the outer section of Otrobanda, the city’s other district. During World War II, a steel net was stretched across the bay between the two forts to keep alien ships out. Fort Nassau was named after the Royal House of Orange. This massive structure dates back to 1797 and has been preserved almost in its original state. For years, it was the office from where the Queen Emma Bridge was opened and closed. In 1804, Fort Waakzaamheid was besieged by the English captain William Bligh, who commanded the infamous Bounty. During World War II, Americans mounted guns here. Fort Beekenburg was named after Director van Beek, who created the design for Willemstad. The fort fought off pirates as well as both the French and the English throughout the 18th century. The tower and the fort itself are in a well-preserved state. — M. L.

ruben carballo; lidian neeleman/dreamstime.com.

The original center of Willemstad was Fort Amsterdam, built by the Dutch around 1675 and now serving as the seat of the government of the Netherlands Antilles.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Back to Nature curacao tourist board; Near aNd Far PhotograPhy/shutterstock.com; wcPmedia/shutterstock.com.

In addition to the ubiquitous cacti, Curaçao spawns an eclectic assortment of flora and fauna.

If natural products are your preference, head to the organic herb garden, Den Paradera. Not only will you discover a garden brimming with soothing plants once used by islanders as medicine, you’ll find a reconstructed rural settlement showing how the locals used to live. A shop dispenses refreshing herbal teas and other beverages made from the garden’s latest harvest. The main attraction at the Ostrich and Game Farm is, you guessed it, the ostrich. The arid turf agrees with these huge, fast-running birds. Children (adults, too) can hold a fluffy chick or examine an enormous ostrich egg, big enough to make a breakfast omelet for two. The fascination of the underwater world lures many visitors into the briny deep. But you don’t have to get wet to uncover the mysteries below. The Curaçao Seaquarium affords you the opportunity to observe 400 varieties of marine animals and vegetation, most native to the surrounding waters, from the dry side of the viewing windows. Touch tanks allow the kids to get up close to many creatures, but the sharks are divided off by mesh fencing and thick but clear Plexiglas. — G. D.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Birds graze at the Ostrich and Game Farm; a blue-tailed emerald hummingbird; just hatched

(5999) 461-1272

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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The sun sets over Dominica

Dominica

This island sparkles like a magnificent green emerald set in a pool of shimmering blue water. Its verdant rainforests are crisscrossed by rushing rivers and dotted with mountain lakes and cascading waterfalls; flora takes on mesmerizing proportions.

QUickGUIDE IT’S A FACT: Hundreds of tiny bubbles created by underwater volcanic vents give Champagne Bay its name. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Carib crafts, grass mats and reed baskets.

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john anderson/istockphoto

FAMED FOR: Eco-tourism, waterfalls, tropical gardens and whales.

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A perfect day in:

Dominica

Trafalgar Falls

One of the most breathtaking spots in all the Caribbean, Dominica (pronounced Domin-EEK-a) offers a glorious assortment of natural wonders. Sparkling waterfalls cascade dreamily to clear pools, impossibly green forests reach majestically to the sky, and a seemingly endless array of exotic birds, greenery and flowering plants flourish here. The vividly colored Sisserou parrot is so beloved, it’s a national symbol with its own place on Dominica’s flag. Even the names for Dominica’s attractions are lush and evocative. The Boiling Lake is a 200-foot-wide geothermal pool in Morne Trois National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And then there’s the Valley of Desolation, which is hardly desolate: At its bottom is a riotous explosion of color from its blooming plant life. Color is everywhere, it seems, from the Creole spices that rev up the cuisine to the brilliant headdresses which are a key element of Dominica’s annual Descendants of the original Carib people Carnival celebration and which are sold as souvenirs at local stores. Other favorite island buys include finely made Dominican crafts, often hand-painted onsite, along with handcrafted soaps and furniture. No matter what you choose to buy or to do, you’re hardly likely to forget a visit to Dominica. —K. C.

photos courtesy of dominica tourist board

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT DOMINICA

FROM TOP: A whale diving; a vividly colored reef; the Boiling Lake

HOW TO GET TO TOWN The ship usually docks in town. If you arrive at Woodbridge Pier, you can take a shuttle to begin exploring this stunning port.

PRINCESSCRUISES CRUISESDISCOVERY DISCOVERY PRINCESS

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Ensenada

Jennifer King/ShutterStocK.com

A noted commercial fishing center, ensenada attracts boaters, divers, snorkelers, and serious anglers in search of the big one.

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Rolling hills overlook the busy port.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Sport fishing, beaches and La Bufadora, one of the world’s largest water spouts. IT’S A FACT: The Guadalupe Valley region is home to 80 wineries, where most Mexican wines are produced. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Silver jewelry, serapes and Aztec-style pottery, and baskets from the Kumiai and Pai Pai Indians of Northern Baja.

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En s e n ad a

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A perfect day in:

alysta/shutterstock.com; kabby/shutterstock.com; ensenada tourist board; ron kacmarcik/shutterstock.com

Ensenada

Hills slope toward the shore in Ensenada.

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT ENSENAdA The downtown waterfront promenade and the active fish market are the essence of the city, as are the shops along Avenida Primera, and the striking Riviera del Pacifico Convention Center with its sparkling chandeliers, murals, ballrooms and museum. Two intriguing attractions are the Santa Tomas Winery, founded by the Dominicans in 1888, and Hussongs Cantina. The oldest bar in Baja, built around 1892, Hussongs is where the mariachis rattle the windows, and a smiling charro (cowboy) swings his lasso across the sawdust-covered floor as vendors hawk jewelry, fresh flowers and Chiclets gum. Twenty-one miles south, past Estero Beach, is Ensenada’s famous Blow Hole, La Bufadora, listed among the world’s largest natural water spouts. Here, the Pacific Ocean surges into a narrow crevice and spews water high into the sky, spraying rocky cliffs and unsuspecting bystanders. Thirty-five miles inland is Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico’s one and only wine growing area, which welcomes wine aficionados and those with a sense of discovery. Approximately 70 wineries are scattered through the stunning valley, many vineyards choosing to grow organic grapes. The wineries Dona Lupe, La Cetto and Domecq, among others, can be experienced without reservations. Many respected wineries operate here. 168

FROM TOP: La Bufadora, aka Blow Hole; lunch awaits at a cantina; a mariachi band.

HOW TO GET TO TOWN It’s a short walk from the pier to town. Taxis and horse-drawn surreys are also available.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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o's wine. 0% of Mexic 9 s e c u d ro ia p ny Bourdain Baja Californ ny" -- Antho a c s u T f o e "Reminds m s created cocktail wa ta ri a rg a M The a in 1948. in Ensenad o. nty in Mexic u o c t s e g ig the b Ensenada is the only blowhole, is e n ri a m , ra . La Bufado orth America N in d in k s it one of street be the best y a "m rt a C nse Food La Guerrere the world." ourdain cart food in -- Anthony B Award d a National e iv e c re e in ia's cuis urism. Baja Californ ecretary of To S n a ic x e M the in 2012 from raft beers 50% of its c s e c u d ro p a Ensenad ornia. in Baja Calif ad races: famous offro d rl o w e th f home o Ensenada is d Baja 1000 Baja 500 an s can be rts and craft a t s e b 's o xic Some of Me nada. e s found in En

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En s e n ad a

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A Toast To Baja

Ensenada’s renowned wine-growing region, where the majority of all Mexican wines are made, is a glorious expanse of distinctive rolling vineyards. Blessed with an excellent microclimate, the area benefits from the moderating effects of the Pacific Ocean and from rich soil conditions, allowing vines to produce a variety of fruit. The region encompasses first-rate wine-growing valleys such as San Vicente, Santo Tomas, San Antonio de las Minas and Guadalupe, which often are collectively referred to as the Guadalupe Valley. In the last 25 years, the region’s wines have edged into company with the respected California wine-making circles of Napa, Sonoma, Monterey, Temecula, Santa Barbara and Paso Robles. Mexico’s wines are now being distributed worldwide and have frequently been awarded celebrated wine-tasting ribbons by judges in France, Belgium and the United States.

43

Ensenada’s 10-day Fiestas de la Vendimia salutes the annual harvest in August with winery tours and tastings, gourmet cuisine and live music. Yearround visitors can enjoy a diverse selection of Guadalupe Valley wines. Tastings could include the delightful red Vino de Piedra of Casa de Piedra. La Casa de Dona Lupe was among the first to produce organic red wines, honey, olive oil and various salsas; of note are its best-selling cabernet sauvignon, tempranillo and merlot. Monte Xanic, with its numerous awards, is credited with raising Mexican wines to the forefront of the industry. Casa Pedro Domecq, established in 1973, is wellknown in Mexico and Latin America for its Presidente brandy, long ranked among the best-selling brandies in the United States. — R. C.

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Fort Lauderdale

R. PeteRkin/shutteRstock.com

With more than 300 miles of navigable waterways, a waterfront park in the middle of downtown, miles of spiffy beaches and the International Swimming Hall of Fame, it’s no wonder Fort Lauderdale has a reputation for loving all things aquatic.

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Fort Lauderdale’s beaches seem to go on forever.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Beautiful beaches to the east, unspoiled Everglades to the west. IT’S A FACT: The city became the No. 1 spot for college kids on spring break after the 1960 movie Where the Boys Are was filmed here. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Seashells, alligator trinkets or juicy oranges.

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Galveston

The Bishop’s Palace is a standout among Galveston’s many historic buildings.

An island off the Texas coast south of Houston, Galveston offers 32 miles of beaches and a charming historic downtown.

QuiCKGUIDE

IT’S A FACT: Galveston’s 10-mile long Seawall protects the city from storms and supports the See-Wall, which the city says is the world’s longest mural. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: A piece of art or sculpture from Gallery Row.

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texas tourism board

FAMED FOR: Victorian architecture; the city has one of the nation’s largest and bestpreserved collections.

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Grand Turk

Sapphire-blue water laps the shore of Grand Turk.

Turks and Caicos is an idyllic archipelago of islands and cays offering 230 miles of white, sandy beaches and some of the world’s choicest dive sites. The main island is Grand Turk, where the capital, Cockburn Town, boasts pretty frame houses with gingerbread verandas.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Pristine beaches, thrilling scuba diving and pretty pink flamingos.

SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Natural sea salt, seashell art and colorful postage stamps.

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PUrestoCK

IT’S A FACT: After orbiting the earth in 1962, astronaut John Glenn’s Friendship 7 space capsule splashed down off Grand Turk’s shore.

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Grenada

Exotic aromas waft through this lovely locale, where the merest breeze explains the nation’s nickname: Isle of Spice. Visitors like to browse through the shops along the waterside Carenage and lounge on white, black or pink sand at the beach.

LaszLo HaLasi/sHutterstock.com

Grenada.

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QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Nutmeg and other spices; rainforests and waterfalls. IT’S A FACT: Islanders contribute to “community pots” that stew on fires alongside village roads, feeding hungry locals and visitors. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Spice baskets, nutmeg jelly and chocolate.

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G re n ad a

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A perfect day in:

Grenada

A fishing boat on Grenada’s waterfront

The very air in Grenada is a pleasure, for it carries the fragrance of the island’s best-known feature: spice. Nutmeg is near the top of everyone’s list. Clove, mace, cinnamon, ginger and cocoa also abound, all of them used creatively in various island foods and beverages. Grenada offers many other delights. Thick rainforests and sparkling rivers are among its Fragrant spices natural wonders, and the island is dotted with rum distilleries and with the plantations that grow its famed product. One of the more-popular attractions is the vast Grand Etang National Park, a nature reserve that rests in the crater of an extinct volcano. Beyond the serene beauty of the land is the vibrant activity of the Carenage Market, a lively waterfront spot for browsing and buying all manner of exotic produce, local spices, and lovely arts and crafts. For a taste of the Caribbean at its prettiest, a visit to the town of St. George is a must. Its bright, neat structures are painted in vivid pastel shades, perfectly setting off its 18th-century French and Georgian One of many inviting beaches architecture. — K. C. 180

Lidian neeLeman/istockphoto.com; grenada tourism board

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT GRENADA

FROM TOP: Vibrant blooms fill the island; colorful vegetation; a stirring encounter

HOW TO GET TO TOWN The ship docks in town. It takes only about seven minutes to walk along the picturesque waterfront to the center of all the shopping and attractions. Taxis are also available, if you prefer.

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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Touring St. George Homes look down on the harbor in St. George.

And perched high atop a hill at the

Historic sigHts

the pre-Columbian Carib Indians to the

tip of the peninsula sits Fort George,

A short walk into the town center leads

1983 U.S. military intervention precipitated

overlooking the narrow streets of a city

to some of St. George’s historic buildings.

by the assassination of Grenada’s prime

that has maintained its colonial charm.

The Gothic tower of St. George’s

minister and other leaders. Further inland

Built by the French in 1705, sturdy-

Roman Catholic Cathedral is the city’s

from the harbor, Fort Frederick, completed

walled Fort George offers some of

most visible landmark, while the pink

in 1791, sits atop Richmond Hill and

the island’s most commanding views.

St. George’s Anglican Church, with its four-

offers yet another commanding view of

Visitors often find it pleasant to stroll

sided clock tower, dates back to 1825. The

St. George and Grenada.

along the horseshoe-shaped Carenage,

1801 York House, where Parliament meets,

A highlight of any visit to Grenada could be

past fishing boats and yachts moored

and nearby Government House feature

a stop at Market Square, just one block from

in the harbor, or relax on its pedestrian

early-Georgian architectural designs. A visit

the cruise terminal, where bottles of nutmeg,

plaza and flock to its many restaurants

to the Grenada National Museum reveals

cinnamon and other spices make excellent

and shops.

the island’s cultural and historic past, from

purchases for gifts. —R. V.

More than 4,000 years ago, South American tribes migrated north from the Orinoco Delta in their small wooden boats to discover new places to settle and live in peace. A northward Caribbean current brought them to Grenada. Experts estimate that the first settlement was built in about 2000 b.c. These early Stone Age hunters were also called preceramic people. The Arawaks and Kalinagos came later, building villages and establishing Grenada as a trading center: Some of them were highly skilled craftsmen and made wonderful pottery decorated with their mystic signs. The most important and powerful sign was the Sign of Life, a neverending circle that symbolizes the power of life and grants the bearer a fulfilled life of health and strength. Recently unearthed artifacts show the beauty and craftsmanship that the Kalinagos were able to achieve, but these artifacts are in limited supply and it’s illegal to remove them from Grenada. On the island of Grenada, the Kalinagos or Caribs discovered a green stone — as precious to them as the diamond — which they used to produce jewelry.

Through their expert knowledge of the culture and history of the Kalinagos, the owners of Lisa’s have been able to find the green stone. It has been aptly named grenadite — stone from Grenada — and is the backbone of a unique collection available only at Lisa’s. The old mystic motifs combined with modern skills are the ingredients for Lisa’s wonderful, unique jewelry line, designed and crafted in the atelier and workshop. The Sign of Life motif is used in a line of jewelry made in .925 sterling silver and 10k and 14k gold combined with grenadite, pearls and other details. Lisa, the creator of each piece of jewelry, also is inspired by Grenada’s natural beauty and splendor, creating jewelry depicting the culture and people of Grenada both past and present. What’s more, the creator produces jewelry inspired by her own vision of the world; each piece is handmade and one-of-a-kind. Lisa’s atelier and workshop is on H. A. Blaize Street, a 10-minute walk from the cruise- ship terminal along the Carenage. For a truly unique and timeless treasure, you are invited to visit Lisa’s atelier and workshop to take home a piece of Grenada’s finest.

Holger W./sHutterstock.com

Grenada’s capital is in part defined by its topography, wrapped within and around a hilly peninsula sheltering one of the Caribbean’s most scenic natural harbors.

ABOVE: Sign of Life handmade necklace. RIGHT: Artifact with grenadite.

Grenada and its Grenadite The “Green Diamond” of the Kalinagos 182

pHotos courtesy of lisa’s

s p ec i a l a dv e r t i s i n g f e at u r e

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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The Jewel from Grenada (handmade, unique Jewellery) Only a few steps away Exclusively by

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Lisa’s Spiceland Mall Lisa’s & Silver Palace 439-4404

MBIA Airport Departure lounge

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Olympic Moments: The Caribbean’s Top Athletes

Kirani James of Grenada sprints for gold at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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Kirani James, nicknamed the Jaguar, has been setting world age-group records from the age of 13, eventually becoming a star on the University of Alabama men’s track team. Born and raised in the coastal Grenada town of Gouyave, James competed in youth track events throughout the Caribbean, and was sought by at least ten U.S colleges in the United States. In 2009, he accepted a scholarship to the University of Alabama, where he reached many personal-best times and won several championship titles. But no title can compare to the one he claimed in 2012, at the Olympic Games in London. At 19 years of age, James sprinted to the finish line to take the gold in the men’s 400-meter event. It was his and his country’s first gold in the Olympics. “This is to my mind the most important event that has ever happened to our country,” Grenada Police Commissioner James Clarkson told The New York Times. “Even more important than Christopher Columbus landing.” James is more modest about the historic nature of his medal. “I just go out there and try to do my best in terms of representing my country in a positive way,” he told the Times. “As long as I do that, they are going to be proud of me, and as long as they are proud of me, I’m happy with that.” — A. V.

Wikipedia.com

InspIratIon for a natIon

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Home Cooking After a successful career cooking at one of London’s finest hotels and then running his own restaurant there, Brian Benjamin found himself yearning to work again at the source of Grenada’s fresh seafood and varied spices. Benjamin has a formal culinary degree and experience as a hotel sous chef, but it was his grandmother who taught him to cook the Grenadian way. “We’d be walking along through town, and she’d pick up a little of this and a little of that, and by the time you get home you’ve got a meal,” he says.

Keeping it Fresh

photos by Necee Regis

Brian Benjamin, chef and co-owner of B.B.’s Crabback

So when he heard the 2007 Cricket World Cup was to be held in Grenada, Benjamin packed up his recipes and came back home with his wife and their four children. “I wanted to be a part of the Cup,” he says at B.B.’s Crabback, the popular St. George’s restaurant that he and his wife, Anna Benjamin, have operated since 2006. The 60-seat restaurant near the Carenage Market adds a classical flair to the island’s rich selection of seafood, meat and produce. From familiar foundations of lobster, prawn and swordfish to more adventurous selections — curried goat or barracuda, anyone? — Benjamin delivers authentic tastes of his homeland. The travel Web site TripAdvisor recognized his efforts with its May 2011 Certificate of Excellence.

Benjamin buys directly from a local fisherman rather than accept the hoursold yield from the local market. He serves no beef because he thinks the Caribbean variety is tough and he refuses to import anything. He makes full use of Grenada’s rich selection of produce, from starchy roots such as callaloo and yams to richly flavored fruits such as pineapple, coconut and mango. His favorite spices from the Spice Island include bourden leaf, similar to bay but sweeter, and seasoning pepper, which he says is a tamer variety of the red-hot Scotch bonnet — “a Scotch bonnet gone soft,” he says with a laugh. —K. M. The pleasures of fresh produce

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princess cruises

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Princess guests enjoy an exclusive retreat.

Princess Cays Located at the isolated southern tip of historic Eleuthera Island, Princess Cays® is an exclusive port of call reserved solely for Princess® guests’ enjoyment. Its 40 unspoiled acres include four adjoining cays and 1½ miles of pristine beach, and it has been landscaped with indigenous trees and plants that complement the natural beauty of this secluded port.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Ultimate relaxation in a private corner of an island in The Bahamas. IT’S A FACT: You can prereserve an air-conditioned bungalow and any equipment you want to use on land or in the water. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Creations from the island craft market and other shops.

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Roatán

John A. Anderson/shutterstock.com.

the serene isle of roatán is known for its splendid diving: some 95 percent of the caribbean’s known corals are thought to be found here. It’s also a delight for those who prefer to stay dry, offering butterfly and iguana reserves and colorful botanical gardens.

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Divers come from far and wide to explore Roatán’s spectacular reefs.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: The largest barrier reef in the Caribbean, with easily accessible dive sites offering visibility from 50 to 100 feet. IT’S A FACT: Local wildlife includes the basilisk, which is often called the Jesus Lizard because it can walk on water. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Carvedwood designs and ceramics hand-painted by Lenca Indians. 223

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San Juan

SeanPavonePhoto/ShutterStock.com

this vibrant city blends spectacular natural scenery with historic architecture and a lively culture. Fascinating galleries and museums mix with fashionable shops, thrilling nightlife and beautiful beaches.

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The San Juan skyline

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: The walled Old San Juan district, with 400 restored buildings dating to the 16th and 17th centuries. IT’S A FACT: The piña colada, that creamy concoction of rum, pineapple and coconut, was invented here. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Guayabera shirts and folk art found in localdesigner clothing boutiques and art galleries.

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A perfect day in:

San Juan

A view from inside the walled city

The heart and soul of the island is the historic district, Old San Juan, which dates to the 1500s. Visitors explore historical and cultural attractions throughout the cobblestoned, walled city, strolling the ramparts where Spanish soldiers once held watch. An energetic nightlife, including casinos and creative dining, draws visitors to different districts in San Juan. In SOFO — the neighborhood “South of Fortaleza” Street — fine restaurants double as bars for after-hours entertainment. A ten-minute ride leads to the beautiful beaches of the chic Condado, Isla Verde and Santurce areas, where sea kayaking, surfing and windsurfing are popular sports during the day and lounges and nightclubs fire up at Seafood prepared with flair night. Across the lagoon from Condado, Santurce is a cultural center with attractions that include the Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Center, Central Park and La Placita de Santurce, an open-air plaza with diverse local cuisine that turns into an all-out street fest on weekend nights. Outside the city, the El Yunque rainforest is a must for those seeking Puerto Rico’s natural side. The only rainforest in the U.S. Forest System, it offers 28,000 acres of walking and hiking trails, birdwatching opportunities and idyllic waterfalls in which to take a refreshing dip, with rappelling and Ziplining in the El Yunque rainforest ziplining for the more adventurous. —K. C. 192

all photos courtesy of the puerto rico tourism company

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT OLd SAN jUAN

FROM TOP: Shopping for the latest styles; a colorful street; Condado beach

HOW TO GET TO TOWN The ship will dock at one of three different piers in San Juan: Pier 1, Pier 4 or the Pan American Pier. From Pier 1, it’s just a short walk to the Old San Juan historic district and shopping area. Pier 4 is a 10- to 15-minute walk or a short taxi ride to town. From the Pan American Pier, you’ll want to take a taxi as it’s not within walking distance.

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photo courtesy of the puerto rico tourism company

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San Juan’s high, protective wall still surrounds much of the city.

The Walled City by Gerald Zarr

If the explorers had had their way, you would be visiting the city of Puerto Rico on the island of San Juan, rather than San Juan on the island of Puerto Rico.

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Columbus landed on the beautiful island in 1493 and named it San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist). In 1511, Ponce de León named the town Puerto Rico. An unknown mapmaker seems to have switched the names in the 16th century, and it's stayed that way ever since.

Beginnings As the second-oldest city in the Americas, San Juan is known as La Ciudad Amurallada (“the walled city”), because of its massive encircling stone wall anchored by two mighty forts, El Morro and San Cristóbal; the wall was started in 1539 and not finished until 1782. Up

until 1897, the city was accessible only through five enormous, heavily guarded wooden doors that closed at nightfall.

spain’s neighBors Come Calling The wall was not merely for show. San Juan Bay soon became the central hub for the export of New World riches and a magnet for the British, Dutch and French privateers or pirates who sought fame and fortune. And their motherlands lusted for the most lucrative piece of real estate in the Western Hemisphere. With all this attention, it’s surprising how infrequently the city was overrun. The British managed to seize and burn San Juan in 1598, but dysentery did them in. On their heels, the Dutch attacked in 1625 but were overcome by disease as well and had to retreat.

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Advertising copyright © 2012 A’LOR International LTD. CHARRIOL® is a registered trademark of the Philippe Charriol Group.

202 C ALLE F ORtALEzA | O Ld S An J UAn , PR | 787.721.0855 252 C ALLE F ORtALEzA | O Ld S An J UAn , PR | 787.977.5555 CHAR R I OL US A. C O m | FACEBOOK . C O m /CHAR R I OL U S A

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force. After leaving San Juan, O’Reilly went to New Orleans to become the governor of Spanish Louisiana.

under the AmerICAn FlAg Following the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico came under American rule. In 1917, Puerto Ricans became American citizens. In recent years, they have voted overwhelmingly to retain their commonwealth status, making San Juan the oldest city under the U.S. flag today.

Blue cobblestones lend even more color to the old city.

18th-Century IrIsh Interlude As Spain’s prominence declined in the 18th century, Puerto Ricans became resentful of getting so little return on their labor for the Spanish. Islanders were not allowed to participate in government, and Spain’s mercantilist practices did not allow them to trade with other nations. As a result, the Puerto Ricans took to trading sugar and rum illegally. On this one occasion, the Spanish Empire took decisive action and sent two Irishmen

to take charge. The first was Tomas O’Daly, an experienced engineer, who fortified San Juan’s defenses. The second was his boss, field marshal Alejandro O’Reilly, an Irish mercenary who fought in the Spanish army and quickly rose through the ranks. O’Reilly built schools and roads, dropped trade restrictions and lowered taxes; consequently, Puerto Rico’s economy boomed in the late-18th century. O’Reilly is also known as the father of the Puerto Rican militia, because he built up a local constabulary

After the city walls came down in 1897, the city expanded to include Miramar, Santurce, Condado, Hato Rey and Río Piedras, but Old San Juan remained its heart and soul. In 1973, San Juan gained the coveted title of World Heritage Site. Once considered a dingy assemblage of Spanish colonial ruins that seemed to have crumbled in tandem with the empire that constructed them, the seven-block square comprising Old San Juan is now considered the best repository of Spanish colonial architecture in the Western Hemisphere. The charming blue adoquine (“cobblestones”) that pave the streets originally served as ballast on Spanish ships. One of the old city’s jewels, La Fortaleza is the oldest executive mansion in the Western Hemisphere; it was occupied by the Earl of Cumberland in 1598 and by the Dutch General Bowdoin Hendrick in 1625. In 1846, the building was remodeled and given a palatial aspect, harmoniously uniting 16thcentury military architecture with the refinements of the 19th century. Since the 16th century, it has been the home of Puerto Rico's governor, including incumbent Luis Fortuño, who took office in January 2009.

John Kershner/shutterstocK.com

resCue Old sAn JuAn

San Juan TIMELInE

1782: The great encircling wall is completed.

1493: Columbus reaches Puerto Rico. 1511: San Juan is settled.

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1947: The governor becomes popularly elected. 1898: Puerto Rico comes under U.S. rule.

1973: San Juan becomes a World Heritage Site.

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Special Advertising Feature

Puerto Rico, the ideal destination for stunning jewelry FELIX BARED diamonds

Mr. Felix Bared, fourth generation jeweler.

The streets of Old San Juan are best known for their cobblestones and colorful historic buildings. But perhaps the most brilliant feature of the historic walled city is the cluster of jewelry stores filled with world-class collections offered at great prices. Among the most visited jewelry retailers is BARED, on the corner of La Fortaleza and San Justo streets in Old San Juan and Plaza Las Americas in Hato Rey. BARED is the only authorized Rolex jeweler in Puerto Rico. Inside, gleaming in glass display cases is a collection of exquisite diamond rings and pendants that make up its Felix Bared Collection. Hundreds of fine diamond jewelry pieces – most in white gold and platinum Pavé settings – are the heart of the signature collection. Pictured above, fourth-generation jeweler Felix Bared specializes in the Pavé technique, essentially covering the entire surface of the white gold and platinum settings with diamonds. As many as 350 individual pieces are included in the seasonal collection. Designed by Bared

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and members of his staff, the pieces are handcrafted and fitted with specially cut diamonds. Zeroing in on that one magnificent piece in the collection is nearly impossible; each one is more magnificent than the last. The handmade pieces in the Felix Bared Collection are only available for a period of 18 to 36 months, making each a one-of-a-kind treasure every time the line is reinvented. The precious stones used to make each piece are bought in Israel and Belgium, a process in which Bared is personally involved.

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Bared, who is certified by the Gemological Institute of America, says “crafting such breathtaking pieces comes from a place of love,” which he says “is passed on to the customer who walks out of the store.” Considering the vast amount of beautiful treasures you will find, it’s no wonder Puerto Rico is known by many as the jewel of the Caribbean.

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CELEBRATING ITS 50th ANNIVERSARY! “Small is beautiful”. It certainly proves true with the Puerto Rican Coquí. Though not much bigger than a baby’s nose, this bug-eyed tree frog has become the most beloved creature of our island. Their tiny size characterizes these translucent, tawny colored frogs. But most distinctive is their singing.

J O H N H A R DY CO R N E R

BREITLING BOUTIQUE

This melodic two-note chant: “Koh-KEE”. Being a shy creature, the Coquí sings in the safety of nightfall and stops singing when a person approaches. The most common tale is that they sing only in Puerto Rico, and will die or lose their voices if taken off the island. Without a doubt, their unmistakable chant is part of the beauty of the Island.

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Flavors of

San Juan

by Sara Churchville

Mofongo

CoCina Criolla

OtOkimus/shutterstOck.cOm; bacardi; Panachai cherdchucheeP/shutterstOck.cOm.

San Juan is rife with restaurants and cafés specializing in cocina criolla, local cuisine that reflects Puerto Rico’s centuries of varied cultural influences. Two of the most distinctive local foods are bacalaitos (“codfish fritters”) and mofongo. Mofongo is made of tostones (“deep-fried green plantains”) mashed with olive oil and garlic, and it can come in any number of presentations, including relleno (“stuffed”) with seafood, pork or chicken, sometimes topped with tomato and garlic sauce.

Bacardi 8 is aged eight years.

BaCardi 8 The coquí frog sings at night.

Coqui Frog This tiny, indigenous frog — even the largest measures only about an inch — is the national symbol of Puerto Rico. The “ko-kee” song of the male, which begins at dusk and continues throughout the night, is one of the distinctive sounds of San Juan and of the island.

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Everyone knows the globally distributed Bacardi brand, and as the Bacardi Rum Distillery within the San Juan metro area is the largest rum distillery in the world, imagine just how ever-present the famous bat-symboled bottle is here. If you’re looking for something more postcollegiate than the white rum, Bacardi 8 might be the way to go. It’s aged eight years in charred white-oak barrels; hints of vanilla, toffee, honey, caramel and bittersweet chocolate; and is “reminiscent of an aged cognac.”

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ABOVE: An aerial view of Old San Juan, with the fortress El Morro in the foreground. RIGHT: La Fortaleza palace in the foreground.

Colonial Charm in Old San Juan

If you are drawn to historic cities, the seven blocks that make up Old San Juan will enchant you. Besides the area’s rich heritage, the district offers plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife opportunities in and around beautiful courtyards encircled with striking arches and ornamented with colorfully patterned tiles. 202

Within Old San Juan’s walls are three stunning Spanish Colonial structures designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the forts El Morro and San Cristóbal, and La Fortaleza palace. The best place from which to set out is El Morro, a fortress boasting walls 20 feet thick and 140 feet high on the western point of the peninsula. Built from 1539 to 1783, this massive edifice defended Puerto Rico from a slew

PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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257 Cruz Street Old San Juan, PR 00901 Tel 787 723-2432 www.butterflypeople.com cemilinc@coqui.net Copyright Š 2005 The Butterfly People. All Rights Reserved.

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CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Inside Casa Blanca, once the home of the Ponce de León family; Casa Blanca’s exterior; the Pablo Casals Museum, namesake of the great cellist (inset); a lookout tower at El Morro; Plaza del Quinto Centenario.

of enemies over the years. Sir Francis Drake was one of the first to attack it, in 1595, and it was last bombarded by U.S. troops in 1783. One of the few buildings in the city older than El Morro is Casa Blanca (White House), built in 1521 as the residence of the Ponce de León family. For 250 years, Casa Blanca remained in the family. In modern times, it was restored as two museums, one of which features much of the original wooden furniture. Back in the heart of Old San Juan, the buildings and historical sights are much more concentrated. Some of the best stops are the San Juan Museum of Art and History; the Pablo Casals Museum; the San Juan Cathedral; La Puerta de San Juan (the original port); and the Museum of the Americas. The district’s best photo spot is probably La Garita del Diablo (Devil’s Sentry Box), which is one of the oldest parts of the San Cristóbal fort, built around 1634. With all the other incredible scenery here, digital photographers will be glad they don’t have to worry about running out of film.

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PhotograPhy courtesy of the Puerto rico tourism comPany; library of congress; JosePh/shutterstock.com.

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264 Fortaleza Street • Old San Juan, PR 787.977.7777

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202 Fortaleza Street • Old San Juan, PR 787.977.5555

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wikipedia.com; puerto rico tourist Board; joanna wnuk/shutterstock.com; the puerto rico tourism company; christian sumner/istockphoto.com

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A Gastronome’s Tour Dining is an integral part of discovering Old San Juan, as much as sightseeing or shopping. The neighborhood called SOFO — South of Fortaleza — is known for fine dining and for outdoor food festivals that draw many a hungry crowd. In the chic Condado and Isla Verde areas, chefs combine modern Latin-fusion meals with traditional Creole cuisine, and diners enjoy mouthwatering blends of Latin, French, Asian and even Indian cuisines.

TradiTional TasTes The lively town of Santurce offers fashionable Spanish restaurants, a local farmer’s market and the delightful fondas: small eateries serving home-style Puerto Rican

cooking at moderate prices. Here you might enjoy asopao, a hearty chickenand-rice gumbo. Your meal will likely come with a generous helping of arroz blanco (white rice) and habichuelas: beans stewed in sofrito, a blend of onions, peppers, cilantro, garlic and salt pork. And you’re sure to want to a dessert of flan — baked custard topped with a caramel glaze — or tembleque, a bread pudding made with coconut milk and custard. No meal is complete without a cup of rich Puerto Rican coffee; the locals often enjoy it with some frothy boiled milk. ¡Buen apetito! FROM TOP: Seafood by the sea; a typical Puerto Rican lunch served at a local fonda; sweet, scrumptious flan

Legends and Lore

ABOVE: The silver altar in Capilla del Cristo is said to cure those who seek its help. RIGHT: Illustration of Ponce de León.

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It stands to reason that the history of one of the oldest cities in the Western Hemisphere — it was founded in 1521 — would have some colorful characters, some better known than others. Who hasn’t heard of Ponce de León and his search for the legendary Fountain of Youth? Unfortunately, Ponce de León’s mission was cut short before he realized his dream: He met his fate at the hands of local Natives while searching out magic potions in Florida. His remains were eventually shipped to Puerto Rico, where he had served as the island’s first governor. He was buried in the San José Church, the second-oldest church in the New World. In 1913, his body was moved to the San Juan Cathedral, where it lies today, encased in a marble crypt. Although Ponce de León never discovered the secret of eternal youth, he did manage to find immortality in Old San Juan.

If you believe in miracles, a visit to the Capilla del Cristo, at the end of Cristo Street, might work wonders. Long ago, the story goes, the rum-fueled young men of San Juan used to race their horses down the steep city streets. One day, a particularly lucky daredevil narrowly escaped death when his faithful horse stopped short just inches from the edge of a seaside precipice. The rider’s grateful family built a small chapel, the Capilla del Cristo, on the spot of the near mishap. Now true believers, hoping to be cured of whatever ails them, place tiny replicas of arms, legs and hearts on the chapel’s silver altar, dedicated to the Christ of Miracles. — G. D.

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202 Calle Fortaleza • Old San Juan, PR 00901 • 787.721.0855 • sales@bluediamondgems.com

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Shopping in

San Juan

Here’s the ultimate insider guide to what’s hot in town. SEE IT? LIKE IT? BUY IT!

RobeRto Coin B olli c i n e C ollec ti on c u f f an d ri n g

delatoRi Clear c r ys tal & pink amethys t earr ings

Raymond Weil Freelan c er Urb an Blac k watc h

movado Women s S eri o watc h

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robert freeman

Puerto Rican Delights

Rum and cigars are closely identified with San Juan. INSET: Rum aging in barrels.

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Think of San Juan, and quite likely three little words come to mind. Coffee. Rum. Cigars. Once the mainstays of Puerto Rico’s economy, these locally made delights still know their way around the table. Coffee made its Caribbean debut in the 1700s, when plants imported from the Old World first arrived on the scene. The shiny green shrubs flourished on Puerto Rico’s mountain slopes. Plantation owners grew rich, and coffee mills soon dotted the landscape. Although production has decreased over the years, a few top estates still grow the island’s prized black gold. Rum and alcohol are nearly synonymous in Puerto Rico. Distilled from fermented molasses, a by-product of sugarcane processing, this island spirit has a long history in the region. The best rum is aged in oak barrels, either charred to give the spirit color or left uncharred for clear, white rum. Cigars, as the story goes, date back to the island’s pre-Columbian inhabitants, the Taino Indians. The Tainos cultivated tobacco and rolled the dried leaves into cigars, which the Europeans observed in their early encounters with the natives. Intrigued, the explorers took their newfound habit back to Europe — and the cigar craze began. More than 500 years later, hand-rolling remains the preferred method of making fine cigars. — G. D.

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Come smoke a complimentary Puerto Rican Tobacco Cigar, and try our Hookah Lounge We have 100% local Tobacco Cigars made in Puerto Rico A ďŹ ne selection of Premium and Gourmet Cigars in our walk-in Humidor Souvenirs and Jewelry

154 Calle Fortaleza, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, 00901 Tel: 787.390.9249 Store: 787.723.0729 email: sanjuanretailer@gmail.com

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Puerto rico tourism comPany; u.s. Fish and WildliFe service; WWW.travelandsPorts.com.

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RIGHT: Enjoying El Yunque, home of the Puerto Rican Parrot. BELOW: A pair of the dwindling species of bird.

Hope for the Future El Yunque rainforest is home to a great variety of vegetation and wildlife, including one species that almost disappeared: the Puerto Rican Parrot. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the bright-green bird has lived in the forests of Puerto Rico for well over a thousand years and once numbered in the millions. But the species (Amazona vittata) began dwindling soon after European colonization began in the 15th and 16th centuries. By the mid-1900s, its habitat was nearly eradicated by the conversion of forested land to farms and cities. In 1968, when the birds’ population had diminished to a mere two dozen, the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Program was created. The multi-agency group has helped bring the numbers up to about 40 — slow but steady progress that wildlife supporters are working hard to maintain.

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Oldest Mansion Old San Juan is filled with hundreds of preserved buildings that tell the history of the city and the island. La For taleza (The Fortress), the Western Hemisphere’s oldest executive mansion in continuous use, has been home to more than 200 Puerto Rican governors. Its original single tower and patio were built in 1540 to protect the Spanish population from the Carib Indians. Its more-palatial elements were 19th-century additions, including the polished reception rooms, the stately mahogany staircase and the mosaic-lined chapel that was once a storeroom for gold bullion. — D. W.

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Puerto rico tourist Board

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FARMACIA LUMA Drugstore & Souvenirs

Plaza del Quinto Centenario

Circles and Squares In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue and confirmed that the Earth was round, not flat. He landed on Puerto Rico during his second voyage in 1493, only to sail right back home across the Atlantic. Now Christopher Columbus has come full circle. The explorer has returned to San Juan in statuesque form; his impressive figure stands atop a pedestal in the Plaza de Colón, or Columbus Plaza. A more recent homage to the Great Admiral, Plaza del Quinto Centenario (Quincentennial Plaza) was created to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the European discovery of the Americas. The multilevel square, located on the highest hill in the old city, overlooks the busy harbor with its cruise ships and multitude of other vessels. Old San Juan’s colonial central square, the Plaza de Armas (Arms Plaza), was originally used for military drills — hence its name. The plaza, graced by a fountain and statues representing the four seasons, is a lively gathering spot for locals and a convenient place for visitors to take a break from the shopping circuit. — G. D.

T-SHIRTS ATM DRINKS PHARMACIST DRUGS LOTTO

SPANISH FANS CANDIES QUIXOTE COLLECTION STAMPS CERAMICS POSTCARDS

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TURQUESA Custom-made jewelry by local designers Get a unique piece made for you. Semiprecious-stone rings, energy bracelets, healing stones. Jewelry design classes, beads, quartz, minerals, etc.

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St. Kitts

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MISSING CREDIT

ST. KITTS TOuRISM bOaRD

Often regarded as the jewel of the Caribbean, this volcanic island offers some of the region’s most dramatic panoramas and dynamic photo opportunities. Formally named St. Christopher, St. Kitts is part of the two-island nation of St. Kitts and Nevis (pronounced NEE-vis).

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The rugged yet serene coast of St. Kitt

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: A romantic aura, making it a popular honeymoon destination. IT’S A FACT: In 2007, St. Kitts and Nevis became the smallest nation to host the Cricket World Cup. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Locally designed batik print clothing, and sculptures created from dried coconut shells.

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A perfect day in:

St. Kitts

St. Kitts’ capital, Basseterre, offers memorable shopping.

Through the centuries, changes in governments gave many Caribbean islands a mélange of influences seen in cuisines, languages and architectural styles. St. Kitts’ British heritage is showcased at Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, where one needn’t be a military buff to enjoy the view of Nevis, Montserrat, Saba, St. Martin and St. Bart’s on a clear day. An even loftier summit is found atop Mt. Liamuiga, an all-day challenge. The easiest sightseeing is aboard the historic St. Kitts Scenic Railway, a 30-mile ride around the island aboard a narrow-gauge railway that once carried cane from the plantations. The train returns to the capital of Basseterre, the home of the island’s shopping scene, where batik and local artwork are especially popular buys. And for serious shopping for crystal, gold jewelry, watches, china and porcelain, shops along the Circus and in Pelican Mall and TDC Mall offer a wide assortment of tempting dutyThe St. Kitts Scenic Railway free goods. —J. B. and P. P. 216

photos courtesy of st. kitts tourism board

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT ST. KITTS

FROM TOP: The fine art of relaxing; a batik artist at work; the Berkeley Memorial Clock in the Basseterre Circus roundabout

HOW TO GET TO TOWN You can walk to the historical center at Basseterre in just a few minutes — no taxi needed.

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ABOVE: St. Kitts was an important base in the Caribbean. BELOW RIGHT: Standing guard.

A ‘Fertile Land’ by John Anderson

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Beginnings

The FirsT French colony

For centuries, the island of St. Kitts had been an attractive home to various Indian tribes; its rich, productive volcanic soil earned it the name Liamuiga, or “fertile land,” by the Carib people who arrived around A.D.t 1300. It was the northernmost island in the Caribbean that the tribe would settle. St. Kitts’ central location made it an important base for trade throughout the Caribbean. On his second voyage to the New World in 1493, Christopher Columbus discovered the island and named it San Jorges. But inaccuracies in maps of the time made identifying the islands difficult, and San Jorges became San Cristobel (Columbus’ patron saint), which was later Anglicized to St. Christopher.

In 1623, hungry for a foothold in the Caribbean, the Englishman Thomas Warner landed on St. Kitts and claimed it as the first British territory in the West Indies; he established a colony a year later. In 1625, a French ship badly in need of repair appeared in the harbor. It had run into the Spanish Armada. Warner took pity and allowed the French to settle on the island, which made St. Kitts the first French colony in the Caribbean.

The richesT island St. Kitts changed hands numerous times between the French and English throughout its early history until 1783, when the Treaty of Versailles definitively recognized British rule. The island’s economic fortunes were

photos courtesy of st. kitts tourism board

St. Kitts can claim some of the oldest settlements in the entire Caribbean.

bolstered with a switch to raising sugarcane in 1640, eventually becoming the leading sugar producer in the Caribbean. But from the late 1800s on, profits from the sugar industry began a long, slow decline.

Today’s island In 1967, St. Kitts, along with its sister island, Nevis, became an associated state of Britain and attained full independence as a single nation in 1983. With its intriguing coves, excellent interior hiking paths, dramatic panoramas and palmlined beaches, St. Kitts is a classic Caribbean destination.

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Marina Village I Port Zante I Basseterre, St. Kitts Ph: 869.465.8817 I E-mail: goldminesk@gmail.com

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Flavors of

St. Kitts

by Raymond Niedowski

st. kitts’ Flag The colors of St. Kitts’ national flag reflect the past and present: green for the land’s fertility, red for the struggle from colonial slavery to independence, black for African heritage and yellow for — what else? — year-round sunshine. Two white stars represent hope and liberty.

The flamboyant, or royal poinciana, tree

national Flower

istockphoto.com; michael d. skelton/shutterstock.com

The flamboyant, a vibrant red-and-yellow flower with long black seedpods, blooms from May to August. It’s also known as the poinciana after Monsieur de Poincy, the island’s first French governor. No matter what you call it, St. Kitts has chosen this beauty as its national flower.

honored heritage St. Kitts may be small, but that doesn’t mean it can’t have its own coat of arms. The main features include a barge under sail, a red chevron, poinciana flowers and a Carib Indian’s head flanked by a fleur-de-lis and a rose. These symbolize the island’s early inhabitants and its French and English influences, respectively.

Brown pelican

national Bird St. Kitts’ coat of arms

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St. Kitts also has a national bird — the brown pelican. Graceful and swift, these large brown-and-white creatures with the never-ending beaks patrol the sea for tasty morsels, soaring in lazy curves before plunging toward lunch or dinner. What better symbol of the island than these free spirits?

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Marina Village I Port Zante I Basseterre, St. Kitts Ph: 869.465.8817 I E-mail: goldminesk@gmail.com

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MT. LIAMUIGA:

Into the Dormant Volcano St. Kitts’ most commanding landmark, Mt. Liamuiga, reaches high enough into the sky to touch clouds drifting over its lush and verdant slopes.

Steve Mccabe/DelphiS.DM; aaron voS/wikipeDia.coM.

At 3,792 feet, this dormant volcano is taller than Mt. Nevis on St. Kitts’ sister island and is one of the highest peaks in the Eastern Caribbean. At its summit sits a crater more than a half-mile wide, containing a shallow but shimmering lake that is often shrouded in fog — a geological wonder formed by fiery eruptions of past millennia. Mt. Liamuiga was called Mt. Misery by the British, but legend has it that native Carib Indians actually gave it that ominous name after suffering through volcanic eruptions. The name stuck until 1983, when St. Kitts won independence from Great Britain. The current name is Carib for “fertile land” or “fertile isle.” Volcanic activity was recorded as recently as 1843.

Hiking tHe volcano Many visitors to St. Kitts take on the challenge of reaching the summit. Casual hikers, be warned: Bring your hiking boots, but don’t tackle this peak without an experienced guide. Most hikes to the rim use well-traveled trails from Belmont Estates on the island’s northwest side, but trails soon become rugged with protruding roots amid slippery and muddy, narrow and rocky paths. The more adventurous cling to ropes along steep ledges from the mountain’s rim to dip 400 or so feet into the vast volcanic crater. The hike can be exhilarating. Tropical plants and flora enhance dramatic views stretching down to aquamarine shorelines. Green Vervet monkeys scamper nearby the dense forested trails. And those who descend into the crater, where occasional whiffs of sulfur waft on warm Caribbean winds, will experience the thrill of a lifetime. — R. V. 222

FROM TOP: The highest point on St. Kitts; aerial view of the island; the Devil’s Tooth rock formation, with St. Eustatius and the island of Saba in the distance.

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Fine world class Tanzanite with superior cut and affordable prices

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photos courtesy of nevis tourism authority

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ABOVE: The Botanical Gardens. BELOW, COUNTERCLOCKWISE: The Botanical Gardens’ Tea House; a carriage ride; hiking through the rainforest.

It takes only 20 minutes to completely circle the rounded island of Nevis, a lush, unspoiled tropical paradise.

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Unspoiled

Caribbean Splendor Calm and quiet prevail: no crowds clamoring on beaches, hardly a traffic jam — not even a traffic light. Plantations that once dotted the landscape are now home to quaint inns and bungalows, many with old water cisterns and towering stone-chipped sugar mills transformed into plush sleeping accommodations and fine dining rooms. Often cloaked in puffy clouds, Nevis Peak is a landmark 3,232-foot mountain at the island’s center, flanked by nearby Saddle Hill, where British Admiral Horatio Nelson once watched for approaching French ships. Today, rainforests with mango, coconut and breadfruit trees shade hiking trails where sheep, goats and monkeys roam freely. Along the mountain’s base, locals grow oranges, papayas and guavas that thrive in the cooler tropical temperatures. The nearby Botanical Gardens of Nevis provide a shady retreat with rare plants and trees, including the spiny Burglar Palm and the aptly named Old Man Palm, with shaggy, beard-like fibers spread generously over its trunk.

The splendor continues at nightfall, when the mellifluous chatter of whistling frogs breaks the silence, and the skies above St. Kitts glow with deep orange and burgundy streaks of light — the hues of a dramatic sunset that islanders cherish and visitors will never forget. — R. V.

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Every moment is a gift

Visit our store to help PANDORA support Breast Cancer Awareness

Sterling silver charms from $25

PORT ZANTE B.9 UNIT 101• Basseterre, St. Kitts 869.466.5853 • icjewelers@sisterisles.kn

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Hear the Whistle Blow

Since the first sugarcane was planted in St. Kitts’ fertile soil around 1650, sugar has been the mainstay of the island’s agriculture-based economy. In 1912, the small individually owned estate mills and boiling houses scattered throughout the island were replaced by one large sugar refinery capable of processing the island’s entire crop. During this time, a narrow-gauge railway was built between the pier in Basseterre Bay and a drop-off point about a mile north in order to haul cane and construction material for the new factory. By 1925, the railway was extended around the island in a single loop. It remains in

Beautiful Batik

Just a few miles from the magnificent fortress of Brimstone Hill, the road passes close to Romney Manor, an elegant former estate house set among 13 acres of rainforest, the ruins of a sugar estate and stunning formal botanical gardens. At Caribelle Batik Studio, founded in 1974, visitors can watch the batik process unfold. Local artists employ centuries-old

The railway has been in operation since 1912.

operation today. In all, the railway contains over 40 miles of track and 26 bridges. The original steam locomotive, Number 8, taken out of service many years ago, still sits in the sugar factory’s yard. During the peak harvest period, the new diesel engines haul over 2,700 tons (900 wagon loads) of cane each day. Currently, the railway is one of only six operating systems in the Caribbean. And despite the occasional collision and derailment, it still remains a vital part of the island’s economy. So railway enthusiasts needn’t fret — the clatter of wheels and locomotive whistles will be heard for many years to come. — M.D.F.

For nearly 40 years, Romney Manor has housed the studio and showroom of Caribelle Batik. hot-wax techniques to create unique batik designs on Sea Island cotton fabrics that will become shirts, skirts, sundresses and other apparel. Designs include abstracts, flora, fish and birds; another popular batik design includes replicas of Carib petroglyphs found on rocks alongside the access road leading to Romney Manor. — J. S.

st. kitts tourism board

The vibrant showroom of Caribelle Batik

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Signature Collection 42TG-CWG-SSTG

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St. Kitts Building #29 Unit #1 Port Zante, Basseterre Tel: 1 869 465 4068 Email: kaysskb@sisterisles.kn Website: www.kaysfinejewelry.com Facebook: KFJCaribbean

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St. Lucia

LuCia PiTTer/ShuTTerSToCk.Com

The island’s striking landscape is washed with greenmantled mountains, broad swaths of sand, exotic rainforests and a steaming volcanic crater. This is one of the Caribbean’s most romantic places, and many a visitor ends up falling in love with St. Lucia itself.

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The Pitons, also known as the twin peaks, stand like sentries on St. Lucia’s coastline.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: The twin volcanic peaks called the Pitons, and palmstudded beaches. IT’S A FACT: When France’s King Louis XVI controlled the island, he ordered mineral baths built for the benefit of his troops. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Batik or silk-screened fabrics, and paintings by local artists.

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A perfect day in:

St. Lucia

The Pitons overlooking Soufrière

On the southwest coast of romantic St. Lucia, the island’s famed twin peaks — 2,620-foot Gros Piton and 2,460-foot Petit Piton — are among the Caribbean’s most photographed sights, appearing to rise from the sea at the water’s edge. These volcanic heights are for experienced climbers only. But hikes in the misty rainforest below, home of the rare St. Lucian parrot, offer plenty of satisfaction for the less-seasoned and for couples in search of romantic getaways. At the sulfur springs volcano, travelers walk to the edge of the volcano that last erupted two centuries ago. Nearby, the Diamond Waterfalls and Gardens cascade in a spray of “diamond” twinkles, and locals and visitors use steamy mineral baths built alongside the ruins of the baths commissioned by French King Louis XIV. St. Lucia’s capital, Castries, is also its shopping hub, thanks to duty-free malls offering treasures such as fine jewels, crystal and the century-old Castries Market. Here, fragrant spices, from cinnamon to nutmeg, are a sweet hint of this fertile island ripe with citrus, where more than 100 varieties of mangoes grow and where banana plantations stretch to the horizon. The island’s spices also liven up Creole cuisine. Favorite dishes such as saltfish and green fig are served in local hideaways in the fishing village of Anse La Raye and in tiny Gros Islet, famous for its Friday night jump-up party. —J. B. and P. P.

Valerie loiseleux/istockphoto; st. lucia tourism BoarD

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT ST. LUCIA

FROM TOP: Visitors relax in pools filled with water from the sulfur springs; Diamond Falls.

HOW TO GET TO TOWN If your ship docks at La Place Carenage, take a three-minute ferry ride into town. If it docks at Pointe Seraphine, just walk down the gangway and you’re there.

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Island of the Iguanas DaviD Masini/istockphoto.coM; steve Geer/istockphoto.coM

by John Anderson

ABOVE: Iguanas are so populous that St. Lucia was first named for them. BELOW: Cannon at Pigeon Point, overlooking Rodney Bay.

St. Lucia is endowed with scenic waterfalls and an easy pace of life. It’s a multicultural locale enhanced by a distinctive past. Beginnings St. Lucia’s first inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, arrived around a.d. 200 and were replaced by the Carib tribe around a.d. 800. The Indians called the island Hewanorra, or Island of the Iguanas, a name now used for the Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux Fort, on the island’s southern tip. While some say Christopher Columbus discovered St. Lucia in 1502, that honor most likely goes to a Spanish explorer, possibly Juan de la Cosa, who arrived in the early 1500s. The first colony was attempted in 1605 after an English vessel on its way to Guyana was blown off course and landed on St. Lucia’s shores. But the settlement lasted only five weeks; disease and conflict with the Caribs forced the settlers to abandon the island.

The French/BriTish seesaw France claimed the island in 1635, declaring it had purchased the island for the French 232

West Indies Company, and attempted its own colony on St. Lucia in 1651. It was the beginning of 150 years of conflict between the French and British that saw the island change hands 14 times. In 1746, the French founded the town of Soufrière, and by 1780, another 12 settlements were established, as well as numerous sugar plantations. Finally, in 1814, after years of prolonged battles, the Treaty of Paris transferred the island to the British once and for all.

Modern TiMes St. Lucia gained its full independence from England in 1979 but still recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as the titular head of state. French influences have remained, not only in the names of towns and landmarks but also in the Creole culture of its people, many of whom continue to speak a French patois — all part of the unique flavor of St. Lucia.

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U.S POLO ASSN. Second Floor Baywalk Mall Rodney Bay Tel: 1.758.452.9516 E-Mail: uspoloslu@gmail.com

Second Floor Baywalk Mall Rodney Bay, St. Lucia Tel: 1.758.452.9195 E-Mail: hugobossslu@gmail.com

Urban Clothing, Sportswear and Footwear

facebook.com/Taxi.StLucia

Second Floor, Baywalk Mall, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia Tel: 1.758.451.3209, E-Mail: fuchsiaslu@gmail.com

Second Floor, Baywalk Mall, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

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Scenic Delights

TOP: Exploring a rainforest. RIGHT: Visitors walking through the Botanical Gardens; capturing the scene.

photos courtesy of st. lucia tourisM board

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How ironic that St. Lucy, the island’s patron saint, was blind. Packed into St. Lucia’s 238 square miles is some of the most magnificent, most diverse scenery in the Caribbean. No wonder the British and French pingponged the island between them 14 times before the Brits finally snatched the prize. If you can’t find a piece of paradise here, you’ve taken a wrong turn on your way to heaven. For the sand-and-surf set, beaches come in two colors: golden white and jet black. Not the beach type, you say? Explore the twin mountain peaks, the rainforests or the marine park. Allergic to saltwater? Dance under a fresh waterfall that changes colors, bask in a hot mineral spring — sorry, one color only — or melt in a mud pot. If a swish of green catches your eye, chances are it’s

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a Jacquot, a rare parrot that calls St. Lucia home. Smart bird. If you miss it, perhaps you’ll run into some of the island’s other exotic flora and fauna. Although St. Lucia is fairly well developed, you can disappear into the ponderous silence of an area called Behind God’s Back, on the northeastern coast. But if you like your time ashore a bit more frenetic, you’ll be right at home at one of the town jump-ups, or street parties. Make sure your shades are sparkling clean when you visit this Caribbean spectacle. You won’t want to miss a thing. —R. N.

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Twin Peaks

On the mango-shaped island of St. Lucia, two massive points rise majestically for half a mile toward the sky. The Pitons (French for “spikes”) are St. Lucia’s twin peaks, among the island’s most spectacular attractions, which symbolize its untamed beauty. Petit Piton and Gros Piton, formed of lava and rock, are believed to be the sides of a once-

St. Lucia’s best-known landmark

active volcano, now dressed in verdant vegetation. For centuries, they have served as a sailors’ landmark. The best view is from the leeward coast road, because from this vantage point the peaks have an identical shape. Behind the Pitons lies the island’s

national forest, comprising more than 19,000 acres of mountains and valleys covered with luxuriant greenery. Exotic wildlife, giant ferns, wild orchids and the Jacquot, St. Lucia’s very own rare parrot, thrive in the natural reserve.

The Hot Spot on St. Lucia

Lidian neeLeman/istockphoto; david nieLsam/shutterstock.com.

The Soufrière caldera

This vaporous caldera is all that remains of a volcano that erupted in 1766. St. Lucians call Mount Soufrière the world’s only drive-in volcano because visitors can drive up to the rim of the searing-hot morass and, from there, can venture forth on foot. Guides from the government tourist office are available to help negotiate the unpredictable paths; the mud pools have been known to shift suddenly. If you’re lucky, you may get to witness one of the guides demonstrating

Just over the ridge behind Soufrière, the old French capital of St. Lucia, sits the remnant of a 7-acre volcanic crater — a moonscape of barren earth and gravel where pools of muddy water simmer and belch out clouds of steam that shoot 50 feet into the air.

the volcano’s cooking capabilities with an egg or a potato. Since 1766, not much violent activity has occurred. The likelihood of another volcanic eruption is slim because the crater constantly lets off sulfur-smelling steam. Visitors are advised not to wear silver jewelry at the site since sulfur fumes may cause discoloration. From the crater, a small stream fed by rainwater winds its way 1,000 feet down through the dense forest of the mountain-

side to small rock pools forming Diamond Falls in the southwestern region of St. Lucia, near Soufrière. The falls come down in six stages — flowing through sulfur springs that change the color of the water to brilliant shades of yellow, green and purple. The 106°F waters are reputed to have wonderful curative powers. A road up to the site makes these pools readily accessible; thousands of visitors make the pilgrimage to bathe in their soothing waters. —D. W. and M.D.F. PRINCESS CRUISES DISCOVERY

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St. Maarten/ St. Martin

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half Dutch and half French, the two-nation island of st. maarten/ st. martin enjoys the best that its dual heritage has to offer — with a tropical twist. like so many other caribbean nations, this picturesque destination has stunning beaches; but with a profusion of sporting facilities, shops and restaurants, it is a paradise on many other levels as well.

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Fort St. Louis overlooks Marigot Bay off St. Martin, the French side of the island.

QUICKGUIDE FAMED FOR: Shopping, yacht races and clothing-optional beaches. IT’S A FACT: The island is the world’s smallest territory shared by two sovereign states: the Netherlands and France. SIGNATURE SOUVENIRS: Dutyfree spirits, including the island’s own guavaberry liqueur, plus French fashions.

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A perfect day in:

St. Maarten/St. Martin

Verdant hills lead to soft sand kissed by the Caribbean.

Do you speak Dutch or French? It really doesn’t matter when you arrive at this Caribbean paradise of two sovereign nations living side-by-side and celebrating distinctive influences from their European roots. And St. Maarten is the only Caribbean stop where all attractions — restaurants, shops and beaches — are a stone’s throw away from the ship, making it one of the easiest island destinations to get around. Philipsburg on the Dutch side, St. Maarten, is the more popular of the two stops. Live music wafts through the air, and quaintly cobblestoned Front Street is lined with inviting duty-free shops, jewelry stores and boutiques, most of which offer a free drink to anyone entering to browse or buy. Wathey Square, across from the white 1793 Courthouse that is topped with a cupola, is a lovely spot to stroll. And the St. Maarten Museum offers a look at native Arawak artifacts and a crash course in island history. Philipsburg has grown even lovelier since a revitalization added enhancements, including the boardwalk that meanders between shops and the beach; it’s not only a pretty place to walk but also offers a lovely photo opportunity of your cruise ship in the harbor. —R. V.

st. maarten tourist bureau

THINGS WE LOVE ABOUT ST. MAARTEN/ST. MARTIN

FROM TOP: Horseback riders; elegant local cuisine; shopping in port

HOW TO GET TO TOWN Most ships dock at the A.C. Wathey Pier, and taxis can be hired at Wathey Square. Those docking at Great Bay can take the ship’s tender into port or hop a water taxi from the ship.

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st. maarten tourism board; Jon Williams.

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Boats rest quietly in a serene harbor.

Two Nations, Side by Side in Harmony by John Anderson

The people of St. Maarten and St. Martin offer proof that having the good fortune to inhabit one small island paradise is all anyone needs to coexist peacefully with folks of another nationality. Beginnings The first settlers on the northeastern Caribbean island were the Arawak Indians, a tribe of Amerindians who migrated northward from the Orinoco river basin of South America, hopping from one island to the next along their journey. Finding an abundance of salt pans and brackish 242

water on the future Franco-Dutch isle, they named it Soualiga, or Land of Salt. Due to the lack of freshwater sources, the island’s population remained small. A relatively cultured and innovative people, the peaceful Arawaks introduced agriculture and pottery-making. Their social structure was ruled by hereditary

chieftains, believed to possess the powers of ancestral deities known as zemis. The tribe established a network of fiefdoms throughout the Caribbean; but archaeologists believe the Arawaks on St. Martin were an independent society free of such alliances. In the century leading up to the arrival of Christopher Columbus, the Arawaks were supplanted by the Carib Indians, a more aggressive tribe also from South America for whom the Caribbean is named. The Carib were skilled in the arts of boatbuilding and sailing — as well as war, which explains their dominance of the region. They also harbored large quantities of gold, obtained through trade with the mainland, which made them the target of many expeditions.

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Columbus sights an island On his second voyage to the New World in 1493, Columbus sighted the island on his way to the Spanish settlement on Hispaniola. The fortuitous day was November 11, the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, in whose honor Columbus named the island. A dispute exists among historians as to whether the island Columbus sighted was indeed St. Martin or the more southerly Nevis. Regardless, the Spanish never took much interest in the 38-square-mile piece of property, and St. Martin sat mostly uninhabited for 138 years. In 1623, after the English colonized St. Kitts, their first stronghold in the Caribbean, both the French and Dutch followed suit in 1631 with their own settlements on St. Martin. For their part, the Dutch were in search of an outpost between their colonies in Brazil and New Amsterdam (New York). Once settled, they began producing salt, a precious preservative in the New World. Two years later, upon realizing the commercial potential of the island, the Spanish returned to reclaim their land and ran the settlers off onto neighboring islands. In 1644, the Dutch attempted to retake St. Martin and attacked Spanish strongholds, including the fort at Pointe Blanche. Leading the charge was the famed Dutchman Peter Stuyvesant — director of the Dutch West India Company and later governor of New Amsterdam — who lost a leg in the monthlong campaign, thus earning the nickname Peg Leg Pete. The Spanish prevailed against the Dutch attack; however, just four years later, after reevaluating their interests in the Eastern Caribbean, they loaded their ships and sailed away.

A colorful shopping scene in Philipsburg, the Dutch side of the island

on the island. After a spate of skirmishes, both nations signed the 1648 treaty atop Mount Concordia that divided the island between them. But despite the treaty and the islanders’ reputation for peaceful coexistence, the border changed 16 times over the next 150 years. Finally, in 1815, the Treaty of Paris established the boundary once and for all. During the 19th century, the island became a busy trading center for the export of salt, cotton and tobacco. And after the introduction of the sugarcane crop, the island’s economy flourished with the growth of plantations.

a land divided

the sCene today

With the Spanish gone, the French and Dutch quickly reestablished themselves

With the abolition of slavery in the mid-19th century, the plantations closed and the

island’s prosperity came to an end, ushering in an economic malaise that continued for nearly 100 years. In 1939, the trend was finally reversed when import and export taxes were lifted; this act paved the way for the economic boom of duty-free shopping. In 1943, the Princess Juliana International Airport was opened, and four years later, the island’s first hotel was built. With large-scale development projects, the Dutch side of the island rapidly became a favorite vacation destination for North Americans and Europeans. In the 1980s, the French side followed suit after new government policies encouraged investment. Nowadays, St. Maarten/St. Martin boasts one of the most lively tourist scenes in the Caribbean.

S t. M a a r t e n / S t. M a r t i n t i M e L i n e 1493: Christopher Columbus sights the island, naming it St. Martin.

1815: The Treaty of Paris ends the border dispute.

1633: The Spanish reclaim the island. 1631: French and Dutch settlers arrive.

1648: The French and the Dutch sign a treaty that divides the island.

1943: Princess Juliana International Airport opens.

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WWW .MAJESTYJEWELERS.COM #46 FRONT STREET, PHILIPSBURG, ST. MAARTEN T: +1 721.542.2473 / TOLL FREE: 877.358.9679 / EMAIL: sales@majestyjewelers.com

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Flavors of

St. Maarten/St. Martin

by Sara Churchville

St. Maarten Flag First flown in 1985, the St. Maarten flag features the colors of the Netherlands flag — red, white and blue — arranged as the St. Maarten coat of arms within a white triangle intersecting a red color on the top and a blue one beneath. The coat of arms, with a courthouse, a sprig of sage, the sun and a pelican, represents elements of the island’s solidarity with its French Antillean neighbors as well as with the Netherlands.

It’s party time!

Zouk st. maarten tOUrIsm BOarD; DOUG raPHaeL/sHUtterstOck.cOm.

Zouk, from the French Creole word for “party,” may have originated in the French Antilles, but this style of dance music that combines African drumming with influences from reggae, salsa and 1980s pop music is equally popular in the clubs on the Dutch side of the island.

Delicate Saba lace

Saba lace

Colorful blooms

Yellow Sage Lantana camara , or “yellow sage,” is the national flower of St. Maarten, depicted on the island’s coat of arms. 246

On a small island about 30 miles south of St. Maarten is Saba, where lace making has been an artisanal tradition since the late-19th century. One Mary Gertrude Johnson returned to the island from a Venezuelan convent having learned the craft, which she then passed on to the local women. Today you don’t need to travel to Saba for the delicate lace; it’s available throughout St. Maarten.

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CARIBBEAN GEMS

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Marigot

The Dutch and French happily share the two-nation island.

A Tale of Two Cities The capital of Dutch St. Maarten stretches across a narrow isthmus between the waters of Great Bay to the south and Great Salt Pond to the north. The bustling, contemporary town has two main downtown streets, Front Street and Back Street, spliced by narrow lanes (steegjes) supporting a slew of boutiques, eateries and shopping arcades. It wasn’t so long ago that the city needed only two small streets. But St. Maarten’s boom as a vacation resort changed all that. Two thoroughfares, Cannegieter Street (formerly Pond Fill Road) and Walter Nisbett Road (formerly Ring Road), have been added — through landfill of Salt Pond — to relieve the downtown traffic congestion. Philipsburg was founded in 1733 as a free port, a status it enjoys to this day; it's known as "the shopping center of the Leewards." Front Street (Voorstraat) offers the public 16 blocks of every kind of store imaginable carrying duty-free bargains on everything from watches, cameras, liquor, clothing and linens to loose gems and exotic jewelry. 250

Also situated on Front Street is the St. Maarten Museum, where island archaeology and history are reflected in colonial maps, Spanish buttons and pipes, china plates and pottery shards. Back Street (Achterstraat) was once the site of warehouses that stored harvested salt in vast white sacks. Today most of Philipsburg’s administrative buildings and churches are found along this road.

A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION Legend has it that the Dutch and French, vying for island territory, decided that hoofing it was better than running amok with blunderbusses ablazin’. So an official from each side started back-to-back and walked around the island in opposite directions until they met again faceto-face, each claiming the territory he had covered. The Frenchman outpaced his competitor, resulting in greater acreage for him and his compatriates. — R. N.

st. maarten tourism board

PhiliPsburg

The capital of French St. Martin is unmistakably Gallic, from the international border sign that reads “Bienvenue en Partie Française” and the khaki-clad gendarme walking his beat, to the inviting sidewalk bistros and baguette-laden locals on bicycles. The original town was established in the 1680s, when the fear of raids, forcing the islanders inland to Orléans, had passed. Now stretching from the harbor to Port La Royale on the lagoon, Marigot’s handful of streets have been restored to their original charm and still contain plenty of colonial buildings with wrought-iron balustrades scattered among the morecontemporary, pastel-colored shopping arcades. The old warehouses of the esplanade, boulevard de France, now contain smart shops and cafés sporting street-front awnings and tables with umbrellas, encouraging folks to linger all day. Visitors to Marigot can spend a leisurely afternoon browsing in chic boutiques and gourmet shops that offer the best of France, stopping in at the small museum devoted to local prehistory or simply strolling the yacht-filled marina, one of the best people-watching spots in town. — R. N.

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Shopping in

St. Maarten/St. Martin

Here’s the ultimate insider guide to what’s hot in town. SEE IT? LIKE IT? BUY IT!

rayMond weil Freelan c er c h ron ograph watc h

Fendi Fendi m a t i c g e nts wa tc h

Korite Am mo li te me n ' s r i ng

ernSt benz Ch ron oS por t watc h

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Shopping in

St. Maarten/St. Martin

Here’s the ultimate insider guide to what’s hot in town. SEE IT? LIKE IT? BUY IT!

CHARRiol Nau ti c al c able b an gle w i th w h i te s apph i re & di amon ds

RobERTo Coin Ch i c & S h i n e b an gles

TAG HEUER L I NK Lady Watch

KAbAnA Pi n k moth er- ofpearl h ear t ri n g

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ABOVE AND BELOW: Breathtakingly resplendent creatures

Beautiful Butterflies La Ferme was created in 1994 when two selfdescribed “eccentric” Englishmen, John Coward and William Slayter, chose to share their love of butterflies with the public.

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Imagine sipping nectar under a tropical sky while splendidly hued birds fly by and the lilting sounds of exotic music play in the background. Not bad, you say? While that image may reflect the lifestyle of the jet set vacationing on the island, it’s also the way butterflies thrive at La Ferme des Papillons (The Butterfly Farm) in Marigot, on the island’s French side. La Ferme is located on St. Martin’s east (Atlantic) coast, on the road to Bayside and Galion Beach, close to popular Orient Beach. If you consider that the average life span of a butterfly is a mere two weeks (although some live up to nine months), that nectar and tropical-sky concept may be rather less appealing. Yet a visit to La Ferme is a delightful and enriching outing. Many species have been imported; others are homegrown in a specially created Butterfly Sphere. The lush setting offers an oasis of tranquility and harmony, while providing an educational experience

for people of all ages. Visitors are urged to wear bright colors and fragrance to attract the butterflies. La Ferme was created in 1994 when two self-described “eccentric” Englishmen, John Coward and William Slayter, chose to share their love of butterflies with the public. Since then, thousands of visitors have stopped by to see the exquisite butterflies and to learn about their four-stage life cycle: developing from a microscopic egg to a strange, exotic caterpillar that sheds its skin four to six times as it grows; moving on to become a delicate pupa/chrysalis resembling a piece of elegant designer jewelry; and in early morning hours, emerging from the chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly. The guided tours provide a variety of entertaining butterfly facts and unusual insight into the butterfly’s existence. For example, did you know that butterflies usually hang from the undersides of leaves or crawl into crevices between rocks or other objects in bad weather and at night? Information is also available on butterfly gardening. More than 20,000 types of butterflies have been cataloged worldwide, and about 80 percent of the species are in the Tropics. The largest is New Guinea’s Queen Alexandra Birdwing, with a wingspan of just under a foot; the smallest is the Pygmy Blue, with a wingspan of just under an inch, found in the southern United States. The grounds contain landscaped gardens, waterfalls and ponds filled with Japanese fish. A refreshment stand and gift shop round out the sprawling complex. — M. L.

H.D. Connelly/istoCkpHoto.Com; pHotograpHs proviDeD by istoCkpHoto.Com.

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The thrill of yacht racing

A day at the Races

photographs courtesy of st. Maarten tourisM Board

Go ahead, admit it. You’ve always wanted to be a winch wench or a grinder. Or maybe being captain of the ship for a day is more your style. Well, you’re in the right place. St. Maarten/St. Martin is the only island in the Caribbean where novice sailors get the chance to race an authentic America’s Cup yacht. Simply watching these sleek sailboats cut through the water is pretty awesome, too. You may even find a ringside seat right on the deck of your cruise ship. For over 10 years, visitors to Philipsburg have been thrilling to the daily 12-meter regatta. The streamlined multimillion-dollar sailboats, transported to the Caribbean after the 1987 America’s Cup in Fremantle, Australia, race around a shortened America’s Cup course. The fleet includes three Canadian contenders and Dennis Conner’s Stars and Stripes, the proud U.S. vessel that won the cup after racing in nearly 350 individual matches. —G. D. A Canadian vessel 258

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Meet the

Arawaks

Human remains on display at the museum

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The museum’s permanent exhibition, “On the Trail of the Arawaks,” traces the history of this particular Amerindian tribe from its origins thousands of years ago. Archaeologists funded by the Hope Estate Archaeological Association took part in a 10-year dig to reconstruct information about Amerindian culture and populations. The Hope Estate, located near Grand Case Salt Pond, was once a plantation and is now St. Maarten’s most important archaeological site. Using carbon-14 dating, scientists concluded that St. Maarten’s first settlers built villages near Orient Bay and Grand Case around 500 B.C., bringing with them the arts of pottery and horticulture. Finds from the dig are also on display in the museum. Amerindians traveled from their native Andes to the northeastern coast of Venezuela and on to the Antilles. Archaeologists believe that the Arawaks lived on the island now known as St. Maarten as early as A.D. 800, farming, fishing and living a quiet life. The Arawaks, who revered their women, called the island Oualichi, meaning “the island of women.”

At the museum, visitors can see the Arawaks’ eating and farming tools, ornaments made of shell and stones, a burial site and funeral gifts in large clay pots. Ceramics and animal skulls are among the many well-preserved pre-Columbian relics exhibited. Also showcased are artifacts of the Arawak community’s religious and spiritual life, including zemis — images of gods made from a variety of materials — as well as astrological symbols and religious accoutrements worn by shamans. A more recent historical exhibition includes photos of the first airport built by the United States during World War II. That airport helped lure the first major influx of tourists to the island after the war. St. Maarten is now one of the Caribbean’s most popular cruise destinations. By the way, the Arawaks traveled via canoes made from hollowed-out trees — a far cry from today’s luxury cruise ships. Who knows? Maybe one day, hundreds of years from now, our flip-flops and suntan-lotion bottles will wind up in the museum to document that fact. — M. L. and K. R.

Archéologique hope estAte

Amerindians were the earliest settlers on many Caribbean islands, but their stories sometimes get overshadowed by the more-recent history of the European settlers. Their lives come to light at the St. Martin Museum in Marigot.

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quality leather on front street “The Leather Store of the Caribbean,” located in the heart of

LEATHER WORLD INTERNATIONAL

Philipsburg, is the only store of its kind in St. Maarten, offering a huge selection of the latest designs in leather goods at amazing prices, including genuine leather jackets, bags, shoes, belts & fashion accessories.

71 Front Street • Philipsburg • St. Maarten • Tel: 1-721-556-2906 • lwisxm@gmail.com

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Like the former Dutch island of New Amsterdam (now Manhattan), St. Maarten expresses its culinary art not in one single cuisine, but through a variety of cooking styles from far-flung corners of the globe. In fact, on this small island, there are more than 300 restaurants offering a dizzying array of culturally diverse dishes. For many visitors, the dining scene begins in Philipsburg. A short stroll along Front Street turns up everything from native Caribbean fare — such as funchi (a local corn product), stewed goat and johnnycakes — to Indian, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, French (you need not cross from St. Maarten to St. Martin for excellent French cooking) and Italian cuisine. If Philipsburg is the founding father of the island’s dining centers, then Simpson Bay is the heir apparent. In several hotels around the bay, restaurateurs with ambition and creativity are opening new establishments all the time. Considering the ease of access, you shouldn’t pass up a mealtime excursion from the Dutch side to the French side. It is, indeed, a tasty option that no other Caribbean island can offer. In Marigot, restaurants offer both classical French cuisine and its Creole counterpart in unparalleled style. Still, Grand Case, a town on the northwestern coast of the island, which calls itself the “gourmet capital of St. Martin,” is a powerful draw. Here a string of pretty restaurants dresses the waterfront, but few diners stop eating or drinking long enough to notice the stunning views. — W.L.S.

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St. maarten touriSt board; tonfon/ShutterStock.com; JacqueS LameLoiSe/wikipedia.

Dining Scene

Goat meat stew, an island favorite

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Secluded shores the island’s world-famous beaches are extraordinary even by caribbean standards. most are bustling, but there are stretches of sand still undiscovered by the masses.

The island’s French side boasts 36 beaches that are generally quieter than their Dutch counterparts. Here are five of the best:

Baie Longue (Long Bay) rated by many as the best beach on the island, baie Longue stretches for a mile on the western end of st. martin.

orient this is one of the most popular clothingoptional beaches. hordes of beachgoers come to shuck their clothes, catch some sun and gape. unlike the neighboring french shores, almost all beaches on the dutch side discourage nude or topless sunbathing. these beaches are relatively close to the pier in philipsburg.

SimpSon Bay this crescent-shaped sweep of sugar-white sand is a center for windsurfing activity. set against a small fishing village, simpson bay offers a laid-back environment.

maho Bay this palm-shaded beach is strewn with lounge chairs belonging to the numerous beachfront resorts lining the shore.

photos courtesy of st. maarten tourism board

great Bay smack in the middle of town, this strip of beach provides an oasis of peace.

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Blue C 100 M 100 Y 0 K 30

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The story of St. Martin stretches back to the days when seafaring Amerindians first paddled their dugout canoes to its unspoiled shores. These early explorers, known as Arawaks, soon discovered a valuable commodity: salt.

Old Salts

The worth of their find was not immediately recognized. Even the early European settlers did not exploit the bountiful mineral, choosing to grow sugarcane instead. But when drought struck in the late 1700s, the sweet life was threatened, and at last salt had its day in the sun. On the island’s first salt-harvesting day in 1789, more than 7,000 people attempted to claim the crusty, crystallized jewels emerging from the dry seabed. The St. Martin Salt Company was born out of the chaos, and during the next three years, an estimated three million barrels of salt were shipped to Europe and North America. Salt production continued well into the 20th century. The practice finally ceased in the late 1940s, leaving a dozen salt ponds scattered around the island. — G. D.

Salt mounds

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Patricia Hofmeester/sHutterstock

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Jewelry Avenue Please come and collect a free pair of earrings

White Diamonds

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Peredniankina/shutterstock

Petal Power

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Visitors to the Caribbean region can’t help but stare at the vivid splendor of the hi biscus flowers that blossom almost everywhere in the islands. Indeed, Hibiscus rosa sinensis, as it is known to hor ticulturists, is an instantly recognizable island icon. One of the easiest varieties of tropical flowers to cultivate, its colors range from the deepest scarlet to delicate shades of pink, peach, yellow and white. New shades appear every year as local enthusiasts compete to breed the fullest and most colorful blooms. A little-known fact: The petals of the versatile hibiscus are dried, finely crushed and used all over the world in commercially produced herbal and fruit teas. —S.G.G.

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St. Thomas

Once the home of notorious pirates such as Captain Kidd and Bluebeard, St. Thomas still offers plenty of “booty� in its duty-free shops and remains the commercial capital of the Caribbean. It also offers rich history and fascinating sightseeing opportunities.

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The bustling port stretches along the Caribbean.

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