by Sue C Travel
To say 2020 was a challenging year for the travel industry would be an understatement, but things are looking up for those who cannot resist the siren call of the tropics, especially during these bleak winter months. Tropical travel this year is definitely doable for most, but the landscape is constantly changing, so make sure you’re very up to date on each destination’s current health protocols and that you are able to abide by them, and purchase travel insurance that covers possible pandemic issues. So, let’s see what’s new and what to look forward to this coming year throughout the Caribbean. Travel safe, stay positive, and test negative!
New direct air to Bonaire!
Canadians will have an easier time than ever getting to beautiful Bonaire for spectacular diving, snorkeling and windsurfing this year with WestJet’s new non-stop once-weekly seasonal service from Toronto starting February 6th, 2021. The little Dutch Caribbean island welcomes the new direct routes with open arms as historically getting there from Canada included long days and connecting flights from the US or neighboring islands. And don’t forget to visit their unique pink lake with flamingoes while you’re there!
Ville life is trending
One of the biggest searches on the internet recently has been for stand-alone villas in paradise where a small group of friends or a large family can holiday together in a safe, responsible and a socially distancing way. And there are many off-radar stays that can cater to your gang that won’t break the bank if you split the cost with a group.
For example: Sunset Villa (formerly Casa Alistaire) in Savaneta, Aruba, sleeps 8 in a split-level semi-overwater bungalow with a professional kitchen, a grand piano and even a massive crystal chandelier! Great swimming and snorkeling is right off their sprawling deck and there’s even a stand-alone bar for entertaining. It’s a sister property to Aruba Ocean Villas which is a few minutes away where you’ll find the island’s exclusive adult-only stand-alone overwater villas, ideal for couple’s romantic escapes.
Or on sparsely populated and pristine Anguilla, you’ll find secret villa rentals like Nevaeh (heaven spelled backwards) close to Long Bay Beach where you can walk for miles and never see a soul. The Balinese inspired estate boasts nine bedrooms and you can hire a complete staff as well if you like.
And on diving paradise Bonaire, look no further than SunRentals Bonaire for an eclectic range of affordable luxe and intimate stand-alone abodes like multi-story oceanfront Villa IslaBella with six bedrooms and five bathrooms!
Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort wins prestigious eco-award
This luxurious adult-only boutique hotel on Aruba’s famed Eagle Beach has been the recipient of scads of environmental awards for sustainable tourism over the past two decades, in fact, it’s the most eco-certified and only carbon-neutral hotel in the Caribbean. But this last accolade was really over the top, even for these green pioneers! In the fall of 2020, they garnered the Global United Nations 2020 Climate Action Award for Climate Neutral Now, and it was also historic in so much that it was the first time in the award’s 10-year history that a hotel received that ultimate honor. Congratulations!
Jamaica Half Moon introduces new Eclipse
One of Jamaica’s most historic high-end resorts is now ready to receive visitors at its classy new addition called Eclipse at Half Moon. The luxurious new escape offers 57 modern rooms, seven new bars/restaurants, and a stunning infinity-edge saltwater seafront pool. Guests can enjoy all the special experiences that Half Moon is known for as well such as golf and exceptional horseback adventures from their own on-site equestrian centre.
Curacao is getting a Sandals
I was delighted to hear that the legendary Santa Barbara Resort, that closed last year, will get new life as the island’s very first Sandals soon. A major uplift of the old colonial plantation style Grande Dame expanse on Spanish Waters will transform the property to offer Sandal’s unique style of adult-only, all-inclusive pleasures. It will also include access to the incredible seaside Pete-Dye designed Old Quarry Championship Golf Course.
Club Meds have you covered
This brand of budget all-inclusive really has a cult-following and their own brand of party culture-if you don’t know their famous dance “Crazy Signs” better look it up on YouTube ahead so you won’t feel left out! And they are happy to announce that their resorts in Cancún, Dominican Republic, and Turks & Caicos are once again open and ready to get that party started. But better yet, they have greatly enhanced their safety and hygiene measures and their Emergency Assistance Program now provides all guests with coverage for emergency medical expenses during their stay, including those related to COVID-19.
St. Martin Secrets reopens & AMResorts sprout on St. Lucia
Secrets St. Martin Resort & Spa on the French side of the island has reopened their luxury adult-only all-inclusive with a new CleanComplete Verification™ program, a 360-degree safety and hygiene protocol that addresses guest experiences from welcome to departure. Parent company AMResorts has also now broken ground on the lovely island of St. Lucia where they will be adding two new luxury all-inclusive resorts- a Dreams and a Zoëtry to be completed in 2022.