Welcome to Caribbean Bob’s Private Island!

Greetings from the sunny Caribbean! I’ve been traveling around and writing about these islands for more than a decade now and, having written for many other publications and websites, figured it was time to start my own. No editors, no filters, no rules … well, ok, maybe a few rules.

Like always be honest with you, my readers. Keep things light and fun when possible, but be serious about providing great information for when you need to plan a trip or want the unvarnished lowdown on an island destination, resort, or attractions. And above all, let’s have a real conversation about this great region of the Caribbean that we all love and want to get back to — soon!

Worried About Visiting the Caribbean? Look at This Map

Hurricane Irma has been a tragic event for several of the nations of the Caribbean. Barbuda, St. Thomas, St. John, the British Virgin Islands, St. Martin/St. Maarten, and St. Barts are not ready to receive visitors yet (except people who are coming down to help with reconstruction and provide aid). The same is true of the Florida Keys, particularly the lower Keys and Key West.

This won’t be true forever. Continue reading

Help the Caribbean By Giving to the Islands Hit by Irma — and Continuing to Visit Those That Were Not

If you’ve ever loved the Caribbean, the images of destruction in the wake of Hurricane Irma are heartbreaking. Sometimes, the media engages in “weather porn,” but in this case terms like “devastation” are perfectly apt descriptions for islands like Barbuda and St. Martin/Maarten, where some reports say that 95 percent of all structures have been damaged or destroyed. Anguilla, Antigua, Turks & Caicos, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic also have suffered damage from the Category 5 storm. Continue reading

You Don’t Have to Be Michael Phelps to Swim with Sharks in the Caribbean

WhaleShark2Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps recently lost his bid to beat a shark in a race, and some fans cried foul because Phelps and the shark weren’t even in the water together. That’s not the case in the Caribbean, where you can get up close with some finned friends flashing toothy grins year-round — not just during Shark Week.

Swim With Whale Sharks in the Mexican Caribbean

From May through September, visitors to Cancun and Isla Mujeres, Mexico can swim with migrating whale sharks off the coast of the Riviera Maya. As their name implies, these sharks are big — up to 40 feet long and weighing 40 tons — but they are gentle giants, feeding only on plankton. Guests at resorts on both islands, including the Marriott Cancun Resort and the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, can take a boat ride to the whale shark feeding grounds and snorkel right alongside these magnificent mammals.

Ham It Up with Hammerheads in Bimini

IF you’re feeling a bit more daring, head the the Bahamas Out Island of Bimini, where Resorts World Bimini can arrange for a scuba swim with hammerhead sharks through on-site tour operator Bimini Undersea. This cage-free shark dive is available December to April, with peak season Jan.-March. By the way, Phelps may not have raced sharks side-by-side, but he did come face-to-face with hammerheads in Bimini for a Shark Week 2017 segment!Hammerheads 3

A Shark Bait Adventure in Nassau

Stuart Cove Dive in Nassau, Bahamas will set you loose on a two-tank dive with reef sharks that includes a free dive where sharks will follow you around in expectation of a meal (don’t worry, it’s not you) before the outfitter’s expert shark-feeder chum the waters to bring the sharks right up to your facemask.

Wall to Wall Sharks in Turks & Caicos

The coral reefs surrounding the Turks & Caicos islands make these northern Caribbean islands prime territory for reef and hammerhead sharks who congregate naturally along thousand-foot walls to feed. Caicos Adventures will lead you on a shark diving expedition where the marine life is as spectacular as the reef.

Chill Out with Nurse Sharks at Compass Cay

Nurse sharks are as gentle as they sound, so if you want a shark swim minus the fear factor, dip into the waters surrounding Compass Cay in the Exumas islands of the Bahamas. These bottom-feeding sharks are up to 15 feet long and they are so used to swimming with people that you can pet them as they glide by!

Sunny Sips of Mount Gay Edition 1703 Master Select Blend Rum

Rainy day after miserable rainy day, my sample bottle of Mount Gay 1703 sat on my shelf, waiting to be tasted, savored, enjoyed. But the moment never seemed right — Caribbean rum is meant to be drunk in the sun. So finally, finally, a summer-like day arrived, and it was time. Two pours: straight into the glass and over a big square cube of ice, and we were ready to go. Continue reading

Image

The Top 3 Places to Live in the Caribbean (and 17 More on Other Coasts)

Where would you live if life let you settle down on a Caribbean beach? If you’re looking for affordable, International Living suggests Ambergris Caye, Belize; Roatan, Honduras; Isla Mujeres, Mexico; Las Terranas, Dominican Republic; and the Corn Island of Nicaragua. Looking beyond pure cost, however, I like Coastal Living’s new recommendations — Ambergris Caye (again!), Harbour Island in the Bahamas, and Playa del Carmen in Mexico. These three are among Coastal Living’s 20 Best Places to Live on the Coast (the other 17 are in the U.S.), which I helped write with editor Tracey Minkin — you can get the whole story here!

Book travel at Expedia.com

(Photo of Playa del Carmen church: Waywuwei/CC by SA 2.0)

Image

$100 Resort Credit for New Flights to Bimini

There are a lot of ways to get to the Bahamas island of Bimini — ferry, private boat, seaplane (our favorite!), and commercial flights. Heck, we’ve even seen people jet-skiing to the island from downtown Miami. But the newest route is via Silver Airways, which launches service from West Palm Beach and Tampa starting tomorrow, April 20. Book a flight now and stay at the Hilton at Resorts World Bimini and you’ll receive a $100 resort credit to spend — that should cover at least a chunk of the cost of your airline ticket and provide some fun at the casino, spa, shops, or activities at the resort!

Check flights and hotels at Expedia.com