Vacation Destinations: 10 Beautiful Islands to Visit in the Caribbean

Everyone dreams of taking an island vacation. Every year, millions of tourists from around the world actually turn that dream into reality. For Americans, the islands of the Caribbean offer a nearby paradise that’s easily accessible. Traveling to the Caribbean is also more affordable than many people imagine. But with so many islands to choose from, where do you start? Whether you’re planning a Caribbean cruise or just trying to get a better handle on which island is best for you, take a look at these top ten Caribbean vacation destinations.

Vacation Destinations 10 Islands to Visit in the Caribbean

Barbados

Barbados is the eastern-most island in the Caribbean, so east that it’s considered to be more of an Atlantic island than a Caribbean one. No matter how it’s classified, Barbados is consistently named the number one tourist destination of any island. It’s biggest attraction is its countless beaches surrounded by beautiful, clear water. If you’re in need of rest, relaxation and maybe a little rum, the Barbados beaches will not disappoint.

Unique Feature: Aside from kicking back on the beach with a drink, the second thing many people imagine themselves doing on their Caribbean island vacation is surfing. Barbados is known for being home to some of the best waves in the world, like the famous “Soup Bowl” which attracts pro surfers from around the globe.

The Piton Mountains in St. Lucia

St. Lucia

One of Barbados’ neighbors to the west, St. Lucia has pretty much everything. Its perfect tropical weather is great for catching some sun on the beach, but there’s so much more to explore. The small island is home to a tropical rainforest, numerous waterfalls and the beautiful Piton Mountains. The mountains make it perfect for hiking and seeing the beautiful landscape, as well as more extreme adventure sports like rock climbing.

Unique Feature: One of the most popular tourist attractions on St. Lucia, and in the entire Caribbean for that matter, is the St. Lucia Volcano Tour. Guided tours take you sightseeing through the hot springs and colorful landmarks of the Sulphur Springs It’s one of the few places in the world where you can safely tour a volcano.

Hammock Hanging on a Beach in Aruba

Aruba

This Dutch-governed island is located in the South Caribbean off the coast of Venezuela. It’s known for its stunning white sand beaches, refreshing breezes that cool down the sun and keep the temperatures more mild than most of the islands in the Caribbean. Traveling inland, you’ll get a unique Caribbean experience with Dutch-inspired architecture, an eclectic mix of local cuisine and a very different collection of plant life.

Unique Feature: If you’re hoping to get up off the beach chair and get out on the water, there’s arguably no better island than Aruba. Wind on the water from the Atlantic makes it perfect for windsurfing. Aruba is also known as the “wreck-diving capital of the Caribbean” so you can explore sunken ships while scuba diving.

Scuba Diver in Coral Reef in Bonaire

Bonaire

Bonaire is located off the coast of Venezuela as well. Along with Aruba and Curacao, they make up the ABC islands. Their popularity stems from the fact that they are a few of only several islands in the Caribbean that reside outside the Hurricane Belt. The island itself has one of the most interesting histories. It was occupied by the Spanish, Dutch, British, and even the Germans during WWII. It became a Dutch municipality in 2010.

Unique Feature: Bonaire was one of the first islands to start conserving their coral reefs. As a result, they’re consistently praised for their immaculate diving expeditions. While scuba diving, tourists can view some of the most diverse coral reefs in the world from award-winning instructors who lead experts and beginners.

Willemstad, the Capital City of Curacao

Curacao

Legend has it that Portuguese sailors used this island to recover from scurvy in the 16th century due to the plentiful resources of Vitamin C. The island is often referred to as a miniature European city. Like Bonaire, the island of Curacao has a complicated history and is also a premier diving destination. It’s the largest of the ABC islands, with a bigger population and economy, so it looks and feels less like a tourist destination.

Unique Feature: On an island getaway, it’s great to get off the beach or away from the water for a day. The island of Curacao is home to unique activities on land and even under the land. The Hato Caves lead you through gorgeous limestone caves and underground pools, perfect for adventurers or nature enthusiasts.

Turks and Caicos Blue Water White Sand Beach

Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is actually a group of islands at the tail end of the Bahamas. Just a short plane ride from Miami, the beautiful, sunny temperatures that usually hover between 75 and 85 degrees make the islands perfect for sunbathing. With over 40 islands in the chain and hundreds of miles of beaches, it’s not hard to find that perfect patch of beach to call your own island paradise.

Unique Feature: Like Bonaire, Turks and Caicos is known for its awesome scuba diving. This is due to the fact that it’s home to one of the top three largest barrier reefs in the world. The crystal clear water and wide assortment of sea creatures make it ideal for snorkeling, and the spotless white sand is what we all picture when we imagine a classic Caribbean vacation.

Boats off the Coast of St Kitts

St. Kitts and Nevis

This two-island nation is like St. Lucia in its ability to combine the perfect beach vacation with the outdoor adventures of a tropical rainforest. One of the quieter tourist islands in the Caribbean, it is essentially split between the more lively resorts and parties on St. Kitts and the calmer, nature inspired activities on Nevis (which happens to be the birthplace of Alexander Hamilton–his childhood home still offers guided tours).

Unique Feature: If you’re not comfortable trekking into an active volcano, you can skip St. Lucia and take a tour of the dormant volcanoes on St. Kitts and Nevis. Incredible cliffs created by age-old volcanic eruptions can be seen as you’re guided up the mountain, which only increases your spectacular views of the islands.

Lighthouse in Trinidad and Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago

Bermuda might be the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean, but Trinidad and Tobago is by far the wealthiest. The thriving twin islands are also two of the largest in the Caribbean, but not so big that you can’t explore what both islands have to offer. Like Turks and Caicos, these islands have a bit of everything, so if you’re trying to satisfy many different interests from snorkeling to rainforest sightseeing, it’s a safe bet.

Unique Feature: Trinidad and Tobago offers an exciting nightlife unlike any other Caribbean destination. In the popular capital, Port-of-Spain, you can witness and participate in a variety of original musical styles and dances. And if you plan your trip the week before Ash Wednesday, you can experience its famous Carnival.

Waterfall in Dominica

Dominica

If the rainforests of St. Lucia or Trinidad and Tobago piqued your interest, you might want switch your flight to the lesser known island of Dominica. Very proud of its reputation in the Caribbean as the “Nature Island,” Dominica’s breathtaking natural landscape is more than two-thirds rainforest. It’s filled with must-see lakes, rivers, and waterfalls and thousands of different species of plants and animals, perfect for the nature lover.

Unique Feature: Dominica is more than its perfect rainforests. It has diverse European roots, but is also one of the only Caribbean islands with a population of Carib Indians. Tourists interested in learning more about pre-Columbian history can visit the Kalinago Territory to witness their ancestral talents, like canoe-building.

Cueva Ventana in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

As an official U.S. Commonwealth, you don’t even need a passport to visit Puerto Rico. It’s one of the largest islands in the Caribbean, and as expected is home to a multitude of traditional Caribbean vacation activities as well as more specific experiences you can only find in Puerto Rico. It’s known as one of the best culinary destinations in the Caribbean, with world class cuisine as well as can’t-miss local dishes you’ll never forget.

Unique Feature: Some of the beaches literally light up in Puerto Rico. Mosquito Bay and the Bioluminescent Bay are home to micro-organisms affectionately called “dinos” that illuminate the water in an incredible blue glow that you have to see to believe. Just make sure to visit on a night when the moon isn’t shining so bright.


Wherever you plan to spend your spring break or your summer vacation, stock up on your supplies at LTD Commodities. We have everything from beach towels and water toys to beachwear and travel essentials.

Christmas Checklist (Day 9): Huge Markdowns Available Today

Today at LTD, we’re giving customers another opportunity to shop our great Cyber Monday deals. It isn’t too late to find incredible discounts on gifts for kids, toddlers, teens and adults. Get a look at some gift ideas that are 50% off or more today, and find cheap stocking stuffers under $2. Stock up while you can on great gifts with today’s amazing markdowns, and as we’ve been doing all week, find a few Christmas fun facts below.


Gifts for Kids — 50% Off or More

licensed-carry-along-deskskids-licensed-cold-weather-maskslicensed-water-bottles

Licensed Carry-Along Art Desks
Kids’ Licensed Cold Weather Masks
Licensed Water Bottles

Gifts for You — 50% Off or More

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Debra Shepard® Swarovski Threader Earrings
Fuzzy Fleece Realtree® Infinity Loop Scarves
Holiday Favorites in Mason Jar

Stocking Stuffers Under $2.00

perfect-scents-fragrancesset-of-5-stylus-penssherpa-lined-knit-hats

Perfect Scents™ Fragrances
Set of 5 Stylus Pens
Sherpa Lined Knit Hats


Christmas Fun Fact #9

DID YOU KNOW: America has an official Christmas tree, and it’s not the one outside Rockefeller Center. It’s not even the tree traditionally lit outside the White House every year. President Calvin Coolidge announced in 1926 that a giant sequoia (known as the General Grant Tree), located within Kings Canyon National Park in California, would be the Nation’s Christmas Tree. It’s one of the largest trees in the world: over 300 ft. tall.


car-trunk-packed-with-Christmas-gifts

Holiday Travel: Tips for Packing Christmas Gifts
It doesn’t matter if you’re flying down the freeway or flying through the air–holiday travel can be a nuisance, especially if you’re packing precious Christmas gifts. It is never fun to get hit with unexpected fees at airport check-in, or pop the trunk at the rest stop three states east to find out your professional gift wrapping job has been torn to pieces by an overenthusiastic left turn. Maybe you’re heading home for the holidays for the first time, or haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing airports during the Christmas rush. Whatever you’re plans are, find out how to get all your Christmas gifts from point A to point B safely with these holiday packing tips.

5 Tips to Save Money as a Maid of Honor

bridesmaidsIt’s the start of wedding season — and if you’ve been given the privilege of taking on the duties of maid of honor, you have a lot of work ahead of you. The work also includes a sizable amount of money to make every step leading up to your friend or relative’s big day. But there are ways to get around going into debt and still make every event special. Here are 5 tips to save money as a maid of honor.

Budget Expectations Let your bride and the bridal party know your budget expectations before planning starts. This may not cut off over-spending before it starts, but it may put everyone on the same page as you coordinate all of your different obligations. If it helps, set aside the money you can use for all of the wedding planning in one account and only withdraw from that account for your wedding expenses. This makes tracking costs easier.

bridesmaidsBook Travel Wisely As soon as you know the dates of the biggest events, start looking into airfares. Fares fluctuate, but there are websites like Kayak that can tell you if you should book now because fares will go up or if you should wait because the fares are expected to go down.

Share The Load As the maid of honor, you’re responsible for making sure things get done, but that doesn’t mean you have to do and pay for everything yourself. Recruit the other bridesmaids to help you decorate, put together menus and coordinate gifts for the shower and bachelorette party. The other ladies will likely want to help out to make all of the events spectacular.

DIY Put on your craft hat and start clipping, gluing and bedazzling. Turn your bachelorette party and bridal shower into a big DIY project. That sash and tiara your bride is wearing for her bachelorette party and all of the favors and food for the shower can be handmade — it’ll save you cash and it will make your efforts all the more appreciated.bridesmaids

Say No The bride is your best friend/sister/cousin and you want her to celebrate exactly the way she wants to, but how she wants to celebrate may not be what you can afford. You’re allowed to say no to things you can’t afford. But when you do say no, be prepared to offer a reasonable alternative to what your bride wants to do.

You’re going to be part of someone’s most memorable day — it doesn’t have to be expensive to be extraordinary. LTD Commodities has gifts and ideas for every occasion — from bridal showers to Christmas dinner, LTD has products priced for fun.

Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week

Summer is almost done, but there still is time left to plan one last trip before the leaves fall.  Close up the house and grab the family for a weekend road trip, or head to the woods to bond over flickering electric candles and a crackling fire. Pack up and head out with our Items We Adore: LTD’s Product Picks for the Week.

Aunty Acid is that grumpy old lady inside us all! This humorous travel mug says what you're thinking so you don't have to.

Aunty Acid is that grumpy old lady inside us all! This humorous travel mug says what you’re thinking so you don’t have to.

This Set of 6 LED Candles creates a realistic glow that's safe around kids and pets.

This Set of 6 LED Candles creates a realistic glow that’s safe around kids and pets

Air conditioners are expensive...do not let fall and winter conditions destroy them! These covers, designed to fit most window or central air units, prevent snow, ice and dirt from collecting and causing the compressor housing to rust.

Air conditioners are expensive…do not let fall and winter conditions destroy them! These covers, designed to fit most window or central air units, prevent snow, ice and dirt from collecting and causing the compressor housing to rust.

 

This comfortable fleece jacket will keep you warm on all your outdoor adventures. His and Hers Highland Timber Jackets feature woodsy camouflage detailing around the shoulder and collar that adds a fashionable touch to a basic fleece zip-up jacket.

This comfortable fleece jacket will keep you warm on all your outdoor adventures. His and Hers Highland Timber Jackets feature woodsy camouflage detailing around the shoulder and collar that adds a fashionable touch to a basic fleece zip-up jacket.

Set of 4 Wrap It Heavy-Duty Storage Straps is great for holding pipes, tubes, extension cords and more.

Set of 4 Wrap It Heavy-Duty Storage Straps is great for holding pipes, tubes, extension cords and more.

8 Movies for Backyard Movie Night

Movies-In-The-Park

Image source: Bryan Fountain via Flickr

There are only a few weeks left in which we can enjoy our backyards at night. Make the most of it by hosting a backyard movie night before school starts again. Here are some of the best family-friendly movies for backyard movie night.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Sardines are the only source of food for the town of Swallow Falls when it falls victim to an economic crisis. A failed inventor, Flint Lockwood, is determined to turn the town around by building a machine that changes water into food. When the machine malfunctions and sends it into the atmosphere, it causes cloudbursts of culinary delights, saving the town from a lifetime of sardines. But the town’s leaders go from grateful to greedy, causing a food super-storm that, without Flint’s intervention, would destroy the world. With cheeseburgers falling from the sky, Flint’s mission is to disable his greatest invention and save the planet.

The Wiz Young Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow and a girlish Diana Ross as Dorothy ease on down the yellow brick road in this 1970s classic take on the Wizard of Oz. Lost in the Land of Oz, a thankless Dorothy goes on a mission to find the Wiz who, she is told, has the power to send her back to Harlem. Through a fanciful trip to the Emerald City, Dorothy learns to be grateful with the help of the characters she meets on her way.

E.T. E.T. is the heartwarming story of a friendship between a boy and an alien accidentally left on earth by his family. The boy, Elliott takes in the alien, E.T. while they secretly try to figure out how to get E.T. back to his home planet. But their mission is derailed when government agents discover E.T. and take him in for testing. The real adventure begins when they try to escape the grips of the government to get E.T. home before the agents figure out they’re gone. E.T. promises to bring tears to your eyes and vows to turn on your heartlight.

Movies-In-The-Park

Image source: Tommy Low via Flickr

Toy Story Toy Story is the story you imagine when you’re a kid – toys come to life when you’re not in the room. In this story, Woody is by far Andy’s favorite toy, but when Andy gets a new action figure, Buzz Lightyear, jealousy and resentment sends both Woody and Buzz out the window and into the real world. Buzz and Woody, fighting the dangers of the outside, struggle to get along as they try to get back to the safety of Andy’s home.

Back to the Future Marty McFly, is sent back to the 1950s in a time machine his friend (and crazy scientist), Doc, builds. Arriving in the same place he left, but in a different decade, Marty gets mixed up in his teenage parents’ lives and accidentally throws history — as he knows it – off course. Marty must go back to the future, but not without fixing the past and getting his parents together.

The Sandlot The new kid in town, Scotty Smalls, makes friends and learns how to play baseball with the kids from the Sandlot. But when they play with the wrong ball – a ball signed by baseball legend Babe Ruth – they knock it out of the sandlot and into the yard of a vicious dog known as The Beast. Facing his fears, Scotty is determined to get the ball back.

Movies-In-The-Park

Image source: Aaron Molina via Flickr

Ghostbusters When New York City seems to be taken over by spirits of the dead, a group of outcast scientists take it upon themselves to capture and cage these spirits as Ghostbusters. With doubt cast over the Ghostbusters, city officials unlock the ghost holding cell and unleash a firestorm of otherworldly chaos. To get the ghosts back under control, they must face an ancient evil god and, as this evil god would have it, their own demons.

There’s only one month left before Labor Day weekend; as you’re savoring the days, throw in a backyard movie night to make the most of your warm summer nights.