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Hotels, Beaches, Bars, Restaurants and activities on various islands of the Caribbean.  
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US-Cuba ties: Washington and Havana announce embassies - BBC News

US-Cuba ties: Washington and Havana announce embassies - BBC News | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
The US and Cuba agree to the reopening of embassies in each other's capitals, the Cuban government says.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

This is a strong indication of relations beginning to normalize.  It doesn't mean the doors are going to be thrown wide open for US travel to Cuba immediately, but it is another step closer.  This comes on the heels of the US removing Cuba from its list of "State Sponsors or Terrorism."  


Restoration of ferry and air service to the island are in the works.  When its permissible, we all need to grab our passports and head to Havana.  This is a must-see island and we hope to see this situation continue to progress.  Caribbeanready has a watchful eye on US-CUBA relations and will continue to report updates as news breaks.

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Stunning 36 percent rise in US visits to Cuba since January

Stunning 36 percent rise in US visits to Cuba since January | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
HAVANA (AP) — The thaw in relations between the U.S.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

What do people do when  they want to go to a place that is off limits?   Cuban travel seekers from the US take advantage of an existing avenue to reach the country while the two nations attempt reconciliation. How do they do it?  They fly to Cuba from a third country, like Mexico, the Bahamas, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, given the close proximity. 


A 39% increase was seen from the beginning of the year to early May 2015.  Rising tourism is seen from other countries at the same time.  It is clear that the Cuban economy will benefit greatly from repaired ties with the US.  It may be coincidence that travel from other countries is spiking at the same time, up 14%, but there could also be a direct correlation.  Time will tell.


Keep watching to see how this progresses and get excited that it may be your turn to go to Cuba next.  


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At least four Florida companies approved for ferry service to Cuba

At least four Florida companies approved for ferry service to Cuba | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
For the first time in five decades, the U.S. is allowing ferry service between Florida and Cuba.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

Travel restrictions staring to loosen and with no less than four different options for ferry travel to Cuba.  I'll take it!

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CaribbeanReady's curator insight, May 6, 2015 12:43 AM

It certainly looks like travel is opening up.  Cuba could be a real option for American travelers in the near future.  I hate communism....but I love this island.  So let's get this thing going!

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The Best Caribbean Islands to Live On

The Best Caribbean Islands to Live On | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
They’re the places we think are worth buying a one-way ticket for. They’re the best Caribbean islands to live on.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

Living on a Caribbean island is something that has long been on our minds.  Thus far, not as practical as hoped, but we strive toward the goal.  


What are some of the things you should look for when considering emigration to paradise?  It depends on what's important to you, but there are some common needs that must be meet no matter where you go.  


Proximity to your home land is a primary issue.  If you're a US citizen, consider islands that are within an hour flight of the US mainland.  If a medical emergency occurs or a natural disaster is on the horizon, a quick escape out of the region is of great interest.  In tandem with a short trip home is an airport with major airlines and jets, versus prop planes.  This limit the choices of islands, but there are some over-riding factors that need to be examined.  


Other qualities involve real estate prices, business opportunities, tax concessions, beach quality, restaurant and shopping choices and crime rates.  The article contains some really excellent choices, so enjoy the list and start crafting your plans.  

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Amazing Video: Stuart Cove Dive Staff Saves Shark From Rope Wrapped Around Its Body

Amazing Video: Stuart Cove Dive Staff Saves Shark From Rope Wrapped Around Its Body | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
An amazing event occurred on a shark interaction scuba dive at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, where a shark appeared to see out shark wranglers for help with a rope wrapped around its ...
CaribbeanReady's insight:

The respect CaribbeanReady has for Stuart Cove's operation is growing by the day.  The people Stuart employs are top notch in terms of skill, customer service and marine conservation but their level of awareness and preparedness has exceeded their primary attributes.


A female shark came by the shark feeding dive a couple of times and was clearly in distress with a rope wrapped tightly around the base of her head, cutting into her gills.  They would have liked to perform a rescue operation the first time out, but they didn't have the tools and the shark disappeared into the deep.  Two of Stuart's dive guides who witnessed this troubled shark decided to prepare in case she came back.  Their forward thinking proved right.  The shark came by a feeding dive on another day and they were ready.  So how do you remove a tightly wrapped rope from a shark??  Watch the video to see how this plays out.  Stuart Cove and team, we salute you!

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The 50 Best Caribbean Restaurants

The 50 Best Caribbean Restaurants | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
The best restaurants in the Caribbean in 2014, from small food shacks to world-class fine dining.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

The world is literally your oyster.  Or lobster..or etouffee...or foie gras.  I think you get the point. The variety represented on this list is a foodie's dream, with local preparations to water even the most discerning palate.  Numbered lists are a thing of beauty and this one is as scrumptious as it is deep.  


One thing is clear, there is fantastic food at every port of call and Caribbean Journal has taken the time to show you the way.  A Bahamas offering, The Graycliff, deserves some extra attention:  Take a look at it here  http://www.graycliff.com/


 

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Puerto Rico - Vieques - YouTube

4 Days in Puerto Rico. Music : Vance Joy - Riptide.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

Vieques, Puerto Rico.  Vee-ek-us or Vee-ache-us, pronounce it either way and it will be close enough.  It's a island about 10 miles East of mainland Puerto Rico (a US territory since 1898.)


The US Navy occupied this island for the first 60 years.  There is a part of the island that was used as a bombing range, but it's been out of commission for quite some time.  The other parts of the island are spectacular as you will see in the video above.  Beaches, diving, snorkeling and watersports......that is what you will want to do on Vieques.  


Most interesting;  Vieques also has a bioluminescent bay.  What is that you ask?


Follow this: http://biobaypuertorico.com/



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Dunns River Falls HD

The only high definition Dunns River Falls climbing video. Filmed with the GoPro HD helmet cam and the Canon Vixia HFS200 and some still photos taken with the Canon X2i EOS 550 in stunning...
CaribbeanReady's insight:

This is a pretty good look at the famed Dunns River Falls.  Excursions are available for Ocho Rios-bound cruise passengers or you can take a ride from Negril or Montego Bay.  Word to the wise;  buckle up and prepare for an adventurous trip to the site.  We took a trip on a shuttle-taxi thing.  Our mega-Rastafarian driver, whom one can only describe as stoned out of his mind, drove like a man.....on drugs.  There were times when the fear was palpable, given the narrow, high-speed passes around slower traffic.  The expectation of certain death felt very real at times, but alas, we arrived at the destination.  I suspect these guys are better drivers than a newly-minted visitor would believe.


The Falls are something to behold.  180 feet high and laid out like steps from the top to the bottom, it is an easy hike with pools of water to swim in at various stops. The beauty and refreshment of this attraction is unforgettable, culminating in a spill-out into the Caribbean Sea.  Enjoy the scenery and book your trip to Jamaica.

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Airbnb just opened for business in a surprising new country

Airbnb just opened for business in a surprising new country | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
Home rental startup Airbnb is one of the first U.S. companies to announce plans to open operations in Cuba.

Via jean lievens
CaribbeanReady's insight:

It would seem it's started snowing in downtown hell.  A US company is setting up for business in Havana and the surrounding area.  Airbnb is listing as many as 1,000 homes for rent by Americans on an island where Americans and American interests have been historically persona non grata.


This is yet another sign that relations are thawing between the two countries.  Pretty soon there will be a series of Waffle Houses lining the streets of Havana.  Maybe not. This is an exciting development but there are some problems with amenities.  As communicated in a previous article, http://sco.lt/6cx0nR, there are few homes with internet access;  a problem not easily hurdled in a wired world.  This is a minor inconvenience that should not deter people from visiting this amazing island.  When travel restrictions are fully lifted, CaribbeanReady is heading to Havana!

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40 Must-See Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever

40 Must-See Travel Tips That Will Change Your Life Forever | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
The last one is the best.

Via Tina Little-Coltrane
CaribbeanReady's insight:

This is some of the best travel advice I've seen.  From booking to arrival, there is something practical for every stage of the process.  The creativity involved in this advice is fantastic.  Enjoy!

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A New Rum From the Bahamas

A New Rum From the Bahamas | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it

THE BAHAMAS was one of the centers of rum running during prohibition, and often a drinking destination in its own right . . . 


Via Travel 2 the Caribbean
CaribbeanReady's insight:

Ding, ding, ding.  We have a winner, Johnny!  A new rum from the Bahamas?!? Count us in.  Typically, Puerto Rico and Jamaica get all the credit for this luscious libation.  But the Bahamas entrant comes in three classess;  pale, amber and Buena Vista.  Nothing like getting off on the right foot.  Read the description of the flavor profiles.  A watering palate is beginning to form.  Stay thirsty, my ........  

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Tourist captures footage of plane passing just overhead of people on Maho Beach - Daily Mail

Tourist captures footage of plane passing just overhead of people on Maho Beach - Daily Mail | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
The incredible footage captured in slow motion shows the plane flying terrifyingly low over people's heads as it makes its final approach at Princess Juliana International Airport.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

This is too insane to miss!.  Not sure laying in the sand in the "flight path" is a good idea.  It appears this could become problematic under the right circumstances and roping off a section on the beach is something worthy of consideration.  With that said, watch this and prepare to lift your jaw from the floor! 

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How to Get Your Caribbean Fix When You're Not in the Islands

How to Get Your Caribbean Fix When You're Not in the Islands | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
The Caribbean is a state of mind as much as a destination, and the warm, friendly vibe you get from the people of the islands can carry you through the coldest of winters.

 

You may not have the sunshine year-round, but you can still connect with like-minded people in your own town to enjoy a great island-style party even when you're not on a Caribbean vacation... 


Via Travel 2 the Caribbean
CaribbeanReady's insight:

This hits so close to home it's nearly ridiculous.  It is the reason Caribbeanready.com exists.  For most of us, it is not practical to spend a ton of time on our favorite islands.  We get one or two precious weeks a year to absorb the sights, sounds, smells and culture of our favorite places.  The rest of the year we dream about what we've seen and long for a return.  I love the premise of keeping the island firelight burning throughout the year and these are some fine examples.  To the writer of this piece;  we are already members of No Shoes Nation and agree wholeheartedly with the recommendation.


The Castaways are really on to something here.  I believe a new chapter needs to be organized in our town.  To all of you stuck in the rain (or snow,) we hope this article helps and offers some practical ideas to brighten your days.  

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Bahamas Resort Baha Mar Wins Access to Bankruptcy Loan at Quick First Hearing

Bahamas Resort Baha Mar Wins Access to Bankruptcy Loan at Quick First Hearing | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
Baha Mar Ltd., the developer of a yet-to-open $3.5 billion Bahamian resort, received approval Wednesday to begin tapping $80 million in fresh financing.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

A few days back, it was reported that Baha Mar sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  In an update to the story, the resort was given a fresh round of financing to complete the project and ultimately open the doors.  Baha Mar cites major problems with Chinese developers in causing the delays that put this marvelous resort in the throes of bankruptcy.  With any good fortune, they will be able to complete the project soon, allowing for choices in Nassau beyond the Atlantis Resort.  


It is believed this resort will be a strong competitor, offering excellent vacation and ownership choices to visitors to the Bahamas.  It's time to see this beautiful place in full operation.  

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Martinique Set for Major Airlift Boost

Martinique Set for Major Airlift Boost | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
On June 4, American will begin operating four weekly flights from Miami to Martinique.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

More great news to add to a wonderful day.  Getting to Martinique from the US has been circuitous up until now.  You would have to go through Puerto Rico to reach the island.  But beginning June 4th,  there are four weekly flights from Miami to this beautiful destination, opening it up for greater tourism from the US.  Canada has offered flights directly to Martinique for some time, so it's good that that the "other' country in North America is catching up.

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CaribbeanReady's curator insight, May 19, 2015 7:51 PM

More great news to add to a wonderful day.  Getting to Martinique from the US has been circuitous up until now.  You would have to go through Puerto Rico to reach the island.  But beginning June 4th,  there are four weekly flights from Miami to this beautiful destination, opening it up for greater tourism from the US.  Canada has offered flights directly to Martinique for some time, so it's good that that the "other' country in North America is catching up.  

 

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Sandals Debuts Ochi Beach Resort

Sandals Debuts Ochi Beach Resort | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
Sandals Resorts International officially debuted its Sandals Ochi Beach Resort this weekend, a relaunching of the former Sandals Grande Riviera Beach Resort.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

Jamaica is an island replete with awesome resorts. Sandals has long had a foothold in the land of Reggae and sun, so it is no surprise the company would invest heavily in expanding, or in this case improving, its brand.  The new Ochi Beach Resort is actually an existing Sandals property that has been renovated and rebranded.  That's a win for the consumer.  The new amenities are making an already decent property into something more high-end;  complete with private "pools" and hot tubs in some of the Love Nest Dream Suites.  There is also an "all-butler village" at the resort.  Read on for more details of Sandals newest efforts in Jamaica. 

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Kirk and Sweeney Dominican Rum

Kirk and Sweeney Dominican Rum | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
CaribbeanReady's insight:

*The Kirk and Sweeney was a wooden schooner known for rum-running during US prohibition.  It was seized in 1924 off the coast of New York.  The outlaw nature of this rum's namesake is appealing to the danger-loving side of CaribbeanReady :) 


With all the various rums available throughout the Caribbean, we thought it wise to start narrowing down the field.  First stop;  Kirk and Sweeney Dominican Rum.  Smooth with a taste of vanilla and smokey oak.  A hint of butterscotch.  A smell of tropical fruit. A taste of banana.  All descriptions from other reviewers, which we are certain have merit.  The thing about quality alcohol is that different flavor profiles are detected by different tasters.


Everyone's take on it is certainly valid in their own minds and may have some actual value in describing the true tastes of the offering.  But we thought leaving it to others was not the best plan.  


First, this is a very smooth, amber rum.  It is aged 12 years, a timeframe that mellows this spirit.  Without a doubt, there are notes of vanilla detected upon first sniff.  It smells incredibly smooth. There is no heavy whiff of alcohol, filling and burning your nose like cheaper rum.  It is stopped by a cork;  no cap for this bad boy.  


Secondly, we too noticed the hint of banana and that fact pleased us greatly.  The vanilla and banana are the first things that hit the palate on the first sip.  These profiles dance on the tongue and then provide a warm finish.  This rum needs no mixer, by the way.  You would do well to put it in a sipper and savor every last drop.  However, we know that a lot of people enjoy their rum with coke or diet coke.  There is no sin in this, but to REALLY enjoy it.......take it slow and sip it neat.  


Lastly, the bottle is very attractive.  From the shape, to the lettering, to the embossed labeling, this rum is a thing of beauty.  It came with a $37.88 price tag and it was worth every penny.  Dominicans know what they're doing and we are open to tasting other varieties from this beautiful island.  For today, Kirk and Sweeney is coming up a winner.  You can't go wrong with this one!


If you are interested in seeing how rum is made, take a look at the link below.  Education on the manufacturing process will no doubt help you enjoy your carefully crafted liquor even more.  The video referenced is not about the making of Kirk and Sweeney rum, but another brand.  However, seeing how it's done is rather enjoyable.  


http://sco.lt/77JM1p



 

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10 Secret Caribbean All-Inclusive Resorts

10 Secret Caribbean All-Inclusive Resorts | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
Here are 10 "secret" all-inclusives across the Caribbean, from Jamaica to Curacao — properties you may not have realized have all-inclusive options.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

These resorts are fantastic and all-inclusive is really the only way to go.  We have spent enough time at resorts without all-inclusive packages, with wet hand in the pool, signing drink receipts to know that all-inclusive is better.  


Prices range dramatically for this convenience so make sure you do your homework.  CaribbeanReady has found Mexico to offer some of the most amenity-rich, cost-effective options in the Caribbean.  But that doesn't mean it is always the best way to go.  Some of the offerings in this article include Jamaica and St. Lucia, which hold their own appeals.  If budget is not on the very top of your list, some of these resorts will give you everything you're looking for.  

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How to get to the new Anguilla ferry from the airport.

http://anguillaanguilla.com , http://anguilla-anguilla.com and http://anguillaaccess.com.
CaribbeanReady's insight:

Useful information about travel to the Anguilla ferry, for further travel to St. Martin/St. Maarten.  Nothing like seeing the route first hand and it is a very short trip.  

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How its made Rum

CaribbeanReady's insight:

Ours is not to ask why;  ours is simply to drink.  A dictum that makes perfect sense.  But isn't there some part of you that's a tiny bit curious how it's done?  Knowledge doesn't add a single drop to the drink in your hand, but it just may help you appreciate the flavor more.  Dark rum. Fermented molasses. Aged 5 years. Oak barrels.  It is all an exacting process that leads to the base of many of our favorite Caribbean drinks, such as the Cuba Libre (rum, cola and lime.)  The video is a fascinating look into the process and we believe you will enjoy what you learn, applying a new respect to the contents of your glass.  Salud!

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Meet Neal Harvey, one of the longest... - Stuart Cove's Dive Bahamas | Facebook

Meet Neal Harvey, one of the longest serving dive instructors at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas. A California native, he joined us over 4 years ago after...
CaribbeanReady's insight:

First off, Neal, you have the respect of CaribbeanReady for your ice hockey background; a sport near and dear to the heart of this organization.  Secondly, a person that can (and is willing) to do this......we stand in awe.


Tonic Immobility........it sounds like a condition rendered after a day at the swim-up bar in your resort pool.  And that would be good enough on its own.  But the real meaning of these words is something quite different.  Picture petting your dog on the belly and watching him fall asleep because he is so relaxed.  This is a similar concept to Tonic Immobility-putting a shark into a trance.  It is a state of natural paralysis that a shark goes into when it's turned upside down and hands are placed on the sides of it's snout.  Why this happens is hard to say.  But it's worth watching and if you're down with Neal, have your GoPro ready to film the event.  Spectacular!

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CaribbeanReady's curator insight, April 1, 2015 5:37 PM

First off, Neal, you have the respect of CaribbeanReady for your ice hockey background; a sport near and dear to the heart of this organization.  Secondly, a person that can (and is willing) to do this......simply beyond description.


Tonic Immobility........it sounds like a condition rendered after a day at the swim-up bar in your resort pool.  And that would be good enough on its own.  But the real meaning of these words are something quite different.  Picture petting your dog on the belly and watching him fall asleep because he is so relaxed.  This is a similar concept to Tonic Immobility-putting a shark into a trance.  It is a state of natural paralysis that a shark goes into when it's turned upside down and hands are placed on the sides of it's snout.  Why this happens is hard to say.  But it's worth watching and if you're down with Neal, have your GoPro ready to film the event.  Spectacular!

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5 Free Wi-Fi Hotspots in Nassau - Cruise Radio

5 Free Wi-Fi Hotspots in Nassau - Cruise Radio | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
Looking for wifi hotspots in Nassau? We have a list of five places to grab wifi in Nassau without going to an internet cafe or breaking the bank.

Via Tina Little-Coltrane
CaribbeanReady's insight:

How many of us can live without Internet access today,  regardless of where we are? The bet is practically no one.  So now that need has been established,  let's discuss fulfillment.  It isn't always cheap to stay wired in a foreign country so these tips have come at a good time.  It's wonderful that even fast food establishments are in on the act of connecting their fellow man.  Check out these 5 spots and make your way down to them.  It would not be out of order to patronize the stores that offer this modern convenience :) 

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United States Virgin Islands 10 Minute Tour by USVI Tourism

The United States Virgin Islands consists of 3 main islands which are St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John. This 10 minute video takes you on a tour of the islands from a scrapbook journey created...
CaribbeanReady's insight:

If beaches and duty-free shopping are your thing, don't bypass the United States Virgin Islands.  St. Thomas is the island that covers both to the extreme.  The capital city, Charlotte Amalie, is a beacon of commercial activity.  There are more jewelry stores than you have time to visit.  As far as beaches;  there are over 40 of them, including the world-famous Magens Bay.  After you've exhausted the beaches on this glorious island, there are two more islands to go.  


St. John and St. Croix are the other 2 partners of this Caribbean triple-threat.  St. John was a former residence of country superstar, Kenny Chesney.  It is a laid back island with a relaxed vibe.  60% of the island is comprised of a national park, leaving the excitement and night life to its bigger sister to the West, St. Thomas.  St. Croix has a combination of both of the other two.  Golf, casino, shopping, diving.....the list goes on.  As a bonus for U.S. citizens, no passport is required to visit these islands;  they are US territories as the name suggests.  

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Bonaire: A Dutch-Caribbean Beauty

Bonaire: A Dutch-Caribbean Beauty | CaribbeanReady News | Scoop.it
Bonaire, along with Aruba and Curacao, is part of what is known as the ABC Islands in the Caribbean, a trio of territories that are part of the Netherlands.

Via Darrin Jillson
CaribbeanReady's insight:

There is a constant debate about the "best dive sites in the world."  Many will say Cozumel, others with say the Cayman Islands and some will claim the Bahamas.  After further inspection......those are all worthy of consideration.  But take a moment and watch this video on Bonaire.  The visuals are stunning and the coral and sea life are as vivid as a sunrise.  Bonaire is mentioned among the top spots on the planet in many circles.  Spend a few minutes and decide for yourself....you won't be sorry.  

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Scuba Diving in Saint Maarten - YouTube

Highlights from our Saint Maarten dive today, which was some of the best diving we have ever had. Saw a great shipwreck, sea turtles, lots of fish and not on...
CaribbeanReady's insight:

The reefs  and the warm, clear waters of the Caribbean make for a very enjoyable dive.  Wetsuits are optional and frankly, I wouldn't wear one down here.  It's the freedom of very little equipment that makes this area so appealing to dive.  


Outside of seeing a shark, a turtle is one of the most exhilarating sights you can witness.  They are surprisingly fast in the water but often, they are not in a hurry.  Floating over top of one of these beautiful creatures is something you will never forget.  The video captures some of the key reasons why becoming a certified diver is one of your more rewarding endeavors.  Stay wet, my friends!

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