Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao - the ABC islands - are in the southern Caribbean Sea, outside the hurricane belt. Grenada lies further east but still in the southern Caribbean. St. Martin and Saba are in the north eastern part of the Caribbean Sea, close to Puerto Rico. The islands were first settled by Caiquetios Indians from Venezuela. The Spanish came to the area in 1499. Control of the islands was a cause of conflict, over many years, between the Spanish, British, Dutch and French. Curaçao became the centre of Government for the Dutch Caribbean. The islands, apart from Grenada, are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but largely self-governing. Their eventful history has given each island a rich and fascinating cultural heritage with Spanish, Dutch, English, French and West African influences.
The islands have the same cultural roots but have each developed their own unique character.
We are the only travel company specialising in holidays to the Caribbean islands of :
Aruba * Bonaire * Curaçao * St. Martin * Saba * Grenada
These wonderful islands are "undiscovered" for many people from the UK and Ireland.
Somewhere different - somewhere new - off the beaten track.
The islands legally protect their natural environment, a commitment we support and respect.
They are generally undeveloped, commercially, and have retained their natural beauty and charm in a peaceful atmosphere. This is the authentic Caribbean – as it once was. Due to their fascinating, multi-cultural history these islands have developed a relaxed, welcoming culture. Local people are friendly and helpful and never pester or bother you. Very different from other holiday destinations - a breath of fresh air. Some mistake this for being "stand-offish" - which is quite wrong. islanders are happy to help you - but never impose on visitors. There is no rush - no fuss. The islands are there for you to enjoy - at your own pace - in your own way.
There is nowhere else in the world where you can relax so easily and so completely - friendly, interesting and exciting.
There is a lot to see and do. Whether you prefer doing "nothing much" on super beaches, outdoor sports or diving your socks off, it's entirely your choice. Relaxing in peace and quiet is appealing, but it's also very easy to enjoy the culture, sports and activities on each island. Visitors are welcome and very well catered for, but not in over-organised, large groups. You can enjoy all the islands have to offer, at your own pace, as you wish. These islands are "undiscovered" for most people and are an exciting new holiday destination. No mass tourism - no theme parks or huge fun fairs - lots of things to see and do in a relaxed Caribbean style - friendly local people and perfect weather.
You can enjoy your holiday to the full - as a welcome guest instead of a tourist. A refreshingly new experience.
Aruba has wide, white-sand beaches, fringed with palm trees, along the Turquoise coast, so called due to the colour of the ocean. Some of the finest beaches you will ever see. Aruba is a small, busy island with a vibrant nightlife, centred on Oranjestad the capital. Outside the main town, Aruba is a typical Dutch Caribbean island - quiet and relaxed. Aruba is known as the "wreck diving" capital of the Caribbean with over 40 recognised dive sites.
Bonaire is a small island committed to protect its environment. No mass tourism, no theme parks, no high rise hotels. Bonaire has a unique charm impossible to put into words. Unpretentious, relaxed and friendly. Bonaire's island motto is "Divers Paradise". The coast and ocean is legally protected. Bonaire has over 80 top-rated dive sites - perfect for snorkellers too. Bonaire has been voted the best dive destination and best learner divers' destination due to the quality of the reef and easy diving conditions. A small island with a big reputation. We often "warn" our customers - Bonaire will capture your heart - which is why those, lucky enough to discover Bonaire, return year after year.
Curacao has a wonderful blend of history, natural beauty, sociable nightlife and sports, not least the world class diving. Willemstad, the capital, is a UNESCO world heritage site with 700 protected buildings. Outside of Willemstad, Curacao is unspoilt and very peaceful. The west coast has 38 miles of beautiful, pristine coastline - 38 secluded bays with wonderful sandy beaches and clear, turquoise ocean - perfect for relaxing, shore diving or snorkelling.
St. Martin is half French and half Dutch hence the two names. The island has sunshine, beaches, exuberant Caribbean nightlife, the best shopping and dining in the Caribbean. The island has a fantastic variety of landscape, cultures and entertainment. St. Martin has thirty-seven wonderful beaches, many with water sports, beach bars and cafes. Others are secluded and peaceful. St. Martin's crystal clear waters are prefect for all kinds of water sports especially snorkelling and diving. Divers will love the wrecks and reefs. St. Martin & Sint Maarten has a great deal to offer all visitors - those who want a typical Caribbean island holiday - those who enjoy the natural world - snorkellers and dive too, of course. Something for everyone on St. Martin/Sint Maarten.
Saba is known as the "Unspoiled Queen" because of her tropical, natural, beauty. Saba is a small volcanic island with a dense rain forest which covers much of the island. Saba will appeal to people who appreciate an unspoiled natural world. Islanders are conservation conscious and have opposed major commercial development. Divers have only recently discovered the fantastic diving on Saba - the variety of underwater feature and habitats means that Saba will very soon become a very popular diving destination.
Although not a "Dutch" Caribbean Island - Grenada shares a common history and characteristics with its neighbours in the southern Caribbean - Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. This beautiful small island - "The Spice Island" - is just 32 miles long but has some of the world's finest beaches. The 2 miles long Grand Anse Beach in St George is one of the top ten beaches in the world. Grenada's interior is rugged and covered with a lush rain forest - several rivers with beautiful waterfalls flow into the sea. Grenada is one of the best diving/snorkelling destinations in the world, with over 30 sites and 15 superb wrecks. Grenada has a lot to offer for such a small island.
The island links above have detailed information about each island. This information is based on our personal visits and long experience of organising holidays on these wonderful islands.
The all important issue. These are tropical islands and the climate does not vary a great deal - perfect weather all year round ! The temperature is almost always 29ºc / 84ºf - with a cooling breeze keeping you fresh and comfortable. "Perfect" weather means that, no matter what you choose to do, relax, play sport, explore or go diving, you can enjoy your holiday to the full - without having to worry about the weather. Rainy season is October to December, short tropical showers, then the sun is out again. Warm and sunny in January or July!
When is a good time to go? Any time is a good time to go !
A safe, secure environment and lack of mass tourism, means you can relax, like nowhere else in the world and enjoy your holiday to the full. No pestering street vendors, no over-eager holiday reps, no over-priced restaurants, no massive theme parks or fun fairs. Crime rates on the islands are very low. In the last 10 years we have had four reports of minor thefts from all the islands combined. We use our own experience and the feedback from our customers as the basis of our advice.
Destination Travel msnbc.com – in an article using figures from the "U.S. State Department warnings on crime against U.S. citizens abroad" and the "United Nations survey on global crime trends" - came to the conclusion :
"the stats don't lie . . . Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao . . . are amongst. . . . the world's safest places to travel"
The Caribbean Sea is known for its warm, clear water, and huge diversity of marine life. Ocean conditions on these islands are perfect for water sports, especially scuba diving and snorkelling. The ocean around the islands is a warm 28c (82f) and visibility is 30-40 metres. Extremely comfortable for everyone who wants to enjoy the ocean and marine life. Swimming, snorkelling and diving have never been easier. The islands are famous for the diversity and abundance of marine life that live on the reefs that surround them.
The islands are rated, by divers from around the word - and international dive magazines - as among the best scuba diving sites in the world ! Our holidays can include all aspects of a diving/snorkelling holiday. The islands are volcanic islands and the reefs, exciting underwater features and abundance of marine life - all close to shore – are a real thrill. The warm, clear water is ideal for snorkellers and inexperienced divers. Everyone can enjoy the comfortable ocean conditions and the breathtaking underwater world around these islands.
There is a tab on each island menu for diving -
and under the "activities" tab a page all about snorkelling.
Curacao and Bonaire have the greatest diversity of marine life in the western Atlantic – and are famous for their many shore diving sites – diving freedom at its best. Aruba and Grenada vie for the title "wreck diving" capital of the Caribbean. Saba has some of the most spectacular underwater features in the world to explore. Divers will love the wrecks and reefs on St. Martin. All the islands have an open ocean side visited by some of the larger ocean roaming creatures – which will appeal to more experienced divers. Diving is as easy or as challenging as you want, perfect for novices and experienced divers alike.
Warm - easy - spectacular – diving and snorkelling doesn't get better than this.
With easy conditions and an ocean packed with life, snorkelling does not get any better than this. Reefs are close to shore, the water is warm and crystal clear. These islands offer a unique snorkelling experience. Reefs, wrecks and thousands of creatures. The most exciting and perhaps the easiest snorkelling you will ever experience.
The islands have lots of other activities for you to enjoy – windsurfing, kayaking, sailing, kite surfing, fishing, bird watching, cycling, horse riding, land yachting, and many more. Activities are organised in a low-key way. No crowds, no queues, no large groups. Activities are individual or small groups, organised for people to have fun. Without an "audience", you may be tempted to try new adventures !
We offer a wider choice of accommodation in the Dutch Caribbean than any other UK travel company. We have personally visited the accommodation we recommend - and we gather information from our returning visitors. No need to gamble on anonymous comments on a website forum! You can rely on our local knowledge and experience on these islands. The quality of accommodation is excellent - and surprisingly inexpensive. There is a full list of accommodation on each island menu above - accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.
Each island's rich cultural heritage ensures there is a huge variety of cuisine available in a large number of restaurants, to suit all budgets and tastes. Prices are comparable with UK restaurants - but the food is far more interesting ! Most accommodation has a kitchen and if you choose to self-cater some meals, the supermarkets have a range of food, with brands you will recognise, at prices similar to the UK.
On the busier islands, Aruba, St. Martin, Grenada there is a varied nightlife. The nightlife can be exuberant - as you would hope Caribbean nightlife would be - but never frantic. The bars and clubs on Aruba and St. Martin for example, are still very informal - great to see islanders and visitors all giving the Salsa their "all" ! On the smaller islands the nightlife is more relaxed in the ocean front bars and restaurants. No noisy club or pub life on these islands ! Each island's rich cultural heritage ensures there is a wonderful variety of cuisine available in a large number of restaurants, to suit all budgets and tastes. For more detail click the nightlife link on each island banner.
No special vaccinations required for these islands. We know of no major health issues associated with the islands. Each island has excellent medical facilities including specialist equipment for divers. The water is safe to drink and tastes wonderful - much better than UK tap water.