Written by Josue Santiago Friday, 09 July 2010 00:00
Welcome to Latino Boys Magazine Travel Edition! As South Floridians, we often get to enjoy from the wonderful destinations in our own backyard. However, sometimes it's nice to just get out and explore what exotic destinations have to offer. The good thing is that we don't have to go too far.
For many of us in South Florida, taking a vacation in the Caribbean is actually a time when we return to our roots. Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Haiti, The Bahamas, Jamaica and the more than 7,000 islands that surround the Caribbean Sea was home to us or our relatives. Many of these islands share similar traits and the islands offer beautiful environments and tropical climates. Check out these three destinations.
CUBA: While travel to this country continues to be restricted for most U.S. Citizens, many Americans still visit the island every year. From the white sand and palm-fringed beaches of Varadero and Playas del Este to the lush scenery of Isla de la Juventud, Cuba has one of the world's most exciting histories, extraordinary musical and dance traditions all of its own and a rich national architecture. Its vibrant capital, Havana, is famous for its kicking Caribbean nightlife, exuberant residents and restored old city. Colonial gem Trinidad will enchant you with its intimacy and relaxed vibe. Perched improbably on the island's eastern tip, isolated and intriguing Baracoa is Cuba's very own Shangri-La.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico is where the easygoing Caribbean collides with the slick efficiency of modern America over Latin rhythms and tropical sunsets. Hip, funky restaurants nestle next to 15th-century Spanish forts; sprawling concrete shopping malls encroach upon the tropical rainforests; and glitzy casinos lie next to some of the most stunning beaches, caves and offshore coral reefs in the Caribbean. History is another draw card and in Viejo (Old) San Juan, you'll find one of the oldest and best preserved colonial cities in the Americas. On the south coast, Ponce, with its museums and Spanish colonial buildings, combines an easygoing atmosphere for families with a nightlife of pulsating reggae and salsa.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: The Dominican Republic (DR) is a land of contrasts – the physical kind, like the highest peak and the lowest point in the Caribbean, and the more metaphorical kind, like that between the urban street life of Santo Domingo and the rural villages only a short drive away. Santo Domingo is a collage of cultures, a vibrant beating heart that fuels the entire country and a living museum, offering the sight of New World firsts scattered around the charming cobblestone streets of the Zona Colonial. Cabarete, on the North Coast, has winds which draw adrenaline junkies from around the world. And for the anti-Caribbean experience head to the popular mountain retreats of Jarabacoa and Constanza – places where bathing suits are out and sweaters are in..