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Best of the Caribbean: Editors’ Picks 2012 [Part 2]

Part 2 – For the perfect Caribbean getaway, with cool sea breeze, warm white sand and crystal clear water of postcard lore, our Editors have compiled their top choices for Caribbean vacations for the 2012-2013 travel season. Here are the Caribbean Islands we chose that are filled with exciting activities, amazing resorts, and convenient airline travel connections. Let us help you pick the best Caribbean vacation for any time.

Aruba – Aruba, the island of 90,000 friends you haven’t met yet, is truly a special experience. The island provides excitement and entertainment for all through its 28 luxurious hotels & resorts along the southwestern shore, championship golf courses, sumptuous spas, vibrant casinos, extraordinary international and local cuisine, exclusive shops and boutiques, exciting land and water activities, art galleries and museums, world-famous music festivals and events and clubs and cafes with live music. This cosmopolitan tropical destination filled with warm, hospitable people offers the perfect vacation spot for first-time guests and loyal visitors who return to Aruba at a 60% repeat rate, more than any other Caribbean destination.

Where to stay? Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino – Every 5th night is FREE*. Savor in the upgraded amenities, five daily dining presentations in the private lounge, a member-only beach area, and full access to the Tradewinds Concierge Service.

Where to play? Aruba Sunset Catamaran Cruise – Enjoy views of Palm Beach from the open water as you sip a cocktail and watch the stars come out. Relax as the friendly crew entertains you with local music, dancing and storytelling.

Curacao – Bon Biní – Welcome to Curaçao! Still thriving with local culture and legend untainted by the commercialism of other island destinations, Curaçao has a unique way of plugging you into the energy and ambiance of Caribbean life. Less than 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela, the small island stands apart in the Caribbean experience.

Where to stay? Renaissance Curacao Resort – Located in Curacao’s capital city of Willemstad, in the heart of the Dutch Caribbean, the Renaissance Curacao Resort & Casino offers experiences and activities for travelers seeking the ambiance of authentic Caribbean charm combined with European flare.

Where to play? Ostrich Farm and HATO Caves Combo Adventure – Get to know the biggest birds on earth! Join this educational and interactive tour that gives you the unique opportunity to feed these birds with your bare hands. The it’s on to the Hato Caves, where you’ll explore the unique formations formed thousands of years ago. Learn about the wildlife and history of Curacao on this one of a kind family friendly adventure!

St Maarten/ St Martin– The smallest island in the world shared by two nations. You’ll find Dutch St. Maarten to the south and French St. Martin to the north of this tropical paradise. Sharing a dual personality, the island is truly unique! It offers a wide variety of attractions and activities, a blend of nightlife, shopping, dining and fun in the sun!

Where to stay? Save up to 24% on selected dates at The Westin St. Maarten, Dawn Beach Resort & Spa. Nestled into the lush hillside and embraced by miles of blue hues, acres of tropical colors, and sandy white beach. 308 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and six suites feature Westin’s Heavenly Bed and Heavenly Bath. Three Presidential oceanfront suites and three Parlor suites are perfect for entertaining.

Where to play? Tango Caribbean Dinner Cruise – Experience the true Caribbean way on this evening dinner cruise! Guests are treated to an open bar and snacks as the catamaran sails along the coast of St. Martin, capturing the captivating colors of a Caribbean sunset. A Creole buffet style dinner is then served and guests are invited to dance the evening away. A truly Caribbean experience!

Dominican Republic – As described by Christopher Columbus, Dominican Republic is an abundant land as a beautiful island paradise with sky scraping forested mountains and large river valleys. This testimony from Columbus in 1492 is still as true as today. Besides the comforts of sun, sea and land, your Dominican Republic vacation will give you an exciting and exceptional cultural experience.The Dominican Republic occupies more than half of Hispaniola, the second-largest Caribbean island.

Where to stay? Save up to 50% on selected dates at Riu Palace Punta Cana – All Inclusive – Standing on the beach of Arena Gorda, the Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana is surrounded by a garden of palm trees, where you can enjoy the very best in quality, service and luxury.

Where to play? Punta Cana Half-Day Dune Buggy Adventure – Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! Prepare yourself for a half-day Dominican Republic adventure as you zip through the beautiful countryside on a manual transmission dune buggy. Departing from Punta Cana, you’ll travel past colorful houses and across the breathtaking landscape of banana plantations and farmland. Hop on a dune buggy and explore the true Dominican Republic!

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