The Top Five Reasons to Own a Piece of Paradise

What’s better than vacationing at Casa de Campo? Living here! There are countless benefits to being a villa owner, but these are the top five reasons to own a little piece of paradise.
1. You’re on vacation 24/7.
The best part of owning a piece of paradise is that you’re always on vacation! Villa owners experience all the benefits of Caribbean living from their own private retreats.
Casa de Campo residents stay active thanks to the incredible variety of sports available at the resort, as well yoga classes and our state-of-the-art fitness center.

2. It’s a smart investment.
There are no restrictions regarding the foreign ownership of real estate in the Dominican Republic. You can purchase property with the same rights and obligations as a Dominican citizen. That’s why smart investors have been buying real estate at Casa de Campo for a number of years.
Our Villa Rental Program takes all the stress out of renting your villa when you’re not enjoying it yourself. Let us take care of finding tenants, collecting payment, property maintenance and all the other aspects of renting your villa. This program eliminates any worry or hassle, which means you’re free to simply relax and enjoy the time you spend here.

3. The dining options are to die for.villa-front-view
At Casa de Campo, you can explore the world through food. Each of our seven signature restaurants specializes in a different cuisine, led by expert chefs. Try Spanish tapas one night and creative, fresh sushi the next. Craving comfort food? Head to La Piazzetta for handmade pasta dishes, or visit Lago Restaurant for traditional Dominican cuisine.
After dinner, check out one of the resort’s many bars or lounges for a nightcap.

4. The Dominican Republic has beautiful weather year-round.
Casa de Campo really is a tropical paradise! In the summer, temperatures range from 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 23-32 degrees Celsius. When temperatures are at their hottest mid-day, simply cool off by taking a dip in the pool or the ocean!
In the winter, temperatures hover around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, or 19 degrees Celsius. Talk about a welcome escape from the winter blues!

5. You’re part of a fantastic community.
When you live at Casa de Campo, you become part of the Owners Club, and the best community in the Caribbean. Not only will you make some incredible friends, but your kids will too! Casa de Campo offers programs for all ages.
Resort events like concerts, parties and sporting matches offer a chance to connect with other residents and make memories with friends.


Only a 3-hour flight from Miami, this 32 island-nation is known as the Jewels of the Caribbean, originally inhabited by nomadic Indians and then by the British and the French, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is now an independent nation in the Caribbean and a tourist destination within the proximity of the US, EU, and Latin America.

A breath taking archipelago in the Eastern Caribbean, SVG has always amazed visitors with its beauty, blue waters, and jaw dropping landscape. The government, democratically elected and constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, favors an investment climate with legislation and incentives in accordance with the Fiscal Incentive Act No.5 of 1982 to encourage investing, development, and tourism.

Culturally, SVG enjoy many festivals throughout the year, such as hottest Carnival in the Caribbean, Mayreau Regatta and Canouan’s Regatta, Bequia’s Music Festival and Mustique’s Blues Festival, to mention a few. With a year-round calendar there is something to do in SVG.

img_2940SVG has several amazing places to visit, Black Point, a 300 feet tunnel developed for exporting sugar by the British around 1815, St. Vincent’s La Soufrière volcano, rises over 4,000 feet, Owia Salt Pond located on the NE coast of St. Vincent and home for many of the indigenous people. The Falls of Baleine, Trinity Falls, Vermont Nature Trail, Tobago Cays, and Fort Charlotte which is located on Bershire Hill and was built by the British in 1806.

Surrounded by oceans, rich farming and agriculture, SVG benefits from a diverse cuisine. Sea food, breadfruit, arrowroot, arrowroot, and produce help create mouthwatering dishes that thrill locals and visitors alike.

SVG’s economy is strong and reliable. The foundation is robust and with continued development to their sea ports, road system, and communications web, a growth heaven. Argyle International Airport is due for completion by summer of 2015 broadening commerce and tourism. SVG is part of CARICOM, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The Caribbean’s Hottest Real Estate

Investing in a property in the Caribbean, or moving there altogether as part of a retirement strategy no longer means taking a gamble on the whims of local laws or currency markets. A handful of economically and politically stable nations around the Caribbean Sea account for a boom in real estate sales for North American and European investors. Pick the right spot and the financial returns are as breathtaking as the scenery.


Just under two hours from Miami, Belize is a relatively undiscovered tax haven that just happens to be part of the Commonwealth, meaning that the local legal structure is instantly familiar to British and Canadian investors. Not only is Belize the only English-speaking country in Central America, but it also boasts the second largest barrier reef in the world. What scuba divers have known about for decades, property investors are just now starting to discover.

The financial advantages of buying in Belize are abundant. There is no capital gains tax, stamp duty for non-residents stands at just five percent, the cost of living is low, and land prices are a snip at around $75 per square foot. In addition, the range of locations is outstanding. Although 42 percent of Belize’s land is protected, and owners must report any archaeological artifacts to the Belize Department of Archaeology, there is plenty of land for sale around Belize City, and even the possibility of going Robinson Crusoe on any of the country’s 450 offshore islets. Currently, the hot property areas are San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, and the inland Cayo district where an acre of land comes in at around $3,000.

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After a financial crisis slump in property values, the Cayman Islands have enjoyed a market resurgence. Just a short flight from Florida, the islands present an ideal investment option. Since the Caymans are a British Overseas Territory constitutionally, there are  no restrictions on foreign ownership, and no property tax or non-resident tax. The political structure is extremely stable and the islands have a thriving rental market. Hot spots include the capital George Town and the condominiums along Seven Mile Beach, one of the best in the Caribbean. Buyers can take comfort in an absolute property title guaranteed by the government, and tenancy agreements which favor the landlord. In some cases, property owners can evict tenants with just a few days’ notice.

The flip side of the Caymans is relatively high land costs, roughly $350 per square foot, and transaction costs, at roughly 20 percent. For those building a new home, the high duty on imported building materials, at roughly 20 percent, is also a consideration.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Saint Vincent is an amazing place to visit, to live, and invest in real estate.  With lots of history and local flavor, SVG offer you a unique lifestyle featuring nature at its best. Any island in the Grenadines offers tranquil and transparent relaxation with peace of mind.  A world of water and ground activities are always at an arm’s length reach.  This perfect get away offers magnificent weather all year around. Tropical landscape and blue waters with islands as a back drops at every turn complete this Southern Caribbean collar gem.

SVG’s economy is strong and reliable. The foundation is robust and with continued development to their sea ports, road system, and communications web, a growth heaven.  Purchase and development for current islands for sale benefit from special tax and residence concessions identical to Mustique and Canouan written in legislation enacted as a distinct law by Parliament.  Cross island transportation is practical and easy with points of entrance for private and other planes from airports in St Vincent and the Grenadine islands of Bequia, Carriacou, Mustique, Canouan, and Union island. 

Other points of interest are: Mustique, Canouan, and Bequia are frequently visited by Royalty which began with residence of Princess Margaret a long with other celebrities. Canouan’s golf course is one of the most pristine course in the world and a favorite of many locals and visitors alike.  Argyle International Airport, in St. Vincent,  is currently under construction and due for completion within the next couple of years broadening commerce and tourism. SVG is part of CARICOM, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.

The government, a democratically elected and constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, favors an investment climate with legislation and incentives in accordance with the Fiscal Incentive Act No.5 of 1982 to encourage investment, development, and travel.


With its Caribbean and Pacific coasts, famous canal, and miles of impenetrable rainforest, Panama has consolidated its position as one of the region’s booming overseas property destinations. Since 2013, property prices have risen by roughly 10 percent, largely due to huge government investment in infrastructure. Land costs are reasonable at around $205 per square foot for a beachfront property, less away from the shoreline. However, rental tax comes in at around seven percent, and transaction costs are typically around 10 percent.

Panama offers an enormous range of properties, from the hills of Boquete to the scuba diving haven of tropical Bocas del Toro. Using a local agent is essential, however. Buyers can choose from Titled Property, which involves complete ownership, or Rights of Possession, in which case the government holds the deed. In both cases, and particularly when buying near the shoreline, buyers should perform a thorough check in case of unpaid property taxes and make sure the deed is watertight.

Costa Rica

Fast emerging as a Baby boomer’s paradise, Costa Rica is not only stunningly beautiful and unspoilt, but offers outrageous yields from investment properties. Properties around the capital, San Jose, Central Valley, and the Pacific Coast command the highest prices, while the southern region is only just emerging as a buyer’s market. Typically, a square foot comes in at around $200.

Just as in Panama, buyers should use a reputable, accredited local agent to complete the sale. Foreigners can own real estate, but will need a local partner if applying for a concession on a beachfront property. Owning a legal title does not guarantee outright ownership of a property either, and private ownership of a beachfront property is not allowed. Numerous reports also highlight the propensity for squatters to take over unattended properties, particularly in more remote areas. Buyers should complete a thorough check with the Registro Publico, which provides a thorough background of land titles. Formalities completed, property taxes in Costa Rica are very low, just five percent, and the cost of living is as low as the quality of life is high.


Latin America’s oldest democracy and one of its most stable nations allows non-residents to purchase up to three quarters of an acre, although investors who form a local corporation can potentially secure a larger plot. If there is anywhere to buy a private island and enjoy a famously low cost of living, Honduras is the answer. The entire sale process is quick, sometimes as little as a month, and bureaucracy easy to navigate. Buyers should merely ensure that all taxes have been paid on a property for sale, ideally by using a local agent. Currently, the diving Mecca of Roatan Island is popular, although the area plays host to one of the busiest cruise ship ports in the Western Caribbean.

As an increasing number of North American retirees look for a bigger bang for their retirement pot buck, Central America and the Caribbean’s nascent property markets have the answer. For those who truly want to enjoy their place in the sun, possibly on a private island, the region literally has the hottest properties, even if they are cooled by the trade winds.



Places to Visit and Live in the Caribbean Islands

Places to visit and live in the Caribbean are plenty and beautiful. On this edition we focus on five special places in the Caribbean.  We found the Caribbean to be a mystical paradise with beautiful friendly people, gorgeous scenes, nature as its best, and amazing food. We will try our best to showcase a few of them, if not, to give you a taste.


Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and among the least visited islands in the Caribbean, Saba barely registers on the tourist map. However, this mountainous rocky outcrop, famous for its diving, is one of the friendliest islands in the region, with the Saba Medical School ensuring a steady stream of young, boisterous students throughout most of the year.

Saba has no beaches, a tiny population, and none of the high-octane nightlife of neighboring St. Maarten. Instead, visitors will find a niche destination that stands out as a scuba diving Mecca below sea level and is notable above ground as one of the few actively gay-friendly islands in the Caribbean. Known as The Unspoiled Queen, Saba has just a scattering of bars and restaurants, some of which double up as nightclubs. Get close to nature with a stay at the
eco-friendly Rainforest Lodge, or rub shoulders with the locals at the obligatory Friday night Karaoke at Scout’s Place.


Much in the same vein as Saba, Bonaire deliberately avoids pandering to late-night revelers, but cultivates a soothing aura of unadulterated style instead. Cooled by the steady breeze of the southern Caribbean, the Dutch-speaking Island is famous for its diving, windsurfing and snorkeling. At night, visitors will find a laid-back, unstructured nightlife that typically involves gathering along the waterfront of the capital, Kralendijk.

Perhaps Bonaire is not somewhere to strap on some heels and head out into the night, but for those who want to kick back with kindred watersports spirits, the City Cafe and Karel’s Beach Bar are hard to beat.

Another type of adventure seeking of the ghostly kind can also be found in Jamaica. The Rose Hall Plantation is home to Annie Palmer, dubbed the White Witch of Rose Hall. The hauntings of Annie Palmer have been featured on many Jamaican TV programs and the legend of this evil apparition draws many to tour the great house to see for themselves. Annie Palmer is a slave-cursed woman infamous for killing her husbands and for random tortures of her slaves. So if you are in Montego Bay, in search of an adventure and you are not too scared, you may want to stop by the Rose Hall Plantation.

St Vincent and the Grenadines

A breathtaking archipelago in the Eastern Caribbean SVG has always amazed visitors with its beauty, blue waters, and jaw dropping landscape.  This beautiful land promotes nature’s best providing the right ingredients for family activities, such as boating, surfing, fishing, snorkeling, scuba-diving, hiking, and the list goes on.  The possibilities are endless on this nature’s masterpiece making it a best choice for a family retreat anytime in the year.

Only a 3-hour flight from Miami, this 32 island-nation is known as the Jewels of the Caribbean, originally inhabited by nomadic Indians and then by the British and the French, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is now an independent nation in the Caribbean and a tourist destination within the proximity of the US, EU, and Latin America.

SVG has several amazing places to visit, Black Point, a 300 feet tunnel developed for exporting sugar by the British around 1815, St. Vincent’s La Soufrière volcano, rises over 4,000 feet, Owia Salt Pond located on the NE coast of St. Vincent and home for many of the indigenous people. The Falls of Baleine, Trinity Falls, Vermont Nature Trail, Tobago Cays, and Fort Charlotte which is located on Bershire Hill and was built by the British in 1806.37697918_s

If you take a romantic vacation to the Caribbean, the island you should most want to visit is the Bahamas. The Bahamas consists of about 700 islands, but only about 20 of them are habitable. But for the romantic vacationers, islands such as Eleuthera and Island Harbor are great places to unwind with your loved one. Eleuthera is a romantic hideaway that has been described by a writer for the LA Times as a “hideaway straight out of central casting” for its perfect commitment to privacy, romance and having a good time. Watch sunsets on the beautiful beaches of Eleuthera, go swimming, eat scrumptious meals, relax under the warm sun or take long walks on the beach with that special someone, whatever you want to make your vacation special you can do it in Eleuthera.

On Island Harbor, you can watch the majestic mountains from the pristine pink sand beaches, yes, you read right, pink sand beaches! You can do this all while you snuggle with your honey at sunset. Private beaches, horseback riding on the beach, romantic meals and the music of the tropics make this tiny island perfect for those traveling for romance. Visit Harbor Island on your next romantic vacation.

If you plan to get married in the Caribbean, you can get great deals with your hotels or get a wedding package that you will appreciate and memories you will treasure for the rest of your lives.

Key West

If you travel to the Caribbean you won’t have to worry about finding a place to party. One favorite spot where people party when they go to the Caribbean is Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville is found on most Caribbean islands, and these famed locations double as restaurants and nightclubs. You can get scrumptious Caribbean meals reflecting the cuisine of the island you are on, during the day or night. But only at nights do the Margaritavilles turn into thumping, energetic nightclubs that beckon party goers from near and far.

There are also many other nightclubs on the beautiful islands of the Caribbean that will surely meet your partying standards and the all-inclusiveness of Caribbean vacations means that you never have to worry about the prices of your meals. But if you want to venture out from the food served up by the hotels and try other foods, there are plenty restaurants that line the roads where tourists vacation, so you treat your taste buds with something different and delicious.

No matter what kind of vacationer you are there are lots of activities and delights that will suit your needs and standards on a Caribbean vacation.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a Caribbean Private Island Jewel

Many families flock to the Caribbean to vacation year after year. And with a plethora of kid-friendly resorts, activities, and all-inclusive stays, it’s no wonder why. So, no matter what Caribbean island you plan to visit you are sure to be offered all-inclusive rates on your family vacation package. But if you really want to up your kids’ excitement levels on your next family vacation, then consider taking them to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

27962576_mSt. Vincent and the Grenadines is a small island located in the Eastern Caribbean that has many attractions for kids and adults. Here, you can go snorkeling, you can charter boats and you can experience the island in private. Better yet, why not take your children to see where Johnny Depp, as pirate Jack Sparrow, jumped from Wallilabou Bay in scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean. You and your family can even go see St. Vincent’s water falls, go snorkeling or even visit the Old Hegg Sea Turtle Sanctuary. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the most eco-friendly places in the region along with Costa Rica. So, you will have great time exploring the islands, while having yourselves a grand old time.

A series of pristine white sand beaches accentuated with turquoise blue waters glistening beneath the warm sun is the image that has come to be associated with the Caribbean. Saint Vincent & the Grenadines is a beautiful nation that consists of thirty-two islands and forms part of the Windward Islands.  Truly, no one can go to the Caribbean and not fall in love with its sheer beauty, festive charm and its incomparable cuisine. The Grenadines spread for sixty miles between St. Vincent and Grenada, and is made up of islands like Bequia, Canouan, Mustique, Mayreau and Union Island. Whether you are a honeymooner, on a family vacation or seeking an adventure in the great outdoors, the Caribbean has everything to suit your every need, desire or whim.27962581_m

For those on vacation to seek the thrill of adventure in the great outdoors, a great place to spend your high-adrenaline, high-octane time is on the beautiful island of Saint Vincent. In Saint Vincent you can go scuba diving, deep sea diving, surfing, water skiing or fishing in and around the many beautiful beaches that the Grenadines offers. There are also many hiking trips that you can take, in particular, you can hike to Saint Vincent’s La Soufrière volcano towering at 4,049 ft. and the Botanical Gardens that is believed to be the oldest in the western hemisphere and get your chance to overlook the majestic Caribbean landscape. The hottest trend among adventure seekers is to go on a leg-flailing, high-adrenaline pumping action by zip-lining high above the ground. Well, if that sort of thing appeals to you then you are in luck. In Saint Vincent, there are plenty opportunities to go zip-lining amid the verdant jungle.

If you are in Kingston, travel to Port Royal and see where Captain Henry Morgan and his rowdy crew made their home of immorality and infamy. Visit the home of the real pirates of the Caribbean, see their wine bottles, utensils and belongings unearthed after the famous 1692 earthquake and have an adventure just seeing a part of history covered in such swashbuckling mystery.



Double Down on Some Fun with a Trip to Saint-Martin

Those travelers looking for a great vacation spot in the Caribbean should definitely consider the island of Saint Martin. Though small, it is a sun-drenched and extremely tourist-friendly place that has a number of exciting things going for it. Here are just a few:

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While not unique, the political division of this small Caribbean island into a French half (Saint Martin) and a Dutch one (Sint Maarten) creates a tourist destination unlike any other in the world. Visitors will usually arrive in style aboard a large jetliner but after leaving the airport, the island provides a true shelter from the worries of the technological age. Here are just some of the things you should look forward to on this remarkable vacation isle:


As one would expect of almost any Caribbean island, the beaches of Saint Martin are truly spectacular. Visitors can enjoy every outdoor activity from simple sunbathing and snorkeling to scuba diving and sport fishing. Also be aware that the French side of the island does allow completely nude bathing in many spots while the more prudish Dutch do not. In any event, all 37 beaches on the island are open during daylight hours with special events being held at night in many of them. Some of the more popular spots include Nettle’s Beach, Plum Bay and grand-case beach on the French side with Pelican bay, Mullet bay and Cupecoy on the Dutch side.

Island Culture

25220972_sThough dominated in the past by colonial powers, modern day Saint Martin has developed a interesting indigenous culture of its own. There are plenty of “fish shacks” where you can get a bite to eat with the locals as well as plenty of colonial architecture to keep you interested as you tour the island. The African roots of the native Creoles can most visibly be seen in the music that they play and the food that they eat.


With cruise ships and high-end yachts docking almost every day, the port cities of the island have developed well-stocked outdoor midways where the seasoned shopper can find everything from simple handmade island crafts to Vacheron Constantin watches. A word of warning to the shopper – everything is overpriced on purpose. Half the fun of shopping in Saint Martin is haggling with the vendors. If you are more comfortable in an indoor setting, you will find any number of shops, boutiques and galleries in the main cities of Philipsburg and Marigot.


34308753_sMost of the larger resorts on Saint Martin that cater to the well-heeled traveler will have three-four restaurants on site that are usually included in a package price. Still, do not miss the chance to wander the island – it’s hard to get lost – and search out some of the native cuisine. On the French side, you will find a spicy Creole seafood is the
standard while the Dutch prefer a more traditional European preparation. Also, remember that you are in the Caribbean where fast service is almost non-existent. Arrive early, have a drink and take your time. You may even get to like the ambiance of a casual meal. For haute cuisine, high end restaurants do exist. Try the Bistrot Caraibes, Le Ti Buchon or the Tropicana.


Aside from the nightly festivities that are regularly hosted on the various beaches, the two main cities of Saint Martin have a bustling social scene. Care for a pint and some trivia? Try Bamboo Bernie’s. Prefer to dress up and hit the local hot spots – Le Moon and the Rainbow Club should serve nicely… and then there are the casinos. Every resort has one and the payout ratios are some of the best in the Caribbean.



How to Enjoy Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago is an island country in the southern Caribbean off the northeast coast of Venezuela in South America. The country is made up of two main islands, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a lot of smaller islands. Trinidad is the largest by far of the islands in this republic, while Tobago makes up only about 6% of the land area. The climate is tropical with a dry and a wet season, but little temperature change year round. Trinidad and Tobago is located south of the hurricane belt, so this is rarely a concern. 20432773_sInstead of tourism, the economy on Trinidad and Tobago is based on industry, primarily petroleum. Even though, tourism isn’t its main industry, it’s still a great vacation destination. There are many fantastic resorts on these islands, and they are populated by a warm and friendly people. The main language of the islands is English. Access to the island is through Piarco International Airport on Trinidad. There is also a smaller airport on Tobago.

If you love music and festivals, Trinidad and Tobago is the place for you. It is the birthplace of Calypso, steelpan, and the infamous limbo. And for places to celebrate Carnival, the annual event in Trinidad and Tobago is not to be missed. For sports fans,  cricket is very popular and Trinidad and Tobago is home to a championship football team.

The natural beauty of the islands is one of the main attractions if you are not there for Carnival. From rich, lush rain forests to beautiful sandy beaches, these islands have a lot to offer if you just want to get out and about. Also on Trinidad, close to the capital of Port-of-Spain is the Caroni Bird Sanctuary, a huge park made up of deep forests, wetland marshes, and mangrove thickets. The sanctuary is home to over 185 species of birds as well as crabs, reptiles, and other wildlife. 30683063_sAnd speaking of wildlife, Carnival which precedes Lent and coincides with Mardi Gras, is a massive festival on Trinidad and Tobago. This multi-day cultural, musical, and food festival rivals those found in New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro. If you want to truly experience the flavor and excitement of these friendly people, and don’t mind crowds and noise, you must plan a visit during Carnival.

Interested in a little more sedate pursuits and a little culture? No problem. Trinidad and Tobago is home to the National Museum and Art Gallery and the City of Port of Spain Museum. You may also want to try the Museum of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for an interesting look at the history of this country’s police departments. And for a little more local flavor, visit the Angostura Rum and Bitters museum for a taste of how the world famous Angostura bitters is made and a taste of the local rums. From the excitement of Carnival to the laid back ambiance of the beaches, Trinidad and Tobago is a vacationer’s paradise.



The Hippest Islands in the Caribbean

The Caribbean rarely fails to deliver for tourists in search of some budget, all-inclusive, winter sun and fun, but options can be limited for those who want to maintain a modicum of style while in the tropics. Head to Jamaica, St. Maarten or Saint Vincent, for example, and the buzz is undeniable, but the landscape of tiki torches, 2-for-1 happy hour shots and bare, sunburned torsos working up a sweat on the dance floor will strike a jarring chord with visitors who want to dress up, sample the finer things in life, and plug into the local scene. Luckily, a handful of islands either eschew the package tourism model entirely, or stand out for their cosmopolitan vibe.36813282_s

Just a short flight from the U.S., Puerto Rico enjoys a deserved reputation as the party capital of the Caribbean. The island that gave the world salsa and merengue serves up a relentless menu of nightlife options, while the pounding rhythms of reggaeton provide the soundtrack for a population that is youthful, cosmopolitan, and never shy about dressing up and hitting the town.

Admittedly, on the days the cruise ships are in port, San Juan disappears beneath a morass of visitors, but after dark the city comes alive. Head to Old San Juan for authentic, stylish bars and taverns in which to sample vintage rum and exquisite local cigar, or try the cocktail bars of the top hotel lobbies for an early evening loosener surrounded by a crowd that could have dropped in straight from New York or Miami. The Art Deco town of Ponce provides an elegant alternative to the capital, while a day trip to the offshore islands of Vieques and Culebra accesses tropical island relaxation at its most effortless. The French island of Guadeloupe is famously shaped like a butterfly, but it stings like a bee. Less self-conscious and expensive than its sister-island St. Barts, Guadeloupe nevertheless nurtures a young, hip population with close ties to metropolitan France. 29490199_sAbove all, locals like to dress up in the latest fashions and hit the clubs in order to pay homage to the island’s dominant rhythm, Zouk. Visitors can enjoy a lively nightclub scene around the marina in Le Gosier, or along the stunning south coast resorts.The language barrier is arguably the greatest impediment to Guadeloupe’s graduation to a destination on a par with Santo Domingo or Puerto Rico. While the official language is French, true Guadeloupeans speak a distinct Creole instead. Nevertheless, with its fine gourmet restaurants, chic clubs and fiercely protected identity, this is as close as a visitor can get to Parisian finesse without crossing the Atlantic.

Not many tourists make the journey down south as far as Curacao, and those that do tend to opt for the all-inclusive, timeshare-saturated Aruba instead. However, Curacao amply rewards those visitors who trust it with their judgment. Not only is the capital Willemsted one of the prettiest towns in the Caribbean, with the UNESCO World Heritage architecture of Punda a particular delight, but simply hanging out along the dockside Otrabanda district after dark also offers perspective onto one of the most distinct cultures in the Caribbean. Although the island has a large Dutch population, ensuring a consistent exchange of ideas with Europe, Curacao’s predominant culture is Papiamento Creole-speaking, with a tendency to dress up and party hard, and of course, if you have access to a private island in the area, any language will do.

The nightclubs and bars around Willemstad are always lively, but the island reserves its greatest flourish for Sunday night, when locals pour outside to finish the week with a blast, particularly around the cocktail bars along Mambo Beach.

Obviously, part of the appeal of the Caribbean is a typically unpretentious outlook and concept of time that tends towards nostalgia rather than trend-watching. However, visitors who want to kick it back in the trade winds without necessarily sacrificing their pursuit of style can focus on a handful of islands that ooze character.