Royal Sea Cruises in Paradise

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Pitons mountains of Saint Lucia ©Getty Images

Simple joys in vibrant lands

Sometimes, perfection is simple: bright blue water, shimmering white sand, a picturesque palm tree. Regardless of where you have traveled from, or how you would describe your ideal destination, these simple elements so commonly found in the Caribbean entice you to embrace a ‘less is more’ spirit. Of course, there are legendary monuments, cultures, incredibly fresh cuisine, and delightful music and dance to dive into, but you may always count on blissful basics throughout this beloved part of the world.

Discover the variety of simple pleasures to be found in the Caribbean and Panama Canal, from the cozy alleyways and candy-colored buildings of Oranjestad in Aruba to Puerto Plata’s lively and welcoming Malecón in the Dominican Republic. And so much more.

Authentic history & thriving culture – San Juan, Puerto Rico

Packed with historical landmarks, one of the oldest cities under U.S. jurisdiction, and one of the oldest European settlements in the Americas also boasts pristine beaches, exceptional cuisine, and a stirring resiliency. Stroll Old San Juan’s cobblestoned streets past 16th- and 17th-century Spanish Colonial landmarks, beautiful plazas, quaint shops, and colorful eateries. Begin your exploration of Puerto Rico’s history at the World Heritage-listed Castillo San Felipe del Morro and 18th-century Castillo San Cristóbal. Take in the nation’s rich cultural history at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Discover the lush rainforest, waterfalls, and tropical wildlife of El Yunque National Forest before walking the glorious white sands of Luquillo Beach.

Hidden isles – Roseau, Dominica

Dominica has so much to offer, yet it’s the lesser-known treasures that will stay with you forever. One of those places is Scotts Head, a tiny peninsula named for Dominica’s lieutenant governor in the 1760s. The views from this elevated finger of land are outstanding, as the peninsula divides the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. If it’s clear, you may even catch sight of Martinique. Further afield, visit Morne Plat Pays volcanic complex. Although there hasn’t been an eruption since the 13th century, volcanic heat from the complex still radiates up from the sea floor. And then for architecture buffs, there is the charming Bois Cotlette, the finest example of colonial architecture on Dominica and features the islands only windmill.

Delight in a brush with Dominican culture – Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Wear your dancing shoes for a lively immersion into Dominican culture in this port city tucked between the towering Mount Isabel de Torres and a vast blue shoreline. Get a sense of the Dominican Republic’s European, African, and native Taíno cultural elements during an excursion that begins with a tour of Puerto Plata and the Dominican countryside. At a specialty kitchen, you’ll be welcomed with a coco loco rum drink and partake in a lighthearted Dominican cooking class. After a traditional lunch, you’ll join a fiesta and learn to dance the merengue, the national dance, and the playfully Latin bachata.

Small island paradise – Scarborough, Trinidad & Tobago

With a deep-water harbor that was created in 1991, Scarborough is the main port city of the small island of Tobago. The city’s skyline is dominated by the 18th-century Fort King George, where local history is on display at the quaint Tobago Museum. Go on a guided walk of Tobago Main Ridge Forest Reserve, one of the oldest protected rainforests in the Caribbean and a modern birder’s paradise. Feel the powdery sands of Pigeon Point Beach before sampling local cuisine at a seaside bistro. Head to the picturesque fishing village of Charlotteville for a reminder of simple island life that remains vital at the remote northern end of Tobago.

Chasing waterfalls – Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Witness the gorgeous cascades of Carbet Waterfalls in Guadeloupe National Park. It is the perfect reward for your hike on a winding path through the forest. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the sight of the 100-meter-high middle falls as they thunder through the jungle. The falls have long been admired. They even had a mention in Christopher Columbus’ journal in 1493, when the indigenous Caribs referred to Guadeloupe as Karukera, meaning Island of Beautiful Waters. If you prefer an easier walk to a waterfall, there’s La Cascade aux Écrevisses (Crayfish Falls), where you can bathe under the rushing, crystalline water.

Tropical bliss & Dutch charm – Oranjestad, Aruba

Aruba conjures images of white-sand beaches, blissfully blue waters, and sweet island breezes. You’ll find all of that here, as well as the cozy alleyways, candy-colored buildings, and irresistible boutiques of this small capital city. In Oranjestad, stroll the tropical gardens of Wilhelmina Park along the waterfront and discover Aruba’s heritage at the Archaeological Museum of Aruba.

Natural beauty – Castries, St. Lucia

Magnificent, lush scenery makes St. Lucia one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands. Among the natural wonders you will see on this extraordinary island are the dramatic Pitons, rising nearly 900 meters from the sea. The iconic green slopes of these pyramid-shaped mountains rising from the sapphire blue waters were deemed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Your journey up the misty, jungle-covered, boulder-strewn mountainside for the huge views from the top is an experience you won’t soon forget. Afterwards, enjoy a sumptuous lunch of local delicacies and a refreshing swim in the majestic Caribbean Sea to complete your Castries experience.

Cocktails & palm trees – Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Cruise over to White Bay on nearby Jost Van Dyke, the ultimate beach paradise for sunbathing and simply relaxing. Along the way, you’ll pass several classic Caribbean islands, including St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands. When you arrive at White Bay, your adventure in paradise begins in earnest, as you’ll plunge into the crystal-clear water to get to the sugar white shore. Spend the day lounging in a hammock strung between two palm trees, sunbathing, or swimming. There’s a reef at the bay’s western edge that’s usually teeming with blue tangs, rainbow parrotfish, and other marine life. Later, enjoy a cool drink at the Soggy Dollar Bar, where the famous Painkiller cocktail was invented in the 1970s.

Cayman creatures – George Town, Cayman Islands

From George Town, get a glimpse of the true treasures of the Caribbean on a snorkeling adventure. Stingray City is perfect for swimmers of all levels, and it’s an extraordinary experience to meet the dozens of tame, gentle stingrays that glide around you in the warm, crystal-clear waters among the colorful fish.

The Caribbean’s great walled city – Cartagena, Colombia

Called the ‘Corralito de Piedra’ (Stone Corral) because of the 11 kilometers of huge walls that surround its atmospheric Old Town, this beautifully preserved city has a wealth of colonial architecture, cobbled alleys, massive churches, and old-world heritage. Explore the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, once the most important military structure built in Latin America. As Cartagena is almost entirely surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, several beaches can be found near the city’s walls — Bocagrande and El Laguito are two of the more popular ones. Or bask in the brilliant blue waters of the Islas del Rosario, 26 coral islands off the coast of Isla Barú.

Gateway to grandeur – Santo Tomás de Castilla, Guatemala

This port city on Santo Tomás Bay is a gateway to the lush valleys and Mayan ruins of Guatemala. Excursions abound. Drive through the verdant countryside of Motagua Valley to Rio Dulce National Park and the shores of Lake Izabal. Discover how the Aztecs and Maya made a reserved-for-royalty chocolate concoction on a cacao plantation tour. Drive to World Heritage-listed Quirigua Archaeological National Park, site of Classic Maya period ruins. Or fly to Northern Guatemala to experience the towering, steep-sided temples of Tikal, one of the greatest Mayan cities known and studied to date. Remote and surrounded by jungle, the remains are Guatemala’s most renowned cultural and natural preserve.

White sands & colorful streets – Bridgetown, Barbados

On Barbados, you’ll find a beach for every mood, and since it takes about an hour to cross the island, it’s OK if your mood changes. Morning may find you ready for boogie boarding on the lively south coast, whereas the tranquil west coast is perfect for a siesta after lunch. Set out in search of private coves on the rugged coast to the north, and watch huge waves crash on the picturesque beaches in the east. And, if you’re in the mood for some history and culture, Old Town is the place to go.

In the heart of the Caribbean, where crystal-clear waters meet white-sand beaches, and vibrant cultures beckon, Royal Sea Cruises invites you to discover the simple joys, hidden treasures, and authentic experiences that define this enchanting region. Click here to see the upcoming cruises.

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