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Patrick Bennett

AFAR Ambassador

AFAR Ambassadors are in-the-know bloggers who have a passion for experiential travel.

New York, New York, United States

www.uncommoncaribbean.com

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Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Black Point
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Staniel Cay Yacht Club, Black Point, The Bahamas
Celebrate Freedom on the Impossibly Blue Waters
When you think of reasons to party in the former British West Indies, few are better than Emancipation Day. And few ways of marking the occasion are better than getting out onto the iridescent waters of the Exumas and watching a classic boat race like the Black Point Regatta. Running from Staniel Cay to nearby Black Point, this race has been gathering local sailors and their traditional sloops together for the past 42 years every Emancipation Weekend. (Why just have a day when you can have a whole weekend, right?)
Celebrate Freedom on the Impossibly Blue Waters

Compass Point Beach Resort

New Providence
EatDrinkStay
Compass Point Beach Resort, New Providence, The Bahamas
Escape The Crush of Nassau... On Nassau
The island of Nassau in The Bahamas may be best known for it's monstrous resorts like Atlantis, but you actually can escape the worst of it without hopping a plane to the Out Islands. Just head west to Compass Point Beach Resort. Once owned by Chris Blackwell of Bob Marley/Island Records fame. The property was paired with Blackwell’s Compass Point Recording Studio, located directly across the street, to create an exclusive retreat for music industry jet-setters, and the like. Now, an ownership change later, Compass Point still shines as the top choice for uncommon accommodations in Nassau.
Escape The Crush of Nassau... On Nassau

Tobago Cays

Grenadines
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Tobago Cays, Grenadines, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Immerse Yourself in a Park Like No Other
Few places on the entire planet can rival this Caribbean destination for shear awe-inspiring, natural beauty. It’s almost as though a divine architect took a poll of our deepest tropical desires only to render them in a masterpiece of turquoise, ultra-marine, pink and emerald. See those guys in the boat? They're the park rangers! Possibly one of the best jobs in the world. Visit this national park via short boat rides from the Petit St. Vincent Resort, Union Island, Canouan, or most other nearby islands in the Grenadines.
Immerse Yourself in a Park Like No Other

Levera Bathway Visitor Center

Saint Patrick
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Levera Bathway Visitor Center, Saint Patrick, Grenada
Go Leatherback Turtle Watching In Grenada
At almost three feet high, over six feet long, and weighing in the region of 2,000 pounds, full-sized female leatherback turtles are a sight to behold any time of day, but more so in the middle of the night... Lumbering across the beach! Here at Levera Beach in the Northern parish of St. Patrick's, Grenada you can witness the behemoths of the sea at one of their few nesting places in the Caribbean.
Go Leatherback Turtle Watching In Grenada

Columbus Landing

Christiansted
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Columbus Landing, Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands
Make a History Lesson a Day at the Beach
One of the great things about the Caribbean is that its rich history was often written at beautiful, easily accessible locations. One of the best places to learn a bit of that history is pictured above. That’s the beach at Columbus Landing in my home island of St. Croix. It was here, in 1493, that Columbus sent ashore a small contingent of his men to scout for fresh water. What they found instead were a group of Indians who weren’t too keen on visitors. What's the whole story of Columbus and his less than stellar (to say the least) track record throughout the region? That may take a bit more book learning, but feeling what these new visitors may have felt coming ashore in this corner of paradise starts on these sands.
Make a History Lesson a Day at the Beach

La Cantina

Bon Accord Village
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La Cantina, Bon Accord Village, Trinidad and Tobago
Quench Pizza Cravings in the Caribbean
What is it with kids and pizza? It's like some kind of magic food! And wouldn't you know it, Tobago not only has excellent West Indian fare (roti, doubles, crab and dumplings, etc), it also has some great brick oven pizza at this humble pizza shop. Isn't it worth taking a short break for staying true to the traditional fare for a smile like that?
Quench Pizza Cravings in the Caribbean

El salto del Limón

Samana
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El salto del Limón, Samana, Dominican Republic
Bathe in the Beautiful Salto Del Limón Falls
At around 120 feet high, easily 50 feet wide, and fed by the Arroyo Chico river barreling down from jungle peaks, El Salto del Limón Waterfall is an awe-inspiring addition to any Samana peninsula trip. With family in tow, be sure to secure some horses and guides. From there, it's a short ride into the jungle, and before you knew it, you'll be basking in the magnificent spray of the falls!
Bathe in the Beautiful Salto Del Limón Falls

Mopa Mopa

Oranjestad
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Mopa Mopa, Oranjestad, Aruba
Mopa Mopa Art
Hand crafted Mopa Mopa masks and figurines can be found at markets and art shops around Aruba. Artisans create the colorful, metallic overlays on each piece by boiling leaf buds in an old Amerindian tradition and stretching them into place with their hands and teeth. Image courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Mopa Mopa Art

Lecca Lecca Gelateria

Oranjestad
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Lecca Lecca Gelateria, Oranjestad, Aruba
Cool Off with Lecca Lecca Fresh Artisan Gelato
This is one of the best places to cool off in Aruba, especially if you’re shopping near its downtown Oranjestad location. You’ll find more than 60 flavors here, each produced with natural, organic ingredients; artificial flavors, colors, additives, or preservatives. Photo by Will Clayton/Flickr.
Cool Off with Lecca Lecca Fresh Artisan Gelato

Gasparito’s Restaurant & Art Gallery

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Gasparito’s Restaurant & Art Gallery, Aruba
Gasparito’s Restaurant & Art Gallery
Authentic Aruban cuisine and art are both on the menu at this unique eatery. Keshi Yena, Kerry Kerry, and Goat Stoba are just a few of the goodies served amid a warm, family-style setting and whimsical art created by Gasparito’s own in-house artisan, Utahna Barros. Image courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Gasparito’s Restaurant & Art Gallery

Aruban Donkey Sanctuary

Santa Cruz
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Aruban Donkey Sanctuary, Santa Cruz, Aruba
Adopt an Aruban Donkey
Once an integral form of transportation in Aruba, donkeys were reduced to road hazard status as cars replaced them. Donkey Sanctuary Aruba was founded in 1997 to protect the animals. It’s 100% non-profit, so your adoption goes a long way to their feed and general care. Image courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Adopt an Aruban Donkey

Casibari

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Casibari, Aruba
Explore the Giant Rocks at Casibari
Just north of Hooiberg you’ll find a series of boulders so seemingly out of place you’ll swear they must’ve fallen from the sky. Amerindians were so taken by them they considered the area sacred, leaving ancient carvings in the rocks that you can still see today. Image courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Explore the Giant Rocks at Casibari

Aruba Aloe

Noord
DoShop
Aruba Aloe, Noord, Aruba
Soothe Your Everything at Aruba Aloe
Since 1890, Aruba Aloe has produced the world’s finest aloe products. Their legendarily gentle and soothing lotions and moisturizers are 100% Aruban, cultivated and produced on a 150-acre factory and plantation complete with a museum well worth visiting. Image courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Soothe Your Everything at Aruba Aloe

Antilla Shipwreck

Noord
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Antilla Shipwreck, Noord, Aruba
Snorkel the Wreck of the Antilla
Whereas most undersea wrecks are only accessible to scuba pros, novice snorkelers can easily enjoy the Antilla. The third largest wreck in the Caribbean, the 400-foot freighter sits at a maximum depth of 60 feet, while some of her starboard side peaks above the water.
Snorkel the Wreck of the Antilla

Hooiberg Hill

Oranjestad
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Hooiberg Hill, Oranjestad, Aruba
Hike Hooiberg Hill
An easy adventure for the whole family, Hooiberg (with an elevation of 541 feet) is the third largest peak on mostly flat Aruba. You don’t so much hike it as you climb the 562 concrete steps that lead to her summit. Panoramic views all the way to Venezuela make it worth it. Image courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Hike Hooiberg Hill

Serito Pinnacle

Seroe Colorado
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Serito Pinnacle, Seroe Colorado, Aruba
Dive “Secret” Serito Pinnacle
Located southeast of Cabez Reef, Serito is a well-kept secret in the local Aruban diving community. It’s accessible only by private charter, and only after haranguing with those in the know who like to keep it to themselves to ensure its beauty remains unspoiled. Image courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Dive “Secret” Serito Pinnacle

Old Man and the Sea

Savaneta
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Old Man and the Sea, Savaneta, Aruba
Romance and 1,000 Wines at The Old Man & the Sea
This elegant seaside restaurant serves a variety of fine seafood and meat dishes in a tropical, romantic setting with seating both inside and in the sand right up to the water’s edge. Wine lovers will especially like the 1,000+ international vintages available here. Image courtesy of Aruba Tourism Authority
Romance and 1,000 Wines at The Old Man & the Sea

Zeerover Pescaderia

Savaneta
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Zeerover Pescaderia, Savaneta, Aruba
Enjoy Aruba’s Freshest Seafood at Zeerover
You can eat nice seafood most anywhere in Aruba, but only Zeerover serves the freshest. The hub of all fishing activity on the island, this humble spot in Savantea doubles as a restaurant and seafood market where the majority of seafood served on the island is brought ashore.
Enjoy Aruba’s Freshest Seafood at Zeerover

Charlie's Bar

San Nicolas
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Charlie's Bar, San Nicolas, Aruba
Sidle Up to Charlie’s Bar in San Nicholas
One of the world’s most legendary bars, Charlie’s opened in 1941 appealing to rowdy sailors who spread its fame in ports across the globe. The good times here are much tamer these days as friendly locals and visitors in search of the real Aruba have replaced the louts.
Sidle Up to Charlie’s Bar in San Nicholas

Bushiribana Ruins

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Bushiribana Ruins, Aruba
Mine for Aruban Gold
Gold was discovered in Aruba in 1824, 20+ years before California! Explore gold mill ruins like the ones at Bushiribana and perhaps you’ll join the list of visitors who’ve taken home a share of the 3 million pounds of the precious ore extracted in Aruba over the years.
Mine for Aruban Gold

U-Wanna-Beer

Oranjestad
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U-Wanna-Beer, Oranjestad, Aruba
Balashi, King of Aruban Beer
Drinking local in Aruba means enjoying Balashi. Aruba’s first and only homegrown brew, Balashi is named for the Arawak Indian terms Bala Bala or Balana, both of which mean “by the sea.” Fitting as nothing quenches a thirst better on a hot day along Aruba’s sunny shores.
Balashi, King of Aruban Beer

Moomba Beach

Noord
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Moomba Beach, Noord, Aruba
Moomba Beach Bar’s Caribbean Pirate
Uncommon bars like Charlie’s and the Palm Beach nightclubs make it easy to overdo it in Aruba. The cure: Moomba’s Caribbean Pirate. This hangover-killing mix of spiced rum, brown cane sugar, Red Bull, lime and pineapple juice helps you rejuvenate like a pro.
Moomba Beach Bar’s Caribbean Pirate

Ron Del Barrilito

Bayamón
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Ron Del Barrilito, Bayamón, Puerto Rico
Forget Progress at the "Hacienda Santa Ana"
Much of what made Barrilito special back when it got its start in 1804 still applies today. The rum is still produced at the Santa Ana Plantation in Bayamon, in the same buildings, using the same tried-and-tested techniques right down to the oversized sherry barrels from Spain. They still don’t produce very much—only about 14,000 cases per year (versus 25 million for Bacardi)—and they still blend their rums before they age them, another factor that makes 'em truly unique.
Forget Progress at the "Hacienda Santa Ana"

Martinique

Le Lamentin
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Martinique, Le Lamentin, Martinique
Why Pick Just One Distillery, When You Can Have Ten!
Martinique’s Route Des Rhums is something of the ultimate single island rum tour. The big reason for this being there are 10 different distilleries spread across Martinique’s 425 square miles! TEN! All of them produce what's called rhum agricole, but all you need to know is Martinique rums are the only rums in the world that have been granted the prestigious Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designation. Awarded by the French government agency Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) in recognition of the finest agricultural products (wines, cheeses, butters, etc), the AOC designation is an incomparable stamp of excellence in the culinary and spirits world.
Why Pick Just One Distillery, When You Can Have Ten!

Foursquare Rum Factory and Heritage Park

Four Roads
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Foursquare Rum Factory and Heritage Park, Four Roads, Barbados
Let Libations Lead to Learning, Love and more Liquor
It's not done idly when they eschew the term "distillery" in favor of "rum factory and heritage park" in the case of Foursquare. As a "rum factory" they produce tremendous amounts of some of the most loved rums from Barbados. Naturally, you can find the exquisite Foursquare Rum here, but they also produce an exceptional line under the Doorly's label, plus another hard-drinking favorite named Old Brigand, among others. And when it comes to the "heritage park" part, the grounds boast a kind of museum in the form of a field littered with antique rum manufacturing equipment, plus a rum educational pavilion, and most uniquely, an amphitheater for local musical and theatrical performances. When you stop in, ask for a corn 'n oil!
Let Libations Lead to Learning, Love and more Liquor

Ron Barcelo Distillery

Juan Dolio
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Ron Barcelo Distillery, Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic
Discover the Dominican Republic's Finest: Ron Barceló Imperial
Founded in 1930 by Julian Barceló in Santo Domingo, Ron Barceló has grown to become one of the top three rums in the Dominican Republic. One of the “three B’s” as their called: Barcelo, Brugal, and Bermudez. The tour here doesn't get much into the hands-on production of the rum, and instead takes visitors through a kind of rum museum. It's worth it, though, when the tasting at the end includes local, organic chocolate to pair with some of the Dominican Republic's best rums!
Discover the Dominican Republic's Finest: Ron Barceló Imperial

Cruzan Rum Distillery

Frederiksted
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Cruzan Rum Distillery, Frederiksted, U.S. Virgin Islands
Drink Like a Crucian at the Cruzan Rum Distillery
While a favorable tax situation for rum manufacturers may have lured Captain Morgan to St. Croix's shores, Cruzan is still king and no first-time visit would be complete without a visit to the distillery. (Just please don't pronounce it with a "z" sound! The correct pronunciation is "krew-shun".) They do a great job taking visitors on an informative journey that turns sugarcane into one of the best spirits around... Then they prove it with a tasting! (Tip: Personally, I like to steer clear of all the flavored rums and stick to the Cruzan Single Barrel. Yum!)
Drink Like a Crucian at the Cruzan Rum Distillery
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