There are many all inclusive Caribbean resorts which combine infinite enjoyment at a very finite price (no tipping; no hidden costs; everything is included). One of the most popular is Curacao, with its pristine white sand beaches and calm, crystal-clear water which joins scuba divers from all over the world to its Undersea National Park and famous Sea Aquarium. An unusual feature of diving in Curacao is that the floor of the sea drops off very steeply just a few hundred feet from the shore (a drop off known locally as the blue edge), so the reef is easy to reach without a boat. Another great feature of Curacao is its mild climate: temperatures average 80 ° F in the winter and 84 ° F in summer, and since Curacao lies outside of the Caribbean hurricane belt it greatly escapes hurricane visitation.
While Curacao is located just off the Venezuelan coast, its quaint Dutch charm and colonial flavor make it a hit with sophisticated travelers who want to avoid crowds and enjoy a large undiscovered Caribbean paradise. Curacao is the largest and most populated of the three so-called ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao) associated to the Lesser Antilles. The Dutch occupied the island in 1634 and founded the capital Willemstad, which became an important harbor for shipping, commerce, piracy, and the slave trade. All of these enterprises made Willemstad a prosperous hub, and soon impressive Dutch-style colonial buildings rose in Curacao's capital. With some of the world's best diving; luxurious spas; gourmet international dining; and world-class casino gaming; all inclusive Curacao resorts are a fantastic option for the dream vacation.
Another off-the-beat track option for the vacationer looking for something different is the Dominican Republic, where many luxurious resorts have sprung up on the north coast of Puerto Plata. With its miles of magnificent beaches, its majestic mountains with lush verdant valleys, and its historic Spanish colonial culture, the Dominican Republic offers a unique vacation experience. The waters of the Caribbean are crystal clear and calm, and the sand is soft and inviting. The mountains offer nature hiking and horseback riding to the adventuresome. Along the beach and natural beauty, there are some worthwhile historic sites to explore in Puerto Plata itself, such as the Fortaleza San Felipe, a sixteenth century fort which became a prison under the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo.
Other interesting destinies include the fabulous amber museum, and La Isabela, a settlement founded by Christopher Columbus, who laid out the city of Puerto Plata. Puerto Plata has had a rather unsavory history: it is the spot where the notorious African slave trade began in 1563, when an English privateer bought 400 people he had kidnapped in Sierra Leone and traded them with Spanish settlers in exchange for sugar, hides, and pearls. Later Puerto Plata became a notorious lair of Caribbean pirates and privateers, a center for smuggling and contraband. Besides its natural beauty and interesting history, the Dominican people are warm, smiling, and hospitable, so even the …