Grenada, Spice Island of the Caribbean

The Island nation of Grenada lies at the southernmost tip of the Caribbean in what is known as the Windward Islands.  Making up the nation of Grenada are three sister islands, Grenada, Carriacou and Pitite Martinique. Situated in the eastern Caribbean, the island nation is only 100 miles north of the South America continent and the country of Venezuela. To the southeast one will find the island nations of Trinidad and Tobago. To the northeast lie the islands of St. Vincent , Grenadines and 158 miles the island of Barbados

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Wintertime in South America

Monday started out hot, leaving Orlando for New York I thought it was hot in Orlando until we touched down in JFK to 98 degrees. The northeast was going through a record breaking heat wave. Lucky for me my time in New York was going to be short since I was headed south to South America, Sao Paulo Brazil to be exact where it is now winter. Cross the equator and the season flip from the northern seasons.

The never ending city, Sao Paulo Brazil

The Never Ending City, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Heading to Sao Paulo, and saying it is winter does not mean that I will be seeing snow or anything like that, but the weather is a nice change from muggy Florida or the heat wave that the United States northeast was going through. This trip we found Sao Paulo foggy when we ended up arriving early Wednesday morning, with the temperature only getting to the mid 70’s during the day, this was a perfect temperature for walking around  Sao Paulo. Evening saw the temperature drop to the low 60’s to high 50’s which was just perfect for having dinner with friends at a outdoor restaurant. What more could you ask for, here we sat ,ate an unbelievable steak, drank and had good conversation while 3000 mile back home they were suffering in the heat.

Nice 12 Dollar Steak in Sao Paulo Brazil

Nice 12 Dollar Steak in Sao Paulo Brazil

The next benefit about wintertime in South America is the flying, the weather is usually a lot calmer, fewer thunderstorms. Yes there are still the normal thunderstorms that sit year round along the equator, yet as you get farther south it is fog that is more of a problem than the thunderstorms.

Headed  from Sao Paulo back to New York we were routed farther east than we normally go, for the most part it is almost a straight line going from Sao Paulo to New York. This night there was a weather disturbance south of Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. So we were flight planned from Sao Paulo to Belem Brazil, which is pretty much the most eastern part of Brazil then to Barbados which is almost the farthest island east in the Caribbean, from there we followed the chain of islands up over Guadeloupe and then up to Antigua before we made the turn north and headed straight for New York.

Leaving the lights of Sao Paulo behind, it is impossible to tell where this huge city starts and ends, we headed up to Brasilia. Flying over the relatively new city of Brasilia is amazing from 36 thousand feet, the city is so well laid out with straight lines and streets and boulevards making sweeping curves in tandem, Brasilia is a very neat site to see from the air.

Next we headed up to Belem, sitting on the Atlantic coast and about 60 miles upriver from the mouth of the Amazon River you could make out the lights of the city giving a tracing affect of the Amazon River as it empties in to the Atlantic. Even though this was in the middle of the night you still got a impressive effect of how large the Amazon River is.

Following the northeastern coast of South America and leaving Brazil then French Guiana behind it was onward to Barbados, with the lights of the island and the surrounding dark Caribbean Sea it looked like a small constellation sitting in the middle of the gigantic black universe.

Approaching the island of Guadeloupe from the south, the butterfly was clearly visible, the way the island is shaped from the air it looks like a butterfly. This night again it looked spectacular in a moonless night against a dark Caribbean Sea.

Leaving the lights and island of Antigua, it was a turn north into the dark waters of the Atlantic only to be broken in a couple of hours to the sunrise over the eastern Atlantic and the start of a new day.


Choosing a Discount Cruise

As I sit here on the computer with Jimmy Buffet playing in the background, it seems I finally have some time to get caught up on the Beachcomber Pete Travel website and answer e-mails from readers.

One of the e-mails I received was directed towards my recent post, “Is a Cruise Vacation in your Future?” The question asked was one that I also am asked often, where is your favorite vacation spot? In this case, the question asked was how I decide from the many discount cruises out there. And where should we go? If you are looking for a way to save money, you may want to try a cruise travel agency such as If they don’t have a cruise package that interests you, you could consider other travel agencies.

Tulum Mexico Costa Maya MexicoWell usually, my first response is how much time do you have? No sense talking about somewhere half way around the world when you only have 4 days to travel. Time is usually the limiting factor on traveling; a lot of people think it is money. I find that time is usually my restraint, money can be worked out. I mean, I know of many places that you could stay in Costa Rica for 5 dollars a night and others that will cost you 200 to 300 dollars a night. It’s really comes down to your comfort level.

Ok, so after asking the time frame question, I will often ask, are we talking in country? Out of the country? Some place exotic? Or someplace fun?

In regards to this e-mail I had received the writer said they had 5 days maybe and they lived here in Florida, Pete what would you do? We were thinking about a cruise, but we are not sure where to go. To me this is an open book with many opportunities available. It also asks more questions, Are you single? Will kids be going? Is this a romantic getaway?

When you come down to it I really think that if you have only a few days to travel, in this case the writer said 5 days, I think you are going to get the biggest bang for your time and money with a cruise.

If you are living in the United States and are talking about taking one of many cruises available out of Florida or maybe even New Orleans and are limited to 5 to 7 days, your cruise is going to be traveling through the Caribbean. Once again you have many choices.

Flying Dutchmen Disney Castaway Cay BahamasIf you have kids, one of the Disney or Carnival Cruises will provide a lot of entertainment for the whole family; they offer 3, 4, 5 and 7 day family oriented trips mainly throughout the Bahamas and eastern Caribbean. Sun, great water activities and stops at their own private islands, this is a great way to spend time with the family and see the Bahamas.

Heading out of Miami, Tampa or New Orleans, with again 3, 4, 5, 7 days available, take one of the many western Caribbean cruises leaving these ports and you could find yourself in fun filled places like Key West, Cozumel, Rotan, Grand Cayman, and Costa Maya. With bigger ports such as Miami, Tampa and New Orleans you have several more choices of cruise lines. Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian are just a few that come to mind that offer great deals and fantastic destinations.

Ocho Rios JamaicaLooking for a more romantic cruise? Think about one of the eastern Caribbean cruises with stops in the Virgin Islands, Ocho Rios in Jamaica and Grand Turks. Both an eastern and western Caribbean cruise will usually let you experience a couple different countries in a matter of days.

Back to the original question, “Where would you go Pete?” I have my favorite spots, and I know I would have a good time where ever I choose. The real question is where would you choose for your cruise? For those who need a little help there are several good internet based cruise sites that offer great deals on all the different cruises out there, one that comes to mind is, like most sites on the internet they have specialist that can help with those question we talked about, fun, sun, romantic or exotic cruises.

Enjoy your cruise, take in some sun, enjoy the ship, see some exciting ports of call, and have a margarita for me while you relax.


Curacao Netherland Antilles

Waterfront Willemstad, Curacao Netherlands Antilles

Curacao just a short 40 miles north of Venezuela is geographically part of South America yet in terms of conversation is considered as part of the Caribbean. Making up one of 5 islands in the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao is by far the largest of the group. Situated just off the South American northern coastline, Curacao is flanked by sister island Aruba 42 miles to the west and sister island Bonaire 30 miles to the east.  Curacao is not only the largest of the so called ABC islands, (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) but is also the most populous of the 5 islands of the Netherlands Antilles. With an island population of almost 150,000 people, Curacao's capital city of Willemstad is also home to the Netherlands Antilles government.
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