Don’t Believe Everything You Hear: Debunked Caribbean Myths – Jetlaggin
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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear: Debunked Caribbean Myths

There are a lot of myths out there about the Caribbean. And we’re here to debunk every one of ’em! 

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When you hear “the Caribbean” what do you think of? Most people stop after pirates and nice beaches. And while there are plenty of beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, you certainly won’t be running into Jack Sparrow while you’re there. And that’s just one myth about the Caribbean!

There are actually a lot of other myths and assumptions floating around these days about the Caribbean. Some of them are true, and some of them are most certainly false. So we thought we’d help you out and break down the more common myths that are definitely not true. It’s time to learn the truth and put the Caribbean back on your list of future vacation destinations!

IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE

I think many people assume that, because it’s an island getaway kind of place, the Caribbean must be expensive. Just getting there must cost a fortune because it requires landing at weird airports or traveling by water. And for some places in the Caribbean, this can be true. But there are plenty of options that are pretty cheap!

If you fly out of Fort Lauderdale on Spirit Airlines, you can find flights as cheap as $200. And as long as you visit in the quieter seasons, it’s very easy to find cheap enough lodging. Not to mention, in places like Cuba and Haiti, the exchange rate will make you feel like a millionaire with all those precious U.S. dollars!

YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PASSPORT TO VISIT

Nope! You definitely don’t need a passport to check out parts of the Caribbean. Specifically, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are official U.S. territories. So you can take a trip to either of those same as you would take a trip to visit Grandma in Ohio! It’s starting to sound pretty easy, isn’t it?

YOU BASICALLY CAN’T ISLAND HOP

Another common assumption is that it’s basically impossible to hop from one island to the other. At least in terms of cost, let alone anyone actually having the physical ability to do it. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are a bunch of ferries that go from one place to the other that can give you a round trip for the same cost of a cheap flight.

And if you have a few extra bucks, it’s really not that hard to charter your own boat! There are plenty of catamaran owners in the area that are more than happy to take a lower-than-you’d-think rate to take you and your family or friends around the Caribbean. And especially if you’re with a group of friends, splitting the cost will make it feel like you’re practically a pirate yourself.

THERE’S NOTHING TO DO EXCEPT SIT ON THE BEACH ALL DAY

Come on now, people… you’re smarter than this! Of course, there are still lively communities and culinary traditions in the Caribbean! So, while relaxing on a beautiful beach is probably at the top of the list of things to do while you’re there, there is still plenty of other things to enjoy in many parts of the Caribbean.

There’s the annual Carnival in Trinidad, The St. Lucia Food and Rum Festival, the Barbados Concorde Experience (where visitors can experience what it feels like to fly a French jet), and the amazing Museum of Art in San Juan, Puerto Rico. So don’t be so foolish as to assume the Caribbean is only a bunch of beaches.

THE HURRICANES IN 2017 BASICALLY DESTROYED IT ALL

While it’s true that the numerous hurricanes that hit the are in 2017 did their fair share of damage, the Caribbean is still alive and well. There are plenty of hotels that have still unfortunately been unable to reopen in places like Antigua, Barbuda, Dominica, and Puerto Rico. There are plenty of others in places like Aruba and Jamaica that were basically untouched.

And even places like St. Barts that were hit pretty hard have seen many of their local business rebuild and reopen and are quickly returning to their former glory.

What else do you need?! It’s as good a time as any to visit the beautiful Caribbean. Because it’s always been a good time to visit the Caribbean!

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3 Ways to Help Prevent Travel Rage

Travel can be stressful, exasperating, and yes, downright enraging. Just in a one week period last year, three planes have been diverted thanks to passenger scuffles—one caused by a woman who demanded her Delta flight land after a passengers reclining seat struck her head, and another the result of the Knee Defender, a plastic bracket one man used to prevent the seat in front of him from reclining. Yes, “recliner rage” is now a thing.

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Travel can be stressful, exasperating, and yes, downright enraging. Just in a one week period last year, three planes have been diverted thanks to passenger scuffles—one caused by a woman who demanded her Delta flight land after a passengers reclining seat struck her head, and another the result of the Knee Defender, a plastic bracket one man used to prevent the seat in front of him from reclining. Yes, “recliner rage” is now a thing.

The Knee Defender is an actual product that I just had to research.  Its hilariously advertised as a way to stop “aggressive recliners.”  I’ve never heard them called that before but as a frequent traveler I’ve been a victim of these bad people before.  These little pieces of plastic has caused quite a few mix-ups in the sky.  Let’s all remember that on airplanes the consequences of your stupidity are always elevated, so let’s all try and not be so dumb.  Avoid travel rage all together and just remember to Namaste.

 

A conflict with a fellow passenger doesn’t have to lead to a total travel meltdown. To keep your calm while getting out of town for work or play, try these top tips from Gail Saltz, MD, Health‘s contributing psychology editor and author of Anatomy of a Secret Life.

Control the Rage – Don’t be a control freak

Don’t let your rage boil over and let things lay where they fall.  When you’re on the road, you’re often at the mercy of external factors—the weather, that guy who stole the last parking space. “When something goes wrong, people tend to look for solutions, thinking if they do X, they will solve Y. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case during vacations, when much less is under your control,” says Saltz. Her suggestion? Acknowledge that you can’t control everything. “You can’t do anything about the airline losing your luggage or you missing your plane, but you can channel your thoughts into the enjoyable aspects of your trip,” she says. Yes, snafus suck, but accepting that you’ve done all you can do (and thinking about your planned kayak adventure) can be a therapeutic fix.

 

 

Be a mindful traveler 

Traveling sucks, we all know it, but it doesn’t have to send you into a rage, just be prepared for the madness.  Even the most meticulously planned trip can cause some apprehension, discomfort, and stress. “The more stress you feel, the more your adrenal glands produce cortisol, and once you’re down the cascade of fight-or-flight reactions, it’s hard to turn back,” says Saltz, who recently led a Health Twitter chat on stress. If you feel flushed, angry, and irritated—some of the common signs of anxiety—stop what you’re doing, take a moment to acknowledge the stressful trigger, and focus on something calm in the present, like your child’s green eyes or a passing cloud. Being mindful of the here-and-now will help slow your spiraling anxiety about “what ifs?”.

 

 

Let it go

When things don’t go our way, we often cope with the stress by playing the blame game. “People tend to direct their anger at the pilot, the driver, the guy reclining in his seat and smashing your knees, but pointing to one person won’t fix your problems,” notes Saltz. Instead, she says, acknowledge that the system isn’t working and accept that things go wrong. Your luggage got lost? Pick up a t-shirt and focus on the vacation you’re having, rather than the dress you could have been wearing. In other words, don’t let one incident ruin the great memories you’ll have for years to come.

 

 

Photos Courtesy of Getty Images and NBC Chicago 

 

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Why It’s Never the Perfect Time to Travel

With the year just beginning, many will be thinking of vacations and trips around the world. They’ll be pondering exotic locations and amazing adventures. And then abandoning those dreams as rapidly as they were thought up. Something will come up and plans will be put…

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No more excuses, stop telling yourself that you will wait until next year, or when the money’s right.  Traveling is just like having a kid, you are never ready, so just do it already.  The time is never right and that’s what this blog is about, just pulling the trigger.   Book your travel at the end of this blog or it will self destruct in 5…4…3.. just kidding, or am I? 

With the year just beginning, many will be thinking of vacations and trips around the world. They’ll be pondering exotic locations and amazing adventures.  I don’t know about you but I love anything exotic… cars, animals, adventures or even foreplay.  Make your vacation kinky, who cares, just do it. 

And then abandoning those dreams as rapidly as they were thought up.  Stop giving up on your dreams people!  We are inly on this planet for one ride and some people’s rides are shorter than others, so you better get the most out of it.  I live my life like Vin Diesel’s character in Fast and the Furious… “one quarter mile at a time.”  Just kidding, I wish i lived like that, but alas I don’t but I do take any opportunity I can to make my life better.  Travel is just an excuse to live your life and actually enjoy it for a brief moment.

Something will come up and plans will be put off until tomorrow as you wait for “the right time.” But, here is a secret: it will never be the right time to travel. You will always have some reason to stay at home. You always be able to find an excuse as to why today just isn’t the right day. But the idea that the stars will align and you’ll find the perfect day to step out of your door and into the world is a fantasy.

Today might not be the perfect day — but neither is tomorrow.

Tomorrow, there will still be bills to pay.

Tomorrow, there still won’t be enough money.

Tomorrow, there will still be someone’s wedding to attend or a birthday party to go to.

Tomorrow, there will still be planning to do.

Tomorrow, you still won’t know if you are making the right decision.

Tomorrow, you will still second-guess yourself.

Tomorrow, you’ll still find yourself putting off the preparation for one more day.

Tomorrow, you’ll find another excuse why you can’t go.

Tomorrow, people you know will still sow the seeds of doubt in your head.

Tomorrow, you’ll still worry about all the bad stuff that might happen to you.

Tomorrow, something else will come up.

Tomorrow will never be perfect.

When tomorrow does come, you’ll say to yourself, “Today isn’t the right day. Let’s try again tomorrow.”

But tomorrow will never come. Tomorrow will always be some vague day in the future.

And then one day you’ll find you’ve run out of tomorrows.

And you’ll be filled with nothing but sadness and regret.

So stop waiting.

Stop making excuses. Today is your day.

It’s never the right time to travel.

Forget about tomorrow.

Just go.

It’s a new year.

And it’s full of possibility.

 

Take my advise or not, at least I know that I did take every opportunity and just went with it.  Life your life like a Vin Diesel character and “I am Groot!” Wait, I think I got the quote wrong.

 

Check out the full article on NomadicMatt.com

Photo Courtesy of 10best.com

 

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Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast

  Many people think that the Pacific side of Costa Rica is the better coast to visit. The remote Osa peninsula, the monkey-filled area of Manuel Antonio, and the touristy Nicoya coast all beat the Caribbean, which has more rain, less wildlife, fewer “modern” conveniences,…

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Many people think that the Pacific side of Costa Rica is the better coast to visit. The remote Osa peninsula, the monkey-filled area of Manuel Antonio, and the touristy Nicoya coast all beat the Caribbean, which has more rain, less wildlife, fewer “modern” conveniences, and uglier beaches. No matter where you go, the Caribbean side just won’t be as nice. Having now been to both coasts, I’m not sure what these people are talking about. Traveling down the Caribbean side, I did find it to be rainier, but it was no less beautiful and had many wonderful places to explore.

 

 

Tortuguero, the Costa Rican version of the Amazon rainforest, dominates the northern coast. This massive area is a series of rivers and canals that crisscross the jungle. It rains all the time, and although the beaches are beautiful, a full day of sunny beach weather is rare. To top it off, the currents are strong, and toothy barracudas and sharks roam the waters. Despite all that, there are many reasons to come here. The biggest draw is the large numbers of turtles that come to nest along the shoreline. The best time to see them nesting is in April and May. But even during the off-season, Tortuguero offers a few places to go hiking, lots of canal cruises, and an abundance of wildlife, this area is known for its birds. Tortuguero is not easy to get to nor is it cheap. It takes five hours to get there from San José and supplies are brought in by boat. It’s not a budget destination. But if it’s something remote and off the typical backpacker trail you’re looking for in Central America, Tortuguero is the place to go.

 

 

You’ll find great surf sites, deep sea diving, lots of people, and parties galore down the coast toward Panama. This part of the coast is a lot easier to get to and much cheaper than Tortuguero. Most travelers head for Puerto Viejo, the region’s main hub. This is backpacker central, and it’s easy to get sucked into the surfer/party life here. Puerto Viejo is a rocking seaside town with a strong Caribbean feel. The town is small, it’s easy to get around, there are beaches everywhere, and there are a ton of good restaurants, ranging from local “sodas” where you can buy cheap food, to amazing Western places with delicious baked bread or good sushi. You’ll be rocking to reggae as you wander along streets, as there are more Caribbeans than Spaniards in Puerto Viejo.

Near Puerto Viejo are two other towns worth seeing: Cahuita and Manzanillo. Cahuita, a tiny town situated right next to a stunning national park with the same name, is about an hour north of Puerto Viejo. Like Tortuguero, this is a place to relax. There’s one bar that gets lively on some nights, but for the most part, after a day of hiking, swimming, or surfing, most people just sit and read.

Manzanillo is only 12 kilometers from Puerto Viejo, which makes for an easy day trip. In fact, you can walk here from Puerto Viejo in about two hours, just follow the beach. The town is even smaller than Cahuita, and no one ever really visits. The reef system there is close to the shore, and this is the area’s main diving spot. Most of the people who come here are older couples, families, or retirees. Come here to dive and relax after all the partying and noise of Puerto Viejo.

 

 

After visiting Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, I can say that it’s just as beautiful, interesting, and majestic as the Pacific coastline. And since it rains more on the Caribbean coast, you’ll find far fewer people on this side. The huge resorts, overpriced meals and tours, and thousands of expats that flood all parts of the Pacific, especially the Nicoya Peninsula, are hardly anywhere to be found. So let them do what they want while you enjoy fairly empty beaches, cheap seafood, and lots of wildlife.

 

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