Barbados is such a beautiful island with its picturesque beaches and its amazing caves and the cool turtles that you can swim with. The island is a great place to celebrate the holidays as well.
The people of Barbados love to decorate with many lights. Both residents and businesses decorate the streets with lights. In fact, in Bridgetown, the capital city of Barbados, is lit up in red and green and the roundabouts in the city have different Christmas themes. This “Christmas drive” to see the lights is a tradition for many people and something to see if you are there for the holiday season.
And what are the holidays without food? While in Barbados for the holidays, you have to try their baked ham, They stud a curred with cloves and while the ham is baking they baste with it a pineapple and sorrel glaze. Most like the crackling, or the crispy ham fat.
You will need to try Jug Jug, which is influenced by the Scottish heritage of the Barbados people. It’s made out of green peas, guinea corn flour, herbs, and salt meat.
And to round out the Barbados Christmas table is Great Cake. Great Cake is made with a combination of dried fruits, spices and a fair amount of rum, port wine, and falernum. It can either have icing or plain.
And even though the beaches are the closest things that Barbados gets to a “White Christmas” the local radio stations play a lot of what we consider traditional Christmas music about winter wonderlands, fires and sleigh rides. A particular favorite is Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton. However, they also have a bunch of local favorites with a local flare as well such as Maize.
There are Christmas Eve Midnight Masses as well as Chrimas morning masses to attend. On Christmas Day traditionally, families usually spend the day celebrating the holiday with immediate family, however leading up to Christmas there are many house parties to celebrate with family and friends.
Then in Queen’s Park, located in Bridgetown, the capital, on Christmas Day, many Barbadians gather in their finest outfits for a fashion show and to celebrate with friends and loved ones.
Old Year’s Night, or New Year’s Eve, is a fun and great celebration in Barbados. There are many party options to celebrate in the New Year. You can go down to 1st and 2nd Street in Holetown, St. James. They have a ton of restaurants and nightclubs for you to ring in the New Year. There are many clubs that offer a holiday party as well.
Fireworks will bring in the New Year on the beach. Some people go out early, around 8pm to get their spot and watch the fireworks at midnight. Or at some of the resorts, they enjoy them from their parties at the resorts. You can see them from both the south and west coasts on the beaches. Can you imagine a more romantic way to bring in the New Year than a romantic candlelit picnic while waiting for fireworks in paradise?
You can still plan your Christmas or New Year in Barbados. Just give me a call or send me a message and I’ll be more than happy to help you plan the romance and the fun of a Barbados Holiday.
The beautiful waters and beaches of the Turks & Caicos with the tasteful backdrop of the holidays is a beautiful backdrop for a wonderful holiday getaway.
The main season for Turks & Caicos starts off in mid-December and is definitely not a tacky decorating island. Each resort decorates a large Christmas Tree in its roundabout to keep up an understated elegance.
Some of the largest festivals in Turks & Caicos is the Maskanoo Parade. It is held on December 26th, Boxing Day, in Grace Bay. It’s a large street festival and parade. At the street festival that starts in the afternoon and goes into the evening, you will find food and drink, little light-up toys for the kids, cultural stands and music. The parade will have bright colorful costumes and bright masks. This festival celebrates the rituals brought to the islands by the African slaves back in the 1700 and 1800's. This is a safe and fun event for the whole family.
You would definitely want to take in a post-Christmas Beach Party! It’s held on December 28th at Grace Bay. Eat some local food, enjoy some kayak racing, music, and stay for a beautiful sunset.
Since most of the island is Catholic, they celebrate Old Year’s Night. They go to church on New Year’s Eve and then church bells ring to bring good luck for the new year. Then they have fireworks at midnight to ring in the New Year. Most people go to the beach to see the fireworks, it’s safe, and quite the event to see. You will be able to see the night sky light up from end to end of the island.
Turks & Caicos is a wonderful place to go for the holiday season to sit back, relax and enjoy. It’s a laid back island that many of the celebrities like to visit. A place you can get a hotel room, an all-inclusive, or even private villas, where you can hire your own private chef so you don’t have to cook that holiday meal.
It’s not too late to plan your holiday getaway. Contact Tina at Shores and More Travel today to help you find your holiday vacation plans.
Christmas in the Bahamas is a beautiful time of the year. Although you don’t have snow you do have those nice white sand beaches. And Christmas time is Carnival time in the Bahamas. Carnival time is often streaked with very secular colors and sounds. The spirit of Christmas can be found all around the islands of the Bahamas.
First of all, the weather in the Bahamas in the month of December averages around 72 degrees Fahrenheit, with a high temperature of 79 and a low of 64. Usually, there are only 9 days of rain so it’s a wonderful warm relief for those of us in the north. There are many parties held on the beach during the day, especially on New Year’s Eve.
But wait, if you want to get that perfect gift, you will want to make sure to stop at the Nassau Straw Market. During the entire year, they have amazing gifts, but especially at holiday time, you can find many gifts.
When it comes to dinner time at the holidays the Bahamas has some amazing choices for dinner. Garlic pork, various conch dishes, pickled onions, and ham, black cake, imported grapes, and apples make up most of the feasts! To wash it down you can have ginger beer, mauby, sorrel, sweet potato fly (a fermented drink) falernum, rum, shandy, and of course, wine.
The celebrations are wonderful for the whole family. It’s carnival time in the Bahamas. The Ministry of Tourism starts off the season with the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree. And throughout the month there are different holiday concerts and celebrations.
For about a week before Christmas Day, you will see carrollers go to public places in the evening to sing their favorite Christmas carols, like “Salute the Happy Morn”, Christians Awake”, and more. And don’t worry, Santa will be coming on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to all of the good girls and boys in the Bahamas as well.
On the 26th of December, they have a huge celebration called, Junkanoo. You will hear the sounds of bands playing soca, reggae, roots and other genres of Caribbean music in the streets while thousands of locals and tourists alike dress in colorful costumes come out to dance. In Nassau, they have a huge parade to celebrate the festival. They will be dancing their way down Bay Street and Shirley Street ending in Rawson Square. You will want to walk around and see the costumes. You may even want to stop in the Junkanoo World costume store to catch a close up look at a costume. And since the parade doesn’t start until the wee hours, stop at the start of the parade ahead of time. The dance troop leaders would love to show you their moves. You can also see the Junkanoo parade in the Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Mini, and Abac.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season with a fabulous new tradition for your family that includes centuries-old traditions from others.
It’s not too late to book your holiday travel. Contact Tina today to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss creating your holiday memories with ease.
Shores and More Travel, LLC Receives 2019 Best of Racine Award
Racine Award Program Honors the Achievement
RACINE September 22, 2019 -- Shores and More Travel, LLC has been selected for the 2019 Best of Racine Award in the Travel Agency category by the Racine Award Program.
Each year, the Racine Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Racine area a great place to live, work and play.
Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2019 Racine Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Racine Award Program and data provided by third parties.
About Racine Award Program
The Racine Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Racine area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.
The Racine Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.
SOURCE: Racine Award Program
St. Lucia is not only a beautiful island and a diverse island with its mountains and it’s beautiful ocean beaches - but it’s people bring some amazing and beautiful traditions that bring the holidays to life.
As the Christmas season nears, the poinsettias bloom all over the island and bring out the beautiful blooms.
Like many in the Caribbean Islands, the St. Lucian’s start getting their homes ready for the holidays early in the month. They do special cleaning, put out beautiful special curtains, and special dishes. Some even put out holiday lights and some Christmas decorations.
One fun, yet interesting thing you can’t miss is the Bamboo Busting. The youth enjoy doing this and it is something that has stuck around for many years. A mature Bamboo Plant is cut down about four nodes. They then knock in the nodes to create openings except for one node. That node is left in place to hold kerosene which is used as fuel for the blast. A small hole is then placed int he bamboo plant along with a small flame and at the end of the stick, it is used to ignite the kerosene causing a small blast that echos throughout the night. Bamboo bursting usually starts to happen in the middle of November to signify the coming of Christmas and Jounen Kweyol or the celebration of Creole Heritage.
If you are deciding to visit around the holiday time, make sure to visit on the 13th of December or National Day. It’s definitely one celebration not to miss. It’s St. Lucia’s Festival of Lights and Renewal and as many would say it’s the official opening of the Christmas Season. They have fireworks, lights, rum, great cuisine and of course music. This is the day that celebrates the Patron Saint of Light, Saint Lucia, who the island was named after. This is also a day that both the locals and visitors are encouraged to create a creative lantern that can be showcased and entered into their lantern competition which usually coincides with the Christmas tree lighting.
Of course, Santa still visits St. Lucia, although he does have to have a “Santa Key” as the chimneys are very rare in St. Lucia. However, the children do get excited to see the man in the big red suit, even though he’s not as big of a part of the St. Lucian’s celebrations as he is in other parts of the world.
For food and drink at this time of year, you must have a St. Lucian staples. The first one of the favorite holiday drinks isn’t egg nog, but Sorrel. It is made from the blooms of the Sorrel plant and spiced up with some cloves, nutmeg, and sugar. It can be drank with or without alcohol. On the dinner table you will find some lamb, beef or pork and some black pudding - a St. Lucian delicacy.
The night of Christmas Eve, the St. Lucians Jouvert, or celebrate the festive nature of Christmas more than the religious roots. This usually begins at midnight after Catholic worshipers mass until 6 am on Christmas morning. These are street parties that are hosted in the smaller rural communities, and people from all over the island come to celebrate.
What I love about St. Lucia’s celebrations is that they take not only the religious but the spirit of the holidays and mix them together. What a way to share the true meaning of the spirit of Christmas.
Bon Pasco y Bon Aña – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! That’s the spirit of the One Happy Island of Aruba at Christmas Time. The season starts just after Halloween and goes well into the New Year, this season is called Carnival. But what is there to expect?
Aruba is a blend of the Dutch, Venezuelan and Caribbean traditions. It’s a time of the year that is spent with family and friends and brings a new to everyone. The food is amazing and one tradition that resembles the states is the culinary delight of fruit cake. However, theirs is a bit different in taste it starts with a black cake called bolo pretu and is infused with brandy and fruit liquors and loaded with dried fruit and spices. You may enjoy the pistachio cake instead or how about the pan de jamon, or bread laced with ham? The Christmas Ham is at most tables with a beautiful glaze, but you will find a turkey at some homes. And make sure that you wash it down with ponche crema, a Latin American drink that is a bit sweeter than Egg Nog.
If there is one thing that you must try when in Aruba at holiday time it’s ayaca. It’s the prize dish at any table. The ayaca’s culinary heritage starts in Venezuela - you will have a boiled banana or plantain leaf that is filled with chicken, pork, or ham and a combination of spices, olives, raisins, cashews, prunes, onions and of course the secret family ingredient, that is spread over a cornmeal mixture. When it is time to eat, the reboil the entire stuffed leaf.
The lights of the island will be shining brightly, the streets are lined with lights! Plus the children have many ways of receiving gifts throughout the season. Santa comes to celebrate with the children more than once - you see with the many cultures, he’s celebrated in all of them. In Dutch, he’s called, Sinterklass, and he comes on December 5th to bring the kids sweets and toys. Then on December 25th Santa Claus comes to bring the children gifts under the Christmas Tree. Finally, on January 6th the Three Kings come and deliver gifts at the Nativity Scene. Plus for our Jewish friends, they celebrate the Festival of Light, Hanukkah, with 8 days of gift-giving.
And just like here in the US, you will start hearing holiday music being played on radio stations at the end of October. However, you may not hear White Christmas, instead, you will hear more traditional music of Gaita and Paranda Arubiano. And after the holiday, on December 31st, you will hear traditional caroling called Dande. Usually, it’s groups of 5 -6 people singing together. There is even a Dande Festival.
As the New Year comes around the shift goes from lights to fireworks. And in Oranjestad, you will hear tons of Chinese Firecrackers going off on New Year's Eve to ward off evil spirits. The beaches will have beautiful fireworks displays.
On New Year’s Day, at exactly 12:00 PM hoards of people rush into the ocean wearing orange hats for the New Year’s Plunge at Moomba Beach. It’s a tradition that was started by the Dutch. Now that’s a tradition that I could get into!
Aruba is a fun island that has so much to share with all of its many traditions and different backgrounds that there is truly something for everyone at the holiday time. What a way to spend your holiday season!
I recently found out something very special about the Dominican Republic, that made me think about one of my favorite holiday specials, “The Grinch”, “there is a feeling of the Christmas Spirit everywhere in the Dominican Republic – even at work. We go out more with our friends and spend more time with our families”. I think of The Who’s in Whosville singing around the tree together.
The bond of community is very strong in the Dominican Republic, and on Christmas, they have Aguinaldos, or informal singing parties on their way to their Christmas party. These parties are not just open to family members but to anybody. And most likely you will even get a cup of ‘jengibre’ or a homemade ginger beverage. Once everyone has come to the house they will sing carols and dance well into midnight.
Since many of the North American traditions are also celebrated in the Dominican Republic, it is very festive and adorned with big Christmas Trees filled with lights and with the beautiful weather tons of poinsettias everywhere. At night if you go to the Puerto Plata square or ‘La Plaza Indpendcia` you will find a large Christmas Tree filled with lights and decorations. The Victorian buildings and shops are filled with decorations and lights, you will even find Santa here. The only thing you won’t find is the snow.
Another fun tradition is the Fuegos artificiales. It’s one of the largest Christmas Celebrations, and it’s the Christmas Fireworks - the Dominican Republic welcomes the Spirit of Christmas with Fireworks. There are stands all over the country who specialize in the Christmas Fireworks.
Another wonderful tradition is The Un Angelito or the little angel. The tradition is that each family member’s name goes into a sack. Then the family member picks a name out of the sack and gives the individual a small gift they selected each week of the Christmas holidays. Then on the last day, each of the gift giver's names is revealed!
And yet another great way to see Christmas in the Dominican Republic is “charamico” since they don’t get snow in the tropics the artisans started creating wooden handcrafted Christmas Trees in white to represent snow-covered trees - or at least that’s the legend. Today they have all kinds of wooden trees, stars, and reindeer.
Their Christmas Dinners consist of wonderful traditional food. Including roasted pork, roasted chicken, rice and peas, Russian Salad, Fresh Green Salad, Biscuits and Cakes (Pastries filled with figs similar to Danish)
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a holiday in the warmth with a lot of similar traditions to what you are use to at home without any of the cleanup or work? Contact me today to plan your stress-free holiday vacation.
Noche Buena or Christmas Eve is celebrated in Cancun by families and friends coming together at houses and celebrating with a dinner that celebrates well into the morning. The children are often seen with sparklers and you can see some fireworks going off here and there. People start exchanging gifts, although Santa didn’t start visiting Mexico until recently. Since Mexico is steep in Catholic Tradition the Tres Reyes Magos, (Three Wise Men) visited on January 6th with their gifts.
Then on Christmas Day, their families and friends gather again and enjoy the traditional recalentado - or what's leftover from the evening before. A typical traditional Christmas dinner may include turkey, pasta dishes, salad and one of my favorites, Lasagna. However, a local traditional favorite is romeritos and bacalao, a salted cod dish.
However, Mexico celebrates the holiday season for about a whole month starting December 12th with celebrations for the Virgin of Guadalupe and ending on January 6th with celebrations for the Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Men).
Did you know that you can even pick up a wonderful Nativity Set made out of clay while in Mexico? The Nativity set tradition stems from Spain, where Nativity Scenes were prevalent. In Mexico, they are made of clay and have the Virgin Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and barn animals. They are decorated in bright colors and each region of Mexico has a different decorating style. There are literally thousands and thousands of figures available and they take all of the space under the tree. In different religions they are thought to show different virtues and sins - some are even decorated to be a bit silly.
What I love about holidays is how it mixes all different cultures. One of Mexico’s traditions that I love, La Pinata, takes its origins from China. La Pinata, the Christmas Pinata has seven spikes (or peaks) that represent the seven deadly sins. Hitting the Pinata represents getting the sins out of our lives and we get a reward of sweet candy and fruits.
Now, although these are all wonderful traditions for going to Cancun and Mexican Rivieria, for Christmas time, what would be my favorite? Just spending time with my family and not having to cook, clean, and doing any of the work around the holidays. I would love just introducing a new culture to my children - enjoying time together at the beach, and perhaps doing a few new activities together. What a wonderful way to celebrate - actually spending quality time together without having any of the stress, and work.
Setup your free consultation today so we can get your toes in the sand this holiday season with your family - and you can enjoy the holiday and the traditions with out any of the work!
When I say all-inclusive resort, the first thing you think of is buffets with mediocre food and tons of those umbrella drinks. But what if I told you the all-inclusive resort has changed over the years to a better experience?
Did you know that there are all kinds of experiences that you can find at an all-inclusive resort? Each resort is as individual as the person visiting it. For couples, there are resorts that are couples only. They procreate the ambiance for romance. They have everything from alluring settings, secluded areas for just the two of you, gourmet romantic dining, and premium spirits. Some even include excursions.
If you are a spa person, there are resorts for you as well. There are resorts that include your spa treatments as well. Again, there is something for everyone.
If you want to have a fun time with your friends, but not couples, is there something for you? Yes, there is and again you can get the gourmet dining, not just the buffets. Do you need to make reservations days in advance? Not at all resorts - again every resort is different.
Well, this sounds great but what about the kids? I want to go on vacation with my kids. That’s possible as well. Did you know that there are resorts that can give each family a wonderful experience? There are resorts that are as different as each family's needs.
Sports families, there is a resort for you - did you realize that you can go on vacation let your kids learn or brush up on a sport while you sit at the pool relaxing and connect up at dinner?
But wait, did you want to sit at the waterpark today? Then let the kids go to the kids club for a couple of hours tomorrow so you and your honey can have a romantic lunch or dinner? Yes, there is a resort for you.
How about an adventure? Did you want your excursions included in your all-inclusive for you and your family? Yes, there’s a resort for that as well. And of course, if you just want to sit at the beach, there’s a resort for that.
When you are looking at all-inclusive resorts the options are endless. That’s when working with a travel advisor comes in handy. We can sit down with you and help you find the best fit and value for you and your family.
If you are ready to exchange white snow for white sand, Jamaica can be a wonderful place to spend Christmas. Did you know that Jamaica is a very religious island, with more churches per square mile than any other country?
So, what’s there to do for Christmas in Jamaica?
Let’s start with one of my favorite holiday traditions, Midnight Mass, did you know that you can attend Midnight Mass while in Jamaica.
Let’s talk decorations a bright - yes Jamaica can give you that. Once the ‘crismus breeze’ comes and cools down the island a bit, you will find local Palm Trees decorated with ‘Peper Lights’ and even some taxi’s decorated up. If you wanted a ‘real Christmas’ Tree, the Blue Mountain pines are available to give you more of an “elegant down-home Christmas feeling”. And those beautiful Poinsettias will be around as well.
And yes, of course, the guy in the big red suit comes to Jamaica as well - there may be no chimneys, or snow, but there is white sand and there are children all over the world for Santa to bring gifts too. Plus who wouldn’t want to get their toes in the sand?
Plus on Christmas Eve, he may want to stop at the ‘Gran Market’. This is one of the longest days around the island for both adults and kids alike. From Christmas Eve, until Christmas Morning vendors set up on the sidewalks in major cities and display their goods at these markets. They have not only the usual things but items that you would not normally find. These markets also entertain shoppers with fun festivities. The best Gran Market to attend is in Linstead, St Catherine, where you can find last-minute gifts, food, decorations, and most of all enjoy the party atmosphere.
In the past, these markets would be set up on Christmas Day, and the children would come with their parents dressed up in their best new clothes and they would come to the special ‘Gran Market’ to find the toys that were on sale. These would not be the normal stores that were open, but street vendors that would open a spot on the sidewalks.
Jamaican’s also love their Christmas Ham for dinner. I wanted to share a Jamaican Ham Recipe, that I found on about-jamaica.com that I’ve made and my family has savored and I wanted to share for you to enjoy.
Easy Jamaican Ham Recipe