By the Caribbean Journal staff

Delta Airlines is adding a major new route to the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba.

The carrier announced this week that it would be launching new nonstop service between Boston and Aruba.

The new flights, which will operate weekly on Saturdays, will officially launch on June 9.

“This summer, Delta will proudly offer Bostonians more options with 113 daily departures to 44 top business and leisure destinations said, Joe Esposito, Delta’s Vice President — Network Planning, Americas.” Delta people have been hard at work during the last two years to give our Boston customers the global airline they deserve and we’re looking forward to continuing these expansions and enhancements for our Boston customers in 2018 and beyond.”

The nonstop Aruba service will operate between June 9 and Aug. 18 on Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 16 seats in first class, 36 in Comfort+ and 108 in the main cabin.

It’s a big boost for Aruba as it looks to grow as a year-round Caribbean destination.

Aruba.

“Delta continues to be a great partner at Logan International Airport and they have had incredible growth over the last decade,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “Millions travel through Logan each year, many on Delta flights, and we look forward to offering more choices for our passengers.”

The new service complements existing flights between Boston and Aruba on fellow air carrier JetBlue.

Heading to Aruba? Check out our list of the Best Hotels in Aruba and the top Aruba All-Inclusive resorts.

The post Delta Launching New Nonstop Boston-Aruba Flights appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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By Alexander Britell

There’s a certain sparkle you notice the moment you land, from the floor to the automated immigration kiosk. There’s a newness. There’s a sheen.

This isn’t quite like any Caribbean airport you’ve been to — and it will play a big role in the growth of one of the region’s most exciting destinations.

Curaçao International Airport is currently in the midst of a major transformation project, one that is turning the Dutch Caribbean airport into a new exemplar for the region.

“We want to be one of the leaders in the Caribbean in terms of airport facilities,” CAP CEO Ralph Blanchard told Caribbean Journal. “We also want to be an example of what a public-private partnership can be.”

The nearly $48 million USD project began in 2014 with the enhancement expansion of the airport’s check-in area and airport boulevard; in 2016, the new arrivals hall and airport food and beverage services and stores made their debut.

The latter is something that’s already made a huge impact: there’s a popular bar in the arrivals area, something that is, surprisingly, unique for that setting at a Caribbean airport — but most welcome.

The overall terminal expansion project is slated for completion this December, at which all construction, including a new immigration departures area, will be finished.

That will also include a state-of-the-art duty free shopping component in the departure area with a walk-through design similar to that at Punta Cana’s airport, according to Bryan Elshot, project manager operation at CAP.

Dynamic advertising is also be a major component of the project, like the high-tech video screens that now dot many of the walls (background)

“What we want is to be an example for first and foremost our neighboring islands,” said Brian Elshot, project manager at Albo Caribbean, general contractor on the project. “We want to raise the quality over and over and offer quality service from the moment you park your car to the moment you board this aircraft.”.

Curacao Airport Partners expects that, by the time the expansion is completed at the end of this year, the number of annual passengers will have reached 1.8 million, with the aim of eventually being able to process 2.5 million passengers each year. (At that point, the airport will need to expand again).

Blanchard said he was very bullish on Curacao’s future as a destination, He also pointed to the large swathes of land, particularly on the northwest of the island, that represent one of the great untapped tourism development opportunities in the Caribbean.

It’s all part of what should be a very positive trajectory for an island that is still very much being discovered by travelers, particularly in the United States.

“We have good interest from the airlines, we just need to get the word out there,” he said. “We want to make sure that Curacao has a competitive airport — something the island can be proud of.”

The post Curaçao Airport’s Major Transformation appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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By Alexander Britell

An exciting new hotel has opened its doors on the island of Saint Lucia.

The Harbor Club is a major addition to the greater Rodney Bay area, with a waterfront marina setting and striking, modern design.

The property has a mix of 115 nautically-inspired rooms and suites, along with five dining options, a fitness center, a spa, a dive center and a spectacular multiple-level pool deck.

It’s a different kind of hotel for the island: hip, sleek, extremely well appointed and boasting a beautiful marina-front setting.

Harbor Club Saint Lucia

The marina deck.

An affiliate of Aimbridge Hospitality is the management company for the property, which owned by Canadian entrepreneur Wes Hall.

Aimbridge has been expanding its footprint in the Caribbean of late, most notably with the recent debut of Jamaica’s Jewel Grande in Montego Bay.

The property’s on-site authentic pizzeria.

“I am excited to open Harbor Club and, with a team of world-class hospitality professionals, move one step closer to making this hotel and Rodney Bay a top destination for the world’s most elite travelers,” Hall said. “Not only are we opening a stunning hotel that will stand out to the world, we are also adding 200 hospitality jobs in Saint Lucia.”

Harbor Club Saint Lucia

A swim-up room.

The hotel’s crisp design (along with a very large, high-tech ballroom) make it an equally appealing destination for both leisure and business travelers.

The rooms are beautifully appointed, with everything from flat-screens to Nespresso machines.

But it’s the waterfront pool deck that is the party piece, a terraced pool system that includes a row of swim-up suites and a swim-up bar.

The nautical-themed rooms.

“Our multi-million capital investment in this destination hotel on the coveted island, along with Aimbridge Hospitality’s commitment to the guest experience, and our management team is the perfect combination,” Hall said.

While it’s currently in soft opening, Harbor Club will hold its grand opening in March.

For more information, visit the Harbor Club.

The post Harbor Club, An Exciting New Hotel in St Lucia appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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By Alexander Britell

There is a calm on these mystical waters, blue, silent. Somewhere among the mangroves there is a sanctuary.

Ansil slowly drives the flats boat, the one he built with his own hands, negotiating the green, taking us on a watery path only he knows until he stops to peer at the sky.

In the mangroves, rushing water turns to pond-like stasis; it is a curious sensation, to be in the middle of the ocean and be totally still, the sort of place where silence itself comes to find silence.

The engine turns on again and we move forward, surging through the worn-out canopy of the mangroves until we reach it.

Here, shielded by this peculiar coastal forest, is where he went.

We are in this corner of The Bahamas following the trail of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who came to Bimini seeking just this kind of ethereal tranquility.

In 1968, King joined his friend, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr, a longtime visitor to Bimini, and needed a bonefishing guide. They found Ansil Saunders, already a bonefishing expert at the time and today one of the world’s legendary bonefishermen.

King had already been to Bimini in 1964 with Powell, during which time he wrote his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, and it was during the 1968 trip that he wrote his famous “Sanitation Workers” speech.

The bust of Dr. King.

Saunders took King here, through “Bonefish Creek,” where today there is a small observation deck and a bust honoring Dr. King, hidden away among the mangroves.

“When I stopped the boat, there were some birds overhead, the tide trickled by, snappers were running under the mangrove roots and a stingray was burying and reburying itself,” Saunders recounts. “Dr. King looked up and said, ‘There’s so much life here … so much life all around us. How can people see all this life and yet not believe in the existence of God?’”

One can’t escape the feeling that this is a holy place, the sort of place touched by someone who was transcendent.

We motor on, the boat against the blue, as we duck our heads here and there to evade mangrove branches.

An afternoon of bonefishing follows: moments of quiet, waiting for the fish, the ones Ansil seems to be able to see without looking.

The fish.

The bonefish is no ordinary finned creature; it is abundantly tough, and catching it is a bullfight with a fishing rod. Finally we catch one, and the rugged dance begins, the fish making its bold escape, powerfully pulling the line, for a moment seemingly toying with us.

We catch him, release him, and try in vain to find another.

It’s easy to see why King found inspiration here. There is an otherworldly energy in the water of Bimini, an oasis in the middle of the Stream.

You can still take bonefishing tours with Ansil, on the boats he builds himself, or join him to see the creek where King himself once found the spark of creativity. They are afternoons that have a way of sticking in your memory.

Saunders is a man who seems ageless, who speaks with a clarity and a vigor that uplifts his audience.

If you ask him about his time with King, a lifetime in an afternoon, you will be rewarded.

As he stands on the boat, King’s bust in the background, the mangroves catching his every word, his voice gets grander and the sentences begin to boom, and for a moment you can almost hear King, channeled, a flats boat made into a pew.

And then the motor turns on and we rush on again through the mangroves.

The post Following Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Bimini appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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By the Caribbean Journal staff

The first-ever Caribbean Rum Awards was held in Saint Lucia this weekend, and the winners have been selected.

The awards, curated by Caribbean Journal and a team of nine judges, covered six categories, including white rum, white rhum agricole, best rum, best rhum agricole, spiced rum and gold rum, all judged in a blind tasting held at The Landings resort.

So who won?

Guyana’s El Dorado 12 took home the crown as the Best Rum, while Martinique’s Rhum JM VO took home the top honors for Best Rhum Agricole.

Barbados’ Doorly’s Macaw won best white rum, while Florida’s Siesta Key won for best spiced rum and St. Lucia’s own Bounty Premium Gold won the award for best gold rum.

“It was an incredibly competitive field of 32 rums for this first annual Caribbean Rum Awards,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal. “The rums were a remarkably diverse portfolio, and just about every category was neck and neck. We can’t wait for next year’s field.”

The Caribbean Rum Awards were produced in partnership with the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority as part of the Saint Lucia Food and Rum Festival headlined by world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson.

Special thanks to the international judges, who included St Barth’s Christopher Davis, the Bahamas’ Toby Tyler, the United States’ Steven Shaw and Martinique’s Guy Ferdinand.

See the full lists of winners and medalists below:

White Rum

Best White Rum: Doorly’s Macaw (Barbados)

Double Gold: Bounty Premium White Rum (Saint Lucia)

Gold: Brugal Special Extra Dry (Dominican Republic)

Best Rum 

Best Rum: El Dorado 12 (Guyana)

Double Gold: 1931 by St Lucia Distillers (Saint Lucia)

Gold: Chairman’s Reserve The Forgotten Casks (Saint Lucia)

Best White Rhum Agricole

Best: Rhum Neisson Bio 52.5 (Martinique)

Double Gold: Rhum Dillon Ti’ Fle’ Ble’ (Martinique)

Gold: Rhum Clement Canne Bleue (Martinique)

Best Rhum Agricole

Best: Rhum JM VO

Double Gold: Rhum Depaz XO

Gold: Rhum Clement 10 Ans

Best Spiced Rum

Best: Siesta Key Spiced Rum (Florida)

Double Gold: Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum (Saint Lucia)

Gold: Clifton Estate Rum (Nevis)

Best Gold Rum

Best: Bounty Premium Gold (Saint Lucia)

Double Gold: Island Company Rum (Trinidad)

Gold: Siesta Key Gold (Florida)

The post The First-Ever Caribbean Rum Awards appeared first on Caribbean Journal.

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