The Caribbean, in summer as in winter, does not end at Cuba, or at the Dominican Republic, for that matter. And if you’re looking for alternatives to a soon-to-be-congested Cuba, you have plenty of choices.
The governments and tourism officials of all Caribbean countries have been watching the U.S. détente with Cuba with intense interest. They know that the opening up of Cuba to America tourists will seize large amounts of business that could be going to them—and they need to defend their own economies.
So look for deals coming out of alternative island nations, and consider them carefully. The Caribbean—even outside of Cuba—is a wondrously beautiful part of the world. Don’t neglect it. World tensions and delicate economies (not to mention Canada’s feeble dollar) have encouraged that neglect.
Last year, Canadian leisure arrivals to Grand Cayman dropped by 1.9%; St. Lucia, 3.9%; Grenada (one of the most beautiful of all islands anywhere), 10.1%; Panama, 7.4%; and Bermuda, 14 %—not in the Caribbean, but you get the idea. And even Jamaica (my own personal favourite) suffered a 6.2% drop in Canadian arrivals. Look to them this coming season as alternatives.
Also consider island nations that have begun attracting more Canadians in recent years and that still have plenty of the space and variability you look for in your vacations. Barbados saw a 17% increase in Canadian arrivals in 2015 compared to 2014; St. Maarten, 5.2%; St. Kitts, 14.6%; and the
Bahamas, 9.2% (look to the outer Family Islands—away from noisy Nassau and Paradise Island).
Do your homework, and you could be quite pleasantly surprised with the choices available to you and your family.