Already dreading the thought of a long, cold winter? Now is the perfect time to book your fall and winter travel escape to the sun.
And the two picture-perfect Caribbean islands of Curacao and Saint Lucia are preparing for a busy winter as they have already beaten tourism records this year.
Curacao has reported a record-breaking July. 50,936 tourists arrived on the island over the course of the month. A significant 12,457 of those visitors were from the U.S., which represents an increase of 33%.
Meanwhile, Saint Lucia has reported that it is in ‘high demand’ as a tourist destination, having seen a 12% increase in visitor arrivals year-on-year.
With visitor numbers up and continuing to rise, here’s why you should visit the two Caribbean islands of Curacao and Saint Lucia:
Sun and Sea in Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia is best known for two things: its beautiful white sand beaches and world-class scuba and snorkeling opportunities. It is an island paradise.
Some of the best snorkeling spots on the island can be found at the reef on the northern side of Pitons Bay. Pitons Bay is named after the Pitons, which are the highest peaks on the island.
The Pitons are a UNESCO World Heritage Site that stretches beneath the waves and creates vast coral reefs, which is why so many scuba divers and snorkellers are attracted to the island.
What makes Saint Lucia unique is that it boasts a beautiful rainforest that offers breathtaking views and although it is an independent country, it reflects a melting pot of French, African, East Indian, and English cultures.
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More visitors to Saint Lucia are from the United States than any other country. As Saint Lucia is preparing for a record-breaking year that means we can expect to see even more Americans visiting the country this fall/winter.
Cool and Calm in Curacao
It is not surprising that Curacao also boasts beautiful beaches. It’s what the Caribbean is most famed for! There are 34 distinct beaches on the island and the sea is rich with marine life.
Curacao is a popular destination for eco-tourism.
According to a rep from the Curacao tourist board, “We have national parks, hiking locations, yoga at the beach, paddleboarding yoga, and much more.”
Curacao is a Dutch Caribbean island, but the locals speak English, Dutch, Spanish, and Papiamentu, which is the native tongue. This means that communication isn’t a problem when you visit Curacao and reading signage and menus is a breeze too.
Curacao has its own distinct identity and isn’t as Americanized as other Caribbean islands such as Aruba. One observer described Aruba as being like “Miami in the Caribbean,” but when you’re in Curacao, you couldn’t imagine that you were anywhere else.
Curaçao protects its own identity, and the food, culture, and music have a personality you won’t find anywhere else.
In a year where Caribbean tourism is forecast to reach record levels there’s a lot to be said for choosing an island that is considered to be more off the beaten track, particularly with American travelers.
European travelers, and not surprisingly Dutch travelers, make up the majority of visitors to Curacao right now.
A Record-Breaking Year
2023 is forecast to be a record-breaking year for many Caribbean destinations.
Jamaica broke its 2 million visitor record earlier this year for example. And air travel bookings for 2023 are expected to rise by as much as 33% over those for summer 2019.
As we enter the Caribbean cruise season we can also expect to see the most popular destinations visiting tourism records this fall/winter.
There’s never been a better time to visit the Caribbean. But why not consider choosing an off-the-beaten-path island destination if you want to avoid the crowds that will inevitably arrive this year?
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com