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Popular Vacations Spots: 'ABC Islands'

The beautiful beaches of Aruba should be on everyone's vacation bucket list (AP Photo/David J. Phillip).

How you can use the Alphabet for Great Vacation Savings

By Meta J. Mereday

 

Now that the royal couple - William and Kate - has put the Seychelles, which is located off the coast of Africa, in the spotlight as a vacation location, we wanted to provide you with our own royal vacation review of popular vacation spots that do not cost a king’s ransom. 

When you are looking to save dollars and to avoid the seasonal disturbances such as hurricanes that impact many destination locations here in the United States and the Caribbean, travel experts use their own version of the alphabet to highlight their popular vacation spots.

In this case, we are talking about the ABCs - Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. These three are often referred to as the “ABC Islands” of the Leeward Antilles, which is the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles.

In addition to being popular vacation spots, these islands are also becoming more attractive for travelers who are looking for areas that have less chance of being hit by hurricanes and other tropical storms. 

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, situated off the coast of Venezuela, are outside of the well traveled hurricane zones that impact their Caribbean cousins including Puerto Rico and the Bahamas.  

Each island, although similar in many aspects and formerly a part of the Netherland Antilles, has its own distinct characteristics. 

Aruba, which is widely known for its white, sandy beaches along its western and southern shores, has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean region and that includes a low unemployment rate.

Tourism and related activities, which includes destination weddings and honeymoons,  accounts for almost three quarters of Aruba’s gross national product. According to About.com, over 1.5 million tourists visit Aruba per year and 75 percent are from the United States.

     Now, if scuba diving and snorkeling are your idea of a great getaway, then Bonaire is the popular vacation spot for you. 

Having the waters surrounding the island designated as an official marine park, Bonaire is known worldwide as the destination for diving in the Caribbean.  Bonaire’s location in the southern part of the Caribbean creates an optimal, year round diving environment with an arid climate and little rainfall that keeps the waters exceptionally clear.

Rounding out our popular vacation spots is the island of Curacao. According to Caribbean Travel Magazine, in addition to the beaches and snorkeling, the other activities on Curacao include visiting the historic capital city of Willemstad for photo-ops and a reminder of Curacao’s Dutch Heritage and taking a day trip to see Boca Pistol, which is a stretch of hollowed out shoreline that features the “Breath of Curacao” phenomenon - a cannonball of sea-foam that bursts from the earth with each incoming wave.

Whether you are looking for a honeymoon destination or a prime diving spot or a scenic location with great weather and picturesque views, checking your ABCs can lead you to popular vacation spots that are free from hurricanes and focused on tourism.  Next vacation, check out - Aruba, Bonaire or Curacao. 

Mereday is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men's Magazine, a publication dedicated to the African American community.   

This article was published on Thursday 19 May, 2011.
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