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					Have a Jimmy Buffett-style honeymoon | Travel | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle

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ROMANCE
Have a Jimmy Buffett-style honeymoon
By JANIS TURK Jan. 29, 2009, 1:07PM

broadest, good things come in small packages. This Dutch Caribbean island has two main areas: the high-rise and low-rise sections. “ Low-rise” refers only to the roof lines — not quality. The high-rise part of the island boasts towering brand-name hotels. The low-rise area offers a quieter, more romantic setting in one- and two-story resorts and hotels that sprawl along white sandy beaches. This summer I opted for “low-rise” luxury at the lovely Bucuti Beach Resort. Tucked away on one of the Caribbean’s Top 10 beaches (according to “Dream Beaches of the World”), this resort features 104 guest rooms and suites, including the new Tara Beach Suites & Spa. The newly renovated facilities and new additions guest rooms rest directly on the beach. With pretty palapas for romantic dinners, a beach bar, swimming pool, shaded lounge chairs and an outdoor exercise hut, this privately owned paradise caters exclusively to couples. Honeymooners will also like that the hotel is within walking distance of shops, restaurants, clubs and casinos. There’s a lot to do on this little island. Take a Jeep tour, go rock climbing or kayaking, or explore hidden caves. Sip rum drinks and eat great seafood in Jimmy-Buffett-would-love-it places like Charlie’s Restaurant and Bar in San Nicholas, a favorite with locals and visitors alike since 1941.

Sunset puts on a show at Eagle Beach at the Bucuti Beach Resort in Aruba. “Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take ya ... Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go” You can’t help but hum a Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffett tune when planning a Caribbean honeymoon. But if all you know about the islands is what you’ve heard in a song, you’ll need a little help navigating your tropical escape. Here’s our guide to three hot islands. So pack on the sunscreen, find your flip-flops and upload Bob Marley to your iPod. Coconut drinks with tiny paper parasols await. It’s five o’clock somewhere the day after your wedding. Which way will the breezes blow?

Aruba — One happy island
If you make Aruba your first introduction to the Caribbean, it may well spoil you for other islands. Flying in, you get a sense of how small it is. Fewer than 20 miles long and 6 miles wide at its
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Downtown, Old World-style buildings in blue, yellow and pink stucco are postcard-pretty. Fine dining at upscale eateries like La Dome are a treat, but my favorite honeymoon-happy dinner spot is The Flying Fishbone, where some tables actually sit in the blue-green waters. No wonder they call Aruba “one happy island.”

around a special culinary event held each summer in Negril — the extraordinary Epicurean Escape at the SuperClubs Grand Lido Negril Resort & Spa. Featuring some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs and wine educators, cooking classes, wine, champagne, spirits and chocolate tastings and elaborate gala dinners, this event is worth working into your summer honeymoon plans. Grand Lido Negril provides airport pick up, and guests are greeted with cool, wet hand towels and champagne flutes upon arrival in the impressive marble-lined indoor/outdoor lobby. Grand Lido Negril is an all-suite property, and many rooms overlook the water. A broad beach with Sunfish sailboats and kayaks rests just below the main dining area, where lavish buffets are set for every meal. With French, Japanese and Italian restaurants and 24-hour room service, every food fantasy is covered. Grand Lido Negril is lively, even off season, and there are catamaran snorkeling cruises, glass bottom boat rides, pools and hot tubs and handsome beaches. A favorite side trip took us to Rick’s Cafe, famous for cliff jumpers, multi-level decks, blender drinks and stunning sunsets. Everybody comes to Rick’s, and you should, too. Although my sweetheart liked Grand Lido Negril best, I preferred the Grand Lido Braco Resort & Spa. Also a SuperClubs super-inclusive spot, it was ranked in 2007 as one of the top 20 hotels in the Caribbean, Bermuda and the Bahamas by Travel + Leisure magazine. The resort has the feel of an old island town because

Jamaica, mon
If you “think Jamaican in the moonlight, ” as the song goes, and you’d like to go “down away where the nights are gay and the sun shines daily on the mountaintop, ” Jamaica is for you. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to plan a honeymoon is the all-inclusive resort route, and Jamaica is home to a number of fabulous, private all-inclusives — meaning every piña colada, every piece of jerk chicken and every room service rendezvous is included in the price of your trip. For a no-hassle honeymoon, this is the way to go. SuperClubs, Sandals and Couples Resorts are all here, but “all-inclusives” aren’t all alike. Some resorts are better for couples who want to limbo on the Lido deck. Others suit those who want to put in a round of golf before sitting in a hot tub. Some are clothing-optional hedonistic hangouts. Others such as Starfish Trelawny and Breezes Montego Bay are affordable family friendly spots.wTo get a taste of the island, I planned my trip to Jamaica
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they’ve perfectly recreated the square of a real Jamaican village with gingerbreaddetailed architecture and cobblestone streets. Adjacent to the resort, though completely out of sight, is the clothing-free side of the resort. Like Grand Lido Negril, Grand Lido Braco has a luxury day spa, and at both resorts you can have a private massage under palm trees, inside the spa or on the beach — leaving you dreaming of Jamaica for years to come.

Tobago) Culinary Festival. Trinidad is a spicy paella of peoples, cultures, languages, faiths and traditions. With more than a million residents speaking English, Hindi, French, Spanish and Chinese, it’s a West Indies treasure. For the beach lover, Tobago is the place to go, though Trinidad’s Maracas beach is stunning, too. In Trinidad, the focus is on cultural tourism, adventure travel and eco-friendly escapes — bird watching, cave swimming and excursions to botanical gardens and coffee farms. Tour the Angostura Bitters factory while you’re there. Luxury isn’t lacking at the posh and polished new Hyatt Regency Trinidad resort in Port of Spain, the capital city. The hotel’s contemporary design, vast ocean views and awesome amenities help the honeymoon happen with restaurants, pools, Wi-Fi, Spa Esencia and all the glamour of a top hotel. This Hyatt brings modern artistic panache to a country of color and charisma. “If you ever go down Trinidad, they make you feel so very glad,” goes the old song. How true! Janis Turk (janis@janisturk.com) is a travel writer living in Seguin.

Trinidad/Tobago
“The lady she hails from Trinidad, island of the spices,” sings Jimmy Buffett. If you’re not a lie-on-the-beach-kindacouple — you’d rather rock climb, hike in the mountains, go bird-watching, watch dolphins or ride dirt bikes — then try Trinidad. Just seven miles northeast of Venezuela, the islands of Trinidad and Tobago are the best hard-core honeymoon spots for those with sonof-a-son-of-a-sailor souls. With lush green valleys and wild mountain tropical terrain, Trinidad is the real thing: You won’t find a single T-shirt, souvenir or postcard shop outside the airport. Birthplace of the steel drum, Trinidad is also home to fun foods like “bake and shark” or curry chicken and paratha. Beside its colorful Carnival festivities, Trinidad is becoming a popular destination with foodies who flock to the annual Taste T&T (TrinidadAdvertisement

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