Caribbeanwithfriendstravel’s Weblog

January 23, 2016

‪#‎Tobago‬ Beach & Golf Resort #JessKalinowsky

Best Oceanfront Resort in ‪#‎Tobago‬. Beach & Golf Resort is nestled in the tropical Tobago Plantations Estate, a community of luxury Tobago suites and villas around the Tobago Plantations 18 hole PGA designed championship Tobago golf course. Situated along two and a half miles of beach and beautiful coastline the grounds offer nature trails and canopy walks through a virgin mangrove forest at one of the best resorts in Tobago. ‪#‎TobagoVacations‬‪#‎FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa‬ ‪#‎JessKalinowsky‬ ‪#‎BestValueHotelsResortsSpasVillasWorldwide‬ ‪#‎DiscountAirfaresWorldwide‬First, Business and Coach

Tobago Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf ResortTobago Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort poolTobago Golf Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf ResortTobago TurtleFriends Travel Bus Card front 4april14

January 9, 2016

#HavanaCuba #JessKalinowsky

Filed under: Caribbean — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 3:36 pm
Cuba-capitol architecture
The grand Capitolio, seat of the Cuban Congress until the Revolution in 1959.CreditVideo by Max Cantor, Chris Carmichael, Damien Cave, Alexandra Garcia and Will Lloyd; Photo by Robert Rausch for The New York Times

Havana is no longer frozen in time, at least not completely. With Cuba’s guarded openness to private enterprise grabbing hold, classic American cars and salsa singers now share the cityscape with new and inventive offerings in food, culture, night life and hospitality. No other city in Latin America, or perhaps the world, can claim to be having just the kind of moment that Havana is experiencing now after so many decades gasping for change. For visitors, the capital is a mash-up of past and present, freedom and restriction. It’s a city of architectural decay, but also creativity, where artists have turned a defunct cooking-oil factory into a performance space, bar and music venue that on any given night makes Brooklyn look as cool as a suburban Ikea. It’s a city where finding ingredients for a stellar menu requires feats of Promethean ingenuity; where opera is subversive, and kitschy too; where the Internet is just arriving, fully formed and censored; and where young Cubans without money are fleeing, while those with connections and ideas await great success. Officially, some limits for Americans remain in place. Despite restored relations with Cuba, tourism is still banned by the embargo. But for those who reach Havana under the 12 categories of legal travel, or without permission, and for the rest of the world, the city is ready to entertain and confound.

  1. Photo

    A view of Chinatown and central Havana. CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times


    Start with what makes Cuba unlike any other Caribbean island: its record of unshakable resistance to the United States. The Museum of the Revolution is a shrine to Cuban sovereignty, housed in the old presidential palace, complete with bullet holes from the Revolution and dozens of glass cases documenting Fidel Castro’s triumphs — from his days as a guerrilla, to the Bay of Pigs and beyond. It’s all a bit musty now, and best experienced quickly, but it’s vital. This is the Cuba of a proud and former era that continues to hold on, like an anchor buried deep at sea.

    image for ­The New CoolOutdoor dining at El Cocinero. CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times

    2. THE NEW COOL, 6 P.M.

    Climb the spiral staircase to the roof of the restaurant named El Cocinero (look for the soaring brick chimney) and settle into a hip new Havana. Chill on the banquettes with some empanadas de queso, or start with a trago or two of aged rum on the rocks. Then order more. The menu changes based on availability, but small plates rule, from a phenomenal hot crab dip to lobster and sides like boniato (Cuban sweet potato). Expect to pay about 60 CUC (Cuban convertible pesos), about $61, per couple; the bartenders and servers are gems of efficiency and charm.


    Next to El Cocinero, sharing an expanse of the same century-old cooking-oil factory, La Fábrica de Arte Cubano feels like a mix of CBGB, Art Basel Miami, a community center, a coffee shop, a bar (or two or three) and a bomb shelter. Arrive for folk dancing, and you may end up lost, in a good way, listening to reggaeton or staring at sculpture, huge canvases of colorful paintings, or black-and-white photography. “It’s an urban experiment,” said Inti Herrera, a member of the artists’ collective that runs La Fábrica with permission from the government, which owns the building.


    Finish your night with mojitos at Siá Kará, a centrally located bar and restaurant of just the right size (small) and style (are those old ’50s-era ties?). Grab a seat in a far corner from the piano and the singer to allow for maximum listening and diving into late-night conversation about the meaning of socialism, capitalism and life itself. No trip to Cuba is complete without intense discussion of existential quandaries; Siá Kará — an Afro-Cuban expression meaning “to wash away the past” — is an ideal salon, flush with good taste and liquor.

  2. Photo

    The scene at Siá Kará Café. CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times


    Head to Café Mamainé in Vedado for Havana’s version of the Starbucks frappuccino. It’s icy. It’s strong. It’s sweet, flavored with a touch of cinnamon. And as you sit on the porch at Café Mamainé, in an old colonial mansion, it goes great with a ham and cheese omelet, or with a full American breakfast of fruit, toast, butter, jelly, more coffee, eggs and sausage. A hearty feast can be had for 10 CUC.


    Call for an appointment at the 331 Art Space. The renovated 1941 mansion, spare and modern now, is the work and display space for three young artists — Frank Mujica, Alex Hernández and Adrián Fernández — whose styles range from intimate drawings to large-scale prints and mixed media. Prices are roughly $500 to $10,000, a reflection of what Mr. Hernández describes as his generation’s grand, global ambition to create art that reflects Cuba but “looks to a wider audience, an international audience.”

    image for ­A View of the SeaA view of the sea in Cojímar. CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times

    7. A VIEW OF THE SEA, 2 P.M.

    Rest and replenish at Café Laurent, which offers breezes, views of the sea just beyond the newly christened American Embassy — and some rich culinary options. Start with the octopus carpaccio and a bottle of wine (a rarity in all but a few places just a few years ago), then ask about specials. Go for the black ink seafood risotto if it’s available: love it or hate it, you’ll remember it. Expect to pay about 45 CUC per couple for lunch.

    image for ­Puros CubanosCreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times

    8. PUROS CUBANOS, 4 P.M.

    Cuban cigars have become a bit of a cliché, but here’s how you do it with a measure of authenticity: First, visit the Partagas factory in Havana if it is allowing tours (sometimes, yes, sometimes no); then head to Casa Abel, a new bar, restaurant and cigar lounge run by Jose Abel Espósito Díaz, who spent 19 years working for Partagas. Abel, as everyone knows him, is a charming repository of tobacco lore and explanation. He often hosts events for cigar aficionados from all over the world. His humidor holds many fine offerings that are worth discussing and smoking.

    image for ­Revival and RenewalThe seafood pasta at Río Mar. CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times


    Río Mar has become a favorite of Cuba’s emerging elite, for its waterfront location on the edge of lush Miramar, its design-school vibe and its good food. Try the seafood pasta for a break from Cuban fare, or go deep into the past with pan de boniato and the ropa vieja — a shredded-meat classic made from lamb at Río Mar, in an effort to revive a dish that largely disappeared after the Revolution. Then order flan or rum and linger a little longer as the waves knock into the shore. Dinner should cost around 75 CUC for two.

    10. GET YOUR GROOVE ON, 10 P.M.

    Los Van Van, Celia Cruz and others may have to compete with reggaeton and hip-hop these days, but La Casa de la Música in Miramar is still a reliable nightspot for live music and dancing to salsa and merengue. The crowd size varies, and some locals may be looking for more than just a dance partner, but with the right band on the right night, you can lose yourself here for hours of visceral joy.


    Make your way to the Malecón, “a free place with a nice view and lots of possibilities” — that’s how young Cubans often describe Havana’s famous sea wall. Especially late at night, it’s a flytrap for youth and uninhibited performance. Couples kiss to music buzzing from old iPhones; friends and musicians dance, shout and flirt with tiny cups of rum in hand, as taxis honk their way through a dawn-seeking crowd overseen by the police who whisper but rarely intervene.


  3. Sunday
    image for ­The New CoolThe beach in Guanabo, a town a half-hour east of Havana. CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times

    12. TO THE BEACH!, 10 A.M.

    Tourists go to Varadero. Habaneros go to Guanabo, a beach town a half-hour east of Havana, and they go together. To do the same, grab a shared taxi at the small park with the old train at the corner of Agramonte and Misión. The cars tend to be old and slow — all the better for a leisurely trip along the coast, which is still shockingly undeveloped. The beach itself is a ribbon, flush with life at its most crowded spot with no more than a few dozen Cubans swimming and enjoying what has always made Cuba the Pearl of the Antilles: its pristine shores.


    Finish your trip with a daiquiri or two at La Terraza de Cojimar, a watering hole on the way back to Havana that was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. It butts up against a bay, on a bumpy road through a small town that hasn’t changed much since Papa was around; it’s still a gorgeous spot, if old and faded, and the house drink, the Don Gregorio, is still strong. Here at least, on a lucky afternoon, time is frozen. But as with all of Havana, the moment to go is now; in the world of Cuba that caters to visitors, change is here and accelerating.

  4. Photo

    A courtyard in front of Iglesia del Santo Ángel Custodio. CreditRobert Rausch for The New York Times

    Cuba is notoriously short on hotel rooms, especially now that Americans are flocking to the island, so book early. Most of the best hotels are in and around Old Havana and Vedado, and the service and quality tend to be a step below the best options elsewhere in the Caribbean, though there are signs of improvement. Friends Travel local representatives will secure the best available for our clients.

    #CubaVacations #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa #JessKalinowsky 24|7|365

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October 22, 2015


Filed under: Caribbean,Cuba — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 9:21 pm

Cuba Book-your-cuba-trip-today

‪#‎CubaVacations‬ By Rail and Cruise announces first rail/cruise

People to People cultural exchange tour in Cuba —
‪#‎Cuba‬ by Air, or Rail & Cruise — with departures starting Feb. 9, 2016.

The 12-day program begins with overnight rail travel aboard Amtrak’s Silver Meteor from New York to Miami, where guests embark on Haimark’s newly refurbished MS Saint Laurent. Highlights of the cruise include visits to five ‪#‎UNESCO‬ World Heritage Sites, including Old Havana and Trinidad; performances by the Cienfuegos Choir and the famous Buena Vista Social Club; learning about the eclectic assortment of architectural influences in Santiago de Cuba; exploring Alejandro de Humboldt National Park; and touring the Valley of Vinales’ green tobacco plantations and limestone caves.

Ports of call in Cuba during the nine-night cruise include Havana, Maria La Gorda, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and Holgui, where guests have the opportunity to learn about Cuba’s history and culture.

Packages start at $5,353 and include all meals onboard the train and ship, hotel accommodations for one night, train accommodations for one night, a nine-night cruise aboard the MS Saint Laurent and select tours, activities and entertainment.
Cruise only without rail is available. ‪#‎FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCa‬

#CubaVacations ‪#‎JessKalinowsky‬ 24|7|365

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Haimark Cabin MS Saint Laurent


Cuba Charter flights2

Cuba Havana poster

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September 12, 2014

#CuraçaoVacationsFriendsTravel JESS Kalinowsky

Filed under: Caribbean,Destination Weddings Caribbean,Honeymoon in the Caribbean — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 5:24 pm

Free Beaches

Many of the beaches around Willemstad are lined with full-service (read: expensive) resorts and restaurants. Instead, head northwest to the thinly populated coast for pirate-perfect coves and brilliant blue waters. Drive about one mile past the Lagun Blou resort until you see the well-marked turnoff to the beaches. Follow the sign and you’ll soon come to a fork: to the left is button-size Kenepa Beach  MAP, an intimate patch of white sand with covered picnic tables and a friendly but rundown snack bar. To the right is the bigger Abou Beach (often called Kenepa Grande)  MAP, a slightly more developed version of the first with calm waters ideal for swimmers. On weekends, there is a food stand that serves fish soup, grilled fish and burgers for under $5, a great deal until you see the homemade spreads of goat stew and rice and peas that families unwrap on thatched-umbrella-covered picnic tables. It’s enough to make you wish you were an ant.

Where to Party

Curaçao’s official languages are Dutch, Papiamentu and English, but the night life outside the touristy and expensive Unesco World Heritage Site is distinctively Latin, a reminder that merengue-loving Venezuela is less than 40 miles away. A free publication called K-Pasa fills you in on the latest hot spots, but don’t miss Asia de Cuba  MAP(Zuikertuintjeweg, Bloempot Shopping Center; 011-599-9-747-9009), a pricey fusion restaurant that turns into a no-cover dance scene when the tables clear. Beers like the Venezuelan Polar and Dutch-made Amstel Bright (not a typo) are $3. Everyone from blond-haired Dutch to black and Asian Curaçao natives mix it up on the sweaty but well-ventilated dance floor. Anywhere else, the youthful diversity might seem as contrived as a Benetton ad, but in Curaçao, it’s just another night on the island.

What to DoIn a divine twist of justice, what the island lacks in above-ground beauty it makes up for underwater. Dive centers dot the coastline, offering plenty of opportunities to explore the natural and shipwreck-created reefs.

#DiveVacationsFriendsTravel  JESS Kalinowsky 24|7|365

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Trips of a Lifetime… with Memories to Last a Lifetime

Who can ever forget gliding up the Amazon, bartering for spices in Morocco or watching the Grand Prix in Monaco?
You may only be gone for a week or two, but the time spent fulfilling a long-held travel dream lives on – in photos,
fond memories and gained insights – for many years to come.

Deal with JESS Kalinowsky, your professional travel consultant today about the ultimate trips of a lifetime and
enjoy great incentives. You can live your dream this year.

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#FriendsTravel Caribbean Vacations JESS Kalinowsky

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April 23, 2014

Filed under: Caribbean,Discounted Airline Rates Worldwide — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 9:28 pm



April 7, 2014

#SandalsLaSourceGrenada Resort Spa #FriendsTravel JESS Kalinowsky

Filed under: Caribbean — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 4:48 am
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October 27, 2013

#DominicaDivingSnorkeling #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCA JESS Kalinowsky

Filed under: Caribbean,Diving and Snorkeling — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 3:21 am

Diving and Snorkeling in Dominica

There’s that moment, when you feel the geothermally-induced bubbles tickling your feet, that you come to the conclusion that Dominica is not exactly your average Caribbean island.

Of course, whether you’re diving on the famous Champagne Reef or searching for your own secret scuba sanctuary, there are a host of top-notch dive sites in the country.

The western coast of Dominica, from the area northwest of Portsmouth to the southwestern tip, is covered in dive sites, with nine sites in three major clusters.

There are also several dive centers across the country, from the Cabrits Dive Center on the northern side near Portsmouth to the aforementioned Champagne Reef Dive and Snorkel. The group includes hotel-based centers at the Anchorage Hotel, the Fort Young Hotel in the capital, Roseau, and the Sunset Bay Club & Sea Side Dive Resort in Salisbury.

Over the years, it’s brought its fair share of diving enthusiasts to the Eastern Caribbean — indeed, Dominica’s Dive Fest is actually the longest-running scuba festival in the Caribbean — look for the next one in the summer of 2014 — its 21st edition.

#DominicaDivingSnorkeling #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCA JESS Kalinowsky

#CaribbeanSliceOfBaliProvidencialesTurksandCaicos #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCA JESS Kalinowsky

Filed under: Caribbean — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 3:08 am

Caribbean Home: A Slice of Bali in

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos


Caribbean Home: A Slice of Bali in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Caribbean Home: A Slice of Bali in Providenciales, Turks and CaicosCaribbean Home: A Slice of Bali in Providenciales, Turks and CaicosCaribbean Home: A Slice of Bali in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
It’s straight out of Bali.

This three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 4,200-square-foot oceanfront villa is a mix of Caribbean and Balinese themes, set on an elevated ridge overlooking the Turks and Caicos banks.

It’s called the Villa Balinese, and it’s a slice of Southeast Asian luxury in the Caribbean.

The property, which is set on a 1.03-acre plot, is listed by Regency— Christie’s International Real Estate for $3.5 million.

Why not take a permanent vacation to Turks and Caicos?



#FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCA JESS Kalinowsky 


#CaribbeanVacations #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCA JESS Kalinowsky

Filed under: Caribbean — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 2:57 am

YOU’RE IN the bustling Caribbean metropolis of San Juan, but suddenly it strikes you: while you’re here, why not do a bit of island hopping?

Being the major air hub for this part of the Caribbean, San Juan is an island hopper’s dream — quick connections to almost all of the surrounding islands (usually via Cape Air), and a world of possibilities.

Here’s a quick guide for an island hop from Puerto Rico’s capital through Tortola to the private island escape of Scrub Island.


The best way is on Cape Air, which has assumed many of the routes abandoned by the now-departed American Eagle. There are multiple flights every day from San Juan International to Tortola’s Beef Island, a journey which takes about 47 minutes.


Above: the BananaKeet Cafe

Even though your final destination is Scrub Island, spend half a day in Tortola and enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes. That could include a stop at the Sugar Mill, a restaurant hotel (one of our recently-named Best Caribbean Hotels for Food), the eatery called The Dove, or the Bananakeet Cafe — worth the trip for the view alone.


You’re heading to a small island, so you may need to stock up on provisions. Try the Pusser’s Road Town Pub and Company Store, where you can get a Pusser’s Navy Mug and several bottles of the Original Navy Rum. (You should probably try a Painkiller drink while you’re there, just for the sake of research).


Now, we’ve included a brief jaunt to Tortola, but Scrub Island’s team will actually pick you up right at the airport if you so choose. If you do go in to Tortola, take a taxi to the Trellis Bay Dock, where you will board the resort’s private launch to Scrub Island. (The private launch departs at 45 minutes after every hour, departing Scrub Island on the half hour.


You’ve reached Scrub Island, the hopping’s done, and all that’s left to do is practice the art of down time. In the mood for some sand? The island has three beautiful private beaches (try Honeymoon Beach, which can only be reached by kayak). Looking for a spa treatment? Try the popular heat-focused Eterno Massage. Or perhaps you just want to kick back and try a cocktail at Caravela’s Rum Bar. Scrub Island is a real oasis, so it’s simply a matter of choosing the right relaxation.


If you want to turn a brief island hop into a full-fledged island adventure, the property offers combinations of five night stays and five nights of sailing across the British Virgin Islands — an entirely different level of exploration.

#CaribbeanVacations #FriendsTravelWestHollywoodCA JESS Kalinowsky

October 10, 2013

#GuadeloupeIslandsVacations #FriendsTravel JESS Kalinowsky

Filed under: Caribbean,Guadeloupe Islands Caribbean,Leading Hotels of the World — caribbeanwithfriendstravel @ 11:53 pm


The original Amerindian name for Guadeloupe Islands is “KARUKERA” which means “the islands with beautiful waters”. The Islands of Guadeloupe are without a doubt one of the most beautiful locations for water sports. Caressed by the trade winds and warmed year round by an endless tropical sun, washed on the East by the surging Atlantic and bathed on the West by the balmy Caribbean, the Guadeloupe archipelago is a true paradise.

The Caribbean Sea, with its stunning palette of blues, is ideal for a raft of exhilarating water sports—one visit just isn’t enough to do it all. Stretch out on the sand with your toes in the water, skim the waves on a Jet Ski, discover coral reefs and sea sponges in the deep blue yonder, watch the wind swell your sails under a cloudless sky, learn some fun facts at the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Nature Reserve, sail a catamaran in search of white, sandy beaches…Aquatic adventures await you!

In the video below Claude Gonzales owner the Cip Diving Club talks about his activity. They are located on the  Malendure beach in Bouillante, right in front of the COUSTEAU RESERVE. His Club welcomes beginners as well as advanced levels since they are also an international diving shool with multilingual certified trainers. The Cousteau Reserve covers 12 differents sites and 3 wrecks. 2h away you can reach the famous “SEC PATE” which is known for being one of the most beautiful diving spots in the world. It is also a part of the Cousteau Reserve, located in the Channel of Les Saintes.


Whether you want to go have fun with your kids, experience the most refined Cuisine in the Caribbean, discover a prestine and protected environmment or go intense with sport activities,  Guadeloupe Islands have it all!!

Guadeloupe Islands located in the lesser Caribbean (where the water NEVER gets cold!), is a slice of France nestled in the tropics. Make that five slices: Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, La Désirade, Les Saintes, and Marie-Galante. Welcome to the islands of Guadeloupe—an exceptional archipelago that enables you to experience all type of adventures!





Is your idea of a relaxing trip more than just lounging about? Guadeloupe Islands will surprise and charm you with all it has to offer. Explore the islands’ vibrant and colourful flora and fauna, meet the friendly and hospitable locals, drink in the culture, and try a wide range of outdoor activities under glorious blue skies.

With its picture-perfect setting, Guadeloupe is ideal for kayaking in azure-blue lagoons; horseback riding on white, sandy beaches; exploring the tropical forests with their arborescent plants, shady trees, and fresh waterfalls; or scuba diving among the coral reefs.


Guadeloupe Islands offer a panel of more than a 100 activities! Friendly and highly professionals will make your stay memorable with diving, horse riding, hiking and so much more! Let’s take a sneak pick at Canyoning in the tropical forest. Laurence explains how canyoning can be soooo refreshing! Check it out.

#GuadeloupeIslandsVacations #FriendsTravel JESS Kalinowsky

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