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When it comes to the Caribbean, many islands are blessed with sugar-white beaches, tall palm trees, and friendly bartenders serving up umbrella-topped drinks. But Aruba is like no other island. Over the years, its Dutch West Indies mix of ethnicities has nurtured a deep and interesting cultural mélange—as well as fine cuisine, refined shopping, and vibrant stage shows. Add to that an outdoor world of internationally significant locations for fun-seeking folks of all ages. There is simply no better place on the planet to learn and enjoy windsurfing. The world-renowned steady breezes that fill the sails also keep us cool in a deep Caribbean location that is blissfully below the hurricane path. Sun always shines on our pristine beaches, and that brings a truly global group of travelers to our shores.
The city’s banana industry, operated by the United Fruit Company, is one of the most important in South America. Santa Marta also has fine beaches and is a tourist center. Founded by the Spanish explorer Rodrigo de Bastidas in 1525, it was often sacked by corsairs in the 16th cent. During colonial times the city was important as an outlet for the Magdalena River valley. It remained royalist during the revolution and was liberated in 1821. Simón Bolívar died on an estate nearby.
Cartagena is a port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. By the sea is the walled Old Town, founded in the 16th century, with squares, cobblestone streets and colorful colonial buildings. With a tropical climate, the city is also a popular beach destination. Reachable by boat are Isla de Barú, with white-sand beaches and palm trees, and the Islas del Rosario, known for their coral reefs.
The San Blas islands stretch along approximately 200 miles of Panama’s Caribbean coastline and San Blas reservation, also known as the Kuna Yala, is defined from the seaward continental shelf to the top of the jungle-clad continental divide some miles inland.
Bocas del Toro is a province of Panama comprising an island chain off the Caribbean coast, plus a section of nearby mainland with biodiverse rainforest. Isla Colón, the main island, is home to the capital, Bocas Town, a central hub with restaurants, shops and nightlife. Popular beaches include Boca del Drago. Also on Isla Colón is Starfish Beach, named for the numerous sea stars on its ocean floor
Renowned as the Eighth Wonder of the World, marvel as your ship is raised, then lowered, 85 feet to sail gracefully through three massive locks in the Canal.
One of the entrances to the Panama Canal on the Pacific side, the port of Fuerte Amador, founded in 1519, is a short drive from Panama City. In Panama City, the best are found at the market in Balboa.