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thinking man (and woman)'s paradise
June 30, 2009 8:09 AM   Subscribe

What Caribbean islands have the best-preserved historical sites and architecture?

Future husband and I want to take a honeymoon in a warm place that offers more (intellectually) than beaches, shopping, and golf. Charming buildings, old plantations and churches, museums, cobblestones, well-preserved indigenous settlements and archaeological sites, etc. (We'd been planning a trip to Italy, but it looks like we won't be able to take enough time off to warrant crossing that many time zones.)

San Juan/Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo/Dominican Republic are obvious choices. What haven't I thought of?

Language is not an issue.
posted by thinkingwoman to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I know it's not an island, but you could fly to Veracruz, Mexico, rent a car and drive up the Costa Esmeralda to Papantla and back (or back via Xalapa) for a trip that includes warm weather beaches, charming colonial buildings, vibrant indigenous settlements, and archelogical sites.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:36 AM on June 30, 2009


Cuba. (Americans go there all the time, by taking a flight to another island, and then a regional flight to cuba from there.)
posted by Kololo at 9:20 AM on June 30, 2009


St. John - great beaches, multiple plantation ruins, with the benefit of being mostly a US National Park. Be sure and take the Reef Bay Trail hike provided by the Park Service.
posted by cptnrandy at 9:37 AM on June 30, 2009


Good point: Mexico/Latin America are also fine. Mostly want to keep our airline travel under half a day (we are in Tennessee).
posted by thinkingwoman at 9:58 AM on June 30, 2009


Curacao has very cool architecture, as does Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. Both have interesting parks and caves and what-not. Museums not so much, though the tour of the Curacao factory in Curacao is really not to be missed.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:00 AM on June 30, 2009


Barbados. Don't know about indigenous settlements, but there are preserved plantations and churches.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:38 PM on June 30, 2009


The Bahamas (Nassau in specific) seemed to have a lot of preserved architecture when I was there, as well as museums and historically-themed tours.
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:36 PM on June 30, 2009


Dominica? Bequia? St Vincent? Perhaps somewhere like Sucre state in Venezuela. For me quite a good rule is to look for places with a relatively low traffic airport for their size. Somewhere like Barbados, which get several daily large jets full of visitors - plus cruise ship passengers - arriving on something only about 20 miles long - can get a little swamped IMHO.
posted by rongorongo at 2:19 AM on July 1, 2009


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