When looking to get away to the Caribbean this winter, think about some of these great escapes.
Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao: Just 18 miles off the coast of Venezuela these islands are outside the hurricane belt. Hike the trails in Aruba's Arikok National Park. Dive one of the island's 86 dive sites off the western shore of Bonaire. Marvel at the vibrant Dutch architecture and have fun shopping on Curacao.
Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman provides divers with a glimpse of the Cayman Trench, an underwater canyon that plunges nearly 25,000 feet deep. Or snorkel with the rays at Stingray City, a string of sandbars in the North Sound.
Barbados: Even though Barbados is an independent nation, the British flavor is still present. Cars drive on the left and cricket is the national sport.
Grenada: This island has a law stating that buildings cannot be taller than a coconut palm tree! Take a hike through the rain forest in Grand Etang Forest Reserve...then swim in one of the cascade pools at Concord Falls.
Guadeloupe: This archipelago has a land area of more than 580 square miles, all on adjoining islands. Plant lovers should not miss the Jardin Botanique de Deshaies with more than 900 plant species.
St. Lucia: Boasting long stretches of beaches with white, golden and volcanic sand this island's verdant interior has some of the best hiking in the region. Pitons, St. Lucia's twin volcanic peaks, overlook Soufriere harbor. You can climb to Gros Piton.
Many flights are now non-stop to these destinations. Be aware when booking your flight that "direct flights" are not the same as "non stop flights". Check more than just the flight number.