Category: Caribbean

Both sets of my grandparents, one set Jewish, the other WASP-y, were avid golfers. They lived in Florida, traveled to Arizona and Scotland and belonged to various clubs in the ’60s and ’70s, when middle class folks could actually retire and spend their time golfing.

On a recent trip back to NYC, my mom dug out a pair of chiffon yellow Bermuda golf shorts with my grandma’s initials embroidered on them and gave them to me. Thanks Mom, maybe I can wear them in some hipster renaissance outfit somewhere in SF.

My mom pulls crazy things out of boxes and storage places in her small Greenwich Village apartment; like hordes of clowns coming out of a circus car, the treasures just keep coming. These were pristine and had probably been cloistered away for more than 30 years. Suffice to say I am NOT a golfer, save the mini golf experiences with my kids. I get the appeal though, and can perhaps imagine, that some day it might be of interest to me.

Golf, however, is a huge part of the travel market and I have written about golf courses and destinations for years. Two recent stories got me thinking about the symbolism of golf in today’s world. The New York Times story: Revolutionary Cuba Now Lays Sand Traps for the Bourgeoisie and the NPR story charting the golf course casualties of the recession, seem to encapsulate so many of the changes rocking our country, the global economy and the geopolitical shifts in the world.

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1 Comment | Filed Under Cuba, Golf, Luxury Travel, Venezuela

Do you know the way to San Jose? That Dionne Warwick song from the late sixties was playing in my head as we packed the kids in the car for our overnight in the South Bay. I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area nearly twenty years and I think I’ve been to San Jose three times.

I had been itching to take the kids to the Tech Museum and my husband and I were intrigued by the Art Museum, so we decided to book a hotel room overnight and make a festive trip out of it between Christmas and New Year’s.

It had been raining for nearly two weeks, so we also had visions of a great hike if the skies cleared up. I called a close Cuban-American friend who knows San Jose well and happens to be a foodie. He was on it, and within half an hour recommended three eateries in the area, so I felt ready to go. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Cuba, Culture, Driving Trips, Family Travel, Feature, Food, Museums, Restaurants, shopping

Perhaps it won’t be long before the U.S. embargo of Cuba is over and Americans of any stripe can freely visit the island. Until then, Triporati’s Conner Gorry will keep us abreast of developments on her new blog, Here Is Havana, whether cultural, political, or just plain fun.

Here are a few of the many things she loves about Cuba:

  • The way the palm trees smell after it rains
  • 5 cent cigars
  • Drinking little cups of sweet, black coffee around the kitchen table with friends
  • Yucca with mojo
  • The music – from Pancho Amat to Pancho Terry, Los Van Van to Los López-Nussas.1
  • How anything under the sun can be fixed and rendered functional

There’s more, so check it out.

Conner has covered many Latin American destinations for us, including Belize, Guatemala, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and Panama.

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Caribbean, Cuba, Feature, Travel

Triporati’s travel experts spend a lot of their time reporting on news and events around the world, so it’s no surprise that Christopher P. Baker, our Cuba expert, has some things to say about the Obama Administration’s softening of travel restrictions to Cuba. On his blog at Moon Guides he makes the case for pushing to lift all travel restrictions. If you agree with him, you can follow his steps to take action; if you disagree with him, you can tell him what you think.

Christopher calls this first step “tremendous, and long overdue.” You can see and hear his comments on Palm Springs’s ABC News Channel 3, and listen to a live radio interview with him on KGO Newstalk with Travels with John Hamilton, Saturday, April 18. See also his comments on

Seems to me normalized relations with Cuba are long overdue.

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Caribbean, Cuba, Travel

Trekking through the Brazilian Amazon Rain Forest, so much was made clear to me about the importance of these ecosystems: the interconnectedness of plants and animals, the habitat and the horror of the destruction of our planet.

Like many, I have tried to eat less meat, support legitimate ventures that protect the jungle environment and visit various rainforests to enjoy and learn more about them. Whether soaring above the canopy on a zip line, boating down the Amazon or hiking to an idyllic tropical waterfall in Fiji, rainforests are hot travel destinations. I nearly coughed up my granola this morning as I read a front page story in The New York Times entitled: New Jungles Prompt a Debate on Saving the Primeval Rainforests.

The key word is “debate” and controversy there will be about this article, I am sure, but it was a fascinating read. The premise of the article is that as fast as original rainforests are being decimated by farming, logging and industry (about 38 million acres a year), replacement forests are growing at a much faster rate. Continue reading »

1 Comment | Filed Under Adventure Travel, Birdwatching, Brazil, Caribbean, Eco Friendly Travel, South Pacific

With Caribbean hurricane season in full tumult it’s possible you’ll end up in San Juan, Puerto Rico with time to kill between flights, so what’s there to do besides hang out at the airport? If you have a minimum of a few hours you can see and do a lot: tour the famous castle El Morro; wander the blue-stoned streets of Old San Juan; luxuriate at a nearby beach; even escape to El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system. But be careful to watch the time because it’s easy to get lost in your surroundings. In fact, people have got lost in the rainforest. A few years ago an American biologist got disoriented and ended up spending a week or more wandering around the jungle, surviving on what he could scavenge. Continue reading »

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Caribbean, Feature, Puerto Rico

Almost 30 years after my one and only Carnival Cruise I still have a twinge of guilt over the tip I left my waiter at the end of my week. I didn’t know at the time that waiters relied exclusively, or almost exclusively, on tips from their guests for their livelihoods. My guy was too overbearing for me, and when I gave him an envelope containing maybe half of what he expected he just about chased me off the ship. When I learned why he was so distraught it was too late to do anything about it. Now a new book, Cruise Confidential, brings it all back to me in living color (and then some). USA TODAY travel editor Chris Gray takes a look at it on The Cruise Log blog.

Leave a Comment | Filed Under Books, Caribbean, Cruises