Living Off the Grid and Safe From Hurricanes in Puerto Rico

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In this jungle community, self-sustaining homes are built from trash and can withstand the deadliest storms.

When Noemi and Carlos Chaparro peered outside on September 21, 2017, they gasped at the destruction. Hurricane Maria, which had made landfall the previous day, had uprooted the gracious old palm and bamboo groves that once stood on their family farm in northwest Puerto Rico. The wind had torn the roof off the bedroom their two sons shared. The electricity was down. To get water, Carlos and Noemi had to carry buckets from a nearby river. To feed their three kids, they captured a pigeon and cracked open coconuts. The family couldn’t reach a working phone until early October. “It was traumatic,” Noemi told me. “Apocalyptic.”

For the Chaparros and millions of other Puerto Ricans, the hurricane served as a bitter reminder that this vestige of forgotten American empire still relies on a federal government that can’t be trusted to provide for even its most basic needs. After Maria, the Trump administration responded, but with delays. Convinced the funds would only go to paying off Puerto Rico’s debts, President Donald Trump tried to divert aid to the battered coasts of Texas and Florida. Poor communication, ruined infrastructure, and shoddy transportation left crucial aid stranded in Puerto Rico’s ports for weeks. Nearly 3,000 people died. Five months after the storm, a fifth of the island’s population still lacked electricity. No American community has suffered through a longer blackout.

Read full article on The New Republic

20 Top Things to Do in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands While on a Cruise

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You should check these top 20 things to do in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Mainly catered for cruise ship visitors who are on a Caribbean cruise vacation.

From wandering quaint waterfront towns to exploring green rolling hills dotted with sugar plantation ruins and lying on miles of soft white sandy beach there are plenty of things to do in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.

Whether your cruise to the USVI is scheduled to dock in St. Croix or you are planning a visit of your own. You are in for a treat. If you are interested in history, culture, perfect beaches, lush outdoors and unparalleled underwater adventures then this eastern Caribbean island is the place to be.

This lesser traveled island in the US Virgin Islands cluster is actually the largest and boasts of such a diverse land and water ecosystem it’s impossible to explore it all in just a day on-port.

But don’t take our word for it, we’ve done the research and found 20 things for cruise ship passengers to do during a visit to the island. First, some essential port information to help you out.

St. Croix Port Information

St. Croix also known as ‘Twin City’ has two major cities. Unlike other USVI islands, cruise ships don’t dock in the capital of St. Croix. Instead, ships dock at the Ann E. Abramson Pier in Frederiksted on the western side of the island. This pier is long enough to host two mega ships.

St. Croix Cruise Port
Photo Credit: Prayitno (Creative Commons)

The pier has a tourism desk, bathrooms and from there downtown, Frederiksted is just a walking distance. You can take a taxi from Budget Frederiksted to Christiansted to explore the capital city and the eastern side of the island. Since St. Croix has been a United States territory since 1917, the official currency on the island is the dollar and English is the common language.

1. Explore Frederiksted

Before you wander to the eastern side of the island, check out the west. This is where most of the magic is. From lush botanical gardens and rolling mountain background to pristine white sand beaches, Frederiksted has it all.

Take a walking tour of the town. Explore the Victorian Era architecture while you pop in and out of shops and quaint restaurants. There is plenty to eat, drink and shop in and around the town area.

Read rest of above article on CruiseHive.com

Businesses in St. Croix, USVI listed on CoolestCarib.com include:

BEACH RESORT:
Chenay Bay Beach Resort: www.ChenayBay.com

CAR RENTALS:
Olympic St. Croix: www.OlympicStCroix.com

RESTAURANT & BEACH BARS:
The New Deep End Beach Bar & Grill: www.NewDeepEnd.com
Eat At Cane Bay: www.EatAtCaneBay.com

SCUBA DIVING:
Latitude 17 Scuba St. Croix: www.Lat17Scuba.com

Retirement on a Caribbean island can cost as little as $24,000 a year

Caribbean Retirement
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If your idea of the ideal permanent getaway includes clear turquoise water and white sand beaches, consider these five Caribbean islands.

You can enjoy a relaxing retirement for just $36,000 a year – and that’s on the high end. A report from InternationalLiving.com says these five island locales are beautiful, accessible and, most of all, affordable on an income that’s in line with the average monthly Social Security check for a couple.

For an idea of prices for rent, restaurants, groceries and other daily items, try the calculators on Numbeo or Expatistan. Price data may not be available for some areas.

  • 1. Ambergris Caye, Belize

    No longer just a sleepy Caribbean hideaway, the largest island in Belize has a dynamic community. Ambergris Caye is the most popular spot for expats in Belize, according to Escape Artist, a resource for people looking to live abroad. The Belize Barrier Reef, half a mile from shore, draws fishermen and divers.

    Two domestic airlines – Tropic Air and Maya Island Air – have frequent flights to the island from Belize City, so getting to Ambergris is easy. You can also reach the island by water taxi.

    A three-course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant will set you back $55, according to Numbeo. On a monthly budget of $2,900, or $34,800 a year, a couple can enjoy a comfortable retirement in Ambergris Caye, including rent for a house or apartment. If you own a home, expats report it’s possible for a couple to live quite comfortably on less than $24,000 a year.

    Read full article on CNBC.com

Jamaica leads in Richard Branson-backed plan for a Caribbean climate revolution

Sustainable Energy against climate change
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After hurricanes Irma and Maria tore through the Caribbean in 2017, devastating dozens of islands – including billionaire Richard Branson’s private isle, Necker Island – Branson called for a “Caribbean Marshall Plan.”

He wanted world powers and global financial institutions to unite to protect the Caribbean against the effects of climate change.

Branson at a Climate-Smart Accelerator event. Adrian Creary/Studiocraft, CC BY

That hasn’t happened. So Branson and his government partners from 27 Caribbean countries hope that his celebrity, connections and billions will prod local politicians and the financial community to act.

In August 2018, at a star-studded event at the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica, Branson helped to launch the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator, a US$1 billion effort to kickstart a green energy revolution in the region.

Read full article on TheConversation.com

The Diverse Food and Drink of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Restaurants
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This incredible island is home to some incredible tastes
Without fail, when I mentioned to friends and family my upcoming trip to Puerto Rico, everyone’s reaction was pretty much the same. Mostly a combination of confused looks and concerned comments about the state of the island. I guess it’s understandable since most people on the mainland still have images fresh in their memory of the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. Even though the small Caribbean US territory had suffered terrible losses due to the storm, Puerto Rico and its resilient people today are all about restoring and rebuilding to be better than ever, while moving towards becoming a more sustainable and self-sufficient island. In fact, the saying I heard time and time again from locals is their excitement for the island’s “new beginnings,” symbolizing a rebirth after losing almost everything to the storm.

On our first day in Puerto Rico and after a blissful night’s rest at Hyatt House San Juan, we embarked on a three hour Old San Juan Walk & Taste Tour by strolling through the cobblestone streets and popping into cafés to sample local, sustainably-sourced eats.

Read full article on TheDailyMeal.com

Come for Kitesurf Sailing Trip in the Caribbean

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Join us on our adventure through the windy little Antilles islands. During the kitesurf – sailing trip we will look for our personal kite spots around the Grenadines and enjoy the sun, the warm Caribbean Sea, constant wind conditions and the lifestyle of the islands.

The highlight: we spend the entire sailing trip on the water. With our boat the Lagoon 52, a 52 feet long luxury high-sea catamaran, we sail from island to island at our own pace. During island-hopping in the Caribbean the luxury sailing yacht leaves nothing to be desired. Six high-quality cabins, each with there own private bathrooms, a large open kitchen with living area, BBQ grill and open-air lounge, offer the perfect base. A relaxing sailing trip in the Caribbean is guaranteed. Because of the two skids the catamaran is much more stable in the water. A professional skipper is on board of the fully equipped sailing ship. A special highlight is our cook on board who will take care of your physical well-being!

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Hotels in the Caribbean Go Green!

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“So if you want to do the very best for the planet, you need to meet the very best Standard there is for sustainable tourism.”

Today businesses across all industries require certification to provide independent assurance that their enterprises operate sustainably. For more than two decades Green Globe has been providing sustainability certification for the various sectors that make up the international travel and tourism industry. The Green Globe International Standard for Sustainability has been applied to a great variety of business types from accommodation and hospitality, to transport and tour operators, conference venues and meeting planners, as well as management and public relations firms.

At Green Globe we know that to truly do good we must all do better. The Green Globe International Standard for Sustainable Tourism has been developed over decades of research and development. It is the original Standard that all tourism eco-labels are based on. So if you want to do the very best for the planet, you need to meet the very best Standard there is for sustainable tourism.

View list of all ‘Green Globe’ Caribbean Hotels

New Hub Launched to Increase Transparency of Climate Action in the Caribbean

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UN Climate Change News, 21 February 2019 – Measuring, reporting and verifying climate action under the Paris Climate Change Agreement is being strengthened in the Caribbean region with the help of a new hub, with support from UN Climate Change.

This month, a Caribbean Measurement, Reporting and Verification “MRV” Hub was formally launched, a unique collaborative technical institution where countries in the region can share expertise to foster regional excellence and generate stronger policy-relevant carbon accounting.

The MRV Hub provides a mechanism through which country experts will function as a true learning, mentoring and resource-sharing technical cooperative

At a meeting of ten countries from the English-speaking Caribbean region convened at St. George’s University in Grenada, UNDP’s Damiano Borgogno delivered a call to action.

“You cannot control what you cannot measure,” he said, noting that countries must be able to measure and track emissions to make informed decisions that result in climate change action.

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Most Cuban-Americans in Miami support rapprochement with Cuba

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HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) — According to a Florida International University (FIU) survey conducted in Miami-Dade County, the majority of Cuban-Americans support rapprochement with Cuba, Prensa Latina reported.

The study, which is the first of its kind since the beginning of the Trump administration, revealed that 80 percent of those surveyed are of the opinion that the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States on the island is a failed policy, as former president Barack Obama acknowledged.

The polls also revealed that 63 percent of Cubans in Miami-Dade support the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations and 68 percent of those polled are in favour of the expansion and maintenance of trade relations with Cuba by US companies.

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‘Not so fast on the weed’

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Some members of the clergy believe that Barbados should approach the legalisation of marijuana for medical purposes with a greater degree of caution.

 Head of Mount Zion Missions, Reverend Dr. Lucille Baird, condemned what she called the sudden introduction of medical marijuana legislation as Barbadians were grappling with economic challenges. She accused the relevant authorities of “slipping it under the radar” while Barbadians were otherwise distracted.

 “While Barbadians were under the aneathesia of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme, and anxious about the layoffs and the other issues associated with that, they got injected with legalised medical marijuana.

 “What is worse is that this measure was introduced without any national referendum, town hall meetings or any other public discussion, and it can potentially cause long-term devastating effects on this nation, as other much bigger countries have experienced since making similar moves,” she charged.

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