The Heavenly Island of Provo

The breathtakingly gorgeous Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory located in the West Indies.  The islands are widely known for their gorgeous beaches, natural beauty, and pristine coral reefs. 

Providenciales, or Provo, is the urban center of Turks and Caicos and it is also the most popular island.  Interestingly, only about forty years ago, Provo did not have a single wheeled vehicle and today it is one of the most popular vacation destinations among tourists.  The gorgeous beaches, beautiful landscape, and tranquilizing atmosphere of the city will make you fall in love.

Provo is a paradisiacal island that is ideal for families and couples trying to get away from it all.  Provo has gorgeous, white sandy beaches with dazzling turquoise waters, and miles of coral reefs making it the ultimate diving destination.  Flamingo Divers offers diving with small groups of eight people of any experience level and it provides an exciting and memorable diving experience!  The most popular 12 mile stretch of the beach is located on Grace Bay and is surrounded by a barrier reef

At the beach, you can indulge in a host of enjoyable activities including parasailing, scuba diving, surfing, sailing, kite-surfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and waterskiing. 

Provo is a haven for golfers as it has one of the top ten golf courses of the Caribbean. 

The island also has the world’s only Conch farm; the mollusks with their beautiful pink shells take five years to grow.  The Conch farm offers tours during the winter; it is most definitely a must-see, unique attraction of the island. 

Another popular place of interest in Provo is The Hole located on the way to Long Bay Beach.  It is a breathtaking, bottomless pit that has ultimate natural beauty.  According to some, the pit is connected to the sea via underground tunnels.  The Hole is usually admired from the topside; you have to see this fascinating location on your visit!  

Historic points of interest in Provo include Cheshire Hill and Sapodilla Bay.  Cheshire Hall is a 200 year old building that consists of ruins of a prosperous cotton plantation.  The building ruins have been conserved and they offer beautiful views of the island providing a captivating contrast of the old Provo and the modern Provo. 

"The Hole" in ProvidencialesSapodilla Bay is a heavenly spot with white sand beaches and clear blue waters; there is a hill that overlooks Sapodilla Bay where you can observe historic stones engraved by shipwrecked sailors

Provo offers a luxurious and diverse dining experience.  The island has a wide variety of restaurants with distinct ambiances and cuisines.  A lot of restaurants have mouthwatering specials every day of the week!

During your stay at Provo, you must visit the island’s only live casino called Casablanca Casino.  The Casino is an exciting place with live gaming tables, a lounge, and a bar

At Provo Island, you are bound to have a magical vacation. Provo is a heavenly island that will leave you with memories of a lifetime!

St. Martin – the perfect blend of 2 countries!

St. Martin is a magical island that is shared by the French and the Dutch; the two countries share an almost indiscernible and friendly border.  However, each side maintains its distinctiveness and represents its own culture

The island has a very calm and secluded environment that makes it a perfect spot for vacationers.  The fact that the island has two distinct cultures makes it an exciting place to visit.  The beautiful island is warm and sunny throughout the year, the average temperature is about 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Marigot, the capital city of St. Martin, has a vibrant French culture – it has colonial houses, bistros, pastry shops, luxurious boutiques, and European fashions.  The best part is that the entire city is very accessible and vacationer-friendly because it only has four wide streets. 

The figure of Fort St. Louis is a huge historical monument that is located on the side of the island and it overlooks the Marigot Bay.  While you’re looking at this monument, you can get a great panoramic view of the island.  At the South of Marigot, there is a museum that preserves the island’s history and culture as it has an abundance of pre-Colombian treasures and extensive displays that manifest the plantation and slavery period. 

Paradise Peak is the highest point on the island, after climbing 1,400 feet to the top, you can get a magnificent view of the landscape and tropical forest.  On the east of the island, there is a small village called Orleans, or French Quarter, which still preserves some of the seventeenth-century structures.  Spending a day in this beautiful village is a great learning experience that you will thoroughly enjoy. 

There are a ton of fun-filled activities that the great island offers.  St. Martin has thirty seven stunning and unique beaches.  The beach at Grand Case and the Anse Marcel beaches have vibrant local cultures and are great beaches to visit with families.  Orient Bay beach is unique because it has white sand and it offers a great variety of water-sports. 

Dining in St. Martin is world famous- the cuisine there ranges from French delicacies to Asian and Indian cuisine.  There are plenty of renowned restaurants on this island; many of them play music for dancing as well. 

Given the rich culture of St. Martin, the gorgeous beaches, the historical sites, the enjoyable activities, and the romantic and peaceful atmosphere, a trip to this beautiful island will be a magical one that you will cherish for the rest of your life!

Manzanillo – Que Bonita!

Manzanillo, Mexico is a wonderful destination located in the state of Colima. It is a coastal city on the Pacific side with the busiest port in Mexico. However, despite its commercial importance, it has retained its tranquil laid-back Mexican charm.

The port of Manzanillo is made up of two separate bays, divided by the Peninsula of Santiago. On the left is the Bay of Santiago, followed by a smaller notched-out area, known as Playa Audiencia and on the right-hand side, is the Bay of Manzanillo. Both bays are more than five miles long and offer a variety of water sports activities.

Manzanillo is replete with pristine, breathtaking beaches that are undeniably the most beautiful on the western coast of Mexico. Manzanillo is a perfect vacation spot for people that want to get-away-from-it-all and immerse themselves in the best of Mexican beauty and natural charms.  The best way to experience the local way of life is to rent a beach house!

In the north side of Manzanillo, the tourist zone offers exclusive gift shops, cultural stores, travel agencies, tour operators, authentic restaurants and beautiful beaches including Playa de Oro, Playa L’Recif, and La Boquita. In addition, the renowned seafood in Manzanillo is scrumptious and fresh due to the vast fishing culture of the city. Start out your delicious seafood lunch with a shrimp cocktail or fresh oysters and clams caught that morning by the local fishermen. You can also choose from a varied menu of seafood for the main course, such as shrimp, filet of dorado, red snapper, or lobster. While enjoying the delicious food in the vibrant town of Manzanillo, you can have the strolling musicians play you a few Mariachi tunes.

There is a vast variety of activities for vacationers that include playing water sports, fishing, golfing, and enjoying the nightlife. Surfing, scuba diving, swimming, banana boat rides, and snorkeling are very popular in this town and Manzanillo also has two of the top golf courses in Mexico. The city is known as the “sailfish capital of the world” with year-round excursions available for sport fishing.

Tours are available of the city and of the historic state of Colima. It’s a great place to shop too—there are stores ranging from upscale to local vendors that you can bargain with for hammocks, toys and authentic jewelry.

Manzanillo is a cultural, relaxing and enjoyable place to visit for vacationers. It is undeniably a must-see for vacationers planning a trip to Mexico.

Some History on the Chickee

Seminole Indians gathered under a chickee

Seminole Indians gathered under a chickee

“Chickee” is the word Seminoles use for “house.”  The first Seminoles to live in North Florida are known to have constructed log cabin-type homes, some two stories tall, with sleeping quarters upstairs.  The chickee style of architecture – palmetto thatch over a cypress log frame – was born during 3669333433_d791d04913the early 1800s when Seminole Indians, pursued by U.S. troops, needed fast, disposable shelter while on the run.  Though indigenous peoples in other parts of North and South America have developed similar dwellings, it is generally agreed that the Seminole Indian technique and product are far superior.  So popular, efficient and functional is the chickee that such Seminole architecture can be seen all over South Florida.  The chickee structure should last about ten years and needs to be re-thatched every five years.  Several Seminole Tribal members make a living building custom chickees for both commercial and private interests.

*Thank you to Beachhouse.com homeowner and property manager, Sarah Rapp, with Beach Vacation 4 Me, for contributing this article.

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They’re not Chickee’s, but Beachhouse.com has some great beach vacation rental properties in Florida…click HERE to browse our inventory.


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Photo Journey through SE Asia

Beachhouse.com Guest Bloggers, Stacy & Jeff, traveled across 6 countries in Southeast Asia and were nice enough to check in with us all along the way.  This is their journey by the numbers:

  • 21different airplanes they took
  • 6bus rides (varying from 7 hours to 27 hour trips)
  • 2train trips (overnight)
  • 11boat/ferry rides
  • 46different hotels (not including Cynthia and Fernando’s homes)
  • 12the # of languages they came across (at least!) throughout their trip
  • 0sicknesses
  • 0injuries
  • 1root canal
  • 0danger/trouble they encountered
  • 22# of books they read – each!
  • and we both want more!
  • This is their journey in photos (each photo links to the corresponding blog entry):

    We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did!

    Bluefields Bay, Jamaica

    Bluefields Bay, Jamaica is a breathtakingly gorgeous and highly secluded vacation spot in Jamaica. It is sixty minutes away from Montego Bay and forty minutes away from Negril. Because of its untouched beauty and exclusivity, it is an idealgetaway spot and it is perfect for hosting weddings, dinner parties, important family events or birthdays, or any special occasion. The spectacular venues that can accommodate up to forty-two people overlook the Caribbean Sea and hosting an event in one of the venues would be a private and memorable occasion.

    A must-see sight in the western part of Bluefields Bay is the Paradise Park which is a serene, 1000 acre private estate. Anyone that has been to Paradise Park will bear testimony that its name is an accurate reflection of its nature. The park is mainly a cattle and dairy farm located on a tropical savanna with flourishing, grassy fields and colorful flowering trees and shrubs. You can take a tour at the park which takes about an hour and a half and then explore the paths of the topical forest, swim in the blue waters of the bay, picnic in the park, or just seep in the serene, soothing atmosphere. The park is enjoyable at any time of the year; make sure that you are dressed casually and comfortably.

    Bluefields Bay offers a wealth of activities for tourists that include snorkeling, deep-sea fishing, sea kayaking, playing water sports, scuba diving, golfing, horseback riding, going to beaches, and hiking along the beautiful trails of the Bay. There is also a vibrant culture of drinking, dancing and dining that you can explore—over the weekends, you can visit one of the indigenous reggae bars or the lively clubs in Negril and have the opportunity to mingle with the locals of the town. There are also many traditional Jamaican restaurants in Bluefields Bay that are worth visiting. Incidentally, you can eat world-class food cooked by a renowned chef at your own villa! A tour of historical sites would be very interesting because Bluefields Bay has a rich past having been occupied by the English and Scottish colonists. It goes without saying that a trip to Bluefields Bay will be a very enjoyable, relaxing and memorable experience for you.

    Guest Blog – North Captiva’s Historical Ice House

    Fish house following hurricane Charlie - It has since been restored

    The Calusa Indians, who dominated South Florida for more than a millennium, were skilled sailors and fisherman. Their large canoes of hallowed out cypress logs were capable of reaching Cuba. They thrived through living in harmony with our Southwest Florida environment. Pineland on Pine Island contains some of the most extensive Calusa mound sites and canal works.

    The Calusa Indians fished with nets made from Cabbage Palm fibers. After the demise of the Calusas from European conquest and the introduction of diseases like smallpox, new settlers became adept at commercial fishing. Pine Island Sound was peppered with fishing camps and later, ice houses, which eliminated the need to preserve their catch through drying and salting.

    One such ice house was built in 1924 by the Punta Gorda Fish Company at the north shore entrance to Safety Harbor at North Captiva Island. One story rests on a wooden platform supported by wood pilings. The Ice House is one of few remaining buildings documenting the system of remote, water-based fish industry ice houses.

    The structure was built as an ice house to serve the fishermen and run boats in the loading, unloading and storage of freshly caught fish. The structure is a specialized form designed to function under potentially adverse weather conditions, relative isolation, and the possible requirement to relocate the building to follow the migration of the fish.