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Best Eastern Caribbean Excursions

El Morro fort is one of the major attractions at Old San Juan. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
El Morro fort is one of the major attractions at Old San Juan. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license
Some of the best western excursions include Mayan ruins and such natural attractions as Stingray City, Dunn's River Falls and Belize cave tubing.

The eastern Caribbean is more likely to have centuries-old forts and cities built by European empires. The best natural attractions have more to do with getting a better suntan. Following are some of the best eastern Caribbean shore excursions.

Old San Juan


San Juan, Puerto Rico, is one of the top Caribbean destinations, especially for eastern Caribbean cruises. The most famous and popular historical attraction is Old San Juan, which is within walking distance of where many ships dock.

The Spanish-built Old San Juan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico. It is home to grand forts, centuries-old buildings, cobblestone streets and plenty of shops and restaurants. It's one of the best walking around excursions in the Caribbean.

Nassau


The Bahamas are in the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Caribbean Sea, but they are destinations for many Caribbean cruises because of their convenient location near Florida cruise embarkation ports. The top destination in the Bahamas is the city of Nassau on New Providence island.

Like Old San Juan, it has a European colonial history dating back to the 17 century. Unlike Old San Juan, it has fewer major historical attractions. What it does have is a massive tourism district and the Atlantis resort complex with a marine habitat, Dolphin Cay and Predator Lagoon.

Magens Bay Beach


Eastern Caribbean cruises also often go to the popular cruise port at Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although it is famous for duty-free shopping, it also has one of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean at Magens Bay. Even better, the beach is only five miles from the cruise port, so the taxi ride is quick and cheap.

Philipsburg


It's a matter of opinion, but I think Philipsburg on St. Maarten is one of the most convenient all-around cruise ports in the eastern Caribbean. Cruise passengers disembark at a massive open-air cruise mall.

From there, they can walk or take a quick water taxi to the city, which has a nice beach and boardwalk. Great Bay Beach isn't the best beach in the Caribbean, but it's one of the best right next to a major cruise port.

English Harbour


Antigua has 365 beaches or one for every day of the year. The beaches are good, but the island also has an interesting history. History lovers and families who want an educational experience for their children should consider going to English Harbour.

The British navy built a major naval base here in the 1700s and kept it in military use until 1889. It is now part of Nelson's Dockyard National Park, which covers 15 square miles. Still active, English Harbour is the only Georgian dockyard left in the world.

The dockyard is named after the legendary Horatio Nelson, the British admiral who was best known for a major victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. Nelson commanded a ship at English Harbour.

The Pitons


St. Lucia has a pair of side-by-side dormant volcanoes called The Pitons. They offer great photo opportunities plus some interesting attractions such as volcano hikes and even volcano mud baths. My wife and daughter got their mud bath. My son and I got our dirt on an ATV beach ride.

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