Thursday, February 15, 2018

Caribbean Tales: How to select islands for an Indian Passport holder

The cricket fanatic in my husband wanted to visit the West Indies. We didn't visit any stadiums though but that is for another post! Frankly, we had no clue since we didn't have any friends who have visited the islands. Living in the Middle East, we usually go to Europe or Asian countries owing to shorter flight duration. And so, Google was my only friend when searching for the islands to see.

This page stating Visa Requirements for Indian Passport Holders is highly accurate. To reconfirm you must go to the immigration site of various countries and check. You can also find their twitter handle and message them; chances are high of getting a reply. I even emailed a few embassies and got a response, although I found better info online!

If you are flying via USA, you will need an American tourist visa. We didn't check before going if U.S. needs transit visa; it does! Thankfully we had one, and it is probably because of this we didn't pay much heed to transit requirements.

From whatever I read online, we can safely conclude that you can visit most Caribbean nations while on a cruise without a visa. A clear exception to this is Cuba (the ONLY reason we couldn't visit this amazinggg island). You can take a 4-day, 7-day, 14-day, etc cruise leaving from Miami, Puerto Rico, Galveston, or any other port, visit these islands as a day tripper, and no one will ask you for a visa. It saves you a lot of hassle, plus you can see more in less time.

Frankly, a cruise works really well. Inter-Caribbean airlines are known for baggage loss, several delays and cancellations, and what not. I had read horrid tales and frankly I was super scared. Thankfully, nothing went wrong in our case and we were saved. But we did lose several hundred dollars due to cancellations for we didn't want to visit Hurricane (Maria and Irma) hit islands. The airlines give you vouchers for canceling and we have no plans of visiting the Caribbean in the next one year... so.

If you are like us who want to stay in an island for several days to soak in the culture, you could make an itinerary like ours. Since we were new to the region, I just researched for direct flights from one island to the other and made my itinerary. The following route is easily possible with direct flights and no visa hassle:

Miami --San Juan -- St. Kitts & Nevis -- Antigua & Barbuda -- Dominica -- St. Marteen -- Kingston -- Miami

(You get Visa on Arrival at Antigua if you have a US visa and you don't need a visa in St. Marteen if you have the same.)

However we had to change itinerary due to Hurricane Maria. It is sad what happened to St. Marteen and Dominica due to the disastrous winds and rainfall. We canceled and rescheduled our flights and lost a lot of money which is nothing compared to the life and infrastructure lost due to the same. My heart goes out to all their beautiful people...

Our revised itinerary looked like this:

Bahrain -- St. Kitts & Nevis -- Antigua & Barbuda -- Kingston & Ocho Rios -- Miami -- Bahrain

Now finding direct flights can be tricky. Don't be alarmed if you go to a travel site and see no flight on your day of departure. Just go to google and type, say, Antigua to Kingston flight and you will find the day of direct flight from your departing country.

I would strongly advice you not to take connecting flights in the Caribbean as the web states many horror stories! Check Liat and Seaborne reviews if you want.

Apart from Visa and direct flights, we went to Google Images for advice! It all looks so beautiful! Jamaica was on the top of our list. Cuba needed visa from India which was not possible for us. Antigua has 365 beaches. St. Kitts had easy access from Miami, and a high recommendation from bloggers around the world.

Our itinerary was sorted..

Coming up next - Exploring St. Kitts.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds very interesting and informative. But, sucks to lose money due to constant delays like that.


Your sweetness makes my day. Gentle criticism will be taken in the right spirit too :)