This Week's Links

Orientation

Netscape

AOL

Yahoo

Babelfish

Latin World

ScubaMom

Turk’s & Caicos Center

Emely Tours

Such Is Life

Los Roques Paraiso Azul

 

Outer Islands in the Data Stream:

Cayman Guide

Travelers Reports

Caribbean News Groups

Mango Maxx

Fun Barbados

Barefoot Yachts

Welcome to Puerto Rico

 

Islands in the Data Streamno - it's not a hairpiece, just a bad haircut                               back to TTN home page
By Joe Harkins - Aug 19, 98

    Thousands of web pages have sprung up around the fertile subject of the Caribbean. However, much of this typically topical tropical abundance was created by someone in North America with an airplane, hotel or cruise boat to fill. Advertising is doing to the Internet what it did to television and radio, not only as a rising tide of clutter, but also by limiting the variety of information a site offers.

    Fortunately, the democracy of the web has inspired sites that speak for, by and to Joe Sunblocker and Jill Bikinithong. A growing number of them originate outside the USA, a trend that is starting to fulfill the promise behind the name "World Wide Web." These off-shore sites still flaunt ad banners but local perspective more than makes up for that. Also, page designs are sometimes amateurish, but the variety of information is rewarding.

    One of the newest Caribbean resources has neither of those limitations. Orientation comes from Hong Kong in the form of a "portal" site. Portal is the latest buzzword in the Internet business. Portals such as Netscape, AOL, Yahoo, etc. are designed to be the first advertising-laden page you see when you start up your browser.

    Orientation is an exciting new door to parts of the world that are poorly represented by USA-based portals. Don’t be intimidated if it occasionally delivers Caribbean or Latin American pages entirely in Spanish. Alta Vista’s Babelfish translates those sites into stilted but serviceable English with one click.

    Business travelers and vacationers to the Caribbean can look beyond typical tourism packages at Latin World. It’s devoted to business, culture and the daily lives of that region’s residents.

    Sites built by enthusiasts are a mixed bag. For example, if diving is your sport, ScubaMom Lynn McKamey, whose day-gig as a web designer supports her diving habit, beautifully combines generous links and pleasing graphics with transparent navigation. On the other hand, Dick Zebo’s gloriously disorganized Turk’s & Caicos Center may be the longest uninterrupted scroll this side of a roll of Charmin.

    Does it surprise you that people who live in paradise also go on vacation to "get away from it all?" Go to Santo Domingo-based Emely Tours, click on the Cybertours button and then select Mammal Sanctuary. Emely’s links to whale watching information, most of which are in Spanish, are worth the small effort it requires to have them translated at the Babelfish web site. Whale watching in the Caribbean, from mid-January to mid March, is the most spectacular you’ll find anywhere in the world.

    You’ll get a local perspective on life in the tropics from Such Is Life. This sunny site, built by a web-based community of residents on various English-speaking islands, promises (and delivers) a genuine Caribe experience. I’ve bookmarked it, should I find myself snowed-in at home some winter’s day.

    No tropical travel column would be complete without a visit to at least one of the hundreds of sites that claim to be "the Caribbean’s Best Kept Secret." I nominate Los Roques Paraiso Azul whose hotel operator guarantees each visitor a choice of an entire private beach or a complete island. The Paraiso Azul of the web site’s address is a jealously protected National Park of 200 or so tiny islands and sandbars off the coast of Venezuela and east of Aruba that comprise a Blue Paradise. If you go, don’t bother to ask about car rentals. Autos aren’t allowed in Gran Roques, the only town in the archipelago.  -30-

(note: The material that appears below may or may not have been published in your local newspaper depending on the  available space in this week's edition.)

Outer Islands in the Data Stream:

Cayman Guide
There's no attempt to be complete and all-knowing, but it's a good example of how locally built web sites perform a service unique to the Internet.

Travelers Reports
The Caribbean Opinion Database contains reviews of properties submitted by Caribbean travelers.

Caribbean News Groups
This site is rich in links to country-specific News Groups where you'll be able to correspond with local residents or other people around the world who are interested in that same destination or culture.

Mango Maxx
Who knows an island better than a resident?

Fun Barbados
This site is almost as big as the island itself and it appears to have more timely local information than most guidebooks.

Barefoot Yachts
Home of the oldest operating boat charter company (seven generations in the family) in the West Indies. Don't miss the Last Minute Deals. Check out the links at the bottom of their home page for other sites with info on this romantic getaway. (
update Mar 17, 99 - see the Travel The Net column on bareboating.)

Welcome to Puerto Rico
If you have a sound card on your computer, you'll hear the whistling call of one of the world's most unusual national symbols, a tough little frog called The Coqui. Also, be aware this link will drop the frame at the top of your screen. Use your browser's back button to return to Travel The Net.


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