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Hunter Publishing's books on the Caribbean.
Review by Phil Stripling
Hunter Publishing has an excellent series on the Caribbean. We have separately reviewed St. Martin & St. Barts Alive! and Martinique, Guadeloupe, Dominica & St. Lucia Alive! finding those to be excellent resources. The pages on St. Barts, for example, are the best we have found.
The Hunter Travel Guides are identical in format unless otherwise noted. The layout uses lots of free clip art, one font used for headings is rather hard to read, and there are no photographs, but the books are well- written in plain English, without gushing. The authors have covered their islands very well, and there are lots of tips which were new to us on the islands we have spent considerable time exploring. We expect that the books on the islands we have not visited are just as good.
Landmark Visitors Guides are British books published in the US by Hunter. They are printed on glossy paper and have color photographs. It has been my pleasure to read and use British travel guides in the past, and these books are in the same excellent tradition: greater depth of coverage of local geology, governance, and culture, with less emphasis on glitzy nightlife and shopping.
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|Antigua & Barbuda|
This is a Landmark Visitors Guide. The slim volume contains just under a hundred pages. The author gives a brief overview of the geology of Antigua, Barbuda, and Redonda and a history from the Arawaks to the Europeans and cricket. There is considerable information on food, which I found surprising, then fascinating. The author offers several self- guided tours, illustrated by photographs, and a separate section on eating out. A lengthy "Fact File" brings the book to a close with entry requirements, lost objects, local driving permits, hunting, weddings, and cruises.
|The Bahamas A Taste of the Islands|
Well over 200 pages, this volume is by wife and husband team Paris Permenter and John Bigley. This book has some black and white photos as well as a different style of difficult- to- read type for headings. It is chock full of information specific to the Bahamas, including the conservative dress and dress codes at some of the restaurants. Not only do the authors cover each of the islands of the Bahamas (restaurants, lodging, things to do), but they also include a lengthy section on the Turks and Caicos.
|Nassau & the Best of the Bahamas Alive!
Also by Permenter and Bigley, this book is even bigger than their Taste of the Islands volume. This one covers nightclubs, comedy clubs, theatre, casinos, and shows, along with banks, bars, and beaches. The authors also give a brief overview of each populated island and what makes it worth a visit.
This is a Landmark Visitors guide. Over 150 pages, this book covers the gamut -- local recipes, self- guided tours, bus routes, and railways, as well as restaurants, lodging, and beaches. There is much greater depth in the coverage of the politics and government of the island than American "shop and sun" books, so you have some understanding of the people and culture. Of course, the book also covers the usual necessities for visitors to Bermuda: hot spots, shopping, dining, lodging, things to do from your cruise ship, nightlife, and considerably more.
|The Cayman Islands Alive!
Permenter and Bigley cover the Caymans in the Alive! fashion. The Caymans are well known to divers, and the authors cover the three islands in considerable detail. With over 250 pages, the book covers the beaches, restaurants, lodging, and activities on all the islands in well- written depth.
|US & British Virgin Islands
A Landmark Visitor Guide, this is a densely packed book of almost 250 pages on the Virgins. Color photographs are used especially well in this book, showing Caribbean paint schemes on houses, the beaches and harbors, and many of the fallen wind mills that dot the islands from their days of cane. Of the books that I have seen in the Landmark series, this is the most attractive. The detail it offers is astounding (see the passage on the Bitter End, for example), and the book filled in a great deal of information about the exploration and exploitation of the Caribbean, bringing to life place names I have seen but which I could not place in context.
|The Secret Caribbean
This is a different format from the Alive! guides, with better paper and in Bernhard Roman typeface, one of my favorites for its elegance. The book has black and white photographs, and none of the clipart gracing the pages of the Alive! series. This book claims to expose the hideaways of the rich and famous. I read its pages on St. Barth with particular interest. To my pleasant surprise, the chapter on St. Barth is written matter of factly, without the hyperbole one might associate with books about the rich and famous (well, their lodgings, actually). The author covers the appropriate hotels in some depth without gushing over the guest list and the linens. Each hotel is described in some detail in about three pages, with a listing of facilities, location, rates, and unique offerings of the particular hotel. The book covers a dozen and a half Caribbean destinations (including Cancun), and reviews several hotels at each location. The hotels are world class. If you are looking for a vacation where you will be pampered very, very professionally, you will likely find your ideal destination in this book. 371 pages.
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