When Past Meets Present: Time Traveling in the Caribbean

WRITTEN BY: Paradise by Marriott

Beyond the picturesque beaches, one-of-a-kind shopping, and thrilling nightlife, the Caribbean has a rich and distinct history that rivals anywhere else in the world. Helping to curate an experience rich in culture and history is not an easy task. So we've picked some of our favorite historical sites and attractions, sure to please a wide range of clients:

Mexico.Are your clients looking to add some ancient history to their itinerary of Cancun beaches and bars? Check out the Chichen Itza Mayan ruins (located in the Peninsula of Yukatan), which rank as the 2nd most visited archeological site in Mexico. Here, guests can also visit the Kukulkan Pyramid, recognized as one of the recent Seven Wonders of the World. Dating back thousands of years, guests can take in the Maya and Toltec vision of the world through artistic works and stone monuments. Be sure to remind them to bring comfortable shoes for walking, and if they're looking for an extra special experience, there are nightly light and sound shows available to the public.

Peru.An absolute "must-see" for anyone traveling through Peru is the legendary Machu Picchu. At about 8,000 feet above sea-level and located in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, this historic sanctuary is one of the world's best known archaeological sites and among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements of all time. Built in the fifteenth century, the site is impressive - comprised of about 200 structures, including palaces, plazas and temples. So how can your clients get there? It's readily accessible from JW Marriott El Convento Cusco- about a three-hour train ride, each way. It's a day trip, but worth the extra time and effort.

St. Thomas.One of St. Thomas's most famous historical sites (and one of five National Historic Landmarks in the Virgin Islands) is Blackbeard's Castle. Spanning five acres on a hilltop, guests can take a walking tour and see several National Landmark Properties and historical manor houses - dating all the way to the 1600's. The castle, originally called Skytsborg Tower, was formerly used as a lookout for Danish soldiers trying to identify enemy ships entering the harbor. There's something for everyone: a spectacular view of the Harbor, three manor houses (all listed in the National Register of Historic Places), 99 Steps (another famous landmark), lush tropical gardens, and a shopping district.

St. Kitts.You can't talk about Caribbean history without taking the time to explore St. Kitts. With historical sites ranging from the St. Kitts Sugar Factory and Compound (opened in 1912) to Old Road Bay (the first permanent European settlement in the Leeward Islands), there isn't a shortage of intriguing spots to visit. However, the most impressive site might be Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park- one of the best-preserved historical fortifications in the Americas. Designed by British military engineers and built by African slaves, the fortress tells the stories of European colonial expansion, the African slave trade, and the arrival of new societies. Tip: If you climb to the top, you can see various Caribbean islands on the horizon - making for a completely unique photo op.

Curacao.For those guests seeking more of the religious variety, Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue(or Snoa) fits the bill. With its close proximity to the Curacao Marriott Beach Resort & Emerald Casino, it's easy to fit into a busy week of sightseeing. The site is the oldest Jewish temple in continuous use in the New World, and the community dates back from the 1650s. There's plenty for your clients to see here, including the adjoining Jewish Historical Cultural Museum, with ancient artifacts like unique 18th century Torah crowns. What really stands out to visitors is the floor, which is made entirely of sand - paying homage to the 40 years the Jews spent wandering the desert, as well as the early Jewish settlers who had to muffle the sounds of their prayers when meeting secretly during the Spanish Inquisition.

With the Caribbean's impressive emphasis on preserving the past, it only makes sense to incorporate a healthy dose of history into your client's itinerary. From St. Kitts to Curacao, there are plenty of historic attractions to excite tourists of all ages and interests. And to make it even easier to take a trip back in time, there are many Marriott properties near top historic sites, providing yet another reason to think Marriott for your client's next Caribbean stay.

Paradise by Marriott