A Cornucopia of Flavors

Hotels & Destinations

Foods and beverages that are popular on several islands provide a kinship and unity among Caribbean people. On the other hand, some dishes are mainly associated with specific islands, and are a fundamental part of their distinct identity. 

Traces of all the islands’ inhabitants throughout history can be found in the foods and beverages. Drawing on the islands’ lush vegetation, Caribbean cuisine is an intriguing mix of aromatic citrus flavors that are sweet and tart, piquant and mild.

Groups that have met in the Caribbean rave about the cornucopia of flavors they experience, and this almost invariably spurs them to find out more about the origins of the foods and beverages. This, in turn, leads to a deeper understanding of the islands’ rich, buoyant cultures.

Three of the most popular Caribbean islands among meeting groups—Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica—have a fascinating culinary scene that reflects their multicultural history. The same can be said of Cuba, which is primed to become a hot meetings destination for U.S. groups now that the United States has taken steps to normalize relations with the island. 

Looking further north, the Bahamas and Bermuda aren’t part of the Caribbean, but share many cultural traditions with Caribbean islands, including foods and beverages.

All of these islands offer culinary adventures that can add pizzazz before, during and after meetings. 

Incentive Travel

Cuba

Cuban cuisine reflects not only the many cultural influences on the island (including Spanish, French, African, Arabic, Chinese and Portuguese), but also the state of the struggling economy, which has caused shortages of some ingredients due to fluctuations in the food supply. The longtime U.S. embargo has further limited the availability of some foodstuffs, but this should change due to improving relations between the countries.

Amendments to the Cuban Asset Control Regulations, which became effective Jan. 16, stipulate that U.S. professional meetings and conferences are now allowed, but participants’ activities must directly relate to their profession and can’t include excessive free time or recreation. 

Several major U.S. airlines have expressed interest in flying to Cuba, but currently only air charter transportation is available. Also, Cuba does not yet have a sufficient number of high-quality hotels to meet the expected demand.

Groups that manage to make the journey will experience a culinary scene as intriguing as the island in general. Most restaurants serve meals that revolve around roast or fried pork and chicken, accompanied by rice, beans and viandas (root vegetables). Cubans generally dislike hot, spicy foods, so these are generally not found, except in some new, privately owned restaurants. 

During the Cold War, Cuba relied on the latest chemicals, fertilizers and farm equipment from the Soviet bloc, but when it collapsed, the Cuban culinary scene began steadily evolving. The island turned to ecologically sound farming to increase its food production, and as a result, local produce is usually fresh and often organic. 

Also, in September, the Cuban Domestic Trade department announced that the number of privately owned restaurants would increase from 1,261 to 9,000. The privately owned restaurants (paladares) have introduced some interesting new dishes to the island.

The combination of organically grown produce, increased availability of foodstuffs and privatization of restaurants all point to a sort of culinary renaissance.

“Cuban food truly is better than ever, but restaurant menus are subject to what is available and fresh in the market on a given day,” says Jennine Cohen, managing director of Latin America for Geographic Expeditions, which has been offering Cuba tours for the past three years.

Traditional Foods

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

Two of the most popular traditional Cuban dishes are stews. Ropa vieja (literally, old clothes) consists of shredded beef or lamb prepared over a slow heat with green peppers, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Ajiaco contains ingredients that vary from region to region, but always includes at least one kind of meat, corn and usually green vegetables. Lobster, shrimp and fish also are popular, and usually very fresh. 

Dinner usually consists of a meat, chicken or fish dish accompanied by white rice, black beans, and maduros (sweet fried plantain). Other traditional accompaniments are yuca con mojo (cassava drenched in an oil and garlic sauce); boniato (a type of sweet potato); fried plantain; mashed, boiled or fried green bananas, which have a buttery, almost nutty taste; and a salad made of tomatoes, cucumber, cabbage and avocado. The main meal is followed by a dessert such as the typical flan (a caramel-flavored custard) and a shot of cafe cubano. Other popular alternatives for dessert are bread or rice puddings.

Fruit is generally eaten at breakfast and rarely appears on a lunch or dinner menu. The best places to buy fruit are the agromercados, where you can find cheap fruits throughout the year. Particularly tasty are the various types of oranges, mangoes and pineapples; delicious lesser-known fruits include the prickly green soursop, with its unique sweet but tart taste (likened to a strawberry-pineapple blend) and mamey, which has the flavor and texture of sweet potato pudding, and is best served as a milkshake.

Rum, the national drink, is found practically everywhere and is generally the most inexpensive alcoholic drink available—it is priced at about $3 a bottle in hotels, and rum cocktails in bars cost only about $2. Cuba also has plenty of lager-type cerveza (beer); the best-known brands are Cristal, a smooth, light lager, and Bucanero, a darker, more potent variety. Coffee, served most often as pre-sweetened espresso, is the beverage of choice for many Cubans, and is served in all restaurants and bars and at many national peso coffee stands located around town centers. 

Where to Indulge 

Restaurant in La Guarida, Havana

La Guarida, Havana

“Our groups enjoy some of the country’s finest paladares, which are family-run restaurants generally housed in Havana’s beautiful but often dilapidated mansions,” Cohen says. “They are generally much better than the government-run restaurants. ”

San Cristobal Paladar in central Havana offers groups a taste of Colonial Cuba. It exudes friendliness, has a charming decor and features tantalizing yucca, malanga and shrimp dishes. Groups might want to start with a mixed entree platter and then try the main house specialties—lobster or lamb—served on 19th-century china. Try the pudding before enjoying complimentary rum and, for smokers, a fine, local cigar. 

More than merely a restaurant, it is an experience: Tables are surrounded by antiques, stacks of books and nostalgic black and white photographs. Owner and chef Carlos Cristobal Marquez Valdes is happy to stop by your table to discuss the place. 

Originally the setting for the acclaimed film Strawberry and Chocolate (Fresa y Chocolate), La Guarida is now a scenic hideaway paladar for film and food buffs alike. It’s tucked away on the third floor of a shabby-chic residential building where everyday family life goes on undisturbed. 

Guests climb a dramatic marble staircase to reach three small rooms where they can dine among old film paraphernalia; but for a truly special meal, try for a table on the balcony, which offers spectacular, panoramic views of central Havana. The prices have risen with the restaurant’s ascent to international fame, but the meal is well worth it. 

Located in the residential Miramar district, El Aljibe is a half-open-air restaurant that has been delighting Cuban and foreign taste buds for years. It offers what some claim to be the best pollo asado (roast chicken) in Havana, and serves it with as-much-as-you-can-eat helpings of white rice, black beans, fried plantain, french fries and salad. 

Where to Meet & Stay

Melia Cohiba, Havana

Melia Cohiba, Havana

Founded in 1979, Palacio de Convenciones de la Habana (Havana International Conference Center) is located in one of the most beautiful residential neighborhoods of the city. It’s a 20-minute drive from Jose Marti International Airport (HAV), and provides 645,835 sq. ft. of function space and 12 meeting rooms. 

The four-star Hotel Palco, adjacent to the convention center and a short drive from downtown, has 178 guest rooms and four meeting rooms, and is equipped with modern technology. Because of its proximity to the convention center, it is best to book rooms well in advance of your visit. Melia Cohiba hotel in Havana overlooks the ocean and is the home of Habana Cafe, the only nightclub in the city reminiscent of the Havana of the 1950s. It’s 16 miles from the airport and has 462 guest rooms and nine meeting rooms, with the largest able to accommodate more than 1,000 people. 

The elegant, five-star Iberostar Parque Central Hotel is nestled in the heart of Havana, within close proximity to many popular tourist attractions. The five-story building, which is famous for its Colonial-style architecture, has 427 guest rooms and 6,377 sq. ft. of meeting space, divided among 10 rooms. One of Havana’s most intriguing landmarks, Manzana de Gomez, is about to be renovated and converted into a five-star luxury hotel with 246 guest rooms. Kempinski, Europe’s oldest hotel chain, will manage the property for the Cuban hotel group Gaviota S.A. It’s slated to open in 2016; the amount of meeting space is still undetermined.

Puerto Rico

Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to Spanish, Cuban and Mexican cuisine, it is a unique, tasty blend of influences, using such indigenous seasonings and ingredients as coriander, papaya, cacao, nispero, apio, plantains and yampee. 

“Our island hasn’t just become a magnet for foodies: It’s grown into the gastronomic capital of the Caribbean,” says Joyce Martinez, vice president of business development and sales for Meet Puerto Rico. “If you believe that a culture can best be understood through its food, you’re in for the trip of your lifetime.”

Locals call their cuisine cocina criolla (Creole cooking), which can be traced to the Arawaks and Tainos, the original inhabitants of the island who lived on a diet of corn, tropical fruit and seafood. When Juan Ponce de Leon arrived with Christopher Columbus in 1493, the Spanish added beef, pork, rice, wheat and olive oil to the island’s foodstuffs. The Spanish soon began planting sugarcane and importing slaves from Africa who introduced okra and taro (known in Puerto Rico as yautia). The mingling of flavors and ingredients was passed from generation to generation among the different ethnic groups that settled on the island. 

Traditional Foods

Puerto Rico's Asopao

Puerto Rico's Asopao

Rice with kidney beans is a trademark of Puerto Rico cuisine, known for its exquisite flavor featuring a unique combination of seasonings. Mofongo, a mashed mound of plantain (and sometimes cassava), is the most popular dish on the island. It’s filled with a variety of stuffings, including steak, chicken, shrimp, crab, mixed seafood and vegetables. 

The official dish of Puerto Rico, asopao, is a hearty stew made with chicken, rice and vegetables, and usually a few extra ingredients that serve as the chef’s signature on the dish. It can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a light meal. Lechon, or roast suckling pig (roasted over charcoal), is more than a dish: It’s an event. It’s not unique to Puerto Rico, but it’s a must-serve at large gatherings.

Some of the most popular Puerto Rican desserts are arroz con dulce (rice pudding), custard flan and tembleque (creamy coconut pudding).

The island’s volcanic soil and mountainous interior climate are ideal for coffee growing, resulting in some of the finest coffee in the world. Puerto Rico also is the birthplace of the pina colada, which was created by Ramon “Monchito” Marrero, who felt it captured the true flavors of the island.

Where to Indulge

One of the best ways to sample a wide variety of Puerto Rico F&B is to attend one of the many annual culinary fairs. The largest one, Saborea Puerto Rico: a Culinary Extravaganza (scheduled for April 9–12 this year on Escambron Beach in Old San Juan), is sponsored by the Puerto Rico Hotel & Tourism Association. “It brings together the best flavors the island has to offer, as well as some of the world’s biggest culinary stars,” Martinez says.

Flavors of San Juan Food & Culture Tours offers three-hour cultural walking food tours that provide tastes of Puerto Rico’s best cuisine, ranging from items in a small coffeehouse to special dishes in large, popular restaurants. The tours also provide insights into the city’s history and architecture. Private group tours can be arranged. 

Several other businesses offer food and culture tours throughout the San Juan metro area and around the island, and many of them can be customized for groups. 

One of the top spots for food-lovers in San Juan is Plaza del Mercado in Santurce, an urban-cultural-art district that thrives as a bustling public market by day and a lively nightlife spot by night.

Where to Meet & Stay

The $415 million Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan has 600,000 sq. ft. of space, the most of any convention center in the Caribbean. Approximately 10,000 people can be accommodated within the technologically advanced center, which includes a 152,700-square-foot exhibit hall. 

Situated in the Puerto Rico Convention Center District facing the Bay of San Juan, the AAA Four Diamond Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino has 503 guest rooms and more than 40,000 sq. ft. 

Set on a secluded peninsula with 17 acres of lush foliage, Caribe Hilton hotel is situated between historic Old San Juan and the contemporary Condado area. It has 916 guest rooms and 55,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, a five-star property in San Juan featuring magnificent Spanish Revival architecture, stunningly opulent interiors and dramatic ocean views, boasts 319 guest rooms and 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Located on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Fajardo has a renowned spa, a private island and beach, 750 guest rooms and more than 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

`Nestled between El Yunque National Forest and a one-mile stretch of secluded beach, Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa in Rio Grande provides 400 guest rooms and 50,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic features many types of international cuisine, but the main attractions are the rich and flavorful native offerings that have lured meeting groups for decades.

“When a group comes here, it looks forward to tasting the local flavors and experiencing the culture, because they are part of the whole experience,” says Shasha Cruz, Dominican Republic Tourist Board representative for the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. “Local Dominican cuisine is a great part of our culture.” 

Dominican cooking uses ingredients that have been inherited from its native origins, including Spanish, Taino and African influences. When mixed together, they take on their own unique personality. Most Creole dishes are based on rice, meat, beans and vegetables. Fish and seafood are also used in many recipes. 

Traditional Foods

“Dominican cooking varies according to every region,” Cruz says. “However, they all have a taste in common, with something that even the pickiest eaters will enjoy.”

The most traditional food on the Island, la bandera (the flag) is made with meat, rice and red beans. Making the dish distinctly Dominican, many restaurants will serve it with tostones (fried plantains). Meals will often continue beyond this first course; be prepared to try boiled mangu (green plantain) pasteles en hojas (wrapped turnovers cooked in banana leaves), as well as casseroles, stews and meat dishes featuring braised goat, pork and chicken rinds.

Many Dominican dishes are also accompanied by casabe, a type of flat bread that came from Taino culture. It is made from yucca and is known as mandioca in some regions of the country.

Groups often complete their culinary experience with aromatic Dominican coffee, the unique taste of the island’s rum or a local beer.

Where to Indulge 

Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort, Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic

Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort, Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic

Many festivals provide groups with an opportunity to sample traditional Dominican foods and beverages. Punta Cana Food & Wine Festival, which will take place June 6–7 at Paradisus Palma Real Resort, offers culinary demos, tastings, cocktails, special dinners and other activities. Santo Domingo Colonial Fest, slated for Nov. 20–22 at Colonial City—the historic central neighborhood in Santo Domingo—celebrates and commemorates the music, art, monuments, gastronomy and history of the Dominican Republic.

Some of the top restaurants to enjoy traditional Dominican food are Meson de Bari, Travesias, Adrian Tropical and El Conuco, all in Santo Domingo; and Pulpo Cojo, La Yola and Citrus Fusion & Criolla, all in Punta Cana.

Where to Meet & Stay

The Westin Punta Cana Resort & Club, located on a spectacular beachfront setting in the picturesque Playa Blanca area, provides 200 guest rooms and 4,305 sq. ft. of meeting space. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana offers 1,787 guest rooms and more than 65,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. 

The 589-room Barcelo Bavaro Beach hotel near Punta Cana sits on one of the top beaches in the world, and has 107,639 sq. ft. of meeting space in its convention center. Paradisus Palma Real Golf & Spa Resort, on the beachfront of Bavaro Beach, provides 554 luxurious suites and 40,000 sq. ft. Republic 

Jamaica

Jamaican cuisine includes a mixture of cooking techniques, flavors, spices and influences from the indigenous people on the island of Jamaica, and the Spanish, British, Africans, Indian and Chinese who also have inhabited the island. It’s also been influenced by the crops introduced to the island from tropical Southeast Asia.

“Our cuisine, like our motto, ‘Out of many, one people,’ reflects a melting pot of the various cultural influences,” says Marcia Bullock-Jobson, regional director of groups and conventions for the Jamaica Tourist Board. “So, groups visiting the island have a wide array of restaurants from which to choose, depending on their tastes.”

A wide variety of seafood, tropical fruits and meats is available. Fundamental to Jamaican cuisine is jerk, a native style of cooking in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet-marinated with Jamaican jerk spice, a very hot mixture.

Traditional Foods

Scotchies, Jamaica

Scotchies, Jamaica

Some Jamaican dishes fuse the culinary techniques of different cultural traditions, or are other types of variations on the cuisines and cooking styles brought to the island from elsewhere. These are often modified to incorporate local produce. Others are novel and have developed locally.

Popular Jamaican dishes include ackee (a type of fruit) with salt fish (the national dish) and curry goat, served with fried dumplings, fried plantain and rice and peas (using pigeon peas or kidney beans). Jamaican patties (pastries that contain various fillings and spices baked inside a flaky shell), other pastries and breads are also popular, as well as fruit beverages, Appleton rum and Red Stripe beer. Where to Indulge 

Jamaica Culinary Tours: A Taste of History offers guided walking and bus tours that take participants on a culinary adventure through several towns and villages on Jamaica. In between savoring the cuisine, groups visit interesting architectural sites, many dating back to the plantation era, and learn about the island’s history and culture, which have significantly influenced the Jamaican palate.

The Rainforest Seafood Festival, set for Feb. 18 at Catherine Hall Entertainment Center in St. James, will feature some of Jamaica’s best seafood dishes and musical performances. Jamaica Epicurean Escape is an international food, wine and music festival that creates a melting pot of international and Caribbean food, with popular and traditional Jamaican cuisine taking pride of place, all complemented by a variety of wine, beer and spirits, and featuring top local and international musical performers. It takes place May 23–25.

The Boston JerkFest (a successor of the Portland Jerk Festival) is tentatively scheduled for May 4 at Boston Bay. Groups will enjoy the aroma and sizzle of traditional Jamaican jerk chicken, pork, fish and lobster as bands and other entertainers perform throughout the day. 

Also, the Little Ochi Seafood Carnival, set for July 1 at Alligator Pond Bay in Manchester, draws around 6,000 people, who enjoy some of the best Jamaican cooking on the South Coast, along with top bands. The LIME Montego Bay Jerk Festival, one of western Jamaica’s main food festivals, takes place Aug. 1 at Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre. 

Many restaurants are noted for their outstanding traditional fare. Scotchies—with restaurants in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Kingston—reputedly serves the best jerk food in Jamaica. Other favorites are Evita’s and Miss T’s, both in Ocho Rios, and Gloria’s in Port Royal.

Where to Meet & Stay

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall resort, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay Convention Centre, with an ocean-front location and breathtaking views, offers 142,000 sq. ft. of meeting, exhibition, ballroom and plenary space. Jamaica Conference Center, in the heart of the downtown business district of the Kingston Waterfront, has more than 6,000 sq. ft. of space.

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall, formerly The Ritz-Carlton, Rose Hall Resort, Jamaica, has a secluded beach, warm sand, gleaming waters and lush, green mountains as a backdrop. Located in Montego Bay, it provides 387 guest rooms, each with a private balcony or terrace, and more than 25,000 sq. ft.. 

Aptly named after the crescent-shaped two-mile private beach, Half Moon, a RockResort provides 197 rooms and suites scattered among white-rendered cottages and 24 villas, all fronted by the beach. It also provides more than 27,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Secrets Wild Orchid/St. James Montego Bay, sitting on more than a half-mile of private beach, has 700 guest rooms and more than 8,000 sq. ft. of meeting facilities.

Groups might opt to take a 50-minute flight from either Kingston or Montego Bay to Georgetown in the Cayman Islands, where they can stay at recently renovated The Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa in Grand Cayman, which has 343 guest rooms and 8,877 sq. ft. of meeting space. While there, attendees can enjoy traditional Caribbean foods such as cassava, Johnnycakes, bread fruit, plantain and meat pies.

Bahamas

Many groups are drawn to the Bahamas because of the warm sun, sandy beaches and crystal-clear water. But the islands also boast a lively culinary scene and several outstanding resorts and hotels.

“Chefs in the resorts and hotels take a delight in expressing themselves by featuring dishes from all over the world, infused with a uniquely Bahamian flair,” says Bradley Bosfield, senior manager of groups for The Bahamas Tourism Center.

Traditional Foods

Bahamian resident preparing conch

Bahamian resident preparing conch

Seafood is very prevalent in Bahamian restaurants; the country’s national food is conch, a snail with a chewy texture and fishy flavor that is often served breaded and fried, made into balls or added to salads. Another favorite food, Johnnycakes, are a cross between a dense bread and a slightly sweet cake. Many native dishes include peas, which are cooked in several different ways. Common preparation methods include mixing with salt pork and spices or tossing with hot sauce. One popular island dish is peas n’ rice.

Fruits such as papayas, guavas, mangoes, pineapples and passion fruit also are extremely popular in the Bahamas. Also, Alcoholic beverages that combine fruit juices and rum can be found throughout the islands.

“Also, some of the Bahamas’ best indigenous food creations are desserts,” Bosfield says. “These include benny (sesame) cake, coconut and peanut cakes, potato pudding and flour cake, as well as coconut, guava and sadpodilla duff (pudding).

Where to Indulge

One way to sample F&B is to take the Bites of Nassau Food Tour offered by Tru Bahamian Food Tours. Participants enjoy authentic food and drink tastings from six local restaurants, specialty stores and ethnic eateries in the heart of the storied downtown neighborhood.

The tours also provide information on Bahamian history, architecture and culture. All food tastings, enough for lunch, are included in the ticket price of $69. Private group tours are available; they must be booked in advance and a 10 percent discount is given to groups of 10 people or more.

A plethora of outstanding dining options are available, including laid-back spots such as Fish Fry at Arawak Cay in Nassau and Smith Point in Grand Bahama, as well as fine-dining locations including The Graycliff Restaurant at the Graycliff Hotel in Nassau and Dune restaurant at One & Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island.

Check with the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board at nassauparadiseisland.com for more dining information.

Where to Meet & Stay

Grand Lucayan Beach & Golf Resort, Freeport, Bahamas

Grand Lucayan Beach & Golf Resort, Freeport, Bahamas

Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas, which boasts the world’s largest open-air aquarium and water park, has 3,400 guest rooms and more than 300,000 sq. ft. of meeting and event space, including the Atlantis Conference Center. Grand Lucayan Beach & Golf Resort, located on Grand Bahama Island, provides 542 spacious guest rooms, a 40,000-square-foot conference facility and 50,000 sq. ft. of outdoor meeting space.

The new $3.5 billion Baha Mar Resort in Nassau will begin hosting guests in three of its four properties—Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar—on March 27. The eagerly anticipated complex, which will provide 2,200 guest rooms and a 200,000-square-foot convention center, also will include Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar, which is scheduled to be unveiled shortly thereafter.

Bermuda

Traditionally, Bermuda hasn’t been known for its cuisine, which has been described as bland and unexciting. Recently, the culinary scene has changed with the emergence of better chefs and many outstanding restaurants. Italian and Chinese foods are particularly popular, and some Bermudians have shown an increased interest in reviving many traditional dishes.

“Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining or one of the island’s famed fish sandwiches, there’s no shortage of delicious flavors to sample,” says Victoria Isley, chief sales and marketing officer for the Bermuda Tourism Authority. “We can work with groups to put together themed dine-arounds that will definitely have attendees comparing notes during sessions the next day.”

Most ingredients used in Bermuda’s cuisine are imported, so local dishes feature a global blend, with fish as the major component. The traditional cuisine of the islands blends English and Portuguese cuisine with local seafood species, particularly wahoo and rockfish.

Traditional Foods

Traditional dishes include codfish and potatoes served either with a hard-boiled egg and butter (or olive oil sauce) with a banana, or served in the Portuguese style—tomato-onion sauce, peas and rice. Other specialties are Hoppin’ John (a peas and rice dish), fish chowder and pawpaw casserole.

Where to Indulge

Bermuda Restaurant Week

Bermuda Restaurant Week

A great opportunity to sample a variety of Bermuda cuisine is available during Bermuda Restaurant Week, held Jan. 15–Feb. 5 this year. Many of Bermuda’s restaurants participate, and there is plenty to choose from, including local Bermudian dishes and a wide range of international cuisine.

Another option, available every Wednesday during the summer months, is to sample the large variety of Bermudian food during Harbour Nights festivities. Front Street in Hamilton is closed to vehicular traffic during these evenings.

A great year-round option, Bermuda Craft Market—located in the old Cooperage Building at the Royal Naval Dockyard on the west end of the island—features only-in-Bermuda treats such as Gombey Pepper Jams, Barrit’s Ginger Beer and Horton’s Original Rum Cake.

Some of the most outstanding restaurants for traditional food are Tom Moore’s Tavern in Hamilton, the Waterlot Inn in The Fairmont Southampton and 1609 Restaurant and Bar in the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Bermuda in Pembroke. For alcoholic beverages, groups should try the Swizzle Inn (with locations in both Baileys Bay and Warwick), which is widely known for its signature cocktail, the Rum Swizzle.

Where to Meet & Stay

Rosewood Tucker’s Point, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda

Rosewood Tucker’s Point, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda

Bermuda offers many top-notch resorts and hotels. The Fairmont Southampton, situated on the stunning south shore, sits on nearly 100 acres dotted with lush bougainvillea and towering coconut palms. The property provides 593 guest rooms and more than 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.

Overlooking the stunning blue waters of the Hamilton Harbour sits The Fairmont Hamilton Princess, Bermuda, with 410 guest rooms and more than 22,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Also, Rosewood Tucker’s Point, which provides magnificent, sweeping views of jewel-green hills and the Atlantic Ocean, has 88 guest rooms and 9,172 sq. ft. of indoor meeting space.

Wrapping Up

Besides the vast array of tantalizing culinary options and spectacular hotels and resorts, the Caribbean islands, the Bahamas and Bermuda offer outstanding year-round weather, mesmerizing music and dance, and some of the most awesome beaches in the world, as well as a multitude of water sports activities. And the emergence of Cuba as a U.S. meeting spot makes the Caribbean an even hotter destination.

Resources

Bermuda Tourism Authority - gotobermuda.com

Cuba Tourist Board in Canada - gocuba.ca

Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism - godominicanrepublic.com

Jamaica Tourist Board - visitjamaica.com

Puerto Rico Convention Bureau - meetpuertorico.com

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism - bahamas.com

UniChef.com - unichef.com

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