from The Essential Paradise, series sourcebook
British Paradise Islands Territorial Ministry of Tourism Edit
Sampling the slice of Heaven: The Paradisian tourist experience Edit
The following brochure is presented to assist prospective tourists in making their visit to The British Paradise Islands fittingly pleasant.
How to visit the most exotic destination on earth Edit
To the first-time visitor, Paradise may seem the fulfilment of every fantastic dream about what a tropical nirvana should be. Whether staying at an all-inclusive beach resort or at a cosy urban hotel, the visitor will find all amenities cheerfully provided, high in quality of product and service, and near at hand. The close-quartered quaintness of old-fashioned, pedestrian-friendly towns will seem in contrast to the abundant farms and orchards, expansive natural preserves and wide-open moors or rugged jungles. Water is everywhere, both fresh, trickling in clear springs and waterfalls from the hillsides of the interior, and salty, surrounding all islands in teeming coral reefs and calm bays and lagoons. And of course there are the oceanic beaches, some of the cleanest, clearest and prettiest in the world, all of which are considered free and public and at which the visitor may realise a complete decompression from the stress of the rest of the world.
Some history Edit
In 1775 Captain James Cook sailed due north and came upon a small archipelago at about eight degrees south of the Equator. The crew of Endeavour were so enraptured by the lush green valleys and abundance of freshwater springs that they named their oceanic oasis The Eden Islands. After a hundred years as a piracy haven and trading post, the islands hosted an Allied observatory and intelligence base established by the RAF during the 1939-1945 War. A few score English and Scottish veterans, joined by expatriated Austrians, became the core of the ‘New Settlers’ whose legacy continues in the islands to this day.
American yachtsman Paul Cavaliere, landing here in 1983, is generally credited with the ‘discovery’ of modern Paradise. His cousin, entertainer Jonathan Cavaliere, organised support for the rescue and resurrection of this nearly-forgotten arm of the British Empire and was created first Earl of Paradise by HM Elizabeth II. Deliberately reminiscent of the earlier Polynesian culture in which members were left to their own responsibility and recognizance, local law in the islands, as determined by a bicameral legislature with oversight by a governor-general, lends itself to a casual, comfortable lifestyle. In spite of such liberties, however, problems with public drunkenness and lewd behaviour are conspicuously rare, and social etiquette is generally high all over the territory.
The natural beauty and purity of the islands have always taken precedence over the nurturing of commercial tourism; and Paradise can boast of no large-scale resorts or theme parks and most tourism-oriented facilities are confined to specific zones. Much of the land which is not used in agriculture is designated as wildlife sanctuary, public nature preserves, or privately-sponsored estates and gardens. Few people live more than two kilometres from the water; and the large, relatively protected Paradise Sound within the spiral-shaped archipelago is home to yachting, fishing, and commercial cargo operations as well as a Royal Navy base.
The British Paradise Islands are a naturalist’s dream, thick with unmolested tropical rain forest, teeming with uncommon animal life, and surrounded by a fertile coral reef, bathed by an ocean which is sparkling clean and an Equatorial climate which never grows cold. Truly Captain Cook had been accurate when he called his first original discovery ‘a Slice of Heav’n right here on Earth’. This was, and is, the essential Paradise.
Before you go Edit
Whilst it is fair to say that Paradise welcomes the tourist and business visitor, it is vital to note that the territory does place various restrictions upon non-residents. The prospective visitor should make visa application early, be sure to meet conditions for application, and follow closely everything expected of those arriving at and staying in the territory, to ensure a positive and rewarding stay in the most exotic tropical destination on earth.
Every foreign visitor to Paradise must possess a valid passport from his home country. Persons with passports due to expire within 42 days of their arrival in Paradise should have these documents updated, and physically conveyed into their possession, before departing for the territory.
Visas are required of all visitors to Paradise and shall define the duration of the visitor’s stay. The visa should be applied-for in advance of one’s departure, allowing sufficient time for the case to be considered and notification of the request’s being granted or not (usually two to four weeks). Any consulate of the United Kingdom may process a Paradisian visa; most foreign travel agencies can supply and post the necessary documents within the applicable deadlines. A filing and processing fee will be assessed (£35 in 1995-2000).
Any person having been convicted of a felony, not expunged from his record, should provide copies of official documents explaining the case and any applicable parole conditions. Whilst this is not an automatic bar to immigration as a tourist, most applicants convicted of first- and second-degree sex-, narcotics-, firearm- and violence-related crimes have been denied tourist visas.
No person not of full legal age in his home country may enter and remain in the territory without permission from and the supervising presence of a responsible adult guardian, who shall accept full responsibility for the minor’s conduct whilst present in Paradise.
Failing, upon reporting to Immigration upon arrival, to show proof of a valid visa, the visitor may have only until the same flight of arrival departs Paradise (typically 60-90 minutes) to remedy the situation, by way of applying for and receiving replacement documents, before being placed on the returning flight.
Overstaying a visa Edit
The typical tourist visa is applied-for and granted for a period of up to 14 days (340 hours, dated from time of arrival), providing lodging has been reserved, and paid for in advance, in the name of the one holding the visa. When specifically applied-for and granted, a visa may be issued to permit a visit of up to 28 days (670 hours); but this is the limit for the pleasure or business visitor. A grace period may be allowed but typically only to meet a last-day return flight that has been delayed through unforeseen circumstances.
Last-minute requests, especially those applied-for by the visitor already in Paradise, for visa-period extension are regarded as highly irregular and not granted except in the event of extraordinary events, such as those due to a sudden illness or to being victimised in an emergency or crime (in which cases the filing fee may be waived). Cases involving serious health-related difficulties or legal status may be handled in off-island embassies or at home offices in Britain, permitting the visitor to depart the territory rather than to overstay a visa.
Evading immigration upon arrival, providing false information or credentials, or delaying departure, with the purpose or effect of misrepresenting, overstaying or doing without a proper visa, is felonious in Paradise. Those found with nonexistent, invalid or expired visas shall be immediately detained, fined and summarily deported from the territory, typically with residual consequences.
Women whose pregnancies are into the third trimester may be denied entry into the territory. In any case those pregnant are advised that the emergent birth of a child whilst in Paradise does not constitute grounds for an inordinate stay in Paradise nor legal foundation for claims of belonger status for either parent(s) or child(ren). Visas may be extended, if necessary, through court order and only to accommodate the best health interests of mother and child(ren) till departure for their own country can be effected.
When to go Edit
Perhaps due to being only nine degrees of latitude south of the Equator, or having been settled by European and English people, the territory generally observes a Northern-Hemisphere annual schedule. This is not contradicted by weather patterns; so the high season for tourism is generally considered to be from the end of April till the end of October, technically winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Temperatures will be stable, 28-30º (C) at midday and 24-26º at midnight. Light drizzles are common just before dawn; but by midmorning all is dry, with breezes at 10-20 knots from northeast or east.
There are two shoulder seasons, during which some tourist-centred activities or facilities may be partially suspended but during which hospitality rates are lower as well. The first is just after the November storm season, approximately the three weeks prior to Christmas; and the second is the last three weeks in January, just before the equatorial monsoons.
The periods between early November and mid-December and between early February and mid-April are noted for wild weather in Paradise and are not recommended for tourism. Those visiting the territory during these times are not guaranteed of any amenities, up to and including on-time arrival and departure flights.
Busiest times to go Edit
Palm Sunday (Sunday before Easter Day) till Sunday after Easter Day: Edit
This two-week period represents Holy Week, during which preparations are made for Festival, and Festival itself, an often-wild island-wide celebration. Many places of hospitality spend this time still cleaning up after rain season and quite often serviceable rooms for tourists are scarce and/or overpriced.
First week of June till second week of September Edit
This is high season in the Paradise Islands, during which local children are on school recess and during which most Northern-Hemisphere tourists visit. Tourism-oriented areas such as St Kitts, Hurricane Hole, Sunset Beach, Casino and Governor’s Harbour will teem with multicultural throngs. Hotels and resorts, shopping centres, beaches and parks, dining establishments and entertainment venues will be crowded, if not packed; and booking-date deadlines and local retail prices may be adjusted accordingly. Transportation, especially on buses and taxis, will be at a premium.
Best times to go Edit
For the mature Northern-Hemisphere tourist, the best time to visit Paradise may be in the low seasons, of which in Paradise there are generally three:
- New Year’s Day (1 January) till first week of February;
- After Festival (Sunday after Easter Day) through first week of June;
- Feast of St Michael (29 September) till Founders’ Day weekend (Thursday and Friday in last full week of October).
During these periods the temperatures are generally warm, the weather is constant, though short daily rainshowers may be common, and the facilities, especially tourism-oriented resorts, are not crowded. With the islands' youth at school, visitors may feel they have got most of the beaches, parks and shopping centres to themselves.
Worst times to go Edit
First week of February through first week of April: Edit
Many Northern-Hemisphere visitors assume, perhaps because this is cruise season on the Caribbean, that this will be a pleasant period during which to escape the harsh winters north. In the eastern Pacific this is wet season, typified by heavy rains, heavy winds (frequently of hurricane force) and generally unpredictable conditions. Most resorts and hotels will close for at least some portion of this period, both for want of business and to safeguard facilities against often-sudden escalations in weather. Transportation, including at the airports, may be unreliable or unavailable for much of the period; and flights may be postponed or cancelled. Sea and beach conditions may be too rough for even the most stalwart surfers and often beaches are closed and patrolled by constabulary to keep people from taking risks.
First week of November through third week of December Edit
This is Paradise’s ‘winter’, which, though often crisp, surprisingly cool and brilliantly clear, can also be frequently chilly, cloudy, windy and rainy, difficult to ensure even half a week without some inclement or even violent change in the weather. It is in this period that many hoteliers and restaurateurs close up shop and pursue their own vacations abroad. Though holiday shopping may be pleasant without much of crowds, it is usually a wet and wearisome experience for the tourist.
Where to stay Edit
Though consistently luxuriant with lush vegetation, clean sandy beaches, stunning oceanic vistas and varied shopping, Paradise is nonetheless blessed with a surprising variety of regional identities. Morning Island tends to be more tourist-oriented than other places; its business and mercantile centres rather guarantee ample shopping and cultural experiences. Eden Island has more people, tends to be mostly residential and localist, and may have fewer public beaches and shopping for tourists; but sheltered Hurricane Hole, on the eastern end of Paradise Sound, has several good resorts and ample amenities to interest the visitor; and cosy Surfside may have the finest beaches on the eastern coast. Smaller, remote Caravelle Island seems a world of its own, having a capital, King’s Bay, full of night life, with good lidos and a hillside full of trails as well as St Kitts, a tourist town with a famous high street and over half a dozen booming resorts.
The western islands of Hope and Rum, as well as most of Sugar, are essentially nonentities for the tourist, being mainly agricultural and extremely localist. But at either end are good shopping centres in Sunset Beach and Hastings, the former noted for its quiet lagoon lido and blustery north shore, both popular with sunseeking tourists, especially those of pensioning age, and the latter well-known for its football and cricket, golf, horse-racing and sailing venues as well as a new Olympic-calibre sports arena.
Popular destinations for tourists Edit
Following is a basic chart giving the character of areas with interests for tourists, rating facilities on a 1-5 scale (5 being highest) as may appeal to the pleasure visitor:
Casino/Paradise Park, Morning I. Edit
Number-one tourist destination in the territory; has everything; moderately expensive (though bargains can be had)
- beaches 5
- shopping: 5
- entertainment: 5
- walkability: 4
- sports: 5
- cost: 5
Governor’s Harbour, Morning I. Edit
Busy, expensive; excellent entertainment; some of the best shopping in the Pacific; as urban and polyglot as Paradise gets
- beaches 2
- shopping: 5
- entertainment: 5
- walkability: 4
- sports: 2
- cost: 4
Avon/Prince Albert, Morning I. Edit
Business centre; good shopping; nice parks and trails; sports venues; bay lido and beautiful, famous floral gardens
- beaches 3
- shopping: 3
- entertainment: 3
- walkability: 4
- sports: 2
- cost: 5
Honeymoon Beach, Morning I. Edit
Best for purists and couples; quiet, isolated; good hiking trails and lidos
- beaches: 5
- shopping: 1
- entertainment: 2
- walkability: 2
- sports: 1
- cost: 4
Hurricane Hole, Eden I. Edit
Business centre, good shopping, long bayside promenade; urban but uncomplicated; rather localist
- beaches: 4
- shopping: 5
- entertainment: 3
- walkability: 5
- sports: 3
- cost: 3
Hastings, Hope I. Edit
Local business and sporting centre, modest but exclusive; adequate shopping; localist
- beaches: 2
- shopping: 2
- entertainment: 2
- walkability: 3
- sports: 5
- cost: 2
Sunset Beach, Sugar I. Edit
Quiet, relaxed, small-town atmosphere; walkable; adequate shopping; calm lagoon lido, extensive hiking trails; isolated
- beaches: 5
- shopping: 3
- entertainment: 2
- walkability: 5
- sports: 1
- cost: 3
King’s Bay, Caravelle I. Edit
Busy, less expensive than Morning Island; good shopping, nice bay lido; urban and cultured; good shows and night life; cooler weather
- beaches: 3
- shopping: 4
- entertainment: 3
- walkability: 4
- sports: 3
- cost: 3
St Kitts, Caravelle I. Edit
Busy, less walkable than King’s Bay; good shopping, nice lidos; golf, casinos, night life
- beaches: 4
- shopping: 4
- entertainment: 2
- walkability: 3
- sports: 1
- cost: 4
At none of these are short-notice reservations easy to come by. The prospective visitor is advised to make contact, best through a travel agent licensed for booking Paradise destinations, at his very earliest opportunity to ensure a choice of accommodations for the desired time of visit.
Places of hospitality Edit
As in most resort areas, accommodations for the visitor run a range between quaint, cosy inns to all-inclusive hotels with spas and every amenity. Most places will be within a short pleasant walk to either a shopping district, the beach or both, and will have at least a small café for breakfast and lunch; others may have full-fledged fine restaurants on the premises as well as comprehensive room service. Swimming pools, direct access to hiking trails or to the bathing lido, exercise spas and other amenities are available. Bicycles, beach umbrellas, taxi rides and plenty of other opportunities and information can be had through the hostelry’s concierge office. Public transportation, in the form of the excellent Paradisian bus service, will be a few steps from the door.
Aside from the unique location, one common denominator will always be the Paradisian flair for ample, cheerful service. Visitors are generally expected to tip the staff upon checkout, the concierge’s portion reflecting 7.5% of the room bill, including room service, and the room staff receiving another 7.5% to be shared amongst them.
What to bring Edit
The Paradise environment is generally warm, sunny, casual and moderately well-developed for the tourist. Nearly nothing to which the Western visitor may be accustomed is unavailable in Paradise, and at not-unreasonable prices; so the wise traveller might pack lightly but sensibly, including a versatile wardrobe and a basic collection of necessary personal-care and leisure items.
All of Paradise is photogenic; so photography and video recording remain popular tourist pursuits. Hiking and beachcombing are popular pastimes; and urbanised areas in the territory are pedestrian-friendly; so comfortable footwear is a must. Being essentially Equatorial, the islands are noted for bright, hot sun during most of most days; so sunblock lotion and lightweight, opaque headgear are essential.
As few retail shops give out free goods sacks free with purchases, the tourist is advised to bring a lightweight and sturdy carrying sack for conveying gear to beaches and back from the shops, bearing in mind that such a bag will probably be inspected by staff upon both entry to and exit from each shop.
The uninitiated from Europe or the Americas may observe that dress standards in the Paradise Islands seem extremely lax and may conclude that anyone may wear anything for any occasion. Actually Paradisians adhere dutifully to a set of largely-unwritten standards of dress for a variety of circumstances and locations. Most upper-end nighttime clubs and eateries will require proper or even formal dress of their patrons. Whilst in some public places of recreation full nudity is not unacceptable, in general the premise is that the more enclosed the establishment, or the later the hour, the more clothed the patronage should be. Hospitality concierges, retail staff, tax drivers and constabulary will often share some idea of what is expected of the tourist who enquires politely.
In general, short trousers or skirts with short-sleeved shirts, and sleeveless frocks tend to be acceptable for the tourist almost anywhere beyond the boundaries of an all-inclusive resort during daylight.
For up to a fortnight’s stay, the following may suffice for the tourist pursuing casual public activities:
- Long and short trousers, of lightweight, breathable cotton or blends
- Short-sleeved shirts/blouses, preferably of lightweight cotton and of light colours
- Polo shirts, t-shirts, sleeveless shirts, lightweight, loose-fitting and of light colours
- Comfortable soft-soled shoes, in addition to casual footwear such as sandals or zories
- For women, lightweight frocks (dresses), at least some of which have closed shoulders and mostly-closed backs, of modest length, and lightweight skirts, likewise of modest length
- Hats(s), of light colours, able to stay on head in mild breezes
- Comfortable swimsuits, of modest cut, preferably able to dry quickly on sunny days
Should the tourist expect to engage in more formal activities, such as attendance at fine restaurants, the theatre or ballet, or social engagements with locals, he or she might add the following:
- Dress coat, lightweight, of subdued (not pastel) and solid colour
- Long trousers, for wearing with belt of subdued colour (not white)
- Hard-soled shoes; dark-coloured stockings or hose
- Foe gentlemen, necktie(s), of subdued patterns or colours
- For women, skirt or frock of modest length, lightweight, of subdued colour(s)
Most hotels and resorts will provide dry-cleaning and laundry services to guests.
Personal items Edit
Tourist needs, including camera film, sunblock, sunglasses and other items typically consumed by visitors are on offer everywhere in the territory and typically not overpriced. Umbrellas are rarely needed for rain; though light drizzles are common in high season, they do not last long and are never cold. Beach umbrellas for shade from the sun are available at most resorts upon request, usually without a fee.
The arriving tourist will not, in general, be penalised for bringing reasonable quantities of recording tape or film, bound publications, cash, or tobacco products, such as may suffice for the duration of the visit. However territorial law prohibits smoking or chewing of tobacco products inside, or within five metres of the entrance to, government offices, medical offices, museums, theatres and cinemas, retail stores, eating establishments and public houses.
Visitors requiring prescription medicines are advised that their scripts may be refilled within the territory. One should bring only enough of his medication to last for the duration of his stay, with reasonable allowances. The tourist must bring with him and keep at hand a copy of the signed prescription, giving dosage and duration figures, for examination by customs as well as to produce on demand by local authorities-- and chemists-- during his stay.
Reasonable amounts of properly-packaged and -marked nonprescription drugs, such as pain relievers, allergy remedies, first-aid and topical treatments, such as may be expected to be carried about one’s person anywhere else, are ordinarily permitted (but not entirely necessary; see below).
What to NOT bring Edit
If a tourist appears to be importing more of some items than can be reasonably assumed to prove useful for the intended duration of stay, tariffs may be imposed upon arrival. Examples may include swimsuits, footwear, headgear, sunglasses, handbags or wallets, souvenirs and toys, recorded music or video, personal music players, cameras and film, infants’ nappies, cosmetics and feminine-hygiene products, contraceptives, cigarettes, coffee and tea, nonprescription medications, packaged candy or treats, and multiples of similar, common items such as t-shirts and blue jeans.
Territorial law prohibits any importation, by the visitor, of the following:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Dairy products
- Detergent products, including premoistened towellettes
- Disposable plastic carrying sacks
- Fresh fruit, vegetables and other non-packaged food
- Meat products, including sandwiches
- Medicinal or dietary herbs, spices, or substances not properly packaged and accurately labelled from a pharmacy or health centre
- Narcotic drugs
- Pyrotechnical items such as fireworks
- Plants, animals (see below about pets), or organic matter, subject to certain restrictions
This is but a partial list, highlighting commonly-questioned items; but should one have any doubts he should contact an informed travel agent.
At one time tourists in the Paradise Islands were permitted to bring personal pets for the duration of their stays; this was too often abused to be allowed to continue. A vestigial population of feral cats remains throughout the islands, subject to control by the Territorial Ministry of Health and Welfare. For purposes of protecting the delicate physical environment and for the prevention of disease transmission, the non-resident may not import to the territory any form of pet, licensed guide animals being excepted.
No person upon arrival having in his possession or within his checked baggage any contraband, such as but not limited to cannabis, other narcotics, firearms and/or ammunition, or printed tracts of a political nature, shall be admitted to the territory but shall be immediately detained, fined and summarily deported from Paradise, typically with residual consequences.
Services available Edit
The territory is served amply by local radio and television stations; many programmes from abroad are carried via the excellent Paradise Telecom cable-access service. Local telephone service is very good; and nearly every hotel will provide computers, with Internet access, for visitors’ use. Long-distance rates will apply to telephone calls placed to overseas numbers; the caller should expect to be asked for an account to which to bill charges and to wait for confirmation before a call may be placed. Some places of hospitality, especially those catering to business travellers, may offer this service inclusive with reserved rooms.
Electrical service throughout the territory is provided at a nominal 220 volts AC at 50 hz. The connection is the pre-1955 British connection standard (BS-546). Adapters to fit to Australian and modern British appliances are typically available (for a fee) by most places of hospitality and are sold in hardware stores and at sundries shops in tourist areas. The tourist is advised that not all 60-hz electrical equipment may work properly without additional adaptation.
Communication devices Edit
Mobile phones will probably not work in Paradise as the territory has no comprehensive cellular-phone service (2001). Tourists bringing phones into Paradise, because of needing them to make travel connexions either end of their stay, are advised to check them promptly with a hospitality concierge to avoid paying exit duty upon departure.
Devices capable of receiving territorial police- and military-band signals shall be confiscated and returned as cargo, consigned to the tourist, on the tourist’s homebound flight.
Arriving at Paradise Edit
Flights tend to arrive in Paradise at midday and typically depart, for return to their point of origin, within 90 minutes. Incoming international flights arrive at Paradise Transoceanic Airport, built in 1986 on the lower coast of Morning Island. Passengers disembark the aeroplanes via mobile stairways so as to have an immediate, firsthand experience with the local weather, which is generally clear, sunny and hot. The airport tarmac gives a fabulous view of the green heath, rugged hills to the north and west, and the endless blue Pacific Ocean over the runway to the southeast.
All arriving passengers must undergo customs and immigration procedures, conducted at the well-appointed Paradise Welcome Terminal adjacent to the airport concourse. Usually the process takes less than half an hour. Baggage may be inspected and duties levied upon items in a visitor’s possession which may appear to be meant for sale within the territory. Such duties are nearly always refunded to the visitor prior to his departure.
At present (2001) no separate fee is required of a visitor arriving in the territory; but included in the cost of air fare, lodging, and visa fees are several taxes meant for the provision of territorial services which benefit the tourist.
Legal tender in Paradise is the UK pound. The American dollar, the Euro, and other currencies, in spite of what some travel agencies promise, are not accepted by Paradisian vendors, including hotels, resorts and casinos, nor as tips by wait staff, who consider offensive any offer of foreign money. The prospective tourist may exchange money to British pounds in advance of arrival or do so upon landing. Almost every high street includes a bank, at which currency can be changed during business hours; and in more tourist-centred areas the cashpoint machine serves as a Banque de Change. Exchange and access fees should be expected but are limited by territorial law.
Most retail vendors, agencies, places of hospitality and services such as clinics and hospitals will accept popular valid credit cards; signs will be posted at points of sale for the advisement of the customer. Payment using personal cheques from financial institutions beyond the territory is prohibited by law.
Gratuities for wait staff are left entirely to the discretion of the patron; 12-15% is considered appropriate and will be welcomed. Wait staff in tourist areas tend to receive adequate salaries and perform their duties with cheerful competence.
The tourist may expect per-person expenses such as the following (exclusive of tip and extras):
- Lunch, kiosk: £6.00
- Lunch, cafe: £9.00
- Pub supper, with beer or wine: £12.00
- Dinner out, casual: £13.00
- Dinner out, fine dining: £25.00
- Bus fare, round trip: £1.00
- Cinema £6.00
- Theatre: £20.00
- Night club, with drinks £18.00
- Bicycle hire: £20.00
- Windsurfer hire: £40.00
- Hair salon: £40.00
- Barber: £10.00
- Exercise spa: £30.00
- Taxi fare, within an island (up to 4 people together): £10.00
Though robbery and pickpocketing are of negligible concern in Paradise, the visitor is advised to not carry more cash than is necessary for daily spending, especially in tourism areas. The bulk of one’s savings may remain in an off-island or territorial bank account, relying on access via territorial banks, or, if in cash, consigned to a hospitality concierge for the duration of one’s stay.
In Paradise the one-pound note was not replaced with a coin during the 1990s as in Britain and so gets printed by the Royal Bank of Paradise for common circulation in the islands. The Paradisian one-pound note (called a ‘pink’) is pinkish in colour, featuring a facsimile of the now-obsolete UK one-pound note one side and a portrait of Sir Harvey Headley (first royal governor-general, 1950-1963), superimposed on a hibiscus-decorated map of the territory, the other. Though monetarily equivalent to the UK pound, the pink is not generally welcomed by vendors and bankers in Britain as most no longer keep a space for pound notes in their tills.
Departing visitors are discouraged from removing substantial quantities, such as may reflect more than souvenir value, of Paradisian or British cash from the territory.
Getting about Edit
From the Hospitality Terminal, buses and taxis convey visitors and returning locals to Casino resorts, New London business and governmental offices, or the Paradise Transport terminal at Governor’s Harbour from which bus routes extend farther into the territory. All popular tourist destinations are amply served by reasonably-priced public transport, especially by the excellent territorial bus lines. Buses are typically the double-decked Routemaster variety, many of which are well-maintained refurbished vehicles from London. Green buses are for regular scheduled service; white opened-topped ones for tourist areas and sightseeing, and blue single-decker ones for express routes. All buses, as well as neighbourhood bus stops, are striped in the ubiquitous red-white-green-blue colour scheme and clearly marked as to route. A conductor inside the entrance doorway collects fares in cash or punches prepurchased passes; one-way rates are 50 p (2001) per route (between termini). Passes for multiple rides are available at bus termini and through most hospitality concierges in the territory.
Paradise Transport operate two types of taxicabs in the territory. One is a standard small saloon or estate car such as a Viva or Escort; they are typically green as with buses and are recognisably marked. The other, common in tourist areas, is the Landau, a small MITE-built vehicle resembling a veteran limousine with separate wings, open driver’s section, and tall centre section comprising the side doors and housing two folding jump-seats after which is a passengers’ section for two or three fitted with a folding hood (which can be put up at passengers’ request). The Landau is not fast but is comfortable, fun and a good moving perch from which to view local colour. Fares range from £1.00 -2.00 for a very local ride to some considerable cost such as for going over Hell Gate bridge. Many cabbies may impose their own rate hikes with regard to the hour, the weather, the route (such as over The Hump at night) or especially in the likelihood of not finding a return fare from a non-tourist area.
Horse-drawn carriages frequent beach and tourist areas and may serve as a charming means of travel between resorts and local destinations. Fares tend to be about £20.00-25.00 per hour. Coach drivers, like cabbies, expect tips, typically 12-15% of the total fare.
Bicycles are available for hire at most resorts and at many spots in towns and at beaches as well. Horses are also available at numerous locations, including some resorts. Nonresidents are not permitted to operate automobiles or motor boats in the territory; the visitor may, however, engage either, with operator, by express arrangement.
Being a dependency of Great Britain, the territory is covered under the National Health Service and health standards are as good as in any Western-European country. Most emergencies can be handled at any of the general-practice surgeries found in most towns and cities; cases requiring major care will be sent to hospitals in Hurricane Hole or Governor’s Harbour, by helicopter if necessary.
Prospective visitors above the age of 2 years must show proof of inoculation or vaccination against measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, hepatitis B, tetanus, smallpox, meningitis and polio. This territorial requirement is in place mainly to ensure safety for residents, not for the protection of tourists, as it is highly unlikely that any short-term visitor would contract such diseases from locals during a stay in Paradise.
It is unnecessary for the tourist to carry, for his own use, sufficient of personal-care items for the duration of his stay, as pharmacies and markets in the islands are of high quality and are typically well-stocked. Readily available and reasonably priced are cosmetics, hair-care and dental-care products, feminine-hygiene products, contraceptives, pain relievers and other nonprescription medications. Any shopkeeper or hospitality concierge will direct the asker to the appropriate local providers.
What to do Edit
Having an almost-year-round tropical-summer climate, Paradise admits of countless opportunities to entertain the active tourist. Even outside the annual Festival celebration (week following Easter Day), local market fairs, with their jumble sales, amusement rides, colourful entertainment, and smorgasbords of food and drink, provide an interesting glimpse at local Paradisian society. The islands’ beaches are remarkably clean, clear and pleasant with water that is never cold; the shopping districts are renowned for their Old-World charm, eateries are plentiful with an infinite variety to please any palate, and available activities are too numerous to list.
Visitors will not be disappointed by the retail shopping in Paradise, entirely free of international chain stores. The shops in Paradise, locally owned, operated and patronised, are smaller, quainter, somewhat more conservative and much friendlier than many European and American counterparts. Prices, especially in tourist areas, tend to be on par with those in major Western cities and at other popular tourist destinations.
Retail shops tend to be open from 10.00 till 18.00, Mondays through Saturdays, and closed on Sundays and on official holidays.
Goods of all kinds and for all budgets are on offer for the tourist, especially in the following areas:
- Coral Avenue and South Beach Strand, Casino
- Goolagong Street, Governor’s Harbour
- Bank Street, Hurricane Hole
- Market Square, Coventry
- Bay Street, King’s Bay
- Kitts Road, St Christopher’s
- Burbank Street, Sunset Beach
Particular bargains may be realised in purchasing the following for home use:
- Clothing, headgear, footwear, swimwear
- Handbags, fashion accessories
- Home-decor items
- Printed materials, books
- Tapa products
- Video recordings, recorded music
The departing tourist may be permitted to take reasonable quantities, such as might be expected for one’s personal consumption over a fortnight, of consumables such as the following:
- Camera film
- Canned seafood products
- Cosmetics and beauty aids
- Prepackaged snack foods, bottled drinks
- Prepackaged tea and coffee
Territorial VAT is 9%, included in the advertised prices. Some areas, including the above, may charge an additional 7% for off-island consumption. Excessive quantities of any single item or type of item may flag departure customs and may subject the departing visitor to confiscation and/or tariffs. The visitor is advised to keep all receipts, which may be requested for production upon departure.
Places of worship Edit
Nearly all Paradisian communities include a church, typically for the Church of England (Anglican Protestant). Other denominations with congregations present in the territory include Methodist, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian, Adventist and Lutheran. The visitor may enquire of any hospitality concierge about locations, hours of services, and available transportation.
Leisure activities Edit
Rare is the tourist who comes to Paradise with no inclination towards outdoor activities. Cycling, horseback riding, sailing, surfing and windsurfing, paddling, diving and snorkelling, running and hiking, sunbathing and beachcombing have long been popular pastimes for locals and visitors alike. Over 150 unspoilt natural preserves provide hiking opportunities and in every town well-appointed public parks include open spaces, picnic areas and sports fields.
Almost every township or city has its own sports teams and most organised sports carry busy competition schedules throughout their respective seasons. Rugby, football, cricket and lacrosse are but a few. Horse racing is held at three tracks in the territory and there are several facilities for motor racing as well. Typically bettors may venture wagers through onsite booking agencies; in general off-track betting is not available.
For a small territory Paradise teems in cultural history. Many sites preserve important places or commemorate important events such as during the 1939-1945 War, the late-18th-C piracy period and the Darwin and Cook legacies. Fine arts are another kind of attraction; art museums, concert halls, and theatres provide an impressive variety. For the science-minded there are the Ali Wani Observatory outside Hurricane Hole, the Blue Bay Territorial Aquarium in Herling, the Pacific Paradise Zoo outside Casino, and the Breadfruit Beach arboretum on Caravelle Island. History and military buffs will be drawn to the physical legacies of Fort Pointer and Gunnery Beach on Caravelle Island, the RAF Memorial at The Low Coast, the Anschluss memorial at Vienna, and the Hincock Memorial at Sunset Beach.
Though gaming casinos are found only in the town of Casino, on Morning Island, theatres, concert halls, night clubs and cinemas are scattered all through the territory. Pubs, cafés and bistros are busy and friendly but beyond tourist areas tend to close early, typically by 23.00. One seeking a down-home country dance need look only as far as the nearest public school or town hall, most of which often stage local events.
The Royal Paradise Ballet Company, the Royal Paradise Opera Company, and the Paradise Islands Symphony Orchestra are all well-ranked organisations with regular, well-attended local performances. Several small theatre companies hold shows round about the territory whilst more formal presentations of Shakespeare, Greek classics and popular shows are held at amphitheatres at Governor’s Harbour, Hurricane Hole, Prince Albert and King’s Bay.
Though motion-picture theatres are rather plentiful, the typical Paradisian cinema facility is small by Western standards, most having only one showing on one full-width screen. Features tend to be premium North American or British pictures albeit scheduled about a week later than their larger-market opening dates. Showings are limited to 19.00 or 20.00 on weeknights, 19.00 and 21.30 shows Fridays and Saturdays and only matinees on Sundays. Most cinemas are entirely closed on Mondays and often on one other night per week.
Western-style ‘theme parks’ do not exist in Paradise; but there are several places of amusement featuring takeaway food, games of chance, and rides, notably the carousels at Hurricane Hole and Sunset Beach, the rollercoaster at Hastings and the Ferris wheel and other rides at Casino.
Paradisian society takes great pains to maintain its pristine environment, but at a price: local laws admit no tolerance of certain offences, not all of which may seem obvious to the tourist. Furthermore, penalties, from which transgressing nonresident are not exempt, tend to be steep, even severe, and assessed summarily and absolutely. The visitor is advised to behave conservatively, to take care to avoid giving offence, and to ask politely when in any doubt as to the accepted course.
Territorial inviolability Edit
The tourist is strongly cautioned to avoid causing, through will or neglect, any substantive destruction or damage to territorial property, grounds, preserves, plant and animal life, or residents. When in public preserves, clearly-marked paths should be followed; camping, picnicking and other activities may be pursued only in designated areas. The taking, or the attempt to do so, whether by intent or neglect, of shells, bark, stones, seeds and nuts, coral fragments, volcanic lava or ash, eggs, animal remains, leaves and flowers, sand samples and the like, or territorial property, from their proper places, is strictly prohibited by territorial law. When in doubt the visitor should enquire with a concierge or at a local constabulary as to what may be permissible.
Littering is considered a major offence in Paradise. The inappropriate disposal of food, drink, or non-biodegradable items, whether by intent or through neglect, is prohibited; and the offender may be required to make restitution, often including some requirement to aid in the clean-up.
In most places open to the public, smoking is restricted or prohibited. Use of tobacco should be confined to expressly-designated areas; disposal of residue must be done in compliance with anti-litter laws.
The removal amounts of cash (beyond what reasonably might be found in one’s pocket) from the jurisdiction of the territory is prohibited, subject to confiscation at time of departure which may not always include representative compensation.
Visitors are ever encouraged to take photographs as mementos of a pleasant stay at Paradise. If residents are to be featured in such photographs, the taker is expected to politely ask permission beforehand. Photographing locals who have expressed a desire to not be photographed can be treated as a form of criminal harassment.
Trespassing, on private lands and beaches or away from developed footways in protected preserves, is strictly prohibited. Swimming, sailing and use of beaches and watercraft should be kept to pubic areas. Whilst beaches of the six main island departments are technically free for public use, visitors’ activities should take into account the local residents’ right to privacy and to be free from unwelcome interference. Many smaller cays, especially in the Out Islands, are occupied exclusively by individuals or private associations and may not be open to those without invitation. Before anchoring or mooring anywhere, even away from private places, the vessel’s operator(s) should enquire and secure permission.
Fishing and hunting Edit
Permits are required for any fishing or marine trapping done within the outer boundaries of the territory (representing a 20-km perimeter about the furthest points and encompassing all of Paradise Sound) or that done by those transiting the territory in possession of marine life so caught. In the absence of a permit the visitor shall be penalised under the law. Most concierges will be able to file applications for fishing permits; a typical wait time may be from one to four days.
Hunting landborne or aviary game, from land or from water, is illegal for the non-resident. Hunting gear shall be confiscated and returned as cargo, consigned to the tourist, on the tourist’s homebound flight.
Those wishing to be married during a stay in the territory should enquire of the local constabulary who will advise as to necessary permits and procedures and co-ordinate the formalities with the ministries of Health and Welfare and of Immigration.
Strongly discouraged of the visitor is the proposition of, and contracting of, marriage with a Paradise resident, especially one of younger age than is legally acceptable in the nonresident’s home country. A requirement for the consent of the resident’s family may be imposed, delays may be of necessity, and certain rights (such as right to unrestricted reentry) of both the visitor and resident, once married, may be limited or curtailed entirely. For these and many other reasons the Paradisian is typically disinclined to be interested in marriage with any non-resident.
Registration of any marriage in the territory does not confer upon non-residents any rights to employment, education, civil benefits, belonger status, residence, or extension or alteration of visa terms.
Interaction with young people Edit
One of the greatest temptations for the Western visitor of less-than-noble intentions concerns Paradise’s relatively low age of sexual and social majority (15 years). Paradisians, especially territorial constabularies, take a very dim view of tourists who make inappropriate or unwelcome overtures of interest towards local young people. A set of codified standards, known as the decency statutes and consistently supported by courts of law, exist to differentiate between the exercise of guaranteed liberties and the curtailment of inappropriate behaviour.
The solicitation for, and offer of, sexual relations, including any meant to simulate or substitute for sexual behaviour, being performed, or meant to be performed, for monetary or other material compensation, is a felony in Paradise. The decency statutes shall be interpreted to prohibit repeated requests made by the tourist of a demurring local as to marriage or any other domestic, companionship or sexual arrangement; and courts of law may impose substantial punishments.
General prohibitions Edit
In general, the visitor should refrain from the following behaviours:
- Drinking to excess in public or when reliant on public transportation
- Lewd or disparaging language within earshot of others
- Propositioning of those apparently under the age of consent in the visitor’s homeland, for sexual contact or social companionship
- Sexual relations, or sexually-suggestive gesturing, talk or behaviour, in public
- Hosting large gatherings, in public, in private quarters or at places of hospitality, in the event of which the safety, peace or welfare of Paradisian residents may be inconvenienced, exploited or endangered
- Taking of photographs, in which residents, especially those aged under 18, are intended or incidental subjects, without their consent
What to NOT do Edit
The Western tourist should keep in mind that, in Paradise, he does not have the unfettered right to personal expression nor to the pursuit of happiness as is generally assured for all members of society, even nonresidents, in other places. Whilst in Paradise the visitor, no matter his station in his homeland, is of a separate class, being restricted in certain behaviours not only by social mores but by law as well. The tourist is here reminded of two reasons for him to refrain from meddling in territorial matters: to avoid embarrassment or legal trouble and to preserve the unique culture of a unique place that continues to draw tourists from all over the world.
Visitors in Paradise, by their status as nonresidents, are proscribed from the following pursuits:
- Enrolling for tutelage at, or otherwise becoming involved in the operations of, any territorial place of education
- Hiring or operating aircraft to or from territorial aerodromes
- Hiring or operating motorboats in territorial waters
- Hiring or operating motor vehicles on public ways
- Influencing, or seeking to influence, territorial legislative process, including elections, by any means especially through campaign involvement, lobbying or the making or solicitation of financial contributions
- Investing in, or seeking to invest in, any territorial business, including those businesses which may have direct or tangential ties to concerns in other places where the tourist may be eligible to be involved
- Purchasing, or seeking to purchase, any territorial real estate, property, protected art or artifact, favour or preferment, or share in any business or organisation, whether public or private
- Seeking or accepting any form of employment, for any duration, at any compensation
- Directly employing, or compensating labour by, Paradisan residents other visitors, in any capacity (this does not preclude tipping for hospitality services)
- Coercing, or seeking to coerce, any territorial resident with regard to the transgression of any of the above
See also Edit
- Air service, to The British Paradise Islands
- Places of hospitality, in The British Paradise Islands