Try as they might to deny it, everybody has hummed it at least once. The odds are high, too, that we all know the chorus by heart. The question is: does Kokomo really exist? And even if it does, how much do you have to loosen your purse strings to be part of it without passing as a cheapskate?
Just in case you don’t seem to remember what we’re looking at here, or even more urgently if you’ve never heard the piece, here it is to put you in the mood for sun-kissed beaches, swaying palm trees, laid-back afternoons and dawn-to-dusk parties with tropical drinks pouring like water.
Blame it on my radicalsense of aestheticism or relative youth, but I do believe certainsongs should only be performed up to a certain age. And although thesilver-haired gentlemen did manage to fire my lust forgold-glittering sands, I feel a little awkward about them wanting totake me places I associate purely with loads of nudity and not muchrestraint. Now, is there a less astronomical price to be paid forthat speck of Caribbean paradise than the company of a beach boy?
Not the cheapest place to go with family in tow, Aruba is a destination where dollars add up fast if you don’t keep an eye on the ball. Cocktails can range from $8.00 and up each, a lot of entrees start at $30, plus you will find a 15% service charge on your restaurant bill in the majority of cases. The 43-mile long coast hosts some of the best, all-encompassing hotels in the whole Caribbean, with The Radisson Aruba Resort as the superstar in terms of comfort… and pocket draining (between $400 and $700 for a double depending on season).
The good news is that even here, if you’re able to curb your taste for luxury, quasi-budget deals are to be found. If you fill up on a good buffet breakfast for around $10, you can skip lunch and go straight to a late dinner of burger and fries for another $10 or so. Alternatively, look for the catch of the day if fast food is not your thing or hit the grocery store to make it even cheaper. This way or the other, $40 pp a day is what you need to be ready for if heavy slimming effect is not intended. Accommodation may be affordable, too, if opulence is not your priority, but don’t expect anything cheaper than $60 dollars for a studio in a motel.
Jamaica is not only the place to smoke the best pot, bounce to the rhythm of a steel drum band, and get the original rasta cap. Above all, it’s a perfect setting for a blissful romance, ideally to get ablaze in the privately owned Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort in Montego Bay.
The very city has its quaint charm of an honest-to-goodness tourism capital, but a truly romantic spot floats right off shore, and although it is today known as Sandals Cay, it used to be called Kokomo. But is it the Kokomo we’re looking for? Well, much as the island’s charm is able to inspire songs, it worked the other way round, and it is in fact the 1988 hit that yielded the place its original name. Anyway, rooms overlooking the emerald infinity, swim-up pool bars, secluded beaches, and 4 gourmet restaurants can be yours for the average $450. And if it’s the scenery not showy offy comfort that makes your day on holiday, Montego Bay is full of $50-100 deals up for grabs, let alone myriad budget options all over Jamaica.
Just look at those 1700 or so coral islets scattered off shore of Florida like pearls over a stretch of emerald fabric. What a setting for a summer romance!
Off the Florida Keys. By Scott Kinmartin
The islet that gets an honorable mention in the song is Key Largo, which, as a matter of fact, needs no advertising, with the world’s largest artificial reef on offer. Hotels are plentiful, with bargain rates boiling down to even $100, but don’t expect all too many budget deals. Alternatively, a campsite at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park will cost you around $35. That’s fun! And you don’t have to really bother with food rates. With so many dining options and boatfulls of seafood, you will find all kinds of price ranges from $3-10 to $20-40.
Now, just in case you forgot… off the Florida Keys there’s a place called Kokomo, and to be more specific, there is a beach bar on the picturesque island of Islamorada. This fishing capital of the world is a perfect setting for all kinds of water related endeavors and the bar itself offers some unforgettable moments composed of vibrant music, warm sand under your feet, tropical drinks with colorful umbrellas, and the sea humming in the background. Could this possibly inspire a song? Nobody really knows. Anyway, Islamorada is not the cheapest of islands and hotel accommodations usually run from $150 up, but if you look well and agree to stay rough, less that $80 rates are to be found as well.
Oh Bermuda! A gleaming jewel of the Caribbean with pink sands, emerald waves, exquisite Town of St George and sunset boat cruises to convince you that heaven does exist on earth. There’s so much to keep you in a trance that only ice-cold Rum Swizzles can bring you round.
It tends to be costly, that’s for sure, but with accommodations ranging from the superb resorts and charming inns, where you get a super-romantic four poster bed for more or less $150, to quiet guest houses that sprinkle the coast, Bermuda vacation is doable even for a budget-conscious traveler. Because virtually everything except fish is imported, food prices may be a bit of a nuisance, too, but as long as you stick to seafood, you pocket shouldn’t suffer all too much. Lunch/dinner main courses are anything from $6 at Chinese bars to $60 for French delicacies.
If you’ve ever wondered where the major league celebs retire to from Hollywood, the answer is as easy as pie: the Bahamas. Obviously, the direct conclusion is that if Sean Connery or Chuck Norris die to own a piece of this heavenly land, it’s certainly too holy for us, ordinary men in the streets, to run around.
Surely, the whole country has a reputation for being one huge rip-off, and just getting in a taxi will claim $10, let alone food and accommodation. A decent sit down dinner will easily swallow 75$, and the cheapest, basic accommodations start at $50. Of course, the further you get from the glossy resorts, the more affordable things become, but why do you come over to the Bahamas if not for luxury? Generally speaking, be prepared for a major letdown if you’re opting for budget vacation.
Called the rum capital of the world and the island of lovers, Martinique is as good for wild partying as for passionate romance. The world’s finest distilleries abut pineapple plantations and tiny fishing villages spread along spellbinding beaches. And believe it or not, this Caribbean piece of heaven doesn’t call for particularly sizable wads of dollars.
With a staggering array of dining options and relatively low prices, every budget will surely be catered for and not a single stomach will rumble. Top-notch restaurants, copious street side eateries and beach stands – the only problem with food here is making a choice. As for hotels, decent doubles are to be gotten for around $60, which is not much considering all the fun that awaits outside.
After the Soufrière Hills volcano decided to turn the fabulous island into a miserable heap of ash, Montserrat is far from what you would call romantic. Yet the partly reconstructed airport sees more and more arrivals, which is what the islanders need more than ever before. The flip side of it all, if you pardon brutal honesty, is that post-eruption Montserrat is a particular bargain for tourists, with accommodations available even for as little as $25.
Port-au-Prince must have particularly suited the rhythmical pattern of the song for the reasons why it was included in the lyrics do not seem manifold. With an average of 35 kidnappings a week and frequent occurrences of public unrest, the city was to be avoided until recently. The fact remains, however, that Port-au-Prince has this unique kind of vibe powered with music and art that somehow makes it authentic.
So, if you’re thinking of a thrilling ride on board of a colorful tap tap, be prepared for surprisingly high costs of living, with an entree at a modest restaurant costing around $5, and food from street vendors up to half that much. As far as accommodation is concerned, there are no dirt cheap deals either, with a rough double in the cheapest centrally located hotel for around $40.
On this Haitian note, let’s top it all off with another go, shall we? Aruba, Jamaica ooo I wanna take ya…