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Timothy Beach or Oualie Beach? St.Kitts vs. Nevis

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hello fellow travelers,
i plan a week-long trip for my large family of 27, ages 6-83, every year. this year we're going to st. kitts and nevis. we've been to the domincan republic, jamaica, playa del carmen, xtapa and a cruise. we've discovered that we're not the all-inclusive big resort type and we'd much prefer to be on a (calm, safe) beach than in the mountains with a view. we have fun together on the beach but also like to be able to walk to a nearby beach or local neighborhood for lunch or necessities.

both timothy beach and oualie beach resorts can accommodate us, have kitchens and a restaurant, and are highly recommended. the question is: is there other beach life, vendors, fishermen, beach bars or little local spots to grab lunch on nevis near oualie beach (besides the resort)? is there a nearby grocery where we can provision? is there any bus or other transpo to get around the island of nevis besides renting a car or an expensive taxi?

st. kitts-wise: vendors, local spots, grocery, buses, etc? how far is the beach from timothy resort? reviews say "tired units" - is that true or just overly fastidious complaints?

are the two beaches qualitatively different? safe, shallow, sand quality?

i don't think we can go wrong, but i am really having trouble making a decision between the two islands/beaches. doing both is a no-go as voted on by the family (other than a day trip).

any and all advice welcome!
thanks in advance!

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    TBR is a beach front resort so it is right on the beach. It is on the Caribbean so water is fairly calm. There are about 6 beach bars on the same beach and there are 8 to 10 other restaurants, a small grocery convenience store, 3 wine & liquor stores, golf course and an Atlantic side beach with wavier water within walking distance of the resort. Rooms and decor are a bit dated but the property is well maintained. There are no buses that service the area so you'll need a rental car or taxis if you want to leave the Frigate Bay Area.

    Oualie Beach Resort is in a protective cove so the water is very calm and shallow. Rooms are "on the beach". Besides the resort's on-site restaurant there is only one restaurant within walking distance of the resort. There is another beach with no facilities about a 10 to 15 minute walk from Oualie but getting there requires walking along the main road over a nearby hill- FYI there are no sidewalks. You'll need transportation to get to other restaurants, beach bars, grocery stores, other beaches and points of interest around the island. The resort is on the main island road so you do have access to local "van buses". They don't run on any set schedule and you may have to take more than one to reach your final destination. They run only along the main island road so you might have to walk from a drop-off point to your final destination. Depending on where you want to go that walk could be up or down steep hills. Buses are few and far between at night so you'll be better off taking taxis or a rental car if you wish to dine "off resort".

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    very helpful, roamsaround. with a group this large, we either need to cook a lunch or find cheap local alternatives. it starts to get too expensive (and repetitive) with a "resort" buffet lunch and dinner. perhaps that points towards timothy beach and st. kitts...

    that being said, your description of oualie beach is so idyllic. would you say that timothy beach is also calm? shallow or gradual drop off?

    still so hard to choose! my heart is with nevis but my brain says st. kitts...

    thanks again

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    TBR is on Frigate Bay. It's a Caribbean side beach with relatively calm waters but because the "cove" is not as protective as at Oualie occasionally there will be some small waves (not big crashing ones) that come rolling ashore. Certainly nothing that would frighten any normal 6 YO. Water is shallow near shore but does start to depend as you move further from shore.

    Oualie is usually very calm with just "ripples" that barely show any "white water" when they crest. The water on this beach is shallow and an adult can walk out quite far (say 25' to 30') and will still be in waist to chest high water.

    If you want to be able to walk to a variety of restaurants, shops and a small grocery store stay at TBR. If you value very shallow water over walking access to shops, restaurants and grocery stores stay at Oualie. Keep in mind that you'll need transportation to access "other things" from Oualie and, quite frankly, using the local "van buses" to get around is not really practical, especially for a family group of 27 people - even if you are traveling in small groups.

    On either is island you are going to need viable transportation if you want to get out and see the sights. With 27 people I'd suggest you contact the hotel (once you decide on one) and have them arrange for a couple of 8 to 10 passenger to be at your disposal (or at least on "short order call") during your stay, you'll probably find that to be fairly economical to transport such a large group.

    Also, rather than staying at a hotel/resort you might also consider renting a large villa or a group of condos - you'll have more room and all the comforts of home plus many of the amenities of a resort. They all come with housekeeping services and, if you want, the management company arrange for a cook(s) to prepare some or all of your meals. On Nevis, look at Nelson Spring Condos or Hamilton Condos or Seaside Condos at Cliffdwellers. The first two are on very large stretches of Caribbean side beaches while the latter condos have a small "private" beach just yards away. Also, there are lots of condos in the Frigate Bay area, some beachfront and some are within a few minutes walk of both the Caribbean side and Atlantic side beaches.

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    RoamsAround is the Caribbean expert, and my experience is limited, but will offer my take on what I am familiar with, the three places I have stayed. Honestly, though I enjoyed them all, I don't think any seem perfect for your group.

    IMHO, no matter where you stay, you will want to rent some cars for sightseeing and shopping. There are a lot of things to do on St Kitts, but you need the cars.

    Timothy Beach.
    Pros.
    Apartments are very spacious and clean, good size for families, and I would feel safe for kids to be outside on the grass. Balconies are large and pleasant. Feels secluded at the back of the complex. It is about a two minute walk to the water. There are a half dozen or so beach shack restaurants, but only one or two open during the day. There is a restaurant associated with the resort that is open. There are several others in the direction of the Marriott, easy walk.
    Beach is OK, Water is fairly calm and clear, nice for hunting shells and there are boats.
    Music and bands and beach fires some nights.
    Monkeys and Mongoose, local chickens all about, fun for kids.
    People who run the place are super nice.
    Pool is never crowded.

    Cons.
    Water is OK for play, but does drop off to deeper water, so not great for little ones, IMHO, without close supervision. Beach is more gray, volcanic. OK with me, but don't expect white. Beach is sand, but gets pebbly in the water.
    Music from bands can be very loud and go on until the wee hours of the morning, and you can definitely hear it throughout the front of the resort. Really annoying a couple of nights!
    Mixed reviews on the food. Some pretty good, most just OK.
    Pool, water was fine, but pool is just a rectangle with no shade, no kiddie area. Not a great place to hang out. If a nice, lounging around, kind of pool is important to your group, this is not it!

    Marriott.
    Pros.
    You do not have to do all-inclusive.
    They do have cottages and condos, no idea of cost.
    Rooms are lovely and spacious.
    Pool is super nice with nice design, bar, nice areas for kids, etc.!
    Great ice cream!
    Couple of decent restaurants nearby.
    Beach is great for walking and lounging.
    You can walk down to Timothy's.

    Con.
    Surf and waves, not calm for little ones. We didn't care because we used the pool, but if calm, shallow ocean water is important for your group, this is not it.

    Ocean Terrace.
    I don't know if they have apartment style accommodations. I think they do, but perhaps not enough. It is my overall favorite though because the pool is lovely, like a Groto with waterfalls, stone walls, flowers, moss, etc. We stayed in for hours. Wonderful for kids too. There is also a regular, rectangular pool. There are nice terraces all around to sit, hang out, relax. Nice snack bar. Restaurant was closed for renovations, so we never ate there. Nearby restaurants were good, but pricy. Nice music in the evenings.

    Big negative for most - No Beach!
    Since I loved the pool and we could drive to one of the beaches, it worked for us, but if a place right on a nice beach is important for your group, this would not be it.

    Problem for me is, I don't know the specifics of Nevis, but IMHO, each place in St Kitts has at least one thing that could be considered a negative.

    I think the advice from RoamsAround to consider condos or large homes (with a pool or two) might be best.

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    We love staying in condos or villas with a cook preparing local fare (done this in jamaica and mexico), but i can't seem to find anything large enough for our group of 26. the kitchens at TBR help so we can make breakfasts/lunches/snacks. there are smaller villas/homes, but never two that are close enough for us that aren't rock-star prices. if you know of anything offhand, please let me know.

    a safe beach is a big deal for us; besides little kids we have shaky adult swimmers. but it sounds as if TBR is calm enough and hopefully enough beach space to play around.

    at this moment, we are booked on flights but still working with TBR and looking into any other options. we decided that st. kitts offered more options for our varied group so we'll stay on st. kitts and take a day trip to nevis.

    two large vans is the way we've gotten around before, thanks for suggesting the hotel as a contact.

    i understand we'll be there for j'ouvert (sp?)...any ideas to best take advantage of carnival and j'ouvert?

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    Check out the following website for a schedule of J'ouvert/carnival events:
    http://www.stkittsneviscarnival.com/GRFX/SugarMas44_EventsCalendar_FlyerOfficial.jpg

    You can also visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SKNCarnival/

    To "take advantage" all you have to do is show up at the event(s) you wish view or participate in. If you are unsure where a particular event will be held just as the staff at your hotel/condo or any local - they will direct you. Expect large crowds and loud music at every event.

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    we are really excited about j'ouvert - we love the chance to experience another country's celebrations, and music, parties, dancing and joy is something we know how to do!

    roamsaround, thanks for your help - i love fodorites!

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