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what is best island for 40th birthday - group

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My friends and I are all turning 40 next year and we'd like to plan a group trip for 6 couples, We're looking at the end of June 2013 (during the full moon), we all like to party, but we also like to lounge by the pool and beach in the day, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, etc. We're looking for a place that's easy to get to, has beautiful beaches, great service, water sports activities, walking distance or short boat ride to local bars and restaurants, a lively atmosphere, no kids or at least very few of them, all with an authentic caribbean feel. Idea's we've been throwing around but none of us have been to:
Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Virgin Islands, St Lucia, Barbados, & Aruba. We are mostly all traveling from San Diego so ideally we'd like to keep travel time down to 10 hours or less.
Would be extremely grateful for any advice on this.
Thanks!
W

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    from your list barbados would work well. look for lodging near 'the gap' for access to bars/clubs.
    aruba has a lot going on at night. not great for diving/snorkeling.
    you should also look at playa del carmen, mx. has great nightlife, duty free shopping, diving/snorkeling, all water sports & tons more to do from ziplining to touring ruins. i think you'll find flts are much much shorter & less costly to cancun than to any island. has a plethora of all inclusives which offer lots of activities & usually free transportation into playa. locogringo.com has tons of info on the area resorts & things to see/do.



    are you thinking all inclusive, reg hotel or villa/condos? we need to know the nightly budget to suggest specific properties

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    What kind of partying are you looking for? If lively bars will suffice then you have your pick of islands. There is generally a little nightlife on most islands. If you want a big nightclub experience where there's a band or a DJ spinning dance music and where people are dressed up, well, that's very different and harder to find in the islands. You'll need to go someplace with a larger population, i.e., St. Martin, Barbados, Puerto Rico, Aruba, Jamaica, etc.

    Addressing some of the islands you mentioned: the British Virgin Islands are very laid back and casual. They definitely cater to the boating set. There are some nice beaches and the snorkeling around both the US and British Virgin Islands is very good. I'm not a diver so I can't comment on that. That's a great area to sail.

    Turks & Caicos has some of what you're looking for: fabulous beach and diving but as most of the accommodations are condo style, many with multi-bedrooms, you'll find LOTS of families with kids, especially in June as school will be out for the summer. It's pretty quiet in the evenings.

    Aruba also has a lot of families visiting as it's easy to reach and fairly Americanized. It has almost no Caribbean vibe. But you'll find nice (and crowded) beaches and nightlife and easy access to restaurants if you stay on Palm Beach.

    St. Lucia is a volcanic island and therefore doesn't have the white powdery sand you might be looking for. It does have lots of other things to do though. Look at the Rodney Bay area of St. Lucia. I believe it has the whitest sand beach on the island and there are some hotels and restaurants and bars on that beach.

    As referenced by virginia above, I agree that The Gap area of Barbados might work for you.

    Bahamas, lots of islands in that chain. Not sure where you're thinking but generally the Bahamas have gorgeous white sand beaches. I can't help with specific islands as I haven't been but I do know that many of the islands are very small and quiet. You'll probably need to go to one of the larger islands to have any sort of nightlife.

    If you're thinking of Barbados you might want to take a look at this recent thread. And bostonallison has a great blog referenced in the thread from her trips to Barbados and St. John. Some good info that might help you.

    http://www.fodors.com/community/caribbean-islands/st-johns-vs-barbados.cfm

    Another island you might consider is Grand Cayman. Gorgeous beaches, water sports, very good easy access restaurants and great diving/snorkeling. You might run into more kids than you want though.

    I think if you're really trying to avoid kids you might consider an adults only all-inclusive, especially since you are going in June. There are some AIs on great beaches and the one where we stayed in Jamaica last year also had a hopping disco on-site.

    As virginia said, let us know your budget and what kind of accommodation you're interested in. It helps to know if you want a hotel, condo or AI.

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    The snorkeling around Barbados is limited. Actually St. Lucia and Aruba are the only ones that are worse. St. John is about the best in the Caribbean behind Belize, Tabago Cate in the Grenadines and Honduras. If money is not too limited Caneel Bay on St. John is a good choice. You are early enough that you have less but not no change of being affected by a tropical depression or a hurrican.
    A very lovely resort in the Bahamas with decent snorkeling and nice beaches in the One & only Club.
    Personally I do not like Grand Caymen though it has nice beaches and some areas of good sorkeling. The food is expensive and not very good though the Hyatt is pretty nice but not directly on the beach.

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    I agree with Virgina. However, we found pretty good snorkeling in Aruba. You just have to get away from the resort area. The Kukoo Kunuku Bar hopping bus would be perfect for a birthday.

    I spent my 40th in Cancun. I was looking to party and have fun and it met my expectations. We did a bar hopping tour on my actual birthday and had a great time.

    DH and I spent his 50th in St. Thomas/St. John. Too laid back and somewhat boring. We found the snorkeling there subpar compared to many other people's comments.

    The other Islands that you listed, I don't think are what you are looking for is your wanting "to party".

    I'm having another milestone birthday next April and we are looking at Cabo San Lucas, MX. I found a beach hopping tour that will give us our beach fix. But, I'm more looking for good food, drinks and sightseeing.

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