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Bahama Out Island/Turks /Cozumel

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Mar 24th, 2014, 05:42 PM
  #1
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Bahama Out Island/Turks /Cozumel

Help! My ideal would be beach lodging with walk in snorkeling. My second choice would be non beach lodging but several walk in snorkeling options on the island that we could access. We do not need fancy, simple is ok, clean is important, outdated is a bit depressing, rustic elegance would be heaven. We do not care about food, night life etc.

I am looking at Turks and Caicos. I understand that several hotels are built on a beach with a reef. Which hotels are closest? There are several air and hotel packages on Expedia but I am not sure if they are close to snorkeling or how nice they are. I am picturing 7 Mile Beach when I read about Turks. Do I have that right? That would not usually be a preference to stay in a big hotel zone but if it were a nice one and with great snorkeling right out front maybe it would work. Also, is there other walk in snorkeling on the island?

I am also looking at Bahama Out Islands. There are several hotels that offer free flights from Nassau. Does anyone know which of these options would be the best for snorkeling at the hotel and which island overall would have good snorkeling options? Our last vacation was to Eleuthera and we loved it. Another Out Island would be my top choice if we could find the snorkeling and fit the budget.

Also looking at Cozumel air/hotel packages on Expedia. There are several choices in my price range and I am overwhelmed and unsure about Cozumel in general. I have heard of great shore snorkeling but it sounds really crowded and touristy. Again, we loved Eleuthera. The more fish and fewer people the happier we are. But maybe the snorkeling is worth it?

I am open to other ideas. My budget is $2000 (maybe up to $2500) for two flights from MCI and lodging, since we will have two travel days I would hope for seven nights, low season (late June) I know I am asking a lot and may need to compromise somewhere.

Thanks for suggestions. I usually love planning but this time I am a bit overwhelmed.
, probably due to the budget. sigh
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Mar 24th, 2014, 07:22 PM
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Hi tdelano- I remember your posts on this or another forum about Eleuthera. I was going to suggest Staniel Cay, Exuma, but you cannot do it for that total price.
A friend recently gave me the contact for a place they have stayed in Cozumel twice and loved it so I am passing it on because it might be something for you to consider. We have only been to Cozumel on a day trip when we were staying north of PDC - we took the ferry over, rented a car and drove all around the island and did some snorkeling.
Hope you find something that works for you-
Happy travels-
Ish
http://www.vrbo.com/176279#rates
By the way, my friends are divers but they really loved the guy they dive with there and it might be an idea if you need boat snorkeling as well but I think you can find some "walk out" there. Others will know more than I do about that area.
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Mar 25th, 2014, 03:47 AM
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Turks is out of your budget, actually most places are, especially when including flights.

Cozumel is your only option for your price

Out islands bahamas you're priced out too, and not the best snorkeling if that's seems most important to you
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Mar 25th, 2014, 12:07 PM
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Long island in the bahamas is similar to Eleuthera in terms of beaches and snorkelling. not sure about flights/costs...we are going again during spring break and paying a ridiculous amount to fly out of newark.
I agree Turks is likely out (since I am researching it on expedia as weill right now) but do take a look at Coral gardens which is right besides the snorkelling reef. Also you may want to check out prices on VRBO where i have seen owners listing their units at a slight discount to the hotel price.
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Mar 25th, 2014, 12:35 PM
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Wow, $2,000 to $2,500 budget for 2 people including airfare for a week's vacation is a difficult request. I'm guessing you'll spend almost half your budget on airfare. That means you'll have less than $200/night for accommodations - a very marginal amount for the Caribbean. You can forget about the T&C's for that budget and while you might find some low cost accommodations on one of the Bahamas Out Islands the added cost of the airfare will more than eat up any sayings. I seriously doubt you'll find any low priced hotel on any of the Bahamas Out-islands that will offer "free airfare from Nassau. Deals like that tend to come from the higher end resorts.

Frankly, your budget is just not realistic for those two destinations.

Cozumel is going to be your best bet - you'll find several beaches with decent walk-in snorkeling and if you stay in a basic non-beachfront motel you might be able to get airfare and accommodations at the upper end of your budget. So concentrate your research there.
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Mar 25th, 2014, 05:43 PM
  #6
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Thanks for the replies. The $2500 is budget for air and lodging only not the whole trip. I have found several package deals on Expedia for Cozumel in that range and several hotels on the Bahamas Tourism website that are in the $200 range with free flights from Nassau. It will cost me about $1000 for tickets to Nassau so I think I may be able to squeak in, barely.

mnag- Could you please tell me about previous snorkeling experience on Long Island? We enjoyed driving around Eleuthera and stopping to snorkel when it looked interesting and took one snorkel tour out of Harbor Island which was great. Would Long Island be similar?

I was reading about Cat Island today. There are several hotels in my price range. Can anyone comment on Cat Island snorkeling or specific resorts?

Thanks
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Mar 25th, 2014, 07:15 PM
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Cat Island will not have very good snorkeling. There is a dive shop at the southern end of the island at Greenwood Beach Resort that may have a trip but it sounds like Cat Island isn't what you are looking for.

I would think Cozumel would have good price options. Try Funjet Vacations to see if they may have a package.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 04:33 AM
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There's very little "walk-in" snorkeling on Long Island - best areas are accessible only by boat.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 09:56 AM
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We realize $2500 is air and lodging, same answers apply! Did prices in Expedia include taxes? That can be a 25% difference.

Cozumel really ticks boxes for you.

Out Islands in Bahamas are gorgeous, but so you know off the beaten path. Snorkeling is just okay there, except for Andros and maybe a little in Eleuthera.

San Salvador Bahamas has an AI Club Med, nice snorkeling there, awesome food, okay rooms.

Other than that I find snorkel in Bahamas to be average at best.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 11:13 AM
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My general understanding is snorkelling is pretty good on LI. I have personally only done limited snorkelling by Cape santa maria. The beaches are certainly as gorgeous as they are on Eleu. Also Capesanta maria would be a good place to stay ($230 a night I think for staying on an Amazing beach). Here are some useful links for snorkelling on LI

http://www.stellamarisresort.com/bah...ling-sites.asp

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...s.html#REVIEWS

In general the sites are:
Snorkeling sites on Long Island, Bahamas.
Columbus Harbour - This where Columbus landed.
Coral Gardens - Great to view turtles, caves and corals.
Eagle Ray Reef - Groupers and coral formations.
Flamingo Tongue Reef - Moray eels, craps and tons of fish.
Poseidon Point - Swim with the tarpon
Rainbow Reef - Elkhorn corals and sponges.
Rock Pools - smaller fish and crabs live in these shallow reefs.
Stella Marais Shark Reef - You can see many different types of sharks here.
Watermelon Beach - a nice easy site.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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Sounds as if LI is better for snorkeling than Cat but still just considered "ok" compared to Cozumel or others. I think I will compromise on the level of snorkeling for the out island atmosphere.

Thanks mnag. I have been reading about LI due to your post. I appreciate your snorkeling links. LI really sounds like a good fit for us.

I see several lodging options on VRBO for $200 or less a night. I'm going to see if I can make it work.

blamona Good reminder on taxes. I have a tendency to ignore those. Until I have to pay them of course.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 01:35 PM
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I personally prefer Out Islands to any snorkeling, the beaches make you forget about everything else, they are truly amazing.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 06:23 PM
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tdelano-
we have been to Long Island only once and it was several years ago but I really liked it and would return- we have actually researched a return trip and found several good options. Check vrbo or google for "Whistling Duck" and "Passionate Pelican" houses- good location, very nice owner, and good price for the week- might work for you. We stayed at a house on the Stella Maris property and found some fun snorkeling there in the rock pools and other areas and took a boat trip as well.
Do you use TA? If so, go to the Bahamas forums and connect with a lady named "jungledriver" who has been to LI a couple of times in the last couple of years- has great info on snorkeling, diving there and can also give you info about places they stayed and tips on LI. I am like you, I would rather be in the out islands than Mexico if possible.
By the way, we are using the "fly free from Nassau" deal for the first time Labor Day weekend for a return to Staniel Cay but we are also flying to Nassau on Delta miles so the SCYC part is not bad- otherwise, with airfare it can get pricey.
Do they have PM's on Fodors??? Not that I know of but there are other things I would like to tell you!!!
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Mar 26th, 2014, 06:30 PM
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PS jungledriver has stayed here on LI and had very positive things to say about it:

http://www.whymmsicalwish.com/page11.php

$125 a night- hard to beat- she said the owner was very nice, helpful- rent a car and see the island. I do think it is doable- IF you go to TA and ask about it, I will look for you and send you a PM so you can tell Jungledriver who "sent you" to her.
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Mar 26th, 2014, 07:35 PM
  #15
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Ishkribbl-thanks so much! I'm following up on all of your suggestions!!
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Mar 27th, 2014, 04:36 AM
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ishkribbl--A couple of us fodorites are going to SCYC in August with the free air from Nassau

Are we going to coincide?
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Mar 27th, 2014, 07:18 AM
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You can easily find a deal in Cozumel for that budget. All kinds of condos on VRBO for $100 to $150 a night depending on how fancy you want. Lot's of condos have fantastic walk in snorkeling, but limited beaches north of town. You'll find excellent snorkeling sites all over the island.
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Mar 27th, 2014, 04:49 PM
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Blamona- we are going for a long weekend on Labor Day- hopefully spending one night on the 28th at Compass Point to decompress then at SCYC August 29- Sept. 2. You?
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Apr 2nd, 2014, 06:49 PM
  #19
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I booked airfare MCI-NAS for $1009.60, NAS To Stella Maris $430.0 and Whymiscalwish Cottage for 8 nights $1100.00 so my total for lodging and air is $2539.60. Close enough to my budget. Thanks for the suggestions, especially those of you who kept telling me I could make it work! Although other destinations would have been less expensive, I really had my heart set on an Out Island!
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Apr 2nd, 2014, 07:54 PM
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Hooray!! You will have a great time- can't wait to hear about it!
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