Beautiful beaches with shade?

Jan 26th, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Beautiful beaches with shade?

We are thinking about going to the Caribbean for a week at the end of June and have done a lot of reading and looking at various places. So far, the places that interest us are as follows:
- T&C - Ocean Club West, the Sands or Coral Gardens
- Bonaire - Harbour Village Beach Club
- St. John - Westin or Caneel Bay
- Mexico - PDC area or Isla Mujeres

We have never been to any of these places but based on our experiences after several trips to Costa Rica and Hawaii, what we would really like is a white sand beach with crystal clear water and some snorkeling AND shade! Shade is very important for me as I burn very easily, even with multiple layers of sunblock on.

Which of the above mentioned places would meet our requirements best???
Iza is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 02:44 PM
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Caneel Bay on St. John has the most natural shade of all the places you mentioned. Shade is at a premium all along Grace Bay in the T&C. There's not a lot of natural shade in Playa del Carmen either and as a rule you have to get up pretty early (or stay up pretty late) to "reserve" your lounge chair and Palapa if you want to be in a cool spot. Can tell you about Bonaire as that's one of the few places I've not visited.
Jan 26th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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Shade was available on every beach that we snorkled from on St. John.
RobertoB is offline  
Jan 26th, 2004, 05:49 PM
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yes..lots of shade (trees) along the beaches in st. john.
Jan 26th, 2004, 08:52 PM
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If you are looking for shade and white sand beaches, cross Bonaire off of your list. The beaches are small stones and coral and there is only very limited shade.

In my opinion, the only reason to really visit Bonaire is if you are a scuba diver and then it is fantastic (the slogan on their license pltes reads "Diver's Paradise"...and it is); otherwise, I don't think that there is much of interest.

Jason1 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 05:16 AM
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Sad but true that one of the first things many resort developers do is cut down all the natural shade trees on the beach and replace them with artificial umbrellas which are, of course, for 'guests only'.

Why ? Because the 'natural' trees are 'messy' and need more maintenance by way of, for example, raking up palm fronds and harvesting coconuts.

Some beautiful shore-line shade trees, such as manchineel, have irritants that are dangerous to the touch. It's easier to cut them down than to educate visitors not to touch the leaves, eat the 'apples' or shelter under them during rain. Not to mention limiting the potential for litigation.

Beautiful shady (and useful) seagrape is also hacked away.

As a consequence, one gets hot denuded, tourist only, beaches which are increasingly subject to erosion. Compare, for example, the 'developed' parts of Rodney Bay in St. Lucia to the the 'park' end.

It's all about the $$$

My 2 cents this chilly morning.
curiousx is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 05:32 AM
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I would consider Grand cayman if I were you. Seven Mile Beach is beautiful and lined with big casuarina pines which provide lots of shade.
Kristen1206 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:03 AM
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The replies so far have pretty much covered my thoughts, but I figured I'd give you them anyway.

Bonaire does not have good beaches, but we loved it for Harbor Village Resort and driving through the protected land area at the north end of the island.

Grand Cayman (7-mile beach) has the best beach/water combo we have been to if you are looking for small waves (or none), minimal wind, and miles of white, beautiful sand. Regarding shade, for most parts you will probably have to get a "hut", as only the north end has trees.

One other island not mentioned yet is Antigua. We haven't been there yet (going next year), but what I've researched looks like it fits your taste.

Enjoy your vacation!

Jerod is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:09 AM
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Although Australians have been very conscious of skin cancer for many years, that awareness has only slowly come to this part of the world.

Nothing wrong with a beach vacation, but it is good to limit exposure to the sun to a reasonable amount.

Other than just shade trees then, another option is to make sure your room has some of the benefits of lying on the beach (outdoor patio with gorgeous view and tropical breezes) whilst still being in the shade.

Here at The Reef, all our suites are beachfront with their own patios/balconies and our guests spend a lot of time there in the shade (our units are in the shade all afternoon).

That might be the best of both worlds for you
TomCayman is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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St. John. Caneel is lovely and the island of St. John has the most gorgeous beaches. However, check out the many gorgeous villas they have for rent. You get a lot more privacy, your own pool/spa and sunsets from the decks of these hillside villas can not be beat. If you still want a resort, then Caneel is the better of the two. $$$$. A nice B&B close town and beautiful views is Estate Lindholm, less pricey than Caneel and people rave about it.
However, after the experience of renting your own private villa most agree that's the way to go on beautiful St. John.

You can not go wrong with St. John. Just stunning island.
floridabound is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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The only shade on the beach at Grace Bay (T&C) is from umbrellas. This applies to all three of the resorts you mentioned. Only Coral Gardens has snorkeling close by.

I agree that Caneel Bay would be an excellent choice. The Westin on St. John has murky water.

cdt is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 08:53 AM
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Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. Curiousx, well said.

I think it will be St. John for us this year. We've wanted to go there for years but the timing never worked well. Hopefully we can do it this year!

I have actually looked at a number of villas on St. John and love the looks of most of them but I think we will go with a hotel this time. We have rented places to stay in the past (Maine, Hawaii, Paris) which we loved for the extra space and the convenience of having our own kitchen but it invariably is more work than staying at a hotel where someone makes the beds and cleans your room. Other than Westing and Caneel and Estate Lindholm (which looks lovely) are there any other options on St. John?

Iza is offline  
Jan 27th, 2004, 11:55 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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If you go to USVI on-line forum, there are many people who can help you out and there are hotel/villa reviews also along with other links about St. John.

It's a great site and that is how we chose a villa over staying at hotel. Personally, we didn't find it much work at all. I guess, we preferred the room, privacy and those sunsets as a trade off. We also had a chef come over to cook one night. . Everyone has their own preference.

Again, I would go on the USVI site.

You'll love St. John no matter what your decision of where to stay.
floridabound is offline  
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