Best Easily Accessible Caribbean Experience

Old Jul 3rd, 2001, 08:03 AM
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Best Easily Accessible Caribbean Experience

Hi, we are west-coasters who usually go to Hawaii (Kauai or the Big Island) but would like to try the Caribbean for once. We'll have a diverse party including toddlers, parents, and grandparents. We are planning on renting a villa. Probably the biggest requirement is the destination needs to be easily accessible since we are travelling with toddlers, so a direct flight from the mainland or a major hub (like Puerto Rico) is a big plus -- no small engine Island-hopper planes. There other requirement is at least one golf course for the golf nuts in the group. Other interests will focus on snorkeling, scuba, hiking, dining and shopping. We want something with a definite Caribbean flair (as opposed to Spanish/Mexican, etc.)

Research so far is pointing to St. Croix, St. Lucia, or St. Martin/Maarten. I'm looking for feedback from people who have travelled to one or more of these Islands or has suggestions for other ones too. Jamaica is another obvious option but it seems a little too commercialized and the culture/crime aspects do not sound intriguing.

Comments much appreciated.
Old Jul 3rd, 2001, 08:20 AM
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I would say Puerto Rico is the right choice for you with your flight restriction. It's not my favorite Caribbean island (we've had long layovers there), butthere are lots of things to do and see, and once you get out of San Juan, it is pretty.
Old Jul 3rd, 2001, 11:40 AM
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I have never been there but this seems like a great choice for you.
Old Jul 3rd, 2001, 12:15 PM
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I've been to all three places you've mentioned. I hated St. Lucia. Castries, the main town, was flithy, the beaches are o.k., and the unemployement rate is high, i.e. high crime rates.
St. Martin/Marten has great restuarants on the French side and is a mini-hub for air travel with mostly jets. I only saw one golf course and it looked worn out.

St. Croix is o.k. and has a few nice resorts. In terms of golf, none of these islands will match the courses on Kauai. However, St. Croix has two nice courses at Carambola and the Buccaneer Hotel.
You may want to look into Barbados, as well. Of the Islands I've been to, I thought it was the best.
Old Jul 6th, 2001, 01:47 PM
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Go to Hawaii again. It beats the Carribean hands down from the west coast.
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 05:17 AM
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It sounds like St. John would be perfect for you, and it is very popular on St. John to rent villas which is what you are looking for. Although you would be flying into St. Thomas, the ferry ride over to St. John is very easy (30 min). The beaches on St. John are great with excellent snorkeling. And since 2/3 of the island is national park, it is loaded with hiking trails. There is a small town, Cruz Bay, that has a fair number of shops and casual restaurants. You can also go back over to St. Thomas for more serious shopping. I don't think there are any golf courses on St. John, so you would also have to take the ferry back over to St. Thomas (and then probably catch a taxi) for golf ... this could be a drawback, but you could still get to a golf course without too much trouble. Also, St. John is a very safe island compared to other Caribbean destinations.
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 06:16 AM
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So you say Castries is dirty. Who the heck cares. Who's going to spend a lot of time there anyway. The rest of the island is beautiful and I disagree about the high crime rate.
Old Jul 9th, 2001, 05:16 PM
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Run, Don't walk back to Hawaii.

We are getting close to Hurricane Season. Also, the summer is the worst time to head to the Caribbean. GO to Maui, thank me Tomorrow!!
Old Jul 10th, 2001, 04:57 AM
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I'm a frequent visitor to St. Croix - if the flights work for you it would certainly fit the bill. Two excellent golf courses, premier diving locations, some hiking, numerous excellent dining choices, excellent shops in Chrisitansted, also many places for good snorkeling. Very Caribbean, with much of the old colonial Danish architecture maintained. Please feel free to e-mail me if you'd like more information about things to do, restaurants, etc.
Old Jul 10th, 2001, 09:36 AM
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I agree!!!! You will spend a long time getting to the Carribean and hurricane season is NOT the time to go. Go the Hawaii!!!!

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