Best island for first time visit.

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Jul 15th, 2009, 06:30 PM
  #1
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Best island for first time visit.

I have been looking into different islands to stay at. Most likey have four people and want to stay in a villa if at all possible. What are the best islands, that someone coming to for the first time would enjoy the most? Interested in experiencing as much as possible but need to relax some as well. I have looked into Tortola, St. Barts, St. Marteen, and Nevis/St. Kitts. Open to any other suggestions though. Also beachfront would be ideal but also interested on peoples feelings between beachfront and hillside? Thank you for your help in advance.
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Jul 16th, 2009, 02:41 AM
  #2
 
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What is your budget? When do you plan to visit? How long are you going to stay? What activities interest you?
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Jul 16th, 2009, 02:55 AM
  #3
 
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Barbados is a wonderful island for first-timers. It has some of everything the islands have to offer, except a volcano. Lovely people, a wid range of hotels, beaches, sightseeing, restaurants, topography. There are lots of villas. IMO being on the islands means staying beachfront so that you have the visual and the sounds all the time, plus the ability to walk the beach, swim, snorkel at will. See www.barbados.org
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Jul 16th, 2009, 04:01 AM
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When are you planning to go? I will be in Martinique in September, staying near Trois Islets. If you want further info about the island, I can help, and you are welcome to lunch at my villa.

Feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Isabel S.
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Jul 16th, 2009, 04:21 AM
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Unfortunately, your descriptions are too broad. You ask 5 people the best islands, you'll get 5 different answers. Every island offers something interesting, every island offers relaxation, every island offers villas.

What's your budget?
What are your travel tastes? (tent, modest, luxury?)
Want history or basically scenery?
Want to walk around or drive?
Want big island or small?
Hilly or long flat beaches?
Turquoise water, or black sand beaches?
scuba and snorkel?
Upscale or do you mind vendors approaching you?
Scenery or water sports?
Secluded or crowded?
shopping? Nightlife? Casinos?
Topless/nudity?
Easy access from States or off the beaten path?
Sailing?
Island hopping?

Every island has it's own personality, so you need to tell us more so we can offer opinions. The islands that you tagged are all completely different from each other, what attracted you to pick those in the foirst place?
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Jul 16th, 2009, 05:52 AM
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I 100% agree with Blamona. I love the Caribbean and my plan is to visit all of the islands. I've been to quite a few and I still have more to see. One of the things I love about the Caribbean is how different one island can be from another.
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Jul 16th, 2009, 06:37 AM
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I think many people would suggest St. John for a first time visit. US territory, many gorgeous beaches,lots of villas. The catch is that the villas are not beachfront but hillside -- still, you get lovely views and breezes. Rent a car and spend the week trying out all the different beaches. Some decent dining options, too.
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Jul 16th, 2009, 06:44 AM
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Thank you for all of the info so far, I really appreciate it. I do understand everyones point about including more info so here goes.

What's your budget? Right now looking at between $4,000 and $5,000 for villa and possible car rental if need for 7 night.
What are your travel tastes? (tent, modest, luxury?) Not really looking for a luxury place, but would like a full kitchen and 2 Bed, 2 Baths
Want history or basically scenery? A little bit of both actually. most likely more secerny than history though.
Want to walk around or drive? Would like to be able to do both. I know on an island such as Nevis we could just walk, but on Tortoal we would need a car.
Want big island or small? This is probably the toughest question for me, I know the privacy and closeness of a small islnd would be fun, but the opportunities of a larger island is very appealing as well. I will need to talk to the rest of the group before a final decision is made on this.
Hilly or long flat beaches? Prefer flat beaches, however would like to find some small secluded beaches in coves if at all possible.
Turquoise water, or black sand beaches? Turquois water with lighter sand beaches, would prefer not man mad beaches however,
scuba and snorkel? Both, snorkel with out a doubt. I know St. Kitts/Nevis doesnt have the best.
Upscale or do you mind vendors approaching you? Would prefer upscale, really do not want to be hasseled by vendors, I experienced that at Puetro Vallarta and it took away from the experience a lot.
Scenery or water sports? Would love to do both. Looking at learning to sail before I go so would like experience sailing as well (maybe not myself as the captain but on a sailboat lol)
Secluded or crowded? would prefer some privacy on the beaches
shopping? Nightlife? Casinos? A little shopping will most likely happen. Want to enjoy some nightlife 3 or 4 nights but not everynight.
Topless/nudity? nudity no, topless maybe, would not go out of the way though.
Easy access from States or off the beaten path? Willing do what it takes to get there.
Sailing? Yes with out a doubt.
Island hopping? Maybe a little, that is why I was considering the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

Every island has it's own personality, so you need to tell us more so we can offer opinions. The islands that you tagged are all completely different from each other, what attracted you to pick those in the foirst place? I heard Nevis was a beautiful relaxing island, that offers a lot of activities on the island to do (including the horse racing if you can find it), Tortola looks to be a ver fun island with a great deal of sailing as well a good price range of places to stay. I have had family that have stayed at St. Barts, and St. Marteens and had great times there as well, that why those islands were top of mind.

The goal is to visit most of the islands over time, but right now looking for a great place to start to cross of the list, mainly a place that has a wide experience of things to do so when we come back we can decide truly what is for us.

Thank you iza1017 for the offer, I am sure it would be a great time. Unfortunately we are looking to go at the end of next Feb. early March.

Thanks again for all the help.
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Jul 16th, 2009, 07:37 AM
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Hi JJones,
Thank you for the info. I would recommend Anguilla for you. It's a small island with flat white sand beaches and clear blue water, and also has small coves you can explore. It's also a short ferry ride from St. Martin/Maarten which has nightlife/casinos, sailing (you can do some heavy duty sailing out of Phillipsburg -http://12metre.com/regatta.htm), and topless/nude beaches if you're looking for that on Orient beach. It seems like the mixture of these 2 islands would suit your needs. Villas run in all price ranges, although I've found you get much more for your $ in St. Martin vs Anguilla. We're actually going back to St. Martin next year and staying in a villa again.

Another option would be St. John or Virgin Gorda. Both have white sand beaches and are more hilly islands. Good snorkeling can be found on both. You can also go sailing from both and island hop around the BVI's. The only thing with these though is VG really doesn't have any nightlife, and St. John has some, restaurant wise. I guess it depends how crazy you want to get with going out late. I haven't been to Tortola, but have heard it's more of a yachting destination (aka-better to go through there by boat than stay for a week on the island).

Regarding villas on the beach, they're hard to come by in Anguilla and St. John. Pretty much all of them are in the hills and you would need to drive to the beaches, which isn't that big of a deal if you don't have small kids with you. You're going to want to get out and explore all the island has to offer anyway. We stayed at andantebythesea.com in St. John and really liked it. Check it out. 3 bedrooms, and in your price range. I haven't been to Anguilla yet but know people who have, and we're planning a day trip there next year.

Virgin Gorda and St. Martin both have a wide selection of villas directly on the beach. Check out caribbeanway.com, villascaribe.com, or do online searches for villas on these islands. Keep in mind you'll be traveling during high season, which means the villas will most likely be double the price of what they would be in off season (April 15-October). We stayed on Mahoe Bay in VG which was amazing, but these villas are $$$$$, and it's harder to get to than the other islands I've mentioned. You can do a search online for these. We stayed at caribbeanwind.com. St. Martin is also nice with lots to do, but the only really white powdery sand beach we saw while there was Orient Bay which is a crowded beach, so that's why I'm thinking Anguilla would be better for you, with day trips to St. Martin.

Good luck and hope this helps!
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Jul 16th, 2009, 07:48 AM
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I love Bermuda and would be happy to recommend it to you BUT your time of travel puts it out of the consideration. Bermuda is best for outdoor activities from May-Oct. In late Feb and March it is often windy and rainy and definitely the chilliest temps of the year.
I suggest St. John for you.
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Jul 17th, 2009, 05:30 AM
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Hi again. So looking at your responses, I'd recommend Virgin Gorda and St. John. Those 2 islands are similar although VG is much quieter in terms of nightlife. They're both pretty, lush with beautiful beaches. They're easy islands to navigate. You should definitely rent a car. And you can definitely island hop.
We rented a fabulous villa for the very time first time during our trip to VG last year. We loved that. If you can get one with a pool, even better. Nothing better than to end your day with a drink at the pool. We rented the Sugar Mill Villa at Nail Bay Resort. It's not on the beach but Mountain Trunk beach is a short walk. Nail Bay offers other villas that are on the beach.

Of the islands mentioned in your original post, I've only been to St. Martin and St. Barthelemy (that one was a day trip). Even though we had a good time in St. Martin, it was not a good island for us. Too busy, too built-up, traffic - I live in NJ/NY area. I like to escape all of that when I'm in the Caribbean! . St. Barth is soooo pretty and I would love to go back. I can't say more than that since it was just a day trip.

Good luck.
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Jul 17th, 2009, 05:46 AM
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I would recommend St John as well. I think VG may be too quiet for you. No nightlife to speak of. With St John you will have serene beaches with great snorkelling and also have the option of hopping over to St Thomas for some shopping, sightseeing etc.
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