Best Island for Me?

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Aug 28th, 2014, 08:01 PM
  #1
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Best Island for Me?

I have yet to visit the Caribbean (except for Florida Keys) and planned on a long vacation (75+ days) when I get the ability to do so (it's been a very eventful/busy year). I have absolutely no idea on what time of the year the vacation would be, however my friends have recommended St. Kitts and Turks & Caicos. The budget isn't an issue, however I would like to stay in one country and not do the touristy-cruise adventure.

About Me: I'm young (under 21), male, vegetarian, have hayfever/allergies, traveling alone. I enjoy photography, urban/island exploration (at night as well), I dislike large crowds/prefer isolated areas, pushy-sellers, panhandlers, cloudy areas.

I would like the ability to roam free at all times without worrying about crime or needing to drive a licensed vehicle (car, etc), I don't want to visit an extremely poor country where the infrastructure is all messed up (bad roads/pavements) and the people are in-need of basics like food and medicine.

Feel free to ask me anymore questions, I have a copy of the Caribbean 2014 fodors books on hand.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 04:29 AM
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Budget?

Time of year?

Most islands allow 60 days without leaving, some allow extensions

Most islands have their busy times

Most islands are tiny, so after a month you might get stir crazy, so you might want to island hop

Most islands to get around you'll need to drive, especially as long as you'll be there--taxi can be a fortune

I've traveled solo to many islands, as with everywhere all have areas to avoid, all except St Barts have a form of petty thieves (convinience crime like missing bag on beach when leaving it to swim, etc)

Many islands have panhandlers, a couple don't

Clouds? In 75 days you'll get plenty of sun, but can't avoid clouds

St kitts and TCI are completely different from each other. Completely

Fodors 2014 is a great starting point, but you'll also have to be realistic about budget and time of year.

Keep in mind many islands are roughly 20-50 miles long, so you might want a grouping for that long

As for vegetarian, most islands bring in fruits and veggies, but all have supermarkets and many restaurants are accommodating. FYI though much diet is fish, conch and ribs. So to accommodate make sure to increase budget
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Aug 29th, 2014, 04:40 AM
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I know you said no budget or time of year, but still need this as a starting point! If not, can't help narrow down for you as to help you be realistic-- many islands without pandhandlers for example run $400-$600 nightly especially if you want a full kitchen. So you're talking a $30,000 vacation to start with

Even if you find $200 budget (just for lodging) you're looking at $17,000, so we must see a range from you. (if you're thinking $5000 for lodging for 75 days, then you'll get poverty, panhandlers, crime, etc)

PS Barbados has panhandlers
St Martin has poverty
Bahama has tons of Out Islands without spring break crowds
Aruba has timeshares (similar to panhandlers)

In 75 days all have pretty weather

So please give a budget. Travel range might help too-- peak season is mid-December thru end of April, most of Caribbean costs double during that time. Non peak can get hurricanes
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Aug 29th, 2014, 04:57 AM
  #4
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I have yet to determine a time of year, I suspect it will be between December and June. I am looking into investing in a vacation home/apartment instead of renting a hotel room on a daily/weekly/monthly rate. The investment budget is external to my vacation spending budget which is roughly $1,000/day. I am willing to exceed the budget as it's my first major vacation in 5 years and require this time away before making any major decisions.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 06:34 AM
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You are very fortunate to be so young (under 21) and have $75,000 set aside for a travel budget not to mention additional money to purchase a "vacation" property. With that budget you can go just about anywhere.

Since every island is different and you've not been to the Caribbean before I'd strongly recommend purchasing a vacation property on the first island you visit. Think about it, a modest vacation property will cost you a minimum of $400,000US - what happens if you find out after owning for a few months you don't like the island or you discover a different island you like much better.

If I were you, don't purchase now, instead spend your 75 days "island hopping" so you get a feel for a number of different islands. You could stay a week or so on each island getting the lay of the land. By the end of you trip you will have seen 8 to 10 islands and can then narrow down your choices for your "vacation property investment" island.

A good salting place is the US and British Virgin Islands - they are in close proximity to each other and you can see 6 or 8 islands in a very short period. Then move on to St. Martin, from there you can easily get to Anguilla, St. Barths, (both by ferry), Nevis, St. Kitts, Antigua by island hopper flights.

With a $1,000/day travel budget you should have no difficulty finding accommodations, transportation, food, etc. on any island.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 07:03 AM
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"With a $1,000/day travel budget you should have no difficulty finding accommodations, transportation, food, etc. on any island."

Amen to that RoamsAround!!

Even my rich friends don't have that kind of budget for their vacations....LOL
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Aug 29th, 2014, 07:53 AM
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Truly, with that budget, have a great vacation but invest the majority for the future.

If investing in a villa or apartment in Caribbean you have to know you can't randomly pick an island and just buy.

So many international laws and rules and regulations, not just for visiting but for investing.

You need multiple trips to learn all this, and have general idea of where you want (not just asking us) before you go invest!

I appreciate at 21 being so disciplined and knowing a starting point of what you want, but when investing in foreign countries you have to study the situation more!
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Aug 29th, 2014, 10:49 AM
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The Caribbean has stunning beaches, but in every other way is totally unlike Hawaii.

You say you want a beautiful island, do not want to see poverty and poor roads, do not wish to drive, but do want to be able to roam around freely without worry about crime.

While my experience is limited to six or seven, the islands I have been to have extreme poverty. Having so much money, you must be careful of too much display or you will be a target. Many areas are fine during the day, but less safe at night.

Many have some good roads with many other roads and trails in bad condition. Unless you want to hire a driver or taxi, you must have a car on all the islands I have been on. There may be local busses and vans for getting around, but they do not always go where you want.

IMHE, 75 days would be a very long time on any of the islands unless you are absolutely sure you are a beach/island kind of person. Start by renting an apartment style hotel, condo or house for a week or so on three or four different islands to get a feel for the Caribbean. Some islands may seem fantastic at first, but boring after awhile. Others may not appeal at first, but grow on you. Buying anything without spending a lot of time first would not make sense.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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A few thoughts:

75 days is a LONG time to be on an island you've never visited before.

$1000 is a HUGE daily budget.

Many/most Caribbean islands have some amount of poverty and lack of modern infrastructure.

I would never invest in real estate unless it was a place I'd spend numerous trips, never on a 1st trip to a brand new place, just not a good idea.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 11:56 AM
  #10
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Hiya,

My initial interest with the Caribbean came from my friend who was seeking St. Kitts economic citizenship. I've been researching St Kitts + Nevis, Antigua + Barbuda, and TCI, and have found out that obtaining a permanent residency visa (or even citizenship) isn't difficult if you invest in an approved development, however some countries have increased the minimum purchase price to get permanent residency by 200% (TCI). So I decided on vacation first, then deciding on the right island, instead of just rushing it and taking a gamble.

Sassafrass mentioned Hawaii, I have yet to consider the Pacific region due to it's extremely long travel times. I also understand the majority (I hear some islands are different) of islands are very poor and unlike places like Monaco, Geneva, or even Miami you risk being a victim of a crime if you wear a nice watch, smartphone, etc.

I hear the taxi services are dangerous as you have to make sure you're not being taken advantage of or risk entering an unlicensed vehicle and being robbed, is that true?

I do know that 75 days is quite a long time, but I do plan on having day trips to other areas, if that is possible?
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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:03 PM
  #11
 
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I'm confused...

You heard the majority of the Hawaiian islands are very poor? And that taxi drivers rob you there? Or are you talking about the Caribbean islands still?
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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:04 PM
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Oh boy , I just re-read my earlier post and clearly there was a typographical error - I meant OP should NOT to purchase a vacation home on the first visit - but rather island hop to find the one he likes best.

OP is in a truly enviable position having a $1000/day travel budget and additional money to invest on a vacation home. Quite an accomplishment for someone still in his teens. Most people work their entire lives and never come close to having that kind of disposal money.
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Aug 29th, 2014, 12:45 PM
  #13
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Suze, I am talking about the Caribbean islands re: poverty, taxi drivers. I am pretty sure Hawaii is just a more exotic version of California.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 09:01 AM
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If you don't want to see poverty, St Barts is for you. ;-)
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Aug 31st, 2014, 09:18 AM
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I take it you haven't been to Hawaii?

That's sure not true from my point of view. I grew up in southern California and have been to Hawaii only 6 times, but they are nothing alike culturally. Yes they do both have beautiful beaches and ocean.

Good luck in the Caribbean if you don't want to see poverty. That's a pretty tall order. I mean that most sincerely.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 04:03 PM
  #16
 
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I can't believe that the OP is earnest. If you have $75000 for travel and can afford a vacation home you obviously would have been taken around by your parents.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 06:35 PM
  #17
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suze, I haven't been to Hawaii (yet). The closest tropical area I've been to is South Florida. Also GeorgeR, my income is not inherited nor is it the question of anyone on this board, please keep on topic.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 08:11 PM
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GeorgeR, I would have thought the same as you, but when I was teaching, I accidentally learned that one of my students, only about 15/16 at the time, had landed a very lucrative contract as a website designer for a big Japanese company. He had applied and sent work samples without mentioning his age. This was a number of years ago and the kid was kind of nerdy, but also a genius. I don't remember the details, but it did happen, and he became quite wealthy. He was also a really nice kid. Reps were surprised when they actually met him. So, rare, I am sure, but can happen.
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Aug 31st, 2014, 08:19 PM
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KL101,
Just a suggestion; perhaps if you find an island you like, rather than avoid the poverty, you can think of some way to help improve the local situation.

I believe economic citizenship on St Kitts would run upwards of $300,000 because you may have to purchase property. Property upkeep there is very costly.
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Sep 1st, 2014, 01:49 AM
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I thought parts of the Caribbean were poor until I went to Africa. Then I realised what poverty really looked like: people made shoes out of old car tires and tied them to their feet with string. They were cooking on a wood fire. Locals asked me if I would leave my toiletries with them, esp shampoo as they were washing their hair with washing powder. I have not seen this type of extreme poverty in the Caribbean but have not been to Haiti or DR where I would expect to see it. I have seen areas that look poor but nothing extreme as you would see in a favela for example. Some of the areas I have seen in the US or Europe look worse.

On the other hand, some of the Caribbean islands I have visited are well off. Some have high standards of living, Caymans, the French Caribbean (which are part of France), Barbados, Curacao.
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