Budget Friendly Island?

Old Feb 7th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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Budget Friendly Island?

Hey everyone - I am a lurker who decided to post.
I am planning on taking a trip in November. No destination set yet. Ideally I would like to find a place - non AI that won't kill the pocketbook.
Where can we lounge around, snorkel, maybe rent a small boat to traverse the area and now here's the wishful thinking part - cheap drinks and decent food?? You know $2 beers and $6 meals!
Where can I find this??
Thanks
Kelley
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Roatan for startrs !! I know it's not Caribbean . The Dominican Republic and Jamaica are typically less expensive .
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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I guess I should have added I was looking into Costa Rica - was concerned about the rainy season - then looked into airfare. Costa Rica was $640 and Roatan is $850...kind of starts to defeat the budget purpose...
I will do a little more searching on Jamaica - really only know about the AI's there.
On to more research!
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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Costa Rica is indeed more budget friendly than the caribbean. We just returned from Yelapa , Mexico ( usually do Costa Rica ) . We were on a budget and it was great .
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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click on my name for trip report .
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:36 PM
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read your trip report - loved it.
Got me thinking outside of the box...the normal locations...
Do you know if St. Vincent is an affordable option if I can get there?
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:51 PM
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St. Vincent has one very expensive resort but most everything else is pretty cheap, though not luxurious by any means. However, it's not really a beach island. The worst part about St. Vincent is getting there ... expensive flights and bad connections usually make it an all-day, very expensive affair. If you think a $640 flight to Costa Rica is too much, try booking a trip to St. Vincent.

I'd suggest you take a look at some small places on the south and west coasts of Puerto Rico, which are both easy and cheap to reach and where food won't break your budget. Dominica is a fairly cheap island, but it also has fairly bad beaches. Belize might be a good choice since it has moderately priced flights and decent prices at some of the more modest Cay Caulker resorts. I also like St. Croix, which has a lot of inexpensive small inns, though they aren't beachfront. Look for a room with a kitchen so you can make some of your own meals; then a few more expensive meals out won't break your budget. Also consider Puerto Vallarta, but avoid the big high-rise resorts of Nueva Vallarta and look right in town, though this is on the Pacific side of Mexico.

Unfortunately, "cheap" is difficult in the Caribbean, particularly when it comes to food. You find those $2 beers and $6 meals much more easily in Mexico or parts of Central America. If you're willing to go up to $4 beers and $10 or $12 meals, then there are alot of choices in the Caribbean.
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:52 PM
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St.Vincent seems like a wonderful place , it's on my list . It probably is more reasonable as it's off the beaten track a bit . The beaches are not it's main draw , although it does have great diving . Google away !!!
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 12:53 PM
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Beer was less than a dollar in Yelapa !!!!
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Old Feb 7th, 2006, 01:21 PM
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Thanks guys for all the input. Doug - I actually spent a week on St. Croix. Had a great time. Would prefer to visit other places before I repeat.
I did a brief search on Belize...I may need to rethink the $$$

Ultimately I would like a decent place to stay and a small boat to get around to different beaches and maybe other islands if close by...or maybe I rethink it all and head to mexico.
Thanks so much - on to more research.
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Old Feb 8th, 2006, 05:40 AM
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Look into Provo, Turks and Caicos! We got a great deal on VRBO at the Royal West Indies Resort.The unit has a kitchen so you can save $ preparing whatever meals you choose . Already have a list of family friendly, good food, easy on the pocket places to eat. So there is more money for excursions. (Bonnies, Tiki Hut, Conch Shack, Hole in the Wall,Hemmingways, to name a few.) I am a firm believer that you can fit where you want to go into your budget, just do your homework before hand.
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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Given a slightly higher budget, and a requirement for good beaches and good food (which is NOT the same as fancy restaurants), excluding Mexico but accepting Central America and The Caribbean as options -- what would you all suggest then?
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Old Feb 13th, 2006, 04:16 PM
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines are wonderful. Places to stay are reasonable but getting there is expensive and time consuming. Having said that I visit every year and plan to continue. I travel from Pittsburgh, Pa. The cost of airfare varies between $600-1000. I check out the usual sites Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, cheapcaribbean.com I have also booked directly thru USAirways. I travel most often end of Nov beginning of Dec. I take a sailing trip on the Yankee Clipper from the Windjammer fleet and bookend time in St. Vincent.The connecting flight between the ship's homeport and St. Vincent I book on LIAT. This adds on maybe $100 max to the airfare total when all is booked. Once you are in SVG the vacation is more than reasonable. I would suggest the Mariner or any of the properties across from Young Island.Anothe roption is to stay on Bequia and do some day trips to the surrounding islands. SVG has much to offer and I find my stays there fun and relaxing. I love to sail and have the opportunity to visit more of the islands by taking a WJ. Travel time form PIT to SVD is about 10-12 hours. I leave for the airport around 4:30a board the fight for 6a connect Philly or Charlotte then onto either San Juan or Barbados putting me in SVG around 5:30p If you take the cruise you can visit all the snorkeling spots etc just about if not every day. Drinks are cheap and the food although not gourmet is tasty. Last year my airfare and cruise ran me around $1700 plus $330 for my hotel on St.Vincent grand total of $2030 for 12 days in the Caribbean. Will be doing the same thing later this year.
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