Californians in the Caribbean

May 29th, 2002, 08:53 AM
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Californians in the Caribbean

Any Californians visit the Caribbean over Hawaii? Reason? I am especially interested in Barbados.
May 29th, 2002, 10:26 PM
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Have not been to Barbados, but would choose (almost) any Caribbean island over Hawaii. Reason: More variety. More history. No McDonalds' and Burger Kings, no COSTCO on your way from the airport !!!! Much nicer beaches. White sand (as opposed to some "black" Hawaiian beaches). Turquoise waters. More "ethnic" atmosphere. (Almost) each island is a different country. We've traveled a lot recently and are almost ready to move to the east coast to be closer to the Caribbeans. Just kidding. We love California. Actually, Hawaii is somewhat similar to Califonia -- another reason to try the Caribbean island -- something new !
May 30th, 2002, 04:31 AM
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While we were in San Diego on vacation (live New Jersey) we met the owner of the clothing store we were shopping in and she said she had gone on her honeymoon the previous year to Grenada staying at the Secret Harbour Resort. She said they both wanted something exotic and different and that offered great sailing opportunities--thought the water in Hawaii was fairly rough.
May 30th, 2002, 08:10 AM
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Actually, Kerri, there are some Caribbean islands that do have McDonald's, Burger Kings, etc. and appear very "Americanized." Some still have a Caribbean feel to it while others not as much. Just something to consider if it's of any importance in making a decision. I don't believe Barbados fits in this category - from what I hear it's got a good Caribbean feel. Haven't actually been there though (yet) - only my impression from what I've heard.
May 30th, 2002, 05:23 PM
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Just my two cents, but we are from California & vacation everywhere (Fiji, Tahiti, Samoa, Cook Islands, Belize, Mexico, Caribbean) except Hawaii! Just too much of the same for my tastes & they really don't have any small upscale resorts that interest me. Barbados has a nice mixture of good beaches, good food & local culture. Stay on the West Coast.
May 30th, 2002, 06:46 PM
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Actually Barbados has had American fast food since the 70s, when Kentucky Fried Chicken was the first fast food chain. But it's a BIG mistake to assume an island having a few American fast food chains suddenly loses it's ethnicity. That depends more on size of population, culture, government, etc. Some of the islands with the most intense Caribbean cultures have some American chains.
May 30th, 2002, 06:56 PM
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The Caribbean is warmer (temperature-wise) and has an international feel...Hawaii is the United States and VERY over-priced.
May 31st, 2002, 07:41 AM
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I live in the Bay Area and have vacationed thrice in Hawaii (Oahu, Maui, Lanai and the Big Island). Might go back some day but in the meantime I've been spending lots of down time in Mexico at Zihuatanejo, Costa Alegre and Los Cabos (Casa Que Canta, Villa del Sol, Las Alamandas, Casa del Mar, Casa Natalia).

The flights to Mexico are shorter and cheaper; and the beaches are about as good for swimming. Meals are much less expensive and the service, generally, is better.

Once a year, we spend ten days on Anguilla at Cap Juluca. I'd love to do that more often but the travel hassle from California to the Caribbean discourages me -- both in time and cost. If I lived on the East Coast, I'd spend plenty of time in the Caribbean.
May 31st, 2002, 08:11 AM
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Genralizations about ALL of Hawaii and ALL of the Caribbean are relatively useless.
Example: Honolulu is not "Hawaii" any more than San Juan being representative of the entire Caribbean.
If you want 'local flavor' Kauai, northern Oahu, east Maui and most of the Big Island are brimming with 'non-Americanized' local flavor.

Is Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach, studded with densely packed condos/resorts, extensive generic American food/retail, horrible traffic and hordes of cruise passengers everyone's idea of the 'true Caribbean'?

The point is, you can find most anything you want in a tropical vacation in either Hawaii or the Caribbean. You have to know what you want and where to look.

Caribbean certainly has more nice beaches, more beaches with soft sand, and prettier water.
Overall Caribbean is more crime-ridden, poverty-riddled, tainted by overt racism, anti-American sentiment in many places, has fewer world class resorts, and iffier weather.
As for cost, again, it's silly to state that "Hawaii is overpriced". You can find cheap condos and food on all the Hawaiian islands just the same as in the Caribbean. >$1000 per night for a room at Sandy Lane in Barbados is cheap?

I don't understand why people insist on making these broad generalizations. They're far from accurate. No more correct than stating "Europe is just a bunch of dirty old cities and people living in the past" (which I recently heard someone say).
May 31st, 2002, 11:39 AM
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You're a smart man !!!
No kidding. You're absolutely correct.

You have mentioned a few "authentic" Hawaiian places. What about the Caribbean ? OK, Grand Cayman and the 7-mile beach is not it. What do YOU like in the Caribbean ?
May 31st, 2002, 12:25 PM
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Speaking of generalizations Mark and I quote you:
"Overall Caribbean is more crime-ridden, poverty-riddled, tainted by overt racism, anti-American sentiment in many places, has fewer world class resorts, and iffier weather."
I disagree competely with the above generalization. I have been to many places in the caribbean and found none of the above to be true. I have also been to Hawaii and certainly at least as far as crime is concerned my impression was that there was more crime there than in any of the caribbean islands I have been to with the exception of Jamaica.
Personally I found the 2 vacation experiences to be quite different but I enjoyed each. To me if I want a great beach vacation I think caribbean. If I want superb scenery and good roads and I think Hawaii. I honestly think that comparing the 2 experiences is an apples and oranges thing. And I really dont understand why people feel one must be "better" than the other.
May 31st, 2002, 12:43 PM
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OK, since you asked, I'll be specific. When I vacation in warm climates I want one of two things, either peace/quiet/wonderful beach/luxury hotel (size not important) without much civilization around, or warm weather with a combination of nice hotel and activities.
(Depends on level of life stress when planning the trip).

To decompress and just enjoy a great beach experience with no hassles, then Grace Bay (Turks/Caicos), Malliouhana (Anguilla), and the Four Seasons (Nevis) are my favorites in the Caribbean.
But I'm not in search of local Caribbean culture. If it's there, that's fine, but I'm not there for that reason and it doesn't have much to do with whether I enjoy the trip.
To add some local civilization (not necessarily culture) then Sandy Lane (Barbados) is a nice combination of Caribbean flavor without total isolation.

I would like Bermuda and G Cayman and St. John and some of the other favorite Caribe isles much more if there were hotels on these islands which fit my notion of luxury. But there aren't any.

I'm much less open minded than most about what will make a great vacation, though. I'm very picky about hotels, while most people seem to simply want island beauty and great weather. I'm less interested in 'local culture'. I don't think of the Caribbean as being a cultural awakening destination. I much prefer Italy, Austria, France, Greece and Indonesia for that kind of experience (but not if I want to relax).

As regards Hawaii, I actually prefer Hawaii to the above places for a combination of civilization and tropical vacationing. The Four Seasons on Maui and adjacent Kea Lani cover all the bases for me. The Mandarin Oriental on Oahu is also great. And I agree that the 'American flavor' permeates these areas. But when I go to Hawaii I'm not looking for cultural flavor.
May 31st, 2002, 12:55 PM
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I agree wholeheartedly with your last statement: "I honestly think that comparing the 2 experiences is an apples and oranges thing. And I really dont understand why people feel one must be "better" than the other".

My generalization about crime is just that. Sure there are lots of safe places in the Caribbean, and there is definitely property crime in Hawaii. But if you compare the incidence of property crime per capita in Hawaii vs. the touristed Caribbean isles, crime is much higher in the latter. How would one go about proving that? Tricky business. Tourism is staple industry for most Caribbean isles. They won't freely publish crime rates.
Similar phenomenon (different reasons why) in Las Vegas. There is a lot of 'protectionism' about criminal activity surrounding the Vegas casino areas. The media are privy to less info there than in other major cities, and this is done to protect the image of the town.

But if a vacationer is going to Grand Cayman and staying at the Westin, generalizations about Caribbean crime mean's safer there than in most US cities.

Weather? Quite variable across the Caribbean. There's never been a hurricane in Aruba.
But if someone writes a question here at Fodor's and says they know nothing about the Caribbean or Hawaii and want to plan a honeymoon, for example, you have to start somewhere.

In the end, though, it's all about the details. Which is why this forum is so useful (when used correctly)!
May 31st, 2002, 01:37 PM
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We live in LA and probably split our tropical vacations bewteen Hawaii and the Caribbean (and sometimes Mexico). If it weren't for the grueling flights from the west coast though, we would visit the Caribbean more often. To us the Caribbean has a certain feel (hard to describe in words) that we just don't find in Hawaii plus I like the sand and water better overall.
May 31st, 2002, 11:18 PM
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Mark, I agree with you 100%. As per Grand Cayman, look for the new Ritz-Carlton opening in late 2003 to fulfill your expectations regarding the luxury quotient (disagree with your statement, though, about 7-Mile Beach being "densely" packed! Compared to what? Waikiki? PLEASE!!!). Also, look for the new Four Seasons opening on Great Exuma in the Bahamas in 2003 as well, which will definitely put the one on Nevis to shame!!
Jun 4th, 2002, 07:02 PM
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We were also very picky about resorts/
hotels but after renting a luxury
villa on the island of St. John we
were hooked. It really can't be
beat. Rent a hillside villa with
exquisite views, hire a chef to
come in to cook one evening, or
barbecue on your deck or go out for
the evening to some fantastic restaurants. It is unbelievable,
the island, the jewel like beaches,
scenery. St. John has it all.

Hope this helps.
Jun 4th, 2002, 07:08 PM
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I agree with Geoff. St John is
splendor. He described it perfectly.
A jewel of an island. So many "azure"
beaches. We also rented a villa and
what an experiences. So much better
than any resort or hotel we've stayed

Visit USVI Online forum and you will
see and get lots of advice. You
would not be disappointed in St. John.

We used to live in LA. Have been to
Cabo. Lovely resorts but the beaches
just can't compare and it was so
hooooooooooot in early May.

Have also been to the Big Island very
gorgeous but living on the east coast
wouldn't go back because of the long
plane ride and after discovering
St. John it's our island of choice.
Another island that is just as
picturesque is Bermuda.

Jun 4th, 2002, 07:13 PM
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I have to agree with the St. John votes
above. We got married there a few
weeks ago and also rented a villa.

Absolutely beautiful. Have also been
to Cabo and Bermuda. We loved St.
John the best. Very picturesque,
clean, lovely people, lots of beautiful
beaches to choose from. Very Very

I'm sure wherever you choose, you
will have a wonderful time. Sometime,
though you ought to try renting a
villa. It was a great experience.

Jun 4th, 2002, 07:38 PM
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Nancy -- you need to use a different text editor. It's obvious from the width of your paragraphs that you are posting on many different threads here with different names. The giveaway is your text editor and you push St. John over and over. You do the REAL St. John fans a disservice.
Jun 4th, 2002, 07:41 PM
Fake Posters
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Oh puhhlleeaze!!!

Who in the world is it that is so obsessed with having your opinion recognized that you post THREE straight times under different names.

Pretty comical there, Geoff/Pat/Nancy.

You used an unusual margination setting, similar fake e-mail adresses, and posted 3 times within 10 minutes.

Yeah, right.

Get a life.

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