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Susan Jan 4th, 2002 11:36 AM

Caymans or St. Croix?
My family (4 adults) is planning a trip to the Caribbean for March. We're trying to stay within a modest budget, but we're willing to upgrade for quality and comfort. We plan to rent a condo for a week, eat in, and are interested in snorkleing, rest, and some island exploration. We don't want to deal with crowds, peddlers, noise, crime, etc..<BR><BR>I've read and received feedback from friends overwhelmingly supporting the Caymans, but I can find little information about St. Croix. One negative about the Caymans is the cost. We've found a reasonably priced condo on each island, but we're concerned about the cost of food. Will it really be that more expensive in the Caymans than at home or in St. Croix to buy simple groceries?<BR>Any honest, first-hand feedback on the islands, especially St. Croix, is greatly appreciated.<BR><BR><BR>

Sandy Jan 4th, 2002 03:23 PM

Hi Susan,<BR>I have never been to St. Croix, but I frequent Grand Cayman, and what your looking for, it has!! No vendors, no crime, and if you stay in the right area, no crowds!! Northern Seven Mile beach has some great and reasonable condos and it's away from the tourist areas and cruise ship people. If you love to snorkel, you can't beat Grand Cayman!! Some of the best off beach snorkeling I have ever found. The condos are right on the beach and snorkeling right in front of the condos!! Great snorkeling all over the island though! Food is what's really expensive in GC, so if you plan on making some meals in, it's no more expensive than any other caribbean island. If you buy groceries down there, it's no more expensive than here in the states. It's the restaurants that are truly expensive!! It's a very safe island to rent a jeep and explore and snorkel and just kick back and relax. If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me.<BR>Sandy

Gina Jan 5th, 2002 04:36 PM

Hi Susan! I was in St. Croix in July 2000 with my family of 5. We stayed at Villa Dawn ( We had a wonderful time! The accomodations were great! . . Plenty of room, clean, GREAT VIEW, 5 min. walk to beach/snorkeling . . . There are 3 restaurants/bars w/in walking distance as well. I would highly recommend THE WAVES restaurant(if it's still there).<BR><BR>Not sure when you're going, but we were there in mid-July. It was incredibly hot and wasn't as lush as I thought it would be (compared to St. Thomas). On the other hand, there were no crowds or noise (except for the ocassional "caribbean music" that was heard from the bar below . . but it all adds to the experience!). <BR> <BR>We never worried about our safety while there. . . but we always travelled in groups. The groceries ARE more expensive but definitely not a reason NOT to go!! : )<BR><BR>Hope this info. helps. If you have any more questions, please e-mail me.<BR>Good luck with the planning! You'll have a great time no matter where you go!<BR>-Gina

Kath Jan 6th, 2002 05:58 AM

Hi- we JUST got back from Grand Cayman last night-we have been going since '94 and I HIGHLY recommend it over St. Croix. Seven Mile beach is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, along with the water and the snorkeling. There are many places to snorkel and Grand Cayman is noted to be one of the best places in the world to do so. It is also a wonderful place for rest and relaxtion as it is a very calm island. I recommend staying in a condo on Seven Mile rather than a hotel, as eating out can get very expensive. Also, Grand Cayman is a very flat island and very easy to get around. We walked to many places from our condo on Seven Mile- dinner, drinks, shopping, etc- where St. Croix is much more hilly and will require a taxi or car. <BR>I hope this helps- good luck on your decision!

freewoman Jan 6th, 2002 11:39 AM

Check out Aqua Bay Club in Grand Cayman. Great condos with screened in lanais and a beautiful, non-crowded beach. Also great snorkeling at the Cemetery just northwest of the property.

Susan Jan 7th, 2002 05:31 PM

Susan, <BR>We just returned from 10 days on Grand Cayman, our second trip and can't say enough good things about the island. The only negative I can think of is the cost. Even groceries are higher than what we pay (I live in Oklahoma ) I saved our grocery receipts as a reminder. That being said I would still go back because the positives far outweigh the expense. You will feel very safe at all times, the water is safe, the people are friendly, and the snorkeling/diving outstanding. We always stay on the East End of the island rather than 7Mile Beach because it has less tourists and feels much more like being on an island . Also I don't care for the crowds from the daily cruise ships that arrive on 7mile beach. If you have any questions just email me.

juli Jan 8th, 2002 09:47 AM

Susan:<BR><BR>I agree with the advice everyone else has given about Cayman. You where worried about cost and it is expensive but it is also relevent to where you live in the world. I am from the NY/NJ Area and I didnt find it to be that expensive. But I am used to paying higher prices for everything anyway.<BR><BR>I posted some tips awhile back about Cayman and here are some to save money.<BR><BR>-Make sure you bring any toiletries you need. They are SO expensive for things like aspirin, malox things like that. By a huge assortment of things like that, you never know what you will need.<BR><BR>-Buy your snorkel geear at home and bring it. You will want to use it every day and it doenst pay to rent it.<BR><BR>-USe the smaller companies to take a snorkel trip with. Our 1/2 day trip was $30 USD and worth every cent.The larger companies (red sail sports) are much more expensive and not as personal.<BR><BR>-If you have room in your luggage pack and inflatable raft. We spent alot of money renting a raft because we went in Aug. and it was so hot you couldnt stay out of the water.<BR><BR>-Bring and wear ALOT of Sunscreen. We used a whole bottle of 30 SPF in 4 days. The sun there is not joke. Dont forget your ears and back of neck.<BR><BR>-Someone told me you could bring 1 litre of alcohol with you into the country. I would bring it and buy juice if your like to make cocktails. The cost of drinks always adds to your bill when you go out.<BR><BR>-There arent many good deals in cayman by way of souvenirs so dont plan to do alot of shopping, unless its in the duty free shops. There arent any street vendors (that I know of) that many other islands have. <BR><BR>Have a great time whichever you chose. I have never been to St. Croix so I cant compare but Cayman was so great and seemed to be what you are looking for.

Peg Jan 8th, 2002 12:56 PM

Both are lovely. Have been to Cayman twice in the past year on cruises, and have been to St. Croix three times in the past two years. It is one of my favorite places. I'd move there if I thought I could get a job... lol.<BR><BR>You can find several good St. Croix trip reviews, including a lengthy one I wrote about our June 200 visit, at Select island list, then St. Croix. Also at, look a few weeks back in the forums, a traveling companion of mine from my October 2001 St. Croix trip posted a review, under the name Joanne. <BR><BR>As for Cayman, from my limited experience of two days there, agree much of the info above is correct--it is beautiful, relatively crime free, very clean, and very expensive. <BR><BR>Imagine you can do STX for less... snorkeling/diving are very very good there, and there are some wonderful restaurants, shopping in Christiansted, etc. Groceries are more expensive than stateside, but not outrageous. It is quiet compared to St. Thomas, but not as quiet as St. John--a nice compromise between the two. Happy to answer further questions if you have any after reading the review I mentioned--post here.<BR>

frank Jan 9th, 2002 04:47 PM

need a good place for family of five on st.croix, prefer luxury.

Joanne Jan 10th, 2002 05:33 AM

To Frank:<BR><BR>The top resorts on St. Croix are The Buccaneer, the Divi Carina Bay, the Carambola and Villa Madeleine. Three of these have websites (below) and The Buccaneer is arguably the best, especially for a family vacation - all are very nice.<BR><BR><BR><BR>

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