Deciding where to go for summer/fall

Old Jan 26th, 2007, 03:35 PM
  #1  
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Deciding where to go for summer/fall

My husband and I are considering where to go sometime this summer or fall (probably somewhere from July-Nov. 2007--in the low season). We went to Akumal, Mx last year and Turks & Caicos the year before. This year, we would like to do something really different in terms of lushness, but also have a good beach. We are in our late 20's.

We won't have to pay for airfare due to ff miles, so the budget will be about $4k (a little over is fine) for food & lodging.

Looking for:
-Lushness and that wow scenery factor;
-Beautiful, uncrowded beach (not rocky);
-Excellent food (perhaps somewhere w/MAP or FAP plans or else somewhere where eating off property is not a big issue);
-Unpretensious;
-Friendly staff;
-Island hopping would be nice; and
-One or two non-beach activites (e.g. shopping, museum, etc., during the week);

I'm considering the following options which garner almost universal praise here and on Tripadvisor. If anyone can compare/contrast based on my specifications, that would be really helpful:

1. BVI's: Peter Island or Little Dix Bay
2. USVI's: Caneel Bay or private villa
3. St. Lucia: Ti Kaye Village
4. Nevis: Nisbet Plantation

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
mah1980 is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2007, 05:36 PM
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You have some excellent choices and much has been written about all those resorts on this forum. Use the search function and you'll become an expert.

Now some comments that might be helpful:

Peter Island is on a small island. It's hilly with some vegetation but not particularily lush. Also, the resort is the only thing on the island so you'd have to venture off the property for your non-beach activities.

Caneel Bay meets all your requirements except the island doesn't have any "museums" but you can easily go to nearby St. Thomas for lot's of non-beach activities. The resort also has the best off-beach snorkeling on the places on your list and there's plenty of other beaches on the island that also have excellent snorkeling.

Nevis is much more lush than the first two islands and it has some very nice uncrowded darker sand beaches (Nisbet's beach has some of the lightest colored sand on the island) but you won't find much off-beach snorkeling anywhere on the island. It offers several museums, a few art galleries, some limited shopping, a very good botanical gardens, rainforests and many old ruins to explore for your non-beach activities. You can easily go to St. Kitts (40 minutes by ferry) for a day trip. The food at Nisbet is quite good and the island has a variety of restaurants if you wish to dine off-resort. If you don't mind the island's darker sand beaches (which are very picturesque) Nevis fits all of your requirements and Nisbit Plantation would be a perfect resort for you.

I've not stayed at Ti Kaye but can tell you St. Lucia is the lushes and biggest of the islands on your list.

Hope this helps.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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St. Lucia is not know for its beaches. I would say they are below average compaired to other Caribbean islands. But they win hands down for a lush island.
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 04:22 AM
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hi mah, not on your list but how about barbados. if you stay away from 'the gap' area it would not be too crowded. tons of alternate activities. good restaurants and easy to "hop" to st.vincent and grenadines for a day trip or more. if this interests you - scroll to barbados and put lois in the search box. she is the expert and can send you and a huge file of info she has collected on her many trips there in email.
i have friends from college who recently bought a condo at windjammer on st. lucia. they absolutely love the island.
did you go to yal-ku when you were in akumal? there was a bar i liked - i think something vida with a treehouse you could climb into to have your drinks. and yummy spicy food.
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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Virginia, we went to Yal-ku and really enjoyed it as well as Akumal generally. Good, inexpensive vacation as it is close to activities in Playa del Carmen & Tulum, but very quiet in the Akumal area with the beachfront restaurants, etc.

I never really considered Barbados. I think I looked at Lois' Tip Sheet several years ago when we were planning our honeymoon (ended up going to T&C). I will look into that though because I didn't know it was easy to get to St. Vincent and the Grenadines from Barbados. Thanks for the suggestion!
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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We love Nevis! It's such a relaxing place with delectable seafood and tropical cuisine complemented by some good cocktails. Very lush, although some people are disappointd with the beaches because they don't have the white sand. The locals are the most genuine people we've ever met.
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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ljv
 
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Hi mah!
Our family of 4 went to Costa Rica last year and we all agreed it was the best vacation we ever went on. Some highlights follow:

1.Viewing an active volcano(Arenal)venting steam and spewing red rocks and lava.
2.Doing a zip-line tour over the rainforest canopy
3.Hiking in the Los Angeles Cloud Forest
4.Rafting/kayaking class III rapids
5.Seeing all kinds of fauna not native to the U.S.--toucans, sloths,coatis, howler monkeys,parrots
6.Taking a jet ski tour to see leatherback turtles and wild dolphins.

I could go on and on, but I won't. It was a very varied vacation with tons of sightseeing/exploration options. We rented a jeep for the duration of the trip and finished off with a stay on the Pacific coast.

Costa Rica is INCREDIBLY scenic and inexpensive. People are very friendly and helpful. The only drawback is that July/Aug.(when we went) is considered the rainy season. We lucked out..didn't rain for about half our trip. the remainder had a couple of hours each day, but it did't stop us.

If you'd like to ask any questions, my e-mail adrees is [email protected]
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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1. BVI's: Peter Island or Little Dix Bay
2. USVI's: Caneel Bay or private villa
3. St. Lucia: Ti Kaye Village
4. Nevis: Nisbet Plantation

Hi Mah -
Those are some good choices.
Peter Island would be great if you don't mind that there really is the resort and nothing else on the island.
Little Dix is a very nice property, although its pretty rustic for the most part, and I have to say that the food has gone way downhill in the past few years. We had dinner there in Dec. and were not pleased at all with the food / service / or restaurant itself. They have the same placemats as they did when I ate dinner there 3 years ago and the place is showing its wear and tear. The new spa is nice, I did spend several hours there and the spa pool overlooks the water and is really beautiful.
Caneel has a similar feel to Little Dix to me, both Rosewood properties. It is nicer than little dix though IMO. If I was going to St John I would rent a villa, simply because there are SO many choices.
St Lucia - well not my favorite island, so I will not comment.
Nisbet, ok, if you have not been to Nevis you need to go. I cannot stress this enough. If Marion was around right now ( I think she is away) she stayed at Nisbet this past summer and from what I gather enjoyed it very much. I love Nisbet, right on the beach, charming plantation inn. There are not many hotels on Nevis and not a lot on the beach, I just love the layout of the proberty and the atmosphere. It has a lot of character. Whenever I visit Nevis I spend a lot of time at Nisbet on the beach and eating lunch, etc. Its very relaxing.
Hope this helps! Happy planning!
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 08:44 AM
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Ljv-

I've heard that Costa Rica is wonderful and just looked at the ff chart and we will have enough for 2 free tickets. It seems like the Manuel Antonio area is pretty popular. Is that near the Arenal volcano? I don't want to go to an area that is overly built up with McDonald's and other Americanized conveniences. Do you have any lodging recommendations for Costa Rica? I'd like to be on/near a great swimming beach and not be in too rustic of a room.

Knowing- I've read your posts about Nevis (didn't you stay at Four Seasons?) and its "wow" factor, which among many things led me to it. I recalled Marion's trip report about Nisbet, and I recently went back and read it. It seems like our kind of place. Besides eating and the beach, and maybe a day trip to St. Kitts, what 1-2 activities would you recommend in Nevis? Just trying to get an idea of what the trip would be like.

MIM04- I appreciate your evaluation, which seems to be spot on to the other reviews and comments about the properties listed. I think I've eliminated St. Lucia from the potentials. I've heard that the food at Caneel and LDB is lacking, and I'm concerned too about service related issues that apparently occur at Caneel. I showed my DH the websites for Caneel, LDB, and Peter Island yesterday, and he really responded to Peter Island. I know that it's on the private island, but I think that the couple of trips to Tortola and Virgin Gorda (and maybe JVD) via the Peter Island ferry would be just enough activity. I asked him what he thought about the St. John villa rental idea, and he said "too much work." I explained that it probably wouldn't be, but he is keen on staying on the beach and at a place with excellent food.

So at this point I'm narrowing it down to Peter Island, Nevis (Nisbet Plantation), and will also investigate Costa Rica. I know that Peter Island will be more expensive than Nisbet, but as I indicated in my OP, I want this trip to be really memorable so that will not be the deciding factor.

If anyone has been to both Nisbet and Peter Island, which has the better food and overall **it** factor? I know that the islands are very different, but if anyone who has stayed at both could give me their thoughts I would appreciate it.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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pangs
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Tikaye in St Lucia sounds like it will fill all your requirements without exception. Nevis is also a very lush mountainous island and Nisbet is on a nice beach. There is more to do on St Lucia as it is bigger than nevis, if you want some non-beach activities. Beauty of Nevis is that it's easy to take a day trip over to St Kitts on the reliable ferry.
 
Old Jan 28th, 2007, 01:12 PM
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pangs
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You may want to remember that lots of place on Nevis, including hotels and restaurants, close during the summer months - July, Aug, Sept. We went in August and found it VERY quiet.
 
Old Jan 28th, 2007, 01:45 PM
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Hi Mah,
You are absolutely correct. We did stay at the FS.
There are a number of things to do in Nevis, depending on what you enjoy. If you're fairly active,you can rent bikes, fish, golf, hike, kayak or windsurf. You could take a sunset cruise. There is some shopping. A few clothing stores like the Island Hopper and Island Fever that have purses, jewelry and bathing suits as well as clothing and a few pottery shops. They also have a bath springs, a botanical garden, and you can always just tour the island and see things like the Eden estate and a couple of churches. There's also a museum that displays carnival items and things to do with Lord Nelson, etc.
I think you'd feel really lucky to pick Nevis.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 02:14 PM
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mah - Sorry, I did not look at your dates. As Pangs pointed out It is possible that some things will be closed during your stay (depending on when it is) Nisbet has an annual closing end of Aug. until Oct. 12, I believe, anyway, if you go to online booking it has the dates in Red which it is closed. If you chose Nevis I would go sometime other than Sept. Things which close re-open about mid. oct. So I would either go before end of Aug or after Oct. 15.
Which has the "it" factor - well Nevis is definitely more charming, historic, etc. And you can always do a day trip to St Kitts.
Peter Island is lovely. And yes, you can do day trips from there, so you would not necessarily be missing anything.
I guess one of the main differences between the two would be that Nevis has a "population" and it is not all about the resort, there are communities there. And the people you meet just add to your trip and make your stay very memorable.
In terms of food, both are good. Its hard to say because like everything else it depends on your taste, it depends on who is in the kitchen etc. Both are known to have good food, so I would not make that the determining factor here. Plus, if you are on Nevis you can experience other restaurants as well, there are some really good ones.
Hope this helps.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 04:41 PM
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Knowing- I think you indicated that you're not big on St. Lucia, which seems to be a not completely unique feeling (as opposed to islands like Nevis and BVI's, which get mostly across the board raves it seems).

If you feel comfortable, will you please elaborate?
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Sorry referring to MIM04 in previous post, not Knowing.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 08:20 PM
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Mah - its totally fine. I just don't want to slam the island because I know everyone has different experiences and some people love it, and that is fine. St Lucia is SO big. Its like 238 sq miles. Compared to a lot of other islands which are like 36 sq miles. To me you do not get a real "sense of place" because its so large that you are almost stuck on one side or the other. Its not easy to get around. Unlike smaller islands where you can see the whole island with no problem, go to dinner on one end come back and sleep on the other.
Even folks who live on Virgin Gorda think north sound is too far - so imagine St Lucia compared to that. Plus, I think there are some really cheezy places there. I don't know, its just not my style, I guess. For the most part its beautiful, lush green hilly mountains pitons ,etc etc.
Another reason is that one day when I was there I felt SO uncomfortable on the beach, like some hostility for some reason. I did not talk to anyone, or anything like that. I cannot really describe the feeling. In the 30 years I have been either visiting or living in the Caribbean I have never felt that. Would I ever go back - if the opportunity presented itself I would, but I would not seek out a trip there as there are so many other places I enjoy more.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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We just booked Nisbet through Classic Vacations for June and they have a stay 6 nights, get the 7th free going on now that you can't get by booking directly with NP. Plus, the rates are quite low this time of year to begin with.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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Turtlegirl- Thanks for the info re: the free night deal. I'll look into that, and I bet that Nisbet would match it themselves.

MIM04- Thanks for the background re: your thoughts on St. Lucia. That helps me in my decision as I don't want to be so secluded that it takes 50 minutes to go anywhere (which is somewhat of an issue on Peter Island but at least you're on the ferry and it's more vacationy than being in a car). I looked on TiKaye's website and it seems that you pretty much have to eat EVERY meal there as it is quite a distance to the other part of the island. My DH and I are not on our honeymoon, and while we still are somewhat honeymoony (if that is in fact a word) we don't want to be the only people at the bar at night.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 10:40 AM
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Not sure what your budget etc is... but the Four Season Peninsula Papagayo is really great. The views and the scenery are fantastic there. They have 2 private beaches for the resort. And you have the opportunity to do many different trips excursions too. We really enjoyed our stay there.

We stayed at Jalousie in St Lucia and felt safe and thought it was nice. It is definitely very lush there and beautiful. The beach at Jalousie is also really nice and safe.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2007, 01:40 PM
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mah, it's good to see your name back on this board!

I can't offer any comparisons of the places you're specifically after, but I would wholeheartedly recommend Nevis and Nisbet to you for your vacation. Nevis overall definitely has that lush WOW factor, and though the beaches are darker sand, they are definitely beautiful and tropical looking. Certainly picture-postcard enough for me.

I loved how easy the island was to drive around, and yet that it offered a nice variety of things to do. My favorite parts were the hiking at Golden Rock after lunch to see the green vervet monkeys, having a special dinner at Montpelier, and just hanging out with folks while exploring the island. we spent two of our days at Nisbet beach and we very much enjoyed the food, the friendliness and the service. Even though we weren't guests there, the staff welcomed us back warmly on our second day.

We unfortunately had miserable weather for most of our 10 day trip, but we found that even in the rain Nevis offered many charms. Walking around downtown, poking our noses in for a roti here, a cold beer there, followed by an ice cream was a pleasant way to spend a drizzly day. We looked in shops, we looked for the Jewish cemetary and old synagogue, we stopped and chatted with folks here & there. Very friendly and fun.

We also loved the Killer Bee rum punch at Sunshine's, discovering Lover's Beach, and eating at the wonderful local spot called Cla Cha Del, that is sadly no longer open.

Now that I've also been to St. Kitts, I would recommend a daytrip there to see the Fort Brimstone, which was an amazing experience. You could also take in the Caribelle Batik place while there, which would be a nice counterpoint to the fort.
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