Dominica/St. Vincent

Old Sep 30th, 2004, 03:07 PM
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Dominica/St. Vincent

two weeks to spend-------one in St. Lucia in July and the other either STV or Dom. Which one has anyone been too for a week and what is the nicest (most stars) hotels on each? Which one would be best overall to visit with children 7 and 9, some snorkeling, some shopping and decent restaurants.
Thanks.
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Old Oct 1st, 2004, 09:51 AM
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Re St. Vincent: I really don't recommend the main island of St. Vincent for a resort/hotel experience. It is more for those interested in eco-tourism (great hiking, dramatic scenery, unique wildlife). The shopping is minimal and, while there are a few decent restaurants, even they are not consistent.

Grandview Hotel, opposite Young Island resort, is probably the best one on the island. A short steep walk down from Grandview takes you to a small white sand beach with some snorkelling. Grandview has a wonderful pool on a cliff overlooking the ocean.

So you might want to think about the resort islands or smaller Grenadines.

The resort islands (Young, Palm, PSV) are adult-oriented and most children I have seen there appear to be bored witless. However other posters on this board have reported good experiences so you shouldn't rule them out.

Palm and PSV took a lot of hurricane damage so check out their reopening dates first (and I have a suspicion that there is a lot of optimism going on with the dates being quoted).

Of the smaller Grenadines, only Mustique and Canouan have hotels with stars and they are definitely adult-oriented. Each island has a couple (no more than that) of decent places to eat and excellent snorkelling. No shopping to speak of except at the hotel boutiques.

On Canouan, Raffles is currently closed owing to severe hurricane damage and is supposed (!) to reopen in November. The other Canouan Hotels (Tamarind and Canouan Beach) get spotty reviews and, you guessed it, adult-oriented. Canouan Beach's clientele comes mainly from continental Europe which some like and some don't.

Firefly and Cotton House on Mustique are excellent but again, adult-oriented.

Turning to the remaining Vincentian Grenadines (Bequia, Union, Mayreau), none has a resort of the type offered in St. Lucia or more developed islands. Hotels are small, locally owned and operated, and gathering places for tourists, expats and locals alike (no 'guest only' beaches or bars here!).

Of these, Bequia offers the most to families by way of things to do and shopping (better than St. Vincent, actually but that's not saying too much) and restaurants (there are a surprising number of decent places in all price ranges). Nil shopping really in Union and Mayreau and only 2-3 restaurants on each. All three islands have excellent snorkelling and are good jumping off spots for day trips to other islands (again, Bequia is the most convenient for this).

Self-sufficient street-wise children would enjoy Bequia, I think, but not those who are glued to their TV or gameboys, or who expect to eat on vation what they eat at home. They would have great opportunities to play cricket and beach volleyball with local kids, body surf or boogie board, as well as hiking, snorkelling, and day sails.

Hope this helps.
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Old Oct 1st, 2004, 02:12 PM
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Dominca is a beautiful little island, but there is not much to do. It is basically a rain forest. I don't think there will be enough to keep your childfren interested. There a not really any good beaches and not much shopping either.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2004, 01:46 PM
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Thanks Curiousx for the great info. My children do like nature and the smaller fishing village scene. So I do think Bequia would work. The problem is getting there from St.Lucia. Bequia is definitely on my list to get to someday, but I may need to try Guadelupe or Martinique since they are so close to St. Lucia.
Schmerl--Thanks---Dominica looks intriguing. Have you been there and can you recomend a hotel/guest house?

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Old Oct 3rd, 2004, 07:47 PM
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LIAT flies to St. Vincent from St. Lucia - from there, you take the Kingstown ferry to Bequia. There are several crossings each day.

If you do come to Bequia en famille I recommend either Lower Bay (fishing village) or Friendship Bay (expat village). I also suggest you consider a rental house as opposed to a hotel. Each community has lots to choose from. Lower Bay is definitely my fave but it is busier than Friendship.
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