Early Apologies!

Old Nov 5th, 2003, 12:37 PM
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Early Apologies!

Hello All!

I love this site, you certainly are all a wealth of great information! I am apologizing early because my question appears to be one that has been asked before, but I am going to try to be a little more pointed in my request for help! My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to the Caribbean in February and, like others, are a little overwhelmed with the options! In reading these responses, Anguilla, St Barts and St Johns seem to be standouts as favorites. However, it also seems that all the islands are "relaxing" and "beautiful". So, is a distinguishing difference between them if you are looking for a calm get-away to simply relax, or would like/need some night life and activity? May I please ask your opinion on an island with nice beaches (guess this is not Aruba from the sound of it?), lush tropics, ambiance and romance, nice dining BUT at least moderate nightlife and activity? Also, if there is a more distinguishing characteristic (not cost) to help us decide, please let me know that as well! Thanks so much!
migal is offline  
Old Nov 5th, 2003, 05:21 PM
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Not many of the Caribbean islands have great nightlife, and most of the islands with the best beaches and lush vegetation are the quieter ones.
Exceptions: Jamaica has some great beaches, is very lush, and offers nightlife of various types. I won't bother to mention the "C" word, the biggest complaint offered by Jamaica detractors.
Puerto Rico and the Dominican offer more nightlife than most islands and have some very nice beaches without being arid. Neither offers the highest possible quality accommodations similar to those found on Anguilla and St. Bart's.

Anguilla has a few beach bars with live music and they can be fun when they're busy. But overall, Anguilla, St. Bart's and St. John are quiet islands.
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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 06:42 PM
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Hi migal,

Aruba has beautiful beaches. It is a very arid island therefore there is no lush vegitation, but there are other factors that make up for this. It is a very safe island. You can literally walk around side streets at night and feel safe. The also offer party busses and party cruises for a touch of nightlife. This island has some of the best dining in the caribbean.

It all depends on exactly what you are loooking for, but please don't rule out Aruba b/c you've heard it doesn't have nice beaches. It really does have gorgeous beaches.

Good luck deciding,

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Old Nov 5th, 2003, 08:22 PM
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It's amazing how everybody misses on of the great Caribbean Islands that meets all your criteria.... CUBA!!!1

Having been there 6 times (so far) I can assure you that you can go from laid-back and relaxed on the beach to astounding night-life in Havana. In Habana, your nightlife could vary from going to the Gran Teatro for the ballet to a jazz club to hear some great latin salsa. You can catch the dinner theatre at the Tropicana, or perhaps a quiet romantic dinner at Divina Pastoria restaurant located within the 400 year-old walls of El Morro Castle.

You can stay right in Havana and enjoy the sights and atmosphere, or grab a beach resort for a few days. What I have done, and others as well is to fly into Havana, spend 3 or 4 days soaking up the sun at a beach resort, followed by 3 days exploring Havana and the nightlife. The best of both worlds within one week.

For traditional beach resorts, consider Breezes Jibacoa Hotel located about 1 hour east of Havana, Cayo Largo off the south coast, or if you want some real scenery and eco-minded resorts, try either of the following two.

In Pinar del Rio Province, in the Vinales village, is Los Jasmines. This beautiful pink hotel sits in an even more beautiful setting. All types of nature-oriented activities are offered, including ecology tours. One of these tours, called the Pincushion Hills EcoTour, leaves the hotel in the morning and goes deep into the Vinales Valley. Here the first site is the Archaeological Mural, then the Cavern of Santo Tomas, and also to the Moncada Farmers' Community.


Or you could consider Cayo Levisa. Cayo Levisa is essentially a deserted island except for the 20 or so cabanas that dot the island (all doubles with hot water & television, as well as a restaurant, bar, and good diving facilities). The natural surroundings are truly magnificent -- whitest of white sands, clear and warm seas, one of the largest black coral reefs in the world... Ferries operate daily at 11am and 4pm -- the charge is nominal.


I hope that this give you some additional food for thought.


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Old Nov 6th, 2003, 06:55 AM
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I agree with a previous poster that Jamaica sounds like it offers everything you want. If it weren't for the lack of almost any vegetation, I would recommend Anguilla. The beaches are beautiful in Anguilla but we had a lot of wind when we were there and couldn't comfortable sit on the beach. I have never had anything but perfect beach weather in Jamaica (negril) - like a big blue bath tub. There is great nightlife with real Caribbean music - not "red red wine" that you hear 100 times at the big AIs. The food is great and cheap. If you are interested, I and many others could recommend hotels and restaurants.
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Old Nov 6th, 2003, 07:24 AM
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Hello migal: Actually Palm beach in Aruba is one of the best we have seen, even better than Kaanapalli in Maui. The water is warm, clear and you can wade out a long ways as it is shallow. The rst od Aruba is dry and arid. I would return there in a hearbeat however as it is clean and has very friendly people. For just relaxation try Curacao, Aruba's sister island.
jacketwatch is online now  
Old Nov 7th, 2003, 07:46 PM
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I agree with nfahey. We absolutely LOVE Aruba. Beach is great. We were there last year for about 10 days, and spent all of our waking hours on the beach. Sand as soft as silk, warm water, clear. We stayed at the Radisson which was very nice, the Hyatt 2 doors down maybe just a bit nicer.
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Old Nov 7th, 2003, 07:48 PM
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I forgot to mention the nightlife issue. It is true none of the islands really have great night life. I like going to the islands that have gambling, because it really does give something to do (even if you want to just gamble a few dollars). Aruba has gambling, which I think is another plus for it.
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Old Nov 8th, 2003, 06:09 AM
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that's an easy one.
ALL those other Islands are Caribbean.
St. Barts is only by it's geography. much more like the S. France. Sexier and less uptight than any of the others, all beaches are classic French topfree. Excellent cusine, far less commercial (you can only land a 19 seat plane here) so it's not crowded either, even in high season.
The nightlife is sophisticated and European--no steel drum bands. The ambiance is one where you'll sip Bordeaux and listen to jazz piano/ guitar. NO all inclusives, high rises, casionos, poverty, and the pristine beaches are surrounded by mountians. Anguilla IS lush but perfectly flat. Not very pretty away from the beach.
1/2 the Guest rooms on St. Barts are in private villas on the hillsides
If you're thinking of Feb it's getting late...

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Old Nov 8th, 2003, 11:31 AM
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I rather enjoy a good steel drum band when in the Caribbean. I certainly can't find one where I live in the US, so for me it calls forth all the memories of other great trips to the Caribbean when listening to that kind of music in a beautiful outdoor restaurant or bar or beach.
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