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Fun in the sun caribbean getaway

Old Jan 15th, 2013, 08:50 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Fun in the sun caribbean getaway

Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some feedback on a few island vacation spots. I have been all over fodor's researching the caribbean, as well as in books and other websites. My husband and I are leaving the kids with the grandparents and are heading out for our first trip to the caribbean this summer, July time frame as this is easier with summer break! I have been back and forth with several islands, but I hope I have it narrowed down: Budget, up to 8,000 with airfare.
1) St Lucia, Sugar beach resort, East Winds, or Anse Chastinet
2) Nevis, Four Seasons
3) Grenada, Spice Island Beach Resort
4) Curacao, Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Culb, and Maybe Anguilla

*We want good sunbathing and swimming beaches (safe too).
*above average snorkeling would be great!
*kayaking and other water activities are important.
*close proximity to the beach! Don't want to have to drive for good beaches
*food on site and near by. Don't need anything fancy! Fish sandwich would be great!
*not too difficult to get to by plane. Leaving from Miami.
*some off site excursions would be great. We love exploring!!

I have considered the Turks and some other northern islands, but they are too barren and boring, outside of the water of course! Something with decent snorkeling, ruins, and or waterfalls to explore would be great. We are going for about 8-10 days. If I left anything out I apologize. Thank you in advance for any help you can give
sillybilly is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2013, 10:24 AM
  #2  
 
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First, let me say, with your budget you should have no difficulty finding exactly what you want in July. It's a terrific time to visit the Caribbean, room rates are usually at their lowest, there are very few crowds, all the resorts and restaurants are still open and the weather is generally quite good.

While Nevis is a great island, the Four Seasons is a top notch resort and it ticks off just about everything "on your list" Nevis DOES NOT have anything that remotely approaches above average snorkeling. Snorkeling around the island can best be described as way below average. Simply put, no one, I repeat, no one goes to Nevis for the snorkeling. To put things in perspective you rarely see anyone, both tourists and locals alike, walking along the beach carrying snorkeling equipment. I should know, I live on Nevis.

St. Lucia will also fill your bill but while the snorkeling is better than you'll find on Nevis it still is below average when compared to many other islands in the Caribbean.

If snorkeling is a high priority for you consider going to St. John (stay at Caneel Bay) - there's some of the best "walk-in" snorkeling in the Caribbean around that island and Caneel Bay Resort has 7 different beaches on the resort with some very good to excellent snorkeling right on the property. You can kayak and engage in just about every water sport imaginable and 2/3's of the island is a National Park so there's lots of hiking trails. You can fly from Miami to St. Thomas in about 2 1/2 hours - from there it's a short ferry ride to St. John.

Virgin Gorda is another island with great snorkeling but it is more difficult to reach. Don't let that dissuade you, it's well worth the effort it takes to get there. Look at staying at Little Dix Bay, it's on one of the most picturesque beaches in the Caribbean. Also, while the Resort property feels very secluded it's a short 10 to 15 minute walk to Spanish Town and several restaurants. Be warned though, if you go, you may never want to leave. It is one of my favorite Caribbean resorts (been there multiple times even though I live in the Caribbean).

You may find Grenada a little difficult to get to, certainly more so then the other islands on your list. Other than that it fulfills most of your requirements but falls a bit short on the snorkeling.

Curacao probably has the best snorkeling of the islands on your list but it's a relatively flat and arid island. so you may not have the "exploring you crave.

Good luck finding your spot in paradise.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 10:47 AM
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Thank you RoamsAround!
I have looked at St. John a little bit. I will go back to exploring that island. I think I had the feeling that it would be too touristy and crowded being so close to St. Thomas. I really wanted that Caribbean vibe, and I guess I thought the farther south we go, the more exotic and caribbean the islands would be.

I have also considered Virgin Gorda. Just wasn't sure about it because we don't speak french. I have read that the baths get very crowded and that crowd is something we don't want. I will look further into it. I saw the Peter Island Resort over there, wow! I really considered it, but I love mixing with the locals and going to some markets. That little island wouldn't fit the bill.

Thanks again
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 12:06 PM
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Why is it necessary to speak French to visit Virgin Gorda?

Anse Chastanet is a rustic resort with a marine reserve which you can snorkel in. The sand here is dark, this causes a problem for some, the sea however is clear. Most of the beaches in the south are dark, but at East Winds Inn which is in the north, the sand is lighter and this hotel is near Rodney Bay which has plenty of bars/restaurants to visit. But I doubt you will have good snorkelling in the north of the island.

Spice Island is on a gorgeous beach, but there is nothing to see underwater except big starfish.

Have you considered Bermuda, ok its not in the Caribbean, but it does have stunning beaches, lots to explore, great hotels & restaurants and is a pretty island.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 12:15 PM
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I'm no expert but about one thing you mention I agree... I did not find St Thomas/St John very "Caribbean feeling" at all. They are tiny somewhat arid islands.
suze is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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Odin you are right. It must have been a different island I was thinking about that speaks French. I've looked at so many I can't keep them straight anymore. Thank you for questioning that. I would have kept on assuming that about the island.

I also heard Anse Chastanet has a dinner dress code. I'll have to look into that also. Not sure I like the idea of a dress code.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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A lot of hotels in the Caribbean have a dinner dress code. Usually it just means men have to wear long trousers, shoes & shirt or something with short sleeves & a collar and ladies to wear a dress or something like that, ie no shorts or swimwear, flipflops that sort of thing.
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Old Jan 15th, 2013, 07:18 PM
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KVR
 
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I can only comment regarding St. Lucia and Curacao. I don't think either meet your criteria.

St. Lucia is a gorgeous lush island, but beaches and snorkeling are sub-par compared to many other destinations. It's perfect if you're looking for sightseeing, jeep tours and Island hopping to Martinque and St. Vincent and the Grendadines. Combaining all three Islands into one trip, you would probably meet everything on your list.

We found Curacao topogrpahy to be much like Arizona with water. There are no long stretches of beaches, but coves/inlets on the West side of the Island. You do need a car or take a tour to get to them. Beaches are made up of crushed coral. A little tough on the feet without water shoes. We found the snorkeling there to be OK, but in no way comparision to Grand Cayman or Cozumel. Dining options are quite spread out and a car is essential for that also unless staying around the Sea Aqaurium, then there are a few dining options within walking distance. Coming directly from Miami, it probably won't be too difficult getting there. Coming out of Texas we could not find anything and ended up flying to Aruba and then to Curacao.

We found the restaurants there pretty lax and causel. We wore shorts and sandals with no problem. Usually, the higher end/lux resorts/restaurants require a dress code for dinner. The worst dress code I've read about is Barbardos, where women cannot wear capris to dinner and men can not wear cargo shorts even on informal nights like the beach bar-b-cue.
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Old Jan 16th, 2013, 06:43 AM
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I am leaning on Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda. I think it sounds perfect! We are going to save St. John, Caneel Bay for the kids. I think that resort would be perfect for the whole family. Now I have to start price checking and finding flights. Planning for a great vacation is not easy and it is so time consuming. My husband laughs at me because while I plan for these vacations, the laundry pile gets higher and higher! Priorities

Thanks for all the advice!
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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Me and my husband are leaving for Virgin Gorda in 5 weeks!! We are staying at Little Dix Bay for 9 days. I am very excited, but now I'm beginning to wonder if I should purchase travel insurance. Our medical plan will cover any life threatening issues. I'm not sure how accessible health care is on that island. Any advice?
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Old Jun 7th, 2013, 01:31 PM
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The closest emergency room is on Tortola, then St Thomas, then Puerto Rico, depending on the type of problem. If you are concerned about possible medical emergencies, definitely buy medical evacuation insurance. Make sure it will take you HOME, not just to the nearest facility. This time of year, it is always good to get trip interruption insurance. Hurricane season is upon us.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 03:37 AM
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Silly:

One island hidden gem that you may want to research is Roatan. If you want extraordinary snorkeling, consider this island. Roatan has one of the largest unspoiled barrier reefs outside of Australia. The walk in snorkeling at West Bay beach is absolutely amazing.

Beaches are excellent with sugar white sand and pristine azure blue water. The topography is anything but barren with a jaw dropping mountain drop view from anywhere on the island.

There are several higher end resorts as well as lodge and villa type properties to suit every taste.
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Old Jun 8th, 2013, 04:58 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2013
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Leaving from MIA u have a lot of options.
Roatan is a gem. infinity Condos have superb on line specials.
Provo is only 575 miles from Mia. anywhere on Grace Bay.
Treasure Caye has gin like waters and good snorkeling.
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