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Grand Cayman or Barbados for last wk of May? Open to other suggestions!

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May 12th, 2012, 05:52 AM
  #1
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Grand Cayman or Barbados for last wk of May? Open to other suggestions!

I'm looking at beach trips. As usual, I start with the easy 8 hr drive to Isle of Palms, SC and then evolve to Ft. Lauderdale/Miami and then start exploring islands I could visit. At this moment, Grand Cayman and Barbados are the most tempting. I spent a week at Seven Stars on Grace Bay T&C the summer before last and not sure those beaches can be beat. 7 Mile beach in Grand Cayman looks awesome. Anyone have feedback/opinions/advice?

I've heard Aruba is windy? St. Lucia is mountainous which is nice but not for this trip. Curacao? Antigua? Barbuda?

Details...
• A horse-accident has left my friend not loving super long walks/climbs... a lot of the resorts I've seen seem to be "perched" which isn't what we want. Also don't want a 3rd floor room with no elevator.
• Safe for two women
• I LOVE snorkeling, and a from the beach option is great.
• Not a cruise-stop kind of traveler
• Want to be there last week of May

I was looking at the Westin on 7 mile Beach... price seems right... If anyone has suggestions for a GREAT deal/friends and family discount, etc. for anywhere fabulous, please let me know. The Fodors community made T&C doable. Thanks for any advice!
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May 12th, 2012, 06:18 AM
  #2
 
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gc is just like t&c in appearance. flat & scrubby.
barbados is much more lush, but not hilly like st. lucia

i'd give a slight edge to gc for safety. smaller island with lots of wealth.

barbados has some decent snorkeling but gc is known worldwide for good off beach snorkeling & outstanding water clarity.

both islands have ships. barbados will offer you more options for off beach activity. gc has a really nice botanical garden, golf & a skateboard park - none of which are likely to thrill your friend. both have good dining options - barbados more spread out.
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May 12th, 2012, 06:27 AM
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Grand Cayman offers a wide variety of good dining. That was our favorite thing about the island. But we didn't encounter any "must dos". Stingray City was nice but there were too many cruise ships that had sent out boatloads of people that were almost swamped as they were too full. The passengers were all screaming in the water. I don't know if they were afraid or what. But it really took away from our own experience. One other nice thing is the public transportation is easy to use and you can walk around the center of the town in a short time. We did one of the sub type of things. Otherwise, we just really didn't have enough to do there.
We have been to Barbados seven times and want to spend even more time there. Clearly this is one of the places that my heart is at.
Aruba is windy. Beautiful beaches but little else to do and I always wonder how people can be happy on an island that is so commercialized. Maybe they like the feeling of being secure and there is nothing wrong with that. It has a large repeat segment in the travel industry.
Curacao is a place to see as it is truly a great island.
Antigua is not overly developed. Lots of history that is very accessible.
Have fun wherever you choose to go!
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May 12th, 2012, 06:30 AM
  #4
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Thank you! And good point re: spread out. I'd prefer not to rent a car if possible.
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May 12th, 2012, 07:10 AM
  #5
KVR
 
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7 Mile Beach on Grand Cayman has the closest similarity to T & C that I have seen to date. I thought the snorkeling on GC was way better than T & C. It is very easy to pull the cruise line schedule off the internet before traveling to know when to avoid Georgetown or other popular activities when cruise ships are in port. Take an Island tour and do the Natuilus semi-sub.

We loved Aruba. It kinda reminded me of Las Vegas with a beach. Not because of the casinos, as I thought they were quite lame compared to Las Vegas, but because of all the things to see and do. Tons of great day trips, nightlife, bars, entertainment and very good shopping. We are quite active on vacation and found Aruba to be able to keep up with us. There bus system is very easy, cheap and convenient. Eagle Beach has been voted one of the top 10 Carribean beaches by Caribbean Magazine at one point. It is breezy, but without that breeze it would be much too hot to be comfortable. It's definatly not like the wind and dust storms we get here in West Texas.

We were not thrilled with Curacao. We stayed 6 nights and were practically bored. No nightlife what-so-ever unless you are in your 20's. The beaches are made up of crushed coral so water shoes are a must. The downtown shopping area was very nice and safe. Overall, Curacao reminded me of Arizona with beach access. We found it very difficult to get around without a rental car as all the beach coves/inslets and restuarants are quite spread out.

We chose Barbados for our trip this year. Seems to have enough day time activity and nightlife to keep us busy and entertained. Plus we plan to Island hop to either Grenada or the Grenadines.

To date, Antigua has not made our 'to go' list. Doesn't appear to have enough activity to keep us entertained. We can not just plop on a beach for a week and call it a vacation.
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May 12th, 2012, 11:00 AM
  #6
 
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I have never been to Grand Cayman but my hubby and I had a blast in Barbados. I recently wrote a report from our trip which includes some great photos of this beautiful island which offers great food, beaches and fun.

http://eatsleeptravel-1.blogspot.com...-barbados.html
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May 12th, 2012, 11:57 AM
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Wow bostonallison!!

I just clicked on your link. This is the best trip report i've ever read. It has everything I need to know to make my decision about where to stay in Barbados next April. I was leaning towards Bougainville but now i'm not so sure. Thanks again.
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May 12th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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Thanks Sunfish. When I return to Barbados (someday!), I will stay at the Bougainvillea. Its location is fantastic and people just rave about it.
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May 12th, 2012, 09:02 PM
  #9
 
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I would say Grand Cayman and 7 Mile Beach are hard to beat. Had an amazing trip there last summer.

http://best-caribbean-vacations.blog...tion-ever.html
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May 13th, 2012, 08:31 AM
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Caribbean_Vacations - i really like the sound of the condo you stayed in. can you tell me the name please.
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May 14th, 2012, 07:41 AM
  #11
 
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I have never been to Barbados, but I do know it's not known for great snorkeling. If snorkeling is a big factor for you, then Grand Cayman is the clear cut winner here. There are plenty of places to stay on 7MB that work for someone who is not very mobile. The island is safe, and the dining options (although expensive) are top notch.
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May 15th, 2012, 05:23 AM
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Recently got back from grand cayman. 7 mile beach is beautiful with plenty of condo options right on the beach. We stayed at a villa on the N. Shore but if I had to do the trip again I would stick to 7 mile beach. Lots of off beach things to do as well, such as the turtle farm and the botanical garden (would require a car rental) as well as shopping (if you are into that sort of thing). I agree with the above poster - the restaurants are very very good (comparable to restaurants in Anguilla, NY etc). I havent been to Barbados so can't compare.
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May 15th, 2012, 08:14 AM
  #13
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Thank you all! I was ready to move forward with Cayman but flights are changing quickly. St. Thomas is still quite reasonable and I've had 3 people tell me it's their favorite. The photos don't excite me as much, but i welcome any further thoughts and I'll post a trip report for wherever I end up.
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May 15th, 2012, 09:39 AM
  #14
 
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My two cents: Fly into St. Thomas and ferry over to St. John. I just spent a week on St. John in January and it is a spectacular island. As you requested, I felt very safe there, the snorkeling is amazing and cruise ships do not stop there. I wrote a blog about St. John too at http://eatsleeptravel-1.blogspot.com...-paradise.html. You will not be disappointed by St. John, it is really a special island.
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May 15th, 2012, 12:39 PM
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only really good off beach snorkeling on st thomas is at secret harbour beach resort. resort is condo style units, has full service restaurant & fun beach bar. good beach, sandy entrance, ample shade available.
lots of off beach snorkeling from st john!
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