"group tours" in Caribbean - do they exist?

Apr 26th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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"group tours" in Caribbean - do they exist?

My Fodor's Caribbean 2009 book mentions many resorts which are "popular with groups" or "often booked by groups". I guess that is referring to maybe wedding parties or family reunions, because if I search "group tours Caribbean", I get nothing. The usual companies - Explore, GAP, Imaginitive Traveller, etc- don't go there, so does anyone know if there are companies that book tours to several Caribbean islands, including central accommodation, activities, transport, AND which one can join as a single traveler?
Alternatively, anyone know how I can join an existing group?
I looked up "singles cruises" and they seem to be only during off-peak, ie hurricane season, with no promise of being able to share a cabin, and no apparent bargains.
I have joined singles newsletter groups but the Caribbean seems to be one place where group tours don't go.
Help appreciated!
liltravlr is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 05:04 AM
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The groups referred to in the book are incentive groups, wedding groups, corporate travel groups, etc. There aren't any escorted group tours to the Caribbean that I know of. However, once you are on an island (the Dominican Republic, for example), there are alot of group tours available, though they aren't typically the kind of escorted bus tour you may be thinking of. They are generally daylong tours, but there are myriad options on every island.

I'd recommend Iguana Mama if you are interested in active, sports-oriented things. It's based in Cabarete, the most popular backpacker destination in the DR.

Since people don't typically hop from one island to another (though you certainly could if you planned carefully and started in St. Maarten, for example), there really isn't a call for group tours. The closest thing you could find would be a cruise, and for those you typically pay a single supplement of about 100%. The only other option I can think of is that there sometimes berths available on scheduled charter cruises on small yachts. You might be able to find one of these in the U.S. or British Virgin Islands.

But I don't think what you are really looking for (the equivalent to the group bus tour of Italy) exists in the Caribbean.
doug_stallings is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 05:07 AM
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I just thought of one other possibility. There are actually group tours of Cuba, but they are quite expensive. These are LEGAL cultural tours for U.S. citizens, and they do include transportation, hotels, meals, sightseeing, etc. One company offering such tours is Global Exchange. Check out the web site at: http://www.globalexchange.org/tours/997.html.
doug_stallings is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 05:39 AM
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I've usually traveled the world alone, and love to country hop. To rienforce what Doug wrote, there are no island hoping tours, other than a cruise ship.
there are, however, "groupings" of islands that are easy to get around, even independantly and solo.

Virgin Islands is one grouping, easy to hop between them all.

For me, the best grouping is St. Martin/St. Barth/Anguilla/Saba. There are day trips between them, and ferries. The best part of this grouping is that each of the islands are diverse, so you get alot out of it. If you're unsure of yourself, a travel agent could help put it all together for you, although you would be doing it alone, there wouldn't be a group with you.

Another island hoping grouping is Virgin Islands, both American and British. Easy to do as daytrips, there are ferry systems and sail boat trips every day between all of them.

You can island hop in the Bahamas, especially the fantastic Out Islands. There is a company, (link below) that can organize hopping between 2 or 3 of them, including air between them. Independantly, you can stay in Nassau or Paradise Island, and daytrip to Northern Exumas, or daytrip to Harbour Island/Eleuthera. Bahamas Air also has flights, so it's easy to combine Paradise Island with another Out Island.

The Grenadines, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, you can also hop around as daytrips. You can also daytrip the Grenadines from St. Lucia, Barbados, or Grenada, but it is expensive. I feel if you've not been to Caribbean before, you may want to do easier island hoping (like above mentioned) first, and build up to SVG.

You can go to Aruba and split or day trip to Bonaire or Curacao.

Don't let the lack of group tours deter you--solo trips are awesome, Caribbean is diverse, and you'll meet tons of people.
blamona is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 10:08 AM
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Yes there are group tours to the Caribbean and they are called 'Cruise Ships'.

The Caribbean isn't conducive to island hopping unless you are sailing around the BVIs because many of the islands are so far apart. Also, people want to veg out when they arrive.
GoTravel is offline  
Apr 27th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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hi, thx for your replies. I should have mentioned I am a "seasoned" traveler, 49 countries, and generally go on my own (simply because I can't find people who can go when and where I like), but I like to join a group tour at least part of the time, to have company and because it's cheaper to share transport and rooms. So, a cruise is not generally cheaper if you have to pay for a full room, but I have now heard about the "Single Partner" cabin share programs so may try some of those. I don't want to be a "tourist", jumping off a cruise ship and shopping at the port for 2 hrs, but neither do I need a month to relax on each island.
I didn't want to go to an AI resort by myself as I like to move around and generally stay in cheaper accommodation.
The above got me thinking about joining a crew perhaps, of a sailboat that has a group going around the Caribbean, ideally 1-2 months in winter, to hit the most islands. I am not one to stay in one place for long. Having read a bit of my Fodor's book, Puerto Rico sounds like a place I could probably spend a week for salsa dancing, culture and beaches, but each other island I have a fairly good idea of one or two things I'd like to do. Does anyone know of a place to sign up to join a boat? I learned to sail a bit in Australia.
Are there any flight passes between islands?
thanks for your help
liltravlr is offline  
Apr 28th, 2009, 11:21 AM
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You would be perfect for a Windjammer Cruise.
GoTravel is offline  
Apr 29th, 2009, 11:30 AM
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right, except they went bankrupt in 2008 after one of their ships was lost in Hurricane Mitch. There is a new company, Canadian Sailing Expeditions, anyone heard of them? They seem to have the same concept and no single supplement.
liltravlr is offline  
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