help choosing island

Old Aug 23rd, 2011, 06:08 PM
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help choosing island

We are planning a family trip to the caribbean for next year and are searching for the perfect island for us. We are looking for an uncrowded island not dominated by chain resorts. it needs to have beautiful, turquoise-water beaches, and we would also like to experience a lush landscape, especially rainforest. Finally, we are travelling on a budget, so a destination with extreme travel costs would not be possible for us. Any ideas? are we asking too much, or does an island like this exist?

some of the islands we have looked at so far are Grenada, Jamaica, St. John USVI, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tobago. How do these islands compare in the fields of genuine atmosphere, beaches, ecotourism/rainforests, and budget-friendly travel?

Thanks so much in advance for the help!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2011, 10:13 PM
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Of the islands on your list Jamaica is likely to be the lease expensive and easiest to get to. It is also a fairly lush island and does have several rain forests. It's a densely populated island and it meets your requirements of being budget friendly

St. John will be the most expensive destination and while 2/3's of the island is a National Park it is not as lush (it lacks a true rainforest) as some of the other islands on your list.
Budget accommodations on this island are somewhat limited. Keep in mind that once there you'll probably find any savings you realize by getting budget accommodations could be offset by high meal costs.

Grenada and St. Vincent are the lushest islands on your list but getting to the latter can sometimes be difficult (depends on where you are flying from) and that could add to your cost. Of those two Grenada has better beaches and it is consider an excellent eco-tourism destination. This island probably comes closest to meeting all your requirements.

The remaining Grenadine islands have some of what you are seeking but none will "have it all" - besides getting to them will be difficult and costly.

Can't comment on Tobago since I've never been to that island.

Based on what you are seeking and the islands on your list Grenada seems to be the logical choice.

Lastly, it's not on your list but Dominica is another island that can fill everything on your list.
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 03:13 AM
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cheap flights down on nice hotels fills the bill

except for "lush rain forest" request

Puerto Rico Guadeloupe Dominica Barbados small areas of that

Puerto Rico El Yunque Rain Forest beaches cheapest

best bet in Carib for that great deals on

Stellaris there for me in the past but loss of smaller places

Belize also nice ruins jungle super nice jungle ruins beach vibe for me

Happy Planning,
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 03:45 AM
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Grenada for everything on your list. And check our LaSagesse
Nature Center. Small hotel on pristine beach.
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 07:14 AM
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Grenada is not an Island I would consider budget friendly. Cost of airfare and hotels are prohibitive from my departure point and wallet.

Also look at Pureto Rico, Costa Rica and St. Lucia. Most lush rainforest Islands don't have the spectacular white sand and clear water beaches though.

Jamaica would be the best choice from the criteria you listed. We are returning for our second trip in December.
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 08:57 AM
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Thank you all for your help! These are all great suggestions. Grenada and Jamaica both sound promising, although we are concerned about the expensive flights. @RoamsAround, Dominica looks beautiful, but I have heard that its beaches are not as "good", or at least not as picture-perfect as on other islands. Is this accurate?

A few more questions:

Can anyone comment on Port Antonio, Jamaica? I have heard that this is a quieter and less touristy part of the island.

Do Grenada's beaches have that intense caribbean turqoise found in the Grenadines and the Virgin Islands? Which is better for this, Morne Rouge or Grand Anse?

Which of the islands has the least touristy feel? We would love to avoid the built-up and Americanized vibe that seems present on so many islands.

Finally, has anyone been to Tobago? It seems it might fulfill our needs but it is difficult to find good information on it.

Thank you all again!
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Old Aug 24th, 2011, 04:09 PM
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My husband and I have been to Tobago seven times, but we stopped going there several years ago. It is a beautiful island. Over the years, we saw attitudes change, and the island is far from the peaceful place it used to be. In fact, the T&T government issued a state of emergency about two days ago in certain areas, mostly on Trinidad (which has a lot of crime problems, much more than Tobago does). A curfew is in force.

Tourist visits have dropped dramatically in Tobago for a number of reasons in recent years. There have been several serious crimes against tourists in Tobago in recent years. Do some googling before you make the decision to visit there.
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Old Aug 27th, 2011, 03:03 PM
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Yes, Grenada has that beautiful water you're looking for--it's gorgeous! Morne Rouge is a smaller, more closed off beach with beautiful water and Grand Anse is longer and better for walking with lots of choices for restaurants, hotels, etc. I've never stayed on either because I usually rent a villa in Lanse Aux Epines, but I always make a point to visit Morne Rouge and Grand Anse. The beach at LaLuna is also lovely.
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Old Sep 7th, 2011, 05:06 PM
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thanks so much! you've all been a big help.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2011, 06:06 PM
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I went to Tobago about 6 years ago. We have friends who kept a sail boat at T&T and went their each winter. They have stopped going there due to significant crime. You might want to check to see if that is of concern right now.
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Old Oct 4th, 2011, 06:44 AM
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Jamaica sounds the closest to the most of your criteria. I've heard good things about Port Antonio but personally I've only been to Negril (3x and it's lovely).
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Old Oct 11th, 2011, 04:52 PM
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ARA19, out of the islands you mentinoned, I would recommend St. Vincent and Union Island which is part of the Grenadines. Happy travels!
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