Help decide on a island for 3 couples

Old Dec 16th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Help decide on a island for 3 couples

Hello,

I have been chosen to plan our vacation for June 2008 for my hubby, myself and 2 other couples and I am hoping you guys can suggest a island. We are thinking about renting a house or condo for the 6 of us which would help cut down on the cost. Here is what we are looking for -I know it is hard to please everyone but I am trying-

1. Nice beaches and clear water.

2. An island we can feel safe a comfortable enough to drive around and explore.

3. A place that is not to pricey for the food and activities. We have been to the caribbean and Maui and we can live with those type prices but we just want to have to spend $20 just for a burger and $500 to rent a car for a week.

4. Maybe something not to built up.
We dont mind having a town to drive to but we hate to stay somewhere like Cancun. -Been there did that and loved it when I was younger not the type of place we are looking for.

So does this place exist? Here are a few of the places I have been to give everyone an idea of what we have done and liked and not liked.

1. Cancun - Pretty beaches and water enjoyed it at the time but not my cup of tea now.

2. Punta Cana - Nice beach, water so-so but did not feel safe leaving the resort alone.

3. Jamaica, Montego Bay- Did not like it to much. I felt like there was and extream amount of poverty and we did not care for the beaches.

4. St. Lucia, Marigot Bay - Very pretty location but kind of isolated -which we were looking for at the time. But the food was very pricey. We paid $70 for a pizza and 2 mixed drinks.

5. Mayan Riviera- Loved the beaches, the prices we cheap and the people nice. We liked how we felt remote enough to relax but close enough to drive into Playa Del Carmen.

6. Maui- We loved how lush and tropical the island was and the food was great.

7. Bahamas- Freeport - We would not go back there again. Not many pretty beaches and the place seemed a little dirty.

8. Bahamas - Nassau - We hated this place. The people were rude the prices were outragous for what you got.

Sorry for the book but I am trying to give as much info as possible to help you guys make suggestions.
A bonus would be an island that has good (does not have to be great) scuba diving. The guys in the group love to dive.


jiffer21225 is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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Try looking at one of the Mahoe Bay VIllas on Virgin Gorda, part of the British Virgin Islands. They're in a great location on a beautiful and relatively secluded beach with good snorkeling. The roads on Virgin Gorda (VG) are in good repair and driving is easy from one end of the island to the other. There's a nice mix of local joints and slightly more upscale restaurants, but nothing truly upscale like some of the other places you've visited. My husband, granddaughter, and I stayed at Adadio on Mahoe Bay, a 5 bedroom villa that we got a real steal of a deal on. I don't know if there's an overall website for the Mahoe Bay villas, but this one will give you a good sense of the place. The villas have different layouts but many similarities--all have pools, all have outdoor showers, etc. www.adagiovilla.com

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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 03:36 PM
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hi jiffer, welcome to fodors. i'd like to suggest st. john.
it's a fairly easy trip and won't take all day, assuming you are coming from baltimore.
the island is quite safe. has 30+ beaches. wonderful snorkleing & good diving. easy access to st. thomas (ferry 20 mins) easy access to all the bvi's for more dive/snorkel adventures.
loads of rental villas. as i've not stayed on this island i will not recommend specific villas or locations but many fodorites have stayed and will. same with the restaurants.
you will need to think about groceries if you plan to eat home at all. i travel to st. thomas with a full size cooler with meats, juices, etc. this is a schlep but we like to cook and like to know some of what we'll be eating. there are large groceries w/liquor dept on st. thomas (stop on your way from plane to ferry) smaller groceries on st. john and some houses will put in provisions for you upon request.

provo, turks and caicos has lots of villas also. with great diving, good snokeling, and wonderful dining. the island is flatter like bahamas though so you might not like it. same for grand cayman re dive/snorkel/food all good but it's flat.

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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 03:43 PM
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I'd look into either Grand Cayman or maybe St John.

Both have great beaches, and both offer excellent water clarity for snorkeling & diving.

St John is much more laid back, and not as built up. Cayman is built up in some areas, but you can get away from that.

Good variety of food/restaurants on both. GC is more expensive.

Both places are very safe to drive around on your own and explore.

If you do GC, I'd recommend a condo on the northern end of Seven Mile Beach, which is away from the crowds, but close enough so getting to dinner is a couple minute walk or drive.

STJ has limited beachfront choices, and most would recommend a private villa, which can be quite cheap when split between 3 couples, and you'll live like kings...

Good luck!!
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Old Dec 16th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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Considering some of my luck with traveling with other couples, may I suggest an island for each couple
 
Old Dec 16th, 2007, 10:11 PM
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I would recommend St John.

1. It has beautiful beaches and clear water. There is pretty much a beach around every turn and they are very uncrowded except for a few and that is by St John standards.

2. You can definitely feel comfortable exploring the nooks and crannies of St John. It's very safe.

3. The food is not really what I would call cheap, but it's not over the top with the exception of a few very upscale places. Even those have a casual dress code. You can get a cheeseburger for $8-$10 instead of $20 . Rental vehicles are not cheap. Vitara $58 per day, Jeep Wrangler $72. You would need a good sized vehicle for 6 people. You can do day trips for $$$ or you can explore St John for practically nothing. Ferry trips to the BVI's are a reasonable way to go.

4. Since it is 2/3 National Park, St John is not too built up. The main town of Cruz Bay is booming with construction, but you don't have to go far to get away from it. There are also tons of villas that could easily accomodate 6 for rent.

Of the islands that you mentioned, we have been to St Lucia and Jamaica. While the other two hold their own charm, this is by far our favorite.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 04:07 AM
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Grand Cayman is nice has beautiful water, great scuba diving and snorkeling, safe, and good food. It had some pricey restaurants, but I think we went for the nicer restaurants for dinners. If you have a condo, which there are a ton there, then you have some kitchen facilities to make your own.
We just went this past June with our kids and we all enjoyed our trip there. We walked around, went to town, never felt like we were in danger. It was just a nice island. People were probably the friendliest I have encountered.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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Since price seems to be a big concern, then I'd suggest going back to the Riviera Maya.

The car rental prices all over the Caribbean will be $500 or higher - especially a car that seats six. This is not because they are ripping you off either, it's because of the high duty tax and the difficulty of getting qualified repair persons.

The same thing goes for food - $50-$70 for pizza and drinks is not unusual. They cannot go to their local Costco for supplies, they must wait for the supply boat to come in, usually once a week.

I was going to suggest Abaco, in particular Elbow Cay. We went with another couple, rented a boat and a golfcart for the entire week. But the boat was about $1000 and the golfcart $250. But boy did we have fun exploring by day with the boat, and going out to eat at night by golfcart.

I do understand the budget concerns, but you won't beat the Riviera Maya (look at rental villas in Playa and Akumal) with St. John, that's for sure.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 12:15 PM
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Everyone thats for the suggestions. We were thinking about GC but we were not sure where to stay on the island that is driving idstnace to palces to eat but not in the middle of things. Any suggestions on a condo rental there? I checked on a car rental for GC (we will be renting 2 cars) and the rental prices were not to bad. About $175 for the week for la midsize(each car). The airfare to GC was not bad at all about $400pp rt. which is very resonable

We were also thinkng about St. John but the car rental prices for the same size car is $550. Wow! A big difference. The price for airfare to SJ is aboput $475pp rt.

It is so hard to choose which island to go to.

We love Mexico but we have been there 11 times in the past 8 years so we want to try something different so that for that suggestion.
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Old Dec 17th, 2007, 12:23 PM
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I do like the GC suggestion, but I have to admit, the restaurants are pricey. They would have great diving for you too.
My suggestion would be Anguilla. They have a lot of wonderful villas there. There are some very expensive restaurants there that are over the top yummy, but with 80 different restaurants to choose from, there are plenty of less expensive/still great places to go.
Anguilla has over the top beautiful beaches, is very safe, and isn't too built up. You feel like you are in your own private little paradise. The people there are wonderful. It is our favorite destination. If you need excitement one day you can take a day trip on the ferry to St. Martin. But be warned, after a day over there you will want to get back to Anguilla and it's peace fast! There is also plenty of explore there with over 30 beaches.
Hope this is helpful.
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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Does nayone have any suggestions on villa rentals in GC or Anguilla? We would like to rent a 3 bedroom for no more then $3000 for the week. We dont have to have it on the beach (but within driving distance) but would like a pool if possible.
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 03:28 PM
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check out www.caymanvacations.com

It will list many different options for lodging, and will provide locations, pictures, prices, etc.

If you want to be away from the crowds, I'd highly suggest staying on the northern part of 7 Mile Beach. This will also be a short drive to many restaurants, and the beach will be gorgeous.
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Old Dec 18th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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Thanks Scott I will check out that site.
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Old Dec 20th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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Check out Curacao. Excellent diving, nice beaches, very clear water, good and reasonably priced restaurants, easy to explore on your own. There are some decent condo places on the beach, but I'm not sure about a 3-bedroom. Still there are several mid-priced and inexpensive options there.
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Old Dec 20th, 2007, 12:23 PM
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We went with two other couples (and kids) to Virgin Gorda and loved it. We like Quiet/Quaint and nice beaches. Picked VG over St John because we found more villas on or near the beach on VG. Another option would be Harbour Island on Eleuthera. Small but quaint.
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Old Dec 20th, 2007, 06:16 PM
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We are thinking about renting a house in Grand Caymen and was wondering if anyone has ever heard any reveiws about it. It is called Spanish Bay Getaway and it is about a 5 minute drive from 7 mile beach. It looks like on the map it is on the northern end of the beach. It looks like it is close to Conch Point. Is this a good area to stay?
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Old Dec 21st, 2007, 10:18 AM
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The northern end of 7 Mile Beach is the better end, so that's probably a convenient place to stay. The streets up there can be a bit confusing, but you'll get the hang of it quickly enough. I don't know this particular place, but villas on Grand Cayman can be a good value. However, aside from Chicken Chicken and a couple of other local places, food is quite expensive there (roughly 25% more than a fairly expensive place in Manhattan ... count on $50 per person minimum for dinner if you order a glass of wine at most restaurants). Luckily, there several well-stocked American-style supermarkets, but expect prices to be at least 30 to 50% higher than those you're used to in the US.
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Old Dec 21st, 2007, 11:47 AM
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Doug thanks for the advice. Are prices comparable to Maui prices? I went to Maui this summer and everyone was complaining about how pricey things were but I did not think it was to bad.
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Old Dec 21st, 2007, 05:03 PM
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Yes, Cayman has some very expensive restaurants. Drinks can be expensive as well. But there are a ton of restaurants to pick from, and nobody said you have to eat at the more expensive ones. Plenty of places that won't break the bank. I think comparing it to Hawaii as far as prices go is accurate. Yes, it pricey, but it isn't what I'd call shocking.

As far as the that house you mentioned goes. I would highly recommend something (ON) 7MB. I think you will regret having to drive to it everyday.
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Old Dec 21st, 2007, 08:17 PM
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Scott can you suggest a 3 bedroom house or condo for rent that is on the quieter part of 7mb that wont break the bank.

The house that we were thinking about was about $2200 for the week so something in that price range we would like to stick to.
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