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Help deciding island & accom for large group w/ kids

Help deciding island & accom for large group w/ kids

Old Aug 18th, 2007, 06:31 PM
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Help deciding island & accom for large group w/ kids

Hi, I just found this forum while searching the internet, and it looks great. Any help that any of you can give me would be greatly appreciated. I am planning a vacation for May 2008 for my husband's side of the family. There will be 11 adults and 4 young children (ages 5, 3, 2, and 1 yr old.)

I am searching the internet and bought a Caribbean tour book to try to find a place, but there is nothing like hearing opinions from folks that have actually traveled to these places. (I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment.) We are currently thinking about renting a large villa to accomodate all of us with a private pool and access to the beach. We would probably hire a cook to come in sometimes. We don't really want to do the hotel thing, but I have noticed that some hotels have typical hotel rooms and villas. So, that might give us the best of both worlds, some privacy for the family and the benefits of a resort. Has anyone stayed at one of these or does anyone have good things to say about specific private villa rentals?

As far as islands go, we'd like a place with nice beaches, also lush environment, some historical sights to see, and some local culture would be nice. I know that we are not interested in Jamaica, or any place that we might not feel safe or be constantly reminded of the poverty-stricken (i.e. beggars). Right now, I'm checking into the US virgin islands, St. Lucia, and St. Martin/Maarteen, primarily, but I haven't really ruled too many islands out. Thank you! I really appreciate it.
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Old Aug 18th, 2007, 06:39 PM
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I forgot to state, that we would like to snorkel, probably jet ski some, and go fishing. My guess is that you can do that pretty much on any of the islands, but thought, I'd mention it. Thanks again for any help!
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Old Aug 18th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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I can tell you that I was just in the Cayman Islands it is a very friendly safe island. It has tons of condo options(which would provide more privacy and yet you are all in the same complex). The food is great there and the snorkeling is also great! Lots of watersports options. Nice beaches. It is a quiet island with very low key nightlife.

Out of the islands you are checking into, St. John has lots of villa options that many here have gone to. It is an island with nice beaches and is lush. I have not been though so no personal experiences.
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Old Aug 20th, 2007, 09:16 AM
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Spent some time in St.lucia and there's all that you are looking for. Serenitytvl vacations did a great job with organizing the vacation. The website is www.serenitytvl.com. you can book your hotel and tours with them. or simply call toll free 1866 766 0794.
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Old Aug 20th, 2007, 03:26 PM
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Sounds like you're in for a great trip! I love traveling with large family groups--it provides much needed family time, but with so many people involved it's easy to break off into smaller groups to do different things.

Firstly, a villa that sleeps 15 people might not be impossible to find, but certainly difficult. Would you be willing to split into two neighboring villas? What is your price range just for the accommodation? I'd suspect that it would be difficult to find something in the 4-bedroom range with a pool and beach access for significantly less than, say, $3000 for a week in May, and going as high as $20,000 for a completely over-the-top-of-the-line villa.

As for your suggested activities of snorkeling and jet skiing, they really are antithetical to each other. Islands known for their good snorkeling have generally outlawed jetskis, which are very harmful to coral reefs. Certainly there are islands where you can jetski, but they will be not known for their good snorkeling. Is one more of a priority than the other for you?

Jamaica really is the premier island for staffed villas at pricepoints that reflect a real value. I'd suggest not totally eliminating it from your search. Maybe see if any of Linda Smith's villas appeal to you.

If you can forego the jetskiing, Virgin Gorda might be a great choice for you. Wonderful snorkeling, beautiful island, totally laid back and casual, easy to drive around, beautiful beaches, a real sense of seclusion and being away from it all--but relatively quiet in terms of nightlife and non-nature or non-water activities. Take a look at the Mahoe Bay villas of Virgin Gorda, which are high end but in a great location and with great ameneties.
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Old Aug 20th, 2007, 05:42 PM
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Although not Caribbean, I would also add Mexico to your list. Playa del Carmen is quite nice and the town is wonderful. There are many villas as well as condo buildings available to rent. I believe one condo complex is Xeman Ha (that may not be exact). Look on VRBO. You could book a few condos where you get a little space, but have time together too. There is plenty to do with ruins, ceynotes and all the typical jet skis, etc. There are also plenty of snorkeling excursions. The town is a major plus with great restaurants. It is so safe and fun. Isla Mujeres could be another option if you want something a bit lower key. Ixchel Beach Condos are new and could be an option. Mexico is not lush, but very nice and fits most of your requirements.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 07:48 AM
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As previosuly noted, the Cayman Islands might suit you well for what you are looking for. As a resort operator in Cayman, I'll be circumspect about recommending my own place (!), but I'd suggest with your watersports preferences you consider the Eastern Districts.

Cayman Villas have many villas you could look at, but I'd also consider the Cayman Castle, a great location for large groups. Cayman Kai also has a lot of villas under management in the area.

Haven't posted websites, as a guick google will find them
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Old Aug 22nd, 2007, 08:04 AM
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I just have to say a quick thanks to all of you that have responded. I will be checking into each of your suggestions today, and I really appreciate your references!! I'll post some progress and/or future questions as I go along. THANKS!!
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