I need help deciding an island!!

Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 11:50 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2019
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Need help deciding where to go!!

Hello Everyone!


My boyfriend and I are looking to plan a vacation for sometime towards the end of this year. We are not sure on the exact dates yet but it would most likely be towards the end of September/early October. We have a few places in mind that we would love to go to, but I'm very indecisive and can't choose! We went to Aruba last September and absolutely loved it, but we would like to go somewhere different this time. These are the places that I currently have in mind:



Negril
Thailand (I know this is not a Caribbean Island)
St. Thomas
Antigua
St. Lucia



I know that these places are all so different from each other - I think that's why I'm having such a hard time deciding. We are in our 20s and would like to go somewhere that offers different daytime activities to choose from, possibly water sports, excursions, snorkeling, etc (it does not need to have all of these, just some ideas), a fun night life, beautiful landscape/beaches, and good food. We want to be able to relax but also be active and adventurous. We would most likely go for 7 days/8 nights and our budget is around $4,000 including airfare. We would be willing to spend a little more if needed.


I've been to the Bahamas, Cancun, and Punta Cana, so I am looking to go somewhere new.


I guess I am just interested in seeing if anyone has recommendations based on what we are looking for. I know that there is no "perfect" island that will have everything we are looking for and that every place is very different from one another. However, I am just trying to get some information on the places listed and see if anyone has other tips/recommendations on other places.



Thank you so much for anyone who replies! I truly appreciate it!

Last edited by kellyhamilton9549; Jan 22nd, 2020 at 12:02 PM.
kellyhamilton9549 is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 12:55 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Where will you be flying from? - That will have an impact on your airfare and thus how much you'll have left over from your $4,000 budget for hotels, food and activities.

If flying from the US I'd put Thailand on the back burner - Airfare will be substantial, depending on where you are flying from it will take between 18 to 24 hours of flight time each way, you'll arrive tired thus living you much less time for your actual "vacation" than when going to the Caribbean.

St. Lucia will tick off just about all your boxes and probably has the most "beautiful landscape" of the destinations on your list. There's some good snorkeling around the island if you are willing to take an organized boat to to reach the best sites - walk-in snorkeling is limited. the island has some very nice & picturesque beaches but being a volcanic island for the most part they will have darker sand.

St. Thomas will have more snorkeling than the other destinations you mentioned but the island won't be as lush as St. Lucia (but still quite attractive). You'll find plenty of nightlife, all kinds of watersports and plenty of land based activities. Airfare from many US cities can be quite reasonable.

Antigua has plenty (some say 365) light sand beaches, good nightlife and interesting topography. walk-in snorkeling is limited so you'll need to take one of the day sails to Cades reef to find better snorkeling.

Negril will be a lot like Punta Cana so if you liked it in PC you'll enjoy Negril.

Keep in mind that late September and early October is Hurricane Season in the Caribbean and going at that time of the year carries some risk so consider purchasing Trip interruption Insurance. Also, since it's Low Season many resorts, restaurants and tour operators may be closed or operating on reduced schedules or reduced staffs. On the plus side you'll find some of the lowest room rates of the year. Those are the trade offs when traveling to the Caribbean at that time of year.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 01:22 PM
  #3  
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RoamsAround - Thank you so much for your response! We will be flying out of Chicago.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 02:27 PM
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Negril offers everything you ask for!! This is the best website for that location, below. I've been a few times, spread out over many years. Negril doesn't change much with the times You take a shuttle from Montego Bay airport, it's about 90 minutes. You can stay either on the gorgeous 7-mile beach or up on "The Cliffs" on the west end. I disagree that Negril is like Punta Cana, unless you choice to go the All-Inclusive route at one of those type of resorts that people never/rarely leave. There are many other kinds places to stay independently where you will get more of a feel for the island culture (not like an AI in the DR)
https://www.negrilonestop.com/

From your list St Thomas is the only other place I've been. It didn't do much for me. But I liked St John a lot.

I've been to the Dominican Republic only twice, Puerto Plata and Sosua. Fun trips, but I didn't rush back.

I agree about being worried about the weather that time of year anyplace in the Caribbean or coastal Mexico.

suze is offline  
Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 03:22 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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I'd forget Thailand, its rainy season. St Lucia scores highly on the scenery front, beaches in the north of the island are light sand, if you google pictures of Reduit Beach, you'll see what I mean. Close to Reduit Beach is Rodney Bay where the nightlife, restaurants etc are. You can snorkle off the beach at Anse Cochon and at Anse Chastanet where there is a marine reserve outside the Anse Chastanet hotel. South of the island are the beautiful dark sand beaches. But it can be very rainy at the time of year when you are thinking of going, not to mention risk of hurricanes.

Antigua has alot of really beautiful beaches, not much in terms of scenery, has historical sights such as Shirley Heights, Nelsons Dockyard which is very impressive. Some great hotels, can swim with stingrays,

Negril is great, very different vibe to anywhere I've been in the Caribbean. I've not been to PC but can't imagine it would be like Negril. It lacks snorkelling, I went scuba diving but it is very disappointing. The AIs in Negril are slightly north and not really in Negril, there is no need for AI along 7MB or the Cliffs are there are so many dining options.

Grenada is a lovely island and several others might suit you like Barbados, St Martin esp for younger people but the time of year is a concern weatherwise.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 03:39 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Maybe if you picked an All Inclusive in Bloody Bay (one of the RIUs, Hedonism, Couples, etc.) and stayed put, that might be similar to staying at the same type of resort in the DR.

But if you choose a local independent hotel on 7-mile beach or cabins on the Cliffs among the various options... it is nothing like a "resort" experience at all. You also need to be somewhat mindful about where you go and what you do. Toto we're not in Kansas anymore ;-)

Here's a few places I know of... you'll see what we mean!
https://www.tensingpen.com/
https://www.catchajamaica.com/
https://miragenegril.com/
https://charelainn.com/

And don't even get me started on how good the food is in local restaurants you can easily walk or taxi to.




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