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I need suggestions for a family vacation (snorkelling a must)

I need suggestions for a family vacation (snorkelling a must)

Old Jan 3rd, 1998, 06:15 PM
Bob Greenhalgh
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I need suggestions for a family vacation (snorkelling a must)

Does anyone out there have some travel suggestions for us?

We are a family of four (mid 40s, plus two boys 9 and 12) and are planning on a vacation in the sun at the end of January. We are hoping to take advantage of last minute tour selloffs and are quite flexible, as we have NEVER been to the Caribbean before.

The only things we require are

1. clean and safe hotel/resort
2. nice beaches
3. good snorkelling at or very close to resort

Many tours offer all inclusive packages; is this a good idea, or is it better to budget money to buy meals locally?

We would appreciate any tips on good islands or places to avoid.

If you have the names of specific areas (ie Punta Cana on D.R.) or even the names of hotels/resorts, that would also be appreciated.

Old Jan 4th, 1998, 05:35 AM
K Noel
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I would suggest Virgin Gorda--it would meet all your
requirements and is a great family spot. We stay away from resorts (at VG, we stayed at Paradise Beach last Easter) and all-inclusives. That way, you get a feel for the culture of the island you are visiting. We like sampling all the island has to offer! e-mail me if you'd like more info!! K Noel
Old Jan 4th, 1998, 06:56 AM
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Your family is almost an exact duplicate of mine (except our younger son is about to turn 8). Perfect for a trip to the islands (my kids want desperately to go back, but we will probably not get down again until this time next year).
Anyway, the possibilities are endless. Browse the library or a bookstore for some of the guidebooks. Some of the books specifically list places that are good for families (although they may be thinking of younger kids). As for my recommendations... first off, we would never stay at a big all-inclusive, but that's just a matter of personal preference. Get a place that's right on a nice beach. We like to have a rental vehicle for the week and find our own adventure (or more likely, a deserted beach to explore and snorkle). Look for a place that has kitchens in the units. I'm not talking about huge condos; a lot of small places have apartment-style accommodations. A 1-bedroom with a fold-out sofa in the living room should be adequate and cheap. It will save a lot on restaurant meals, and you can still eat out any time you want. In selecting an island, I would avoid those that have a reputation for unfriendliness (St. Thomas, St. Croix, Antigua, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Martinique, Guadaloupe - the first 3 being the only ones I have personal experience with). Here are the islands I would recommend:

#1 - Anguilla. Absolutely beautiful beaches; nice snorkling; a good variety of accommodations. Easy to get to by going through San Juan. Check out this website:

#2 - British Virgin Islands. The previous writer said Virgin Gorga (which indeed is very nice), but I would go to Tortola and take a day trip by ferry to Gorda and rent a car there. Tortola has much more to see and do to keep the kids happy.

#3 - St John in the USVI is very nice for beaches and snorking. Kind of quiet, but there should be enough things to keep the kids happy (various National Park programs)

Places we haven't been to yet: Bonaire (GREAT snorkling); Grand Cayman (ditto); Grenada (a wide range of activities; considerably bigger than the other islands I've mentioned).

Have a great trip!
Old Jan 13th, 1998, 02:54 PM
pam hanlin
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Grand Cayman---stay at the London House condos in the mini-penthouse, 1 bedrm with a murphy bed for the kids. They have a small pool, outdoor bar-b-qs and shade if the sun gets too hot (some places do not any shade on their beach) You can snorkel right off the beach and also take a 'stingray city' tour-full day is the best--visit stingray city, 2 other reefs and have lunch on the beach--cooked by the boat crew. There are also lots of other good snorkelling places on the island along 7 mile beach. Rent a jeep and take off for the day and tour the island, go around to the other side to Rum Point for the sunset.
Old Jan 14th, 1998, 05:36 PM
Joel Dobson
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I strongly advise the British Virgin Islands. My wife and I have been going there for the past 4 years. Certainly, a big part of the reason we go is for snorkling; the waters are very clear and the beaches, even in season, are not crowded. While there are 22 islands that comprise the BVI, all with many small coves with excellent snorkling, I recommend you stay on the largest island, Tortola (right next door to Virgin Gorda which another gentleman recommended) . First of all, that's the island that has an airport (connection via San Juan), but also it has the best beaches and many snorkling opportunities.
I suggest you stay at Frenchman's Cay Resort (they've got a web site if you search on British Virgin Islands) because they give you a 4X4 with the villa With the 4x.4 you can access about 50 snorkling spots all over this very hilly island. The place has incredible breezes and only 9 villas. Ideal for 4. Not fancy, but if you want a small place with a breathtaking view and peace and quiet, believe me, that's the spot. Good luck.
Old Feb 13th, 1998, 11:29 AM
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Cancun Mexico is a great choice to go with a family. Lot's to do and see. The kids will have a blast!! Just got back from Punta Cana, DR. Although they have beautiful beaches, there's not much to do outside of the resorts. My kids just hung by the pools. I would suggest Cancun over the Dominican Republic.

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