Island Advice Sought

Old Aug 29th, 2006, 09:12 PM
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Island Advice Sought

We are a family of four in the frozen north looking to land on a Caribbean island during our kids' mid-February school break ('07). We are looking for (a) great snorkeling (b) Caribbean culture/food and (c) family-friendly accommodations that won't break the bank. BK ("Before Kids" which is 15 years ago), and even before that (when we were kids), we were lucky enough to visit places like St. Croix, Barbados and Grand Cayman. Now we want to share the Caribbean with our children (12 and 15). We are thinking (1) St John (2) Barbados (3) BVI and (4) Grand Cayman, but open to any and all suggestions. We can be happy in a condo or an all-in-one resort that caters to families. Fancy and romantic are not in our vocabulary. Fun is.

Can you help with specific suggestions on islands, beaches and accommodations?


Zanabill is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Sounds like a fun idea! We go to St. Croix (stay at the Buccaneer) each February break to escape or take a break from Boston's winters.

A word of caution: you will pay through the nose for going during the February break. The airfares are quite a bit higher that week and places like the Buccaneer have a minimum stay requirement. If you're finding it too pricey, you might try to move your dates to Wednesday to Wednesday.

Can't help with you with other islands as we've found our spot (like their Family Cottage accommodations with 2 bedrooms).

Good luck!
ccrosner is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2006, 06:55 AM
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My advice would be to look for an apartment or villa to rent. During that period, you'll save a lot of money on accommodations and restaurant meals.

I'd probably point you toward either St. John or the BVI (though if you go to the BVI, expect your airfare to be expensive). You could look at ICIS Villas on Tortola or Guavaberry Spring Bay on Virgin Gorda; these are both modest resort complexes that will give you proximity to great beaches and some other amenities that you won't find in an individual villa. On St. John, you could look at some of the apartment/condo places, but private villas are usually a better deal there, in my opinion. You'll have to rent a car in Tortola or St. John, but you might be able to get by with taxis and tours (or a one- or two-day rental) on Virgin Gorda.

Barbados is very expensive in that period, as is Grand Cayman, though Grand Cayman will have many more places back in the rental roster by early 2007. And there are some relative bargains there such as the Sunshine Suites or Turtle Nest Inn.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2006, 08:51 AM
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hi david, what a great idea. your kids are going to love it.
just ran a quick check of airfares using phila as departure for comparison purposes (not knowing where you are based) using 2/10 to 2/17 . air to beef island tortola is about $500, to charlotte amalie on st.thomas approx $435. barbados: $635. caymans: $600-750.
if your are in the northeast you could look at TNT and GWV charter vacations. great deals and convenient travel arrangements, particularly from boston.
i'm not sure you will find a lot of caribbean culture and food in usvi or bvi. have not been to caymans or barbados but know barbados is very british.
my suggestion for your family is to look at the riviera maya section of mexico, just south of cancun. loads of ai's to not break the bank. air:400-575. the charter companies do some amazing deals to this area. package totals w/air range from $4000-7500 for your family on TNT. mexico has ruins, snorkel/scuba, atv/jeep tours, really cool marine parks (x-caret and xel-ha), etc.
tnt & gwv offer packages to other destinations as well.
another thought is jamaica. ease of travel. very caribbean culture. lots of ai's and villas. if you choose jamaica, post to tiverton for excellent ideas on where to stay, etc

virginia is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2006, 05:17 PM
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Many thanks for the very thoughtful suggestions.


Zanabill is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2006, 07:48 PM
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Mid-February is Carnival time in Trinidad if that's your kettle of fish. It's a great time to visit panyards, calypso tents and maybe even stop by a couple of the Carnival band headquarters to see the feverish costume making.

Accommodations are a bit tough to come by at that time of year if you don't book early though.
phototakeouter is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2006, 08:09 PM
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Warning, shameless plug coming up.

For The Reef in Grand Cayman we just loaded up our fall early booking special... for stays in the winter... free upgrades from a One Bedroom to Two Bedroom suite (ideal for families), but must book by Sep 30th.. get 'em while they're hot.

Wouldn't normally mention it, but we don't normally discount in winter (someone else said Cayman is pricey in Winter, they are right!), but we have just opened a whole new block of beachfront suites, so this September we are offering this deal to put "heads in beds"
TomCayman is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2006, 08:14 PM
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Only place omn St. John worthwile lately is Cnelle Bay Resort for families.


I would go to BVI--tortola cane garden bay area or virgin gorda-- avoid St John, St. Croix and Trinidad because of rising crime.

Editor Stallings--in all due respect--doesn't know squat about St. John and recent island wide problems. see this:

I moved from St John a few months ago....go there 3 times a week still and some weekends for snorkeling.

Love Tortola.

carib is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2006, 02:47 PM
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Take a look at and Both of these websites have house/villa rentals all over the Caribbean. Try any of the out islands in the Bahamas (islands other than Nassau or Freeport). Any out island in the Bahamas would fit the bill nicely for a, b and c and there are dozens of houses to rent. We've been to St. Eustatius. There is a 2 bedroom house( called 2 Kerkweg) for rent in the center of town. They have great snorkeling, kayaking and an uncrowded beach. Roosters wake you up in the morning. This is the old Caribbean. Do not schedule a Friday arrival on Winnair (a local airline). You won't arrive until 9:00 pm at night from St. Maarten. Also, you don't really need a car on St. Eustatius, you can walk where you want to go. None of these islands are fancy, no Burger Kings, no 24 hour stores, no traffic lights, no crowds.
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