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Island(s) for people who don't want to sit on a beach?

Island(s) for people who don't want to sit on a beach?

Old Dec 14th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Island(s) for people who don't want to sit on a beach?

I'm trying to plan a week's vacation around Christmas/New Year's. It has to be someplace that's mostly warm (which is why I'm looking at the Caribbean) and there has to be more to do than sitting on a beach. Not that we don't enjoy the beach, it just gets boring after a couple of hours. The profusion of islands is a little overwhelming and I'm unsure of how to go about determining which would be best.

We're interested in seeing wildlife, geologic features, and historical/archeological sites. Hiking around a volcano, a waterfall, a cave, or a forest (or all 4) sounds like a good time. We are not scuba divers, and would probably go snorkeling once. No need for luxurious accomodations, just clean and secure. We're not interested in shopping, golf, casinos, loud clubs, or all inclusive resorts. It's not a big deal if this sort of development is present, but it'd be nice to not be right next to it.

Any help narrowing down the choices would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 12:20 PM
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I've never been to Dominica but it's on my list of places to go. I think it meets all your requirements, though I don't know about snorkeling.

I am most familiar with St. Kitts and Nevis. Nevis fits your desires--rainforest, volcano hike, tours of plantation ruins, not much shopping or night life. And you can take a day trip to St. Kitts or even stay there or split your stay. St. Kitts has the not-to-miss Brimstone Hill Fortress, another rainforest/volcano, zip line, and other activities, many of which are geared towards the day-tripping cruise ship passengers.

I'm sure others will weigh in on other islands that fit the bill.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 01:18 PM
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Check out the following - all offer what you are seeking:

Dominica
Nevis
Grenada
St.Vincent
St. Lucia
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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You should check out Central America-hiking, zip-lines, activities, and Mayan ruins!

From Belize you can go to Mayan Ruins.
From Roatan you can go to Mayan ruins.
Mexico has it all, activities, ruins and zip lines.
Costa Rica has zip lines and volcanos.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 03:22 PM
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the only active volcano is on montserrat. i know nothing else about the island.
st. lucia has the only drive through volcano on earth, the pitons (one can be hiked) which are a Unesco heritage site, good jungle for you to hike through, a zipline - plenty of good tours help you visit these. it's a large island and the only place i can recommend is windjammer landing (friends own condo there). there are a couple fairly expensive hotels with open wall suites > with views of pitons - anse chastanet, ladera & jade mountain. these are very unique properties and may already be booked for the holidays.

maya riviera coast of mexico offers all except the volcano - but the mayan ruins (tulum, coba & chichen itza) are a pretty fair trade off. has ziplines, horseback & atv jungle tours, caves & cenotes & yummy food. you might enjoy a day at xel-ha marine park. the further south towards tulum you go the fewer the resorts & ppl. you can find vast amounts of info on the whole area at loocgringo.com
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 06:23 PM
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Definitely the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. We are not "sit on the beach" people either. We are very active on vacation and usually do several tours. We've been to Mexico 10 times (just got back a few days ago) and still haven't seen everything they have to offer.

I also agree with St. Lucia and will add Jamaica for waterfalls and hiking. Next on our list is Costa Rica. We found several things to see and do there.

If your interested check out our picture site. We've been to several Caribbean Islands as well as Mexico. It might help with ideas on what might interest you on vacation.

http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 03:02 AM
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www.caribbean.com.au/guadeloupe one my favs for variety

volcanoes nature great french/carib food/vibe

Dominica more rustic nature food culture not as good.

www.nisbetplantation.com Nevis

great vibe beaches nature for more upscale.

Happy Hunting,
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 06:42 AM
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Most of the volcanic, lush islands will offer plenty of activities for you to try, whether that's hiking, mountain biking, visiting waterfalls, doing ziplines, or river rafting/tubing: you can find most of these activities on Jamaica, St. Lucia, Grenada, Dominica. Of those, Jamaica is the least expensive to travel to because it's larger and has a larger tourist presence. Every single island will offer a variety of water sports, but snorkeling tends to be better on those islands that don't have inland rivers that deposit sediment into the water, thus clouding it for snorkeling.

I don't know the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe at all, but they're both on the lush/mountainous side. Of the islands I've been to, I recommend Jamaica (particularly the south coast of Treasure Beach), Grenada, Bequia, St. Lucia, Barbados, and Puerto RIco as those islands best suited for TONS of activities besides beach-sitting.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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quite simply don't go to a beach.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 11:13 AM
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Montserrat does have an active volcano & is awesome. I have some old trip reports on here which I am sure still very much up to date. Also, Dominica, Grenada & Saba come to mind.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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& Puerto Rico. It does have something for everyone & is most likely the quickest/easiest to get to.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 01:55 PM
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Thanks for all the responses. After doing some reading (based on your recommendations) we think we'll probably go to Dominica. Unfortunately, we've waited too long and ticket prices are out of reach for the holidays. Flights look to be much more reasonable in February, so we'll postpone travel until then. Thanks again.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 03:54 PM
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Have a great trip. Let us know how it turned out.
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 05:03 PM
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Hi,
Montserrat would be perfect for you. We own a villa there and know the island very well. We have also been to numerous other Caribbean islands. We think that the Montserratians are the absolutely friendliest local people in the entire Caribbean. The land is lush and beautiful (like Hawaii). You would be there for Christmas, which is the end of their biggest festival season where they judge local singing talent (kind of like American Idol...Montserrat style)....lots of fun. The island, however, is otherwise very laid back, and perfect for a relaxing vacation. The volcano is periodically active and can be viewed from the volcano observatory. Hiking trails abound. If you go, prepare to go back in time to the 60's-70's. Good luck.
Mike
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 05:08 PM
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Sorry, I missed your last reply. Flying to the Caribbean is very expensive over the Holidays, even if you book your flights early. Let us know how you like Dominica.
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