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Looking for active Caribbean island - hiking, sightseeing, nature, wildlife

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Looking for active Caribbean island - hiking, sightseeing, nature, wildlife

Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 01:40 PM
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Looking for active Caribbean island - hiking, sightseeing, nature, wildlife

My family typically has active vacations (I would prefer a hammock, but am out voted) and we have two teenagers and we are looking for an island where we can do some hiking and see some wildlife in addition to all of the beach activities. We're looking at early April and would prefer a less crowded location. Not into shopping or nightlife, not looking for typical "kids" activities in a resort but would prefer to go on our own. I've read quite a bit and other than St John's am not sure which other islands to consider. The last couple of years we have gone to several of the National Parks in Utah and spent a week in New Mexico and enjoyed Oahu (stayed on the North Shore where the kids learned to surf, sea turtles, Honolulu, Diamond Head, hikes, etc). I would greatly appreciate any suggestions for an active Caribbean vacation!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 02:15 PM
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Dominica is all about hiking and wildlife, and though the island has many beaches, most are black sand due to the volcanic nature of the island. There is also river tubing, safari adventures and many other outdoor activities.
St Lucia would upstage Dominica in the beach department. St Vincent is another more rustic destination with hiking and general outdoor activities.
You can find more info on all three of these islands here:

http://www.destinationcaribbean.net/...=35&Itemid2=70
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 02:15 PM
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Dominica, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 02:48 PM
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St John is great!
Otherwise my parents went to Saba last year and did a bunch of hiking. There is also great snorkeling/diving there. However, there aren't really any beaches -- which I think is pretty unappealing.

If you could look outside the Caribbean I would recommend Costa Rica or Belize. I haven't been to either but they are both on my list! There you could compromise and spend some of your vacation on the beach and some in the jungle where there are volcanoes, hiking, monkeys, ziplines, rafting, etc. The beach and jungle are within close enough proximity that you could do both!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2009, 04:45 PM
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I too was going to recommend Costa Rica. Lots of hiking, zip lines, and exploring there. Also great beaches.
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 04:07 AM
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st. john is a beautiful island with dozens of lovely small beaches most offering great snorkeling. there is very good hiking in the park. it is not an island known for activities but rather as a laid back, book on the beach kind of place. other than caneel bay and the westin most ppl stay in villas.

st. lucia has many activities. botanic gardens, zip-line, drive through volcano, trip to the pitons, some snorkeling (not known for it though).

my suggestion is to fly to cancun and stay somewhere on the maya riviera (coast south of cancun to tulum). plenty of beaches for hammock hanging and loads of activities,including zip line, cenotes & caves, tennis/golf, horseback, atv jungle tours, snorkeling/diving, ruins - tulum, chichen itza, coba, fishing, and 2 wonderful eco-marine parks x-caret and xel-ha. xel-ha is smaller & quieter, does have a dolphin experiences. xcaret is larger, with many more exhibits & activities - even a jaguar enclosure and night show that is very entertaining. or maybe you'd like to try kayaking in the sian ka'an biosphere. if interested at all look at locogringo.com (hands down best/most comprehensive travel web site i've seen)
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 05:10 AM
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For what you're looking for, another vote for Costa Rica.
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 09:30 AM
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Woodly,

I'll throw Nevis into the mix for you. It has a rainforest and guided hikes to the dormant volcano and to old sugar plantation ruins. You can bike, take a catamaran to snorkel, day trip to St. Kitts, and they even have hammocks! It is one of three Caribbean islands with vervet monkeys.

It's a small island, uncrowded, easy to get around, has friendly people, a wide variety of accommodations, including villas, a low-key nightlife, great beach bars, and limited shopping. And it is gorgeous.

You can take a look at www.nevisisland.com and www.nevis1.com for more ideas of activities. For biking and windsurfing www.bikenevis.com and for volcano and rainforest walks www.walknevis.com

Good luck deciding where to go.
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Old Jul 24th, 2009, 04:22 PM
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St. John, Dominica, Costa Rica, Grenada, Roatan.
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Old Jul 25th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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St. John immediately sprang to my mind as well, as a place that fits your criteria. There are a wide variety of hiking opportunities, with most hikes ending at a beautiful bay in which to snorkel. A plethora of wildlife, both on land and in the sea, was in evidence when we visited last June, including: woods full of hermit crabs, mongoose, lizards, wild donkeys, sea turtles, rays, barracuda, sea stars...I could go on for awhile. Also, we never encountered a crowd. We got so spoiled by having the beaches to ourselves, that if even two or three other people showed up we'd say "Hmmm-getting a little crowded, isn't it?" My husband and teenage daughter also enjoyed kayaking. Good luck on your search.
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 05:33 AM
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Thanks for all of the good suggestions, this is very helpful!
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 06:03 AM
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Have you considered Puerto Rico? There are things that might be a good fit such as a visit to a bio bay or the rain forest- hiking, waterfalls- also kayaking, beaching it, snorkeling/diving- Old San Juan forts are worth a visit- I have never been to the western area but hear Rincon is a pretty area that is popular with surfers- anyway, I do think it is a very diverse island and you might want to read more about it.
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 01:28 PM
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I would also toss Grenada into the mix. You can see all about the island at www.grenadaexplorer.com.
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 10:35 PM
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Guadeloupe has national park with 300km of trails. It is an island of two halves, one half mountainous with tropical rainforests/trails/volcano and stunning scenery and the other half flatter, drier with gorgeous beaches. And it is a large enough island to provide variety plus smaller nearby islands can be visited on day excursions. Guadeloupe upstages St Lucia and Grenada IMO for national parks/activites/beaches/rainforests although they might be easier islands to get to and are English speaking.

http://www.antilles-info-tourisme.co...e/p2-in-gb.htm
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