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jweilemmer May 29th, 2013 12:34 PM

Looking for an island with good snorkeling and non stop flights from NY
We are 4 adults and 2 teens... looking to rent a house on an island with great beaches... great snorkeling... and non-stop flights from NY...any suggestions for best islands

RoamsAround May 29th, 2013 01:01 PM

I assume by "non-stop from New York" you mean from one of the New York City area airports - if so:

Look at Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos. Lots of rental villas plus some fantastic beaches. Grace Bay has 11+ miles of the whitest sand beach you'll find anywhere in the Caribbean. There's also some good to very good "off beach" snorkeling and some very good to excellent "boat access" snorkeling around the island.

If you are willing to add a short ferry ride to your travel consider going to St. john in the US Virgin Islands (fly from NY to St.Thomas then ferry to St. john). There's very good to excellent snorkeling from almost every beach on the island plus there are scores of rental villas and you'll also have some very good to excellent boat access snorkeling.

FYI - the majority of the other islands that you can reach non-stop from New York will have less than spectacular snorkeling.

blamona May 29th, 2013 02:01 PM

Provo would be great, Jetblue flies nonstop from JFK, United nonstop from EWR (Newark?)

There are many villas in Provo and many are offering sales. If we can ask your budget I'd be happy to suggest some.

Provo (Providenciales) is pretty small and compact, has nice snorkeling off the beach and with excursions (the excursions are a blast) great restaurants, and some of the best beaches in the world.

jweilemmer May 30th, 2013 02:13 AM

My budget is about 3500 for 6-7 nights

doug_stallings May 30th, 2013 09:25 AM

If that budget is for both lodging and airfare, I think you're out of luck. If it's just for lodging, that should be sufficient to find a nice 2-bedroom villa or condo on Provo and cover the rental car.

Bassguy66 May 30th, 2013 10:12 AM

I would say either Grand Cayman or St John for the best beach snorkeling. Keep in mind that St John will require a ferry ride from St Thomas, but it's more than worth it.

blamona May 30th, 2013 11:50 AM

St. John is terrific, great snorkeling, nice beaches, but keep in mind most villas are not close to the beach. It still is an easy island to get around though, and has great scenery. You fly into St. Thomas, transfer to ferry dock, then take a 20 minute ferry over.

Most villas on Grand Cayman are scattered away from Seven Mile Beach, and the beaches they are on are really nice too. Excellent off the beach snorkeling.

Provo is my favorite for great beaches. (Of course it is, I wrote the Fodor's guidebook on it!) There are many villas in your price range or less, if traveling before mid December.

My favorite place for villas is either, or (owned by Tripadvisor.)

For best airfare I always check, continue to Matrix. Direct flights to Provo from JFK are on Jetblue (my Favorite), from EWR on United (still nice but more seasonal for daily flights)

In your price range you might have to be a block or 2 from the beach.

Some 3 bedroom villa suggestions for you on Provo, (Turks and Caicos main vacation island): (actual beach views) (shared pool, but in the middle of everything walking distance) (a little above your price, ask if they have any specials, this one also has beach views)

you can also filter your search on VRBO, by # of bedrooms and price to help narrow down. Because you're dealing directly by owner on most, you can always try and negociate too.

If you still need help narrowing down choices, or want someone else to do the work, I highly recommend, ask for Val or Susan and tell them it was recommend on

pijeta May 30th, 2013 11:55 AM

I'd suggest St John or Grand Cayman as well.

While Provdenciales probably has the quickest travel time for you, I think you'll be disappointed in the snorkeling if that's your top priority. The beaches are fantastic, but the underwater world is lacking, in my opinion.

I love St John and the ferry ride is simple enough. You'd find plenty of houses to rent and the beaches and scenery are gorgeous. Snorkeling is great.

I really love Grand Cayman the most due to the long stretches of sand you can walk on for miles. Some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean. You can rent a house or a condo directly on 7 Mile Beach.

Good luck :-)

pijeta May 30th, 2013 12:01 PM

I should clarify, I'm not sure about the house rental directly on 7MB, I meant there are plenty of houses on the island or a condo on 7MB. Something to check out at least.

doug_stallings May 30th, 2013 12:06 PM

There's only one private villa on 7 Mile Beach that I know of, and it's about $20K per week. But there are loads of condos. I'd say that condos prevail on the island, but there are certainly a fair number of villas for rent as well.

GeorgeR May 30th, 2013 07:25 PM

Grand Cayman has great off beach snorkeling. one of the avid snorkelers has posted a good blog:
Since it is your first time to the island, you would be better off renting a condo on Seven Mile Beach (SMB) than a house. The north part of SMB has better snorkeling off the beach than the central part. The central part of SMB has wider and a more beautiful beach area. beaches. You can check VRBO or Flipkey for condos.There are a good number of 3 bedroom condos available.
There are non-stops flight from JFK on Cayman Airways and JetBlue. United has non-stops from Newark.

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