Mountains/beach/ambience?

Jul 23rd, 1999, 06:36 AM
  #1  
Cheryl M.
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Mountains/beach/ambience?

I recently got back from a trip to Hawaii. WHile it was beautiful it just wasn't up to my expectations. Can anyone tell me what their favorite Caribbean island is and why. I would like something exotic, white sandy beaches, mountains or hilly terrain also and a great ambience that is both cozy and exciting. Am I asking for too much?
 
Jul 23rd, 1999, 07:14 AM
  #2  
lisa
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There isn't much in the Caribbean that has both mountains and white beaches. This is because the islands with mountains tend to be volcanic, meaning that they have darker, volcanic sand. But I think you might like St. Lucia. I was there last November for a week and absolutely loved it. The Pitons, in the southern part of the island near Soufriere, are two gorgeous mountains, made even more dramatic because they are right on the coast. There are three excellent resorts (Ladera, Jalousie Hilton, and Anse Chastanet) and two lovely beaches in that part of St. Lucia. The island is lush and green, largely rainforest, which is a national park in which you can hike. There are gorgeous botanical gardens and waterfalls and a dormant volcano that you can tour, and excellent scuba diving and snorkeling. You get around mostly by water taxi or regular taxi (one of the few downsides of the island is that the roads are bad). I stayed at Ladera which is an incredible small resort, with open air rooms that all face the Pitons and the Caribbean. Check out the website at www.ladera-resort.com and see what you think, and you can also do a search on this forum with the word "Ladera," which will bring up more testimonials. The other two resorts have websites at www.jalousie-hilton.com and www.ansechastanet.com. While there are plenty of other places to stay on St. Lucia, most of them are the larger, all-inclusive resorts in the northern part of the island, which is, in my opinion, less beautiful (flatter, drier, more touristed) than the area near the Pitons. By the way, we really enjoyed the warmth of the St. Lucian people we met while we were there and had none of the negative experiences that we have heard others have had on islands like Jamaica. St. Lucia may be what you're looking for. Although if you're REALLY looking for "exotic," maybe the South Pacific would be more your thing...
I'm curious to know what you didn't enjoy about Hawaii, since most people seem to gush about their experiences there.
 
Jul 23rd, 1999, 08:19 AM
  #3  
lisa
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I just returned from St. Thomas and St. John. I also visited Antigua last summer. All three islands were mountainous with white sandy beaches and I enjoyed all of these islands. St. Thomas was the busiest while the other two islands were more remote and quite. St. Thomas and St. John are more like the U.S. since they are the U.S.V.I., while Anitgua is alittle more carribean. Pick the island that suits your needs. Lisa
 
Jul 23rd, 1999, 12:56 PM
  #4  
june
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Dominica has the most exquisiste natural beauty of the dozen or so islands I've visited. And it does have both mountains and light sand beaches. You can swim in the salt water and rinse off in the fresh river water flowing through some totally deserted beaches adjoining coconut palm plantations.
The choicest accommodations when we were there were in the mountains, and all were quite low key.
Some elegant, some rustic.

Grenada is another offering mountains and beautiful beaches and it has a wider choice of hotels. We stayed at Spice Island Inn which is right on the beach and had a great time exploring by land and sea.

Antigua, where we spend our winters now that we've lost our house on Montserrat, has great beaches, but really only hills rather than mountains and it is often dry and brown.

I have not been to St. Lucia, but based on the previous responders description it sounds like what you want!
 
Jul 25th, 1999, 03:18 AM
  #5  
Carl
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Grenada would fit the bill. Traveled there in May and had a wonderful time. Numerous white sand beaches and I hiked the rainforest. For an even more intimate and quiet vac, you might consider Carriacou, off of but part of Grenada. Its my understanding that St Lucia has some nice beaches but for the most part they're tan/brown/black sand
 
Jul 25th, 1999, 12:36 PM
  #6  
April
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For what you describe, I agree with Carl - Grenada. I haven't been there is some time though. Is Grand Anse all built up with hotels now?
 
Jul 25th, 1999, 06:21 PM
  #7  
Bobby K.
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Cheryl
What islands did you visit? What disappointed you? Just returned from Maui, Oahu and Kauai. My wife felt much like you. Have you tried Bermuda?
 
Jul 28th, 1999, 09:34 AM
  #8  
Vickie
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The South Pacific is what you want!! I've been all over the Caribbean and Hawaii, and always feel as if they are second or third rate compared to the South Pacific. The biggest difference is the much smaller number of tourists. This means you really feel like you're on an exotic island - no chain stores, tour buses (there are tours, but not in those Greyhounds!), or crowds traipsing between sites/shops. Because the islands aren't built up, you can touch and smell the amazing plants that still do grow naturally. You get a wonderful sense of how the Caribbean & Hawaii were BEFORE the throngs & commercialism arrived. Bora Bora, Moorea, Fiji and Vanuatu are all volcanic islands, so they have mountains, lush foliage, waterfalls, palms, and uncountable soft, sandy beaches. Each of these has resorts and some smaller hotels, but the towns (except Suva in Fiji- yuck!!!) are small and not touristy - a couple of restaurants, some low-key shops and a church. That's it!! You can explore the islands on foot, bike, car or taxi (Le Truck) and soak up the ambience. Or, you can wander along deserted beaches, watching the clouds and waves. So, sounds like this is what you're looking for if Hawaii disappointed...
 
Jul 28th, 1999, 10:09 AM
  #9  
june
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There are still a number of Caribbean islands without "throngs"
of tourists and excessive "commercialism". And MOST don't have Greyhounds! But you have to do your research or you may end up on
an island that IS too built-up and crowded. Don't just rely on your travre agent; sometimes they tend t0 recommend where it's easiest and where they've sent the most people before you--and that's why it's so busy!!
 
Jul 28th, 1999, 08:06 PM
  #10  
Carl
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There are 4 hotels directly on 2 1/2 mi Grand Anse beach. Reanaissance, Allamanda, Coyaba, and Spice Island. I stayed at the Coyaba. It was a solid 3 star hotel. Nicely landscaped grounds, friendly staff, and right in the middle of Grand Anse beach. Sounds like you may be looking for something more upscale though. I spent a lot of time away from the hotel though. Rainforest and waterfalls hikes to Mt Qua Qua and Seven Sisters Falls are rec. Sounds like you've been b4 but see the whole island. Levera and Bathway beaches in northeast are great. Sandals is supposedly looking to build there. Miles of beautiful beach. Grand Anse was nice but I liked Mourne Rouge beach which is walking distance and right over the hill even better. Only a few people there and even calmer water. I went to Carriacou on the day ferry twice. The beaches on Carriacou (Sandy Island, Anse La Roche, and Paradise Beach that I saw were wonderful and there are only 5000 people on the entire island. I'd stay there for at least a few days if I went again which I hope to do. E-mail me if you hv specific ????s Good luck!
 
Jul 29th, 1999, 02:23 AM
  #11  
Viv
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Why not go further a field and visit the Islands off the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The reef is 50 times better than that surrounding the Hawaiian Islands and any of the islands there eg Hayman, Bedarra, Hamilton etc have the most beautiful beaches and facilities. I would highly recommend it.

Did you know that the sand on Waikiki beach was shipped up from the Gold Coast Australia? No joke! Happy holiday where ever you go. (By the way I'm not Australian). Cheers
 
Aug 5th, 1999, 12:42 AM
  #12  
Decent Tropical
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Good point June. What about Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Saba (okay, no beaches and tiny, but very special), and Culebra and Vieques islands (off of Puerto Rico)? You won't find throngs of tourists in these places.
 
Aug 7th, 1999, 02:24 PM
  #13  
Ed
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Check this out:

http://www.islandhideaways.com/virggord/virggord.html
 
Aug 7th, 1999, 04:18 PM
  #14  
Rachael
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St. John is what you're lookikng for. VERY mountainous, and teh whole island is one big beach on teh outskirts. No nightlife, at least nonne to speak of. Pretty much exotic and untouched by the tourists, except for Trunk Bay, but except for theat......rent a villa. Go to www.caribbeanvilla.com and www.mknight.com/seaview and www.lime-coconut.com. Get something on the East End for an adventure. E-mail me for more info.
 
Aug 7th, 1999, 04:43 PM
  #15  
Michigan Traveler
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I know it's not Caribbean but...how about Puerto Vallarta, Mexico? The Sierra Madre Mountains in the background, lush landscape, basic resorts to extravagant properties, great, inexpensive food and service/hospitality that is, in my opinion, first rate.
 
Aug 9th, 1999, 10:16 AM
  #16  
AJ
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Try Port Antonion, Jamaica. It's on the far northeastern part of Jamaica, and somewhat hard to get to. It has a combination of rainforests, volcanic mountains, and some of the most beautiful beaches in Jamaica. I thought Frenchman's Cove was the best beach I've seen. It was the beach where the newer Lord of the Flies was filmed. In fact, we rented the villa where the kid stars stayed. Although that villa is no longer available for rent, you can get a beautiful villa very inexpensive in that area. The Blue Mountains are close-by, where the fantastic Blue Mountain coffee is grown. Port Antonio is where Errol Flynn retired.
 
Aug 11th, 1999, 04:22 PM
  #17  
Nth Gen
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Thanks, Ed. It's a nice site. Decent, what experiences have you had in Puerto Rico? What did you most enjoy? I guess I'm a bit surprised that PR was not discussed more, given its rain forest and coffee plantations.
---
Join the Nth-Generation; say No To Hate.
 
Aug 11th, 1999, 07:16 PM
  #18  
Decent Tropical
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Cheryl-

Where were you in Hawaii and what disappointed you?

Nth-

I was a only around 10 years old or so when I was in Puerto Rico and I don't remember it that well. The vague memories I have are mostly positive.

I have read about and seen many pictures of Puerto Rico recently and I find much of it quite appealing.

 
Aug 13th, 1999, 06:22 PM
  #19  
leslie
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I agree with Lisa. We honeymooned in st. Lucia and it was gorgeous and as you described. mountainous, nice beaches, good selection of hotels, charming and remote.
St. Lucia is volcanic island and doesn't have white sand beaches. The sand at most beaches can be described as the colour of brown sugar. It is beautiful. We have since visited Bahamas and Cuba (known for their lovely beaches) but my husband is more fond of the 'brown sugar'. I personally prefer the white sand beaches ... but would choose St. Lucia over Cuba or Bahamas any day. Its just a real unique and beautiful island.
 
Aug 13th, 1999, 06:22 PM
  #20  
leslie
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I agree with Lisa. We honeymooned in st. Lucia and it was gorgeous and as you described. mountainous, nice beaches, good selection of hotels, charming and remote.
St. Lucia is volcanic island and doesn't have white sand beaches. The sand at most beaches can be described as the colour of brown sugar. It is beautiful. We have since visited Bahamas and Cuba (known for their lovely beaches) but my husband is more fond of the 'brown sugar'. I personally prefer the white sand beaches ... but would choose St. Lucia over Cuba or Bahamas any day. Its just a real unique and beautiful island.
 

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