need advice about island choice

Nov 9th, 2010, 08:07 AM
  #1  
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need advice about island choice

Hi Fodorites,
Something fun and special for my 60th birthday......a party or a trip? I'm leaning towards a trip - the heck with my friends! My husband and I love islands, but haven't been to the Caribbean for decades.
I am thinking about a February trip for 6 days. Would like lots of beautiful beach and a pool or swimming, sunbathing and reading. We enjoy walking, hanging out talking to locals, beachy bars. Maybe try a beginner diving class to celebrate getting not younger but braver? We do not want a destination resort. On the funky side is fine. I'd like to keep lodging cost around 200/day. Anguilla, Caymans, Other ideas?
parosblue is offline  
Nov 9th, 2010, 10:11 AM
  #2  
 
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Anguilla is the answer. There is no better place. I would stay on the West end if I were you. There are many different choices for hotels, but then at least you are close to many of the good restaurants. We love it there. Maybe Anguilla Great house because it's on a beautiful stretch of beach that you can walk and has a couple of beach bars near by. Those being Cuisinart and the Dune Preserve. I bet you'd be happy.
Anguillagirl is offline  
Nov 9th, 2010, 05:43 PM
  #3  
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Thanks for the advice Anguillagirl.....I had wondered about that hotel from seeing the website. It does look like our kind of place and it helps to have a recommendation from someone in the know. I will check it out further. sShould we take a flight all the way there or take a ferry via St. Martin?
parosblue is offline  
Nov 9th, 2010, 06:04 PM
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anguillagirl -
Hmmmmm, Just read some reviews on tripdvisor about this hotel - mostly all bad.
Were you there recently?
parosblue is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 05:13 AM
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Can you travel later in the season? I think it's going to be tough to find something decent during February for $200/night.
Weadles is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 06:44 AM
  #6  
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Thanks Weadles -
I'm stuck on the specific week since I teach.
I am getting sticker shock at how expensive the flights and hotels are in Feb.
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Nov 10th, 2010, 08:23 AM
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parosblue-

I know exactly what you mean! Since our kids are grown up now, we try to avoid February and
that week between Christmas and New Year's, since it's usually very expensive and too crowded. BUT... if that's the only time you can go, would you consider Jamaica?

You said that you don't mind "funky", and it would be hard to find a better description of Negril, Jamaica. My husband and I have been going there since the early 1980s, mostly because of it's gorgeous beach ( almost seven miles, and one of the best in the Caribbean), it's reasonable prices, and the lovely people we've met.

We have often stayed at Coco La Palm, a small three-star hotel located on the best part of the beach. I think some of the rooms there are going to be beyond budget for you, but one of the great things about Negril, is that there are many accommodations that may fit your price. The only problem is going to be finding availability during February.

Some other places I'd recommend that might be more within budget are: Rondel Village, and Catch-a-Rising-Star. But you have to be aware that some of the rooms will be pretty basic, although still on Negril's wonderful beach.

There are other properties, too, which I'm blanking on right now, but you can check with Negrilonestop.com to get an idea of other properties. I used this company in the past, but since we know the area pretty well we tend to book ourselves when we go down there. However, I'd have no qualms in recommending them, since the trips we booked through them went off with no problems.

You will find plenty of local color and culture in Negril, which is another reason we keep going back. And the restaurants- some on the beach, some on the West End cliff road- are simple, but very good and cheap. To say nothing of the fabulous jerk chicken, Best of the West, right across the road from Coco!

If you decide to go there, post back,, and I will make some recommendations.

In the meantime, are you "named" for Paros, the Greek island? We just returned from there,
and loved it as much as Jamaica, and that's saying a lot!

Now a final question for you: I
Weadles is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 01:30 PM
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if you plan to take a dive course may i suggest you take the classroom and shallow water (pool) portion at home. then just do the open water dives with an island company. no reason to spend island time in a classroom when you could be on the beach
and gosh i hope weadles comes back to finish the final question for you ...
virginia is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 03:21 PM
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For $200 a day in Feb. you'll be hard pressed to find something, might just have to stick to Mexico. By the way, Anguilla has the worst scuba in the Caribbean (which breaks my heart to say because it's actually one of my favorite islands and I have a great love for it.) and Mexico has some of the best in Cozumel. You'll also find those funky beach bars, and it will be in your price limit.

Anguilla in Feb. you'll be hard pressed for anything under $400.
blamona is offline  
Nov 11th, 2010, 04:43 AM
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Parosblue,

I had one more idea for you. Friends of mine go almost over year to Roatan in Central America. I think they stay in the West End area, which is right on or close to some of the best beaches. There is supposed to be wonderful snorkeling/diving in Roatan, and the pricing sounded a lot cheaper than most of the Caribbean islands.

If you're interested, there seems to be plenty of information about it on the Central America/Mexico forum.

A last piece of advice: Whatever you do, try to research and book soon! February times often coincide with school vacation weeks, and many people book those a year ahead.
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Nov 11th, 2010, 06:08 AM
  #11  
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Hi All, Thanks for all the great advice.
Weadles, we have been going to Paros for years, love it and hope to continue going there.
BTW - I get exactly what you said about Jamaica-Paros. In fact, we spent 3-weeks in Negril about 30 years ago. The tourism and hotels have grown a lot since then, so I feel tentative about going back - you know it's that romantic memory thing. But your descriptions entice me - we must have similar tastes so I'll check out the places you recommend.
Changing the topic, but I'm discovering that we can go to a distant off-season destination for half the price of Anguilla vacation -always wanted to go to Istanbul. Not the heat and beach, but no crowds in the museums!
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Nov 11th, 2010, 06:36 AM
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Wow, we do have similar tastes! Istanbul is a wonderful destination. We visited two summers ago, and would love to go back. My only concern is that I think it can be quite rainy/cool in the winter months?
Weadles is offline  
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