Off beat island adventure....where?

Old Sep 24th, 2007, 08:31 AM
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Off beat island adventure....where?

Hubby and I (30 yrs olds) are looking for some warm March weather and are planning on cashing in frequent flier miles. We aren't lay-on-the-beach or bar-hopping people, but enjoy exploring by car and foot, new cultures, foods, snorkeling etc. Mostly we like off-beat sorts of things that are unique to a vacation. We LOVED the big island of Hawaii. I checked with various airlines, and for my mileage I can go to the following places: San Juan PR; St. Thomas, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Jamaica, Bahamas, Grand Cayman and Sanitago, Dominican Republic. From your travel experiences, do any of these places sound like a good match for us? Thanks in advance!
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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Grand Cayman is a wonderful island to enjoy...
if you can manage slowing down to island time, fun daily things to do are "Stingray City" experience , plus snorkeling ALL AROUND the island very excellent. you can kyak in the mangroves, windsurf at East End, picnic at Smith Cove, beachcomb at The Kaibo...evening sunset catamran sailing...hey my spelling's horrible, sorry.

As for cultural dining...try conch fritters everywhere, marinated conch, jerk pork, chicken, fish "Cayman" style, find heavy cakes @ The agricultural grounds every Sat. morning (Crafts on sale there, & @ Pure Art on South Church Street)...and excellent fine dining abounds.

Not too great for hiking, for is HOT out! Maybe enjoy viewing a caribbean cricket match, rugby match, or such on weekend...very culturally different and fun socializing afterwards.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Grand Cayman does not really offer any interesting hiking opportunities and culturally. It is a a beach and water (on top the water looks beautiful and underwater-there is still good snorkeling out near Cayman Kai Resort/Sting Ray City the reef is good but be careful of the under tow).
The food is interesting and varied but expensive based on 3 trips over last 12-14 years, last in 2004.
Another idea if your miles go there is Roatan, Honduras (Continental Air) and stay at Anthony's Key Resort in a Superior Cabin on the "KEY" with A/C but lot's of DEET a must as is the case on many islands.The flight is 2+ hrs. from Miami. The snorkeling is excellent. Hiking opportunities are numerous and you can get some of the Central American culture. Probably, Ilana-Social Director, can hook you up with a guide (you can use my name-we have been there in '07, '05, '02) not a fancy one but knowledgeable one for $40-$50 for 4-5 hrs. (cost of gas is what does it. Tell Ilana you do NOT want an island tour but a cultural experience. A week with 3 meals (that's the way it comes and the food is pretty good)2 snorkel outings a day,3 dive trips a day if you want is $1800/person with tax for 7 nights in the Superior Cabin. If you don't take the Superior Cabin I would not suggest you go.
Another place, but we only have gone once is St. Lucia. It has all you want except the snorkeling is fair if you really have snorkeled a number of times and want varied coral, fish, anenomes, sponges,etc.It is more civilized than Roatan and offers lush scenery as Roatan, hiking, beaches and a number of hotels but generally at a bit higher price point. I forget what airline we took to get there in 2005.I would suggest you avoid Haiti, the Bahamas could be chilly in March (72-75 high on some days), and SJ and St. Thomas snorkeling is just o.k. but St. John is just a sail day away from St. Thomas where there is great snorkeling. We did not enjoy the snorkeling in Jamaica but that was in 1998 or 1999 and we have not been to SD. Good Luck.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 09:21 AM
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Anyone else care to chime in?
shg8e is offline  
Old Sep 26th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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I recently discovered Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas.
Google February Point Condo's for some good photos,or google villas in Exuma.

We decided against it because we think our kids might get bored.
Many accommodations provide maid service,some have chefs, and a boston whaler to explore the many islands that are very close by. The deep sea fishing is great as well as the snorkeling.

This place is so pristine. The rental homes or condos are gorgeous and it's so peaceful and uncrowded. Check it out. One of the sandbars in this area was where the "parlay" scene was filmed in Pirates of the Caribbean. Perhaps some other spots were in the movie too.

Good Luck,
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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You don't mention any price constraints, and March is still high season in most places. If St. Thomas is an option, then St. John is just a short ferry ride away. You might think about a villa rental and exploring St. John beaches, history, and hikes.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 12:44 PM
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Depending on how off-beat you really mean - try Montserrat...
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 06:58 PM
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i vote for jamaica. off beat, fun to explore.
i would not go to haiti or dominican republic if you want to explore at all . many feel it is unsafe to even leave your resort unaccompanied on dr. and if i'm not mistaken the state dept still has advisories on haiti travel.
puerto rico has el yunque rain forest.
none of your pick islands are known for outstanding snorkeling. except as jimmie mentioned st. john is well known for snorkel and easy to get around and explore. plus you could day trip into bvi's. this might be a good choice. caneel bay resort has 7 beaches and gets great reviews. loads of villas.
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Old Sep 26th, 2007, 10:32 PM
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Fly into STT, Unless your trying to get Delta free miles because as of 3 weeks ago they had no open seats to STT for anything next year. (meaning they never opened up any) Anyway you can fly to San Juan and do some adventure inland stuff there and then a short hop to the Virgin Islands. St John, Virgin Gorda and Tortola is very easy to do all 3 in 2 weeks via Ferry. Each have their own unique difference. Not sure how long you have. If you only have a week try to do St John. see pics at
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Old Sep 27th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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We took a seaplane from San Juan to St.Thomas then ferry over to St.John.We liked this because no hassle with another airport and cheaper than commercial flight and of course the views were amazing.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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definitely Haiti is off the beaten track and Lonely Planet has had some interesting posts from people who have travelled there. The other places are well on the beaten track in my opinion - of them all, I would think Jamaica or one of the Bahamas out islands would be of most interest to you.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 03:30 PM
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Gtreat Exuma has very little snorkeling and what there is is only fair. With coral bleaching around Virgin Gorda the past 4-5 years much of the coral is diying or is dead and therefore the profusion of fish is not anywhere comparable to St. John. The bleaching has already begun around St. John and the geological service said 5-8 yrs. out much of that coral may be dead as well.
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 05:11 PM
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I hate to hear that StanKase. I hope you are wrong.
amtw is offline  
Old Sep 28th, 2007, 06:26 PM
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St. Vincent and the Grenadines
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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 06:34 PM
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Well, as you don't mention where you're travelling from, I'm free to say that I think Cuba would be a great destination.

I'll be in Cuba for the entire month of February and if you're looking for a totally unique vacation destination, culturally, musically, etc, then it would be hard to beat. It's almost like a stepping into a time warp back to the 1950's with the added bonus of the Caribbean's most marvelous Spanish architecture.

I'm also not a beach type person which is why I love the diversity of Cuba so much.

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Old Sep 28th, 2007, 09:02 PM
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An interesting "adventure" in Grand Cayman is the Mastic Trail, a hike through native woodlands in the interior of the island, it's pretty unique. See review.

Also, the Botanical Gardens and trails are very nice, as is horseback riding on the beach. We didn't see anyone while riding for two hours. The trick is to get off of 7MB, which most people don't do.
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