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jayseadee Jan 6th, 2005 09:38 PM

Peter or Guana, Guana or Peter
(sorry for the double post, but I forgot to choose BVI on the first one)

Planning a vacation to the Caribbean next November; thought we'd try the BVI this time. Our last 3 trips have been to St. John,

I'd like to split the week (4 nights each) between high end and not so high end.

Both Peter and Guana Islands sound fabulous; how does one decide? Price seems similar, although the Guana Island website doesn't have Nov, 2005 rates posted yet.

Here is what is important -
Excellent snorkeling off the beach
Available shade on the beach
Comfortable Bed
No phone, No TV, No WiFi, etc.

We will probably fly into STT; primarily because the rates are less.

Haven't decided on the first 4 nights; either Tortola (sugar Mill) or Virgin Gorda (any suggestions?)

All life's decisions should be so tough :)



mnag Jan 7th, 2005 06:37 AM

Dont have experience with PI or Guana but do have an opinion between VG and Tortola. We stayed at a villa on Tortola a few years ago and did a day trip to VG. I prefered VG and wished I had stayed at one of the villas there instead. The beaches are nicer (baths and spring bay) and the water bluer (my opinion). It seemed more quaint and quieter. Tortola is nice also...lots of hills, and good views. I guess I was not impressed with the beaches. We did eat one night at Sugar Mill and thought the food and service was excellent.

joan Jan 7th, 2005 07:00 AM

Gosh, mnaq, one of the things I love about Tortola is the many beaches with snorkeling available right off the beach. We've been there twice, and loved finding new beaches each day...Brewer's, Lambert, Long Bay (2!), Smuggler's, Josiah's, Trellis... Not to argue, and I've visited VG on day trips, like you, and it is gorgeous and more laid back than Tortola. But I just don't want jayseadee or other readers to get the wrong impression. Maybe your opinion is based on Cane Garden Bay, which is picturesque, but apparently now it's the "cruiseship beach" - that speaks for itself!

caribtraveler Jan 7th, 2005 07:00 AM

I only have experience with Peter Island. We loved it. The only thing: no excellent snorkeling off the beach. -(
everything else you mentioned, you would get.

jayseadee Jan 7th, 2005 07:12 AM

Hi Caribtraveler -

Is there any snorkeling off the beach at peter Island? if not, do they include any boat trips to reefs or would that be extra. We really love to snorkel and would be bummed if it were not available. I was thinking Peter Island snorkels would be similar to Caneel.

mnaq and joan : thanks for your thoughts on tortola and VG.

mnag Jan 7th, 2005 07:17 AM

Joan, sorry that I disagree with your opinion. As I clearly state in my response that the comments are my opinion only. I was not refering to Cane Garden Bay beach alone. More of a general comment. When I think of great beaches I am comparing to the ones on Anguilla or JVD or even the out island of the bahamas. White soft sand, calm blue water. I only meant that VG's beaches were superior to Tortollas. We all have different views.

caribtraveler Jan 7th, 2005 07:45 AM

Hi. There is snorkeling off of White Bay Beach. We thought that beach was just okay. The main beach, Deadman's, is BEAUTIFUL by the way.
We didn't snorkel off of White Bay Beach but another couple did and told us they didn't see much.
Peter Island offers complimentary snorkeling gear, they'll drop you off at White Bay Beach..but that's all that's free snorkeling-wise.
I THINK they offer snorkeling trips elsewhere but you'd have to pay for it. Another option is that they do drop guests off on Virgin Gorda for free for the day. So you could snorkel there. But that trip to Virgin Gorda is offered only once a week (at least when we were there). I think it was on Thursdays.
Do a search for my screenname and you will find my trip report "Peter Island Trip Report 9/29-10/3/04", with pictures.
If you have any additional questions, let me know.

caribtraveler Jan 7th, 2005 07:48 AM

Let me add. Having been to St. John (we snorkeled at Trunk Bay-didn't stay at Caneel), the snorkeling on Peter Island does not even come close to St. John.
That doesn't mean that snorkeling trips NEAR Peter Island aren't great. I just haven't done them. Maybe someone else will answer that question for you.

Callaloo Jan 7th, 2005 08:49 AM

If you haven't already, I would suggest you visit Scubamom's webpage ( She has stayed at both resorts, and her reviews are very detailed. This will definitely help you decide which resort to choose.

As for snorkeling, some of the best snorkeling in the BVI is at Monkey Point, which I believe is just off Guana Island.

Another thing to consider -- Peter Island gets some charter boat traffic, which Guana does not. While not disruptive, you can pretty much count on several boats anchored in the bays and tied up in the marina at Peter Island. Peter also has a lot more rooms than Guana. So, Peter is going to have more people about than Guana.

ejcrowe Jan 7th, 2005 11:31 AM

Haven't been to Peter Island, but I honeymooned on Guana last year. I think it would be perfect for what you're looking for if you expect everything there to be low-key. The snorkeling off the main beach I thought was excellent, and you can hike to or get the Guana folks to drop you off at other beaches with other good snorkeling.

The shade at the beach is provided by several trees rather than umbrellas, but I am extremely fair skinned and always found it more than sufficient to meet my needs.

The king size bed was extremely comfortable, as was the room/cottage in general. Despite the various room configurations, everyone gets a jr. suite set up with separate sitting area, bedroom, dressing area, and bathroom. Outside you either have a private balcony or patio.

It's not the same kind of luxury as a Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons, but of a deeper variety: one of privacy, retreat, and being as surrounded by nature as possible and still have the essential creature comforts.

You can get a massage in your room or on the beach, but it's not a pampering kind of place. I think it's better suited for the active and independent traveler than Peter Island is.

One of our favorite activities was our castaway picnic. They dropped us off on a secluded beach with lunch, two umbrellas, two chairs, and a bottle of wine. Perfect solitude!

I don't think you could go wrong with either choice, but the two places have entirely different spirits.

Patty Jan 7th, 2005 11:41 AM

I agree there's not much to see snorkeling from White Bay beach. On top of that I got stung by a jellyfish there!

They do offer snorkeling trips by boat but we didn't do go on one of these. I believe there's an extra charge.

There were a pair of resident turtles in the waters off of Deadman's beach when we were there a few years ago. We would see them everyday when we took the hobie cat out. Has anyone seem them recently?

I've only been to Peter but I believe that Guana has a more 'rustic' feel. That's the impression that I get.

jayseadee Jan 7th, 2005 04:38 PM

thanks for all the feedback.

They are both so appealing; and I know we will enjoy either.

I did review ScubaMoms reviews; I was looking for some other feedback. It was actually her flamingo pictures that got me looking at Guana; I thought I had already decided on Peter Island.

My husband is so much happier on the beach if he can jump in and snorkel every so often. So that could point to Guana;

But, I read somewhere that it is a "hike" to most of the rooms at Guana, can anyone comment? (it wouldn't be a problem, just curious.

ejcrowe Jan 7th, 2005 05:08 PM

It is a hike from the beach up to the level where the clubhouse and rooms are. However, if you prefer to ride up (and we always did) we took either the scheduled ride up or called from the beach bar. There are scheduled rides up and down between the beach and clubhouse a few times a day--namely around meals. Bridget and Roger, the two managers, were always more than willing to go down or come up at other times, too.

From the clubhouse to the rooms is what I consider a walk, not a hike. At night they give you little flashlights to light the way.

Another poster put it well--Guana is rustic chic and very laid back. Peter Island will appear more upscale on the surface at least with its staff, spa, and sheer resort characteristics. It all depends on how you define luxury. My money is on Guana for the kind of retreat I'm looking for--I can find beck & call service with plush bathrobes in any major city, thank you very much.

You might also want to look at for another look at the two resorts--they're written by Scubamom's daughter who is equally articulate. She also happened to be at Guana during my stay last year.

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