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Planning a first trip to Caribbean early May -- advice appreciated!

Planning a first trip to Caribbean early May -- advice appreciated!

Old Mar 24th, 2007, 11:29 PM
  #1  
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Planning a first trip to Caribbean early May -- advice appreciated!

My partner and I are hoping to travel to the Caribbean (from NYC) for the first time in early May. Ideally we want a place that offers good value, not too touristy, with some nightlife and quieter beaches. Any comments or advice would be much appreciated! Lastly, I am very allergic to mosquito stings, so hoping to find a place that isn't too steamy & teaming with them. Thank you, all!
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 06:49 AM
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Well, there are going to be mosquitos anywhere in the Caribbean. If you are "allergic" or extra-sensitive, meaning you get big welts instead of just little bumps like my daughter, the thing to do is make sure you have ample and strong bug spray with you at all times. If your skin is sensitive, I'd pack the 50+ sunscreen too. For good value, etc. and all your other criteria, you could look into Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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Mosquitoes (and no-see-ums) are more a function of weather conditions, time of day and location on the island rather than to the island itself. They are more prevallent after periods of prolongued or heavy rains and/or when there are very light or no breezes. They are more active at dusk, especially on the beach and around salt ponds or other standing water. Avoid using perfumes, colognes and scented hair sprays as the "sweet smell" acts as an attractant. If you must stroll on the beach at dusk wear a pair of slacks and an long sleeve short or other cover-up. Consider spraying your ankles with an inscet repellent - many people use products containing DEET. Others recommend using Avon's Skin-So-Soft (the lotion not the cream).

As for picking an islad destination, you really need to be more specific in your needs. Phrases like "good value" mean different things to different people. It's better if you give us your budget for hotel accomodations, food, etc. The type of island experience you want will govern where you go. There are big islands, small islands, flat scruuby and arid coral based islands (these usually have great beaches but little greenery) and volcanis based islands with lush rainforests and darker sand beaches. There are islands which offer great shopping, some have casinos, others are very quiet with not much to do except sit on the beach, swim and eat dinner while still others are an eco-tourists delight. There are expensive islands and more moderately priced destinations. There are island with a decidedly American feel, some with a European ambiance and still others with an Old World Caribbean Charm. Some are easy to get to (non-stop from NYC) and others that take several connecting flights and/or ferries to reach. Some islands are great for snorkeling and/or diving while some are not. Keep in mind that the islands offering the most activities and amenities are often the more crowded island since they will attract more tourists. Secluded locations by definition have fewer tourists and therefore there's not enough visitors to support too many business that cater to tourism. The most important point to understand is no one island has it all so you have to make concessions..
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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Ah, thank you both for your replies!

Our main considerations are definitely ease of getting there, since we only have a week (so direct flights would be great); definitely want sand beaches and some nightlife, though hoping to avoid Tourist Central; and lastly, budget is a consideration. We're hoping to spend $150 or less per night for accommodations. I was told mosquitoes are not an issue in Bermuda, though it's a pricey place to go. Not sure if the lack of mosquitoes is reason enough to try to get there! (or how warm it'll be in Bermuda in early May). Thanks again for your advice!
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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You should be able to find plenty of accomodations in that price range on Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Cancun, Cozemel, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, all of which can be reached non-stop from NYC airports. Check out package deals on travel wed-site like Travelocity, Orbitz or Expedia as well as the airlines sites for Continental or American - lot's of interesting deals there.

One thing more - you mentioned it's your first trip to the Caribbean and you want to travel in May (a good time by the way as you'll encounter some of the lowest rates of the year) - if you don't have them apply for your passports NOW as it is now taking about 8 to 10 weeks due to recent changes in the laws requiring all US citizens coming back from the Caribbean to have a valid passport. If you don't have passports your choices in possible destinations will be limited to Puerto Rico (and it's surrounding islands Vieques & Culebra) and the US Virgin Islands.
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