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-   -   Searching for safe place for a one month rental in February. Ideas? (https://www.fodors.com/community/caribbean-islands/searching-for-safe-place-for-a-one-month-rental-in-february-ideas-857903/)

icdchess Sep 4th, 2010 07:59 PM

Searching for safe place for a one month rental in February. Ideas?
 
Would like to surprise my wife with a 65th birthday gift of a month (February) in the Caribbean. 2 weeks to ourselves and a week each for our two daughters and their respective families.

Looking to spend $10,000 or less on the rental (figure I might as well blow it all for the occasion) and have a place that overlooks the water and is accessible to a nice beach.

Requirements are... SAFE!!, bright, airy, spotless, peaceful 3 BR, 2 or 3BA. Would like to be near a good selection of nice restaurants and not terribly far from scenic spots that we can take day trips to as well as golf courses and tennis courts. Would rather not be near family beaches with lots of kids.

Hoping I am not asking for too much but want it to be a memorable occasion for everyone. I'll worry about paying the credit card bills when we get back.

Thanks a bunch.
Steve

RoamsAround Sep 5th, 2010 07:27 AM

First, you don't say where you are from but the majority of Caribbean islands are as "safe" or even safer than where you now live.

Second, almost all Caribbean islands have rental villas and you can probably find a few on each island that are within your price range (although for a 1 month rental in February - High Season - your budget of $2,500/week is on the low side) if you are willing to make some concessions. Depending on the island you choose you may have to rent a villa that is not "on the beach" but perhaps a few blocks away or even "up on the mountainside". You could still probably find one with some nice views. Just be realistic in your expectations. Consider, renting a condo rather than a villa as they will often give you "more bang for your buck". Regarding not wanting to encounter "family beaches with lots of kids" that will depend on when in February you plan on visiting. If you are thinking of making your trip during "President's Week" you are asking for a tall order since that's one of the busiest travel times for families. If you go at other times during February you are less likely to encounter many "family groups". That said, many islands have miles of beaches and it is usually never difficult to find stretches where there are few, if any, crowds. Remember too, the old adage "If you build it they will come" - People, especially tourists, gravitate toward places where there are amenities nearby (you yourself have asked for that in your list of desires) so expect to see more people if you are close to restaurants/shops/attractions. The further your rental villa is from "civilization" the quieter it will be. Now, many rental villa are in residential areas so "crowds should be a big problem. Most islands are relatively small and you are usually never more than a 15 to 20 minute drive from many of the tourist points of interest.

My suggestion, is you do some basic research to determine which island or islands interest you. Start by using the "Destinations" link at the top of this page. Click through to the Caribbean and read the summaries of each island. That will help you narrow your choices down to two or three islands that most interest you. Don't worry if you seemed overwhelmed at first. That's normal. Remember the goal here is to select an island for THIS VISIT - you can save the other islands for future visits.

Third, once you select your island(s) do a google search using such topics as "Rental Villas, NAME OF ISLAND" and you'll be directed to scores of websites listing the villas available on that island. You'll find complete details of each place including photos, amenities and rental rates. FYI - there are numerous websites that have listings for villas on multiple islands (think of these as being similar to the MLS services used by Real Estate where you now live). You can easily find these by doing a google search for "Caribbean Rental Villas" or similar phrased topics.

Islands that are known for being safe and for having rental villas and/or condos include:
St. John
Tortola
Virgin Gorda
Anguilla
St. Kitts
Nevis
Antigua
St. Bart's (note this island can be quite pricey)
Grand Cayman

Good luck finding a suitable location for your family's holiday.

Josiah Sep 5th, 2010 06:46 PM

Hey I did rent a nice villa in Curacao a few months ago. The island is very safe.

Caribheart Sep 7th, 2010 10:38 AM

I would strongly add to the lists provided Grenada...very very safe and affordable relatively speaking...maybe options for 2 -3 bedrooms or more....on the beach, on THE beach, in the mountains etc...the people are lovely shopping for grocery, wines and fresh items all easy and fabulous - lots to do lots to NOT do and history, nature and joy!!

ejcrowe Sep 8th, 2010 05:47 AM

Your money will go farther on some islands than others. It will be very difficult to find what you're looking for on Anguilla or St. Barths, for example. I've traveled to Anguilla in the past two Octobers (the very lowest of low season) and most villa owners weren't willing to negotiate prices at all.

In addition to roamsaround's list of islands, Jamaica offers a ton of wonderful villas, many of which have a full time staff whose work is included in the price (but not their gratuities, which are extra). Linda Smith is a very reputable villa rental company on that island, but her villas are definitely more high end. There's also a terrific site called www.jamaicaescapes.com, which I've rented from before, which offers a full range of pricepoints. I think you'd find that you could strike a deal with the latter company for renting a full month.

And like Caribheart, I second the recommendation for Grenada. www.spiceislevillas.com is a great company with a wide range of villas and I've rented from them multiple times.

If you pick an island that has been harder hit by the economy, two good things will happen. (1) your travel dollars will mean more to the people on the island you choose, and (2) you're more likely to be able to negotiate a better deal for a month-long rental.

Just remember, if you see a villa you love and the rack rates for a month are higher than you can pay, it never hurts to bargain. Tell them your budget and ask if they'd be willing to accept it. I think in many cases they will.

I think you're doing a marvelous thing for your wife and your family to do this. I hope you have a wonderful month of creating memories that they'll all remember for the rest of their lives.


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