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Snorkeling Couple need to narrow down island - May/April

Snorkeling Couple need to narrow down island - May/April

Old Mar 29th, 2017, 08:16 PM
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Snorkeling Couple need to narrow down island - May/April

Hi all,
My husband and I are trying to decide which island to visit. We love to snorkel. We enjoy nice clear water and lovely beaches with sandy bottoms but with rocks near by for snorkeling. We prefer snorkel from the beach. We are 30ish/40ish and decent shape. We are very casual.

Looking for one week in April or May. We are flying from the Midwest USA. We do not like fancy areas/party areas - just simple laid back beach life.

We have been to St. John USVI and absolutely loved it.

As far as budget - cheaper is always better. I have about 65,000 airline miles and could use it for 1-2 free tickets. Seems I can get two tickets to Jamaica, Nassau or Grand Cayman - but to be honest - those places really weren't "on the list" though I am open.

The trip would mainly be rest, relaxation and snorkeling. Not interested in shopping, bars, etc. Just need to get away from it all.

We usually prefer to stay in AIRBNB, VRBO, Homestay, etc. Would prefer around $150 a night if possible, but understand I'll probably have to go up.

Considering: Curacao (long, expensive flight), British Virgin Islands (long, expensive flight). Have thought about Roatan, but really want a simple and easy vacation and don't want to have to worry about taking boats or safety, etc.

We would rent a car/jeep.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Is one week too long? We spent 8 days in USVI and were never bored.
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Old Mar 30th, 2017, 04:37 AM
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Grand Cayman, the BVI's and Roatan are all great "snorkeling" locations (among the best in the Caribbean) and would be high on my list of recommendations but you've seemed to rule them out for one reason or another - too bad. Perhaps you might want to reconsider because most other destinations will be a 'step down".

Anyway, Bonaire has great snorkeling but the beaches there are somewhat "rocky".

I'd skip Nassau as the snorkeling there is limited but you will find some good snorkeling on some of the Bahamas Out-islands. The trade off is they are a bit difficult to reach. If interested, look at the Exumas, Long Island or perhaps Harbor Island.

Once you choose your island, you should have no difficulty finding AIRBNB, VRBO, Someway, etc. accommodations in your price range however, at that price point don't expect to be in a luxury beachfront resort. You are looking at basic accommodations and most likely, not a beachfront property.
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Old Mar 30th, 2017, 06:48 AM
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Thanks much appreciated. I don't mind non-beachfront. On St. John USVI we stayed way up high and away from other homes.

I think I put Cayman out of my mind because I thought maybe it was super touristy (we like to be spread out from other people) - but maybe I'm wrong on that. I am open to Cayman and Roatan. I really want to go to BVI but the price/long flights may be too much.

I'll look into Cayman and Roatan, leaning towards Cayman. Any specific hints on where to stay in Cayman or Roatan (as far as part of the island), please let me know.

Thanks for your response. Have a great day!
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Old Mar 30th, 2017, 07:22 AM
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Both Roatan & Grand Cayman are small islands and easy to get around. Since you'll have a rental car it really doesn't matter where you stay as you'll never be "far" from anything. If you think about it for a moment, what difference does it make if you have to drive 10 minutes to the north or 12 minutes to the south to reach the beach where you'll be visiting that day? Once you choose your destination, check out available properties that interest you and pick the one that most fits your particular needs and budget.

I wouldn't worry about Grand Cayman being "too touristy" - you''ll find it easy to avoid crowds in May since the island won't be terribly busy at that time of year. Routan, by definition, is going to have even fewer people.

Finding the "perfect" Caribbean destination always involves some compromise.
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Old Mar 30th, 2017, 11:49 AM
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Grand Cayman is a HUGE cruise ship stop and on days when there are ships in port, Georgetown is crazy. Here is the port authority where you can check on how many ships will be there on a given day. That being said, they all usually leave around 5 or 6pm.
https://www.caymanport.com/ship-schedules/

Roatan is also a busy cruise port.
http://www.mahoganybaycc.com/port-schedule.aspx

That being said, I have been to both islands multiple times and I can always find a place on the island where I am far away from all the cruise people.

Or you could try puddle jumping over to Cayman Brac. That is supposed to have great snorkeling/diving.
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Old Mar 30th, 2017, 08:19 PM
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I'm leaning towards Roatan. Sounds like rave reviews all the way around from the snorkelers. Unfortunately, my miles don't quite cut it for two people. Always difficult to use them unless you plan way, way in advance. It has be doing an overnight in Dallas on the way. Oh well.

Thanks to all for your input, much appreciated. Will update when I nail down final travel plans.
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Old Mar 31st, 2017, 04:24 AM
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Look into Belize. Great snorkeling and diving.
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Old Mar 31st, 2017, 04:52 AM
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How about Vieques or Culebra?
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Old Mar 31st, 2017, 08:26 AM
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Consider staying on the North Side/Rum Point section of Grand Cayman. Plenty of beach front lodging options and far away from the more developed sections of the islands. Best of all, its close to the best snorkeling on the island. Some of the better sites, like the barrier reef, are a farther distance than you'd be used to in STJ; but the reward is a better experience, especially for hard corals.

I'd still rate Roatan as the best snorkeling between STJ and GCM, but GCM and a day trip to Little Cayman to snorkel Jackson Point and Bloody Bay is a closer 2nd.

After a few disappointing visits, I found this guide to be invaluable to actually finding the best snorkeling on GC:

http://snorkelblog.tumblr.com/
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Old Apr 2nd, 2017, 02:00 PM
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Thanks to all. Jimmie - I think I'm doing Culebra over the winter.

I believe I have finally decided on Roatan. I know the snorkeling will be excellent. Now I have to decide where to stay and what to do! I've got a month to plan (I'm a planner .

If any of you have specific suggestions for a one week itinerary let me know. I haven't done any research yet on Roatan.

Should I stay in one spot for the week or two different spots? Should I stay away from the eastern of the island - do locals prefer to keep the tourists in the west (I want to be respectful too).

Where do we usually stay - AWAY from condos and touristy hotels, loud parties, bars, drunk people. We typically try and rent a home, it usually is further away from the "hot spots" - like in USVI St. John we steered clear of Cruz Bay.

With that being said - maybe we should be open to more resort type places. I am looking for a vacation of pure relaxation, little headache and not around a lot of noisy drunk people.

Do you all vote for a home in West Bay? Condo? Hotel? Apartment?

Here's the ideal: - a sweet little private home with a pool and maybe a hot tub, not too far from the beach but far enough to be a bit more private - with some breezes in the evening to keep the bugs at bay. Does it exist?? Does it exist for $200 a night??

Lastly, I'm assuming I'll have to rent a jeep or a car or something. Does that sound right to you all?

Are all beaches safe? Safe snorkeling? I'll start digging through recent forums, but any info you want to put here and/or point to another forum, please let me know.

We plan to take carry ons only due to the separate tix I had to book with little time between flights in Dallas - so there goes large containers of reef sunscreen and bug spray. I know it St. John the prices were really high for sunscreen and spray. I'm assuming the same in Roatan?

Bottom line - relaxation, safe, no worries, no headaches/hassles. The cheaper the better, but could do $200-$250 per night (prefer to stay $150 and below). Point me!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2017, 11:42 AM
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For Roatan, check out VRBO.com as there are several different type listings. The most popular beach is West Bay Beach, and also where the best reef is. There is a condo complex called Infinity Bay which is right in front of the reef for some world class walk in snorkeling at your fingertips. If you don't want to have to travel to get to the beach, these condos are right where the best snorkeling is. There are a few houses to rent as well, but again, that depends on how far from the beach/snorkeling you want to be.
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Old Apr 6th, 2017, 07:11 PM
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Thank you Bassguy66. I did see the condos there and it's very tempting, just wasn't sure because I've read reviews that the coral there in that area has gotten a lot of traffic and not as nice as it used to be. I am looking at those condos though, the pool looks amazing! I'm also looking about half-way between West End and West Bay for a bit more laid back without all the people. Might go for the killer pool though
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Old Apr 7th, 2017, 06:31 AM
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Anytime memellow, glad to help. From everything I've read, the better snorkeling is still down by Infinity Bay. From my research, West Bay Beach can get pretty busy with cruise shippers, so finding something a little further down might suit your needs better. I personally like to be close to the best area to snorkel, hence why I am targeting IB. I figure I can just escape to the pool area when the cruise shippers are flooding the beach. Good luck, and hope you find something great....
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Old Jan 30th, 2024, 05:12 AM
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Roatan trip?

Hello memellow - I know this is an old thread, but I would love to hear if you did go to Roatan and how you enjoyed it. I'm considering going there with my daughter, but we're also considering Curaçao. Thank you!
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