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Solo Travel in St. Martin/Maarten vs. St. Thomas/John vs. Aruba in May

Solo Travel in St. Martin/Maarten vs. St. Thomas/John vs. Aruba in May

Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 09:29 AM
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Solo Travel in St. Martin/Maarten vs. St. Thomas/John vs. Aruba in May

Hey there!

Long-time lurker...first time poster. I'm interested in taking a solo trip (guy here) to either St. Martin, the USVI, or Aruba. I'm renting a car and a paddleboard and really want to explore the island and any other islands around. I'm also into food, going to the beach, and MAYBE checking out nightlife (MAYBE). As someone that's fully vaccinated and this being my first ever solo trip, I just wanted to have a new experience at a place that's not too touristy.

A few questions I had:
  1. Which island is the cheapest (for accommodations and things to do around the island)?
  2. Which island is the best overall for experience?
  3. Which island has the best paddleboarding?
  4. Where are the best beaches?
  5. And where is the best food?
Thank you!
gtjacket231 is offline  
Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 05:08 PM
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There are no concrete answers to your questions and different contributors here will probably give you different answers. Hereís my take (based on over 30 years of travel to the Caribbean:
  1. Which island is the cheapest (for accommodations and things to do around the island)? - Youíll find a wide variety of accommodations in all price ranges on all the islands you mentioned. Keep in mind though that accommodations on St. John will generally be higher than on the other islands you listed. Other than that, accommodations on the other islands will be similarly priced.
  2. Which island is the best overall for experience? - It really depends on what you are seeking. Each island has itís own special vibe. One is not better than the other, they are just different.
  3. Which island has the best paddleboarding? - No real difference here - youíll find good paddle boarding on all those islands.
  4. Where are the best beaches? - St. John has slight edge as far as beaches are concerned but the others have some very nice beaches too so to paraphrase an old adage you really donít have to ask ďis the beach better on the other island.
  5. And where is the best food? - St. Martin, because of its French influence has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RoamsAround View Post
There are no concrete answers to your questions and different contributors here will probably give you different answers. Hereís my take (based on over 30 years of travel to the Caribbean:
  1. Which island is the cheapest (for accommodations and things to do around the island)? - Youíll find a wide variety of accommodations in all price ranges on all the islands you mentioned. Keep in mind though that accommodations on St. John will generally be higher than on the other islands you listed. Other than that, accommodations on the other islands will be similarly priced.
  2. Which island is the best overall for experience? - It really depends on what you are seeking. Each island has itís own special vibe. One is not better than the other, they are just different.
  3. Which island has the best paddleboarding? - No real difference here - youíll find good paddle boarding on all those islands.
  4. Where are the best beaches? - St. John has slight edge as far as beaches are concerned but the others have some very nice beaches too so to paraphrase an old adage you really donít have to ask ďis the beach better on the other island.
  5. And where is the best food? - St. Martin, because of its French influence has some of the best restaurants in the Caribbean.
Thank you for this! So I guess...what are the vibes of each place in your opinion? If I go to the USVI, I'll probably stay in St. Thomas and day trip to St. John.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 09:07 AM
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Click on the "Destinations" link at the top of this page then select "Caribbean" followed by the links to the particular island(s) you are considering. You'll find lots of great info that will help you learn the differs aspects of those islands and what they have to offer. Once you read up on the islands you'll get a better feel as to which one offers the type of vacation you'd most like and narrow down your destination. Once you've studied the basics you can come back and post specific questions about the island you've selected.
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Old Apr 4th, 2021, 08:31 AM
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IMHO Aruba is extremely "touristy". High rise hotels side-by-side on long beaches. It's also flat and windy.

St Thomas is still lacking in accommodations. The two largest hotels have not re-opened since Irma (2017) and many rentals are through VRBO or Airbnb.

If you want to island hop, either St Thomas/St John/Water Island and possibly the BVI (if they open back up to day visitors) or St Maarten/Martin/Anguilla/St Barts/Saba are good prospects.

I agree with Roams Around. Caribbean islands are all interesting in different ways.And the food is definitely better on French islands.
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 10:07 AM
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St Thomas was the least favorite island I have been too... which are not many and years ago but - St Thomas, St John, Jamaica (3x), Domincan Republic (2x) is my only experience. I do travel solo often but would not put St Thomas at the top of my list. Although I admit I was only there a few nights on my way to get the ferry to St John, which I enjoyed very much but was with a couple friends and in the tents at Cinnamon Bay.

Being alone, do you just want to chill? Or you want opportunities a bit of social interaction, restaurants, bars, music?
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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 02:22 AM
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Not sure when you are thinking of travelling. I would choose an island where there aren't too difficult/restrictive COVID rules so you can get in and out back home without too much trouble. Some destinations eg St Martin/St Barts might have very restrictive entry regulations seeing that they are part of France where there is currently a lockdown and curfews. Island hopping is probably not a good idea right now, it just adds another level of complexity. Some islands are only accepting residents from other islands, not tourists. Some islands have limited facitilies for COVID testing which you will need to get back home.
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Old Apr 6th, 2021, 06:09 PM
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It's probable that there will be some very good deals on the islands, since they haven't seen many tourists over the past year. When I was in St. Martin, it was shortly after the big hurricane, and very few things were open. There's not a lot of nightlife there. Aruba has a larger city- for beaches and paddle boarding, you would go around to the other side of the island from where the cruise port and the cities are. There's always good seafood, but you should check on which restaurants are still open before you commit to an island.
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