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Solo traveler seeking simplicity--help!

Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 03:02 PM
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Solo traveler seeking simplicity--help!

Hi everyone! I am a female in my early twenties, and need help finding the right island for me. The only place I've been that's "tropical" is Hawaii, but I'm looking to go somewhere even better. So I thought, hey, why not the Caribbean? But when I started looking into it, I realized there are a lot of choices. Hopefully you guys can help me make the right one.

I am looking for a place where I can relax on the beach, go to markets for food/shopping, go for drinks at night (doesn't have to be crazy nightlife, but a cool bar on the beach is wonderful). And friendly people. Not a lot of tourists. I would love to go somewhere quiet and simple. For me it's not really about a vacation.. it's more about living the lifestyle for a while and experiencing a different place. In fact, I would love to stay for a few months if I really enjoy it there.

I do not need a lot of the thrills that most people search for in a vacation (scuba diving, surfing, etc.) In fact, I won't even go in deep water.... so that is not a requirement. However, I do wish to be in a place with clear water and white sand... with as much of a "Caribbean" feel to it as possible. I know you're thinking, "well it's the Caribbean, duh, it'll have that" but I've been told that some places are so busy or touristy that it takes away from that mellow, laid back lifestyle, and it becomes just like another resort style beach.

I am not in need of a fancy resort, fine dining meals, or spas. I want my stay to feel as organic as possible, and hopefully even make friends with folks that live there. It would be ideal to rent a small apartment/villa for a month or two instead of a hotel or vacation rental. A sublet situation would be even better, but I know that would be difficult to come by. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated. Hopefully some of you out there have experienced what I am wanting/needing here.

Thanks for your time!
K
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 03:11 PM
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Oh, I forgot to say that I am looking for reasonable prices (aren't we all!) since I'm in no need of fancy vacay things. So any island that is super expensive is not on my list, regardless of how many celebrities visit it.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 03:47 PM
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Generally speaking the Caribbean is more expensive, because of being islands. It's simply more expensive than (for example) Mexico. I think you'd have a lot easier time finding what you say you want in either Mexico or even parts of Central America, rather than the Caribbean.

Do you speak a foreign language? I ask because if you're trying to make friends with locals, and live like a resident not a tourist, speaking the language is pretty much required.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 03:49 PM
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That said Negril Jamaica or Puerto Plata/Sosua in the Dominican Republic have some of what you seek.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2011, 03:53 PM
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grenada and vieques would be good islands for you to look into. grenada would have more of the vibe you seek. vieques may get the nod in the beach dept.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 12:01 PM
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Or you could go back to Hawaii? There are so many places where you could fit in and live like a local. Each island is so different, if you've only been once, you have a LOT left to see. Personally I don't find the Caribbean islands necessarily "better" than the Hawaiian ones.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 02:22 PM
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Hawaii was wonderful, don't get me wrong! And I don't mean "better" in that sense, I just mean better for me personally (something fitting my criteria better). The beaches in Hawaii weren't exactly what I was looking for. But I did live there for almost a year and meshed well with the people. It was a great experience.

I am taking Spanish classes now, and am slowly becoming fluent. By the time I'm looking to head out, I should know enough to at least hold a conversation haha.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 02:28 PM
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I think speaking the language really helps for what you are trying to do ('live like a local'). Opens up Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba. If you have the funds and the time I don't think renting an apartment for a couple months is a difficult thing to do. For example, we rented a nice (simple, inexpensive) house on a cliff in Sosua one time (but too long ago to be valid specifically here).
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Old Feb 23rd, 2011, 04:09 PM
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Puerto Rico has great beaches. I rented a two bedroom apartment in a great area. The owners opened a place in Old San Juan. There are plenty of places in Old San Juan for drinks and its a very interesting place. There are beaches a bus ride away. You can get to Puerto Rico from just about every major city. Check out the Posada San Franciso San Juan. I am sure it is just as nice as there other property. Read the reviews on tripadvisor.com.
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Old Feb 24th, 2011, 04:55 PM
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French St Martin. Grand Case Beach Club. My wife ,17 and 19 year old stayed here for 14 days last June. Wonderful French couple operate the restaurant which is very good. Beautiful sunsets! In fact I think the name was Sunset Cafe .Beach is tiny and wonderful. Very nice lagoon on one side of hotel. The town is the culinary capital of the Caribbean. These islands are all somewhat gritty. We traveled the island , but the French side is all I care to see again. The bar at the end of the runway on the Dutch side is a must see however. Nice day sail to St Barts was fun. My 13 year old was on a 14 day sail trip throughout the island and is still envious of our stay! We prefer quiet relaxed authentic trips. Not the prepackaged cruise type trip.This place fit the bill. We met several people that had been staying here for 20+ years.We stayed one night at a beautiful Radison in Anse Marcel(a must see little beach and co e). We were so glad we chose the Grand Case Beach Club! Brush up on your French!
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Old Feb 26th, 2011, 04:22 AM
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One thought...Don't you need a return ticket upon entering any of these islands..I don't think you can "wing it and stay 1 or 2 months"
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