St. Lucia or Curacao/Bonaire

Old Dec 27th, 2009, 08:07 PM
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St. Lucia or Curacao/Bonaire

Trying to narrow our Feb 2010 trip. We're recently engaged, in our late 20s and looking for a relaxing beach vacation with some mild "adventure" trips involving snorkeling (I like the idea of from the beach, but am open to boat rides) and beginner level hiking. We like good, local food.

We're drawn to the rainforests of St. Lucia along with the beaches/snorkeling/exploring options. Curacao and Bonaire are attractive for the beaches/snorkeling/culture and island hopping. We'd probably go to Key West for a few days before St. Lucia if that's where we choose to go.

Any input you have is appreciated. Happy new year!
wisara is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2009, 07:29 AM
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There is very little snorkeling around St. lucia though for hiking and culture it might be the best choice. As for snorkeling the best choice, if you would rent a car, is the WEST END of Curacao. There is a string of 6 or 7 lovely medium size bays with nice beaches and along the boulders that form the bays the snorkeling is quite good. There is a nice selection of resaurants in the middle of the island and some cultural attractions but not too much. i must say from 3 visits there is basically no real hiking opportunities. Bonaire still has some good snorkeling and a bit of culture but not much to speak of, in my opinion. The beaches we were on were not that nice due to hurricane erosion beginning with "Mitch" when you were in H.S. and a few other less severe ones since then. The restaurant selection at least on our last visit in 2005 was not that good though the prices on Bonaire are less than St. lucia and curacao in all respects. Hope some of this helps.
StanKase is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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I'd actually disagree with the idea that there is not good snorkeling around St. Lucia. I've always found the snorkeling to be exceptional around Jalousie Bay and Anse Chastanet, all from the beach. I believe there are also some decent snorkeling sites in the north, but I"m not as familiar with them.

The beaches in St. Lucia, however, are not nearly as soft and white as those in Curacao. Bonaire has less soft sand but excellent snorkeling.

I'm not sure why one would go to Key West first, however. It's pretty cool there in February for me at least. Too cool to go snorkeling or kayaking except in a wet suit.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2009, 09:56 AM
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The food, the wonderful warm gentle ocean, and the hospitable people of Curacao cannot be beat.
There are lots of tropical fish to see while snorkeling. Also, you can visit the Seaquarium. The Fort Nassau restaurant has a marvelous view, but I suggest you have a drink only while there and eat elsewhere. Curacao's shopping was also unique for fancy tableware and embroidered linens.
We stayed at the Marriott and it was very nice. One of the more interesting evenings was when they had Karaoke night and there were some girls from South America and after every song they screamed "Long Live Columbia!". We had a good time and will go back to enjoy more great food at Bistro Le Clochard and so many other resturants.
Knowing is offline  
Old Dec 28th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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Thanks!! Our thought now is St. Lucia/Barbados instead of Key West?
wisara is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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I know Doug is an expert but you cannot compare the snorkeling around St. Lucia to Bonaire or Curacao's-WEST END. But as for natural beauty,hiking,some snorkeling fairly nice beaches St.Lucia has most of what you are looking for,on my opinion. The Barbados really does not offer anything that you will not find on St.Lucia though the island locals I thought were more pleasant and the topography is very nice but not equal to St.Lucia. The beaches in St. James Parish and other parishes are equal or nicer than many on St.Lucia but the snorkeling is really not worth doing. You will find some very good resaurants, though the prices are high as are the better ones on St.Lucia.
StanKase is offline  
Old Dec 29th, 2009, 10:01 AM
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I'm not really in any serious disagreement with StanKase on these issues, and I agree with virtually everything Stan says. I also don't disagree that the snorkeling in Curacao and Bonaire is truly excellent ... these are much better islands if you want really excellent snorkeling, though they have far less to offer on land than St. Lucia (for me at least). I just think that snorkeling is also good (though not excellent) in St. Lucia.

The one thing I can say about a combo of Barbados and St. Lucia is that the beaches on Barbados are far superior, and I really like that island. It's a nice contrast with St Lucia. The flights are quick and easy (fly from Castries airport in St. Lucia if you are staying in the north).

I agree that snorkeling in Barbados is not really worth the effort.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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I havent been to St.Lucia, read alot about it but I think Curacao is lovely, not for the beaches but the culture, dining, town , very romantic & yes peopledo go to Bonaire mainly to snorkel.The Kura Hulanda in Curacao is very romantic,check it out.
drsaloni is offline  
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