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St. Lucia or St. John for first family trip to the Caribbean?

St. Lucia or St. John for first family trip to the Caribbean?

Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 05:37 AM
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St. Lucia or St. John for first family trip to the Caribbean?

We are planning our first family trip to the Caribbean. We have a 13 year-old and an 8 year-old. We are looking for: safe and friendly, nice beaches, would like to try snorkeling, nature-oriented activities when not on the beach. I am leaning slightly toward St. Lucia because I like the idea of hiking in the rainforest, going to waterfalls, etc, but am also looking at St. John. I am thinking of possibly renting a condo or small "villa" rather than doing an AI -- we are not huge eaters or drinkers and would like eating locally, exploring, and having our own space. We are on a budget -- I'm not sure if $5000 for the week is realistic for a family of four. I am looking forward to hearing your suggestions and ideas.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 05:58 AM
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I've been to both and would probably lean towards St. John for your first trip to the caribbean. Depending on what time of year you are planning on going, $5000 for a week renting a villa is very doable. There are many villas to choose from. Here's a link to recent villa reviews that can be very helpful:
http://www.virgin-islands-on-line.co...views/st-john/

Another option is Gallows Point in Cruz Bay. Its very convenient to walk to nearby restaurants and shops in town. If you don't want to rent a car you can easily grab a taxi to take you to nearby beaches:
http://gallowspointresort.com/index.php

My husband and I find St. John to be our favorite island even though we spent our honeymoon on St. Lucia. I think you and your family would really enjoy it!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 06:20 AM
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Thank you Susannj for your reply and ideas. What do you like better about St. John?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 09:06 AM
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We enjoy the beautiful beaches/scenery and the overall island itself. We started going back in 2002 and have been going every year ever since. Plus I love to see the surrounding islands. While St. Lucia is beautiful, the beach is darker because it is a volcanic island. St. John is small but not too hard to navigate. You are also nearby the BVI's which are also beautiful to visit. I think there is more to see and do in the VIrgin Islands. You can rent a villa, or stay at either Gallows Point or my favorite Caneel Bay, but can be $$$$ http://www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/caneelbay/.

Here are a couple of villas we have stayed at:
http://www.villavacations.net/detail_stones.html
https://www.kaleidoscopeusvi.com/index.asp?

and we're giving this one a try next:
http://vacationvistas.com/Villas/Wings-Over-Water.htm
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Old Mar 23rd, 2012, 01:51 PM
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I think it depends. St. Lucia was my first trip to the Caribbean and I loved it, but we were largely resort-bound, taking daytrips to the botanical gardens & waterfalls. To this day, I've never seen a piece of real estate that can compete with the Pitons in southern St. Lucia in terms of sheer jaw-dropping gorgeousness, and if you want that kind of spectacular backdrop, St. Lucia is a great choice.

That being said, I would've felt uncomfortable driving on St. Lucia on my first time behind the wheel on the left side of the road.

I think St. John is a great vacation choice if you want to be on the go and try a different beach each day. I also think st. John offers better hiking opportunities than St. Lucia. The water was very cloudy last October when we were on St. John so the much-fabled snorkeling remained a fable for us, sadly.

I agree with Gallows Point being a good choice for families in town on St. John--it's where my husband and I stayed with our 15 year old, and she loved it, too. It was great being able to walk into town for dinner instead of having to drive.

I would return in a heartbeat to either St. Lucia or St. John, and I value each one for different things: St. Lucia's west indian feel was tangible, which I loved. St. John seemed to lack that. Both islands' roads are hilly and twisty (and thus can be a challenge driving on the left if you've never done that before), but St. John had better signage and the roads were in much better repair. Both islands are gorgeous, but I'd give St. Lucia the nod for interior beauty and St. John the nod for beaches.

A lot of people are uncomfortable with the poverty on St. Lucia, which is not as readily apparent on St. John. But St. John is the only place where we've been verbally accosted for being white. I don't say that to sway you one way or the other--I'd happily plan a return trip to St. John. But each island has its supporters and its detractors. I happen to be fans of both, though.
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Old Mar 26th, 2012, 03:59 AM
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You can also check out my blog that has some trip reports of St. John:
http://susannj.travellerspoint.com/11/

http://susannj.travellerspoint.com/

http://susannj.travellerspoint.com/9/


Enjoy!
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Old Mar 26th, 2012, 05:18 AM
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I am a little bit biased as I am a St Lucian myself.. There are many wonderful hotels and resorts to could have a look at and many I am sure would fit into your budget.

If you are interested in St Lucia have a look at the following:

Sand Dollar Villa - http://www.sanddollarvilla.lc/
For hotels check out - http://guidetostlucia.com/category/accommodation/
For Tours - http://www.stluciareps.com/

Sand Dollar is in a great location, secure, has a pool and is only 5 mins (walking) from the beach. Additionally, they are about 10 min (driving) from Rodney Bay the hub of the island were you can find tours, restaurants entertainment etc etc..
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Old Mar 26th, 2012, 01:44 PM
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If you are looking for good beaches & good snorkeling, St John wins hands down!! I have been to both, and I felt much safer in St John, and drove our jeep all over the island visiting the many different beaches, and snorkeling sights. Yes the pitons of St Lucia are amazing...almost epic. But I also found the people of St Lucia much less friendly...almost surly, where as St John felt so laid back. For what you said you were looking for, I think St John is the clear choice.
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Old Mar 26th, 2012, 04:49 PM
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Going to St. Lucia you have to realize the snorkeling is a 2 compared to a 4-5 at a few spots around St. Thomas but on St. John the snorkeling at several places is an 8 compared to St. Lucia. You can take a ferry from St. Thomas at 8 AM to St. John a few days and then snorkel day trips around St. John ~$75-$85 for adults and $20 less for kids under 12 includind an o.k. lunch.
The other big advantage of either St. thomas or St. John is the air fare is secveral hundred less than to St. Lucia based upon your city of departure and normally the trip will be 2-3 hours less.
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 08:41 AM
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Stan,

Just curious if you have snorkeled somewhere in the Caribbean that you would rate a 10?
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Old Mar 27th, 2012, 12:21 PM
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FamilyGetaway: Not sure if you like nature this much, but you might want to look at camping at http://www.cinnamonbay.com/, http://www.maho.org/maho.cfm or http://www.concordiaeco-resort.com/.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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$5000/week for four isn't going to do it on St John. It might cover the off-season rental of a villa, but by the time you add in rental vehicle and meals you will be over for sure.
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 11:31 AM
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FamilyGetaway, I just visited St. John for the first time this past January was LOVED it. Check out my trip report at http://eatsleeptravel-1.blogspot.com...-paradise.html. So beautiful, as you'll see from my pictures. St. Lucia is def on my list of islands to visit soon!
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