St. Lucia or St. Johns 1st time w/6 and 8 yo

Old Dec 17th, 2004, 09:21 AM
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St. Lucia or St. Johns 1st time w/6 and 8 yo

We're excitedly planning our first Caribbean vacation and we're bringing our children.

Our kids have never snorkeled, but are excellent swimmers. We're not into nightlife, but would like to swim, snorkel, sightsee some, see turtles, maybe take a day cruise....bike trip....

We'd rather not stay at an all-inclusive, although (Coconut Bay on St. Lucia looks fun) and plan on renting a car. We'd prefer to spend our money on activities vs. accommodations, but want something clean and safe with a pool and kitchen.

From what I can tell, St. John looks lovely and tranquil, St. Lucia seems a bit more bustling (maybe more activities w/kids?)

Would love to hear your thoughts.

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Old Dec 17th, 2004, 11:01 AM
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I have been to both and I have two kids and would absolutely vote for St. John. Reasons -- better snorkling, clearer water, nicer beaches, easier to drive around, less poverty/safer feeling. For more to do, you can easily take the ferry (45 minutes) to St. Thomas for more activities (shopping, etc.). The underwater snorkel path at Trunk Bay is great. St. Lucia is wonderfully lush and tropical but the roads are difficult and because it is a volcanic island, does not have the turquoise water and white sand beaches.
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Old Dec 17th, 2004, 12:00 PM
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Thanks so much. Any recommendations for places to stay?

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Old Dec 17th, 2004, 02:43 PM
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I would also vote for St John - for some of the same and some different reasons than the previous poster.

St John is a great "starter island" for someone who has never been to the Caribbean.

There is a multitude of very nice beaches (St Lucia's beaches don't compare in terms of quiet surf and white sand and blue water), it is easier to get there (St Lucia can be an all day affair), there are many more restaurants that have menus that cater to kids (finding places that serves hot dogs or chicken strips on St Lucia might be very limited), there is a town - Cruz Bay - that has enough restaurants in once concentrated area that can cover a week's stay (as opposed to having to drive a lot on St Lucia to find dining), and the island has several areas that cater to tourists (as opposed to only really one small area on St Lucia).

I personally much prefer St Lucia for an authentic Caribbean vacation, but feel St John would be much better for kids.

As far as the poverty level goes, there are many more Americans on St John, but I can see Americans every day, so I like St Lucia because it is more as the islands used to be with a cultural influence in both food and atmosphere that is missing to a large degree on St John.

If you are intrepid travelers and want to experience a completely different atmosphere than you have ever seen before - in some cases to a rather amazing degree - choose St Lucia. If you want a relaxed, easy vacation where things are not all that much different than a nice beach vacation in the States with the added attraction of stunning beaches, choose St John.
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Old Dec 17th, 2004, 05:53 PM
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Like Eileen and Diana, I've been to both, and agree: St. John is your place. Please consider renting a villa! They have a wide selection on St. John (do a search for "villa" within USVI on this message board), and you will enjoy having kitchen, living room, perhaps even your own pool/hot tub. You can still go out for as many meals as you want, but it's nice with kids to have the ability to make drinks and snacks, and to spread out. Have fun!
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Old Dec 18th, 2004, 12:13 AM
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Thank you. I appreciate all the candid feedback. We're searching St. John now.

My, it all looks so wonderful....and what a delightful escape from wintery, northern weather this will be!

Many thanks!
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Old Dec 18th, 2004, 03:41 AM
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St. Johns, hands down, nothing to think about. Have a wondeful vacation!!!
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Old Dec 18th, 2004, 09:58 AM
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Kt2g, I would highly recomend the Westin with a family. Beautiful grounds, good food, pool----beach is man-made so plan to rent a 4wd jeep liberty and drive to beaches---many to choose from and state parks with hikes.
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Old Dec 18th, 2004, 11:59 AM
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Add my vote for St. John [we've been to both islands].
Have fun! The beaches there are just gorgeous.
 
Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 11:33 PM
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Thanks to all of you for your help! It is greatly appreciated.
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 06:08 AM
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Kt2g; You have enough info but I must say based on 7-8 visitsd to Caneel that is your best choice. There will some children, unless it's a school break, for then count on 40-50, but it is spread out on 160 acreas, it is not a major issue. If you can afford it and if it is available (only on request basis) ask for Cottage #7-BUT rooms C,D, E, F. You do NOT want A or B. I think the Turtle Bay complex in a second floor room is next best. Also, I would not stay in the rooms near the tennis couts. The snorkeling on the 7 beaches is great. If the "Brown's" are still taking guests out for a day sail it is well worth it.
The ONLY NEGATIVE is the FOOD does not measure up to the resort. It used to be very good but last 2 visits we were disappointed. I expressed our displeasure and they credited us a dinner but that was not what we wanted. We wanted a better kitchen chef. We will return in 2005.
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 08:06 AM
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I have been to both and I'd pick St. John without hesitation.
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 12:55 PM
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I would vote for the Westin on St.John, Caneel does not have television or air conditioning. Westin may be more affordable too, their open air breakfast buffet was a nice start to the day. They also have pools and hot tubs.
We usually plan on a full day of travel because of the ferry trip over from St Thomas, if you hit rush hour in STT, add an hour taxi drive.
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Old Dec 24th, 2004, 06:24 PM
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Hour taxi ride from the airport to Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook?
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Old Dec 27th, 2004, 06:00 AM
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Yes, one hour 5:30PM Friday from airport to Red Hook, our taxi and everyone else crept along. Too late to catch a ferry out of downtown.
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