Tired of surfing the web :)

Dec 30th, 2005, 11:12 PM
  #1  
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Tired of surfing the web :)

Hello!

I am tired of surfing the web, and would really appreciate your opinions on what Caribbean island I should go to with my husband. I have been to a few places, including Bora Bora, Tahiti, and am looking for a destination that is similar to Bora Bora. Belize looked nice, but I am a little uneasy about the crime rate and safety concerns there, from what I read on the State Department Travel Site online. I would love a bunglow (I know overwater is not in the Caribbean, but would like beachfront, not a hotel-style resort with lots of rooms) surrounded by a lagoon of shallow turqoise water, not big ocean waves. Any ideas for an island getaway that is not too far in proximity to Arizona, USA and not as expensive as Bora Bora? I want to be able to wade in waters for as far a distance as possible (I'm a little afraid of deep water). Also, air conditioning, phones and tv is needed (Pearl Beach Resort in Bora Bora was just a perfect paradise; it had everything!). Thanks in advance. I have been been searching the web and have now gotten to the frustrated/confused state because I know nothing about the Caribbean! Happy New Year!
jackiehammond is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 05:18 AM
  #2  
 
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well jackie i just don't think you are going to find any island that quite comes up to the bora bora standard in the caribbean. however, if you can do without the lush tropical look of the south pacific i would like to suggest you try to rent one of the villas on either taylor bay beach or sopadilla bay beach on provo in the turks and caicos.
both beaches are as you describe with long walking distance - especially taylor! no hotels in sight. the softest sand you will ever find!! there are a dozen or so villas on these 2 beaches to choose from (from small and simple to large and luxe)
and there is grace bay beach - one of most beautiful in world according to several lists about 15 min drive away. tons of very nice restaurants, outstanding snorkeling. limited shopping. extremely safe!
start by looking at www.provo.net a/or www.wherewhenhow.com
there is one house on sopadilla that i have had my eye on, but its too $$ for my travel group. called La Koubba and is available from www.tcsafari.tc that same company offers Bahia Mar on taylor which looked like a very nice house.
most all the accomodations on grace bay are condo style hotels. most are very nice and offer gradual water entrance but not like taylor and sopadilla....

virginia is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 09:16 AM
  #3  
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thank you SO much, virginia! i'm going to look these up right now! i really appreciate it.
jackiehammond is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 10:27 AM
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Take a look at villas on Aguilla. Go to www.anguillaguide.com and there is villa rental information on a link on the left hand column.
jlillberto is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 01:28 PM
  #5  
 
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How long are you going for, when would you be traveling and how much are you planning to spend (including airfare)? Is nightlife (bars, casinos, music, dancing) important? What about shopping? Snorkeling? How important is it to have good restaurants nearby? Do you wish to explore the island, see rainforests, volcanos, etc.?
Laby is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 02:00 PM
  #6  
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jlillberto,

thanks for the info on anguilla. i will check out that website!

laby,

i was planning on going for 3-4 nights, traveling end of may to beginning of june. i was planning on spending maybe $3,000 for my husband and i, including airfare. nightlife and shopping are not important to me. snorkeling is, in shallow water, that i can wade in as far as possible off the beach. good restaurants nearby is not really important. rainforests would be nice, as well as other sights to see, but not nearly as important as shllaow, clear water without big ocean waves and nice accomodations, bungalow style. which island do you think, laby?

thanks to both of you for your replies!






jackiehammond is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 02:43 PM
  #7  
 
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Given your budget and the relatively short duration of your trip, I's agree with virginia on Grace Bay Beach in the Turks & Caicos. The island is far from the lush tropical paradise of the South Pacific but the beach will more than satisfy your requirements. If you live on the east coast, it should be a simple and relatively short trip to Provo. I'm not sure about bungalows but there are plenty of moderately priced hotels right on Grace Bay.
Laby is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 02:47 PM
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I agree with the suggestion of Taylor bay or sapodilla bay on Turks and Caicos. However no fancy hotel on that beach and you would have to rent a villa.The water is very shallow for long ways out and crystal clear. Beach is beautiful. Anguilla is another island with several beaches with calm water though not so shallow. Many hotels to choose from. However on both islands you will not find lush landscape. Both are arid islands but the beaches are great.
mnag is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 02:53 PM
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On Grace Bay, I'd recommend you check out the Coral Gardens Resort (http://www.coralgardens.com/the_resort/index.php) that sits right in front of Provo's best snorkeling reef. The beach is especially lovely at this end of Grace Bay and the hotel is very nice.
Laby is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 06:00 PM
  #10  
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thank you all so much!

laby,
i checked out coral gardens, and it looks really nice. it is definitely an option. what do you think about parrot cay resort or turks and caicos club?

mnag or laby,
any recommendations for accommodations on taylor bay or sopadilla?
jackiehammond is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 08:47 PM
  #11  
 
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no hotels or resorts. just villas.
www.crystalsandsvilla.com
www.oceanpointvillas.com (all these are located half way between taylor and sopadilla)
bahia mar at www.tcisafari.com
five turtles at www.seafeathers.com
la koubba at www.prestiougiousproperties.com
i know there are at least 3 rental properties on taylor and 4-5 on sopadilla so this is not a complete list. if you repost with that specific question perhaps someone can list the others.
happy new year.
virginia is offline  
Dec 31st, 2005, 11:26 PM
  #12  
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i have been doing a lot of researching since your posts, and have gotten a lot of great information! turks and caicos is looking better and better. my husband keeps mentioning sandals antigua because i think he wants the all-inclusive thing, but we both feel that shallow snorkeling water from the beach is more important. since there are no "hotels" per say on taylor or sapadilla, i am leaning toward grace bay, but am a little worried that the water will not be as shallow as taylor or sapodilla. the resorts i am leaning toward are coral gardens and parrot cay. i've read a lot on this forum about coral gardens and the great snorkeling. is it clear, shallow water? are there kayaks and paddle boats to use from the beach. once i narrow my search down to a few islands, i think i'll repost and decide from there. although t & c doesn't have the best tropical look on the island itself, i think i can handle it, since i live in arizona, and to me, even regular flowers look tropical. thanks, again, to everyone who has posted!
jackiehammond is offline  
Jan 1st, 2006, 05:48 AM
  #13  
 
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Tho some overwater bungalows are planned for a new resort in Jamaica, the only bungalows-over-waters like the ones you want are at Playa Caracol in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Easy flight/country has very good infrastructure -- but this region is pristine/natural marine and island parks and lush mainland with some interesting/scrufty fishing charter ports. And it won't be as expensive as South Pacific.
tivertonhouse is offline  
Jan 1st, 2006, 06:39 AM
  #14  
 
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Maybe it won't be as expensive as Bora Bora but it doesn't come close to Pearl Beach Resort in Bora Bora. Jackie, I don't think you should look for a distnation by comparing it to Bora Bora. There are many gorgeous spots in Caribbean but they are very different than BoraBora. Belize has nothing that can be compare to BB. There are NO beaches that come close to those on BB, actually there are no real soft sand, white, wide beaches in Belize. I wouldn't worry about crime in Belize (well, maybe in Belize City but you don't have to go the city at all). You got some great suggestions but please don't count on anything that you will be comparing to Bora Bora. Been to both, Bora Bora and Belize. Belize has a great snorkeling
Pat2003 is offline  
Jan 1st, 2006, 07:33 AM
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first i assume you realize that parrot cay is not on provo but on a tiny island just east of it. extremely small, deserted/private. snorkeling not the greatest i've heard.
found a couple more of the houses on taylor:
bamboo house at tcsafari
etiole de mer at market place or tcsarari
villa jasmine at www.caribpro.com
and a great house! alizee at tcsafari
coral gardens is a good hotel. has one of the 2 best restaurants on island and a good beach snack/lunch/bar place. it is directly in front of the best snorkeling. the water is crystal clear with gradual sandy entrance. def not as shallow at taylor or sopadilla but NOT deep. "their" reef is in a circle and at the outside most point its probably 30 feet deep? i believe you could stand and look at the reef from the part closest to the beach.
almost all the hotels on grace bay are condo style. but all have restaurants connected with others nearby.
beaches and club med are the only ai's.
there are dozens of villas on grace bay. most all come with daily maid service. some with housekeeper/cook. others with cook available on request.
virginia is offline  
Jan 1st, 2006, 07:37 AM
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jackiehammond, yes the water in front of the Coral Gardens is shallow, calm, picture-perfect and great for snorkeling. I haven't stayed at Parrot Cay or the Turks and Caicos Club but I've heard they're both very nice (they certainly appear to be from the outside). But if you're interested in snorkeling, Coral Gardens is THE best place on Grace Bay because the main reef is located right there.

You can do an all-inclusive at Coral Gardens if you want. In fact, you can do AI at many non-AI resorts just by adding on their meal plan. Coral Gardens has an all-inclusive honeymoon package that may appeal to you (http://www.coralgardens.com/the_reso...on_package.php). You don't actually have to be on your honeymoon to take this package. You'll see that the rates quoted are for the high season but if you contact Coral Gardens they can let you know what the rate would be for June (hopefully, they still offer it in June - if they do, it will certainly be cheaper than the rates quoted for the winter).

You should also spend some time reading the reviews posted for Coral Gardens and the other hotels on tripadvisor.com (start at http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g...Vacations.html). These reviews will give you an honest and critical assessment of all these hotels (although, unfortunately, not of most villas). Many reviews, including ones for Coral Gardens, include pictures of the hotel and beach taken by the reviewers. I'd definitely take a look at tripadvisor to get the fullest picture of the property, warts and all.
Laby is offline  
Jan 1st, 2006, 08:49 AM
  #17  
 
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Hi
Can I jump in here and suggest The Turks and Caicos Club Its next to Coral Gardens and close to the same reef.
turksoldtimer is offline  
Jan 1st, 2006, 10:42 AM
  #18  
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WOW! i REALLY appreciate all of your posts! i try to get my husband to help me research, but i don't think he has the patience. plus, neither of us have been to the caribbean. a big thanks to all of you, because without your help, i would have never found out anything even about turks and caicos, let alone grace bay, coral gardens, or private villas. it is very kind of you to take the time to help out a stranger. i'm going to look into these links, and will probably post again with more questions. i hope i am not "overstaying my welcome." oh, one more question, if i wanted to island hop to an island that i could do a rainforest tour or something, is that possible, and which island closest to turks and caicos would i be able to do that on?
jackiehammond is offline  
Jan 1st, 2006, 05:51 PM
  #19  
 
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first, fodorites love to help travelers, whether new to the islands or making a 20th trip. keep asking; it's the best way to find out what to expect.
closest jungle would be haiti/dominican republic but you would probably have to fly to miami or san juan to get there. which means i think that puerto rico might be your best choice. i would not do this as a hopping thing but rather use san juan as your gateway in or out of t&c. pr is a large island and i'm guessing here, but think you would need at least 2 nights to have time to do the tour.
virginia is offline  
Jan 1st, 2006, 05:59 PM
  #20  
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hi virginia,

thanks so much for the advice! that makes a lot of sense. i'm going to look into san juan for a night stay, and then t&c from there. again, i really appreicate your advice!
jackiehammond is offline  
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