travelling to carribean alone? suggestions?

Old Oct 13th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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travelling to carribean alone? suggestions?

carribean spring vacay by myself? ++

i'm trying to decide on a nice beach vacation to do alone. originally i was going to go with a big group of business school friends, but i feel like it's going to get very "budget college spring break" and i kinda want something a bit more calm and nicer.

i'm 27 and single...i'm focused on relaxing. no sightseeing, no tours, no activities.

i'd prefer a resort, since i'll be alone and i don't want to navigate places by myself. i also would prefer all inclusive - as it's just more convenient and easier not to carry around credit cards and large amounts of cash. the only two things i'd really want access to are: fitness center and spa treatments. i'm not a foodie, but i'd like a resort with the option of nicer restaurants/bars. oh, and maybe some shopping.

i'm looking at going during last week of march - 22nd-26th. do you think i'd miss the spring breakers and the easter family rush at that time?

i don't want to do mexico or dominican or puerto rico. i'd love a direct flight (under 5 hrs) from NYC.

i was thinking either Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas or St. Maarten.

any advice on doing a Caribbean vacation by yourself?

thank you!
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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Bermuda in March is not beach weather. Hope you find what you're looking for!
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 06:41 PM
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I can't really offer any suggestions for the specific islands you are asking about since I have only been to St. Martin on a daytrip last year, Bermuda on a cruise many years ago (when I was a teenager with my family), and have not been to the other destinations at all.

I have however traveled to the Caribbean (Anguilla, Barbados, Grand Cayman, St. Lucia, Turks & Caicos) alone several times and would highly recommend the region for a solo trip. I normally do not choose all inclusive resorts, but I did stay at one in St. Lucia that might be a good fit for what you are seeking. It is called the BodyHoliday at LeSport, and it is a smaller all inclusive resort that includes daily spa treatments, lots of fitness options (including a gym, classes, watersports, and land sports), and is solo traveler friendly. There also is a sister resort in Grenada, LaSource, that has a similar concept. One thing to keep in mind is that the guest age range tends to skew older, so if you are looking to meet other people your age, it might not be the best choice. I believe these resorts are both adults only (16+ I think) during most of the year, so I don't think you would find a lot of families, and they really are not spring break places (older crowd, not a lot of nightlife, somewhat expensive).

I think the time period you are considering in general should be pretty good for avoiding the biggest family vacation week (since Easter is April 4). There could still be some college spring breaks then, but if you stay away from destinations that typically attract spring breakers and/or go more upscale in your acoommodation choice, that should help you avoid college spring breakers, I think. If you end up going to Jamaica, Nassau, Grand Bahama Island, or maybe even St. Martin, you might have more concerns about encountering spring breakers, especially at less expensive AI resorts.

If you have any questions about the resorts I suggested or the places I have been, please ask.
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 05:36 AM
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No, you will absolutely not avoid the crush of spring break and family trips by traveling in late March. In fact, that will probably be among the busiest times of the entire season. If you want to avoid the crowds, you go AFTER Easter, when prices go down and kids are back in school. All the Europeans will probably be on vacation that weekend when you are traveling, so expect many crowds.

You're also limiting yourself in terms of destinations. There are no all-inclusive resorts in St. Maarten, so that's out. Bermuda is still too cold in March to really enjoy the beach (it's at the same latitude as the Outer Banks of North Carolina), nor does it have all-inclusive resorts. The Bahamas has very few all-inclusive resorts, so I don't think that's a good choice either.

Frankly, I would have suggested Grand Cayman for you because it's safe and has great beaches and restaurants (and a little nightlife), but it doesn't have AI resorts. But if you could get a room at one of the hotels on Seven Mile Beach, you'd have many nearby food options as well as a lovely beach to enjoy.

The problem with AI resorts is that they offer generally mediocre food and few true upscale options. I guess you could go to Atlantis and opt for one of the better tower rooms and then get the AI food plan. The resort is offering some good deals right now.

Jamaica has the broadest range of options among the remaining destinations on your list. Since you want beach time, I'd suggest Negril since it has the nicest beaches. Sadly, the giant Riu and Beaches resorts there will be filled with families, but the Breezes (formerly Grand Lido) might be a good upscale choice. You could also choose a hotel closer to MoBay (Round Hill, for example, offers a food plan but is pretty expensive) or even the newer Iberostar resorts there, though they do attract a large family contingent.

You might also look at the Almond Casuarina in Barbados. While an AI, it's also close to The Gap for outside dining, nightlife, and shopping options, and it's a pretty safe area to travel by yourself.

You might also want to look at smaller hotels in Tortola, BVI; Anguilla; or even St. Lucia (in the Rodney Bay area, where there are some decent priced alternatives). None of these, however, would give you any AI options.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 12:15 PM
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By excluding Mexico, you have basically excluded almost everything you stated you are looking for. If you reconsider, I suggest the Royal Playa del Carmen. It's an adults only AI resort with very nice facilites and good food. It's not geared towards couples or honeymooners, so it's a good resort for singles. It's also within walking distance to 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen. Tons of cute bars, restuarants, shopping and entertainment. Quite safe for walking around day or night. The resort has a spa and fitness center. Can not vouche for it as we didn't use those services. There are also day spas down the street and services will be much cheaper.

I also agree with St. Lucia and Barbados, but don't know if they will fit your 5 hour direct flight criteria. From Texas it takes 3 connections and about 12 hours to get there. Don't know about NYC.

Another option would be Galley Bay in Antigua. Antigua has several AI options and is a good place to just relax on a great beach.

I also agree that March will be very crowded. We tried last year in Cancun for the 3rd week of April and got eaten up by families and lots of kids. We did miss the Spring Breakers though. Starting about the 3rd week of May before Memorial Day is a great time to go and prices have dropped. If you can't change the time period, I highly suggest a resort that is adult's only. However, you'll probabaly still be subjected to 30+ somethings who still think it's their college spring break.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 12:19 PM
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Grand Cayman has two AI resorts; The Marriott on 7 Mile Beach and the Reef Resort on the East Side. It would be a very good option except for the families/kid factor for that time of year.
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Old Oct 15th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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I think it would be helpful to separate AI from places that have restaurants on-site (room charge) or which are close enough to other places to eat so you can safely walk at night alone. AI to me means buttet tables and cheezy muzak...not relaxing.

The Marriott on St. Thomas has several places to eat from pub style to beach style to fine dining. They also have room service and a couple of deli/convenience store kind of places. It is a bit spreadout, but on-site is safe for a single woman at night. Fitness center and spa is great and there will be other singles there - not so much for you to meet, but to make you feel less alone.

I'd also suggest the Marriott Grand Cayman (or the Westin)... pretty good restaurants on site and close to others and walkable to grocery stores to pick up stuff for the room. Again, safe at night for a solo woman.

Anguilla is another option, but much more expensive. Cuisinart can be fairly self-contained... They have 2 restaurants and breakfast is included (delivered to your room)... excellent spa and fitness, awesome beach and walkable to a couple of places for (at least) lunch. Cap Juluca has 2 dinner restaurants and a nice room service menu...again, very expensive, but very safe.

A place like Little Dix in the BVI also can be self-contained (again expensive)...all the features you want, perhaps less single-friendly, walkable (long walk) to supermarket and some restaurants (lunch - would not walk alone at night - too dark) in Spanishtown...

Take a look at Peter Island... all meals included... again, expensive, but very self-contained (it is all there is on the island)...not a lot of singles, but no one will bother you and some older couple may want to take you under their wings...

I know I've not offered up much in the way of budget places... let us know if you need something more affordable.
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Old Oct 16th, 2009, 09:08 AM
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You guys, are great... thanks for the help.

I will re-consider Mexico. I just can't shake the whole Cancun spring break image from my head... but I will look into it!

I'm trying to stay under $300/night - do you think that's reasonable? I rarely take "real" vacations, so I'm certainly willing to splurge if that's a low ball price, but I'm not one who appreciates extra luxurious, over-the-top accommodations. They are just lost on me completely. Ironic, I know, considering I want spa treatments..

I guess I'm going for a more granola, natural, down to earth "rejuvenation" vacation... healthy foods, lie on beach, a massage, maybe a facial, a few yoga sessions, a few workouts and whatnot. I'm not looking to be spoiled or pampered.

Am I contradicting myself?

Sorry...any other suggestions are appreciated!
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Old Oct 21st, 2009, 03:08 PM
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I think the Caribbean side of Mexico offers the closest to what you seek with good weather in March. Look around the Playa del Carmen area (within an hour to the south of Cancun).
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Old Oct 21st, 2009, 03:10 PM
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Actually I do very much what you are describing, but I do is on my own and in Puerto Vallarta. I don't like to be limited to staying on a resort or going all-inclusive. Especially traveling solo I like to get out and about. I have had all those things you describe on various trips in various combinations (in La Paz, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta... and Waikiki).
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