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Trip to Grenada vs Anguilla vs Nevis

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I am looking for a place to go for 10 days the end of March leaving from New York. We prefer direct flights esp in the winter. My favorite island is St. Martin (French side) because of the beautiful beaches, great food, ease of driving and friendly people. We love to stay on the beach and have a few places to walk to at night for dinner and drinks (do our exploring during the day by rental car) but prefer not to drive unfamiliar roads at night We would like some nightlife but not anything spring break crazy (both are in our late 40's and can handle a few late nights balanced by more low key nights with a nice dinner and bottle of wine. I realize I am planning last minute but have been obsessing over which island to escape to as well as the cost of airfare. We are NOT interested in all inclusive and want to stay on a beautiful beach. We also do not prefer chain hotels (although the Radisson in Grenada has an amazingly tempting price right now). We love the island feel and mingling with the locals as we explore the island on our own. We love to kayak, snorkel and do boat excursions although more or less on our own as tour groups are not our thing. Our budget for airfare realistically is 1300 RT for both for this time of year. Our budget for hotel is around $300 per night. So...I have narrowed my choices down to 1.) Grenada 2.) Nevis (only because many people on this site seem to rave about it but haven't researched it like Grenada) and 3.) Anguilla (because ease of ferry ride from St. Martin and sounds like great food and idea where to stay). I have to admit I have my sights on Grenada and have done most of my research on this island. That being said, I am happy to have any input.

My issue with Grenada is the time it takes to get there if wanting to go for more than a week. . There are flights out of JFK direct on Saturdays (we want to go for 10 days) and that being said, we could fly on a Thurs or Friday into Tobago and lay over but would you just stay over in Tobago and get a taste of another island or try to get to Grenada asap which is a then full day of travel..ugghh..any help is appreciated. I would like to book this trip this week!

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    Having been to all three of those islands, I think that any one of them will make you happy. It will come down to whether or not you can find flights and accommodations within your budget and on your schedule.

    Here are some random thoughts:

    - None of these destinations is especially easy to reach; you won't be finding many direct flights. You've already sussed out flights to Grenada (totally worth the effort, BTW) as well as routing to Anguilla. To get to Nevis, you'll need to fly to St. Kitts and taxi/ferry over (some hotels provide transfers), or you can do as I do and stay in St. Martin (French side, LOVE Grand Case!) for a few days and take a commuter flight on WinAir. But with 10 days, the travel is not too onerous.

    - Anguilla has the best beaches of these 3 islands, with Grenada in second place. Nevis' beaches are fine, but for me they are not the principal attraction. The 2 best beaches on the island have 2 pricey resorts that are unlikely to be in your budget (the Four Seasons and Nisbet Plantation).

    - Grenada has many lodging choices in a vast range of prices. Anguilla is pricier, as is Nevis. (I will note that my husband and I stay at Nisbet Plantation, and while the rate might seem high at first glance, it does include breakfast and dinner, which an @$120 value per person.)

    - Each of the islands has a lovely, friendly and warm local population. And each is great for exploration. Grenada has the most to explore, BUT it also has the worst (and at times scariest) roads.

    - Grenada has a wonderful local cuisine, and Anguilla has great food as well (though less indigenous, and with mostly imported ingredients). Nevis has good restaurants, but it's a less populous and less visited island, so it has fewer choices.

    Really, you can't go wrong. Sounds like Grenada is your best bet, though.

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    For me, although not direct getting there but won't loose as much time as Nevis or Grenada, I would pick St. John (fly direct to St. Thomas, ferry to St. John) or Tortola (you have to connect thru San Juan)

    Snorkeling is much nicer in Virgin Islands than your picks

    Although not direct, getting there much easier

    Ticks everything on your boxes a little better, and has stunning beaches. I have not been to Nevis, but been to your other choices.

    Anguilla has the best beaches, but your budget won't make it.

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    Blamona..thank you for your response a d recommendation for St John. I did look into St John as I have friends renting a house in April. It looks great but most of the one BR villas are booked and the Westin is out of our price range. I also wasn't sure if the island was too americanized..your thoughts? As am thinking for next year ..prefer Cruz Bay to be close to restaurants as Gallows point and Westin on the beach seem out of our budget..usually don't like villas as I like maid service and a bar/pool on site when on vacation..although seems to be mostly villas in St John.

    Callaloo..Thank you for breaking the islands down for me..I am thinking Grenada if I can make it work for this said before we don't like chain hotels..but the price may be right for the you have recommendations for hotels on Grand Anse Beach..radisson for the price or Coyaba for quainter feel? Or any otgers in our price range? Also any recommendation for a hotel for one night in tortola? Thank you both for your help!

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    We have been to Anguilla and Grenada. Anguilla is the kind of island that you rent a car and explore. Grenada not so much. The roads in many parts of the island are quite scary in my opinion. However there is much to see on the island (fort, multimple waterfalls, gardens, national park, black sand beaches etc). Best way is to do a guided tour (lots of options). I certaily agree w/the comment that Grenada is much more reasonably priced as compared to Anguilla. The beaches and restaurants are some of the best in the caribbean. The restaurants in Grenada are quite good as well.

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    Let me add a few comments to help correct a common misconception some less experienced travelers have regarding airline "lingo. Often times some travelers (as suzyeq has done) confuse the term "Non-stop flight" with the term "Direct Flight".

    In airline parlance a "Non-stop Flight" is just that a flight which gets you from Point A to Point B without making any stops.

    By Contrast a "Direct Flight" is a flight that makes one or more intermediate stops before you reach your final destination. In most instances you stay on the same plane but there are some occasions where you board a different plane WITH THE SAME FLIGHT NUMBER at one of the intermediate stops.

    A "Connecting Flight" is an Itinerary where you change planes (and Flight Numbers) or even airlines at one or more of your intermediate stops.

    I point this out so you don't inadvertently ask an airline booking agent for a "Direct Flight" when if fact you are looking for a "Non-Stop Flight".

    Now, a Callaloo has given you a very good summary of the three islands you are considering. I'll add a few other comments:

    None of the islands on your list will be "spring break crazy" so don't let that concern you.

    Grenada - As you already found out Grenada will be the most difficult to reach and I doubt you'll be able to find a non-stop or even direct flight from the NYC area airports. You are looking at very long layovers at the intermediate stops. You should be able to find a variety of beachfront accommodations in your price range.

    Anguilla - From NYC you should have no difficulty flying non-stop to St. Martin. From there it's a short ferry ride to Anguilla. Your accommodations budget is a bit low for Anguilla but is doable if you are realistic in your expectations and would consider something "near the beach" but not exactly "on the beach". FYI - there are no "chain hotels" on Anguilla. Anguilla is all about beaches (35 white sand beaches) and restaurants (80+ to choose from). Food prices are high on Anguilla and you probably won't be able to walk to many of the restaurants at night as things are pretty spread out on that island.

    Nevis - you cannot get to Nevis non-stop or direct from NYC. To fly into Nevis you'd have to first make your way to San Juan, St. Martin or Antigua and take one of the local "commuter flights" into Nevis. You'd be better off flying into St. Kitts and taking a ferry or water taxis to Nevis. You'll have to do a 1 stop Connecting Flight usually through Miami, Atlanta or Charlotte (depending on your airline of choice) as there are no longer any non-stop flights between NYC area airports and St. Kitts. Airfare to St. Kitts (or into Nevis if you choose that option) will be at the upper end or exceed your "airfare budget". You might be able to find beachfront accommodations in your price range at Oualie Beach Resort or perhaps at the Condos at Nelson's Spring. If not, you'll probably have to stay in a non-beach front property. Liker Anguilla things are pretty spread out so finding accommodations that are within walking distance of a variety of restaurants will be a challenge - there are a couple of places near the Nelson's Spring condos but none near Oualie Beach. There are no "chain hotels" on Nevis.

    You've mentioned "beautiful beaches" several times in your original post. Keeping in mind that beauty is in the eye of the beholder you should be aware that if by "beautiful" you mean "white sand" then you'll be disappointed with the beaches on Nevis as they range from dark brown to grey and in some areas black.

    Hope this helps.

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    You've received great information already. I've been to all three of your choices and we've been to Anguilla a few times. I understand your love of St. Martin as we often spend a week on St. Martin and then head over to Anguilla for another week. That works well.

    We took our first trip to Grenada a couple of years ago. We really liked it. We stayed at Spice Island which is on Grand Anse Beach. We loved the resort and it is probably one of the most well-run resorts we've ever been to. We found the locals to be friendly and nice. We didn't rent a car but we did take a full day private island tour. That was one of our Top 10 favorite days in all of our trips to the Caribbean. I really loved Grand Anse beach. The water was great with the right amount of surf for me. Just perfect. I don't believe the Radisson was there when we went. They obviously took over another resort but I don't know which one. It looks like they are right in the middle of Grand Anse. That's a great location if you want to be on the beach. Coyaba is on that same section of beach. Be sure to stroll over to Umbrellas for an affordable lunch spot (and great hamburgers). You should also check out Flamboyant. They are located at one end of Grand Anse on a hillside. We walked there one day and spoke to a couple of people staying there and they loved it. I have no personal experience with the resort.

    Anguilla would also be at the top of my list. You're already familiar with St. Martin so getting to Anguilla probably wouldn't be too stressful. You probably know the ferry runs all day between the two islands so you could still pop over to St. Martin for a day if you need your Marigot shopping fix or a day at one of the gorgeous French side beaches. Check out Anacaona on Anguilla. It's walkable to Mead's Bay, one of my favorite beaches, and all the restaurants along the beach. Anguilla is expensive, however, so you'll have to do your research to stay within your budget for restaurants.

    We liked Nevis okay but we really like great beaches and Nevis doesn't have great ones. We stayed at the Four Seasons which is on one of the better beaches on the island and we spent almost all of our time around the pool. We almost never spend time at a pool. Nevis is really, really quiet.

    Of your three choices Anguilla by far has the best snorkeling. Grenada has what should be a fabulous sttraction in their underwater sculpture park but in reality you couldn't see much. it's fairly deep, the water is almost always cloudy (according to the boat captain) and it was fairly rough and wavy. Not ideal snorkeling conditions. It's too bad since the few sculptures I saw were pretty neat.

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    I think you are missing a trick by dismissing the Radisson in Grenada on the basis of it being a "chain hotel". Most hotels belong to some kind of affiliation and the Radisson is in a great location on Grand Anse Beach. I stayed at this hotel many years ago when it was another chain hotel, a Ramada.

    Sometimes islands that require a bit more effort to get to are worth it. Grenada has very friendly people, it has the gorgeous beaches, you can take excursions to other islands, rent a car and drive around, go hiking etc.

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    On one of my Grenada trips, I stayed at the Radisson when it was the Grenada Grand -- I recognize the "fantasy" pool. It's a great location on Grand Anse Beach, as is Coyaba's. However, even though I love the beach, I actually preferred staying at True Blue Bay in the L'anse Aux Epines area, and would happily stay there again. It had real island character. I would also think about staying at La Sagesse. Even though the beach there isn't white sand, it feels like a South Pacific escape. Either of those would probably meet your budget.

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    Of my 2 recommendations, Tortola would fit your budget. The beauty is you can day trip to St. John and Virgin Gorda (and Jost Van Dyke, etc) quite easily.

    Terrific snorkeling, and of the "hilly" islands has gorgeous beaches (better than others mentioned but Anguilla)

    Not direct, but easy hop from San Juan or Miami.

    In 10 days, really none of your choices should be issues.

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    Thank you all for your help! Here are my two scenarios..1. I am thinking that we will book a flight from JFK into Tortola and stay the night and take flight out next morning to Grenada. There is a nonstop flight from Grenada to JFK ( approx 5 hrs) on Saturdays on Delta and Carribbean Air for our return home..thank you RoamsAround for your advice in nonstop vs dirct flights....I have narrowed my hotel choice to Coyaba or the Radisson..appreciate Callaloo 's advice on two other hotels but staying on the beach an absolute for us! And thank you Odin for making the point that " sometimes islands that are a bit more difficult to get to are worth it". OR 2.) book a nonstop flight to St Martin and take the ferry to Anguilla and book 10 nights at the Anacaona..looks like one of the few hotels within our budget....anyone have any input on my newest posting to include hotel choices on either islands? I appreciate all the help! We went to Costa Rica a few years ago and relied on Fodors forum for help and we had an amazing trip!

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    Thank you everyone! After weighing all the input, we decided to go for Grenada! Keeping St John and Anguilla on the bucket list for the future. We are booked on Carribean Air to Grenada!! Flights came down overnight to $590 pp out of JFK ( that includes a nonstop flight on our return trip to JFK). The hotel we were eyeing was offering a 20% off winter rate so we opted for an ocean view room at Coyaba! Hoping we made all the right decisions! Any advice on car rental companies in Grenada? Will companies deliver to our hotel?

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