Wedding -- Puerto Rico or Tortola?

Old Jan 25th, 2002, 06:53 AM
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Wedding -- Puerto Rico or Tortola?

We are planning a wedding (early Dec.)and want to go south... but we can't decide between PR (i.e perhaps El Conquistador) and Tortola. We want everyone to have fun, nice beaches, snorkling and some sight-seeing activities. We also want an island which is not very impoverished. I know these choices seem like polar opposites, but we think either might be a great option... Our main concern with PR is safety and, with El Conqistador in particular, too much hustle and bustle.. Any advice?
Old Jan 25th, 2002, 10:53 AM
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Although Tortola is much nicer, puerto rico will probably be much easier for your guests to get to. If you are planning on having guests that will come only for the weekend or a long weekend, you will probably do them a favor (time and $$ wise) by having it in puerto rico.
Old Jan 25th, 2002, 11:21 AM
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I agree -- luckily, however, I only have 12 guests, all of whom can take a week's vacation. But you are right -- PC would be much less complicated for everyone.
Old Jan 25th, 2002, 11:37 AM
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Other hotels you can consider in PR are the WEstin Rio Mar, Wyndham El San Juan and the Ritz Carlton. The advantages of the El San Juan and Ritz CArlton are they are in San Juan - you won't be confined the hotel. To get around at the Conquistador or WEstin would require a car.
Old Jan 25th, 2002, 11:44 AM
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It depends on what you want. In the last few years I have vacationed in both and have enjoyed them both.

Tortola is much smaller and the accomodations are much more basic. While I haven't stayed at the Conquistador (I stayed at the Westin), it is my understanding from meeting guests being picked up at the Conquistador marina (during day-sails to nearby cays) that it is quite luxurious. There isn't a single hotel in Tortola that would be considered luxurious.

On the other hand, Tortola will be easier on your wallet (and your guests' wallets) than the Conquistador.

From Tortola, you could day-trip to nearby BVI islands (like Jost Van Dyke or Virgin Gorda). The only beach that I liked in Tortola was Smuggler's, which is a bit hard to get to, but definitely worth it. The rest of Tortola has some OK beaches, but not great, but you can hop over to the other BVI's for some great beaches and snorkeling. Brewer's had too much of a current to swim when I was there and Cane Garden Bay has too many boats mooring to make me want to go in the water (too much "stuff" being dumped).

To get to the beach in the Conquistador you have to take their private boat to their private island. This means that you will not be able to roll out of bed and be on the beach (the ride is 15 minutes). From the Conquistador you can easily do day-trips to Vieques, Culebra or some of the smaller cays (like Icacos).

The Conquistador is a resort with golf course, watersports and a full spa, so there will be more activities in the resort itself. It makes sense to choose the Conquistador if you want these activities.
Old Jan 25th, 2002, 01:42 PM
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Message: Puerto Rico and the BVI only share one thing, a warm climate. Aside from that, they are very different destinations, although both are good. I've vacationed extensively on both since the Seventies, but left PR behind a number of years ago due to the growing hostility of its people and, to some extent, because they are so like Americans that I might as well have been in NYC. EC also has an annoying beach situation. You have to take a boat to the beach as I recall.
PR got old for us, and we decided we wanted something smaller, something that we would want to come back to again and again, and a place that would remember us from last year and be happy to see us.
We first switched to the USVI until we were robbed there and the hostility was palpable.
We were fortunate to find Tortola on a day-cruise, we went there the next year, and have been quite happy with that paradise ever since.
There are no resorts on Tortola anything like El Conquistador. They're better. EC is fine if you want a mega resort with huge buildings, hordes of people, and where you'll be no more than a number. On the plus side, it offers excellent choice of activities and has every luxury the heart could desire. If that appeals, then it is a good choice. I note that it has been around since the 70s and has become dated.
Regarding the BVI, whether we're talking about Tortola or Virgin Gorda, it's a whole different kind of vacation experience. Very small resorts in every price category from $90/nt to many hundreds. Two stories is the legal building limit; the height of a palm tree. The resorts are distanced from one another (mostly) so with few exceptions you see green mountains and blue seas, some houses, and quite a few goats and chickens. Unless, of course, you pick a place in Road Town, of which there are none I'd recommend. The resorts tend to provide a very personal sort of service. Every concern for your enjoyment of your visit. Not many liveried staff running about; mainly simple, neat dress and not apt to be stiff and formal. When the little old lady that was our maid knocked daily at our villa door at Frenchman's Cay, she would say, "Halloo there! You there? I'm commin' in now..." She was very charming and might share a story with us. No insincere 'yessir', 'no sir' B.S.
The people are very friendly and it is definitely not an impoverished country. The main industry is offshore banking and employment is high. Education is mandatory and seems to be quite good.
The resorts, are not ostentatious, but are rather simple, and in good taste. This is not the land of gold-plated faucets. What you get is "content": fabulous, uncluttered views, roads not clogged with gawking tourists in Hawaii-shirts, a big emphasis on sailing, many islands for you to explore by boat, many isolated bays to visit by car, and a low-key, relaxing vacation. We like it.
As far as resorts on Tortola, I recommend Frenchmans Cay, Ft. Recovery, and Sugar Mill. Virgin Gorda is also good and there I recommend Olde Yard Inn and Biras Creek. If I had to narrow it down more severely, it would be FC, OYI, and BC. All have websites. The first two are very small, very intimate and very friendly. You'll be friends with the management well before you leave. As to BC, it is a bit larger, has extensive grounds, and offers an extraordinary degree of seclusion, both for couples and for the resort itself.
Have a nice life together. You can write me if you wish.

Old Jan 26th, 2002, 08:50 PM
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We have been to PR and recently visited Tortola. 2 entirely different vacations. PR is more hustle and bustle, casinos, crime, bars on windows for protection, etc. Tortola has a 1% crime rate and is very laid back. Tortola is not fancy but snorkling, sight seeing, etc. is great. They have some great places to eat but if you and your guests are expecting something from Bride's magazine, Tortola ain't it. If you want days that all run together from seeing mountains and beautiful waters and lots of sail boat, go to Tortola!!

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