Where to go - no tourist traps!

Old Jul 29th, 2009, 07:49 PM
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Where to go - no tourist traps!

My H & I are thinking of heading to the islands in late Sept; I've only been to Jamaica and am not familiar with the other Caribbean islands. Most of our vacations include extreme adventure & culture - always on the go to see something new, so we've been hesitant to visit these types of all-inclusive resorts you find in the islands. We're looking for a relaxing beach vacation that won't be too much of a tourist trap, where there will be things to do and a chance to see some of the local culture. Can anyone suggest a place? I'm afraid we're taking a risk going in Sept with the hurricane season, although it seems pretty calm so far (knock on wood!).
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 03:04 AM
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Consider Grenada. Off the beaten tourist path and outside of the traditional hurricane belt (well ... no promises here ... see Hurricane Ivan...), it's a great combination of pretty beaches and amazing topography/geology, with interesting history and industry to boot. Hotels are generally small and low-key, and you wouldn't even want to think about all-inclusive when there is such a lively local cuisine available. And the people are among the friendliest in the Caribbean.
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 09:21 AM
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every island has non ai resorts available, as well as condos and villas.
re sept. purchase trip insurance with hurricane clause include.
i have 3 suggestions.
st. lucia - tours to pitons, only drive through volcano in world, very good hiking or ride atvs through the rain forest, or you might catch a cricket match although the season ends in aug., 2 botanical gardens, several plantations to tour. this island can be difficult to get around, as it's large & hilly with windy roads.
barbados - gorgeous beaches, lots of good dining options, easy to drive around, some historical bldings like sugar mills, old homes & rum distilleries. http://www.visitbarbados.org/todo/museums.aspx , botanical gardens & caves - http://www.visitbarbados.org/todo/naturalwonders.aspx
or the maya riviera coast of mexico - south of cancun to tulum.
a slew of resorts on beautiful beaches. tons of adventure & to do's. the ruins (easy day trips to coba, tulum & chichen itza) caves & cenotes, horseback, atv jungle tours, zip line, diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, tours of sian ka'an in kayaks, fun food, fun shopping in playa del carman, 2 eco-marine parks - xel-ha and xcaret. if mex interests you look at locogringo.com

once you've chosen a destination repost with your budget to get specific resort suggestoins.
hope this helps.
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 10:12 AM
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great tips virginia; Tulum was recommended to me by others as well but we're very skeptical about heading to Mexico after the recent bout of swine flu (which they're saying may intensify this fall) - we don't want to take any chances and have to cancel a trip..

St. Lucia sounds awesome - looks so beautiful; not sure if it's within our budget though - we were looking to spend a total of $2K...
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 10:20 AM
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check out Stonefield Resort in St. Lucia-I've stayed there. It's gorgeous, remote, lots to do yet not touristy, and fits your budget
www.stonefieldvillas.com
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:01 AM
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Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, Saba
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:53 AM
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I don't know where you are flying from or how long you plan to stay but I think $2K is going to be hard from most places. Maybe Mexico or Puerto Rico might work on your budget- what airport in the US are you using?
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 06:21 AM
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I agree that $2,000 total is a tall order. My advice is to check the Sunday travel section of your newspaper for the travel ads, especially from the large travel agencies, e.g., Liberty Travel, or to check package tours (airfare plus hotel) from travel agencies on-line. CheapCaribbean.com might have some good deals, especially since September is just around the corner.

When you say extreme adventure do you mean hiking? Kite-boarding? Ocean kayaking? St. John, Tortola, Nevis, St. Lucia are all mountainous. Water sports are available most places.

Let us know what activities you are looking for to help us guide you in the right direction.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 06:45 AM
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yikes. I didn't realize you wanted air included in that 2k. Stonefield would be out then. I think you're going to spend a good portion of that 2k on airfare alone. I'm with Sharona. You're best bet then is to try to find a package tour. good luck!
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 07:49 AM
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yes, I was thinking $2k including airfare. A coworker just got a deal for two people AI in the Dominican for a total of $2k for everything. I'm trying to price around and see what's available - if it turns out too costly we may just head to FL instead.. We had a big trip to NZ earlier this year so we don't want to spend loads of $$!

By adventure activities I mean water sports (snorkeling, etc), hiking and anything else. We're looking for a relaxing place, but somewhere where there's also stuff to do - not just sit on the beach. Like I mentioned, I've never really traveled in the Caribbean so i don't know what to expect! We're a bit afraid going in Sept though with the hurricane season - it's been so quiet so far - I'd hate to have to cancel a trip at the last moment!!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 02:24 PM
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I am wondering the same thing, anyone been to St. John or St. Thomas in late September??? Other than watching for a hurricane, are there any other memories you have of weather in years past?
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 04:24 PM
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i like fall in the islands. the weather is usually hot & dry. but mostly because water temps are at their yearly warmest. i like to snorkel so like being comfortable spending hours in the ocean.
also fewer kids if that matters - they're back in school. and prices are at lowest of year so more bang for buck. on downside some resorts & restaurants close for a few weeks/month & the possibility of hurricanes.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 04:44 PM
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As someone who lives in a very hurricane prone area, let me say "don't let the 'quiet so far' confuse you"- it is not yet "prime time" where I live or there- late August to mid October is more telling- not now. Plan your trip, buy trip insurance for sure, and enjoy- frankly, there IS no predicting. You will probably have a wonderful trip but I would never plan for that time of the year anywhere in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico without trip insurance.
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