Which Caribbean Island?

Old Jan 20th, 2020, 11:55 AM
  #1  
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Which Caribbean Island?

We are seasoned travelers having visited all seven continents now considering our first trip to a Caribbean island in June or Julu. We're thinking about 3 or 4 nights at a base somewhere in which we could walk to restaurants and shops. While on the island, we want to take a day trip or two in which we could hike, observe wildlife, visit historic sights, or a garden or plantation (we're not planning on doing all of this during a short visit but these are some of our interests). A walk on a beach is welcome but no laying around or water activities. What do you suggest? Thank you.
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Old Jan 20th, 2020, 12:30 PM
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I believe most every island has most of those things. Do you have any preferences - like a larger island, smaller island, whether influenced by Spanish, French, English, Dutch, etc. historically? How about weather since you plan to go in summer time (rainy season some places). Any special needs about your arrival airport (like which ones have nonstops from your home airport)? Do you want to rent a car, or not? Any considerations along those lines that might narrow down the large array of options.
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Old Jan 20th, 2020, 03:22 PM
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Suze, thank you. No preference on size of island or heritage. I prefer drier weather, but know that it is unpredictable - especially these days - and also understand that it is hurricane season. I plan on getting around any island by public transportation or going on a tour / hiring a driver. My home airports are DCA / IAD / BWI but I expect connections. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
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Old Jan 20th, 2020, 04:18 PM
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I know a little about Jamaica, where I've gone to Negril a few times, love it there. Been to USVI and Dominican Republic a couple times and would not suggest those.

My current tropical/beach destinations now are usually either Mexico or Hawaii (since I'm Seattle based now) so hopefully others will chime in with more appropriate suggestions for your question!

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Old Jan 20th, 2020, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
......somewhere in which we could walk to restaurants and shops. While on the island, we want to take a day trip or two in which we could hike, observe wildlife, visit historic sights, or a garden or plantation (we're not planning on doing all of this during a short visit but these are some of our interests). A walk on a beach is welcome..........
Guadeloupe and Martinique have all you ask for, they are French speaking. Les Trois-Îlets (Martinique) has restaurants & shops within walking distance of hotels, there are lovely walks on the windy east coast (not suitable for swimming), I believe you can hike on Mount Pelée, if not you can see the remains of the town of St Pierre which I found very interesting, a sort of Caribbean Pompeii. There are botanical gardens and a couple of plantations, we went to Habitation Clément producing rhum agricole. Guadeloupe is pretty similar except you almost have 2 islands, one which is flat with white sand beaches and the other which is greener, hillier called Basse-Terre, a village such as Deshaies might be a good option for you, The National Park has hiking trails, there are plantations and botanical gardens (there is one at Deshaies). I found this website helpful when I was planning my trip to Guadeloupe.
Guadeloupe Antilles Info Tourisme

https://us.martinique.org/

Antigua has Nelsons Dockyard which is pretty special, not sure it has much hiking but I might be wrong. Not much in the way of shops and restaurants in walking distance

Barbados have several historical sights and some well preserved plantations eg Sunbury Plantation, the very windy east coast is very beautiful for walks, hiking and there are some botanical gardens. You can walk to some shops and restaurants from Holetown, apart from that you need transportation.

Curacao (Willemstad) has alot of colourful historical buildings along the waterfront, its a city so lots of restaurants, shops etc. Enjoyed Christoffel National Park but you need a car to visit it unless you can get a tour. Curacao is dry, arid, rocky with iguanas but it has it's own beauty. Even Bonaire has historical sights, a national park, restaurants within walking distance in Kralendijk, I don't remember many shops.

For serious hiking and nature, Saba cannot be beaten, Windwardside has several good restaurants and a couple of shops, it is a tiny island, not sure about historical sights although the local museum in Windwardside was very interesting might not be enough for you. You need a taxi to get around.
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Old Jan 21st, 2020, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by tripplanner001 View Post
We are seasoned travelers having visited all seven continents now considering our first trip to a Caribbean island in June or Julu. We're thinking about 3 or 4 nights at a base somewhere in which we could walk to restaurants and shops. While on the island, we want to take a day trip or two in which we could hike, observe wildlife, visit historic sights, or a garden or plantation (we're not planning on doing all of this during a short visit but these are some of our interests). A walk on a beach is welcome but no laying around or water activities. What do you suggest? Thank you.
back from les 3 ilets that Odin mentions.
I did climb la montagne pelée. Great.
We swam with turtles at anse mouton or noire.

I agree that Dominican Republic is meh.

I loved Cuba. Very nice people. Beautiful island. More history than in others.
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Old Jan 21st, 2020, 04:54 AM
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Odin, thank you so much for your suggestions. You give me a few options to consider.

Suze and ahbonvraiment, thanks for your comments as well.
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