Which island?

Old Dec 12th, 2008, 06:04 AM
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Which island?

My husband and I are considering going away for Christmas next year, just the two of us and need recommendations on a good destination.

We'll be limited to a week (or less) so we don't want to spend too much time traveling (from Little Rock).

Obviously we want it to be nice and warm so we're thinking we need to be fairly far south? We prefer lush islands with great beaches. We honeymooned in St John and LOVED it but think we should try someplace new. We're not interested in Jamaica or Cayman.

The beach is probably the most important thing for us. We'd also like good restaurants and some shopping. We rented a villa in St. John and loved the privacy and being able to have breakfast and some dinners in but for only a week a hotel should be fine. We want to relax, we enjoy spending the day on the beach or by the pool and then going out for dinner so we don't require many activities or night life. We prefer a laid back atmosphere, not too touristy or commercialized (again, we loved St. John and will even consider returning there.)

I know it's a very broad request but what suggestions do you have as a starting point?
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Old Dec 12th, 2008, 06:45 AM
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Riu Negril, Negril Jamaica. It is all inclusive..great food and the beach/pool is great..check it out online. We stayed for a week in October and we are ready to go back. email if you need any helpful information. Have fun!!!
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Old Dec 12th, 2008, 07:04 AM
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Check out Anguilla. The beaches are beautiful (some of the best in the caribbean), it is not too touristy or commercialized, and has many excellent restaurants. Its on the expensive side but well worth it in my opinion.
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Old Dec 12th, 2008, 08:43 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. (but I've already been to Jamaica and we want something new.)

I've seen lots of recommendations for Grenada but I think that's farther than we want to travel. I'm afraid St. Barth's would be too expensive. I'm sort of leaning toward BVI (Virgin Gorda perhaps), St Kitt's/Nevis, or St. Lucia.
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Old Dec 12th, 2008, 08:59 AM
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The BVI will meet your beach needs, and you'll probably find that the restaurants are good enough to keep you happy. There is some shopping, but for hardcore shopping, you can just do as the BVIslanders do and hop a ferry to St. Thomas.

St. Lucia and Nevis (didn't spend enough time on St. Kitts to say much) are both spectacularly beautiful islands, but you'll find the beaches disappointing. Darker sand is the rule -- not that blinding white stuff that Caribbean dreams are made of. I just got back from Nevis myself, and fell in love, but definitely not with the beaches.

I would second the vote for Anguilla ... BUT, it is not a lush island at all. Flat and dry. The beaches are stunning, and the dining is great, but there is no shopping to speak of. (Also, if you're concerned about the price of St. Barth, Anguilla will also set you back a few $$$, especially at the holidays.)

You mentioned Grenada, and I think it might be worth the effort for you to try to get there. It's a lush, green island that also happens to have some very nice, almost-white beaches (e.g. Grand Anse and Morne Rouge). There is a great local cuisine (but some high-end stuff as well), some interesting shopping for local products (not fancy duty-free stuff), and best of all, a genuinely warm and welcoming populace. It's hard to get to Grenada, but once you're there, the prices are right and most of your wishes fulfilled.

I've been to most of the places about which you're inquiring, and have posted my trip reports on my webpage here:
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Old Dec 12th, 2008, 11:03 AM
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We love Nevis! However, if the beach is the most important thing to you, you may be disappointed. The dining is wonderful and there are many activities - deep sea fishing, golf, mountain biking, scuba, spa's, tennis and watersports, and it is very lush - but again, the beaches are more of the brown sugar color. Shopping is better by taking the ferry over to St Kitts.
Nevis is not at all commercialized, but if the beach is a deal breaker, look elsewhere.
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Old Dec 12th, 2008, 11:26 AM
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If the beach is the most important thing...Grace Bay on Providenciales on Turks and Caicos is 12 miles long, sugar white sand and the water is aqua--almost glows! Excellent dining and little shopping..fav Island so far! Check out great resort...
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Old Dec 12th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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We were in St. John a few years ago and loved it. We were just in Virgin Gorda and it has what you're looking for (lush, laid back with great beaches). The one negative might be the travel time. You will have at least one layover. Here's our trip report:
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Old Dec 13th, 2008, 06:55 AM
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Anguilla would be a really good choice and you can even take day trips via ferry to St. Barts and St. Martin. We stayed at Ku and loved it even though it is not 5 star by any means. It was what we were looking for, low key and unpretentious and right on the water....just steps to the water. The beach there has the whitest sand and bluest water of the 20 + islands I have visited.

We did love St. Kitts as well but the beaches are not quite as nice. It has beautiful scenery, kind people, and wonderful food. Also, loved the Jalousie Plantation on St. Lucia which is hands down the signle most beautiful spot in the Caribbean in my opinion. Virgin Gorda is another good choice and you might want to look into renting a small villa on Maho Bay or maybe Nail Bay. Tortola is great as well.

For something totally different Curacao is a very interesting island, interesting architecture and beautiful beaches and water with great snorkeling and diving. We split time between the Marriot and Kura Hulanda.
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Old Dec 15th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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Ku looks great! I love the idea of being directly on the beach. I would also like to see St. Barth's so a day trip there would be nice. I will also check out Jalousie.

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Old Dec 17th, 2008, 10:27 AM
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Ater 20 years of going to the Caribbean, I agree with Ku, Anguilla. Also check out which is right next door.

Cap J and Cuisanart are too big and hotel like for the beach IMO, not to mention expensive.

Ku and Shoal Bay Villas are right on the beach, you can't get much closer. SBV is a bit older, but having a balcony right on the sand was a big plus. It was one of our favorite places.

There were plenty of good restaurants and a grocery store for snacks, etc.close by---breakfast on the terrace is about all the "cooking" I do in the Caribbean.

As I mentioned, SBV was one of our favorite vacations. Our new favorite place is Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos, "Ocean Club West". A bit pricier, but easier to get to.
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