Which Island for relaxing and snorkeling?

Feb 11th, 2014, 12:45 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Which Island for relaxing and snorkeling?

My husband and I are planning a trip in April. We just want to relax next to a beautiful beach, snorkel most days and maybe hike. Would prefer a quiet area. A safe island. A clean island and beach (is seaweed a problem?). We have been to Grand Cayman, loved the snorkeling and the beach! So nice. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated... on an island, places to snorkel, eat, stay.... thanks
kwh is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 03:41 PM
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grace bay beach on provo, t&c is gorgeous & looks a lot like seven mile on gc. provo has some off beach snorkeling but not as much as gc. provo has tons of great restaurants & lots of resorts with condo style units. very low key with quiet night life. no hiking.
virgin gorda in bvi is safe, quiet & has some very good snorkeling. not very developed like gc is, but does have some good dining. all the bvi are hilly & not flat/arid like gc so would offer hiking. no long beaches like provo or gc, but does have the famous 'baths'.
tell us your hotel budget for specific ideas on where to stay.
virginia is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 05:08 PM
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Virginia...when I looked into t&c the flight was a crazy 17 hours-2 stops. I'll keep looking for a shorter flight. Bvi has nonstop flights from DC, which makes that very appealing. Hotel budget- between 250-350 a night. Have been looking a vrbo, small Villa with pool ( small pol)
kwh is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 06:48 PM
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Virgin Gorda has provided the best snorkeling of my life. Snorkeling mahoe bay with sea turtles is unbelievable. If you can rent a boat from Leverick, go see the dogs, monkey point, cooper island, maybe even hit the soggy dollar on jost for a painkiller!

My second favorite snorkel point is on Provo, Turks & Caicos called Turtle Cove. You will most likely need to drive here but it is worth the drive. Here is a google map:

Here is some info on both islands:

In my opinion, Virgin Gorda is the more "relaxed" of the two. Turks has built up a lot over the last 10 years and still have a low key vibe, but there are more people, more nightlife, etc. Virgin Gorda...quiet, desolate, relaxing, hard-to-believe-it-is-real beautiful.

Happy snorkeling!
livinzlife is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 04:11 AM
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Laid back, relaxed, beautiful beaches and great snorkeling? Sounds like St John to me....
Bassguy66 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 05:13 AM
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t&c flight 17 hrs? Where are you flying from? There's a direct flight from Charlotte.
We've been to all of your choices. All of the other choices have better snorkeling but t&c, Grace bay is the place we keep returning to. Love the others but for us they are all too hard to get to from Chicago.

Direct flights to BVI? Which island? Maybe I'm wrong but it seems odd that you could get to BVI, Anguilla, or Antigua easier than t&c.

That said, Grace Bay is the best beach we've been to after 20+ islands. The snorkeling will be better on BVI's and Anguilla, but if you liked GC, T&C will be a similar experience.
If you are interested see my many t&c trip reports for tips on staying & eating.
TPAYT is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 09:15 AM
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livinzlife: Virgin Gorda sounds great. love the idea of renting a boat. thanks so much
bassguy66: thanks, will compare that with VG
TPAYT: i agree, the flight should be shorter. From DC there was not a direct flight to T&C, but there is to StJohns. Went to GC because we lived near Houston and the flight was only 3 1/2 hours.. so easy. We definitely are leaning towards the snorkeling part of the vacation, but don't want to snorkel from a rocky beach.
thanks everyone...
kwh is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 12:02 PM
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Virgin Gorda (I haven't been yet) is supposed to be truly unspolied, and have amazing reefs and beaches. The problem is getting there easily. I believe you would fly into St Thomas and ferry over. Same for St John, but the ferry ride is much faster.

Virgin Gorda is on my short list....looks incredible.

You may also want to look into Roatan. It's where we plan on going for our next vacation. Check out West Bay Beach....the reef is very close to shore, and it's a very laid back island that really all about diving & snorkeling....just like Grand Cayman, but a whole lot cheaper!! I LOVED GC, but the rpices are borderline ridiculous.
Bassguy66 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 03:11 PM
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Yes, as far as travel to Virgin Gorda concerns - it typically is not a direct flight (unless you currently live in Puerto Rico!)

Bassguy is correct, you would ferry from St Thomas or Tortola.

Virgin Gorda also has a small part dirt, part paved runway, you can fly to it from Puerto Rico on a double prop plane. We did this a couple years ago, and I believe we flew air sunshine. I think cape air may fly there from PR as well.

Flying over the BVI's in a tiny plane landing on a dirt runway is an incredible experience, and a fun way to start a vacation.
livinzlife is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 06:32 AM
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Love Virgin Gorda as well. One of our top 3 islands. Turks is similar to Grand Cayman (less built up). VG is different. More lush, more hiking opportunities, less built up and super quaint. Some nice beaches, the stunning baths and good snorkelling.
mnag is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 09:25 AM
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Bassyguy66: Roatan looks super nice. But, what do you know about the bugs? Reading about it makes me wonder, even in St. John. Mosquitos are manageable, but the sand fleas. Any suggestions? I like the idea of the Ferry to VG, but the schedules are limited.
Livinzlife: Ferry it is, if we go that way. Will look into PR and a puddle-jumper... my husband and I both agree- it would be amazing to fly low over the islands.
Mnag: glad to hear VG is one of you top three. We loved GC, but just the beach, the land wasn't' so lush. We are looking forward to hiking opportunities.
thanks everyone....it's so helpful to hear first hand, even if it's through the internet
kwh is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 03:25 AM
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I absolutely love Virgin Gorda, but I don't believe there are tremendous hiking opportunities. St. John has more hiking options if that is one of your requirements.
Digbydog is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 06:45 AM
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" From DC there was not a direct flight to T&C, but there is to St Johns."

Just to clarify: This is St John's, Antigua, not St. John, USVI, which has no airport, correct? ;-)
eastenderusvi is offline  
Feb 16th, 2014, 08:07 AM
Join Date: Dec 2013
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St. John in the US Virgin islands has perfect beaches and great snorkeling. You can also sail and get access to even more snorkeling off the boat. The beaches are unspoiled and peaceful, especially if you go to some of the less popular ones. Trunk Beach is fine and pretty, but it's also more populated. Walk instead to Honeymoon beach through a 20-minute trail from Cruz Bay. You will have all the serenity you need. Fly direct to St. Thomas and take the taxi to Red Hook where you catch the 15-minute ferry on the hour to Cruz Bay on St. John.
Annealex5 is offline  

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