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WHY did you choose that island? and where you happy with the choice?

WHY did you choose that island? and where you happy with the choice?

Old Nov 18th, 2000, 08:02 AM
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WHY did you choose that island? and where you happy with the choice?

I am interested in what criteria people used to make their choices. Ther are so many islands in the Caribbean. I also want to know if they got what they expected. Was it better or worse?
We will be travelling next year for our 20th. Looking for places that allow you to meet the people, experience a nice beach, and, not spend an extreme amount of money. (I'm a nurse so I am not rich, just work hard).
I have been to the book stores, read national geographic and have experienced Negril and much of Costa Rica. All your ideas will be helpful. THANKS, Sun
Old Nov 18th, 2000, 04:11 PM
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We elected to go to Barbados last year after mucho web surfing. This was our first trip to the Caribbean (we are in our 50s) and like you, we are not rich, we work hard. We wanted a great beach, semi-luxurious surroundings, great dining, some night life and most of all, we did not want either to be too depressed by extreme poverty or to be trapped in the vacation from hell (actually we wanted "perfect").

Well arbados wasn't perfect - what is? But it was a wonderful trip that met all our criteria, and this year we are prepared to be a bit more adventurous (and less likely to have minor snags psychologically ruin our vacation). Barbados was a good selection for a first venture and we certainly want to return - but there's soooo much else to see and do. Whatever the choice though, I will still put in a huge number of on-line research hours.

Old Nov 18th, 2000, 06:43 PM
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We look for safe small islands with beautiful beaches and great people. So far our favorite has got to be Anguilla. Over 30 uncrowded beaches with the most friendly people you will ever meet. Food can be pricey at some of the restaurants but you can find some reasonable places.
Old Nov 19th, 2000, 11:14 AM
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THANKS, I hope to hear about more places. Yes, I plan on many research hours too. My Christmas list includes Caribbean travel books. The pictures in the books can be nice. I know they take them from the best angle.
Hasta Luega...Sun
Old Nov 19th, 2000, 01:35 PM
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I did tons of research before my fiance and I chose St John as a vacation and now wedding destination. I wanted a lsuh, tropical islands, I didn't want Jamaica or Mexico - but rather somewhere very low key, focused on natural beauty. As a wedding destination we wanted somewhere where it was easy to get married (no residency requirements) and activities our families would enjoy (snorkling, sunbathing, snorkling and light shopping). We talked with friends who had been there as well.
As far as our expectations - well they were exceeded thousand fold. We had expected movie like tropics and crystal clear waters. I had grown up in Florida and had certain mental pictures that they would be similar. My fiance had spent time in Hawaii and had similar expectations. The island was far more beautiful, peaceful, relaxing, and laid back than we had hoped for - and the snorkling was unlike anything that we had ever experienced. We loved it and will have a hard time going anywhere else since our expectations are now so high.
Old Nov 20th, 2000, 12:25 PM
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Sun..have you looked into Destinations on Tape? They have a lot of info on different islands and even have tapes on some resorts.
Old Nov 20th, 2000, 01:06 PM
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We enjoy great beaches (with shade), great snorkeling and a choice of good restaurants. We like to play during the day and we're not much into nightlife (except for a nightcap) or casinos.

We chose and loved St. John. Our most recent trip exceed most expectations.

Old Nov 21st, 2000, 04:14 PM
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Our first trip to the Caribbean was a Carnival Cruise - Hated the cruise, Loved the islands. The best advantage to the doing a cruise first was to learn what we liked/disliked about the islands - we wanted quiet, lush, rugged/mountainous terrain, with good snorkelling - and that didn't have a lot of cruiseships coming through everyday.

When planning our first week-on-a-single-island trip, my husband made a listing of the islands that fit our requirements. St. Kitts came up on the top of the list, along with Grenada. We've been to Kitts twice. Unfortunatly Grenada we can't afford yet;-(

I was in Costa Rica a while back - loved it beautiful countryside, easy to travel around, wonderful people.
Old Nov 22nd, 2000, 04:32 AM
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It's pretty hard to make decisions like this in a vacuum. When planning my honeymoon in 1989, I had a very idealized picture of the islands from movies and magazines (this is before the internet!). Based on the limited (and sometimes misleading) information available at the time, we chose St. Maarten for our honeymoon, and while it was special (it was our honeymoon, of course) and pleasant, it just didn't FIT quite right. From that first trip, we learned that a vacation is what you make of it, so even if a place is quite what you may have hoped, your attitude can still make it wonderful. More importantly, we started to figure out what did work for us.

Our next trip was to Eleuthera in 1990, where we'd decided to go after doing some research (words like "casual," "funky," "sleepy," "laid-back" appealed to us, not to mention OUT Islands). Initially, we were taken aback at how CASUAL things really were (they held the airport open to accomodate our "late" arriving flight (4 pm); the rental car guy didn't have a car available, so he gave us his own personal car; the rental car guy didn't want to take our credit card (bad phone service), so he'd wait til the bank opened the next day and meet us there to get some cash; the hotel didn't have keys to the rooms because no one locked the doors; etc.). But this somewhat strange feeling passed very quickly, when the proprietor of the inn we were staying at took me by the hand and said: "Relax, you're on island time." From that point on, the days rolled sweetly and smoothly into each other and we had found the first of a very few places that suit us.

The other places which we've loved also have that edge of the universe feel to them -- the Abacos, Ambergris Caye, Provo (before the all-inclusives; not sure it would suit anymore), the Grenadines, Grenada. The BVI are up there too, but mostly because we bareboat sail there off-season; not sure I would like the busy-ness of high season. The dozen other places we've visited were all wonderful in their way, but they didn't feel like home.

Bottom line: do your research but know that there is no substitute for first-hand experience. But, because you may not get second or third chances to get it right for a while, make the best of the choice you did make. Finally, be true to yourself -- what's right for one person may not be right for you -- there is no one paradise.

Old Nov 22nd, 2000, 07:43 AM
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When we had the opportunity to take a Caribbean vacation, our number one criteria was that we wanted to be able to get out and EXPLORE the island without fearing for our safety. (This immediately eliminated Jamaica, where my well-traveled parents witnessed a murder and they have sworn they will never return.)

Our second criteria was an island with some significant history. My husband is a huge history buff, and he wanted to see some old forts and historic plantations, etc.

The third criteria was to go somewhere that was not a US Territory but where English was still spoken.

The fourth criteria (tie) were that the island should have good restaurants and beautiful beaches.

We ended up going to Antigua, which fulfilled all of our expectations. My husband adrored the British history of the island and we spent a day touring the old forts and English Harbour. The beaches were absolutely stunning, the restaurants were quite good, and the people were great. We couldn't have asked for a better holiday!
Old Nov 22nd, 2000, 02:30 PM
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You are all giving me great ideas. Please keep adding to this, I love it. I just wish we were on a beautiful tropical beach today. The temperature here is 11' Farenheit. But at least it is not Buffalo, NY....Sun

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