Will someone just make the decision for me?! :-)

Jan 13th, 2013, 10:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 244
Will someone just make the decision for me?! :-)

Long story short(er):
My husband and I are planning a trip to the Caribbean in April/May. He is pretty flexible, but I find myself over-researching every location and I just can't make up my mind! Please help

Our budget for 7 nights: approximately $3000-5000 for food and hotel (not including airfare, will try to use miles).

Our wish list:
- ON the beach, literally as close as possible
- variety of restaurants and beach bars nearby
- the possibility of driving around and/or taking tours
- swimming and snorkeling

We are open to big vs. small resorts vs. all inclusive. We do not want a condo this time around (no cooking on vacation please).

My research has taken me to:
- St. Lucia (worried the beaches are too dark and water full of seaweed)
- Anguilla (having a hard time finding accommodations in our price range)
- Barbados (confused by mixed reviews of accommodations in our price range)
- The Grenadines (wondering if it is too difficult to get to)

Notes: We love Grand Cayman and St John! We thought Grace Bay Beach was gorgeous, but we were not impressed with Provodenciales at all.

Basically, I'm just hung up on finding the most ideal location that includes an amazing beach, beautiful water, as well as an attractive island with some romance and fun The Internet provides me with too much information. LOL.

Thoughts or advice?

Overwhelmed but in need of a vacation
pijeta is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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Oh, and I've also considered a cruise so we can hit some of these islands all in one trip.

So much to see, so little time (and money)!
pijeta is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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You might want to consider the Riviera Maya on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. You could get a lot of bang for the buck at some of the all-inclusives. Beaches are beautiful...plenty of watersports and snorkeling opportunities. You'd also have the option of visiting Cozumel on a day trip, or perhaps Tulum, an ancient Mayan outpost right on the ocean.

Two years ago, our family visited the British Virgin Islands. We stayed on Tortola and Virgin Gorda. These islands were spectacular...beautiful scenery, phenomenal beaches, great snorkeling and excellent dining opportunities. Plus, you can "island hop" to other Bvi's using a fairly convenient ferry service.
The BVI are also not over-developed..very natural. Take a look...I think you'll like what you see!

Happy hunting!
lorijv is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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I guess I should have said we aren't really interested in Mexico. We've been a few times and we'd like to go somewhere new. That and the current violence doesn't really make it that appealing either.

I will look into the BVI's though. We've been to Tortola as well and it is fantastic, so I should consider some of the neighboring islands as well.
pijeta is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Look at Turks and Cacios, Grand Cayman and Aruba. They meet all your criteria. I agree, St. Lucia beaches and snorkeling are sub-par, but it is perfect for sightseeing. The Island is absolutely gorgeous. Barbados accomendations are very questionable for the prices they charge. I've been looking at going for the past 2 years and never found anything I was willing to spend my money on.

There is no "current violence" in Mexico in the tourist areas. Have been going for the past 12 years and just returned this past December. If you don't want to go there that is fine, but please don't make inaccurate comments that other people will read and miscontrue. It's a wonderful destination with beatuiful beaches, great snorkeling, and tons of things to see and do off property.

We have decided on a Southern Caribbean cruise this year with Celebrity out of Puerto Rico. We will be able to catch several Islands that we haven't been to yet that are too difficult to get to and too expensive for a land vacation.
KVR is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 04:24 PM
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We're taking our third trip to Anguilla in early April, and I think it offers everything you're seeking: Some of the best white sand beaches in the Caribbean, wonderful restaurants and swimming and snorkeling. (One disclaimer: The snorkeling may not live up to expectations, if you're comparing it to, say, Turks and Caicos, Mexico, or Grand Cayman -- but it's decent.)While the island has a reputation for being pricey, we always manage to keep it to a few thousand dollars. Check out resorts such as Anacaona Boutique, Carimar, and Frangipani. All great, and you can get rooms for under $300 / night during April to May shoulder season. Hope this helps!
Kelly1212 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2013, 08:40 PM
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Go to grenada! It is AMAZING. My favorite place I have ever been. It is just wonderful. My boyfriend at the time and I went last year and it was an unbeliveable and magical trip; romantic and interesting, great food, within budget, the kindest people, great for your time frame. Stay at LaLuna. You won't be sorry!
ilford2121 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 01:28 AM
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St. Lucia (worried the beaches are too dark and water full of seaweed) - not all beaches in St Lucia are dark sand, the ones in the south around the Pitons are the darkest but the ones in the north for example Reduit Beach has lighter sand with clear water. Even on the dark sand beaches, I have never seen seaweed in St Lucia. Did you read somewhere that there is seaweed? You can self drive on the island and the best snorkel spots are at Anse Cochon & Anse Chastanet where there is a marine reserve. Check somewhere like Windjammer Landings and look at photos on TA to see what the sand colour is like around the island.

Anguilla (having a hard time finding accommodations in our price range) Agree with previous posters suggestion of the Carimar, even on expensive islands there is usually a budget option of some sort.

Barbados (confused by mixed reviews of accommodations in our price range) Reviews on which properties? I stay in an AI which always has mixed reviews but we've always been happy with.

Grenada is a great suggestion too, some beautiful beaches eg Grand Anse, lots of hotel choices, lots of restaurants, easy to drive around, snorkelling not that great though.

Aruba is also a great island, it doesn't have the typical Caribbean landscape, being flat dry and desert like with cacti and iguanas but we liked that. Lovely beaches, lots of restaurants, easy to rent a car and drive around the island, snorkelling is not bad in the right places.

Antigua has very good beaches, is also easy to drive around the island and see sights such as Nelsons Dockyard, some very good hotels. We struggled with finding good restaurants outside our hotel but it might have been the area we were in as English Harbour, Falmouth and Jolly Harbour have lots of choices. Snorkelling is ok again in the right places. A tour to Monserrat is recommended.
Odin is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 04:39 AM
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Barbados is a varied island with lots of sightseeing, a wide range of beaches, restaurants, entertainment. The class act on the island, Coral Reef Club, is within your budget offseason. Prime beachfront 12 acres, a family-owned (for 60 years)cottage and low-rise resort with a sort of a plantation style look. Rooms are spacious and have large covered balconies/patios. The gardens that the hotel are set in would put to shame most of the public tropical gardens anywhere.
Next door is an underwater park, plus you can snorkel at the hotel. See www.barbados.org and www.coralreefbarbados.com
xkenx is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 05:51 AM
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With your choices I would do Barbados or Grenada. I have only visited those 2 for daily trips on a cruise on several different times but I think Grenada called the spice island was unique with sweet island people very friendly. I would do away with st. lucia not the best beaches that I had seen but a truly tropical island with nice scenery. In Barbados a place called Bouganvillia seems very popular. check that out. I also think for the money mexico would a great place and you would get a nice place for your budget. But you are not interested. I love Aruba myself own a timeshare there and I have found it hard pressed to find an island I have felt more comfortable on then Aruba but some say it is to "americanized" with Starbucks (YEAH) and dunkin doughnuts coffee, but I love it there. But as someone said a dry cactus type island not lush at all but a constant tradewind and no matter what the temp it seems one does not feel hot amd plenty of good restaurants one would not do AI there. Have you thought at all about St. Maarten/St. Martin? (Just to add to the mix or confusion?)
diann24 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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I've been to GC, Anguilla, St John, Turks and going to Grenada in March. Although Anguilla wins hands down for beaches and restaurants (and its one of my fav islands) the interior is quite scrubby and based on your statement that you did not like Provo you may not find it to your liking. The one diff between Provo/Anguilla is that there are many more beaches to explore and although its scrubby I did find Anguilla less developed.
I think you should consider the British Virgin Islands, particularly Virgin Gorda (my other fav island). Although its a bit difficult to get to I think it has everything you want....nice beaches, decent snorkelling, super quaint/romantic, and some beach bars/casual restaurants, taking trips to Tortola/Anegada. I also think Grenada will be a good fit based on my research but have not been there yet...
mnag is offline  
Jan 14th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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If You like STJ & GC....(I do too).....why not just find a different place to stay and go with what you know. If you want great snorkeling & beaches....tough to beat those two....
Bassguy66 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 04:31 PM
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Thank you!

We are still debating, but starting to focus a little more.

Barbados is still in the lead. We are leaning towards the Bougainvillea, but I was hoping to find something a little more luxurious within our budget. Turtle Beach might be an option, but still was hoping for better reviews.

I read about the seaweed in St Lucia in a few different tripadvisor reviews of hotels around the island. Might have just been some bad weather that moved things around, but as much as I want to try St. Lucia at some point, I don't think the beaches there are what we are hoping for this time around.

We decided Grenada is just too far. Maybe next time when we can travel for longer.

Anguilla still looks perfect, but will probably save that for a trip with the kids... The beaches look too calm not to bring my kids with. We'll also save our favorites (Grand Cayman and St John) for when the kids come with; it's always easier to take kids somewhere you are familiar with.

Still checking into the BVI's. Loved Tortola, but hadn't even thought about somewhere else, so thanks for that suggestion. I'll need to do some more research

And no offense regarding Mexico. Didn't mean to deter anyone, just not my cup of tea at the moment.

I'll be sure to post again when we make up our minds!

pijeta is offline  
Jan 17th, 2013, 05:55 AM
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Barbados is still in the lead. We are leaning towards the Bougainvillea, but I was hoping to find something a little more luxurious within our budget.<<

Follow 'Oceans Two'(luxury resort on a great beach) on their Facebook page, every so often before the shoulder season they will offer a deal on Oceanfront units
FrankS is offline  
Jan 17th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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Great tip, thanks FrankS!
pijeta is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 04:51 AM
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I would also suggest Barbados, a great option, in addition to Bougainvillea , perhaps consider Bayfield House hotel, you can google Bayfield house Barbados for their websites for rates and specials. The are two minutes walk if so much to Mullins beach and about 5 Minutes away from Gibbs beach on the West Coast. The rooms are really nice , simple clean and , have some plantation style elegance. On seven night booking they usually give one night free and rates are fairly attractive around April onwards through summer.

Another hotel you may wish to look in to is Little Arches Boutique hotel on the South Coast, Barbados ( google for website) which is just across the road 30 seconds to beautiful South Coast beach and a few minutes from ousting, banking and restaurants, supermarkets and about 7 minutes from the airport.

All in all I think Barbados is it...

Good luck
Delishbajansauce is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 04:54 AM
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I also forgot to mention that Bayfield House, is about 10 minutes from Holetown and about the same or less to Speightstown where you have, banking, supermarkets, great restaurants shopping etc. So it's also conveniently located.

Hope this helps.
Delishbajansauce is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 08:45 AM
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Not sure if Cobblers Cove fits into the budget, it's an elegant small hotel, quite refined and on a gorgeous west coast beach.

Odin is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Hello all,

I have a similar problem but I have never been to the Caribbean before. Here's my post if anyone has anything to add I would be greatful. I am also struggling with the decision, its maybe down to Aruba, Cuba, Dominican Republic. I am also looking for the same things but maybe at a lower budget than you guys (if possible)

1. resort ON the beach
2. good bar or something to do on the beach resort
and so on....
Zdrav is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 09:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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oh, here's the link to my post Thanks in advance

And good luck with your decision
Zdrav is offline  

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