wishing for the moon?

Old May 23rd, 2001, 04:51 PM
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wishing for the moon?

Where do I go for a beautiful rainforest, white sand beaches, guest-inn type accomodations, great food, a little history, and rubbing elbows with people who live there (not just serve our meals to us). We do not want resorts, which are mostly the same all over the world and, in our humble opinion, prevent a traveler from feeling part of the country. We are two adults and one (mature-ish) 13 year old girl. Am I wishing for the moon?
Old May 26th, 2001, 05:22 AM
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Hi Marilyn,
If you can go with golden sand instead of white sand, St. Kitts will fit your bill perfectly. It is an incredibly beautiful small island and we always feel as though we've found our own special little paradise. It has gorgeous scenery from verdant volcanic peaks in the north to rolling hills with small coves and undeveloped beaches to the south. There is lots of history there too. It was the British mother colony and descendants of some of the early settlers still live on the island. Brimstone Hill Fortress which you can see as you first fly into the island sits atop a hill with a commanding view of the sea. It is known as the Gibralter of the Caribbean. There are also restored plantation great houses, rainforest and volcano hiking,good off the beach snorkeling, kayaking, catamaran trips, golf, diving and other watersports available. We stay at Timothy Beach Resort. http://www.timothybeach.com and love it. The name says resort, but it is small and has the intimate feel lacking in the big places. They have rooms or suites which are like apartments and the location on the Caribbean is the best. There is snorkeling right there and watersports are next door. We are like you in that we've started staying at the smaller places or villas too. We find it a whole lot nicer than just being part of the herd on vacation. I'd definitely recommend Timothy Beach if you are looking for a beach vacation or you might try Ottleys http://www.ottleys.com or Rawlins Plantation http://www.rawlinsplantation.com if you are looking for an off the beach experience at a charming plantation inn. We really love the island & I'll be happy to answer any questions. Feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]

Old May 26th, 2001, 06:00 AM
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Hi Marilyn! Puerto Rico has all the things that you mention. Go to a comprehensive website about PR, 2 good ones are: www.prtourism.com and www.travelandsports.com In order to really see the island and take advantage of all that it has to offer, I would rent a car and drive around the island, staying in different bases. I would stay in paradores, which are country inn type of accomodations. They are clean, basic, inexpensive and, more importantly, they are not resorts and they tend to be full of local charm. Many locals stay in paradores in their vacations, honeymoons, etc.

Here are some areas of Puerto Rico that you can stay at:
1) For a beautiful rainforest - You can visit El Yunque from San Juan, it is located 45 minutes east of San Juan. You could also stay at www.casacubuy.com - I haven't stayed there but it looks very interesting and it's near El Yunque.

2) For beautiful white sand beaches - The most gorgeous white sand beaches are in Culebra or Vieques, the 2 islands part of Puerto Rico, that are accesible by ferry from the town of Fajardo (ferry = $2 each way). Right now there's a lot of turmoil in Vieques, so I cannot recommend going there. For more information on Culebra, check out www.culebra.org. Additionally, the southwestern part of Puerto Rico (which is one of my favorites) has some white sand beaches in Cabo Rojo (near El Faro, which is a beautiful site that merits a visit) and in Guanica (Ballena and Guilligan's) which are reached by a short $3 boat ride (no buildings or any construction, it's pristine). The southwestern part of the island is IMHO a very charming area of Puerto Rico.

3) guest-inn type of accomodations - Try the Paradores and try finding guest inn accomodations in www.prtourism.com and www.travelandsports.com

4) great food - Everywhere!

5) a lot of history - Old San Juan is a perfectly preserved colonial town with 400-year old buildings, forts, shops, restaurants, museums, colonial mansions that you can tour (La Fortaleza).

6) Rubbing elbows with locals - If you don't stay at a resort, you will definitely rub elbows with locals!
Old May 26th, 2001, 06:04 AM
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Hi Marilyn! I forgot to add that all towns in Puerto Rico (there's 78 of them) were built using the Spanish coolonial . They all have a plaza (a gathering place) in the middle of town, with the Alcaldia (Mayor's house) on one side and the main town church on the other. One town that has a very historic and beautiful plaza is Ponce, which is one the south. It is a good point to stop, after you cross the central mountain range, if you are driving from San Juan to the southwestern part of the island. Good luck!
Old May 26th, 2001, 09:20 AM
Daniel Williams
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In looking for West Indies region travel, I looked for many of the same qualities in a destination as you. Believe it or not (minus the rainforest), I actually found the qualities I was searching for at a guest-inn accommodation on that most-overtouristed of isles, New Providence Island (home of Nassau) in the Bahamas, albeit nowhere close to the cruise ship docks, Sandals and Breezes.

Beyond Fodors, Lonely Planet guidebooks I find cater more to our type of traveller. Rum 'n Reggae Guide to the Caribbean is another charmingly written book with good suggestions of out-of-the-way places to stay & mingle with locals.

Good luck. DAN

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