Hawaii or Caribbean

Jul 14th, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Hawaii or Caribbean

Hello all,

I am not as an experience tourist as most of you here are, and I am hoping some of you could help in making a decision.

I am undecided between going to a Caribbean islands or Hawaii. I know these two places are very different, and each has its own charm. My main interest however is the natural beauty of the island and sightseeing. Want to visit the kind of beaches they display in those postcards; white or golden sand, turquoise crystal clear water, and lush tropical vegetation along the shoreline. From what I have seen in movies, though, hawaii seems quite barren, not much greenery. Is that true? Pardon my lack of knowledge if thats not the case. By the way, the two destinations I am interested in Caribbean are Bahamas or US Virgin Islands.
qzseattle is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 05:52 PM
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you cant really go wrong with either place. If you are looking for a lush jungle type local, then Hawaii is probalby for you. However, if you are looking for the laid back desert island type thing, then the caribbean is for you. They are both beautiful. Where are you coming from? The costs can vary drastically depending on where you are coming from. I suggest going to orbitz and pricing some flights to each location. They will give you an idea of how cheaply you can travel to each location. There may also be some special deals to one location. This may help you narrow your decision. Make sure you understand that each location has very different atmospheres within their own regions...varying from very active to very laid back.... have a wonderful trip, i am a bit jelous
sweet_thang is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 05:55 PM
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Very simply put, the Caribbean has the best beaches if you're looking for white sand and turquoise water (there are many reasons why this is so, suffice it to say that Hawaii's beaches are not quite as nice as those of St. John, Anguilla, Turks/Caicos, Aruba etc).
Hawaii has very little light colored water since the islands fall off so steeply into the deep Pacific.
It is far too simplistic to sday that Hawaii is lush or barren or touristy or quiet, etc. This is beacuse the Hawaiian chain of islands offers something for mosty any taste. Some islands are extremely lush (Kauai has the rainiest spot on earth and is where the lush scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed), and some are very barren (parts of the Big Island, which is a young volcanic island which is still growing daily as the volcano puts out fresh lava).
There are high rise hotels and 5 star restaurants and there are places where no evidence of civilization exists.

You can find whatever you're looking for on one or more of the Hawaiian islands, and same is true of the Caribbean. What is NOT possible in some cases is to find a combination of, say, lush hills, no bugs, low humidity, clear water, white sand, no crime, 5 star hotel which is only one story tall. If you get too many demands you'll find no single island fulfills them all.
gplimpton is offline  
Jul 14th, 2003, 05:58 PM
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Also, I would disagree with sweet thang's response.

Some of the densest, lush scenery on any island can be found on St. John, Jamaica and St. Lucia, for example (Caribbean) and this is true of many other Caribbean islands.
Also, there are some very drab looking Hawaiian islands (Lanai, parts of the Big Island).

You cannot generalize Hawaii or Caribbean. The islands are all different.
gplimpton is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 12:14 AM
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Thanks for all the responses. You are right, one cant get everything at one place. For now, as long as there are palm/coconut trees along the beach, clean, soft sand and water similar to what you see at Miami beach, that would do. Actually, I keep seeing all those amazing photographs of beaches in postcards, travel posters and magazines and wonder where are all those places. I might end up going to both places at some point of time.

By the way, I am in Pacific Northwest, that is Seattle, so perhaps cost is another factor to consider.

Sweet thang mentioned that Caribbean islands have desert like environment. I think I know that Mexican destinations such as Cozumel as well Aruba might be like that. What about Bahamas? From photos, US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands and nearby islands do seem fairly lush.
qzseattle is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 04:33 AM
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Hello gzseattle,
The Bahamas are not technically in the Caribbean, and the water and air temps there can be quite cool in the late fall, winter and early spring, so keep that in mind if you will be traveling during those times.
The out islands of the Bahamas have the beautiful beaches you are looking for, but not the lush foliage.
Might want to check into St. John as it most closely fits what you have asked for.
Usually, the mountainous lush islands do not have the best beaches as far as white sand as they are volcanic in origin, and the flat scrubby islands have the best white sand and blue water beaches since they are coral reef in origin.

Diana is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 06:28 AM
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I agree that St. John is the best Caribbean island. I've been to many, and St. John has the best topography, water and beaches hands down. I was so disappointed with Aruba - a mini Las Vegas on a beach. The only thing that saved the vacation was great windsurfing. Hawaii is different - atmosphere, beaches, everything. It's like comparing apples and oranges. We're going to Kauai in December, and although I know it will be a great adventure - part of me wishes the destination was St. John.
Mellyz is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 09:08 AM
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Let's make some corrections here, most tropical islands are not barren or desert-like. In fact, the above geerally applies to a handful of islands. Many islands offer lush vegetation lush; some moreso than others. If you are looking for great beaches and stunning vegetation, then you need to select an island with a combination.

Coming from the Pacific Northwest is challenging. It may be a bit easier for your to get to Hawaii. Travel to the Caribbean will require you first journey to the east coast.

Do a check for airfares for both destinations and see what deals you can strike.
andreaac is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 09:52 AM
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Let's make some corrections?
Who said most tropical islands are desert-like?
Many are, many aren't.
But just to be complete, arid, scrubby, 'barren' tropical islands are too numerous to name.
Greek islands
Turks & Caicos
Some of the Cook atolls
all come to mind....
travleis is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:07 AM
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From Seattle I would go to Hawaii and be done with it.
Binthair is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:08 AM
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Another vote for St. John!! We live in Sonoma County and fly from SFO to Ft. Lauderdale then to san Juan and then to St. Thomas. The best part of the journey
is the short ferry ride over to St. John. Even tho it seems like we've flown forever, we always find it is so worth the trip. You can take a red-eye to Florida and be in St. John by noon.
This is the least expensive way to fly from the west coast. Otherwise you could included a stop in FL before continuing. Coming home time works with you ! Do check out carribeanresorts& villas.com-we always rent a house and if you rent with them the airfare is discounted. Let us know what you decide!
Jul 15th, 2003, 10:16 AM
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Pardon, the correct site name is www.caribbeanvilla.com
Jul 15th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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St. John's Caneel Bay split with Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda. They offer a package deal to both resorts. Absolutly wonderful!
Parker is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 12:29 PM
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If your from Seattle considering cost and time..Hawaii.
I am from California and have been to both Hawaii and Caribbean. They are distinctly different. But for shear beauty with mountains and quiet beaches..you will love the North shore of Kaui. Even the North shore of Oahu has beauty and convience beyond comparison.
The Bahammas and St. John are both a experiance too but much more expensive from West coast. Their waters are clearer...( in some areas)...NOT NASSU.
St John is gorgeous..but again if price is important. Kaui is amazingly cheaper and very quiet. I am visitng Maui myself in September and have heard it is the same. So enjoy Hawaii and save some money for maybe a Luau or Parasail ride or golf etc...
ramfan7 is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 04:01 PM
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I prefer the Caribbean and the Bahamas (out islands, not Nassau) to Hawaii. There is nothing like the turquoise water and the white sand beaches of the Caribbean. That said, my next island vacation will be to Hawaii (the big island) for a couple of reasons; one, I live in the West so easier to get to. And my husband has some medical problems and I feel more comfortable with the medical care that would be available if (God forbid) a problem arises.
orangetravelcat is offline  
Jul 15th, 2003, 08:36 PM
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I have been to all the Hawaiian Island and will be returning for a family vacation in three weeks. I think they are all beautiful. You can find some beautiful beaches that are not crowded or "touristy". There is alot of sightseeing to do on most of the islands. As far as the Caribbean I have been to Antigua and St Lucia. I got married in Antigua and stayed one week and then we went to St Lucia for the remainding week. I would go back to St Lucia in a heartbeat. The Caribbean and Hawaii are two entirely diffrent experiences as far as culture in my opinion. If you want to get the most out of a tropical island vacation I would reccomend going to a diffrent country. Although Hawaii does look tropical there are often reminders that you are still in the States. Antigua was also beautiful the water was just like the postcards you see, though the island was more desert and not real green. St Lucia on the other hand had beautiful water, more of a deeper blue because it is a volcanic island, with an incredible rain forrest that you can take tours through. I live in So. Cal and the flight was not that bad if you leave on a red eye to Fla. then to San Jaun and on to the Caribbean, you are there by the next morning late. The Caribbean also offers many all-inclusive resorts wich we stayed at. It was so worth the money. All you can eat and drink 24 hrs a day.The resort we stayed at was a smaller property that was absolutely beautiful. If you would like more info feel free to e-mail me. If money is not a major factor I would go with the Caribbean. But if your on a bit more of a budget you can't go wrong with Hawaii either. Although if you do your homework and check into some all-inclusives the price might be almost the same considering your meals and drinks are all included as well as many watersports ie: snorkeling, waterskiing , hobbie cats. Just your meals alone and whatever excursions you decide on in Hawaii are all seperate costs from your air and hotel or condo.
Good luck , I'm sure you will have a blast regardless of where you choose.
Cassondra is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 06:57 AM
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One advantage of going to the Caribbean is that you can shop in the "duty-free shops" and bring home imported goods at a discount (liquor, cosmetics, certain packaged foods, electronics, watches, etc.). If you go to Hawaii, you're still in the states - no duty free discounts. We always stock up on our liquor when we travel to the caribbean - some you can't find at home.
dolciani is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 01:18 PM
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Having been to both Hawaii and to MANY islands in the Caribbean:
Desert islands like Turks and Caicos,Anguilla or Bahamas out-islands generally have the best beaches and most beautiful water (turquoise and crystal clear). Why: Tropical islands with lush rain forest often have run-off - this affects water clarity.
So basically you must make up your mind - beautiful beach and crystal clear water or gorgeous scenery. Hawaii probably has the best variety of scenery from desolate lava flows to incredibly lush tropical scenery. The beaches are nice enough but the water is not turquoise or crystal clear. Some islands in the caribbean have nice scenery but NOT comparable to Hawaii: St. Lucia, BVI, St John, Dominica. BVI and St John also have good beaches.
Hawaii = spectacular scenery, nice beaches, no turquoise water
Caribbean = some islands have nice scenery, some islands have spectacular beaches and water.
Personally for sightseeing, I would recommend Hawaii. For a beach holiday - Caribbean
JMM is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 03:39 PM
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The up side is that both are good for cutting down the clamor in your life. We got married in Hawaii 9 years ago and will be returning in February for the first time since then. This time to Kauai. For the last eight years we have vacationed only in the Carribbean. We found the Bahamas to not be very panoramic but loved the turquoise waters of the USVI. It just depends on whether you like the really lush (Hawaii) or are looking more for a lay on the beach with a good oportunity to meet others (Carribbean). The Carribbean has an almost excessive amount of beaches. Hawaii would help you avoid a long flight. It also seems as though the restaurants are quieter. Could you go to one place and the other one the next time?
Knowing is offline  
Jul 16th, 2003, 04:25 PM
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Hi qzseattle,
jmm really summed it up. I live in the Bay Area like rasnes5, but have been fortunate to travel to both areas many times. This thread has some great info for you from all, but you have to decide white sand/ tourquois water or some awesome scenery with lush vegitation.
It is much easier to get to HI from west coast, but we are addicted to the beaches and water in the British Virgin Is. & alternate trips between the two. Good news is you can't lose in your choice. Once you do choose, I highly suggest you do the same research to help guide you the best fitting option for your needs in HI or Caribbean. (Skip the Bahamas for your first trip if you choose the Carib.)
rainbro is offline  

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