Author Topic: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?  (Read 5101 times)

secondcor521

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Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« on: July 09, 2014, 08:25:46 PM »
Hi all,

I'm interested in taking a trip this fall/early winter to the Eastern Caribbean.  I'm looking for a relaxing place with crystal clear water, sandy beaches, and good water activities like scuba, snorkeling, kayaking, catamaran cruises, etc.  I'm not interested in shopping for touristy stuff.  I'd like a place that I can fly to on American Airlines -- have some miles I need to use.

It seems like pretty much all the islands there are good, but does anyone have any specific island recommendations?

Thanks!

kkbmustang

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2014, 08:28:26 PM »
Not sure about AA, but we love St. Maarten. We've visited via cruises, but the beaches are beautiful, pristine and the water the most amazing shade of blue. Food is good, too. Lots of surf and turf.

bop

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2014, 08:33:51 PM »
I currently live in St. Maarten!  And love it for the reasons kkbmustang mentioned. 

kkbmustang

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2014, 08:36:16 PM »
I currently live in St. Maarten!  And love it for the reasons kkbmustang mentioned.

St. Maarten is on a short list of places my husband and I would like to hang out in for several months in retirement. Likely after we ditch our family home after our kids have flown the coop.

Iconoclast

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2014, 12:02:11 AM »
Sint Maarten is nice, but very touristy. There are some spots however that are quieter than others, such as Guana Bay or Anse Marcel on the French side.

I don't know when you're planning to make this trip, but it's currently hurricane season. November through February, the climate is best there.

dude

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2014, 08:19:44 AM »
Not exactly "eastern" Caribbean, but my wife and I go to Cozumel, Mexico 2x/year (for the last 10 years).  I love it there.  Mind you, it is a regular cruise ship stop, but after around 4pm, they disappear and you have the island/town of San Miguel to yourself, and you can avoid most tourists if you know where to go -- it's necessary to rent a car or scooter to do so.  The eastern, Caribbean side of the island is undeveloped, save for a roadside bar every 3-4 miles or so.  You can pick a secluded piece of beach and have it to yourself.  Snorkeling and diving there are world-class.  Food is fantastic.  You can PM me if you're looking for details.

Cromacster

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2014, 09:27:12 AM »
Not sure if it's considered eastern caribbean, but I would always recommend st johns.  You fly into St Thomas then take the ferry over.

It is very limited in terms of shopping and touristy stuff.  Though it does have a few great bars.  It has all the usual island stuff, snorkeling, scuba, rental gear, charter boats.  Wonderful beaches and water.  I prefer staying on the eastern end of the island, as that is the quiet end.

The reason I prefer St Johns to other islands is that it is mostly national park and protected reef.  To me this is why this island feels less busy than others.  And since you are going in the off season you won't have to deal with as much of the Cruise boat traffic, though this is probably true of all the islands.

Depending on where you stay on the island you could do this without renting a car.  A taxi to the ferry is relative cheap and the ferry is $7.  The cabs on St johns will run $4-10 depending on where you want to go, they hang out at some beaches but not all, so prepare to walk if you want to explore a more far off beach.  There is also a free bus that runs end to that you can catch.

The park service also provide many free or relatively inexpensive guided hikes and boat rides.  With the park service I did a hike from the high point of the island down to a bay, then you take a boat back to the park building. 
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 09:37:02 AM by Cromacster »

davisgang90

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2014, 09:52:44 AM »
My wife and I flew AA into St. Lucia.  A beautiful island and a little off the beaten path for the Caribbean.  Lots of the activities you discussed.

COlady

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2014, 10:34:49 AM »
To the person that said they enjoy Cozumel - a partner I used to work for has a vacation home there that he rents out.  It's 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms with a pool.  He rented it to us for $1,100 per week (friend and fam discount), so that was only $367 per couple.  He rents it out online to people he doesn't know too so let me know if you're interested! It's an awesome deal and a really nice house!

NewStachian

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2014, 12:33:17 PM »
I've done 2 diving trips to Cozumel - it's awesome... relatively low key and very clear water. I also took a sailing trip around st martin/st barts and that was very nice. I was not a big fan of Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas, Caymans - in fact I was so pissed in the Bahamas I couldn't tell why anyone would ever go there. But, by far my favorite place is the British Virgin Islands. Renting a sailboat there and cruising around the islands is phenomenal. You also get to meet a lot of the people sailing round the world who stop off at Virgin Gorda before making the trip across the Atlantic.

Cromacster

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2014, 01:14:49 PM »
I've done 2 diving trips to Cozumel - it's awesome... relatively low key and very clear water. I also took a sailing trip around st martin/st barts and that was very nice. I was not a big fan of Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas, Caymans - in fact I was so pissed in the Bahamas I couldn't tell why anyone would ever go there. But, by far my favorite place is the British Virgin Islands. Renting a sailboat there and cruising around the islands is phenomenal. You also get to meet a lot of the people sailing round the world who stop off at Virgin Gorda before making the trip across the Atlantic.

I agree about the BVI.  Jost Van Dyke and Virgin Gorda are both awesome.  I've never stayed on either, but I have visited both on day trips.

I need to learn to sail one of these days.  My parents used to sail around the Caribbean.  That sounds like the way to go.

secondcor521

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2014, 07:37:11 PM »
Thanks to all for the suggestions...I will check them out.  (Except Cozumel/Bahamas/Grand Cayman; I've already been to those places.)

I don't know when you're planning to make this trip, but it's currently hurricane season. November through February, the climate is best there.

Aiming for shoulder season whenever that is...apparently late November early December.  Ish.

Iconoclast

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2014, 04:04:39 AM »

Aiming for shoulder season whenever that is...apparently late November early December.  Ish.
You should be fine then. In the middle of December, the madness starts in Sint Maarten. There can be up to eight cruise ships in port on those days, and the island is packed with tourists. Also, it gets dark pretty early in winter and robberies are not uncommon there.

St. Lucia probably has the prettiest and most unspoilt nature in the Caribbean. I don't know whether AA also flies there.

If you happen to go to Sint Maarten, don't forget to check out nearby Saint Barths. You can go there by ferry, takes about an hour. The island used to be Swedish territory (hence the town name Gustavia) but then was transferred to France. Some buildings there still have a Scandinavian look to them. Be sure to reserve a car there in advance, or you'll be stuck in Gustavia, as happened to me once.

chasesfish

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Re: Eastern Caribbean recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2014, 05:08:46 AM »
Hi all,

I'm interested in taking a trip this fall/early winter to the Eastern Caribbean.  I'm looking for a relaxing place with crystal clear water, sandy beaches, and good water activities like scuba, snorkeling, kayaking, catamaran cruises, etc.  I'm not interested in shopping for touristy stuff.  I'd like a place that I can fly to on American Airlines -- have some miles I need to use.

It seems like pretty much all the islands there are good, but does anyone have any specific island recommendations?

Thanks!

If you like water activity and to avoid lots of Touristy stuff, my pick would the Grand Cayman.  It is not mountainous and scenic like much of the other Caribbean, but has some of the best beaches/snorkeling and water activities.  You can also get a nice deal if you go before December 20th.   

I also enjoyed that island a bit more than others because it didn't have the poverty and petty crime of some other parts.  For example, I enjoyed St. Marteen when I was there for a week, but I didn't enjoy being at dinner and watching the police show up for a raid or 15 year olds dealing drugs on the street.