Sugestions for our first time in the Caribbean
Replies: 2 - Last Post: May 19, 2012 3:35 PM Last Post By: martiniman
May 16, 2012 8:23 AM
Sugestions for our first time in the CaribbeanWe are a couple on our earliest thirteen, we are looking for a islands where we can do some hiking, snorkeling and wonderful beaches. And if it is possible not so crowded. We are planning to travel at the beginning of June for 10 days, I have seen other post and I like the idea of Antigua, St Lucia, Dominique or Virgin Islands. Could you recommend us one of them? Do you think it will be worth to split our vacations in two islands?
Any suggestion would be great..
May 17, 2012 4:10 AM
1St. John USVI is probably your best combination of hiking, snorkeling and great beaches but it is rather expensive. Antigua has awesome beaches as well, but isn't as good of a place to hike or snorkel. It too is rather expensive. St. Lucia is a very good combination of all three, though the snorkeling and beaches aren't quite as good as St. John (though perfectly adequate). Dominica has awesome hiking and snorkeling but it doesn't have good beaches.
Your best choice from these islands given your "wish list" is St. John in my opinion, but St. Lucia would probably be my next choice, particularly if budget is a major factor.
Regarding splitting your time between 2 islands, for a 10 day trip that's not a bad idea. St. John USVI is connected via ferry to St. Thomas USVI and the British Virgin Islands so it is quick, easy and relatively inexpensive to do some island hopping.
St. Lucia is also connected via ferry to Martinique, Dominica and Guadeloupe, though it is longer, more expensive, and less frequent than the Virgin Island ferries noted above.
Antigua is not connected by ferry to another island, although there are sometimes boats to Montserrat but I'm not sure if they are running these days.
May 19, 2012 3:12 PM
Like the previous poster, I also recommend that with 10 days, you should at least visit 2 islands.
Given your interests and based on my experience, I would recommend either St Lucia and Dominica or Dominica and Antigua.
Dominica is the quintessential experience for me even if you lack having some great beaches. This doesn't mean that they don't have good beaches or snorkeling, it's just that they don't come in so much quantity as in other neighbouring islands. Nevertheless if you have a look at the beaches in Prince Rupert Bay, Calibishie or Hampstead Beach and snorkeling in the amazing Champagne Reef, Scotts Head and Cabrits NP, I think you will be quite satisfied with the choice! Then the waterfalls and hiking are simply the best in the Caribbean, mostly unspoiled, few tourists compared to many other islands and if you are a Pirates of the Caribbean fan you will even find many filming locations. You also have the only indigenous people that survived European (the Caribs) and plenty of natural features. Moreover its still pretty much a budget island. Do rent a car as public transport isn't really flexible. Try to stay a couple of nights in the Roseau valley (not in the city) and another couple of nights in Portsmouth or Calibishie. Dominica would take in average 150 usd or less per night + food if you don't go to any resort. Renting a car here is also recommended.
St Lucia is like Dominica but in a minor scale in terms of natural wonders, despite having the wonderfully scenic Pitons mountains, but with better beaches overall such as Anse Chastanet, Anse Cochon, Jalousie Beach and with a tasty gastronomy namely based in the southern part of the island being Soufrière area the best spot. Avoid staying in super touristic Rodney Bay even if Reduit Beach and Pigeon Island deserve a visit. Ideally 3-4 nights in Soufriére and one near Castries should do you a great combination. St Lucia is a little more expensive, so count with 175-200 usd per day for a 3 - 4 star hotel(with a promotion) + food expenses. If you cook at the appartment, it will be slightly less costly but overall supermarket prices are high for the island's standards. Same happened in other islands! You can also find here a couple of Pirates of the Caribbean filming locations.
Finally Antigua as a 3rd option because the beaches are simply world-class with water colors that will bedazzle you- Jolly Beach, Half Moon Bay, Turners Beach- plus a nice historical site such as English Harbour, natural sights like Devil's Bridge and Fig Tree Riad and with some good other activities such as day trips to Montserrat (no ferries, only tours) and the sister island of Barbuda, a true nature sanctuary and quite isolated, with a couple of daily ferry connections offering tours also. Antigua is a bit more costly and would take probably 225-250 usd in average per day for food and accomodation. Of course it always depends on your choices! Try to stay away from the big resorts namely in Dickenson Bay (that is nevertheless worth a visit).
There are many connections namely by air with LIAT airlines (www.liat.com) between most Caribbean islands with very competitive rates and with flights usually less than 30 minutes. Ferry connections are much more scarce in the caribbean, usually more expensive, take a significant time and aren't on a daily basis most of the times- a good example is www.express-des-iles.com that charges a fortune for one-way trips in my opinion (125 usd) for such short trips. My experience with LIAT was very good - made 4 flights and they were never delayed and found great fare as low as 45 usd per person for a one-way direct flight between St Lucia and Dominica - important to know is that usually the airport for flights between Caribbean isn't the same as the international (eg Dominica, St Lucia, etc.)
As for the Virgin Islands, they do look good but seem too "touristy"... but well it's the Caribbean! I am sure the previous poster can be more helpful on those destinations.
Let me know if you need more infos.
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