Post # 1
My husband and I are planning a Caribbean vacation for early 2020. Aside from Cozumel, neither of us have been to the Caribbean. Hoping some bees can give some advice! I’m overwhelmed by my own research — there are so many options!
Here are our basic wants. Firstly, we’re budget-conscious (ugh, haha). So, we need to pick someplace with direct flights from the US and modest resort options (I don’t care about onsite spas and whatnot — but I do like onsite bars). Secondly, we don’t party or shop but do enjoy outdoor activities like hiking/kayaking. So, nightlife isn’t important but “nature” activities are. Thirdly, we intend to spend probably the majority of the time relaxing on a beach, haha. So good beaches are a definite must-have.
I’d also like to avoid the most obvious “touristy” islands. We’ve ruled out Cozumel and Dominican Republic. Also unfortunately ruling out the Bahamas now…
We’ve been considering Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire, and Antigua. I liked the sound of Bonaire but my husband is concerned about the beaches (He’s pretty set on that ~white sand~). But we’re definitely not set on any of these places!
Anyone here traveled to the Caribbean? Advice? Tips? Places you loved? Places you didn’t love? Hit me!
Post # 2
It’s outside the Caribbean, but Bermuda is one of my all-time favorite relaxing beach vacations.
Post # 3
futuremrspk : I’ve lived in Antigua! Also been to St Lucia, St Martin, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Dominica (not the DR) Puerto Rico and Aruba, Curacoa and St Thomas (the last 3 very briefly on a cruise). And not all of the Bahamas was affected so it’s still worth a look. Feel free to ask any questions!
Antigua, St Martin and Barbados all have beautiful beaches. February is my favourite time of year to travel to the Caribbean, the weather is as good as it gets in my opinion 🙂
Post # 4
Why is the Bahamas out? There are many more islands than the ones hit by the hurricane.
That said, I second Bermuda.
Post # 5
Why not Puerto Rico? I’ve been there a couple times, and it’s large enough that there’s lots to do as well as many gorgeous beaches that aren’t overrun with tourists.
Post # 6
Highly recommend Great Exuma Island. It was not affected by Dorian, has stunningly beautiful beaches, is low-key and absolute PARADISE. You can find an economical rental and there are many activities of which to take advantage. The snorkeling is top notch. Locals are so wonderful. It is just a magical place. But if you go expecting a resort experience…it is not that (and to me, that’s a good thing!).
Post # 7
What do you think about cruise vacation? Not everyone likes it but personally, I think it’s one of the best ways to visit several countries. I’ve been on three cruises, It is wonderful. No stress of planning where you go, looking for great restaurants etc. Highly recommend thinking about it https://travelsites.com/best-cruise-sites/
Post # 8
Tobago is wonderful. Have a look at the My Tobago site.
Post # 9
Aruba is very arid, so think more desert/cactus vs lush rainforest. I’d nix it if you’re looking for nature adventure.
Post # 10
I just got back from 4 Nights all incl. vacation in Jamaica. I stayed 4 nights at Grand Palladium resort incl flight from orlando ( or other place in US ) paid only 689 all in. ( flights, transfer from airport, hotel oceanview ) Jamaica is pretty and people is fun 🙂
Post # 11
Have you consit Costa Rica? As non partier, outdoorsy types it seems like a great fit! No sense wasting your money on all inclusive resorts that cater to big drinkers.
Post # 12
sboom : I agree with this.
futuremrspk : Costa Rica is one of those desitnations that is a perfect fit for so many different types of people! All-inclusives can be a great option for people because they are more cost-effictive but I feel like AI’s are meant for the non-adventurous vacationer. It has beaches, mountains, hiking, etc. I would split my time between the Arenal Volcano area to experience the beauty of the rainforrest and adventure activies and then spend the second part at the beach. We usually go near Jaco, but the only downside is you aren’t getting those white sand beaches.
Don’t count out the Bahamas. It’s a massive chaine and there are plenty of islands that were not affected by the hurricane and they gladly welcome your tourism to help get their country back on it’s feet.
Bermuda is nice, but IMO it’s very expensive for what it is. Certainly not for the budget traveler.
When you say on a budget, what does that mean? Budget concious means different things to different people. At the end of the day the most cost-effective options is probably going to be an AI in the Cancun area. Flights into CUN are abundant and often reasonable, and you can pick a nice AI and spend your days on the beach with all meals + drinks included.
Post # 13
I feel like I’ve been to almost every island in the Caribbean. My favorites are Turks and Caicos and Aruba. Turks and Caicos had the best water and beaches and food in my opinion. Aruba has perfect weather. We are actually going to Aruba in February and Turks and Caicos in May. Aruba is overall a great vacation and usually more reasonable prices than Turks and Caicos and the food is good.
My least favorites by far were Jamaica and Dominican Republic.
I enjoyed Puerto Rico, St Thomas, Bermuda, Bahamas, St Lucia, Antigua, and Grand Cayman but I just loved Turks and Caicos so much more.
For a nature outdoorsy vacation I would see about Costa Rica, too, the beaches arent’a always WHITE sand with that super blue water, some are “black” sand beaches but it’s great for outdoor activities.
Post # 15
futuremrspk : I’ve been to a lot of Caribbean islands and they’re all gorgeous! Like PP said, not all of the Bahamas was impacted by Dorian – I would not rule that out. I am going to Exuma later this year and super excite! I have never been, but my family says that it is their favorite location.
Personally St. Lucia was my favorite island to date. They have hot springs, hiking, and gorgeous beaches. It is a very lush island (as is Antigua). Aruba is also beautiful if you’re looking for perfect beaches – they also have trade winds which make the hot temperatures more pleasant; however, it is pretty flat and desert-y.