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Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

socalmatt
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Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

I asked a question in this forum earlier this week looking for help finding the perfect destination. In summary, we are looking for a beach vacation for about a week in April 2014. Ideally, we want someplace with the right balance of seclusion and also being somewhat close to places to eat etc., clear water for snorkeling right off the beach, but also a place with something to do other than lay on the beach, swim and snorkel. We like to explore and don't want to be stuck at a resort. Not necessarily looking for something fancy. We are traveling for Southern California.

So far, this is the best I've come up with: http://www.atlanticbeachfrontvillas.com/

Affordable villas in Turks & Caicos. I like that the place comes with kayaks and bikes for exploring. There seem to be a number of restaurants nearby. The villas are along a popular beach, but I like that the beach is long and so we can walk a bit if we want to get away from crowds (although these villas are outside the main resort area.) In looking at some of the other islands, it seems that those with steeper mountains have much smaller beaches, making it harder to get away, if that makes sense.

My only problem is that there doesn't seem to be much to do on Provo compared to some other islands around the world. No mountain hikes or waterfalls, no real wildlife other than birds and some iguanas on nearby keys. Other than that, it looks just about perfect.

We've been to Hawaii and think it's great, but wanted to try someplace else for this trip (unless someone knows the perfect place in hawaii that is outside the main areas and has calm water.)

Looked at Moorea/Tahiti, which looks beautiful, but doesn't really have many beaches, it seems like we would be stuck at the resorts. St. Lucia looks like it has potential but, like I mentioned, didn't seem to have a bunch of secluded beaches that are easily accessible where we can explore. Some places in Fiji looked nice but difficult to get to and expensive. We are trying to stay around/under $2,000 a person including airfare.

Anyways, any suggestions of someplace that might meet our criteria a little better?

Marietta, Georgia
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1. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

First, I suspect that your budget may be stretched a bit to stay at those villas. That is still in the high season and rates will be high. (I'm assuming two traveling together. If more staying in one villa it may work better.) These villas are not in the middle of Grace Bay activities, but being close to the marina area is a close second. You would want/need a car to explore very much.

You are correct that Provo is all about the beach and related activities; snorkeling diving, sailing, paddle-boarding, kayaking, and most important, walking the beach. It sounds like Provo meets all your "wants" except the off-the-beach" part. There is little shopping or cultural activities, little sightseeing off the beach/water (although there are a couple of beautiful bays also).

As you suggest, the islands that have great beaches generally don't have the scenic interiors and the islands with mountains and waterfalls don't have many beaches. I'll suggest some other possibilities:

Jamaica: good beaches (Negril is probably best) and also beautiful country. We didn't like the aggressive vendors and feeling that it was not good/safe to leave your resort.

Antigua: There are supposed to be 365 beaches, one for each day of the year. None of them are nearly as nice as Grace bay Beach, but there are some nice views, especially from Shirley Heights, overlooking the harbor. Some very interesting history, with the oldest boatyard in the hemisphere.

Anguilla: some compare it to Provo, but with more, smaller beaches and probably less developed. Some activities on the island, but also St Martin/Marteen is only a short ferry ride or flight away.

I think Provo is worth a visit, but you can also check into the other islands.

Syracuse, New York
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2. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

You might want to look into Grand Cayman. Seven Mile Beach has condos in the central part that offer great beach-front, wonderful beach walking, and the island has excellent shore snorkelling and diving opportunities. The island has some of the best dining in the Caribbean, in my opinion, and a huge variety, along with shopping.

You won't find mountain hikes (I think the highest land is 80 feet above sea level) because the beauty is what is under the water.

So just something else to add to the mix.

PA
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3. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

Look at Aruba,or Belize(AMBER CAY),or Roatan!

Marietta, Georgia
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4. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

Belize is an interesting thought, but be aware that there are really no nice beaches there, especially not on Ambergris Caye. There is a "waterfront" but much of it is seawall and lots of seagrass. Some people snorkel around the docks but it wasn't that great and the boat traffic made me nervous. The snorkeling/diving via boat is very good, including the Hoi Chan marine park. There are some non-water activities (Mayan ruins, cave tubing, etc.) in Belize, but most of them require a 90 minute boat ride (or 15 minute plane ride) each way back to the mainland.

Aruba has some nice beaches, but is very commercialized/developed. I think of it as a Caribbean Ft Lauderdale: Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hyatt, McDonalds, etc. Even the "low-rise" beach (Eagle Beach) is more developed than Grace Bay beach in Provo. Not much more to see than in Provo.. there is the "haystack" you can climb for a good view, and there are more excursions and much more nightlife (and some very nice casinos). The "Natural Bridge" used to be of some interest, until it collapsed.

Haven't been to Roataan, but I suspect it would be much like Belize in most respects.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

We've been the most of the places mentioned here and we visit Hawaii a couple times a year. How about St John or Virgin Gorda? We loved AOBV in Provo and would highly recommend a stay there. I thought I would be bored in TCI but we had a great 10 nights there August 2012.

socalmatt
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6. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

As AmateurGo said, Belize and Roatan didn't seem to have the off-the-shore clear water we were looking for.

Anguilla looks nice for is much more expensive to get to, at least from the West Coast.

I like the USVI but haven't found a really good place to stay yet that's affordable. I'll keep looking though! And I am checking out Grand Cayman as well.

Anyone have any non-Caribbean suggestions? We were looking at Thailand and Philippines but decided it was just too much of a trek for a one week vacation.

Thanks for all the help!

Bonaire
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7. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

You are describing St. John to a tee.

Also, Roatan has amazingly clear, beautiful water with great diving and snorkeling from the shore. It also has white sandy beaches. It is not like Belize in that regard. However, if you stay on West Bay Beach, you will not have seclusion.

Seattle, Washington
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8. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

Where in Hawaii have you been? If snorkeling really is your main goal and you want a reasonable place for a week long trip.....and you prefer to snorkel off the beach

St John

Virgin Gorda

The Big Island of Hawaii

What's your budget?

Edited: 20 September 2013, 21:49
Thunder Bay, Canada
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9. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

Just came across your post . Have you decided yet? You may want to consider Rarotonga in the Cook Islands. It would absolutely tick all your boxes! Gorgeous beaches, not too touristy, snorkelling right off the beach in the beautiful lagoons. You can choose luxury villas, resorts (none are all inclusive), smaller properties or self catering. It is lush and tropical with perfect sandy beaches for walking. Air New Zealand has weekly (Sunday) direct flights from LAX and they return from RAR on Saturday. These direct flights are the cheapest and fastest way to get there. Take a look at the Raro forum and see if it appeals to you. Feel free to PM me if you would like more details.

Nassau, New...
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10. Re: Any place better for us than Turks & Caicos?

The Bahamas!

Compass Point Beach Resort - http://www.compasspointbeachresort.com/

Or a little less secluded - Westwind II - http://www.westwind2.com/46/Resort-Layout & Westwind I - http://www.westwind1.com/index.htm

More to do in Nassau than you can do in a week, which might mean you'll have to come back?!?

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