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Anguilla or Curacao?

Stockholm
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722 posts
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Anguilla or Curacao?

I'm planning a stay at S:t Maarten and are thinking of different combinations to see the most of it for a 14 nights stay next winter. My first thought was to start at S:t maarten and then go to Curacao for some diving.

On the other hand, there are some islands more nearby, like Anguilla (looks lovely) and S:t Barths (interesting for a Swede but also seems much more posh and expensive?)

I know it is hard to tell anyone else what to do but can you give some recommendations? We are trying o avoid the crowds and are thinking of a visit from dec 10 (prices are really ridicoulous if you go 2 weeks later). A weather question. Is it usually mostly sunny and 25 C (F?) during this time or is it common that the hurricane season stretches into dec?

Grateful for all answers (from a chilly Swede, - 22 C in Stockholm and more than -40 C in the north of the country right now..)

Arlington, VA
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1. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

We went to Anguilla last year in May and to Curacao in January this year. We loved both islands for different reasons. Both islands were beautiful and fairly uncrowded when we were there. I think it just depends on what you are looking for. Here's what I think are some pros cons of each-

Anguilla- The island is somewhat flat and scrubby. Not much scenery except for the beaches. It will be easier to get to from St. Martin because you can just take the 30 minute ferry ride. The island has the best beaches and water colors in the Caribbean in my opinion. It also has the best restaurants I have ever experienced on an island- anywhere. The people are some of the friendliest I have ever met. The snorkeling left a lot to be desired (we don't dive). The island is much smaller than Curacao and very easy to get around by car (drive on the left). It's a very relaxing island, but there are plenty of activities if you look for them. There is not much of a town and shopping to speak of. But we did find a great gallery where we bought items from a local artist. We loved the gorgeous beaches, water and overall feel of the island and will definitely return to Anguilla one day.

Curacao- Larger than Anguilla, the island is hilly and very dry (cactus everywhere). It's a little more scenic than Anguilla, but it's not green. All of the beaches we visited were rocky--I'd highly recommend water shoes. But the snorkeling directly from the beach and by boat was amazing-- the best I have seen in the Caribbean. And that's why I will be back to the island one day. It's known as a great dive destination too. The island in general, accommodations and restaurants were much less expensive than in Anguilla. The island has a European (Dutch) feel. We also found it easy to drive around (drive on the right), but we did get lost in the Capital a couple of times. The food was not a highlight to me on this island like it was on Anguilla. There is some shopping-- the usual cruise ship stores. But I had a hard time finding local artists who I usually like to buy things from (but maybe I just didn't look in the right place).

Hope this helps!

Stockholm
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722 posts
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2. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

Thank you Laurenj31! It does help! After your answer it feels like I have to do both Islands. I'm pretty certain that I Will Do a stop at St Maarten and from there it is close to Anguilla. I think I wil do a short stop at this island but still spend a couple of nights here (2) to be able to explore the beaches and food. Do you think it is a big difference in weather in mid dec compared to jan or feb? I Don't mind some quick showers but it would be sad if it rained all day long after travelling from Europe for some sun.

Curacao seems to offer more, Willhelmstad and diving and snorkelling. As a Hilton gold I've got 4-5 nights for free so I'm thinking of making a longer stay here. I like to rent a car and do some exploring by myself. The route would be 5 night St Maarten and exploring Pinel Island, 2 nights at Anguilla and 6-7 nights at Curacao. Does it seem like an ok planning for a first visitor to the Caribbean?

Texas
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372 posts
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3. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

Unless they have remodeled the Curacao Hilton in the last few years.......it was in desperate need of a remodel when I stayed there a few years ago. Just thought you might want to confirm before you book there for almost a week.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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4. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

The temperature in Anguilla in December generally has highs of 26-29°C. Lows are a few degrees cooler, maybe 22-25°C. Quite wonderful. I don't have experience withCuracao at that time of year, but the highs are a little higher.

One thing about December in Anguilla: many hotel rates change dramatically after the 15th and the island gets more and more crowded. That $175 hotel room is likely to shoot up to around $400. Away from high season there are some very attractive rates. Good luck.

Boston
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5. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

St Bart alto very French has a Swedish heritage, don't remeber the detail , the town is Gustavia, (King Gustaf), You could easily do a day trip from St. M

Southern Pines...
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6. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

We've been to both islands several times and think that laurenj31 said it all perfectly! My concern is that the itinerary will have you in transit or preparing for transit too much of your vacation--we did multiple islands early in our Caribbean years but learned that the transit part is not what a Caribbean trip should be for us. Don't forget the RELAX part! Have a great trip!

Leesburg, Florida
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7. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

If it were me I would skip St Maarten and do Anguilla and Curacao.

Stockholm
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722 posts
48 reviews
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8. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

I'm up for a tough choice it seems like! We are thinking of going in dec to cut the cost, and it looks like a dramaticallt big difference. How are the prices in late jan/early feb, still peakseason?

I'm thinking of taking the advice not to jump around too much as this would be my first caribbean trip, but the fact that Anguilla is only a short ferry from S:t Maarten and also sounds lovely to visit makes me wanna go. Perhaps cut some night at S:t Maarten and add one in Anguilla?

I agree about the Curacao Hilton. I have read some reviews saying it is an old hotel, but can it be that bad? I have been looking at Avila next to it

http://www.avilahotel.com/

But if it is on the same beach, I'm gold member and gets exex rooms and lounge and maybe 4-5 free nights it is still in the competition.

Another question. If we decide to visit S:t Maarten, what is the biggest difference between Anguila and S:t Barth (except for the fact that S:t Barth is more expensive?). If visiting another island I think we will stick to one of these two. Best beaches, restaurants and scenery?

I love this forum!

Pelle

Texas
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9. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

Pelle.....that hotel (Avila) looks great. If the pictures on the website are at all reflective of the hotel accomodations I would highly recommend it over the Hilton. I was in a suite when I stayed there and it was disgusting. Thankfully I was only there on business and only for two nights.....so little time spent at the hotel If you are going to stay for a week on vacation......I am not sure you will be very happy.

Stockholm
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722 posts
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10. Re: Anguilla or Curacao?

@ samstevens

I'm thinking in the same direction. After all, I have heard numerous reports saying that The Hilton in Curacao is a bit rundown and old so perhaps I should save my hhonors point for elsewhere. And I have been recommended Avila so if I visit Curacao I think that I will go for that one, it looks stunning!

@ HowardC

Is it because you find St Maarten too touristy and crowded? If we combine islands these two seems perfect because it is only a short ferry away. I think I skip St Barths instead.

@ tdoc68

I agree, maybe a bit hectic rushing around the caribbean at my first visit, but for 14 nights I think I want to explore two Islands (the thought of a cruise have come to mind, but I like staying on the islands better than the cruising I think and imagine it will be a bit stressed to only have one day at every destination)

Thanks for great recommendations!