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if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

Washington State
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if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

This would be our first trip to the Caribbean (unless you count Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I don't know if that is technically considered the Caribbean or not). If you had to choose 1 Caribbean island, which one would it be and why? We would be looking for calm water, great beach, nice snorkeling, and a relaxing get away. We have considered a cruise (which would be our first one also), but I think staying in 1 location would be nice too. Any thoughts????

New York
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1. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

I'm hoping it will be Aruba. (wink)

As of now, I have visited: Bahamas, Bermuda, Jamaica, St. John Dominica, Turks & Caicos, Barbados and St. Maarten.

I liked Bermuda and Turks & Caicos the most....but I'm STILL searching for my perfect island.

New York
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2. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

Edited because I forgot the Cayman Islands....which were, in retrospect, my favorite island.

I can't wait to get to Aruba in April!!!!

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

This is not even close. St. Bart. Great beaches, amazing food. Expensive, but you get what you pay for.

Toronto
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4. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

Just returned from Aruba and a bit disappointed with the beaches - they are all public, which is great, but if you are not at a beach where there is a resort that keeps the beach area in front of it clean, be aware that discarded cigarette butts, bottle tops etc do not get cleaned up. No public washrooms near the beaches, so if there is not a resort near the beach you are at this can be a problem. Also in some areas there is construction going on in the background and the road or parking lot is often very near the beach.

Incredibly windy at this time of year - unpleasantly so at times, sand whips at you, so you need to find one of the few palm shelters or rent a 'tent' sort of thing for ridiculous rates ($31/day at Baby Beach).

Re Baby Beach - nice shallow clean water, a lagoon really, great for kids, but the main view is of an oil refinery!

Also, when sailing along the south west coast, the main views were of the airport, cargoe terminal, desalination plant and garbage dump!

Aruba has great restaurants and incredibly friendly people, the water is clean & beautiful, the snorkeling is not bad, and it is an interesting place to visit. We had a nice relaxing sun-sea-sand holiday, but it is not an 'untouched tropical paradise'.

We went to Negril last year and enjoyed that a lot more.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

I have to go to Aruba for a business meeting, and I have to admit, part of me is dreading it. I am used to some pretty nice places, and nothing that I have read makes it seem that Aruba will come close to the scenery of Maui or even Jamaica, the beaches of Maui, Bahamas, Jamaica, or St. Bart, the history of Antigua, or the food of Maui or St. Bart.

Cigarette filled beaches, no shade unless you are up at the equivalent of 5:00 a.m. Chicago time, and oil refinery views -- Sounds like a great place.

Indiana
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6. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

We get a free trip anywhere in the world every year and we have been all over. Aruba is the only place we ever go now. Our 15th trip has just ended and we have 2 more planned. Great food, great snorkling, great people, the marriotts are fabulous, great weather, great beaches and so on. Kent

Beverly Hills...
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7. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

Skeeter & Rhiannonet...

I know this little place at St. Kitt's ( a mere $6K a day US) that you will adore....I will be delighted to process your black Amex card!

Sorry ya don't like our island...but then again, if we all liked the same places it would be well...like being with you guys!

I wish you well in your search for paradise...I found mine!

jl
Waltham...
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8. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

Different strokes for different folks, as they say! There are many islands, each with its pros and cons, however, dirty beaches is not one way in which I would describe Aruba. I have not encountered that problem in all of our visits, other than the occasional piece of trash here and there, which is normal for any island, and there are always people cleaning up. It also depends on where you stay with the palapa and wind situation. More crowds at Palm than Eagle, which means getting up earlier (usually) to secure a front row palapa. Aruba is certainly more americanized, no doubt about that, and may be more crowded, but keep in mind it's not a very large island.

There is a reason why it is well known that Aruba has more repeat visitors than most other islands.

I'm sure many of our repeat TA Aruba-lovers will agree with what I've said. We love Aruba, have been to 3 other locations, and it's our favorite, hands down. It all depends on what you are looking for in a vacation. All of the things you desire seem like a perfect match to me with Aruba, however, there will be others that will differ on that opinion. Just make sure you know what you are getting into. The thing that annoys me is when people don't do their homework when it comes to traveling to Aruba, and it ends up not being at all what they thought...which in the end means they give Aruba a bad rap. Not fair, IMO. Don't blame the island if it didn't meet your expectations.

Enjoy your planning!

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

Playa,

I don't need to go $6000 per night for a great place.

I could do Maui for about $500 per night. A suite in January was $1,000 per night (we needed it so we could take the kids) St. Bart is about $700.

No refinery views. I don't recall seeing garbage on the beach at either.

And shade is available any time.

In fact, in Maui if no shade is available, they will put up an umbrella for you -- no charge at all!

Cleves, Ohio
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10. Re: if you had to choose just 1 Caribbean Island- which one?

We are heading to Aruba for our 4th trip in May/June. I have been to the Bahamas twice,Barbados, Cancun, and Riviera Maya. The Bahamas and Barbados are lush and green. I thought the beaches in Nassau were nice. Barbados was gorgeous but really expensive.

Aruba is a desert island. I love the beaches. We snorkel at Boca Catalina. There are shade palapas there but no facilities. We explore on our own on the windward side of the island(East Coast) It has it's own beauty.

Baby Beach is nice with calm water and good snorkeling. It is true that there is a view of the Lago Oil refinery. The refinery is part of the history of the island. It's there. The cargo terminal mentioned in a previous post is necessary for the commerce on the island. If there was no cargo terminal there would be no tourism since most everything has to be imported from elsewhere.

We have found great dining, met great friends that we see every year, and most of all vacation is all in what you make of it. Just a different point of view.

BTW Cancun etc.. is not considered the Caribbean