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Choosing an island?

Downingtown...
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225 posts
60 reviews
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Choosing an island?

I've seen this question asked many times, but I'm still at a loss how to decide. My husband and I are thinking of a 10th anniversary Caribbean trip. We honeymooned at the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda and although we enjoyed that, we're looking for something a little less remote.

I'm interested in the "white sand beaches" and "crystal clear blue waters." I'd like to do some snorkeling, kayaking, and lounging. Maybe try parasailing and waterskiing. Horseback riding would be a treat. Nightlife and gourmet food are not factors. I had been leaning towards Barbados until I started reading the forums and read about all the vendors and how expensive the food was. Even though some people that if you politely tell the vendors not to the bother you they will stop, that still doesn't seem like a very pleasant vacation experience. The Bougainvillea was at the top of my list, but again, after reading the reviews, maybe I should be looking at the west coast?

And after reading these forums, I started looking at St. John's and the Turks & Caicos. Those are a bit more expensive than what I originally was looking at, but I guess you get what you pay for?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Burlington, Canada
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8,075 posts
65 reviews
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1. Re: Choosing an island?

Usually when people get on the forum and ask for "advice" they're asked for "What they like". In this case you obviously want what is available in Barbados, sun, clear turquoise waters, snorkeling, water sports and horseback riding.

When I read some of the reviews about vendors I have to put things into perspective, Vendors in Barbados are regulated which is not always the case on other islands. They are coralled in a designated areas and the local authorities are quite strict. So it is not a problem. Plus when someone does approach you out of the designated areas they are very polite and if you say NO politiely they just go away. There is no persistence on their part at all. These are not street people or traditional pan handlers.

In terms of costs for food you have to remember anywhere in the Caribbean food is imported so it's going to be a bit more. Once again though when I look at the exchange rate from US to Barbados it's fixed at $1 US to $1.98 BDS. So when you see any prices just divide by 2 and you'll be able to compare prices to US values.

In terms of security Barbados is the safest place in the Caribbean, that does not mean you should not be careful just as you would back home but it is extremely safe.

Go to the following websites and take a look at various places, it sounds like you might want to try self catering. First it is less expensive and secondly it gives you quite a bit of flexibility to eat out and not be tied down to one place for meals.

barbadosrockleyvacations.com/mapandinfo.htm

www.barbados.org

www.visitbarbados.org

So the choice is yours but you will find what you want and at a relatively reasonable price if you look around on those web sites.

US
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189 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Choosing an island?

Turks and Caicos is great for diving, but the rest of the island is downright boring. We did not find the snorkeling to be convenient or worth the effort. In Grace Bay, the prime area, there's no vegetation close to the beach, and most of the restaruants have no view. The island is booming with construction, and has its own share of problems related to bringing in outside workers. It's becoming one condo complex after the next, 5 or 6 stories high. It's not convenient to get around, despite the "Gecko" which runs between spots and is fairly expenvsive.

St. John was pleasant, but you wind up driving to most of the beaches. The snorkeling there was fantastic, but Barbados had some equally good spots. It takes effort to enjoy the beach there, where in Barbados, the beach is often right off your door.

We've never found the vendors to be a problem in Barbados, and, in fact, they usually remember us from one year to the next, and share some kind words. Just politely say you're not interested.

It do think that food is more expensive in Barbados than Provo, but it's less American--there are quality food producers on the Barbados, and, if you stick with local products, it's not so bad.

Hampshire UK
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3 reviews
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3. Re: Choosing an island?

I'm sure you would find Barbados GREAT, but if you want the best of blue seas/white sand & snorkling how about all or part of your time in the Grenadines?

Kent. UK
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543 posts
21 reviews
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4. Re: Choosing an island?

Agree with John the snorkeling around the Grenadines, especially Tobago Cays is brilliant. Crystal clear sea and pristine coral reefs.

Two centre holiday may be a good option.

Good reefs on the West Coast at Folkestone and Paynes Bay.

Generaly see horseriders on the beach at Paynes Bay around sunset so this is also available.

There are reasonably priced restaurants on the West Coast and we have never found the beach vendors a problem.

5. Re: Choosing an island?

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