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Need Help - Barbados trip planning

Kingston, Canada
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Need Help - Barbados trip planning

Hi Everyone,

I'm hoping to gain some valuable insight here. Sorry for the long post, but I'm hoping I can paint an accurate picture to help with the advice.

My wife and I are planning a "last hurrah!" of sorts - we're expecting our first child in November, so we're taking this opportunity to have one last romantic couple vacation.

This means that my wife is 4 months pregnant for this trip, but she's in great shape and so far (fingers crossed) not having a difficult time of it.

We're looking to travel in late June (about 2 weeks from now - yes, I know, very last minute). Recently we've really enjoyed renting villas when we travel, as we like the privacy and self-sufficiency. Our typical trip involves a leisurely morning waking up and lounging in the sun reading, followed by some sort of day-trip to do something fun, but returning to the villa in the evening and having a drink on the patio. In other words, we aren't late-night partiers. In terms of day-trips, we like to do a bit of shopping, take in the local architecture, some light hiking/walking on beaches, jet skiing, and hopefully this trip I can convince her to try snorkeling. I would classify us as low-to-mid level adventurers who travel to relax and have fun.

So after this long intro, I have a few questions:

1) Has anyone recently stayed at the villa Altamar at Shark's Hole? What was your experience there? Do you think the 'sea breeze' will be enough to cool things off for sleeping? (no a/c in the villa)

2) We have an alternate villa available on St. Croix (USVI) that we're considering - it seems to be a little bit nicer in terms of the furnishings, but comes at a higher price tag as well, and St. Croix is a little tougher to get to, flights-wise. Given the description I've given, can someone comment as to whether Barbados or St. Croix would be better suited for the type of vacation we want?

3) We'll likely divide our time between eating in (breakfasts, some dinners) and eating out. Any must-see/eat restaurants? My wife's not a big fish/seafood person but I'll eat just about anything.

4) Any recommendations for quality, reputable companies to do some snorkeling? What about renting jet skis?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,

Martin

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
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1. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

We will be going to Barbados for our first trip at around the same time as you. Last summer, we went to St. Croix for the first time. I loved that island, but you will need a rental car to get around to see all parts of it, which is worth the effort. Very nice stretches of beach all around. I found lodging (we choose condos) to be less expensive on STX and I'm not sure it is the right place to spend a large amount of money. It is often described as the "lesser" of the USVIs. I imagine it is how many Caribbean islands used to be before they were built up with beachfront hotels. I loved the sugar plantation ruins, botanical garden, and the west side where it is jungly. It appealed to me, but I can see how others might not like its simplicity and how spread apart attractions are.

Barbados - as I understand - is easy to explore via bus or taxi. It is one of the reasons we chose it this year. It's nice for my husband - our driver - to enjoy his vacation and not worry about driving. Based on the better transportation, more restaurants, and the things to do (which you will find on the left side of this page), I would say that Barbados would fit your needs the best.

JENSEN BEACH
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10,958 posts
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2. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

Having been to both I think I would choose Barbados. I don't think I would go in Summer and choose a rental with no AC. There are lots of choices for rentals with ac. Either villas or condos. The island won't be too crowded in June. Be sure to visit the Bathsheba area which is lovely and unique. As for getting around with bus and taxi option, that is fine for the "in town" and St Lawrence Gap areas. To get away from all of that tho you really need a rental car or "tour". The countryside in Barbados is lovely and well worth at least a couple of days with a rental car to see more of the island.

Dunblane, United...
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3. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

Hi,

We travelled to Barbados the last two years and are going back this year because we love it so much. We have also been to Cayman Isles, Antigua and this year Martinique too.

We prefer a villa too and are staying at Royal West Moreland near Holetown. Barbados is our favourite island because it has a natural uncommercialised beauty and the people are really warm and friendly.

Its easy to hire a car and travel to almost deserted beaches all round the island. You can book snorkel trips easily and i can forward you details of the ones we used, where we swam with turtles too. We have oodles of restaurant recommendations...some quirky little places that just suit the location so if you book for definite just come back to me. Plenty beaches for long walks, and cute little towns and villages to wander around. Hope this helps.

Oakville, Canada
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4. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

Welcome to the Barbados forum. As for some of your questions:

No. 3 and No. 4 can be answered if on the left of this page you click on 'restaurants', you'll get an enormous amount of restaurants with very recent reviews. All restaurants will have non-seafood items your wife can enjoy. Also if you click on 'Things To Do' you'll also see very recent reviews of numerous venues to visit etc. As for the jet skis, most beaches will have these chaps cruising around for clients, I'd just make sure which ever one you choose they have lifejackets for your wife to wear.

Kingston, Canada
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5. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

Thanks for the quick replies everyone - much appreciated.

I was definitely worried about the a/c thing, and it turns out that another PM got back to us about one of the villas on our list (in St. Croix) that seems to meet all the needs (including AC). We'll just have to wait and do Barbados as a family of 3, I suppose. :)

Once again - thanks for the quick feedback.

Buzzards Bay...
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6. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

You can explore by bus or taxi but I would still recommend a rental. It gives a lot more flexibility, less down time, and ultimately it may cost less than having to pay for taxis.

JENSEN BEACH
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7. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

Enjoy St Croix... I would see it as a "Primer" for the much more lush and lovely Barbados. St Croix will definitely be very hot so AC will be welcome. Less snorkeling opportunity there, most is by boat only. Buck Island, snorkeling there is very good and accessed by some lg catamarans. Be very watchful of your belongings and when in town there guard your wallet and purse.. St Croix has an extremely high rate of petty crimes. Those I know who frequent St Croix avoid the downtown after dark these days. Your villa should be fine just keep it locked up when you are not there and when you go to bed at night. If you visit the beaches in a rental car, don't leave anything inside visible and it's best just to leave it unlocked to avoid those "petty" theft guys who like to smash the window and ck out the inside when the car is locked. The beaches there are lovely on both sides of the island!

Santa Monica, CA
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8. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

Martin: Please be sure to check out the St. Croix forum and ask questions of the very helpful people there. We had absolutely no problems with theft of any kind. Usual safety precautions apply anywhere you travel. Additionally, there is plenty of shore snorkeling as that island is ringed by a reef. Have a great time. I know I did!

9. Re: Need Help - Barbados trip planning

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