I'm a woman in my early 30s, and because I just got a new job, I've decided I should take the opportunity to treat myself to a Caribbean trip to get my Open Water diving certification, and to get rid of stress that built up over the job search process.
I will likely go for a week, so if I love diving, then I'd keep doing it after the PADI course, but otherwise I think it would be nice to go somewhere with appeal above the water too - relaxing beaches, nature, and culture as well. As for lodging, budget is a concern - ideally I'd like to spend <100 / night. I've never done a real resort thing, and they're not really my style, but I've only traveled alone in more populated cities in the past.
I've been navigating the infinite combinations of Caribbean islands, and I think the Lesser Antilles seem most blissful and interesting above and below the water (St Lucia and the US Virgin Islands came really close too, but I'll save those for when I travel with someone else). I can fly to either Curacao or Aruba for about the same amount, so which do you guys recommend as a better base if I just want to relax and wander? I'll probably go for a week, so I could also hop between them (or add Bonaire instead of one of the others?)...
Any advice about a relaxing trip for a 30-year old solo female traveler would be hugely appreciated. I hope to buy tickets and go ASAP. Thanks!