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Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

Dallas
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120 posts
7 reviews
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Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

Hi,

My husband, and our daughter (13) and son (11) and I are ready to book our fifth year for a Carribean vacation to snorkel and adventure around an interesting island.

We have vacationed in St. John, Curacao, Tulum, and Roatan, and are really interested in finding a comfortable, affordable condo in Turks and Caicos from which we can venture out on our own (via rental car, to explore beaches or excursions) to explore and snorkel to our hearts' content! It IS important to us to have excellent snorkeling in the location where we are staying.

My question is: I have found two affordable condo options on Grace Bay, Coral Gardens and Reef Residences( supposed to be not ON beach, but just a short pathway from beach). We plan to eat breakfast and lunch in condo, and dine out only at night.

Any thoughts on which of these to choose? OR...any other condo recs?

Thanks!

Concord, North...
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129 posts
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1. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

We stay at Coral Gardens every year and we love it ... i stay in the water so having Bight reef right there is awesome! The shallow area is mostly "dead" now from idiots thinking the coral are rocks to be stood on ....but still has alot of fish. The deeper area up to 20ft is still very much alive and well and with some of the coral heads rising up to 5-10ft below the surface, depending on the tide, Yoou can still get close enough to see many different species of fish coral and everything in between!

Smith Reef is only a mile or so down the road near Turtle Cove so check that out and plenty of excursions available!

Check out my review of Coral Gardens from two years ago (didnt change last year) that should help make your decision. Ive heard nothing good about Reef Residences (RR) so be careful when making your decision. YOu have so many more advantages staying at Coral Gardens inlcuding use of the permanant umbrellas, chairs and fresh towels everyday and great beach staff ...i dont believe RR offers any of this but could be wrong ...asking a CG owner now so will post what i hear! If you have any questions feel free to send me a message ... this will be our third year at CG so know it well! Anyway hope this helps!

Ps try USAirways Vacations ...they have always had great deals for CG ...

Dallas
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120 posts
7 reviews
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2. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

Hi, there!

Thank you SO much for your helpful reply! I do believe the portion of beach in this part of Grace Bay, specifically Bight Reef, looks beautiful! Honestly, we aren't even IN our condo very often, typically rent a jeep, and would enjoy exploring around all over, snorkeling both here at condo, and prob also at many other beaches and cays around this island! We did get a really good deal (essentially getting a two bedroom courtyard unit for price of one bedroom) at Reef Residences and it looks, at the very least, new and nicely kept.. We really just use the room to "crash" in at night, so just hard to know whether it would be worth the extra $$ to go to Coral Gardens, and downsizing to a one bedroom at that. Apparently from the TA info and from the traveler reviews of RR, they DO provide beach chairs and tan colored umbrellas on their beach area, and those are shown in the photos. But, you give CG a great review, as others have, so we will take a other look, and maybe we can get a little better rate than they show online?

We are just looking at some aerial/satellite views of tar island to see how the reef looks from there. Sure appreciate your helpful feedback, and I will read your TA review of CG...and welcome any other info you would like to pass along!

Concord, North...
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129 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

Yea ...i did alot of research before our first trip and met a few owners once we stayed there so i may be a bit biased! ...lol!!! We also are rarely in the condo but have always liked an ocean view so when we are in the room....we can still see it ...if i could sleep in the water with my fins and mask ..i would....... as for exploring the island ....we've been just about everywhere with no problems but there have been some issues in the very remote places such as Malcolms Beach or West Harbor Bluff .... so just be aware of your surroundings!!! 99% of the people on Provo are the nicest, friendliest people you will ever meet but theres always that one!!! Have a great trip!

Providenciales
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1,553 posts
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4. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

You can also ck vrbo. That is rentals by owners. You should also try CoralGardensongracebay.com to see if the rates are less expensive.

The unbrellas for Reef Res is right by the beach access path and there are only a few.

Santa Rosa...
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40 posts
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5. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

Hi wsjacole, Our family are also avid snorkelers. Since we have been doing this for at least 20 years we have been most of the same places you have and a few more Our last trip was a week on Roatan in a house at Spooky Channel. Do you know the place by chance? We are going to be in Provo in October. As always I am doing a lot of research. That is half the fun of visiting new places.

I don't know if you have considered it or not but the best snorkeling we have ever done was on the island of Bonaire. They have been protecting the reefs since the 70's and they are second only to The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. What makes Bonaire better, in my opinion, is that all the reefs are close to shore and you just walk in. There are at least 100 marked sites that you can enter from. In Australia it took a 45 minute boat ride to get to the reef. If you haven't checked out Bonaire you might look into it. Its been a while since we were there but if I can be of any help let me know. Keep floating.

Santa Rosa...
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40 posts
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6. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

Hi wsjacole, Our family are also avid snorkelers. Since we have been doing this for at least 20 years we have been most of the same places you have and a few more Our last trip was a week on Roatan in a house at Spooky Channel. Do you know the place by chance? We are going to be in Provo in October. As always I am doing a lot of research. That is half the fun of visiting new places.

I don't know if you have considered it or not but the best snorkeling we have ever done was on the island of Bonaire. They have been protecting the reefs since the 70's and they are second only to The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. What makes Bonaire better, in my opinion, is that all the reefs are close to shore and you just walk in. There are at least 100 marked sites that you can enter from. In Australia it took a 45 minute boat ride to get to the reef. If you haven't checked out Bonaire you might look into it. Its been a while since we were there but if I can be of any help let me know. Keep floating.

United States
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458 posts
10 reviews
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7. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

I stayed at Coral Gardens last year and did not like it for several reasons: small pools, poor landscaping and could not add restaurnt charge to hotel bill as they are separate. Tried to get service for non-working remote and was told it was an individually owned condo and they could not help me .... until I insisted.

NJ
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1,387 posts
132 reviews
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8. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

wsjacole, you can check out Atlantic Ocean Beach Villas at Turtle Cove. It is very close to the reef, affordable and very spacious and good as a family accommodations. Just google it. We were staying there last December and going again at the same time this year with friends.

Hobe Sound, Florida
12 posts
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9. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

If you like the area stay at Windsong, we did last year and loved it!! Right on the beach next to Coral Gardens and in front of the Reef Residences.

10. Re: Reef Residences or Coral Gardens for Avid Snorkeling Family?

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