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First time to Caribbean, which island??????

oregon
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First time to Caribbean, which island??????

I've been to Hawaii numerous times, and West coast Mexico, and will finally make it to the Caribbean next year. Thought about a cruise ship but my ideal vacation is a beach. I don't want to rush and have to get back to the ship. So, I've narrowed it down and am going to post this in each island's forum. I'd like honest opinions on which would be best for a first time visitor's beach/water vacation. The whiter the sand and bluer the water the better. I love just sitting and looking at the beach, but also love snorkeling. Also thinking about starting scuba lessons.

And if you could throw in places to stay that would be appreciated. I've looked at the Club Med sites and was wondering if they are best.

Thank you so much!

Jersey City, New...
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for Anguilla, St. Lucia
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1. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

Anguilla has some of the whitest sand on the planet and sparkling turquoise seas. Plus good shore snorkeling from Shoal Bay East and wonderful restaurants. There are no all-inclusives on the island but if you like CM then look a Cuisinart, Covecastles or Cap Juluca all high end resorts.

Provo in Turks & Caicos would be the next choice though I found Grace Bay waaaaayy over developed. Still, they do have pretty beaches, decent snorkeling and it's a very popular destination.

St. John is another great choice. Better snorkeling than Provo IMHO.

Ambergris Cay in Belize is another great location for snorkeling.

Negril in Jamaica has super AI's, Couples Swept Away has one of the best water sports programs ever. I got my PADI scuba certification there last June and did night snorkeling for the first time...amazing.

oregon
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2. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

Thanks! I'll add Anguilla to my list! Sounds like it has what I'm looking for.

North Carolina
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3. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

I'm not sure all of the islands you are looking at, but I would second the suggestion of Anguilla - beautiful beaches, lots of lodging options including villas and great food/bars.

I would also suggest St. Barts - the Euro is down a bit off of it's early 2008 exchange, villas in particular are plentiful and the beaches are gorgeous. Plus it has a vibe somewhat different than most of the islands.

We were at Royal West Indies in Provo (Grace Bay) a few months ago and I will say the beach and water is a turquoise there as any I've seen but it is more developed than Anguilla and St. Barts. The Club Med was right next door and looked perfectly acceptable. They also handle all the onsite water activities you would want.

If you are in to Hawaii because of the scenery, I would say St. Lucia comes as close as anything in the Caribbean. The southern part is relatively undeveloped. Anse Chastanet and Ladera (my favorite) are both beautiful and the Pitons are right in front of you - rain forests, waterfalls, etc are nearby. Both of these are unique properties though and Ladera is not on the beach.

Finally, the Grenadines have some great places. You almost need to be on a sail charter to see everything but Petit St. Vincent is very quiet and secluded with reasonable access to the Tobago Cays. Raffles on Canouan is larger but is also very nice (and expensive), although the island itself is nothing special, in my opinion.

Washington DC...
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for St. Thomas
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4. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

I love the Virgins, so I'm going to throw out some other suggestions. If you like snorkeling, you won't find better snorkeling anywhere than the USVI and BVI. And there are numerous excellent dive sites and good programs to get you certified on holiday. The beaches in the Virgins are not the long open stretches you see on some Caribbean islands. Most Virgin beaches are in half-moon coves around the islands. Very picturesque -- lush green mountains, white beaches, blue water.

Guana Island...in the BVI. Blindingly white sand, clear aqua water, and a reef right offshore that you can swim to and see many fish, lots of variety. This is a private island that has only 35-40 guests at any one time, so it's like visiting a friend's private estate. Wonderful service, outstanding views, from cottages that skirt one of the highest ridges on the island (from some, including the "living room" of the main house) you can look in one direction and see the Caribbean and in the other and see the Atlantic -- all from the same room! A truly, get-away-from-it-all vacation.

Also consider Peter Island or Little Dix Bay in the BVI or Caneel Bay on St. John in the USVI. All have gorgeous white beaches with clear blue water and good snorkeling.

My favorite of the Hawaiian islands used to be Kauai, the beautiful stretches at Lumahai Beach and Hanalei Bay...until I first went to Caneel Bay on St. John in the USVI. Although I have fond memories of Kauai, I never needed to go back.

St. Thomas
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5. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

I found your Question to be interesting enough to go and read a number of the threads you responded to on the Hawaiian forum.

St John's Caneel Bay may be a place you would enjoy if you don't want to rent a villa -[ they come in all sizes in STJ though but few are beachfront] - there is enough to do on STJ if you rent a car and travel to the different areas and beaches - there are definitely many excellent snorkeling opportunities and wonderful white sand beaches. The town of Cruz Bay has a variety of dining and shopping venues but is still a walking village. Coral Bay is much more of a laid back relaxed community but that appeals to many people who want a quieter slice of the Caribbean lifestyle. There is not a lot of glitz or bling to be seen in STJ.

St Barth's may well fit your question as asked - it has plenty of upscale casual chic islandwide but many more beachfront accommodations. Not the snorkeling variety of STJ but the town of Gustavia is a jewel of dining and shopping with a very low key ambiance.The island itself is a dollop of France with a strong dash of Caribbean seasoning.

Anguilla has the sandiest shoreline of any island with a wide spectrum of accommodations.

Anegada has even sandier shores but limited hotel rooms - great snorkeling too.

The whole Bahama chain has beautiful beaches and water and merits a look for you.

SE USA
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6. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

One other point I just thought of that you may want to consider....some islands have great snorkeling nearby that you can go to via boat and some islands have awesome snorkeling that you can get do by walking into the water from the shore (shore diving).

Most of what I've heard about Provo is that the reefs are a bit offshore....in STJ USVI many reefs can be seen by walking into the water from shore...very convenient. Check out some details...

virgin-islands-on-line.com/forum/…

virgin-islands-on-line.com/forum/…

oregon
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7. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

Thanks for the info & pictures. I am definately going to look into the USVI's more. I'm getting it narrowed down!

Chicago
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8. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

Trinidad and Tobago the "sister jewel islands of the southern carribean" are good because one is a more urban island and then you can head off to relaxation and beach life on the other. If you get bored, head back to Trinidad and go to the disco.

St-lambert
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9. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

Hello

When and how will you travel from Islands to Island, because I thinking of doing the same thing in April for two weeks.

Au Revoir

10. Re: First time to Caribbean, which island??????

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