Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA

    Caribbean Thoughts

    So after the winter from Chapel Hill (aka Hell) up here in Boston, my spouse and I have decided to look into a Caribbean jaunt this July for our 20th anniversary. We would likely go for 4-5 days, and are wondering the best spot to pick. I've only been to Nassau, and though I like it, I'm not quite sure that's what we really have in mind (it's pretty touristy, and the only really nice place to stay are the huge casinos).

    We're really looking to hang out on nice beaches, maybe hike/jog, and definitely snorkel. I've done a little research, but thought I would toss it out to the DBR crowd, knowing that at least some of you have been there done that. Any and all suggestions/tips would be great.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Quote Originally Posted by Udaman View Post
    So after the winter from Chapel Hill (aka Hell) up here in Boston, my spouse and I have decided to look into a Caribbean jaunt this July for our 20th anniversary. We would likely go for 4-5 days, and are wondering the best spot to pick. I've only been to Nassau, and though I like it, I'm not quite sure that's what we really have in mind (it's pretty touristy, and the only really nice place to stay are the huge casinos).

    We're really looking to hang out on nice beaches, maybe hike/jog, and definitely snorkel. I've done a little research, but thought I would toss it out to the DBR crowd, knowing that at least some of you have been there done that. Any and all suggestions/tips would be great.

    Thanks!
    It's not the Caribbean, but July in Bermuda is pretty nice as some of the other islands can be beastly hot. If you're looking for nightlife, Bermuda ain't the place, but
    for a safe, laid back place (not cheap but very nice) Bermuda is nice, and it's a single easy two hour flight from Bostonia. And yes, the New England winter has been brutal.

    p.s. Bermuda has a very long rail trail which is great for hiking/jogging...and very nice beaches.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Asheville
    Try the BVI's. Really, really nice.

    ricks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Depends in part if you plan to leave the resort or not.

    Bermuda is great and is much closer to first world than most of the Caribbean. I have been to a dozen or more islands in the Caribbean with beautiful beaches but which are awfully sketchy if you get out of the enclave. Bermuda has history, beaches, and culture.

    Aruba and Curacao are really nice too. Curacao has to import its sand because it is otherwise very volcanic; it is Dutch and there is a med school there so lots of young folks having a good time.

    Some nice spots in Turks and Caicos too.

    Would not go to Bahamas or Jamaica unless I plan to stay in the resort for the most part. Only so much duty free shopping you can do in the city centers.

    Caymans overrated and gets swamped by cruise ships. (Which is a different issue too -- if you go somewhere that is a cruise port, be prepared for an influx of thousands of people on certain days. Bermuda is large enough to handle it, many places get swamped IMO).


    Enjoy!
    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Bucuti & Tara in Aruba. Book it.

    We went to Aruba last summer and loved it. I can't recommend it any higher.

  6. #6
    We spent 5 days on Harbour Island in the Bahamas this year for Mrs. Mal's 40th birthday, and it was awesome. She's already planning her 50th there with 20 couples. Completely, utterly unlike Nassau or any cruise ship/Spring Break destination in the Caribbean. Partly because there's no airport, so you have to fly to Eleuthera and then take a (5 minute) boat ride across to the island, so it's not easy to get to. [Aside - this is why OPK's advice against the Bahamas as a general matter is an overly broad generalization - the Out Islands are not at all like Nassau or Freeport, which are more like the Mexican coast]. There are few cars, everyone's driving around in golf carts, and it looks like some Caribbean version of Nantucket, with brightly colored little houses in town. The dining was as good as anywhere I've been outside of Italy, France and the big foodie centers in the U.S. (truly; although the best spots are through the roof expensive). Resorts are beautiful, small in scale, intimate and romantic - this is a 20th anniversary, right? Plenty of good snorkeling on either the bay side or the ocean side. Occasional celebrity sightings, if you care. And the pink sand beach stretches the entirety of the East side of the island and is gorgeous.

    PM me if you end up choosing it and want details or rec's.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh
    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post
    We spent 5 days on Harbour Island in the Bahamas this year for Mrs. Mal's 40th birthday, and it was awesome. She's already planning her 50th there with 20 couples. Completely, utterly unlike Nassau or any cruise ship/Spring Break destination in the Caribbean. Partly because there's no airport, so you have to fly to Eleuthera and then take a (5 minute) boat ride across to the island, so it's not easy to get to. [Aside - this is why OPK's advice against the Bahamas as a general matter is an overly broad generalization - the Out Islands are not at all like Nassau or Freeport, which are more like the Mexican coast]. There are few cars, everyone's driving around in golf carts, and it looks like some Caribbean version of Nantucket, with brightly colored little houses in town. The dining was as good as anywhere I've been outside of Italy, France and the big foodie centers in the U.S. (truly; although the best spots are through the roof expensive). Resorts are beautiful, small in scale, intimate and romantic - this is a 20th anniversary, right? Plenty of good snorkeling on either the bay side or the ocean side. Occasional celebrity sightings, if you care. And the pink sand beach stretches the entirety of the East side of the island and is gorgeous.

    PM me if you end up choosing it and want details or rec's.
    This is awesome. I wasn't sure anyone else had ever heard of this place (kidding a bit). Mrs. dd and I spent our honeymoon there at the Romora Bay Diving Club several decades ago and had a fabulous time. We also took our two girls to the Atlantis resort for a spring break about 10 years ago. Kind of neat to see where they play the Battle for Atlantis MBB tourney in the "pre-season" but not enough to want to return any time soon.
    [redacted] them and the horses they rode in on.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    If you feel adventurous and want to go somewhere off the beaten path, try le--Vache, Haiti. I'm actually here right now (arrived this afternoon). It is absolutely beautiful and hasn't been commercialized yet - virtually untouched beaches. Opportunities for snorkeling, diving, biking, and hiking. If you are interested in history, Haitian history is fascinating and le--Vache is no exception; Captain Henry Morgan, of the famous rum, operated out of this island, and Lincoln attempted to set the island up as a slave relocation colony like Liberia.

    The only catch - and it is a significant one - is that it can be difficult to get to (long car ride or small plane from PAP to Les Cayes, then 45 minute boat ride to the island). As for safety, after living for the past year in southern Haiti, I would suggest that you will be safe as long as you make good decisions and plan ahead. There isn't a significant amount of unrest at the moment, but it would certainly be something to keep an eye on as the current political situation develops.


    However, I would second the BVI vote if you want a more traditional Caribbean vacation.
    Duke 2014

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North of Durham
    I highly recommend Anguilla. Most beautiful beaches I've ever seen. Very classy without feeling snooty. Great food on the island. There isn't a ton to do, but if you just want to relax on a perfect beach, you can't beat it. And it is pretty easy to get to - lots of flights to St. Maarten then a quick boat ride from there. Because the second step is involved, there are no cruise ships, which I think is a huge plus.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO
    If it were January, I would go pretty far down the island chain to be sure of warm weather. In April, anyplace is fine but check the wind predictions in the wa-a-ay south Dutch islands (Aruba, Curacao, etc.).

    Don't make this problem too hard: go to St. John's in the US Virgins. It's a ferry ride from St. Thomas and has beautiful uncrowded beaches, some of which are parks. The BVI are probably nicer and less crowded, but a bit more remote. Moreover, you are past the height of the tourist season, and most Caribbean venues will be uncrowded. A day cruise or a short trip in the Francis Drake passage (with Virgin Islands on both sides) is close to heaven on earth.

    I have also been to PR, Antigua and St. Martin's, and I can give my generally positive opinions off-line.

    And what's wrong with the Florida Keys? Well, there are few beaches but are pretty nice this time of year.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    I thought the original request was for a July destination, which is why I question some of the proposed destinations.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Sullivans Island, SC
    Quote Originally Posted by Cell-R View Post
    If you feel adventurous and want to go somewhere off the beaten path, try le--Vache, Haiti. I'm actually here right now (arrived this afternoon). It is absolutely beautiful and hasn't been commercialized yet - virtually untouched beaches. Opportunities for snorkeling, diving, biking, and hiking. If you are interested in history, Haitian history is fascinating and le--Vache is no exception; Captain Henry Morgan, of the famous rum, operated out of this island, and Lincoln attempted to set the island up as a slave relocation colony like Liberia.

    However, I would second the BVI vote if you want a more traditional Caribbean vacation.
    What's the trash/pollution like at le--Vache? I bused it over to Cap-Haitien/Labadee when I spent some time on the north coast of the DR a few years back and although the beaches/water were gorgeous from afar, there was plastic and trash everywhere. Pretty sad, actually.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Tampa
    Quote Originally Posted by devildeac View Post
    This is awesome. I wasn't sure anyone else had ever heard of this place (kidding a bit). Mrs. dd and I spent our honeymoon there at the Romora Bay Diving Club several decades ago and had a fabulous time. We also took our two girls to the Atlantis resort for a spring break about 10 years ago. Kind of neat to see where they play the Battle for Atlantis MBB tourney in the "pre-season" but not enough to want to return any time soon.
    Count me as another that really enjoyed harbour island. I've been fortunate enough to visit three times, though the last time was over 10 years ago. Man, I'd really like to go back soon!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGalt View Post
    What's the trash/pollution like at le--Vache? I bused it over to Cap-Haitien/Labadee when I spent some time on the north coast of the DR a few years back and although the beaches/water were gorgeous from afar, there was plastic and trash everywhere. Pretty sad, actually.
    le--Vache is pretty different from mainland Haiti. The quality of food and service were all significantly better -- we were very pleasantly surprised. I don't remember seeing any trash on the beaches, either. Even the local Haitian villages/towns on the island were much better manicured and accessible than any I have seen on the mainland.
    Duke 2014

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Mary's Place
    This is on my list for the fall as well. I owe Mrs. Turk a trip and we're not sure where we want to go. We do know we would prefer to avoid resorts and shopping, and go for good beaches, snorkeling and other nature activities, etc. We did our honeymoon on St. Thomas, rented a condo and a little 4x4, and drove around to the back side of the island on the big cruise ship days. I think we'd be perfectly fine going the other USVI or BVI, but I think the preference is to diversify a bit.

    Surprised that OPK says the Caymans are overrated; first negative comment I've heard. Caymans are on my short list with Aruba. Zero interest in Jamaica, alas too much negative press about tourists who go off the reservation.
    "Quality is not an option!"

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Sullivans Island, SC

    Tulum in May

    I'm headed down to Tulum over Memorial Day week and staying at a place called Mi Amor with my girlfriend. I studied in Guadalajara for a semester several years ago, but never made it to the Yucatan so this is pretty exciting for me. My girlfriend and I are both pretty proficient in Spanish and would love any suggestions y'all have for specific things to do/skip/eat. We plan to rent a car as a little additional context.

    I have some general [mostly obvious] ideas - Chichen Itza, cenotes, beach lounging, etc - but nothing super specific nailed down (best day of the week for CI or best cenote, eg). Would love to hear any thoughts!

    Go Duke!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Westport, CT
    Just got back from Turks and Caicos. LOVED IT!
    Huge gorgeous beach.
    Excellent food.
    Incredibly nice people.
    Easy in/out of the airport.
    Safe.

    FUN FUN FUN!

    I was able to watch both of the Elite 8 games there. I told my wife that since they won both games we had to go back every year! (She bought it!)

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Undisclosed
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGalt View Post
    I'm headed down to Tulum over Memorial Day week and staying at a place called Mi Amor with my girlfriend. I studied in Guadalajara for a semester several years ago, but never made it to the Yucatan so this is pretty exciting for me. My girlfriend and I are both pretty proficient in Spanish and would love any suggestions y'all have for specific things to do/skip/eat. We plan to rent a car as a little additional context.

    I have some general [mostly obvious] ideas - Chichen Itza, cenotes, beach lounging, etc - but nothing super specific nailed down (best day of the week for CI or best cenote, eg). Would love to hear any thoughts!

    Go Duke!
    Tulum is very well-preserved and neat. Not sure what else is there, we took a bus and boat from a cruise ship in Cancun.

    Quote Originally Posted by fisheyes View Post
    Just got back from Turks and Caicos. LOVED IT!
    Huge gorgeous beach.
    Excellent food.
    Incredibly nice people.
    Easy in/out of the airport.
    Safe.

    FUN FUN FUN!

    I was able to watch both of the Elite 8 games there. I told my wife that since they won both games we had to go back every year! (She bought it!)
    T & C is supposed to have some great diving and snorkeling, I was there for a day but only did some swimming at the beach (which was very nice)
    I do not think that word means what you think it means.

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