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Old Yesterday, 09:14 AM   #1
Russell James


 
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Island vacation ideas needed for this winter, Caribbean or Atlantic

Throw me some advice from the well travelled island vacationers! I've never vacationed to an island so it's time to check that one off the bucket list. Probably going to be in the Dec - Feb time frame. Most likely being the last two weeks of Dec.

Any islands that are absolutely spectacular that time of year. Defintaly not going to Hawaii. Something that is a quick flight or boat trip from Florida. A friend suggested Bermuda, so that is def a contender.

If it's late Dec, maybe farther south to the Caribbean? And maybe hit Bermuda sometime closer to Spring.

Looking for the most amazing scenery, snorkeling, biking, water temp, beaches, thongs, tiki bars... Don't want some touristy small area, and the rest of the island a crappy slum. Rather a go anywhere and explore amazing scenery island.

Another thought might be the FL Keys, cause I will have my Camaro in FL. That would be a fun road trip. But kind of have an island on my mind.

Thanks for any ideas!
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Old Yesterday, 10:09 AM   #2
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I love Aruba I go every year. Scenery is questionable, its a desert Island so its mostly cactus and Divi tress. But the do have places you can go exploring they rents jeeps to drive to the other side the island where there are different scenic sites (I have never gone wife has with her sisters I stay at the beach at our hotel and relax I get 1 week a year off and I need to do nothing but recharge for the next 51 weeks) cliffs on the ocean and desert stuff. The whole island is very safe I have stopped at a random house before when I was lost to ask for directions with no fear or reservation. The restaurants are amazing 20 / 5 star and probably another 50 / 4 star ones to pick from. they all speak English very well (and dutch and papiamento their own language) they accept and usually list all prices in dollars. beaches vary depending what hotel you stay at the ones at the high rises have gotten very crowded and lively other are more tranquil and quite.Night live is not my scene but they have lots bars and casinos at the hotels and down town. they have lots water stuff snorkeling scuba sailing trips. Water and weather are perfect year round temp only vary from 70 to 90 and that time year its usually 75 at night and 86-87 during the day. Fell free to ask any questions I have been around 15 times so I can answer a lot questions.
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Old Yesterday, 10:14 AM   #3
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Over the last two years, I've been on sabbatical from work.

I've been to U.S. Virgin Islands, Maui (twice), Hononlulu, Dubai (not really an island) and Mauritius.

I have to say that Maui is my favorite place of those islands. Dubai was interesting just because there was a lot of other stuff to see there as well. It's worth the flight compared to some of the other places. The again, I rented a house for a week when I was there. With a waterfall pool!

Since you are looking for something closer, I'd suggest U.S. Virgin Islands (or all of the Virgin Islands if you have a passport...at the time, I didn't). We used "Davids Taxi & Tours" to get us around the island and see what there was to see. Some of it was a little slummy, however most of the island was pretty beautiful. Took a charter boat to see the islands from the water as well.

Mauritius was amazing. However, it isn't close. Had to fly to Dubai (12 hours), then 8 hours to the island. Not for the faint of heart. Side note...Reunion, where they found the part of the wing from flight MA370, is very close to Mauritius (off the coast of Madagascar).

Dubai was amazing, though almost too touristy.
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Old Yesterday, 11:13 AM   #4
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HAWAII I have been 7 times and to every Island<<<<< BEAUTIFUL. <<<<
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Old Yesterday, 02:24 PM   #5
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The water around Aruba is very nice. I love St. Thomas. The people are good and the water is also awesome. I positively will never go back to Jamaica. It has gotten dangerous.
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Old Yesterday, 02:31 PM   #6
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Lived in HI for 8 years... The Big Island would be my pick... black sand beaches, Hawaii Volcano Park (you can tell everyone you saw a volcano erupting)... old leper's colony... shave ice and manapuas!

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Old Yesterday, 02:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by okbfd View Post
The water around Aruba is very nice. I love St. Thomas. The people are good and the water is also awesome. I positively will never go back to Jamaica. It has gotten dangerous.
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Old Yesterday, 02:52 PM   #8
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For me, Bermuda is a little bit too far to the north for a Dec-Feb visit. It's about as far north as Jacksonville, Fl., so I would imagine it could be a little cool there. We really liked Grand Bahama Island's Port Lucaya. The resort is modern, but the surrounding area retains an old world feel and is no where near as commercialized as a lot of other places. Beautiful beaches and crystal clear water. They also have casino gambling, if that floats your boat. Freeport is a bit older and sometimes, a bit run down. I wouldn't recommend staying there. Lucaya is the place to be. No matter where you stay, the natives are friendly and we always felt safe. As a matter of fact, in all of our travels, I never met nicer people anywhere.

One word of advice for any island visit - Most resorts offer "tours" to say, go snorkeling, diving, or even just visit a park or beach. You will find that renting a car and driving yourself to the attraction is not only much cheaper, but much more convenient, as you are not stuck on a tour bus schedule.

Plus, rules on rentals are not nearly as strict as the USA. I was able to rent a 1960's style VW dune buggy for an entire week for $100. It was a real blast. Driving on the left side of the road is a kick too. The speed limit on the island was 35mph, so you didn't need much of a car. The resort's "tour" price to go snorkeling at Horseshoe Cove? $80. The cost if I pulled up in my VW buggy? $5.
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Old Yesterday, 03:14 PM   #9
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St. John USVI. I've been to most of the Caribbean islands, and Hawaii. St. John has the nicest beaches and the smallest crowd, as long as a cruise ship isn't docked in St. Thomas. St. Maarten is my favorite since I'm an aviation nut.
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Old Yesterday, 05:51 PM   #10
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The wife and I are partial to The Bahamas. We stay at the Sandals Royal Bahamian, and we were married there 11 years ago. Been there 13 times overall so clearly we love it down there. We go every year but this year as we are dealing with her mom's health issues.

Antigua is cool, but a pain to get in/out of.
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Old Yesterday, 08:28 PM   #11
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St. Lucia and stay at the Sandals Halcyon resort. By far the best vacation in the Caribbean I've ever had.

I also agree with avoiding Jamaica, very disappointed when I went there. Food wasn't great and the people weren't pleasant. It was almost like they felt they could just get by on their past reputation as a great island but that was not the case.
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Old Yesterday, 08:30 PM   #12
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Another suggestion.... Bali is pretty cheap at the moment.
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Old Yesterday, 10:17 PM   #13
Steve Dallas
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Here are some pics of St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands (we took a boat out to see some of the nearby islands). Yeah...those cruise ships cause major havoc with traffic.

Link to all pictures







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Old Today, 09:56 AM   #14
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I've been to a few of them but always return to Nassau and Paradise Island. If you have kids Atlantis on Paradise Island in Nassau is great but VERY expensive.
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Old Today, 10:08 AM   #15
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Off topic but on topic....

Curious all those that are commenting about Jamaica when did you go and where did you stay? The ex wife and I went many times (around a dozen or so first time was in 1997) although I haven't been in 6 years. Our favorite was Sandals Whitehouse.

My current other half and I stayed at the Iberostar Grand in Playa a couple of years ago and it was really nice.
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