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Where in the Caribbean would you return for a Land-only vacation?


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We lived on a 50' sailboat in the Caribbean for three years and owned a 68' sailboat in the crewed charter business in the BVI for two years prior to that so we basically traveled from Puerto Rico to Grenada and back throughout the Virgins, the Windwards and the Leeward Islands. It is very difficult to pick a favorite as they all have so many wonderful things about them and they are constantly changing some for the better, some not. If you're American or British I believe you will find Puerto Rico and the VIrgins to be delightful. But it is hard to ignore St. Martin and St. Lucia for land based vacations, we still do those two at least every couple of years. And the Grenadines are incredible although a bit hard to do without a boat.

 

One thing you might want to consider is a crewed charter. You get a captain and chef, a boat to yourselves and you get to see a new place every day. Price runs about what a suite on a cruise line would cost per person. Some good companies to possibly use are Moorings, Virgin Island Sailing, Dream Yacht Charter and Ed Hamilton.

On the left is the Black Rose, a Hylas 49 that we lived on. On the right is Lazy Bones an Irwin 68 Ketch which we had in the crewed charter business out of Road Town Tortola. If motion is an issue you can charter catamarans, power and sail, and they are much smoother in motion.

My understanding is the BVI and USVI are allowing tourists now with some requirements such as testing. Try it, I think you'd love it.

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1 hour ago, Capt Guy said:

My understanding is the BVI and USVI are allowing tourists now with some requirements such as testing. Try it, I think you'd love it.

Your pictures look awesome! We are actually planning a short trip to St. Thomas in about a month. We've heard it can get pretty crowded with cruise ships so figure this is the perfect time to go! Currently, only U.S. states with an infection rate over 10% are required to test beforehand and right now, Virginia is not one of them. I don't mind testing, it's the timing that makes me nervous so I hope it stays that way for the next month!

 

I would love to do a bareboat charter in BVI, the only place that allows that w/o Captain's license due to LOS, but right now they aren't letting foreigners in.

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As best that I can tell, no one has yet mentioned St Barts.  Not really too much of a cruise port, but I certainly wouldn't mind having another "Cheese Burger in Paradise" even if it is a bit pricey.

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1 hour ago, SelectSys said:

As best that I can tell, no one has yet mentioned St Barts.  Not really too much of a cruise port, but I certainly wouldn't mind having another "Cheese Burger in Paradise" even if it is a bit pricey.

 

St. Barts was a port I first visited in 1970 and and did so just a few years ago.  Certainly has changed, but that French "flair" is still there.  And, the cafes' still serve excellent French Bread!

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19 hours ago, barrettcpa said:

Dominica was nice, 

 

Dominica is a hidden "gem".  It's poor economy resulting in really poor infrastructure hinders its development as a cruise port.  The citizens whom I have encountered have been welcoming and friendly.  A trip into the island's rain forest was a memorable one, both for the scenery and well as the condition of the road on which I traveled.  To add insult to it's other issues, hurricanes have been quite unkind to the inhabitants of this island as well.  It's almost like "one step forward and three steps backwards" for them.  

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18 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

 

St. Barts was a port I first visited in 1970 and and did so just a few years ago.  Certainly has changed, but that French "flair" is still there.  And, the cafes' still serve excellent French Bread!

A major reason for St. Barth’s being such a great place to stay is their refusal to welcome large mass market cruise ships whose mobs would overwhelm the place - the way they do on heavy cruise ship days on neighboring St. Maarten.

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5 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

A major reason for St. Barth’s being such a great place to stay is their refusal to welcome large mass market cruise ships whose mobs would overwhelm the place - the way they do on heavy cruise ship days on neighboring St. Maarten.

Isn't that the conundrum about this thread. 90% of the respondents (ok, that was a Trump fact) have only been to their preferred island on a cruise.

The best islands are the ones that no, or only a very few, cruises visit.

That's why I can't understand the obsession with a mediocre island like Aruba.   

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1 hour ago, wowzz said:

Isn't that the conundrum about this thread. 90% of the respondents (ok, that was a Trump fact) have only been to their preferred island on a cruise.

The best islands are the ones that no, or only a very few, cruises visit.

That's why I can't understand the obsession with a mediocre island like Aruba.   

Good point - but you did wobble a bit  on your "Trump fact" parenthetic.. It should have been more like: 

 

"All have only been to their preferred island...  well perhaps not all, but very many  - very, very many - so it is just like it is all --  yes many--- very, very, very many, so the same as all"

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My 2 favorite places in the Caribbean that I would go back to in a heartbeat were places that I did NOT visit on a cruise:

 

1. St. John, USVI

2 Puerto Rico

 

St. John - back in the early 90s I camped on St. John at the campground in Virgin Islands National Park.  One of my best vacations overall.  Cinnamon Bay was a great place to camp - we had a "tent" that had 2 concrete block sides and the front and back were canvas.  The communal bath house and toilets were down the path and we had amazing cold water showers there (the best my hair had been).  A communal meeting place that also served meals cafeteria-style.  We met up with people there and played cards and drank rum late into the night.  At night, we could hear the donkeys.  At that time, not to many cruisers came to Cinnamon Bay; I guess it was too far for them.  

 

Puerto Rico - if I could go back to the St. Regis Bahia Beach and stay again for only the resort fee (perks of  being a SR employee at the time - marriott took it away), I'd go back.  Pampered by my butler to the point that I told him that I'd call him if I wanted something.  Fantastic beach with speedy beach butler service (never went thirsty or hungry).  Do a rental car and go all over - the Pork Route, the little pastry shop just up the road, the amazing BBQ spot along the side of the road about 3 miles away, doing the bioluminescent bay at Fajardo.  And, sitting on my patio every late afternoon, reading and listening to music and having my friend, the gekko, come up and sit on the side table to keep me company.  The the sound of the Coquis at night, especially after a good early evening rain.  

 

Oh, I always thought the Redneck Riviera was Panama City, FL to Orange Beach AL...  

Edited by slidergirl
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2 hours ago, wowzz said:

That's why I can't understand the obsession with a mediocre island like Aruba.   

 

Unlike Sri Lanka, no hotels were bombed in Aruba. 

 

4 hour flight to Aruba. 24 hour flight to Sri Lanka at 5x the price. 

 

Aruba has casinos. And the tap water is safe to drink. 

 

Both have beautiful beaches and friendly people. Sri Lanka has better scenery but thats not what I look for on a beach vacation.  Plenty of parks in the USA and Canada have breathtaking scenery. 

 

And i can always go to the zoo to see an elephant. 

 

As for culture, again many other places come to mind.

 

Not sure why someone would go to Sri Lanka. 

 

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5 hours ago, HBE4 said:

4 hour flight to Aruba. 24 hour flight to Sri Lanka at 5x the price. 

Not from the UK. Flights to Sri Lanka take 45 minutes longer than flights to Aruba.  

Holidays to Sri Lanka are far cheaper than to Aruba.  

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On 7/24/2020 at 8:53 AM, OnTheJourney said:

I'd be happy to spend some more time at ether Aruba, Bonaire, or Curaçao. I'm also intrigued by the idea of staying on Jost Van Dyke at White Bay Villas. 

BVI is one of my favorites,  and  always fun with all water taxis to other Islands from wherever you are staying in BVI . Much site seeing on all the BBI islands . 
We have enjoyed Josiah Bay Tortola . Much fun to “all” the other islands in BVI without the transfers . White Bay is beautiful for sure  , if you want basically to stay put once you get there . 

Edited by ssb
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If money were no object, the Viceroy Resort at Sugar Beach in St. Lucia.  Gorgeous place, great beach and of course the view of the Pitons. (Don't know about their food, as I only had a tour of the place, and didn't stay there).

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2 hours ago, lynncarol said:

If money were no object, the Viceroy Resort at Sugar Beach in St. Lucia.  Gorgeous place, great beach and of course the view of the Pitons. (Don't know about their food, as I only had a tour of the place, and didn't stay there).

It is going for about $650 USD per night right now through the end of the year . . . again, compared to a suite on a cruise ship not too bad a price. It doesn't look like all of the restaurants are open as yet. I love that view and the diving is really very nice under the Pitons.

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On 8/15/2020 at 9:38 AM, wowzz said:

Not from the UK. Flights to Sri Lanka take 45 minutes longer than flights to Aruba.  

Holidays to Sri Lanka are far cheaper than to Aruba.  

 

Before we visited Aruba on a cruise I looked at how much it should cost to fly there for a potentiell land vacation. If I remember correct it costed around twice as much as it cost to fly from Stockholm to Miami via Heathrow in business class. Not worth it to us.

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With direct flight from Gatwick it is easy to see why Aruba Palm Beach has it all. I like deep sand clear water and a host of nearby restaurants and bars. The Bugaloo bar goes over the water. 

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19 hours ago, ssb said:

BVI is one of my favorites,  and  always fun with all water taxis to other Islands from wherever you are staying in BVI . Much site seeing on all the BBI islands . 
We have enjoyed Josiah Bay Tortola . Much fun to “all” the other islands in BVI without the transfers . White Bay is beautiful for sure  , if you want basically to stay put once you get there . 

 

At this point, "staying put" wherever we go really doesn't sound like a bad idea - though not typically something we do. 

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We live on the Island of Galveston just off the Great State of Texas . 32 miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico and 32 miles on Galveston Bay . A domestic  paradise destination with much history , culture and nature Tourism . 

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Edited by ssb
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Seriously? If you want a water bungalow on a virtually deserted island then any of the Maldives beats Aruba into a cocked hat. I'd be interested to know which of the Maldives you visited, but unfortunately you never respond to any replies to your posts.
And you do know that the other nearby islands in the Caribbean share the same climate and also have fish and birds?
You have not given a single reason why Aruba is a special place to visit.

I was interested in the Maldives but then I checked the airline schedules from the Washington DC area. At 18-23 hours I passed. The Caribbean is simply too close here to pass. When I go land again, French St Martin (cruisers stay mostly on the Dutch side), st Lucia, Grenada or Antigua.


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