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whammy
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Another Island next Year?
      #1723456 - 02/18/17 11:20 AM (24.60.209.248)

After 7 wonderful trips to St Maarten, we're wondering about taking a year off and exploring another island next year. Any good suggestions? We spend a few hours a day on the beach, enjoy exploring and a little shopping. We generally eat dinners out. Thanks in advance!

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JohnandBev
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1723466 - 02/18/17 12:25 PM (69.157.56.39)

Hope you get some responses, we are considering the same idea. So far interested in Negril or Grenada [ I know, those 2 are very different!]

J&B


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pat
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: JohnandBev]
      #1723474 - 02/18/17 01:51 PM (75.133.113.202)

I was going to offer both Grenada and Barbados as possible options. Both are totally different than St. Maarten/St. Martin and each one is lovely each in their own way.

Both islands drive on the 'other' side if the road but if you can get beyond that, both islands are great and both are on our 'must go back someday' lists.

I don't think you'll find any other island in the Caribbean that has food that equals that of SXM although there are a few island's we've missed so maybe you might, but we found the food on both of these islands to be good though of the two, I think I enjoyed the food in Barbados more than in Grenada.

The people of both islands are very friendly, or such was our experience in all our encounters. Both islands are throwbacks to their earlier heritage and I think we found Barbados to be the more proper of the two - British leanings I guess. No nude beaches although I know it's done, at least on Barbados, but I don't think it's the norm like it is in SXM. Not really sure about topless as we spent most of our time in Grenada on Grande Anse Beach and didn't notice any topless bathers, but this was a few years ago. While in Barbados, we really only frequented Crane Beach and we were generally the only ones there so who knows?!

As far as shopping, I'm not much into it - just not my thing - but I'm sure Bridgetown is good, it's a huge and fairly modern city atmosphere as I recall, and I know there's a huge marketplace in Grenada and I'm sure they have a shopping hub as well.

My favorite activity in new places is exploring and both islands offer a wealth of different things to see, from rocky coastlines complete with the requisite lighthouse, to inland rain forests and mountain lakes and waterfalls. What you see is mostly dependent on how adventurous you are. We drove all over Barbados and it has a wealth of places to explore but we weren't as optimistic/daring on Grenada and chose to go the private tour guide route. I had studied my trusty Fodors before we went to Grenada and our driver took us everywhere we wanted to go including a stop outside his home to view his love pointsettia bushes. It's a truly beautiful island. For that matter, they both are.

One really nice aspect of Grenada, or so we felt, was that the islanders truly liked and appreciated the American visitors and were still appreciative for having been saved from the plans of the would have been evil dictators there who had their own plans for that island destination.

It's been a while, probably fifteen to twenty years, since we vacationed on either island and sadly, the older we get, the easier it is to keep returning to the places we know the best but if the island's are today even remotely what we experienced when there, I can't see how you could miss with either one.

--------------------
Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."


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LBI2SXM
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: pat]
      #1723479 - 02/18/17 02:31 PM (69.141.55.60)

Curacao! We always manage to visit this island at least once every year or two. Caribbean's best kept secret. I will not even try to compare it with SXM, totally 2 different islands. What Curacao has are friendly islanders, very cosmopolitan with a European vibe. Many Dutch visitors, not many Americans (which is nice in a way). Good food, not really expensive, beautiful beaches with water as clear as gin, great snorkeling and abundant sea life. Beaches not sugar sand type but some coral at waters edge. Best sunsets I have ever seen and did see the "green flash" many times (sans alcohol) LOL. It is a safe island, we never worry but like anywhere we keep up our guard. You will not find 4 to 5 cruise ships in any given day maybe a few per week which is a big plus. Grenada and Barbados are okay but they are not islands I wish to return to.

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pat
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: LBI2SXM]
      #1723482 - 02/18/17 02:43 PM (75.133.113.202)

Curaçao is one Caribbean island we've always meant to see and yet somehow, never gotten around to. But if the green flash is that common there, we might just have to because still, over all our years and all our trips to the Caribbean I've yet to see it and have only heard others describe how beautiful it is. Isn't Curacao also known to be a great destination for both snorkeling and diving? One of these days maybe.....

--------------------
Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."


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islandgem
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1723493 - 02/18/17 03:24 PM (174.116.44.201)

Having visited many other islands just last year, I would recommend Nevis, St. Kitts, or Grenada. They all have a great island atmosphere and are not so commerialized. I found Barbados to be disappointing as there are a lot of big highways and seemed to be very busy there now. I love spending the day on the beach and Nevis, St. Kit's and Grenada all fit the bill. You won't find shopping as good as on St. Marten and perhaps the dining is not as good either. It is always nice to try something different, but there is a reason why people keep returning to the island we all love!

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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: islandgem]
      #1723496 - 02/18/17 03:56 PM (24.60.209.248)

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I see we have some research to do! :) We'd love to fly direct from Boston, do you have to fly through Aruba to get to Curacao? Nevis and St Kitts have been on our maybe list! Please keep the ideas coming!

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pat
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: islandgem]
      #1723498 - 02/18/17 04:23 PM (75.133.113.202)

Elizabeth,

It's been a while since we vacationed on St. Kitts and while there were some things we loved, like the Fort Brimstone historical site with its incredible views of much of the Caribbean, the thing that stands out most memorably to me is that the beaches weren't remotely as nice as those of SXM, (much nicer than those here in CT, however....) but at the same time, the few beaches we visited on Nevis were gorgeous and you do have the easy convenience of two island's for the price of one. But again, it was so long ago, I can't even recall where we stayed. I do remember the batik factory was interesting and the island itself was very tidy.

--------------------
Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."


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TravelHat
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: pat]
      #1723516 - 02/18/17 10:05 PM (68.52.42.38)

Martinique is a good place to research. Check it out. Lots of history, exploring, and great resorts.

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phillygirl7
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: TravelHat]
      #1723518 - 02/18/17 11:21 PM (75.100.85.251)

No one ever mentions Virgin Gorda, we were there once on a cruise ship stop, it was pretty, but I don't know much about it.

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LBI2SXM
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1723537 - 02/19/17 09:20 AM (69.141.55.60)

If you have access to JFK Jet Blue has nonstop to Curacao every Saturday. Fares for May and June are $330 pp RT. Have not seen that low airfare to Curacao. Some of the other islands are hard to get to, many stops. Most nonstop are out of JFK, we are too far from there. JFK seems to have the best flights to the Caribbean.

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charlieh
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: TravelHat]
      #1723599 - 02/19/17 11:12 PM (71.54.128.171)

Quote:

TravelHat said:
Martinique is a good place to research. Check it out. Lots of history, exploring, and great resorts.




I was going to mention this as well. Also Guadeloupe. I am quite willing to send pictures of both islands to Whammy in return for a paid trip to each place.

You've got the French cooking going for you.


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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: charlieh]
      #1723604 - 02/20/17 07:30 AM (24.60.209.248)



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hottubdiva
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1723631 - 02/20/17 12:33 PM (24.2.29.5)

Here's an option we've tried. Since we know we love St Martin we've done several trips where we try out another island for 4 or 5 days and then fly to St Martin to end our vacation. Once we flew into St Martin, took a boat over to Anguilla for 4 days, took the boat back to St Martin for a week. Another time we flew to Aruba, stayed there 5 days, flew to St Martin for the rest of our vacation time. My favorite one, though, was flying to St Martin, changing planes and flying to Nevis, staying there 5 days, then flying back to St Martin for the remainder of our time. We love St Martin but this gives us a taste of someplace else too.

--------------------
V and T


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biglar
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: hottubdiva]
      #1723671 - 02/20/17 03:30 PM (71.254.121.188)

We have been to Aruba and Curacao. Both are interesting to explore and the beaches on Aruba are very nice. Our two favorites, beside SXM, are Barbados and Antigua. They both have plenty to explore and places to shop. Barbados has perhaps my favorite beach in Bottom Bay Beach. It is a beach you must enter by walking down wooden steps since it has rock walls around it. You can also go to Oisten's Fish Fry in Barbados. We stayed at the Divi in Barbados and sat under a tree most every day to watch the monkeys frolick in the tree and on a nearby fence. Only Problem, Barbados, Aruba and Curacao are a longer flight than Antigua. In Antigua we love to visit Shirley Heights for the evening meal when the Steel Drum Band plays. They play classical music and its unbelievable. Again, plenty to do on the island. You could also try St. Thomas with a trip on the ferry to St. John. Both are great with plenty to do. Good luck with your choice. You'll love any island you may pick! Check out my blog and click on "Vacation and Travel" if you want reports on different places we have visited. The link is at the end of this post.

--------------------
www.lifewithldub.blogspot.com


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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: biglar]
      #1723686 - 02/20/17 04:45 PM (24.60.209.248)

Many great ideas, it's a good thing there's a year to do some research! Meanwhile SXM in just under 3 weeks!

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RICKnGRACE_LI_NY
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: pat]
      #1723728 - 02/20/17 08:10 PM (199.96.179.137)

Quote:

pat said:
Curaçao is one Caribbean island we've always meant to see and yet somehow, never gotten around to. But if the green flash is that common there, we might just have to because still, over all our years and all our trips to the Caribbean I've yet to see it and have only heard others describe how beautiful it is. Isn't Curacao also known to be a great destination for both snorkeling and diving? One of these days maybe.....




We have been to Curacao both as a vacation spot and as a Cruise stop. I think it is fantastic. Certainly different than SXM in certain ways. Quieter, as was mentioned in the post above you. Beautiful beaches, great dining and I always felt safe. It is a place we would like to return to.

--------------------
Rick and Grace


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BobandJeana
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1723738 - 02/20/17 09:38 PM (174.57.49.20)

Maui has more things to do than one can imagine, plus great beaches.

BobandJeana


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pat
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: BobandJeana]
      #1723745 - 02/20/17 11:33 PM (75.133.113.202)

Each of the Hawaiian islands is gorgeous and they all have their own special things to see or do, but that's a lot of flying time, and particularly from the East Coast even if you're flying First Class and even moreso if your main objective is just a beach. They're lovely, for sure, but we didn't find any that we would rate as highly as those of SXM, Anguilla or St. Bart's. Our September trip was only our second to Hawaii and our first to Maui so we sure don't come close to qualifying as experts on the Hawaiian islands but I decided on the flight home, and only due to the flying time, it will most likely be our last. And I understand now why so many from the west coast choose to make the annual trek to the Caribbean instead of Hawaii.

--------------------
Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."


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IslandBoi
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1723816 - 02/21/17 02:20 PM (151.213.147.19)

having been to quite a few of the islands, we like Barbados quite a bit, second to SXM/SBH...lots to do, both beach related as well as nature/wildlife related...i used to think monkeys were pretty cool, but after Barbados, not so much ...good local food/vibe at Oistins Fish Fry

we also like Curacao, but more for the water/snorkeling than anything else...most of the natural beaches are very rocky, not a lot of smooth sand entry into the water...also not too impressed with restaurant/bar/nightlife choices

--------------------


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CJIMI
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: IslandBoi]
      #1723879 - 02/21/17 10:30 PM (100.11.137.163)

Last year we did both SXM and Guadeloupe. We flew to Guadeloupe from BWI on Norwegian Air, for less than $200 RT. Lodging and food are less expensive in Guadeloupe than in SXM - but car rentals cost more. Guadeloupe is huge, compared to SXM. We stayed at the Relais des Chateaux, on the eastern end of the island. Just to give you an idea of the size of Guadeloupe, on the day that we drove to the Botanical Garden, it was a 2 hour drive, one way, and the roads are pretty good. The restaurants are great, and there are CO beaches. It helps - a lot - if you speak French. But I would not let the language issue dissuade you from going. Norwegian has non-stop service from JFK, BWI, and BOS. I think that they also fly from Florida, now. The service is seasonal. I can't wait to get back.

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HappyNude
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1723970 - 02/22/17 04:53 PM (45.46.215.227)

We loved Vieques Island, off of Puerto Rico. Lots of beaches to explore. Some good restaurants, not a lot of shopping.

You'll need to book a rental car early and I would recommend a jeep.


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pat
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: HappyNude]
      #1724024 - 02/23/17 10:38 AM (75.133.113.202)

We also enjoyed a lovely stay on Vieques but if the OP is looking for many of the same offerings as found on SXM - i.e. Incredible dining and shopping for starters, unless things have changed drastically since we were there, I doubt they will find either. Good food, for sure, but not like on SXM. The beaches are lovely and there are some interesting locations worth taking in but just NOT remotely near that of SXM.

We enjoyed Sun Bay and a few of the former military beaches and the Biolescent Bay was perhaps the most incredible thing I've ever seen, but beyond that, it's all about beaching. Maybe a daytrip to Culebra which we didn't do and which I don't know the logistics for doing?

I think the thing we most enjoyed about Vieques was that it hadn't really been discovered yet and was a more laid back atmosphere without so many of the tourist trappings of other destinations.

--------------------
Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."


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RonDon
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: pat]
      #1724057 - 02/23/17 03:53 PM (108.12.200.47)

St Lucia is the most beautiful island I've seen yet.

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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: RonDon]
      #1724092 - 02/23/17 08:20 PM (24.60.209.248)

Looks like fun things to do! Where did you stay?

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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1724886 - 03/02/17 07:38 AM (24.60.209.248)

Any more thoughts on St. Lucia? Top of the list at the moment!

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Carol_HillAdministrator
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1724887 - 03/02/17 08:15 AM (205.197.242.174)

St. Lucia is a really beautiful island, sort of reminds one of the south Pacific. However, after visiting there several times on ships, I never really wanted to stay there. It takes a LONG time to get from one side of the island to the other. It's not a big self catering place, I didn't think, as not as lot of places to just go out and pick among dozens of different restaurants like SXM. Not many really nice beaches that are public. It's more an a/I destination to me. If that's what you're going for, it should be nice.

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LBI2SXM
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1724962 - 03/02/17 03:26 PM (69.141.55.60)

Carol is right in many ways about St. Lucia. Roads are also bad to drive on, people there are not friendly like we are used to on other islands. There have been many instances where tourists have been involved with crime. Is it beautiful? certainly is but I would not want to go back there. It's all a matter of what your tastes are, you may fall in love with it.

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The_Lurker
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1724977 - 03/02/17 05:12 PM (24.46.38.63)

Friends just returned from St Lucia and really enjoyed it. He mentioned that the people were very friendly.
He said they had a very long drive (1 1/2 hrs) from the airport to their resort, Bay Gardens.

He also said that he was happy they didn't rent a car, since the driving was not easy and there were lots of mountains.


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charlieh
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: The_Lurker]
      #1724987 - 03/02/17 06:16 PM (71.54.128.171)

Quote:

The_Lurker said:
He also said that he was happy they didn't rent a car, since the driving was not easy and there were lots of mountains.




My one visit to St Lucia involved a cab ride to our hotel. It was the worst ride I've had in my entire life, and I have a good 2,000,000 highway miles under my belt as well as some 15 countries. I would be scared to death to drive there, and it is the British left side of the road as well.


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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: charlieh]
      #1724990 - 03/02/17 06:32 PM (24.60.209.248)

So we're also thinking of St Kitts! Maybe St John's if there's enough to do!

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WWII
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1725046 - 03/03/17 10:57 AM (72.224.104.94)

If you sail at all or are interested in learning although if you aren't there's still plenty to do, I would highly recommend Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda. St. Lucia is as mentioned earlier also a beautiful island. If you are golfers, St. Croix has several courses as well as the usual sun and fun activities.

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johngret
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: phillygirl7]
      #1725407 - 03/06/17 11:57 AM (190.185.85.28)

I would start by listing what you liked in SXM and then finding another Island. You cannot imagine the simple things that you take for granted here and that you won't find on many other Islands

--------------------
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
― George Orwell


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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: johngret]
      #1725792 - 03/08/17 02:48 PM (24.60.209.248)

Great idea! The perfect place would be what St Maarten was 20+ years ago!

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islandgem
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1725816 - 03/08/17 05:41 PM (174.116.44.201)

That would be Cuba! Very beautiful and safe, but the dining is not as good.

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Jerry_R
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: islandgem]
      #1725821 - 03/08/17 06:09 PM (73.28.214.165)

Here's another vote for St. Kitts/Nevis. My wife & I have been there at least 7 times in the past 15 years. Both have beautiful botanical gardens. Historical attractions include the homes of Admiral Lord Nelson and Alexander Hamilton. Rainforest hikes are available on both islands as well as a trek up the sides of Mt. Liamuiga, St. Kitts inactive volcano. Golf is available on both islands. St. Kitts is home to the Marriott Resort and Casino while Nevis boasts the 4 Seasons. There are other destinations as well but those are the biggies. Very little fast food and lots of local places to eat. Some of them are quite good and are on a level with restaurants on St. Maarten. They are just not as numerous. Only a couple of timeshares and they are not affiliated with RCI. It is a bit more expensive to get there from the states than traveling to St. Maarten. That is the only thing keeping us from returning but we may bite the bullet soon and venture there again!!

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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: Jerry_R]
      #1725872 - 03/09/17 08:30 AM (24.60.209.248)

Thanks for the good ideas and info! So many great suggestions!

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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1729075 - 04/04/17 07:22 PM (24.60.209.248)

Well, We'll be going to Antigua next year! Now I just have to find an Antigua forum to haunt!

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LBI2SXM
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1729118 - 04/05/17 10:30 AM (69.141.55.60)

Just curious as to how you came to decide on Antigua?

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Ted_n_Jan
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1729187 - 04/05/17 11:16 PM (66.30.194.11)

I'm with you on the 20 years ago.

Food was great and beaches and roads not crowded. :-)

And as a bonus the dollar was better than 1 to 1

Edited by Ted_n_Jan (04/05/17 11:18 PM)


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whammy
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Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: LBI2SXM]
      #1729193 - 04/06/17 07:31 AM (24.60.209.248)

The couple we travel with are taking a Cuban cruise that leaves from Antigua!

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whammy
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Joined: 12/12/10
Posts: 1001
Loc: Cape Cod
Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1729355 - 04/07/17 06:51 PM (24.60.209.248)

Anyone know of an Antigua forum?

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Pmaddenil
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Joined: 11/08/00
Posts: 976
Loc: Wake Forest, NC
Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1729380 - 04/07/17 10:53 PM (65.190.38.245)

There is also the Sail Windjammer. Their sailing ship, the Mandalay goes to many islands and you can see them all. It is not a cruise with dressing for dinner and you can help sail if you want. It is a wonderful experience. Just go to Sail Windjammer.com. Pat and I met on the Mandalay when it was the Barefoot Windjammer. That was 20 years ago!

--------------------
Former SXM Snowbirds


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LBI2SXM
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Joined: 06/02/08
Posts: 2117
Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: whammy]
      #1729426 - 04/08/17 12:40 PM (73.112.165.173)

Quote:

whammy said:
Anyone know of an Antigua forum?




For what it's worth, Trip Advisor has all Caribbean forums, it's not TTOL but you can get a lot of info from there.


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whammy
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Joined: 12/12/10
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Loc: Cape Cod
Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: Pmaddenil]
      #1729443 - 04/08/17 07:10 PM (24.60.209.248)

Sounds like fun! If only the other couple with us was into sailing!

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whammy
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Loc: Cape Cod
Re: Another Island next Year? [Re: LBI2SXM]
      #1729444 - 04/08/17 07:11 PM (24.60.209.248)

Have looked at it a bit, just not the same! :)

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