Ok first off the Caribbean is not the same as Hawaii. That being said if this is your 1st time I would suggest Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). That was our first Caribbean vacation. And still after trying a whole bunch of other caribe islands always go back. It will be harder to access you haven’t said where you’re coming from but anyway . . .
Good SCUBA for certified divers, and a chance for non-certified divers to join us – BVI or turks and caicos Nice beaches – BVI or turks and caicos
Reasonably priced – nowhere during Christmas two weeks
Accommodations with kitchen so we can be self-sufficient – check out Cane Garden Bay on Tortola specially Agape cottages or Myett’s cottages.
Activities - water and land (sailing, snorkeling, hiking, biking) – activities ok hiking only good hiking I’ve seen is on Jost Van Dylke to the Bubbly pool and maybe Virgin Gorda, would not recommend biking anywhere on Caribbean islands
NOT looking for luxury accomodations, just a place to sleep. – Again check out Cane Garden Bay for Agape Cottages and there are other places close by with kitchens etc.
Good restaurants and shops a plus – When you go to the smaller islands in the caribe it is hard to find all at once. Email privately if you want to get more specific.
Mexico is a mess. Was just there in April. To a good destination that we always used to go to waaay too crowded now. Very disappointed with it and the beaches are not as good