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Advice on choosing a caribbean holiday

8 replies

helenmh · 14/01/2002 14:41

Has anyone got any reccomendations as to which would be the best island. We would prefer a direct flight and somewhere with a bit of local culture. Any recommendations for accommodation or holiday companies . We would prefer not to be aallinclusive ofr full board

OP posts:
TLB · 14/01/2002 16:18

We have just come back from the British Virgin Islands (we stayed on Tortola) which was just the best holiday I have ever had. Talk about relaxing.

We took our 2 1/2 year old daughter and I am 5 1/2 months pregnant.

We stayed in an independent complex which offered 1 and 2 bedroom self catering apartments, pool and onsite restaurant and a three minute walk to the most divine beach...

Very good service and quality, local staff babysat for us and we ate in their restaurant a couple of times and just nipped back to check on dd as she was asleep.

VERY child friendly, we are not beachy people but we spent practically every day on the beach as they were so peaceful and the snorkelling was fantastic. DD made different friends everyday on the beach young and old!!

The flight out is indirect, there are no direct flights. It is an 8 hour trip to Antigua then change onto a hopper flight of c1 1/2 hours to your island. Actually fine with dd and worth the trip 110%. The water is fine to drink and you don't need any vaccinations (just good mosquito repellant! - no malaria though) temperature was a steady late 70-80 degrees and just how you imagine a carribean holiday would be...

I understand from friends that Barbados, jamaica and Antigua have many 'no-go' areas and that you are highly recommended to stay in your all inclusive resort. certainly we broke up our return trip in Antigua at the Blue Water all inclusive resort for the day and they had armed guards on the main gate..

We had a jeep and drove everywhere and it was fab!

TLB · 14/01/2002 16:21

Oops forgot to say we stayed at the Icis villas which is through the BVI club based in London and flew BWIA check out out charter flights as we paid a fortune in scheduled only to find later that we could have saved a fortune travelling charter.

MandyD · 14/01/2002 21:34

About 10 years ago I had a most enjoyable holiday in St Lucia. You can fly there direct. IMO it would be better to consult a knowledgeable travel agent and travel independently (ie avoiding the all-inclusive "compounds". We stayed at what they call an inn, a small hotel, and it was brilliant. I'm not sure about local culture though, as apart from the all-inclusives everything was pretty impoverished. We did go to a weekly 'jump up' or public party (held on a football ground) and I believe there was a jazz festival held annually on Pigeon Island (just off Rodney Bay).

We stayed in a resort called Rodney Bay on the Northern tip of the island. Local (mini)buses travelled every few minutes into the capital, Castries. There was crime, yes, but we were lucky enough to meet up with some British 'ex-pats' who told us what to avoid. Don't wear anything expensive, or jewellery, or carry expensive cameras. Don't encourage beggars. Basically, if you're travelling independently, dress down and mix in and you'll have a great time!

Willow2 · 15/01/2002 22:00

I've been to Barbados and St Lucia. Both lovely. St. Lucia was ten years ago and quite undeveloped at the time. We rented a house with friends and it was just fantastic. Beaches nowhere near as good as Barbados though. Stayed at the Almond Beach resort which is all inclusive, something I had never done before. Great hotel, good choice of food (freshly cooked so not limited to salmonella buffets). Did go out several times in the evening and didn't feel remotely threatened. Also went exploring during the day and felt fine. Barbados is a far richer island with far more developed infrastructure than St. Lucia so if anything felt less threatened there than the latter. Also, there is a good standard of health care available too - something worth considering if you are travelling with kids.

Emmie · 16/01/2002 11:50

I went to St Lucia 10 years ago and one of the advantages is you can drink the water as it used to be a British Colony and water standards are the same as ours. Don't know if this still applies or whether any of the other islands are the same but saved having bottled water & none of us were ill. Its also worth staying somewhere with a private beach if you can, that way you do not get hassled by people trying to sell you hats etc! Also been to Dominican Republic with ds's when 2 & 4 but only to all inclusive, hotel/beach heavenly but arriving at the airport you get harrassed to have your bags carried for a mere £20! With 2 children 3 cases & buggy etc was quite scary - they didn't want to take no for an answer.

pamina · 16/01/2002 13:31

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

helenmh · 16/01/2002 14:16

Thanks for all your ideas

OP posts:
Willow2 · 16/01/2002 19:45

You can drink the water in Barbados too. Also, be wary of Dominican Republic. Some of the hotels have had dreadful environmental health problems - biggest group action against a tour company was by tourists who all contracted salmonella at a DR hotel. Don't wish to put a downer on things, but in previous life as consumer journalist DR was the most commonly complained about location.

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