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St. John like destination

Travel discussion for St. John

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St. John like destination

Postby XOXO » Wed Mar 29, 2017 7:06 pm

We take a family trip every winter break (Jan-Dec). Two years ago we went to Cabo and last year we went to St. John. We love both places.

Cabo seems to be having issues with the cartels. So, we are nixing Cabo until they get it sorted out.

We want to go somewhere warm and like St. John. We don't like going to the same destination every year--we like to go somewhere else and miss the destination before coming back.

I'm considering the BVI's.

Hawaii is on my short list but it is such a long airplane ride.

Where else do you recommend?? If it were warmer I'd love to stay in the states because we have a lot to offer. Maine and Charleston are on my bucket list. I'd love to see Germany or New Zealand but we don't take a big trip in the summer. Maybe we should go to Arizona for a short trip this winter and take a big trip next summer.

I'd love to hear your suggestions. And, for those traveling to St. John ... it is my favorite place on earth. You're blessed.

Edited to add: What do you think of Curaçao? A friend suggested Turks and Caicos. I'm going to look into both.
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby Coconuts » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:02 pm

XOXO: "A friend suggested Turks and Caicos"...

I visited there a couple of years before we bought our first St. John villa, and can comment. At the time, our children were still in school, and my company (after my partner and I sold it) had adopted a "use it or lose it" vacation policy, so I spent a week there in December solo. While it sounds like an interesting group of islands, nearly everyone goes to the big one with the airport: Providenciales. That island has one nice beach: Grace Bay. It is a big bay, with a nice sand beach, but compared to St. John, it falls short. The island is very flat, so no altitude to provide those awesome vistas, and when you look out to sea, there is only a flat horizon, with no other islands in the view. Resort umbrellas provide the only shade. No good snorkeling along the one beach. I enjoyed my stay, but wouldn't go back. Anyway, that's my (biased, but informed) two cents.

All the best,

Kevin
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby BreakawayBarb » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:44 pm

My recommendation would be Kauai, though you did indicate that the flight time makes Hawaii less desirable. I've been to a lot of islands and tropical resort areas, and Kauai comes closest for me to the STJ "feel." It has beautiful beaches, and lots of places to explore, both land and sea. It doesn't have the same quality of snorkling as STJ...but it has other pluses.

I am happy to elaborate if you are interested...PM me!

-Barb
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby equineannie » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:37 am

Curacao is lovely, it is a desert like island, so be prepared. I love Dominica and Belize. I am the adventurous one so I go to place that have wonderful diving, (I am an instructor), or places with strong eco tourism opportunities. Dominica has a rain forest interior and lovely black sand beaches. People are wonderful and it is not a port for cruise ships. It is not a party island, it is quiet, serene and still possesses the Caribbean ambiance I find is missing from the USVIs, the Bahamas, the Caymans, etc.
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby XOXO » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:55 am

Thank you Equineannie, my husband mentioned Dominica because his friend liked it there. I will look into it for sure. What a life you have scuba diving. My sons and I all scuba dive and love it. We got certified in St. John. Does it get any better than that???

BreakawayBarb, I agree with you about Kauai. My husband is 6'2" and complains about being uncomfortable. I've suggested that he get's a first class ticket and the rest of us fly coach. It is so much more expensive to fly that way and the rest of us are fine in economy seats. We've been to Kauai, Big Island, and Maui. Love them all. It's been years since we've been to Mauai so, I would like to go there again but have heard it is really built up now.

Kevin, thank you for telling me about Turks. I looked at your villas and they are beautiful. What a live you have too!! #blessed

Maybe I should add: somewhere that is easy to get to. I keep looking at Virgin Gorda and keep scratching it off when I see how long of a travel day it is from Iowa.

Also, like St. John and Cabo, we stayed in areas that would allow us to walk wherever we wanted to go. I really like that. The intention is that with 5 in our group we can break away if we want to.

Thank you all! I knew I could count on you. X's and O's
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby RickG » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:14 am

Our favorites list is, in order of preference, is: St. John, Culebra, Virgin Gorda, Vieques. Only St. John lacks an air field and has the National Park. The National Park is the big discriminator.

Since we got our sailboat we have been spending time in the Spanish Virgin Islands - Culebra and Vieques. These are part of Puerto Rico and there are a lot of benefits that come with that - friendlier people, cheaper prices and easy air connections from San Juan.

The locals in the USVI and BVI are pretty reserved. Once you show respect they may open up a bit. In the SVIs, we found people start with a smile, friendly banter, sing with the radio and include you in conversations. Different cultures, both enjoyable.

We live on the east coast and can get to the beaches on the Med faster and cheaper than to Hawaii. We love Hawaii, and I used to go there for extended trips for work. But, it is far and more expensive than the Caribbean.

On Europe, we usually visit in the winter to enjoy lower costs and fewer. Some of our favorite areas are Amsterdam/Dusseldorf/Koln and Munich to Bamberg. The Czech Republic is awesome too. Visiting the big UK cities is more pleasant in the cooler months as most lodging has no a/c and the summer months can be a bit moist.

Cheers, RickG
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby XOXO » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:22 pm

Thank you, RickG!!

We took day trips from Puerto Rico to Culebra and Vieques. They were amazing. I will check into them. I looked at flights to Culebra and it isn't a long day of flying to get there. That is a plus. Flights are pretty expensive compared to other destinations I was thinking about.

How wonderful you have a sailboat!! Congrats. What is her name??
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby David 12 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:49 pm

Little Dix Bay on Virgin Gorda is going through a complete renovation and is scheduled to reopen December 2017. Should be nice and may be a good option.

We live in Omaha and share your love of St. John. I second the thought that Hawaii, while very nice is a bit of a trip, can be crowded and expensive. We visited Maui and the weather was perfect, great food and golf.

Phoenix is a decent option if you are golfers.

Turks is as described above, although Amanyara looks interesting.

Good luck,

Dave
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby XOXO » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:34 pm

Dave, those places are amazing. They are far too rich for my budget. I will definitely dream about Amanyara!!

At the moment I am leaning toward Turks and Caicos. It looks like there is a lot to do. We don't mind the flatness--we love the sand and water. We also liked the Bahama's. We've been to Atlantis and Little Exuma.
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby mark & susan » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:54 am

We have started to look beyond STJ as well, the crowds and the $$$. We have enjoyed Vieques 2 or three times - wide open beaches.

This year we experienced Tulum and loved it so much we have booked two return trips - in August and January.

Found that portion of Mexico very safe - drove two hours into the interior with no issues. Stayed at the last hotel on the beach next to the Sian Kaan Bio reserve.

Walk into the reserve and you may not see another person for all of a 45 minute walk.

Great food - hotels have gotten expensive but in the town (pueblo) the food is great and very reasonable - one favorite has .30 cent tacos. Food prices on the beach are no higher than the states, and less than STJ.

Old timers on the Tulum boards complain how commercial it has become, and the beach road can be crowded in high season - but we enjoyed.
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby SuefromMA » Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:23 pm

Another island for thought might be Anguilla. We stayed on Shoal Bay at a wonderful place called Shoal Bay Villas. Basically condo units right at the beach's edge. Softest sand ever and no getting in and out of a jeep or lugging chairs. We were able to go on a couple of boat excursions to get some snorkeling in. Nice flat island - very easy to navigate. Music playing on different parts of the island at different times and days. There is also another beach on the other end of the island where a lot of people enjoy staying called Mead's Bay. A lot of nightlife and restaurants within walking distance. And also many great restaurants throughout the island. Not at all the natural beauty of St. John. But, for "chilled down" beachfront accommodations with gorgeous water and sand - Anguilla might be a good choice for you. We enjoyed it. But, of course, LOVE St. John, more.
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Re: St. John like destination

Postby PA Girl » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:57 am

I agree with everything said about T&C and Anguilla. To add -

Both lack a town like Cruz Bay where you can stroll about. We missed that feature.

Anguilla has fantastic restaurants, many on or very close to the beach lodging options, beautiful beaches but not much snorkeling.

Aside from Provo, the other T&C islands are very quiet with few dining, shopping or entertainment options. I have been to Provo pre-boom and post-construction boom. The interior of the island reminds me of Florida with a 4 lane highway and big box stores, small shopping centers, etc. However, its a large island and you can find quiet spots. The islands only source of tax revenue is import duties so be prepared for shockingly high food and drink prices.

First trip we rented a great unit on Grace Bay beach directly in front of a nice reef so there was enough snorkeling to keep us happy. Otherwise, its know for diving, not snorkeling. We keep talking about going back but have a hard time breaking away from the Caribbean. Keep in mind, Provo can be cool in December and January if the east coast is stormy.

Virgin Gorda compares very favorably to STJ. There isn't really the walking options you desire but the North Sound has fun diversions via the water taxis (free) between Leverick, Saba and Bitter End.
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