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Need help deciding my next trip

Advice need for a trip to Central America/Carribean/Bahamas/etc in the first couple of weeks in January.
12 years ago, August 4th 2011 No: 1 Msg: #141507  
My wife and I are looking to go to Central America/Carribean/Bahamas/etc in the near future, most likely the first couple of weeks in January. I'll just give you a quick run down of who we are and what we enjoy so that may help you plan this. We are some what adventurous and enjoy tropical places(just like everyone else). We enjoy doing day hikes during travels. We have been to Cozumel a couple times and enjoyed the beauty in the ocean and also liked the price that came along with the all inclusive but we didn't like how "touristy" it was and how there was really nothing to do besides hang out on the main strip and buy things. We did enjoy going over to Playa and hanging out at Xel Ha but again very touristy and it didn't feel too safe once we got off the beaten path. We have also went to Hawaii a couple times and loved it. We loved everything about Hawaii, the hikes, the water, the rain forest, the cities, the overall beauty and of course the people. The only thing that makes us want to try places besides Hawaii is the cost and we would also enjoy traveling to other parts of the world to see what there is to offer. We looked into some of the countries of Central America like Belize, Honduras, and Costa Rica. We are not really sure where we want to go though. We need someone with actual travel experience in the area to help us out. We want some adventure, some beauty, some relaxation and of course some place safe to go outside the gates. Any help would be awesome. Reply to this

12 years ago, August 6th 2011 No: 2 Msg: #141543  
Costa Rica is a very nice country and offers inexpensive places to stay all the way up to luxury accommodations. We road horses, did the zip line, went scuba diving, went to a bull fight and enjoyed the monkey's hanging out in the trees at our hotel. It is the most developed of the Central American countries and is tourists friendly. You will find many parts of the country not feeling touristy. It will offer you a wide variety of choices.

Dominica is the Garden Isle of the Caribbean and I would give it some serious consideration. This an island has it all-- hiking, biking, amazing waterfalls, we went canoeing. Lovely mountain lakes and streams. It offers good scuba diving, black sand beaches, lovely flowers and a lush rain forest.

One of our favorite islands is Barbados. It caters to budget travelers as well as the rich and famous. We can recommend a couple of inexpensive places to stay in St. Lawrence Gap. There is a nice downtown area if you want to do some shopping. You can go to the caverns and this island offers lots of hiking. If you want a couple of days with more people around you can find scuba diving and party boats. Fun, fun, fun, We have been to this island 4 times. Lots of good music on this island. Send us a private message and we will recommend a place to stay.

More to come. Reply to this

12 years ago, August 6th 2011 No: 3 Msg: #141545  
Heya, i second barbados and some of the other islands like trinidad and tobago high up the list. Barbados especially has a great feel...a really different relaxing and fun culture. The food is different, the people are different, the transport is different which all adds to a great holiday. We hired a car and went driving around and there are huge mountains in the middle, rough seas on one side and beautiful beaches on the other... i'm sure you could go hiking through the mountains. T&T was similar although a bit smaller but both we really felt like we were in a completely different place.

I really didnt rate the Bahamas and just found it to be too similar to America. Whats the point if you still eat hamburgers and are in an amercian hotel??? I guess if you just want a weekend away somewhere warm it is good but if youre looking for some sort of experience then i wouldnt bother with the bahamas.

hth, tam Reply to this

12 years ago, August 6th 2011 No: 4 Msg: #141568  
Caribbean Islands -- from our perspective

As you can imagine each Caribbean island has its own personality and flavor so they are each different in their own way. We love the Caribbean because of the friendly people and the great music.

We have not been to St. Lucia but have friends who have and we understand it is one of the more lush and lovely islands. The volcanic islands for the most part don't have the long white beaches that many people are looking for but they have a great deal to offer.

Here is our perception of a few of the islands we have been to: keep in mind some of our visits were a few years ago. We have found that on each island all budgets can be accommodated.

Bahamas- a group of many islands with distinct personalities. Most people are familiar with Nassau because it is the capital, the largest and visited by many on cruise ships. The smaller islands are quiet, quaint and unpopulated. The large island is a tourist mecca where locals tout their wares with smiling faces. Lots of development. Low end and high end hotels and restaurants. Rather flat topography with nice beaches.
Diving: very good-- we are hoping to go to San Salvador in the near future- one of the better islands for diving. The waters in this area are an amazing clear green blue.

Barbados- one of our favorites (we have visited 4 times) It is a large island with an abundance of sugar cane fields, rolling hills and beautiful beaches. The place we stay is very simple and inexpensive but waterfront. Barbados offers lots of hiking, caving, diving, fine dining and road side roti stands. The water is an amazing blue. Bridgetown is full of trinket and jewelry shops. Many extremely good restaurants on this island. There are several private and high end resorts but plenty for the normal budget also.
Diving: not bad

Bonaire- It is a relatively flat desert island with parts of it looking like Arizona. It is a diverse paradise. Many shore dives are a few feet off shore. Boat dives are ten minutes out. You can spend your time diving rather than on the boat. Very good restaurants on this island! If you go to Bonaire please eat dinner at the Mona Lisa. It is our favorite.
Diving: excellent

Curacao- is the island right next to Bonaire (one of the ABC islands) A beautiful downtown area and some amazing beaches. This island has a lot to offer and we think it is often over looked. The good thing about Bonaire, Curacao and Aruba is they are south of the hurricane path so they are safe from storms year around. This is one of the reasons their reefs are in such good shape. Very good food and again beautiful beaches.
Diving: very good

Grand Cayman- a banking and scuba diving mecca. A fairly flat island but lovely. World famous for its seven mile beach. Because of the banking laws this brings in a variety of businessmen. If you are looking to hide some money in an off shore account this is the place. Many high rise hotels and condos lining the beach. Some of the areas of the island are very pricey but budget accommodations can be found. There is a town called Hell where you can visit and have your photo to send to friends. Very good food. The downside is that it is frequented by many cruise ships. There is a town called Hell so it is fun to have your photo taken in Hell.
Diving; excellent

Cayman Brac- not much going on this island except some diving. Small and quiet. Don't go to this island if you can't entertain yourself with walks on the beach, laying in the hammock, sitting and the bar sharing dive stories and adding a few more dives to your log. Nice accommodations.
Diving: excellent- Bloody Bay wall is amazing

Dominica- called the Garden Isle. It is beautiful, lush and green. Extremely narrow windy roads curving up through the mountains and hills. Be careful if you rent a car you could end up in a fairly deep ditch. Black sand beaches because it is volcanic. A million things to do if you love the outdoors- gardens, canoeing, some amazing hiking, waterfalls and diving. Not built up much yet so still feels off the beaten path.
Diving: very good

Jamaica- it is a very large island with a variety of topography. It is green and lush with hills and mountains. Beautiful botanical gardens, famous waterfalls, hiking and a water sport paradise. This island offers many all inclusive resorts and high end to low end accommodations. Depending on where you are some of the locals can be assertive in trying to sell their wares but we are good at saying no. Very good food available and you could go to Bob Marley's house if you wanted to take the time.

Turks and Caicos- Is a group of islands each with their own personality.Amazing color of water. We've been to Grand Turk and Salt Caye. We didn't go to Providenciales because it is built up and has casinos.
Grand Turk is stepping back in time. Many people rent golf carts to explore the island as It is small. A few nice beaches and some very good diving. Also known for whale watching in the winter. Salt Caye is tiny- don't go unless you like the quiet.
Diving: very good

St. Lucia is on our short list but I suspect our next couple of islands will be Bequia and Montserrat.

Reply to this

12 years ago, August 12th 2011 No: 5 Msg: #141792  
I second the recommendation of Costa Rica. Beautiful country and some wonderfully fresh food. I had fresh fruit everyday and some really awesome pork.

If your okay with doing a day trip or using the tours transportation, head up to Tortugero and ride up the wonderful waterways. We saw so many monkeys and other animales while we were riding around. Reply to this

12 years ago, August 19th 2011 No: 6 Msg: #142051  
I've heard great things about Costa Rica- which is actually why I'm on my way there now for a 10-day backpacking adventure! If you're interested, you can check my blog posts, or give me a shout to ask direct questions!

i also plan to visit Guatemala in January and I'll be doing research on the country before then...let me know if I can be of any assistance! Reply to this

12 years ago, August 20th 2011 No: 7 Msg: #142124  
In response to: Msg #142051


We are looking forward to reading your blogs and finding what you have learn about Costa Rica and Guatemala. Reply to this

12 years ago, August 24th 2011 No: 8 Msg: #142312  
We have to give our vote for Costa Rica as well. Definitely one of our favorite places in all of our travels. Bocas del Toro in Panama is also a very beautiful cluster of islands off the Carribean coast. Bocas town definitely has a backpacker feel to it and Zapatilla still ranks as one of the most beautiful beaches we have seen.

Belize could be another good option if you are looking for a relazing little island. Caye caulker was one of Jessie's favorites when she was there a few years ago. We have it on the list for the second part of our RTW trip.

Keep us updated on where you go, we'll be interested to hear.

Nate and Jessie Reply to this

12 years ago, September 1st 2011 No: 9 Msg: #142649  

In response to: Msg #141507
I recently visited Tikal, Guatemala it was an AMAZING experience! check out http://www.guatemalatoday.travel I found a lot of great places I didn't know about and will visit on my next trip to Guatemala. =0) Reply to this

12 years ago, September 1st 2011 No: 10 Msg: #142650  

In response to: Msg #142051
It's also on www.facebook.com/guatemalatoday Reply to this

12 years ago, September 14th 2011 No: 11 Msg: #143268  
I can't tell you much about this area as we didnt see a huge amount of it on our trip but we did spend several weeks in Guatemala and really enjoyed it. Lots of different things to do, beautiful scenery, great culture, friendly locals and we felt safe there. We did the following:
Antigua - cute little town with beautiful old buildings and plazas, quite touristy so nice choice of restaurants and bars. From here you can also do a hike up to the lava flow of an active volcano which was really cool.
Lago Atitlan - volcano ringed lake with cute little villages all around, good for chilling out, kayaking, walking etc.
Chichicastenango - GREAT market for picking up souvenirs and seeing local life
Semuc Champey - Natural wonder out in the countryside, plunge pools, great scenery, relaxing, also some short caving trips available
Tikal - Amazing Mayan ruins/temples/monkeys etc.
Rio Dulce - boat trips, hot water waterfalls, relaxation and easy access to the caribbean coast

We also hit the Honduran island of Roatan for some lovely diving/snorkelling and pretty beaches

Have a great trip, I look forward to hearing where you end up going Reply to this

12 years ago, September 28th 2011 No: 12 Msg: #144123  
We did a mix of all this in a few weeks time in July
-4 days in Harbour Island...simply wow place, pink sands beach
-Nassau, as a transit point...2 nights one day...that's really not a nice place...
-But from Nassau we took a flight to Havana...great place for 4 days.
-flight to Cancun, we took a bus straight to Tulum where we stay 2 nights.
-little transit stop in Chetumal before jumping on a but to Flores to visit Tikal..pretty amazing.
-we finished by a week in Belize diving on a yacht, but you could relax on Amberis Cayes.

For all of the above, we have blogs in July. Reply to this

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7 years ago, April 10th 2017 No: 14 Msg: #200509  

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