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Caribbean island most like St John USVI

Discussion in 'Travel' started by jefffromcanada, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. jefffromcanada

    jefffromcanada Formula Junior
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    Nov 2, 2006
    933
    Alberta
    That time of year again...winter vacation planning.

    We want to spend 7-10 days on a Caribbean island. Not a resort but rent a condo, rent a car, explore, snorkel, hike, beach, food etc. (Wife and kids 11 & 13)

    St John has been our favorite of all the islands we've been to. Combination of a bunch of different things but it was the best. We probably should just go back but I am a big fan of visiting new islands.

    Our most recent 7-10 day stay was on Provo (Turks and Caicos). It was nice but St John is better.

    For those of you who have been on St John AND spent time on another island....are any of them similar?
     
  2. JOEA2

    JOEA2 Formula Junior
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    Feb 2, 2006
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    Staten Island, N.Y./ Sea Girt,N.J.
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    Joe A
    Anguilla!

    Joe
     
  3. jefffromcanada

    jefffromcanada Formula Junior
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    Nov 2, 2006
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  4. Bas Jaski

    Bas Jaski Two Time F1 World Champ

    Mar 24, 2008
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    I've been to Aruba loads and lived in Curacao (next to each other). Both are great, though I think Curacao may be a bit of a party island now so you need to know the right spots if you want a bit more quietness (plenty out there, mind). As a holiday at the moment I rather want to go to Aruba right now.
     
  5. GatorFL

    GatorFL Moderator
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    Nov 18, 2005
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    Duane
    You need to look at Costa Rica. We did a trip down there this summer and it was amazing, especially for the kids.
     
  6. slm

    slm Formula 3
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    Duane, could you expand, please? Where did you stay, what to do with the kids, etc?
     
  7. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
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    Yes, please. Just learned today that the wife is going there on business spring, and I am busily arranging my schedule to tag along. Any intel on good places to eat, things to see, are most welcome. She will be staying @ the Crowne Plaza, near La Sabana Park in San Jose...T
     
  8. GatorFL

    GatorFL Moderator
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    Nov 18, 2005
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    Wellington, FL
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    San Jose is the capital, not too much to see there. An hour or two in the car either north to the Arenal volcano or south to Manuel Antonio puts you in fantastic parts of Costa Rica. We spent 10 days there this summer, half at Arenal and the other half near Manuel Antonio. The food is good, plenty to see and do and they locals love Americans. We rented a car and so were really mobile once we got to our hotels. We loved the freedom of having the car. Gas is expensive but worth it.

    My kids are 11 and 16, we all agreed we had the time of our lives down there.

    Arenal we stayed here, probably the most beautiful resort we have ever stayed at: https://www.tabacon.com/ We took advantage of world class service, great dining and the fantastic thermal hot springs at the resort.

    Nearby we did these excursions:
    1. Ziplining (over a valley over 600' off the ground, it felt like we were flying) https://skyadventures.travel/skytrek/?_ga=2.31297532.252828429.1537386273-1373092934.1537386273
    2. White water rafting https://www.desafiocostarica.com/transports-details/-La-Fortuna-to-San-Jose-Whitewater-Rafting-Balsa-River
    3. Coffee plantation tour https://northfieldscafe.business.site/

    We ventured out in our car for some spectacular (and some not-so spectacular) dining, it was all fun. I would say avoid the beef, it's just fair down there but all the rest of the food is delicious.

    We chartered a private plane to take us from the Arenal to Manuel Antonio. That was fun, the airstrip is behind a bar. Yes, we took beer on the plane!

    Manuel Antonio was a lot more surfer vibe. We stayed here, it was nice but not as nice as Tabacon: https://www.sicomono.com/

    We did these excursions:
    1. Guided tour of Manuel Antonio. We hiked through the jungle to the beach and on the way saw sloths, a couple of kinds of monkeys, deer, crabs, lizards, snakes, etc. Spent a couple hours on the hike and a few hours at the beach. The beach there is breathtaking!
    2. Deep sea fishing. https://fishingcostarica.net/ If you go, call Franklin, he made the whole trip for me. In a half day we caught grouper, red snapper, a huge sailfish, several mahi-mahi, and on our way back we got an elusive roosterfish. He cleaned all the edible stuff and took us to a restaurant http://www.cafeaguaazul.com/ where they cooked our catch for dinner.
    3. Mangrove tour--was ok, would skip it.

    We used Aaron aaron@costaricaexperts.com at Costa Rica Experts to book everything. We would go back tomorrow and book all of the above ourselves.
     
    tomc likes this.
  9. slm

    slm Formula 3
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    Thanks so much. Very helpful.
     
  10. tomc

    tomc F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
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    Yes. Great info...T
     
  11. jefffromcanada

    jefffromcanada Formula Junior
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    Nov 2, 2006
    933
    Alberta
    Costa Rica is awesome. As I mentioned in the OP, I'm a big fan of trying new places. But we'll go back to back, kids talk about it all the time.

    Gators post was great.

    We rented a condo in Tamarindo and stayed at the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Flew in and out of Liberia, we were there for just over two and a half weeks.

    We rented a big diesel Mitsubishi SUV (5 spd!!) and drove over the place. Numerous National Parks, one of which we crossed a river using the rental vehicle lol

    It is a big country and while driving distances don't look too bad, the speed at which you drive makes seeing everything difficult.

    Depending on you length of stay, don't try see everything, just concentrate on specific areas. The wildlife is extraordinary.
     
  12. ChipG

    ChipG Formula Junior

    May 26, 2011
    552
    I have a condo in St Thomas, the BVI's are pretty close to St John especially Virgin Gorda. Google Virgin Gorda and see if you like what you see.
     
  13. jefffromcanada

    jefffromcanada Formula Junior
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    Nov 2, 2006
    933
    Alberta
    Booked!

    Week on Anguilla and a week on St Maarten.
     
  14. JOEA2

    JOEA2 Formula Junior
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    Feb 2, 2006
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    Staten Island, N.Y./ Sea Girt,N.J.
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    I'll be in Anguilla with the whole family in February, as usual. Love it there!!

    Joe
     

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