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Caribbean destination recommendations for outdoorsy young couple

Caribbean destination recommendations for outdoorsy young couple

Old Feb 19, 23, 11:31 pm
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Caribbean destination recommendations for outdoorsy young couple

My significant other and I are planning a 5-day/ 4-night weekday trip to the Caribbean in mid-May. We're not easily impressed by hotels, and don't mind DIYing the trip versus staying in an all-inclusive. After extensive research, we've narrowed it down to 11 possible destinations. (I know, I know) We're looking to spend time in the ocean, snorkeling, eating good food, and maybe hiking. We'd like to avoid a sterile resort feel.

Have you been to any of the following destinations? What are your opinions? Thank you!

Bridgetown, Barbados; Curacao; Grand Cayman; Kingston, Jamaica; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Nassau, Bahamas; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Manati, Puerto Rico; San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Old Feb 20, 23, 12:37 am
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Have you considered Dominica? Its focus is on nature tourism. It long ago decided that it couldn't compete with the typical fun-in-the-sun Caribbean islands, so it carved out a niche for itself promoting its rainforests, birding, and hiking. Its "resorts" are more like the nature lodges you see in Costa Rica and mainland Belize. Dominica has a lot of fans, including me, who are looking for something different in the Caribbean.
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Old Feb 20, 23, 12:01 pm
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Punta Cana, Dominican Republic - went once and didn't like it. The resort staff did not want us walking off the property alone. The resort activity providers were inexperienced. We did a snorkel trip that was unsafe. Fishing was ok for the price but far below other deep sea trips taken in other destinations.

San Juan, Puerto Rico - a favorite of ours. We are fans of the El Convento for a hotel in the old city. If you want more outdoor adventure, stay out towards the rain forest.
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Old Feb 20, 23, 3:46 pm
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Dominica and St.Lucia for outdoorsy
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Old Feb 23, 23, 5:31 pm
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Puerto Rico all day and Sunday. Very diverse, many outdoor sights and activities.
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Old Feb 28, 23, 8:44 am
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Forget Jamaica. Period.
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Old Mar 1, 23, 8:30 am
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This thread seems to be mostly about where not to go!
Kingston, Jamaica: hard no. Only reasonable out-doorsy activities would be to visit the Bob Marley museum and the Blue Mountains coffee growing area. Apologies to my Jamaican friends.
Montego Bay, Jamaica: there are some things (in addition to golf) such as the Dunn's River Falls and river rafting, and maybe horseback riding, but public safety is still an issue. More apologies.
Santo Domingo: no. I like the colonial distract, and the food, but it's a big city.
San Juan: also a big city, but close to the rain forest. Old San Juan is a jewell. El Convento (mentioned below) is great for breakfast even if you are not staying there. Note - the surf on this (north) side of the island makes water sports a bit of a challenge.
Bridgetown, Barbados: mostly beach stuff. The island is relatively low, so no hills to climb. Lots and lots of restaurants to try.
Curacao: excellent snorkelling. Due to the Dutch influence, maybe some cycling.
Grand Cayman: excellent snorkelling, boat excursions to stingray city, beach sand gets very hot, but the place has the feel of southern Florida.
Nassau: pass. Too close to Florida. Some public safety issues. Pick a smaller island in the Bahamas.
Antigua or St Lucia: both have a good variety of activities, including some hiking.
Dominica: fewer air connections, but I agree with the earlier comments, their focus is on eco-tourism, hiking, etc.
Also to consider: St Martin / Sint Maarten. One island, two countries. water sports, sailing, snorkelling and an easy side-trip by ferry to Anguilla for the day.
Grenada is another possibility. As well as Bellize. Belize is English speaking, is part of Central America (= usually cheaper), wide range of activities including Mayan ruins, jungle tour as well as snorkelling/diving/sailing.
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Old Apr 17, 23, 9:32 am
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I don’t mean to sound critical, but where did you do your research? There are multiple dodgy locations on your list as well as big cities and strictly beach locations.

My vote is a Puerto Rico. Fly into SJU and then stay outside the city. We chose Dorado to get out of the city. There are local beaches there that are quite wonderful. Outings included El Yunque rain forest and the Camuy caves as well as a Bacardi tour which you might not find as interesting.
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Old Apr 18, 23, 12:46 pm
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Of the OP's list, the top two would be Curacao and Grand Cayman, though neither really offer hiking (which is where Puerto Rico might fit the bill). I'm also guessing OP is located somewhere on the east coast, and the destination list (except Manati) are all non-stop flights. (It also never occurred to me that NYC-CUN is a shorter flight than NYC-BGI.)
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