Help Choosing a Honeymoon spot
January 1, 2011 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Where in the Caribbean should we go for our honeymoon?

We have the following islands available to us through the SFX timeshare program:

* Antigua
* Aruba
* Bahamas
* Barbados
* Bermuda
* Dominican Republic
* Grand Cayman
* Sint Maarten
* St. Lucia
* St. Thomas
* Turks and Caico

We are a very active couple looking for a mostly relaxing trip, but would also like to have a day or two of fun activities. We also need it be reasonably priced. Bonus points if the island has some semblance of waves on the beach.
posted by 2legit2quit to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I live on Saint Martin (the French side of the island), and there are a variety of fun activities like diving, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, etc. There are generally waves on the east side beaches, but they vary depending on the swell. It's not particularly expensive here, depending on what you do/where you eat, etc.

Bermuda is quite expensive and it's only warm in the summer, although it is pretty fun. I've only been to the Bahamas briefly, but the activities/etc. probably vary widely depending on which island in the Bahamas.
posted by snofoam at 4:11 PM on January 1, 2011

Response by poster: snofoam,

We have heard that Saint Martin has a very large population that makes it not feel very secluded or romantic. Is that true?
posted by 2legit2quit at 4:28 PM on January 1, 2011

Don't know if your timeshare allows it, but the out islands in the Bahamas are fantastic for both relaxation & outdoor adventure. Book a seaplane from Ft. Lauderdale, rather than dealing with the hassle & expense of Miami/Grand Bahama.

Bimini is close to Florida, just across the stream which makes it easily & quickly accessible by float plane or boat. Lots of great sport fishing & fun snorkeling too. The Sapona (shipwreck) is a great dive/snorkel, as is Bimini "road" (underwater geological feature or Atlantis, depending on whom you talk to). There's also a cool shark research station you may be able to arrange a visit to.

Andros is huge and sparsely populated. If you want to get away from people and enjoy deserted beaches, this is it. The island has tons of blue holes too.

The Abacos islands are a sailing mecca - if you're interested in bareboating or chartering a captain, this is the place to do it. Decent nightlife + lots of beaches, golf, etc. It's resort-ish, but in a good way.

It's fun & affordable to hitch a ride on a mail boat and island hop a bit, if your schedule allows for it.

Prices will vary widely depending on when you're traveling - Northern hemisphere winters are the high season & are usually the most expensive, while summers are the most affordable. (Early summer travel is a good bet anywhere in the Caribbean if you're looking to maximize your $ and minimize hurricane risk.)
posted by muirne81 at 4:43 PM on January 1, 2011

Response by poster: muirne81,

Thank you so much for the detailed response! We will see if any of these are an option for us. (I should really create a new question for the ins and outs of timeshare swapping. The lack of information is astonishing)
posted by 2legit2quit at 4:45 PM on January 1, 2011

No worries - feel free to MeMail me if you'd like more info. I lived on Bimini for a spell - it was heaven!

You're sure to have a fantastic honeymoon anywhere in the Caribbean - congrats!!!
posted by muirne81 at 4:54 PM on January 1, 2011

I lived in the Caribbean & personally I'd head for Dominica for an active vacation on a place that's not so crowded. Some of my favorite places there:

Papillote Inn

Trafalgar Falls

Boiling Lake Hike

There's also a ferry system so you can do daytrips to the nearby French islands (Guadeloupe & Martinique) and St Lucia. Guadeloupe is another favorite place of mine, plus there are smaller islands you can check out like Marie Gallante.
posted by gov_moonbeam at 5:21 PM on January 1, 2011

I think the answer to this question depends a lot on where your timeshare option is located. As muirne81 pointed out the Bahamas has hundreds of options, but most of those options will not be readily available if you are in Nassau.

I've been to most islands in the Caribbean in the last 15 years and I'll try to share what I know.

St. Thomas...this island has the reputation of being one of the least safe in the Carib. I wouldn't go. Also, it is very American. If you are Americans you might be looking for something more exotic. Personally, I'd never go to St. Thomas if I didn't have to.

As for St. Marten...I would definitely consider this island if your time share is on the French side. But since you used the Dutch spelling (Sint Maarten) I am guessing the TS is on the Dutch side. For me the Dutch side is not nearly as attractive, although it is a small island and you can get anywhere in a few hours. But St. Marten is pretty crowded. (if you are into diving there is a great dive spot on Saba, a nearby Dutch island. It is an easy day trip by ferry from St. Marten. Another fun day trip is to fly to St. Baarths. Its worth it just for the landing at St. Baarth's famous airport (and bragging rights about going to St. Barths on your HM))

Antigua, I love Antigua and in fact Mrs. Panda Bear and I were married there. If you go try to visit the southern end of the island (English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour). BUT...there have been several high profile murders of western (read white) tourists there in the last few years. Antiguans are amazing people, but it is a corrupt third world country with a weak police. You have been warned. (Not great diving in Antigua)

I've heard the DR has come a long way in tourist amenities in the last few years, but I have never been.

St. Lucia is beautiful and they too have improved tourist amenities in the last decade.

Barbados is a great little island, the people are great and they have a decent form of government and a sound economy (read safe) There has to be some beaches there, but I haven't been to any so can't comment. Also, if you like rum, the aged Mount Gay available on the island is the best rum I've ever had anywhere in the world.

As a previous posted said Bermuda is good in the summer as it is quite far north. Very beautiful island. Nice people.

Cayman Island is quite small. I've never been, but its so small I would think it is limited.

Aruba I cannot comment on.

What time of year is your honeymoon? The big tourist season for most of the Carib is between Christmas and spring break. For example Antigua becomes a ghost island after about mid-April. Maybe that is what you prefer from your honeymoon. If it is June or July, consider Bermuda. Also, bear in mind hurricane season which is technically from June 1 - Nov 1 BUT most activity is around August - October. Very early and very late season hurricanes are less common and less furious.

Also, islands south of 17 degrees latitude are out of the hurricane belt, so Aruba, Barbados, and St. Lucia are considered out of the zone.

Again, it will depend largely on the qualities of the individual time share and where it is located on the island. It might be on the most beautiful island on earth, but on the wrong side of the island from where you want to be. Or it might be on an island with only one good beach, but its on that beach. Once you narrow your search a bit i'm sure you'll find more info on local tourist websites.

Good luck and congratulations!
posted by pandabearjohnson at 11:30 PM on January 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

By the way, don't confuse the Dominican Republic (DR) with Dominica. The DR is on the island of Hispaniola (with Haiti) just to the west of Puerto Rico. Dominica is in the Windward Islands between the French Islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Dominica is (as gov_moonbeam points out) beautiful and wild, but it isn't on your list. If it was I would suggest it if for no other reason than it is such a unique destination.

posted by pandabearjohnson at 9:16 AM on January 2, 2011

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