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  1. #1
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    Caribbean travel advice

    I know this is a well-traveled crowd so I though I'd ask for some tips...

    Is there anything that absolutely cannot be missed in Charlotte Amelie in St. Thomas? I would like to avoid organized tours as much as possible and wouldn't be against something a little bit more sporty.

    What about Ocho Rios in Jamaica? Are the waterfalls worth the visit or would my time there (one day) be better spent elsewhere?

    I spent half the day researching the guide books, and still no luck making a decision....

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    Quote Originally Posted by coquelicot View Post
    I know this is a well-traveled crowd so I though I'd ask for some tips...

    Is there anything that absolutely cannot be missed in Charlotte Amelie in St. Thomas? I would like to avoid organized tours as much as possible and wouldn't be against something a little bit more sporty.

    What about Ocho Rios in Jamaica? Are the waterfalls worth the visit or would my time there (one day) be better spent elsewhere?

    I spent half the day researching the guide books, and still no luck making a decision....
    ST. Thomas is a beautiful island, make sure you see the beaches. I was there many years ago so I am not sure about what has changed, but talk with your hotel concierge and they can direct you better.

    Have fun!
    Without fear you cannot find courage

  3. #3

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    Are those the only 2 places you are looking at? I have been more to the western Caribbean/ Central America myself and can not rave enough about Belize and Honduras. Not your typical tourist stops but so many things to see and not too tourist'y' like other Caribbean destinations.

    I am hoping to get to Jamaica and Barbados sometime soon. I also want to get to Monserrat and Bermuda. (I have a relative living there so would only have to pay airfare)

    Have fun!!
    ~I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.~ (Charles R. Swindoll)

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    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Barbados... such a gem... Still maintains its culture (not Americanized etc) and the people are so kind and friendly. It's such a great island....with some amazing restaurants too!!

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    From St. Thomas, you should take a side-trip to the island of St. John. Most of the island is protected and the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park there is fabulous. The snorkelling is excellent and the island itself is absolutely specactular. It is a real 'paradise on earth.' That would be my 'don't miss' recommendation.

    Also, Charlotte Amalie is known for it's shopping. There are great duty free prices on liquor, electronics, and jewelry in particular. Havensight Mall is as good for shopping as downtown, so don't feel bad if you don't have time to shop both locations.
    I'm not spoiled...I deserve all my stuff.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by coquelicot View Post
    What about Ocho Rios in Jamaica? Are the waterfalls worth the visit or would my time there (one day) be better spent elsewhere?
    Dunn River Falls was fun, but I was not impressed with the guides. They don't really tell you anything about the falls, and they push you through too fast (at least ours did). We actually went back about half way down and re-climbed to the top by ourselves, which was far more enjoyable. (The only reason we could do this was that one of the families on the tour said they were going back to the beginning and took off. Instead of waiting in the parking lot with DH and the rest of the tour for them to show up, DS and I went back too but only half way. We got back to the parking lot about 10 minutes before this other family. The bus driver was not happy and I don't think the rest of the passengers were either.) There is a lot of people climbing it, so it's not exactly a relaxing nature experience. Doing it once was worth it, but I wouldn't go back a second time.

    We didn't get into Ocho Rios itself (we were staying at a resort, and the day we were supposed to go there was one of the few sunny days we had that week, so we stayed at the beach), but we heard people talk well about Margaritaville. At the resort there was a brochure for a bike tour that I wish we had done. I didn't talk to anyone who did, though. There's also a river raft/tube trip that my parents did years ago when they were there on a cruise ship stop that they enjoyed. I think these can be combined with a Dunn River Falls trip.

    We're going back to Jamaica next February, except to the other side of Montego Bay. Overall, the Jamaican people are wonderful and the countryside very beautiful. Of course, we wouldn't go to Kingston - there were employees at our resort that we talked with who said that even they won't go there because it is too dangerous.

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    In Ocho Rios, I skipped the falls (too crowded, too rushed) and did a zip line tour instead. Our guide was amazing and told us jokes, stories, history the whole way there and back and the experience itself was amazing (if you're into a bit of adventure). Just walking through the rainforest was great and we got to explore a little village in the mountains and get off the beaten path to see a bit of "real life". I forget the name of the company for the life of me, though... we organized it through our cruise ship's excursions desk.

    We also went into the shopping district, which included Margaritaville. Typical commercialized resort style shopping with everything you'd expect. Heavily guarded out front and they seemed to only be letting the tourists in so you weren't bombarded by the guys trying to sell you stuff. We were warned not to walk around town, so we took a cab back to our ship.
    Last edited by Erica Lee; 06-13-2010 at 10:48 PM. Reason: Repeating myself unnecessarily

  8. #8
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    I thought about a zip line tour, but I can't. Just can't.

  9. #9
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    If I hadn't already had high ropes experience, I don't know that I would have done it either. For the record, it was a lot less scary than I anticipated. Except the part where you had to jump straight down.. eek.. that one got me (of course you're being belayed and there's a break on the line to catch you... but still).

    On the subject of adventurous things, I highly recommend parasailing. Not. scary. at. all. I thought it would be and the person I went with was scared out of her wits at the thought of it beforehand.. to the point of almost bailing on me; however, we both agreed it was strangely relaxing!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by skategal View Post
    From St. Thomas, you should take a side-trip to the island of St. John. Most of the island is protected and the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park there is fabulous. The snorkelling is excellent and the island itself is absolutely specactular. It is a real 'paradise on earth.' That would be my 'don't miss' recommendation.
    Yes, go to St. John! I much prefer it to St. Thomas. You can take a ferry from Red Hook or downtown Charlotte Amalie- its very easy. The north shore beaches are lovely- Trunk Bay and Leinster Bay especially have good snorkeling. Although Cinnamon Bay is one of my favorites for just hanging out. There are a number of hiking trails within the park- the Reef Bay trail is a really nice day hike.

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