A while back, I shared why we prefer Sandals Resorts when we travel to the Caribbean. I thought it might be helpful to touch on the pros and cons of the various islands we have visited around the world.
1992 – Cayman Brac (Divi Tiara Dive Resort – destroyed by a hurricane several years later)
- British territory – very clean, low crime rate, friendly locals
- Caters to divers – Divers were gone all day & went to bed early. It was almost like having our own private resort.
- Island very rocky with scrub brush.
- Very little to do besides lounging, snorkeling, diving or fishing.
- Easy access to snorkeling on the pink sand island of Little Cayman
2003 – Kauai, Hawaii (Marriott Beach Resort)
- US state – no passport needed or having to exchange currency. Also clean with low crime rate.
- Lush and tropical
- A lot of things to do off the resort like hiking, shopping, golf, helicopter rides, kayaking, and touring coffee or sugar plantations. Also an easy day trip to Pearl Harbor, which was completely worth it.
- Lengthy flights and drastic time change from the east coast.
- The resorts are very family oriented and touristy.
- Seafood is pretty limited to fish. Shrimp and lobster hard to come by.
- Water is clear and not near as salty.
2008 & 2011 – Bahamas (Sandals Royal Bahamian & a cruise ship stop)
- Absolutely gorgeous crystal blue water.
- Not overly lush but not rocky and scraggly either.
- Locals are a bit pushy sometimes, especially when haggling over prices.
- Easy-to-use public buses.
- Low daytime crime rate. We were advised to stay on the resort after dark.
- Very popular with European tourist.
- Easy to get to from the east coast.
- A lot of snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, stingrays or pigs, glass bottom boat tours, sunset cruises, large resorts with casinos & shows like the Atlantis.
2012 – Jamaica (Sandals Montego Bay Resort & Royal Caribbean Resort)
- Very rocky with a lot of scrub brush.
- The water isn’t as clear for snorkeling.
- A lot poverty and crime.
- Safe on the resorts and on resort tours but friends were mugged when they ventured into town on their own.
- But on the other hand, some of the nicest people we’ve ever met.
- The nicer resorts are a lot further away from the airport. The resorts right by the airport have a lot of jet noise during the day.
2015 – Bermuda (cruise ship port)
- British territory – very clean, low crime rate & friendly locals
- The most upscale island I’ve been to so far.
- Easy to get around on buses, rented mopeds or the boat taxis.
- A lot of historical forts and ruins to explore.
- Gorgeous pink sand Horseshoe Bay
- In the middle of the Atlantic, so chillier than the Caribbean or Hawaii.
- Amazing snorkeling of the shipwrecks of the Bermuda Triangle. (Water temp only 68-70° in May)
2016 – St. Lucia (Sandals La Toc Resort)
- Very lush jungle mountainous island.
- A lot further south and very hot & humid even in April, even though they said it was unusual for that time of year.
- Long flights with no return options that didn’t include an overnight in Atlanta. (But at least you are still in the same time zone, which helps.)
- It’s an hour bus trip on winding mountain roads to & from the airport.
- Some poverty & crime issues downtown in the city. Villages seemed a lot more friendly and honest.
- Good snorkeling and water clarity.
- Friendly locals on the resort. Some pushier, ruder ones in town.
- A fairly large island which offers more things to do, like catamaran cruises to the Pitons, zip lining or hiking the jungles & mountains, plantation tours, rum factory tours, tall ship cruises etc.
We still haven’t found our “absolute perfect island,” but we are willing to keep looking!!