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Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

U.S.A.
posts: 205
reviews: 56
Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

I know this question gets asked a lot in the broadest sense and I've already read through these answers, so I'll try to be specific.

I'm looking for a safe hassle-free solo vacation this March (2013) to an island in the Caribbean where I can feel safe without having to confine myself to a resort for the entire time. I'll only be able to spend 2-4 nights due to budget constraints.

I'll be flying out of Nashville and my overall budget for air & hotels is $500-$1000 which really makes it hard. I'm willing to stay at hostels or budget hotels if you have specific recommendations.

I know people often recommend Turks & Caicos & Barbados but I think they're out of my budget.

Keeping my flights to under $600 from Nashville, my choices are Bahamas (Nassau), Jamaica (Montego Bay), Dominican Republic (Punta Cana) and U.S. Virgin Islands(St. Thomas). Nassau & St. Thomas have the cheapest flights but also the most expensive hotels.

I've read posts here warning against travel to Jamaica and DR, so I guess they are out ? Would Nassau or St. Thomas be safe for the hassle free vacation I'm seeking?

I just want to be able to lie on the beach, walk around the island away from my hotel to grab food, maybe snorkel, take a historical tour, etc.

(P.S. I have traveled to lots of places which others think are dangerous that I didn't because I kept to the beaten path- e.g. Rio, Durban, etc. so I don't mean to claim Jamaica & DR are unsafe for others as I've never visited, but from my reading thus far they both seem like places you have to do your research on and keep vigil. I won't have the time to do a lot of research as I'll be studying for the bar exam and will need just a place where I can wander off without having to think or worry as I'd like to unwind from the previous stressful months of studying.)

Thanks in advance!

Happy Holidays.

17 replies to this topic
London, England
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 6,812
reviews: 23
1. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

I disliked the holiday I had on Grand Bahama. It was in fact one of the very few places I have visited that I did dislike. I found the place very sad and sterile. The shops seemed to be geared to and waiting for the arrival of the cruise ships.

I'm sure there is a real life in Nassau, but I was there for a beach holiday and it just didn't work for me.

I haven't been to Jamaica in a very long time, but I stayed in the University area and people went pale when I said I had been wandering around on my own towards Kingston.

The resorts all seem to have armed guards now, which would freak me out.

In you place I think I would go for St. Thomas.

Have a look at fco.gov.uk/en/…

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office seems to be pretty balanced in their advice about places.

On the other hand, to keep costs down and for such a short trip, you might think about the west coast of Florida. The Caribbean Islands seem a long way to go and a lot of money to spend on flights for such a short time there.

I love Sanibel, Island which has some cheap places to stay, wonderful beaches and a laid back southern vibe.

Or even closer, what about some places on the Redneck Riviera in Alabama or further north on the Florida west coast?

Good luck on you Bar Exams!

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 41,556
reviews: 57
2. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

Hmm? Have you thought about the Caribbean side of Mexico??

I just got back from a wonderful trip to Isla Mujeres a small island just off the coast. You fly into Cancun and then take a short ferry to the island(only about 5miles long) which is EXTREMELY safe! NO need to do AI there as tons of restaurants/cafes/bars all over that you can walk to from downtown. People rent golf carts to tool around the rest of the island where you can snorkel and explore.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 9,754
reviews: 182
3. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

Of those places mentioned by you and responses, I'd definitely look into USVI and Isla Mujeres (flights into Cancun).

U.S.A.
posts: 205
reviews: 56
4. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

Thanks so much for your input everyone!!

New York City, New...
posts: 2
reviews: 17
5. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

I've actually traveled to both Jamaica and the DR solo. I stayed at AI's for both and only left the resort on group tours. I enjoyed my visit to both, but I would say that they aren't the kind of places you can just take a walk around. For one thing, often the resorts are pretty far from any of the cities. So they may not fit what you are looking for.

U.S.A.
posts: 205
reviews: 56
6. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

Thanks Zephyr. I'll keep that in mind if I decide later I feel like taking more of a 'Vegas' style vacation where I just stay within hotel boundaries.

Montreal
posts: 508
reviews: 10
7. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

Cuba is the cheapest....but I just noticed your from the US :( (although it is possible for a US citizen to travel to Cuba)

Saskatoon, Canada
posts: 212
reviews: 13
8. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

I second the posting #7 from fb132. However, the travel to Cuba via Mexico or Panama might be too much for your short stay. In the future, you may want to consider it. It is very safe with a little common sense.

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 9,754
reviews: 182
9. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

You might want to check prices to Puerto Rico, too. I view it as pretty interesting and safe, cheaper to fly into. But, my focus would still be USVI.

posts: 36
10. Re: Cheap & Safe Caribbean Island (from the following list)?

I agree with isla mujeres it is super safe u can walk around day or night no worries. Perfect place to kick back and relax. Hotelsfood and drink are cheep. Flight would be the only exspensive thing. Island is small so u can explore and never get lost.

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