07 May 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: The Top 10 Caribbean Places I'd Rather Be Right Now...

Sunset on Grand Anse Beach, Grenada. My photo.

Looks like I'm borrowing the weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme and creating my blogpost around it this time around.  I got inspired reading a summer kickoff post by Confessions of a Book Addict that counts down her top ten beaches.  Since 2001, all of my international travel has taken me to the Caribbean, but before that I had visited Europe a few times.  I was a reluctant Caribbean traveler--I had some incorrect preconceived notions about the region, mostly regarding the weather & heat; in fact my husband had to bribe and scheme his way to my agreeing to our first Caribbean trip.  I cannot reveal the actual terms of our parley, but suffice it to say that shade and footrubs were promised a-plenty.  Now, though, I'm hooked.  A fiend. An addict.  A lot of people don't get it--they assume the Caribbean is just one endless beach resort, islands are interchangeable--and they ask why I keep wanting to travel there.  Don't I get bored?  Isn't it all the same? Well, pardon me, but that's about as foolish as asking why people would want to travel to Greece and Italy and the south of France, when it's all just the Mediterranean. Or to Kuwait and Lebanon and Yemen, when it's all the Middle East. Or Thailand and China and Japan when it's all Asia.  Aren't the countries in one region all the same anyway?
Local fishing boat on Barnes Bay, Anguilla.  My photo.
 So as I was saying, back in 2001, my husband convinced me to give St. Lucia a try, where we vacationed at the Jalousie Resort, located on the beach smack-dab between the iconic Piton mountains.  I was instantly smitten and to this day I have never seen (in person) a more gorgeous piece of real estate.  I have learned many things since that first trip, both about the Caribbean and how I like to travel there.  (For starters, I'm not really a resort girl, especially not a corporately-owned one, and that the more research you put into a trip, the more rewarding it is.)  Since 2001, we have visited Antigua (5 times, and got married there in 2003), Barbados, British Virgin Islands (3 times, 3 different islands), Nevis, Jamaica, Vieques, St. Kitts, Grenada (4 times), Bequia, St. Vincent, and Anguilla (4 times, going back for a 5th trip next month).  We also diverted our usual Caribbean path to Hawai'i back in 2008 when my husband was invited to participate in a children's literature conference in Honolulu. After the conference we explored the Big Island for 10 days.  We prefer the Caribbean, but the Big Island has many magnificent things to recommend it.
Jalousie Beach seen from above. The darker the water, the deeper it is.  This beach has one of the steepest dropoffs on the planet. NOT my photo--found it on Flikr. 
It's true that we have been to quite a few islands; while I never had a bad time at any of them, there are just some islands that got under my skin and continue to exude their siren-song on me. I'm not sure what it is about the siren song islands that calls me back: Nevis has it, but not its sister nation of St. Kitts.  Bequia has it but not its mother island of St. Vincent.  Virgina Gorda and Guana do, but not their fellow British Virgin Island of Tortola.  Of the three coral-based islands with a British heritage, Anguilla and Antigua do, but not Barbados. I reckon that's why the French have the phrase je ne sais quois...

Upper Shoal Bay, Anguilla.  Photo mine.

I like to get out and explore, but my long suffering DH prefers the BIC approach.  That is, the butt-in-chair approach.  I like some of that, too, but my powers of persuasion as such that I can usually get him to come tool around in the rental car with me as long as there's a promise of a chair and a cocktail at the end of the road.  In recent years, we've liked the Yin and Yang of pairing Anguilla, a flat arid coral island, with Grenada, a lush and mountainous volcanic island on the same vacation to get the best of both worlds. So anyway, without further ado (and by "ado" I mean "text"), here are some of my favorite places in the world.  That they happen to all be beaches is hardly my fault.

Sea grapes provide plenty of shade on Morne Rouge Beach, Grenada. Photo mine.

La Sagesse Beach on Grenada.  It's like Eden. Photo from the Grenada Explorer website.

Shoal Bay East, Anguilla.  Probably my #1 pick for its beautiful white sand, good snorkeling, lack of crowds, lack of pretension, and ample choice of beach bars.  Photo is mine. 
White Bay Beach, Guana, BVI.  This is not my photo, but I used to have one almost identical to this shot before my hard drive fried last year.  Now I back up my photos rather obsessively.  This is probably my #2 pick.  I honeymooned here and returned for my 5th anniversary.  It's as special a place as I've ever visited. 

Savannah Beach, Virgin Gorda, BVI on a hazy day.  Pity about the crowds, eh? Photo mine.

For sentimental reasons I had to include Long Bay Beach, Antigua, where I was married at the small, locally-owned Long Bay Hotel. All of my own photos of this lovely spot are long gone.  This is a photo from TripAdvisor.

Honorable Mentions:
Sombe (Sun Bay) on Vieques
Princess Margaret Beach on Bequia
Industry Bay Beach on Bequia
Newcastle Beach on Nevis
South Friars Bay Beach on St. Kitts
Spring Bay Beach on Virgin Gorda
Smuggler's Cove on Tortola
Hawksbill Beach on Antigua (clothing optional!)
Kona Village Resort beach on Hawai'i; (the Big Island)


  1. Wow! Your photos are to die for. I would love to go to Antigua, Anguilla or Grenada. Never been! It looks absolutely stunning. I would love to be there right now! Great post and thanks for the shoutout. :)

  2. Well, I must admit that I was never bitten by the travel to the Caribbean bug (there must be many of those) until NOW. This was fascinating and lovely. You should be a travel agent, or maybe a sort of lobbyist for them.

    We have friends we adore who bought a fabulous little place on Nevis and they rent it out. You would love the story of this, but I can't just put it out on line. They're picky, but I KNOW you would love their place. Just write if you want to be steered their way.

    Sending fond wishes across the miles,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

  3. Christina, I really want to go to some of the beaches *you* have visited!

    Sharon, I'd love to know the contact info for your friend who has the home on Nevis. I'll contact you through you blog.

  4. Love reading your blog! I used to look for yours and a few others answers on Fodors when I would ask the where next.
    Would appreciate some feedback now if you don't mind.
    Planning next jaunt, have it down to Bequia, Virgin Gorda and Tobago.
    Top priorities are snorkeling, culture( love Grenada and Jamaica for this)
    Good cood, rum and limin.
    Any input greatly appreciated!
    Thank u!

    1. Hi, Anonymous. I suggest that you contact me at ejcrowe42 [at] aol [dot] com. We can go from there.


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