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Life on Caribbean Islands

 
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

G'day everybody,

Question: Numerous information has been shared on the board with regard to crime, education, "island time" - poor service, long lines, etc - , healthcare, corruption, high costs; low wages, trash of the environment, WAPA, and a host of other negatives when discussing life in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The positives: Beautiful ocean / climate.

Has anyone "lived" on surrounding Caribbean Islands ( whether U.S. or foreign) and do these islands parrot the negative aspects / positive aspects of the U.S Virgin Islands? Just curious.

Thanks,
Swan

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Topic starter Posted : June 24, 2011 4:29 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

It's pretty much the same on all islands. Large islands like Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic have there own additional challenges.

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Posted : June 24, 2011 4:52 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

It doesn't have to be a Caribbean island, Sounds like the majority of the States,

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Posted : June 24, 2011 5:55 pm
Molly
(@Molly)
Advanced Member

Loved reading the Blanchards book on living on Anguilla, forgot the name but it was a nice read.

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Posted : June 24, 2011 5:57 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

It doesn't have to be a Caribbean island, Sounds like the majority of the States,

Hi Lizard:

Just to clarify, I was referring to the three particulary specific islands represented on the board (STT, STX, and STJ) and not including the other 78 U.S. Virgin Islands - in comparison to all other Caribbean Islands which some members may have "lived / worked" on. Yes, there are hundreds.

Yes, I agree with your quote!

Thanks,
Swan

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Topic starter Posted : June 24, 2011 6:36 pm
jsmith
(@jsmith)
Advanced Member

Molly I read same book and can't recall the name if u liked that book you'll love "life on a rock" by Kate albury. It's about a couple who are care takers for one of the Bahama out islands. What a great book! Justin

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Posted : June 24, 2011 9:15 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

Blanchards' book was titled "A Trip to the Beach"

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Posted : June 24, 2011 11:27 pm
Molly
(@Molly)
Advanced Member

Thanks for the recommendation Justin, just ordered a copy of the book!

Yep, "A Trip to th Beach". Thanks Afreind.

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Posted : June 25, 2011 11:55 am
Robob
(@Robob)
Advanced Member

Hi Swans-

My partner and I owned a house in Roatan ( one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras). The problems there are ( in my opinion) much worse...."public education" is pathetic. Their version of WAPA is called RECO (Roatan Electric Company) and is far less dependable. The resort areas are well maintained and clean, but much of the rest of the roadside is littered with various trash. They have no animal control so the feral dog population is outrageous. On the plus side the cost of living is much, much lower. Health care is available on the island, but most go to mainland Honduras for anything major....and back to the states if it involves surgery. Crime has increased dramatically in the last few years and the local police force can not ( or will not) get it under control.

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Posted : June 25, 2011 12:52 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Years ago my family had a 3 week vacation on ST Martin. The locals were very friendly and at the time my children were young adults. 3 girls ranged from18 to 22 and my son was 23. The Island was beautiful however the water wasn't as beautiful as ST Croix's water. We were there when they had their Jump Up all night long. About 3AM my wife and I JUMPED in bed. Didn't see my adult children till 10AM
t he next day. The Island was clean. It was the Queen's Birthday and you couldn't buy a Heineken, it was free all day.

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Posted : June 25, 2011 2:41 pm
jsmith
(@jsmith)
Advanced Member

Molly I read the book in 3 days which for me is good. It was an amazing story so much so I emailed the author to thank her for writing it and she even responded. Please let us know what you think enjoy. Justin

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Posted : June 25, 2011 6:29 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

Hi Swans-

My partner and I owned a house in Roatan ( one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras). .

Hi Robob: What a small world. The insignia for Honduras's "Swan Island" just happens to be my desktop background! Nice, yes?

http://www.fantasyinternational.com/

Thank you for the info on Roatan!

Thank you, Lizard, for St Martin. It is interesting to hear about the experiences one has had on the other Caribbean Islands in comparison to the three USVI discussed on the board.

Also, must get that book, "A Trip to the Beach."

Swan

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Topic starter Posted : June 25, 2011 7:22 pm
stxer
(@stxer)
Advanced Member

The subject of comparing various Caribbean islands has been important to me for more than 20 years. We have been to many and finally decided on St Croix. Early on, we spent time on Jamaica, we found it beautiful, but very unfriendly for travelers, We tried the Bahamas and realized we would never be accepted. We then went to Anguilla (Trip to the beach) and found it very welcoming but reserved (reserved for the native locals). Anguilla is still very high on my list. St Martin was a mess, but if you are a tourist it can be fun and you can run naked on Orient beach. We have spent only one night on St Thomas, on the way to St John where we spent severely wonderful months over the years. The BVI was great with time on Tortola and Virgin Gorda, even Anagada, but if you were not "born there" you would always be made to feel like an outsider. We also tried Maui and Kauai, but that's another story.

St Croix with all it's worts, is the best...but don't tell anyone..ok.

I would love to hear from others who have lived on or visited other islands. Specially those who have actually lived on an island. Please share your experience.

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Posted : June 25, 2011 11:32 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

stxer.
If you ran naked on the Beach's of ST Marten you would have been arrested (Dutch Side). Orient Beach is on ST Maarten (French Side).:-o

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Posted : June 26, 2011 1:00 am
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

St Martin= French side

St Maarten= Dutch side

Liz: If yer gonna give someone grief, git it right.;)

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Posted : June 26, 2011 1:43 am
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

OH Well Orient Beach is on the French side Saint Marten and Sint Maartin is the Dutch side, I assumed the people chasing me down the beach was to get a better look.:-o

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Posted : June 26, 2011 5:04 am
stxer
(@stxer)
Advanced Member

stxer.
If you ran naked on the Beach's of ST Marten you would have been arrested (Dutch Side). Orient Beach is on ST Maarten (French Side).:-o

I see that East Ender corrected your mistake. Yes Orient Beach and Club Orient are in French territory. We spent a wonderful two weeks at CO maybe 16/18 years ago. I understand that things have changed over the years and it is not as slow paced and friendly as it once was. http://www.cluborient.com/

I laugh when I remember some of the discussions about beach nudity that we use to have on this forum. I miss the relaxed attitude that beach nudity promotes, but understand that it is not for everyone, so we will never have it officially approved in the USVI or the BVI.

Once again the intent of my message was to hear more stories about "living" on other islands, so let's not get side tracked.

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Posted : June 26, 2011 5:30 pm
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

My husband and I used to live aboard our sailboat, and we traveled the islands several times. We visited most of the Eastern Caribbean islands, staying anywhere from 2-3 days to 2-3 weeks on each one, and several months on a couple. Funny thing is, as often as I might knock the lack of conveniences and availability of "stuff" in the VI, it was always a pleasure to get back to St. Thomas, where there was a Kmart and large grocery stores. Some of the islands were quite cosmopolitan, for instance Martinique, and Trinidad had a large shopping mall, so it wasn't all little beach shacks, but a lot of it was. I remember on Dominica it was always a big deal to go to the market on every other Thursday because that was when the fresh "stateside" milk came in. We spent more time on Dominica than any other. Groceries were much less expensive but restaurants could be quite pricey. We enjoyed the chicken stands everywhere, where you could get a chicken leg and a Kubili beer for about $1. There was a chicken stand on every corner and 2 in the middle of every block, but there was only 1 fast food restaurant.....Kentucky Fried Chicken. Always thought that was pretty funny because it would have people lined up and the prices were way over normal KFC prices.

The people of Dominica are some of the friendliest on Earth. I remember once when a cruise ship was in (This was years ago and the ships had just started pulling in.), an older lady in the very small vendors market had flags for sale. We needed a new courtesy flag for the boat so we were looking. She said something about being on the ship. When we told her we were not on the cruise ship, that we had been on island for a while and we were staying for some time longer, she lit up with a big smile, took my hand and told us how delighted she was.

Something unique about Dominica is the amount of fresh water. 365 fresh rivers supply the island. There are faucets on the streets in the town areas, and it's free to just help yourself. The people wash their clothes in the river right in the middle of town. The little kids will be naked and playing in the river while mom does the laundry. One day a week the boat comes in to pick up the bananas to take them off island to sell. The banana trucks have the right of way, period, on that day. They come barreling down out of the hills in a hurry to get to the boat. It can be quite dangerous! Bananas are practically free and grapefruits are so cheap, and delicious, it's amazing.

We were back on Dominica just a couple of months ago, and this time we were cruise ship passengers. We couldn't get a rental car and didn't dare depend on the public taxi vans to get us back in time, so we didn't get to the other areas of the island that we would have liked. We walked around the main town of Roseau, and it hadn't changed a bit in 15 years, even went to the same grocery and the only difference was they had a display of "tourist trap" souvenirs. 3000 passengers milling around took the charm away.

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Posted : June 26, 2011 6:45 pm
Hiya!
(@Hiya!)
Trusted Member

Another nice thing about all the fresh water in Dominica is the produce! Much of what they use is grown there so the food is fabulous even with it is completely simple. Very beautiful island. I know many locals here who are building their retirement homes on Dominica. Driving there is a nightmare though.

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Posted : June 26, 2011 8:25 pm
ALW
 ALW
(@ALW)
Active Member

Juanita and Hiya - we visited Dominica on a cruise stop this winter. That is truly an amazing island, I agree. We did a great adventure activity - waterfall rappelling. It was one of the most memorable things I have done, second only behind a few unique experiences far afield in Costa Rica.

Agree that the people of Dominica are the friendliest I've found in my Caribbean travels. As we sat waiting for our ride in on the outskirts of Roseau, 9 out of 10 people who passed said "hello" or "good morning." Very much like living in southern small town USA in that respect. I had many, many other great experiences with the Dominican (is that right?) people during my all-too-brief time on the island. I hope to make it back someday, though spending 2 hours on a LIAT flight from SJU isn't my idea of a good time... or anyone's, for that matter.

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Posted : June 27, 2011 9:16 pm
Eurospace
(@Eurospace)
Active Member

Tristan da Cunha.
Not in the Caribbean, for sure, but a world of privacy!

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Posted : June 29, 2011 5:57 pm
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