Favorite Island as of 4 January 2017

So… those who know me are well aware that I am slowly, but surely working through my travel bucket lists.  I completed my first one a couple of years ago when I visited all 50 states.  Now I am working through the second to visit all of the islands in the caribbean.  2016, despite the many personal and professional challenges, was a banner year for me in terms of travel.  I had the pleasure of experiencing 12 new caribbean cultures, enjoying the local cuisine, participating in two carnivals, bringing back suitcases filled with treasures, and adding to my lifetime of travel memories.  Who could imagine that the last island that I visited for 2016 would have topped the list as my favorite?  This was truly a shock to me given the fact that I tend not to have great experiences with islands that have a certain “affiliation”.

I swear, when I was developing my rankings, my heart was in turmoil.  I felt that I was betraying my true love and favorite island of 2016, in favor of this one, but everything about it felt like home.  I was at peace and didn’t feel like a tourist at all and took to it like a fish to water.  So, to take away the suspense, the current ranking of favorite islands is provided below.  A detailed post about my trip to the newest member to the club follow later this week.  Enjoy and feel free to ask any questions you may have.

 

27. Dominican Republic
26. Puerto Rico
25. St. Barthelemy
24. Saba
23. Turks and Caicos
22. Cayman Islands
21. Curaçao
20. St. Eustatius
19. Bonaire
18. Aruba
17. Bahamas
16. Bermuda
15. Anguilla
14. Martinique
13. Dominica
12. Trinidad and Tobago
11. British Virgin Islands
10. St. Lucia
9. United States Virgin Islands
8. Guadeloupe
7. Antigua & Barbuda
6. Barbados
5. Jamaica (but still #1 in my heart)
4. Grenada
3. St. Maarten/St. Martin
2. Belize

And coming in at number 1…… St. Kitts & Nevis

 

* List is based upon the destinations found on Caribbean Travel

 

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Travel Mission 2K16 Accomplished

So 4 March 2016 I shared my desire to visit 10 new islands this year.  Originally the plan in my head was to visit 6 new caribbean islands; however, I put 10 on my vision board.  Well, as of 6 September 2016, that mission has been accomplished.  I have now visited 25 out of the recognized 34 caribbean islands and can now share my updated ranking of my favorite island.  Please keep in mind that this list is VERY subjective and is based on several factors: fun, cultural enlightenment, easy to navigate (I can walk or take public transportation, do not have to take taxis everywhere), food (especially important for a picky person such as I), great scenery, good accommodations, and the glove effect (does it feel like a place I could call home).  The list will be updated again when I hit 30 out of 34.  Happy traveling!

  1. Belize
  2. St. Maarten/St. Martin
  3. Jamaica
  4. Barbados
  5. Antigua and Barbuda
  6. Guadeloupe
  7. United States Virgin Islands
  8. St. Lucia
  9. British Virgin Islands
  10. Trinidad and Tobago
  11. Dominica
  12. Martinique
  13. Anguilla
  14. Bermuda
  15. Bahamas
  16. Aruba
  17. Bonaire
  18. St. Eustatius
  19. Curaçao
  20. Cayman Islands
  21. Turks and Caicos
  22. Saba
  23. St. Barths
  24. Puerto Rico
  25. Dominican Republic

St. Barths is for shopping not sainthood

So, as I mentioned in a previous post, birthday trip 2015 had me visit 3 neighboring islands for some fun in the sun.  One of the islands that I explored was St. Barths, a french territory in the eastern caribbean.  I journeyed to St. Barths by ferry from St. Martin (french side) and it took approximately an hour and fifteen minutes to reach.  The cost for the journey is roughly $80 and it is not necessary to book in advance during low season as plenty of space is available.

Upon arrival in St. Barths (at approximately 10a.m.) I noticed the beautifully colored buildings and to the left of the dock, I noticed the high end stores that would beckon most shopaholics (good thing I am not a shopper).  I set off on foot, with a fellow passenger, to visit one of the local beaches – Shell Beach.  This beach is approximately a 10 minute jaunt from the dock by foot in front of a really nice and cozy local restaurant.  Oh yes, restaurants in St. Barths do not typically open until 12p.m. so that means not as much as a french fry until 12p.m.  My new travel companion didn’t care for this beach as much, so we set out for a new beach location.

Heading back to the dock, we stopped in a few local shops where I was able to get my obligatory souvenir shotglass and converse with some of the locals (je parle un petite français).  The locals advised us to visit Nikki Beach (which sounds like Naked Beach when they say it) as it is a little more lively than Shell Beach.  So, off we go to Nikki beach.

The beach is much larger and less crowed that the other beach, but that is about it.  There is a restaurant which opened about 30 minutes after we arrived, but I must say that I found the staff rather snooty.  Apparently in order for the men to work there, they have to be like 6’6″ or so.  Everyone wears white and, while the staff speak english, they are more comfortable conversing in french.  I order a six-inch plate of spaghetti with shrimp at a cost of $30US (34 euro) and didn’t need water because I traveled with a 1.5l bottle.

Neither my new travel buddy  nor myself are big shoppers so we stayed at the beach and restaurant until 4p.m. (an hour before the boat was due to come pick us up).  At that point, we hailed a taxi for the 5 minute ride to the dock, paid the man the $25 euro fair (paid in US dollars) and walked around on the streets to kill time.  I stopped at a local grocery story to grab a bottle of the local vanilla rum and some snacks for the voyage.  We still had another 30 minutes left so we had a nice refreshing fruit cup at a local restaurant, chatted with a few locals and another couple that we saw on the boat earlier.  5p.m. couldn’t come sooner.

While St. Barths is a nice place, aesthetically, there isn’t a lot to do there by way of tourism.  You can laze at the beach all day if you want, but if you are looking for adventure, pack your patience.  One thing for sure, do not visit without a full wallet as a bottle of water in a restaurant will run you $5 (and I don’t mean the good stuff).  It is definitely not a repeat offender type of place for me, but I am happy that I can cross it off my list and get one country closer to completing my second bucket list.