We will be traveling in Jan to these destinations. How is the weather in Jan? Any tips for affordable excursions on our own to nice beaches or other affordable places of interest? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!!
the weather i January is nice, sunny and warm. St. Thomas has some gorgeous beaches to choose from. We prefer the beaches over on St. John Island, just a water taxi ride away from St. Thomas. Trunk Bay is the most popular, its beautiful, but it can get a bit crowded. There are plenty of other beaches to choose from. All have silky white sand, turquoise waters and snorkeling.
Renting a car outside the US can be a risky proposition.
First, this isn't Avis, Hertz, etc. Thcar will probably be old & more likely than not will have mechanical problems. Tow service is unreliable at best. There is no AAA.
Second, you are probably NOT insured to drive there & will have to get additional coverage.
Third, if you don't really know where you are going, it is not safe. Not all road signs are created equal. How will you know a good neighborhood from a bad one?
The beaches by taxi are probably your cheapest venues. In St. Thomas we rode the cable car up the hill to the scenic overlook. The view was lovely but not really worth the price. You can go into town & shop. It's not exactly economical but I understand the waterfall in Dominica is not to be missed. We took the very expensive whale & dolphin watch but didn't see any whales. If you want to see dolphins, get up very early as you are pulling into Dominica. The dolphins will be playing in the ship's wake.
When I lived in Aruba years ago, it was perfectly safe for women to venture out on their own. In fact, my mother and I did so regularly. Aruba does not (or at least it didn't in the 90s) have the crime and I-hate-Americans problem that many islands do (i.e., St. Croix). I walked aroud the main shopping district with my friends many times, and never had any problems at all. Go ahead and rent there.
In Dominica take Reyno Tours to the falls. Make sure you get to see Ti Tou gorge, it was the highlight of our trip last year. Also Trafalgar falls are beautiful. Hike all the way to the base, dont stop at the viewing platform. St Thomas is wonderful. Go to Sapphire Beach. It has great snorkel area off to the left side, white sand and crystal clear water.
Trafalgar Falls was probably the prettiest place in the Caribbean. You walk through a rain forest to reach it. Very steep and not to good a trail, but worth it.
We have never had more fun on a cruise than we did on the river tubing. Grteat guides and really fun. Domminica is truly the gem of the Caribbean!
Yeah, about time people are giving Dominica its props. If you book a Trafalgar Falls tour on your own. it will be inexpensive and fun... And bring some clothing you can get soaked because there is a fantastic hot springs there. If you're more adventurous, definately the kayak/snorkel adventure (but you have some cost involved). Whatever you do- don't stay at port in Dominica; there is really nothing to do.
**St. Thomas** it'll cost you some, but you can book your on way to St John. Cab to Red Hook Ferry. Ferry cost to St. John. Cab from the ferry to a beach in St. John. And then all that back.
**Aruba** we went to Palm Beach. You just have to pay for the cab ride. The beaches are public, so you can go wheverever you want pretty much. You could rent an umbrella and chair and such.
**Barbados** the Boatyard is great. It's a bar on the beach. And it really heats up at night, if you like a party atmosphere (mostly young adults drinking til their silly). You can walk there, but it was a little creepy for us (vendors, drug offers, people asking for money, etc) - take a cab if you can afford it. Maybe $10 or so.