top of page

One and Not Done Trips

The Caribbean

The West Coast may brag that they are the best coast of the US, but what they don't have, is great access to the Carribean islands like the east coast does. Because of this easy access, the Caribbean has been my go-to for multiple tropical, relaxing vacations. And for the most part, you know what you are going to get:

Large resorts, many times offering an all-inclusive option, or if you are with a group, beautiful big houses are an option on Airbnb

Beautiful, mostly calm, warm, turquoise blue water

Endless white sand beaches

Access to excursions like ziplining, snorkling, ATVing, rapelling, etc

For the most part, I feel like many Caribbean islands are basically the same, offering the above and not much else. But sometimes, that's all you want in a vacation.

Below are the islands I've visited, what I liked/disliked about each, and if I'd go back:

Jamaica: Hard to relax here. Even while on a private resort, there were men carrying M16s on the beach. In other words, you cannot leave the resort. Also, it's hard to feel good about entering a country when on your ride to your resort you are driving through endless poverty. However, if you are looking for a place to just chill, stay where you are, and also indulge in some marijuana, Jamaica is the place for you. Most of the workers at the resorts will ask if you are looking for some and will hook you up. Jamaica has a reputation as a marijuana destination for a reason people!

Verdict: One and Done

Bahamas: I went here for a bachelorette party and we stayed at the Atlantis resort- which was awesome. It was huge - it offered several pools, a water park with water slides/lazy river, etc., several high end on-site restaurants, bars, clubs, a casino, it was beachfront so laying out a pool or the ocean was an option, and also had sections that were geared towards adults only (which is always nice). I was only there for 4 nights, but would highly recommend as a bachlorette party destintation, or couples, even for families. It has something for everyone, and I would go again for another long weekend. However, I did not get to see anything outside the resort, which for this trip was perfectly fine.

Verdict: One and Not Done

Bermuda: I spent a week here and I have a few major takeaways: the plane ride is crazy short from the Mid-Atlantic (2.5 hours!). The island is pretty small (26 miles all-around). People ride on mopeds here on the opposite side of the road, and many tourists are killed each year doing this. There are not a ton of sidewalks so walking around is tough. I stayed at a guesthouse here (before Airbnb was an option), mainly because the hotels are crazy expensive. Actually, everything is crazy expensive because everything is imported, so even though I saved money by getting groceries and cooking some meals at the place, the groceries themselves were expensive. The restaurants even more so (think $20 apps and $40-60 entrees as the low end). The beaches were gorgeous- that's definitely the reason to go here. However, I hate sea creatures, and we saw a few portuguese man-o-war in some beach coves that scared me right out of the ocean. So if you are looking for a place to provide ocean swimming, be careful here. We did a cave tour one day that was pretty cool, and a boat tour that only lasted an hour or two - neither were earth shattering. So for the most part there are not many excursions offered here. Really just a good spot to go relax and spend money. Also, it is the most north of all the popular Caribbean islands, so it doesn't stay warm here year round- best time to go is June-August.

Verdict: One and Done

St Thomas: I spent 4 nights here with a group of friends celebrating a birthday. We rented a gorgeous, huge house - a couple vans to ride around in - and had fun exploring the island. We rented a catamaran with captain one day which took us to St. John and did some snorkling on the way. Definitely a pretty island, the downtown port area had a bar/restaurant scene going on, I was not at all impressed with the food or drinks though. In town, there was also a cable car which took you up a mountain for beautiful views. That was worth doing.

Verdict: One and Done

Curacao: I ended up here for a week traveling with a friend. It was a very relaxing vacation- most of it was spent on the beach. We stayed in 2 different resorts (the Hilton and the Hyatt) which were both nice (the Hyatt being way nicer). This trip is a little tainted for me, because I did get food poisoning from a dinner we did in town, and that put me in bed for a good 36 hours. The little downtown area is super cute, but does not provide much if any nightlife. There were a few hiking opportunities to do which brought some cool views of the island, and besides the food poisoning the seafood was spectacular. One night we ate at a shack down the road from the Hilton, and although our food took forever, it was a great spot to just chill and then eventually, have some amazing shrimp. The water here was really calm so I was able to get a lot of swimming in.

Verdict: One and Done

St Lucia: Joe and I stayed here for a week in 2 different resorts on the same side of the island - Soufriere. This is the more mountainous side, with views of the Pitons always in the background. This was definitely a baller trip for the 2 of us. We stayed at the Stonefield Estate the first half of the week, then moved to Crystals Treehouse resort the 2nd half. Both were completely different from one another. The Stonefield Estate was more of a resort property- but on 10. Our room had a private plunge pool, patio, outdoor shower, but just a quick walk to the main restaurant for breakfast each morning, and the main pool and gym. While we were there we ate dinner once on the resort, and other nights checked out nearby resorts for dinner, as well as a few restaurants in the town of Soufriere. All the restaurants were amazing. The resort restaurants were more fancy than the town ones, and more expensive. To get around St. Lucia (especially on this side of town) you really can't walk anywhere. Our resort gave us cell phones so we could call and have the front desk arrange transportation whenever we needed (baller alert!) Besides dinner spots, the town didn't offer much else. For beach time, we were about a 10min ride from Sugar beach, part of a Viceroy property, and that is where we spent most of our days laying out, grabbing snacks and swimming. Another day we did an excursion - saw some waterfalls, took a mudbath, checked out the cocoa plantations. After a few nights we moved to Crystals - which was a completely different type of resort. It was located on the other side of town, way up in the mountains. We got off the main road onto an extremely bumpy dirt road, with some of the biggest potholes I've ever scene. You literally needed a 4x4 to get to the resort- normal cars could not make it. I would say this place had more of a bed and breakfast feel- except they didn't actually provide breakfast, but some nights they did do a group dinner hosted by the couple that owned the property and other guests staying there. This did not go on every night though, so we only got to experience the dinner once- and it was an experience. For most meals, because it was so secluded, we had to cook in our apartment, which worked out fine. This property is really hard to describe- it only consisted of 8 treehouse apartments- all were decorated and laid out differently- and were really cool and funky. Each apartment had it's own plunge pool, kitchenette, patio, it was also pretty baller in a hippy kind of way. One night, we accidentally left food out on our kitchen counter, and were woken up by some animal in the night munching away. We never figured out what it was (maybe it's better that way) but from then on all food went in the fridge and we had no issues. Most days we had a driver arranged to pick us up and take us to the beach at the Jade Mountain Resort- which was really nice with calm ocean water to swim in.

St Lucia was probably the most unique of all the Caribbean island I've been to, and my favorite

Summing up for St Lucia:

Positives: Food was delicious, beaches are beautiful, water was warm and calm, resorts are amazing and eclectic, amazing views

Negatives: it's expensive- but worth the splurge! Hard to get around, and if you aren't staying at a resort with a beach it takes an effort to get to one

Verdict: One and Not Done

Punta Cana DR: Joe and I did an all inclusive resort vacation here for 4 nights with another couple and their group of friends. Punta Cana is your typical caribbean island experience- you don't leave the resort unless for an excursion - you relax on the beach, you drink all day in the pools, you have dinner at a resort restaurant (which is never amazing but decent), you attempt to go to a bar or club on the resort, realize it's lame and call it a night, repeat. We did a fun excursion one day which consisted of ATVing- it took us to a private beach for a little hang out time, then to a coffee plantation, then to swim in a cenote (fresh water cave). Pretty fun stuff. For this type of trip, it's all about either saving money with a budget all-inclusive, or balling out with an over-the-top all inclusive, but more so just beach time. The water and beaches here are the bomb.

Verdict: One and Done

A few islands down- plenty more to go! I will continue to visit more islands when it gets cold here in Philly when I need a quick dose of island life!

Pictures Below (Right to Left):

St Lucia (block of 4 Photos) 

Jamaica (2 Photos)

Bermuda (1 Photo)

Bahamas (1 Photo)

Curacao (2 Photos)

St Thomas (5 Photos)

Punta Cana (7 Photos)

bottom of page