Reader tips for Caribbean vacations

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:11 PM ET

We asked readers for their top tips on planning a Caribbean vacation. Here (edited in some cases for space) is what you told us:

The key thing to remember: It's called "island time." Things move slower. Don't expect staff or people to rush around for you. You're down there to relax, so do just that. I love the British Virgin Islands and recommend Pussers' Marina Cay, Saba Rock and the Soggy dollar bar on Jost van dyke. Both Barbados and Curacao are friendly islands with lots to do, too.

-- Ken M

I spent a month at Great Exuma Bahamas this winter. While there, a boater injured his wrist and required stitches. Fortunately the doctor was in town, and fixed him right up. Not interested in insurance -- cash only. One should have insurance for evacuation etc., but cash is still king away from big centres and resorts. Don't count on being able to use plastic everywhere.

-- Steve T.

Rodney Bay, St Lucia, is absolutely gorgeous with the most amazing food and friendly locals. Renting a villa was the best thing we could have done. When travelling all-inclusive, we love the kid-friendly RIU resorts. Large well-appointed rooms (with liquor, beer and mix in the fridge) and children stay free.

-- Mike

We went to Jamaica for two weeks -- one in Montego Bay, the second in Negril. In Montego Bay, little crabs came out of the sea at night to listen to the music at a bar. It was beautiful. On the beautiful beach at Negril, we talked with local wood carvers. Also enjoyed great food. I can't wait to go back.

-- Betsy Evans

Personally, I love Jamaica -- specifically Seven-Mile Beach or Bloody Bay at Negril. The Couples resort chain there has excellent adult-only properties and Beaches Negril has to be the best for families with young children. Definitely try to see the local culture of the country you are visiting. Whether on an excursion or just checking it out independently, that will leave you with the best memories!

-- Travelwithhaley

Mexico's Mayan Riviera is great for first-time Caribbean visitors. Most resorts are on the main highway and close to the beach. Instead of taking tours, we did our own thing and ventured out from the hotel using the collectivo -- aka the local bus. You can catch it right outside of the resorts (about $3 one way) and go to places such as Tuluum, Akamel or Playa del Carmen (great shopping and many good little restaurants). From Carmen, you can also take the ferry to Cozumel. Sundays are family days with music and entertainment in the park near the ferry docks.

-- Bill E-B

Bring insulated coffee cups to keep drinks nice and cold in the hot sun. Also bring scented candles or incense to take musty smells out of rooms.

-- diesel007

Always pack a small first aid kit with bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze, tape and basic medications. These items are very expensive on most islands and can cost even more at resorts. For the flight, we always wear our summer clothes under loose winter clothes, that way we can just stand up, strip off the winter wear, and be ready to land (be sure to leave room in your carry on to stow the winter wear). On the flight home, do the reverse and slip the winter clothes on before landing in the cold country.

-- Peggy

Crane Beach in Barbados has sand like talcum powder. Barbados people are friendly and the island is safe. No need for all inclusives -- you will spend little time at your hotel. Good scuba diving and interesting island tours.

-- Daniel

We went to St. Lucia for our honeymoon and stayed at the La Toc Villa. It was beautiful. I've travelled other places but this island has mountains, rainforests and beaches all in one.

-- Derek

The beaches in Antigua can't be beaten

-- Frank D

Please leave a good impression of Canadians. Tipping is important for staff but a smile and thank you go a long way, too. Always drink bottled water and well cooked foods. Happy holidays!

-- L.C.

I can't recommend the island of Saba enough: It's off the beaten path so a vacation there means living more like a local than a tourist, which I loved. It's affordable, exciting and has its own personality. I was there for six weeks and never ran out of things to do, whether hiking on one of the amazing trails, snorkelling, scuba diving or taking in the smells and sounds of the island.

-- Elizabeth Webster


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