Why I May Never Really Love the Caribbean

Nov 22, 2013

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I’m formulating a larger post on some pluses and minuses of Hawaii vs. the Caribbean because lots of folks struggle with whether it is worth the additional travel time, miles, and dollars to head to Hawaii over going somewhere closer to home (and potentially cheaper) in the Caribbean, Mexico, etc.  Obviously the distance issue changes based on whether you are located on the east coast, west coast, gulf coast, or somewhere in between.  However, the reality is that Hawaii and the Caribbean are two entirely different destinations that both have beaches, but otherwise are pretty different.  I almost consider it an apple to oranges comparison.  Ultimately some will like apples better and some will like oranges better, but that isn’t the specific focus of this post.

Beach on Kauai
Beach on Kauai

This year alone I have had the opportunity to visit Oahu, Maui and Kauai in Hawaii, as well as Cancun, Puerto Rico, and St John outside of Hawaii.  Along with some beautiful beaches, there is one constant with all of my beach trips listed outside of Hawaii.

Playa del Carmen beach
Playa del Carmen beach
Beach on St. John
Beach on St. John

Bug bites.  Lots of bug bites.

A few of many bug bites courtesy of St. John
A few of many bug bites courtesy of St. John

I use bug spray, I don’t use scented lotions, I try to stay inside during sunrise and sunset (other than to take a few quick pictures – which did result in tons of bug bites), I wear long pants, etc, but it doesn’t ultimately matter all that much.  I get nailed by bugs almost as soon as I step outside with intense regularity.  This may have to do with skin type, blood type, bad luck, who knows, but this alone will prevent me from ever really loving some destinations, no matter how pretty the beaches may be.  Bug issues can happen in tropical locations around the world, but I have personally had dramatically fewer bug problems in Hawaii than other beach locations.

Sunset photo on St. John = massive bug attacks!

It could be worse (and has been before during a massive sand flea attack I had in Puerto Rico a few years ago), but bug bites are not the type of souvenir I like to bring home!  This time I think I had a larger issue with sand flys than sand fleas, but both aren’t very much fun.

Anyone else have issues with bugs in certain destinations?  Does it prevent you from going back or just put a little bit of a a cloud over the trip?  It clearly hasn’t stopped me from visiting some destinations, but it does make them much more unpleasant.  It is also why I may enjoy some of my visits, but I don’t think I will ever truly love the Caribbean the way that some people do.

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