Best Self Guided Island Hopping in the Caribbean
I'm looking for location recommendations for Caribbean island hopping via rental of: kayak, a hobie catamaran, or a small motorized dinghy for my girlfriend and myself.
This is our first vacation in several years, so we're trying to make it count haha.
We're looking for a set of closely grouped tropical islands that we can self-navigate in between via multiple day trips from a base island location. For the base location, I'm looking for a tropical bungalow/guest house with just basic provisions (with hopefully a hammock nearby) - so not a large resort. Ideally we’re looking for a town with at least one hole in the wall bar that serves boozy tropical drinks and local seafood.
The idea would be to paddle/sail/motor between an island or two a day and stop in between and hangout on the beach(es) and snorkel at leisure. Maybe even do a little fishing from the shore and some light hikes. We're fine with snorkeling from kayaks, or parking the boat on a beach and snorkeling from the shore. We don't plan on camping overnight on the day trip islands to avoid lugging around camping equipment.
We prefer really low crowds, scenic/secluded type areas. Also looking for great tropical beaches and great snorkeling.
Budget: looking at spending less than $120 a night for lodging, and less than $100 a day for gear rental (so relatively low budget).
Trip length: 5-7days.
Time of year: late spring-early summer
Location ideas so far:
-Turks and Caicos
-St. John (USVI)
-Bonaire (I hear this has great snorkeling, but not the best beaches)
**The plan is to not island hop between all the options above, but hopefully just one location that has several small islands relatively nearby.
Let me know what you think on the locations, and if you have any recommendations on hotels, as well as places to rent equipment from.
Thanks for your help!