Top Ten Alternative Spring Break Destinations

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Roaatan Anthonys Key
UNDERWATER BLISS: Roatán has diving equal to Grand Cayman but without the traffic (Nathan Borchelt)

Hot Spot:
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Your main goal for spring break may not involve drinking until you can't walk straight or baking your skin 'till it's the perfect bronze. Maybe you just want to dive? An obvious hot spot is Grand Cayman, the largest and most visited of the Cayman islands, and by all measures a world-class diving destination. It boasts over 150 charted dive sites, ranging from shipwrecks to walls to rich coral reef systems, and scores of dive operations to take you there. But it also draws hundreds of thousands of tourists every year, and traffic is as much a problem under the water as it is on land.

Alternatives:
Roatán, Honduras
Roatán offers diving equal to Grand Cayman—save you're swimming through the world's second-largest barrier reef system, but with thinner crowds and a mellower vibe. Most dive operations are located in the small village of West End, where lodging ranges from hostels to classy apartments, resorts, and even an all-inclusive or two. A youthful spirit pervades, especially in West End, but not obnoxiously so, and Roatán appeals equally to backpackers, couples of all ages, even families.

Bonaire, Dutch Antilles
Another option for experienced divers is Bonaire, in the Dutch Antilles (better known as the ABCs), with dozens of terrific dives just feet offshore, all marked by handy yellow stones visible from the coastal road. In fact, some hotels even supply guests with pick-up trucks outfitted with tank holders. While a known destination in terms of tourism, Bonaire maintains its small-town ambiance even in the high season, a quaint locale compared to sister island and mega-destination Aruba.


Published: 25 Mar 2008 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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