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I need help Please!!

I want to plan my vacation back to the Caribbean. I have been to Puerto Rico about 3 years ago, and I have wanted to go back to the Caribbean ever since then!

The problem I'm having is.. I don't really trust travel agencies, and or anything I read online about resorts and other places.

So I want to plan every detail of my Vacation back to the Caribbean by myself, and create my own Vacation Package so to speak.

In order to do this I wanted to ask everyone who has gone back to the Caribbean multiple times, what they did, where they went, how much they spent, what activities, what resorts, what islands they have gone to, and hear first hand accounts from real people who have gone back to the Caribbean.

So if any of you have been back to the Caribbean on multiple occasions and feel as if they know they're way around the Caribbean Islands. PLEASE Post your Travel Experiences, Recommendations, or any other Useful information that will help me plan my trip back to the Caribbean.

I'm willing to read it all!! so don't be shy!! Please help me come up with a fool-proof action-packed most Exciting and Exotic, Adventure back to the Caribbean Humanly Possible!!!

Thanks in Advance for your help everyone!! Let's race to the Beach!! I'm ready to head back to the Caribbean!!

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    hi back, i hesitate to try to answer you. i've been to 7 places (6 islands plus maya riviera) & have a favorite, but your question is far to broad. fodorites can be quite useful but we need info from you re what YOU want from your vacation.
    what did you like about puerto rico? where did you stay? how did you spend your time?
    for this trip - how long is your trip? where will you travel from? specifically what is your lodging budget? would you like to stay in ai, hotel, condo/villa? are activities important or do you want to hang on the beach a lot? how important are good restaurants? do you snorkel or dive?

    every island is unique in what it looks like and the atmosphere. you could start by clicking the destinations tab above to read an overview of any island. also above in the 'view by island' pull down menu click on a given island that interests you - scroll down on the page that comes up to see ppls trip reports a/or read any of the questions that look interesting.
    once you narrow it down we can give you lots of specific advise.
    fyi: few ppl come home unhappy with the island they've choosen, but many are surprised to be disappointed by their hotel. my point is that After you pick an island is when the intense research should begin - don't get bogged down picking the "perfect" place.

    i would offer that maya riviera coast offers tons of activities (ruins to ziplines). or st. lucia has some amazing natural wonders to see (pitons & drive through volcano)

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    Most of he regular contributors have been traveling to the Caribbean for years and have visited numerous islands, stayed in scores of resorts, spent varying sums of money and did so making all their own arrangements. You too, can do it. the task is not as daunting as it may first seem.

    The first thing you have to understand is the basics: 1) if you include the Bahamas there are more than 800 different islands and cays; 2) No two islands are the same and each has it's own appeal; 3) no one island "has it all"; 4) There is no "perfect island" just different islands. the beauty of the Caribbean is you can visit a different island every time you go and have a great time.

    So what do you do? Start by making a list of all the things you liked and disliked about Puerto Rico. Make a second list of the things you most want from this trip. Figure out a budget for airfare, accommodations and food (and set aside additional monies for incidentals) - be specific in this areas as terms like "affordable", "not over the top" are meaningless. Decide too, how much time you want to spend getting to/from your destination - determine if you are willing to take one or more connecting flights and/or ferries to reach your destination. All this information will help you narrow down your choices for your next trip.

    Next, do some basic research. You can begin by using the "Destinations" link at the top left f this page. Click through to the Caribbean and read about the different islands. Choose 2 or 3 that most interest you. Don't worry, if you find more than 2 or 3 as you can't visit them all in one trip. Remember, the goal is to pick an island FOR THIS TRIP. You can visit other islands on future trips - that's what we've all done.

    Once you narrow your choices to a couple of islands do simple google searches on those islands to find out more about them. Pretty soon, you'll be able to pick one island for THIS VISIT. You can then start researching resorts and hotels on that island to find ones that fit your budget. Don't be intimidated, you'll find there are hotels/resorts in just about every budget category on every island. Just don't expect to find 5-star hotels for 3-star prices, it just doesn't happen. Hint - do google searches using such topics as "Resorts on NAME OF ISLAND" and you'll find links to the websites of almost every resort on that island. You'll be able to find room descriptions and rates as well as general information about those resorts. You can then use the search feature on this 9and other travel forums) to bring up recent posts about those specific resorts or you can post your own questions to get more information.

    Next, you can begin your research for flight and fare information by going to the Airline websites or one of the travel websites like Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak.

    After you've done your research, you can make your hotel and flight reservations either on line or by calling the hotel and airlines directly. Viola!! You are done!

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