First... I have read SO MANY reviews, forums, etc that I am feeling a bit frustrated because I am not finding exactly what I'm looking for. Sorry this is long but I would be SO incredibly grateful for some help.
My husband and I would like to go to the Caribbean around February-March 2015 (where temps would average around 80 F) for +/- 10 days. Budget... about $10,000. My husband just turned 50 and I'm getting close to that number. Neither of us are going to appear on any kind of fitness magazine cover anytime soon, so somewhere the average body-type person would feel comfortable. We live in Maine, so getting to a destination could be challenging depending on airlines.
Here is what I'm looking for by priority starting with our highest...
4-5 Star Resort ON a beautiful, long stretch of beach with open views (can look at other islands, but I don't want to stare at a marina). We want to wake up in the morning, don a bathing suit & wrap, grab a coffee and stroll barefoot up the long beach marveling at the clear turquoise waters. Then in the evening... don said bathing suit & wrap with a cocktail in hand to do the same while watching gorgeous sunsets. An onsite spa would be a big plus, but not the highest priority.
Clear blue water with great snorkeling and lots to see right off the beach (like 7-Mile beach, Grand Cayman), as well as maybe a boat trip away.
Private Boat excursions to snorkeling, secluded beaches or fun spots to explore and have a bite to eat (which is what we hope to spend most of our time doing). A sport fishing option is a biggie for my husband - but once would be good enough. In Grand Cayman my sisters and I discovered Captain Charlie who was perfect - decent size boat... took just us (not a group) to Sting Ray City, Rum Point, amazing snorkeling spots, was flexible on time and had knowledge of great spots to stop, explore, etc. without breaking the bank (4 sisters... all day.. total bill $400 + $100 tip).
Great food - hopefully within walking distance! I don't know if we are true foodies, but we love good food with both local flair and variety... again.. without breaking the bank. Fabulous food, easily accessible on foot in GC, but $$$$!
Lush green island - not dry and arid (GC's downfall for me). We won't be spending a lot of time in the 'jungle', but a one-day excursion/hike to see waterfalls, tropical forest/flora/fauna - maybe beautiful gardens or possibly zip-line or ancient ruins??? So maybe it could be on a near-by island if not available where we stay???
Not over-crowded. It's okay to have a handful of people around - we don't need to be isolated - but definitely not a place where you need to search for an open beach chair... or over-run with kids - but doesn't need to be adult-only. We love kids (I work with children with special needs), but this vacation is about relaxation and rejuvenation.
Some nightlife, but no Spring Break. If we could have a couple cocktails in hand while listening to some fun music (possibly a little dancing).
Shopping! I don't need endless shops... but enough to find some nice souvenirs. Not junky touristy stuff, but maybe a cute dress, nice fun button-up shirt for hubby (no t-shirts for either of us), purse/handbag, sandals, local spices/treats (that can travel), etc.
Wi-Fi - reliable internet access - my husband will need to be accessible to his employees. And... we will want to Skype daily with our 8 yo daughter back home.
I have researched... St John (couldn't find luxury resorts right ON long stretches of beautiful, unobstructed beach).... Turks & Caicos (crossed out for being arid & flat)... St Lucia (crossed out for no long stretches of beautiful beach that aren't $$$$$)...
So.... there it is.... basically... I want the fairy-tale luxury, tropical, long beaches, turquoise water, romantic, relaxing, fun vacation, but without spending a fortune.
Does this exist? If not perfect, what would be super close?
p.s. I tagged a bunch of places, but am open to any suggestions!
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