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Last Minute Urgent Advice for "my best beach vacation ever"

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Need immediate help as I am trying to book a flight today.
40's (early) something couple wants to go someplace really warm in the Caribbean for Christmas. 80 degrees.
We don't want to spend more than $300 per night on a hotel.
We want adventure (snorkeling, sight seeing, boating, learning about the place we visit, etc)
We want crystal blue waters (none of this dark blue stormy Cabo San Lucas kind of sea).
We want sandy white beaches.

We want nightlife (not thump thump disco bars nor casinos) but just great beach bars where we can have a margarita and meet some fun fellow travelers or locals.

I keep reading Turks for the beaches and water (sounds glorious but maybe a bit too relaxing--relaxing is nice, but I can only look at the sand and water for a few hours without getting bored).

I then read St. Martin for nightlife, do they have the same kind of T and C beaches?

I don't feel like I want to go to the Cayman's or Bahama's because it seems so touristy, but hey, when in Rome, maybe I should shut up.

Playa sounds like a decent option because of the crystal blue waters--but I feel Mexico "ed" out. I have been to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo (while I liked the stuff to do in both towns--I hated the water). I want that Caribbean/Margaritaville style of vacation.

Puerto Rico sounds great for adventure and beauty, but it sounds more like a Cabo San Lucas kind of water/sea--deep dark blue, which is NOT what I want. I want to swim with the fishes. I want to look at some cool marine life up close in clear waters while I snorkel (but not shark bait Hawaii style).

I would love to take a surf lesson or pet a sting ray, go deep sea fishing, or take a catamaran out.

I don't know if I have given enough info, but if you can think of crystal blue waters, fun adventures, laid back great nightlife (Not Aruba clubs and Casino style) please know I would appreciate any advice.

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