1 week vacation on a budget

Old Oct 27th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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1 week vacation on a budget

Hello,
My wife and I are planning a trip from January 3-10, 2009. We recently moved from the West Coast to New York State, so we aren't familiar with the Caribbean.

We are looking for a nice place with easy access to beaches and good enough food that we can eat all of our meals within walking distance. Not too interested in other activities.

What islands should we start searching?

Our budget is $2000-3000 (or less if we can swing it.)

Thanks!
Charlie
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 04:15 AM
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Hi, I wasn't entirely sure what you were including in your budget (is it total for air, lodging, and food; air and lodging only; or lodging only)? If that amount needs to include two roundtrip airfares, it will be tight for that time of year, which is peak season in the Caribbean.

Your criteria would fit a lot of places, but your budget may rule out some of them. Places that I have visited or researched that have easy beach access and plenty of restuarants within walking distance include: San Juan, PR; Aruba (Eagle or Palm Beach); the South Coast in Barbados; Grace Bay Beach on the island of Providenciales (Provo) in the Turks & Caicos islands; Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman; and Rodney Bay in St. Lucia. There also probably are areas in St. Martin that meet this criteria.

If you are interested in all-inclusive resorts, the Domincan Republic offers a wide range of lower cost alternatives. Mexico, Cancun and the Riveria Maya area, (not considered Caribbean in the forums) is another option you may wish to explore.

Also, if you require accommodations that are right on the beach, that will cost you a lot more versus staying a short distance away from the beach.

You should probably do a little indepedent research on the different islands to figure out what might be a good choice for you. I would also suggest checking airfares to a few different places of interest, since they are pretty high now, and that could be a deal breaker, especially if your travel dates are not flexible (Saturday travel can be more expensive on some commercial flights, but you may also find flight options that are not available mid-week). I also have heard that sometimes there are good deals available during January (lull after New Years), but I am not sure if you are leaving far enough after New Years to take advantage of it. If you can leave a day or two later, that might make a difference. I also would look into package options, since these can result in cost-savings over booking hotel and airfare separately, especially if you can find a package with charter air.
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 04:31 AM
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If you are really on a tight budget, you should probably stick to an All-Inclusive in either Mexico or Dominican Republic. You want to travel to an expensive part of the world during the most expensive time of the year. Really for that money (or less), may be most of your options. You could also consider Belize. Apple Tours, even Costco or BJ's wholesales have travel packages including air, resort, everything. All inclusives though, you pretty much stick to the resort, although some areas are close to walking around towns and other restaurants, such as Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 04:32 AM
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Remember thou that Turks and Caicos ( Provo) is more expensive than other islands...it's not a budget place unless you DO NOT stay on the beach...Dining in Island (local) places is cheap but, to be able to walk to many no matter where you stay is tough!
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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There also probably are areas in St. Martin that meet this criteria.

I'm staying a few days on St. Martin next year and chose Grand Case partly for the convenience of being able to walk to restaurants. In my research, I came across this condo which looks like a good price for high season and appears to be available for your dates http://www.vrbo.com/150176

I've decided to stay in a hotel but the hotel I've chosen, the cheapest room is $400/night in high season.

If your budget needs to include airfare, I would also take a look at Isla Mujeres or elsewhere in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico or somewhere in Belize. Both are more budget oriented than the Caribbean islands you've tagged though Belize doesn't have great beaches.

Good luck!
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Old Oct 28th, 2008, 02:11 PM
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If you are looking for a VERY laid back island, with beautiful beaches, a few funky restaurants, & zero high rise hotels, Culebra may meet your needs. More Culebra-specific info. can be found at http://culebrablog.com.

Terrie
Palmetto Guesthouse, Culebra
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