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brutus14 Jan 25th, 2009 06:15 AM

4 night caribbean trip / help
We are interested in taking a 4 night trip in mid-February to the Caribbean but face several obstacles. We were hoping that some of the Fodorites will help.
There will be 2 adults traveling with our 2 year old daughter. Our budget is in the $4000 neighborhood, departing from either Columbus (CMH) or Cincinnati (CVG). We are open to an AI, but do like upscale type resorts.
Wants: Good weather, (might rule out some of the northern most islands) Accepts children/Kid friendly, donít need to rent-a-carÖand hopefully not a long trek from the airport. Great Beach!! Good flight times. Some of the packages have +1 day flights, or lousy times/layovers traveling with a toddler. That just defeats the purpose of the trip. We want most of the vacation to be spent vacationing!
We have plans to go to the Caymans in March, so that is the one spot thatís off the table. Help??

brutus14 Jan 25th, 2009 06:24 AM

Is Aruba a good choice?

Caribzack Jan 25th, 2009 06:50 AM

Check out Turks and Caicos ( airport code PLS) Look at The Sands resort, PERFECT for 2 yr old, cascading river type pool thru the resort, kids and adults love it, great onsite restaurant and you can walk to many other excellent spots to eat plus the resort has a shuttle to the IGA grocery store for snax, water etc

brutus14 Jan 25th, 2009 08:01 AM

I really like the T&C idea. We have been the Sands before but had read that The Somerset was offering a 4th night free.

I checked out Orbitz and found that if I was to book Air & Hotel together it would be 5500. BUT...If I was book them separately (on my own) it would run 4600. Confusing!!!

Is there a consensus out there of the best travel site for the Caribbean?

Weadles Jan 25th, 2009 09:01 AM

I've always found it cheapest to book the hotel and air on my own. I'd advise you to do it that way, too, unless you find an unbelievable deal through one of the airlines.

Since you're only going for four days, another place you might check out is the Wyndham Rio Mar in Puerto Rico. We just got back from there in early January.

I would not recommend it for a week's stay, but I think it's almost perfect for a few days, especially with a toddler.

The property is only 45 minutes from San Juan airport. It has very nice rooms, many oceanfront, overlooking a lush, tropical garden and the beach.

The hotel is on the Atlantic Coast, so there are big waves for the adults to play in. Your daughter would probably enjoy the pools. There's a pool just for kids, and one for adults, both good sized.

The beach is about two miles long. It wasn't that crowded when we were there, so we never had to run down early to get chairs.

There's a small health club and spa on site, as well as a casino.

Food, except for the breakfast buffet which was very good, is pretty mediocre and drinks are resort-priced. But I still think, for an easy 4-day trip, this resort is a good choice. Also- this resort has been offering unbelievable deals, so you might want to check it out!

Caribzack Jan 26th, 2009 03:06 AM

Brutus14...we just returned from The is fantastic in every way! Book the resort directly-better rate. Zero entry pool is perfect for 2 yr. old, great service,2 excellent restaurants, can walk to Bay Bistro and Hemingways.

StanKase Jan 26th, 2009 01:47 PM

The Somerset likely will not fit into your budget with the airfare and meals and miscellaneous but worth calling and asking for "last minute specials". The Atlantic side of PR is not that calming in our opinion. If you could get a non-stop to St. Thomas and a puddle jumper is inexpensive and well timed to Tortola the Long Boat Key is fairly nice and not too expensive. I would rate it a 3 star place. Actually T&C could be a little chilly since it is in the Bahama chain but likely days should be 78-80 high but water a little chilly. Likely a bit warmer in PR or Tortola.

brutus14 Jan 26th, 2009 03:18 PM

Isn't Aruba a possibility? I would think the weather would make it a good choice.

I have been through PR a few times. I've never really viewed it as a vacation option. I don't like the idea of the DON'T LEAVE THE RESORT advice. I could be very wrong.

andrews98682 Jan 26th, 2009 03:39 PM

Cancun and the surrounding area might not be a bad, relatively inexpensive option.

KVR Jan 27th, 2009 04:31 AM

For a 4 night night trip, I think Aruba is just too far. It' will take all day travling to get there and back not leaving enough time to enjoy it. Also, there are not many AI resorts that are family friendly and I don't think they will fit their budget.

Look at the Mayan Riveria/Playa del Carmen area of Mexcio. Resorts like the Occidental, Iberostars, Barcelos. They are going to be about an hour transfer from the Cancun airport.

In T & C, look at the Ocean Clubs and the Sands. Don't now if they will fit your budget.

Other option is the Dominican Republic. There are many large AI resorts that are family friendly and are about the same price as Mexico.

greenie Jan 28th, 2009 02:04 AM

I agree with KVR, Aruba will take you all day to get to, as well as Tortola. I live in Atlanta and it takes me all day to get to Tortola.

T&C is a good choice but in Feb, might be a tad chillier than the other suggestions.

Also agree with KVRs suggestion of riviera maya. Quick flight from CVG and AIs in every price range. We love the Iberostars. Very good chain.

Peace, Greenie

suzyRam Jan 28th, 2009 11:30 AM

It will depend on the island you are interested in and then you want to narrow your search to hotels based on your needs. I'd look at St Lucia, Jamaica or Barbados. St Lucia I'll say Windjammer Landing or Bay Gardens Beach resort, Jamaica - Beaches.

KVR Jan 29th, 2009 04:43 AM

St. Lucia and Barbados will just as far if not farther than Aruba. Save for a week or more vacation.

paris350 Jan 29th, 2009 04:43 AM

Hello brutus14
I would strongly suggest ARUBA. I have been going there for about 20 years and although I go there the first 2 weeks of Dec I am sure mid Feb is great as well. If you look at ARUBA Forums and register you can probably rent a timeshare from someone there are many places on the island. Also check out site and check the prices for the hotels that they list. If you go timeshare you have a kitchen great for toddlers. Also you may need to rent a car, very easy driving on ARUBA only one main road.Check out tropicrentacar for good prices ask for HANS Dhooge.
Good Luck

Laura147 Jan 29th, 2009 05:20 AM

if you can find decent flight times, I too strongly recommend Aruba. Will be heading there myself for my 6th trip on March 1st. The weather is fabulous. I stay on Palm Beach and very happily do not rent a car as many good restaurants are within walking distance or a very short cab ride away. Good luck with your search.

BobCan Jan 29th, 2009 06:45 AM

KVR is on the right track with the DR. Many excellent AI's on the North Coast and close to the airport in Puerto Plata. Check out the Gran Vantana for an example.

mercerjem Jan 29th, 2009 08:58 AM

We spent a week on Nevis at the Four Seasons-We did not take children, but were so surprised at how many families were there. They have all kinds of resources for children. Great beach, babysitting, day camp, spa, golf course, tennis the works. They have a casual dining room as well as a 5 star dining room (and in the 5 star dining room they even have coloring books and crayons for the little ones). We did the meal plan. I think with Amex, you can get 4th night free!!!You fly into St. Kitts and the Four Seasons meets you at the dock and takes you to Nevis. There are only 198 rooms. You do not need a car. You don't even need a tee time for golf!!! Janet

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