Advice for a trip to the Carribean in mid-March

Old Jan 28th, 2013, 12:32 AM
  #1  
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Advice for a trip to the Carribean in mid-March

Hi,

I realise this question probably gets asked a lot, but I’m looking for some advice on where to go in the Carribean with my girlfriend in mid-March. I’ve provided some details below to help narrow the search.

(1) We’re both around 30.

(2) We’re from Australia, but will be coming from Orlando.

(3) We’re willing to travel up to 5hrs to get to our destination, although the closer the better given that our whole trip is less than 2 weeks.

(4) We would prefer an adults only resort, but that isn’t a deal breaker.

(5) Our budget for flights is about $600 each return, for accommodation up to $300 for the room per night, say $100 each for food. If the hotel is all inclusive, we could increase the room cost to $400 per night.

(6) We want to go there for 4 or 5 nights.

(7) We’re looking for a luxurious hotel, if possible. We want to spend the time sitting by the pool (preferably with a pool bar), relaxing, and eating nice food.

(8) In terms of feel and character, we would prefer somewhere with an interesting character, nice architecture, shops and restaurants. That aim is probably inconsistent with the big resort requirement though, so it could be sacrificed.

(9) It’s our first time to the Carribean, although I’ve been to Cartagena and Miami before. I loved both of them.

(10) Places on the shortlist so far are: DR (all inclusive resorts would be a plus, but the island seems to have less character), Puerto Rico (easy to get to from Orlando) and Anguilla (harder to get to, resorts may not be as nice).

If anyone has any ideas, including for specific resorts to look at, I would be really grateful.

By the way, I've also posted this to tripadvisor, but so far no luck..

Thanks in advance,

Hamish
Hamish444 is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2013, 07:42 AM
  #2  
 
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Although not a Caribbean Island, it sounds like Mexico might have everything that you are looking for. KVR seems to be the resident luxury AI expert on here for Mexico – I am sure she will have plenty of recommendations.

I don’t think you will get the unique character & have an affordable AI luxury mega resort anywhere else. I’m not much for mega resorts but I know various people who thoroughly enjoyed their stay at the Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana. I would take a look at that one if you are interested in the DR. Also, take a look at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and the Catalonia Royal Bavaro.

If you can give up the all inclusive, I would take a look at Aruba or the Grand Cayman (seems like they may be up your alley).
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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 08:21 AM
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What time of year?

This makes a big difference as during peak times the Caribbean is expensive. DR and Mexico would be in your budget.
TPAYT is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2013, 08:28 AM
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It says mid-March in his post.
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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 08:29 AM
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I think alot of places might fit the bill, Antigua perhaps? The beaches are gorgeous, there are plenty of good hotels in that price range, has character around Nelsons Dockyard, Shirley Heights and Falmouth. I wouldn't say there are any shops to speak of though, and outside AI there aren't many restaurants, therefore I would suggest AI. I don't think the resorts will be as big as in Mexico or DR. The island has character, you definitely know you are in the Caribbean.

Aruba is also a good option, but it is flat, dry, arid with cacti and iguanas, however it is a fun place with great restaurants and beaches.
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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 03:04 PM
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Thanks very much for your responses. I’m going to look into Mexico. Antigua looks really nice, but the resorts are really expensive.

Another option that looks good is a resort called Secrets St James at Montego Bay. It’s available for $430 per night all inclusive. Has anyone been there? I read on another thread that Jamaica is a bit unsafe, but I’m not that worried about it. Would it be a good option?
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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 05:18 PM
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I've only heard GREAT things about Secrets. As for safety, just exercise caution and you will be fun. We stayed in Montego Bay last year and had no problems with safety at all. Jamaicans are very friendly and we loved Jamaica. The vendors can be quite aggressive though, so be prepared for that.
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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 05:21 PM
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Btw you should head over to tripadvisor and look up the reviews for Secrets. There are loads of reviews and user submitted pictures. You may also want to look up Couples Negril or one of the various Sandals in Jamaica.
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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 05:51 PM
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Awesome, thanks. I think that's going to be the winner then. Thanks very much for everyone's advice.
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Old Jan 28th, 2013, 07:33 PM
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KVR
 
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The Secrets resorts get good reviews. I would personally go with the ones in the Riveria Maya in Mexico than the one in Montego Bay. Just because there are more things to see and do in Mexico and the locals aren't as aggressive. If you really want Jamaica, look at Couples Negril. Negril is a much nicer, more laid back area than Montego Bay. However, Secrets will be much nicer in terms of facilities and rooms than Couples. IMPO. In Jamaica, you really need to use the resorts tours or hire a driver to take you to the local attractions mainly so they can sheild you from the aggressors.

For AI, Mexico, Jamaica and DR are you best bet. Yes, there are AI hotels on many of the other Caribbean Islands, but I didn't feel we got as much and they were way more expensive.
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Old Jan 29th, 2013, 01:07 PM
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I would advise you to check visa requirements if you are an Australian citizen. I think Mexico and Jamaica are OK ie none required, but not sure about DR.
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