Antigua vs Cuba

Old Dec 4th, 2002, 01:28 PM
  #1  
Pason
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Antigua vs Cuba

I thought I had made up my mind. I booked a trip to Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua after a difficult decision between that and Sandals Hicacos in Varadero Cuba.

Both vacations are the same cost, Sandals is a 5 star, Jolly a 3 plus but according to alot of travellers more like a 4. We are travelling at the end of December and my main concern with Cuba was iffy weather.

I just spoke to a travel agent who said she would have picked Cuba because of all the hype over the new Sandals. I might be able to switch with some begging and pleading with the Charter company. Is it worth it to try or does anyone else have any light to shed on this dilema of mine??

Please help!! I'm so confused!

PS: my highlights are beach, food, weather and clean/nice rooms.

Thanks!
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 01:41 PM
  #2  
Diane
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Cuba is only 70 miles off the Florida coast and gets basically the same weather patterns. So, if Florida is cool/cold, it will be about the same in Cuba. Two years ago, we debated between Punta Cana and Cuba and picked Punta Cana. Friends picked Cuba and lost!!! We had extremely hot, dry weather (in Punta Cana) and they didn't even sit on the beach (in Cuba) because it was cool and rainy the whole time they were there. If you go to Cuba, you take a chance in the December/January time frame. You might get really great weather or you might have cool/cold weather!! I don't know about you but if I'm spending loads of money to travel somewhere warm, it had better be warm!!! Go to Cuba anytime after February and really enjoy it....don't take a chance at the end of December!! Put your dollars into a more "sure thing".
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 02:24 PM
  #3  
Tiffany
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Pason - I can't comment on Cuba but I just returned about 2 months ago from my honeymoon in Antigua. Antigua is a great island and the weather will be perfect in December. I also have read many great things about Jolly Beach Resort. We stayed at Sandals for our honeymoon and LOVED it (although I wouldn't stay at another Sandals, the rest don't appeal to me). The resort has a real laid back feeling to it with incredible landscaping, breathtaking beach and sunsets. So if you are worried about Jolly Beach and are looking to switch, you might check out Sandals Antigua.

Antigua doesn't get a lot of rain. It only rained one night out of the 7 we were down there. Just remember, what ever you choose to do, your vacation is what you make it. If you go thinking you won't enjoy it then you might not.

I would stick with Antigua just for the assurance of good weather. Enjoy your vacation!
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 03:57 PM
  #4  
Steve
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Hi Nicole:

Just a little exact information to help you in your decision.

The north coast of Cuba (Either Veradero or Havana) is approximately 170 kilometres due south of Key West Florida. It is 310 kilometres south of Miami, 590 kilometres south of Orlando and a whopping 875 kilometres south of Tallahassee Florida. So generalizing that the weather is the same as in Florida is not really accurate.

However that said, I have been to Cuba (Havana and Veradero) six times at Christmas/New Years and have had temperatures as high as 34C daytime and as low as 14C at night. The lowest daytime temperature I had in Veradero several years ago was only a high of 20C and rainy. Honestly, it felt cool that day. However it generally doesn't last more than a day or two at most and the other days were fine.

As beach and weather are two of your stated priorities, the choice really is yours, but Antigua will generally offer better odds of good weather. If you like math odds, then lets say 80% chance at Veradero of good, and 100% chance at Antigua (rain excluded).

Have fun anyway no matter what you decide.

Steve
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 05:00 PM
  #5  
Diane
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Steve, first, you're confusing the issue by using kilometers when I used miles and you're trying to make it look like the differences between your post and mine are greater than they really are. The difference from 170 km to 70 miles is less than 20 miles!!!

Second, I did NOT pull weather stats "out of my hat" as you are implying. I called the Canadian weather office and paid for a weather consultation. You can do the same by calling 1-900-565-5555. There is a fee and they took a few days to get back to me when I called asking for weather information on both the Dominican Republic and Cuba. The weather information I posted is EXACTLY what they told me two years ago. That is why we picked the DR. If you think I go to extremes in researching my vacations, you are right. For example, I can tell you that in the Dominican Republic, the area (tourist areas) that gets the MOST rain is the Puerto Plata (north coast) area, followed by the south coast and, the area with the LEAST rain is Punta Cana. So...don't challenge my information in this regard unless you have personally phoned the experts (as I did two years ago) and have THE most accurate information to give. You even stated in your post that you had cool/rainy weather over your vacation one year. Do you think that was a coincidence? NO. Believe me when I tell you that the north coast of Cuba does INDEED have the same weather patterns as Florida. NO DEBATE!!! So sorry you felt it necessary to challenge my post and then go on to re-affirm it....I don't understand you!!!
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 05:12 PM
  #6  
Reg
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Diane:
Take a pill!!!
As for Florida and Cuba having the same weather patterns, I think you better do some more research.
Obviously you have never been to Cuba.
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 05:24 PM
  #7  
Diane
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Reg, you take the pill!! Read the post. I did 1000% more research than you have ever done. Call for yourself and let us know what the weather experts tell you. Or...let me save you the bill and tell you, northern Cuba does have the same weather patterns as Florida. If it's warm in Florida, it'll be warm in Cuba. Cool in Florida...cool in Cuba. So sorry you don't believe me. Go ahead and enjoy Cuba in Dec/Jan but don't forget a warm jacket!! Or, you can do what our friends did...sit by the pool wrapped up in your beach towel shivering!! Best of luck to you!
 
Old Dec 4th, 2002, 06:47 PM
  #8  
Pason
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I see that the weather is not a sure bet in Cuba. That being a concern I am still thinking Antigua was the right choice. Tiffany's point was well taken, it's important to have the right attitude going into the vacation. While I don't intend on being negative while at the resort, I do want to be well informed before the final decision is made. Once I am settled hopefully I can accept whatever comes and enjoy the vacation.

Your posts have been helpful. I would love to hear from anyone who has stayed at either place and can comment on the actual resorts/beaches/food. Can I expect a 3 star in Antigua to be close to a 5 star in Cuba given the different Islands. I have heard that the star rating can be different in different countries. Would a 3 star in Cuba compare to a 3 Star in Antigua?? Many have said never to stay in less than a 5 star in Cuba.

Tiffany, how were the Antiguan beaches. Was the water clear?

Thanks again for any information you might have!
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 05:02 AM
  #9  
Steve
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Diane:

First off. I used Kilometres not to confuse the issue, but to post in an Internationally recognized unit of measure. If you would check Nicole's email address, you would have noted that it ends in "dot.CA" which denotes a Canadian address. Canada is a metric country and has been for approximately 25 years.

Next. Use a calculator. 170 kilometres is 105 miles. Your 70 miles is only 112 kilometres. The difference is 35 MILES which is better than 50% greater than your posted >20 miles.

Next. Weather. I am a pilot and consult the experts EVERY DAY. This is what upsets me when I see a person such as yourself post generalizations that really have no bearing on present conditions, or potential conditions for an anticipated vacation. Weather is a variable comodity. You yourself admit that they took 2 WHOLE DAYS to return your call with the weather. This is accurate????? NOT!

So lets look at the best way for a non-meterological trained person to make an informed decision.

Meterology 101

1) Use the internet and check for High and Low pressure areas. High pressure is generally good weather, while a Low pressure area denotes instability in the atmosphere.

2) Look for the JETSTREAM. The North American jetstream generally starts high in the Pacific Northwest, dips down over the mid-continent parts of North America, and heads northward again over the eastern seaboard. North (the upper side) of the jetstream will be weather influenced by the Artic airmass, while south of the jetstream will be air with a tropical influence from the temperate latitudes.

A simple check of the position of the jetstream and its forecast prognosis will show clearly the demarcation line between these two air masses.

If the jetstream dips only as low as the Carolinas, then it will be Hot in Cuba. If the jetstream dips as low as Northern Florida then temps in Cuba will be moderate. If on the rare occasions the jetstream dips as low as Miami, then cooler conditions will prevail in Cuba.

Yes, I did state that I experienced cool weather in Veradero ONE YEAR for a period of ONLY TWO DAYS. The rest of the time was HOT 28C+ EVERY DAY. See what the jetstream does. I was also being honest from direct personal experience. However in SIX trips, these were the only days that I could categorize as Cool. Note that I excluded rainy days, as rain happens everywhere. Christmas is the tail-end of the Caribbean wet season, so the odds of rain are appreciably equal for most locals except the more arid islands.

As to your expertise gained by a single phone call two years ago, I can only end this my dear Diane by borrowing a well known line said by Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind.

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."

Steve

 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 07:31 AM
  #10  
Diane
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Steve, we seem to be arguing about the same thing. I'm saying it can be cold in Cuba over Xmas and so are you. In fact, in your earlier post on this same subject dated 09/23/02, you stated that it gets as low as +18C during the day. Other posters reported cool/rainy weather also. I remembered that post because I read the entire thing back in September and it basically stated what I also stated this week. So....many people have experienced bad weather in December in Cuba. What else is new???? What I objected to was your "put down" as though I had NO clue what I was talking about. If you go thru the archives, there are MANY people stating that Cuba can be cold in December. Why did you feel (and obviously continue to feel) it necessary to attack my post? This is why many forums have more readers than posters....too many people feel it's OK to attack whoever posts. My post was given in good faith with research, you attacked it but provided the SAME information. This is what I object to. Leave it be already!!!
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 08:38 AM
  #11  
Steve
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Diane:

I am not attacking you personally, but rather the misconception that you are conveying.

Cuba is not JUST 70 miles from Florida. As I stated, it is 170 kilometres (105 miles) from Key West which is the MOST southern point of Florida.

Given the report from National Geographic Magazine on the woefull state of geographic knowledge of most Americans (their characterization, not mine, as reported by CNN) and the fact that 9% of Americans tested could not even find their OWN COUNTRY on a world map, well I get annoyed when I see a mis-statement like yours about distances and a generalization (Florida?) that can easily cause confusion.

I can easily see a person hearing on a newscast that there was frost in Tallahassee Florida (happens every winter) and therefore thinking.... WOW, frost in Florida.... there must be frost in Cuba as well. This is what your post clearly implies. That Florida and Cuba weather are the same. Hardly the truth when there can be over 700 kilometres (435 of your statute miles) difference in north/south location to parts of Florida. I've seen SNOW in Atlanta Georgia and 30C+ in Havana on the SAME DAY and Atlanta is only 200 miles from the Florida border. Refer to my prior post for the reason.

It would be just as wrong of ME to say that Cuba is ONLY 205 kilometres (125 miles) from Cancun or a mere 145 kilometres (90 miles) from Jamaica. These would be facts but also misleading facts if I do not state WHERE in Cuba (or Florida) I am basing my opinion on. Is Cuban weather always the same as Jamaican weather? Must be as they are even closer than Cuba to Florida. A broad generalization can be most misleading.

Get my point?

Steve



 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 08:38 AM
  #12  
Tiffany
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Pason - the beaches are spectacular! Before I get bashed, they may not be the BEST beaches...but they are great! The sand is soft like powder (great for sinking your toes!), the water is very an amazing aquamarine color - exactly what you would picture the Caribbean looking like. I personally don't see it getting much better, but I'm sure it does (for a pretty penny!). The water was very calm where we stayed (Dickenson Bay).

We fell in love with Antigua. We plan on trying to return once a year. Although, keep in mind that it is a very flat and dry island. They don't receive a lot of rain. So if you are looking for rainforests and moutains to explore...this is not the place to go. But they do offer a lot to do. And it's the best place to veg out on the beach for a week!! Any more questions?? I'll be happy to answer!
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 09:12 AM
  #13  
Steve
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Diane:

Addendum to my post.

Today is a PERFECT example of what can happen with the jetstream.

Note that there has been a MAJOR winter ice storm throughout the Carolinas with over 1 million homes without electricity.(see CNN.com)

Tallahassee Florida is only reporting a high of 67F. But Miami (also in Florida) is reporting a high temp of 85F for the day. This is almost a 20F temperature gradient in just one state.

It was 86F in Havana yesterday (only 84F today) while this winter storm savaged the south-eastern states. The lowest overnight temperatures for Havana and Veradero this week was only 75F.

Try this website for other forecasts.

http://www.weatherunderground.com/global/stations/78224.html

Steve
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 01:07 PM
  #14  
Pason
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I am sorry I started a debate regarding the weather patterns in Cuba. I realize that people posting on this site have good intentions. I guess the main question then is, would the questionable weather be reason enough to avoid Cuba in the winter which I know only I can answer but with travellers opinions on these two resorts it might be an easier decision to make.

Is Jolly Beach Resort nice enough of a place to go to warrant the kind of money I'm spending that would otherwise get me into a 5+ star in Cuba. It calls for a pretty penny in the travel brochures so I'm thinking it must draw travellers at that kind of money for a reason. The only source I have to figure this one out is from travellers that have been to Jolly Beach recently and can comment. Has anyone been to both this resort and Allegro in Turks and Caicos? We went to the Allegro last year and loved it and the brochures also don't give this one a 5 star rating??

Any help would be appreciated!!
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 01:48 PM
  #15  
Diane
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Pason, I'm going to give you several websites that will give you resort reviews for many islands plus reviews specific to the islands you mention. After reading several reviews, I find that you can get a good idea of the resort you're investigating. Good luck and here are the websites:
www.debbiescaribbeanresortreviews.com
www.caribbeanopinion.net (look for Cuba under both Cuba and the last one called something like "unlisted islands")
www.wheretostay.com/
www.caribbean-on-line.com/hotelreviews.com
(that last one might better be reached by just:www.caribbean-on-line.com/)
http://groups.msn.com/AntiguaBound
www.caribbeantravelforums.com/
http://caribtravelnews.com
http://www.antigua-barbuda.org/index.html

Personally, I like to get the best price I can get and the most expensive resort doesn't always give you the best holiday. Just to confuse the issue a bit more, have you considered Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic? It is roughly the same cost as Cuba but will definitely be warmer over December/January (might even be cheaper than Cuba). Punta Cana has absolutely beautiful white sand beaches that stretch for 26 miles (Steve...that's an estimate...I've heard from 22 to 35 miles!!).

Best of luck with the search!!
 
Old Dec 5th, 2002, 07:12 PM
  #16  
Steve
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Diane:

The beaches that stretch between 22 and 25 miles. Is that statute miles or nautical miles?

Pason:

Sorry for the debate on whether the weather is better in Cuba or elsewhere or whether the weather is the same in Florida or Cuba. That was not my intention at all.

Whatever you decide, I think the absolute best advice I have see in this thread is to have a good outlook in mind when you leave and simply have fun.

As the saying goes..... DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY!!

Have a geat vacation
Steve
 
Old Dec 6th, 2002, 01:59 AM
  #17  
martin
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Hi Pason

Unfortunately as (I think) the majority of people who use this board are Americans then you will get more positive remarks for Antigua as they can't (or it is difficult) to go to Cuba.

So in a "vote" on this board Antigua will win!

We were at Sandals Royal Hicacos at the end of October (in the rainy season). We had hot, unbroken, sunshine for the whole week. The best weather we have ever had for ANY caribbean island. Other islands we have been to we have always had a certain amount of cloud and short periods of rain.

Therefore - the weather is a lottery!

As far as Sandals Royal Hicacos is concerned and Cuba itself there is going to be no comparison. You will get far more for your dollar at Sandals Hicacos. It is TRULY a 5* resort. You say Jolly is a 3* plus. Speaks for itself! If the prices are in the same ball-park then Sandals Royal Hicacos every time! It is SUPERB!
Detailed discussion on the forum at www.tropictravelonline.com or see my trip report http://homepage.ntlworld.com/martin.dearnley/cuba/

Enjoy your stay wherever you decide to go!
 
Old Dec 6th, 2002, 02:37 PM
  #18  
Pason
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Thanks Diane for all the great links to websites for me to visit. Thanks Steve for your advice aswell and I will definitely enjoy this vacation as we really need it!!

Tiffany, how far a drive were you from our resort if we stay with Jolly Beach Resort? I don't suppose it's within walking distance to Sandals.

Any other travellers with opinions to share I am still intereted in your viewpoints!

Thanks a million!!!!
 
Old Dec 6th, 2002, 02:42 PM
  #19  
Estee
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Has anyone been to the St.James Club in Antigua recently? If so, how is the night life, food, villas, beaches. Also, are the people that work there friendly or rude?
 
Old Dec 6th, 2002, 04:41 PM
  #20  
jackie
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Steve-
From a fellow Canadian livinging in the US - WELL SAID!!
 

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