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-   -   Aruba (Bucuti) Vs. St Lucia (Sandals Regency) Vs. Playa Del Carmen (Royal Hideaway) (

bluesphee Jan 21st, 2007 01:15 PM

Aruba (Bucuti) Vs. St Lucia (Sandals Regency) Vs. Playa Del Carmen (Royal Hideaway)
Hi all,

I've narrowed down our honeymoon search to three places and need some more inputs. We are trying to choose amongst Bucuti in Aruba, the Sandals Regency in St. Lucia and the Royal Hideaway in Playa Del Carmen.

We are leaving on our Honeymoon from Oct. 8-15th.

Aruba - Bucuti:

The major drawback is that Aruba doesn't seem to have much in the way of day trips. Is this true? I'd like to do a very cool snorkeling day trip or at least be able to snorkel plenty on Eagle beach at Bucuti. Do they offer that at the resort and if so, is the snorkeling any good? We also would like to do a jeep/car rental or something else but lay on the beach for 7 straight days. 2-3 trips off the resort would be ideal.

The second drawback we see with Bucuti is that it doesn't seem that easy to have drinks on the beach because the bar sounds kind of crappy for Bucuti. Is this correct? This seems strange to me since drinks on the beach is a prerequisite for anyone going to this type of place.

The beach and clear water at Bucuti seem to be hands down the most amazing of the three which is a huge draw for us. Also, the Tara Beach Suites seem really great.

St Lucia - Sandals Regency:

The resort looks really nice and we are a big fan of all inclusive. It seems pretty expensive for what you get though. This island looks very exotic and seems to have a ton of snorkeling and day trips. Can anyone recommend any specific day trips? The only trouble is that the water and beaches just do not seem that great at St. Lucia (not like the clear water that Bucuti/Aruba would give us).

Playa Del Carmen - Royal Hideaway

This resort seems absolutely gorgeous and the food is supposed to be so great here (for an AI). I've read that the beach has been affected by hurricanes but in most pictures the water and beach seems great. Much better than St. Lucia. I would guess by the time we went (barring another hurricane) the beach would be back? Mexico has tons of great day trips to the Mayan ruins, snorkeling and swimming w/ dolphins type of thing. It also seems like you get away from the "ugly american"/frat boy stigma at this type of resort since it's higher end and not just greasy fast food.


St. Lucia and Playa Del Carmen seem to pose the most risk since we're going in October. It seems like we'd be fine no matter what in Aruba. Any thoughts on this?

I'd really like to hear from anyone that has any opinions on these three resorts. Thanks in advance!

jiffer111 Jan 21st, 2007 03:29 PM

The Royal Hideaway is one of the top resorts in Mexico. I would highly recommend it. The staff and food is top notch. Another positive with the RH is that is is not far from Playa Del Carmen where there is some good shopping. Also not far away is a place to do some great snorkeling, scuba diving, swim with the dolphins, visit mayan ruins, zipline tours, horse back riding, atv rides through the jungle and much much more.

I have been to St. Lucia and Mayan Riviera and I have to say that the Mayan Riviera wins hands down with the beaches. I have been to the Mayan Riviera area several times since the hurricane and the beaches are pretty close to back to normal or in some cases even better.

I am not sure where you live but there is a good chance that the flight to Mexico is much closer then St. Lucia which is a added bonus.

I found that the prices of things in St. Lucia is much more pricey then Mexico so if you plan on doing any shopping or activties outside of the resort then Mexico is the way to go.

rockie Jan 21st, 2007 07:08 PM

Congratulations on your impending marriage! We have been to both St. Lucia and the Playa del Carmen area and loved both trips. We went to St. Lucia on our honeymoon and loved the day trips and the beauty of the island. It is very lush, green and pretty. We took two day trips, one a boat trip down the coast to the southern end where we saw the botanical gardens, volcano, Pitons, etc. The second trip we did was a jeep tour with a hike through the rain forest. We loved both trips and enjoyed seeing the island. We enjoyed the beaches in Mexico, did a lot of snorkeling and saw several of the ruin sites.

In Mexico, we enjoyed being able to do things on our own and not have to do organized tours for everything we wanted to do. We took collectivos to Tulum, Playa and Akumal. In St. Lucia, the driving conditions and the way things are so spread out, we felt the tours were our best option to see the island. We did snorkel and it wasn't bad, but as you know the beaches in Mexico are "better" for the long, white sand. When we researched places to stay, we did not feel that Sandals was the best option because of the price and mixed reviews. I would recommend Ladera or Anse Chastanet instead for a honeymoon. In Mexico, Royal Hideaway is supposed to be fantastic. I think it would be the best resort you have picked out.

I have not been to Aruba but I think St. Lucia or Mexico would be a wonderful honeymoon. St. Lucia is more lush, green, mountainous and would be a great active vacation. Mexico would be better for beaches, relaxing, snorkeling and enjoying the resort. You can't go wrong with either one. Have a great trip!

KVR Jan 22nd, 2007 04:17 AM

We've been to all three and love all of them for different reasons. We honeymooned in Cozumel. Mexico is still our favorite beach destination.

In Aruba we stayed at the Holiday Inn on Palm Beach. The location is great since their is like a restuarant and shopping row just steps outside the door. I wouldn't recommend the HI for a honeymoon, but would look at the Occidental or the Raddison. We did several day trips in Aruba including: Hanava Tropical dinner show, Red Sail Sunset dinner cruise, Kukoo Kunken Bus, De Palm Island - Passport to Paradise - Full Day, MiDushi Snorkel Tour, De Palm Beach Express, ABC Jeep Safari, Butterfly Farm, and lots of shopping. Palm beach has several facilities for water sports. We wanted to do the tubing and DH wanted parasailing, but we ran out of time. There is plenty of day and evening activites to keep you entertained. Aruba also has lots of great resturants. We chose the AI option at the HI for breakfast and drink purposes and ate off property a few times.

In St. Lucia we stayed at the Sandals Grande and did a day trip to the Regency. We paid ALOT of money for the Grande and was not all that impressed. We thought the food was disappointing and the service fair. We preferred the Sandals Royal Bahaimain in Nassau better. The Grande is next to a National Park and Pidgeon Point. Great for hiking. The Grande's beach is much nicer than the Regency's. The Regency's beach gets lots of waves and is "red flagged" alot. We didn't care for the Regency because it is so spread out. But they do have the better choice in resturants. St. Lucia is a gorgeus Island with lots of mountains, flora and waterfalls. We did a full day land and sea excursion. Took us all around the Island by land and then we got on a catamaran for snorkeling. The beaches there are brown and the water is a deep blue, so not really great for snorkeling. We also did a jeep tour through the banana plantations to a waterfall and a black sand beach for swimming. Also went to the craft market and duty free mall for shopping. The Sandals web-site has a list of their sponsered excursions. We would have loved to take the flight over to the Grenedines, but it was a little too expensive for us.

We stayed at the El Dorado Resort & Spa in Playa del Carmen. We like Mexico because they have nice beaches and lots of things to see and do. Try Xel-Ha, Xcaret, Tulum, Chichen Itza, Coba, ATV tours, cenote swimming, Maroma beach for horse back riding, motor boats, snorkeling and fishing and parasailing. Playa del Carmen also has some of the nicest AI resorts. You'll get more for your money in a Mexico AI property than any other Caribbean destination. There are many shops, resturants and bars on 5th avenue. We've been to that area 4 times and would love to go back again. I'm not familiar with the Royal Hideaway. Our pick would be the Royal Playa del Carmen, which is walking distance to 5th Avenue.

I would be more worried about going to Mexico in October than I would be of St. Lucia and Aruba.

We have pics of all these destinations if your interested at:

shirleyk Jan 22nd, 2007 02:21 PM

If you decide on Royal Hideaway, there is a "Honeymoon Package" on you might want to consider.

bluesphee Jun 6th, 2008 08:38 PM

We ended up going to Bucuti and loved it.

One of the big downsides was not having an all inclusive from just the drinks perspective. From a food perspective it was great because we went all over the island to some really excellent restaurants (flying fishbone was our favorite).

The beer in the grocery store was really expensive, but we ended up buying that and also buying a styrofoam cooler. It wasn't all that great to be honest, because it felt like more work than you should have to put up with when you are paying that kind of money for a resort.

Bucuti is very low key. You go there to do your own thing and that is what makes it so nice. The beach was beautiful, but I still would have really enjoyed not having to pay $7 for a beer during non-happy hour!

KVR Jun 7th, 2008 05:42 AM

Glad you posted back with where you decided to go. So many don't. It's nice to know after all the recommendations.

Glad you enjoyed Aruba/Bucuti. I do agree with your comment regarding not having an AI for drink purposes. That's one of the main reasons we love AI's. We've been back to Mexico 3 times since your original post. AI's each time. But, we're ready to either go back to Aruba or try Curacao. We're looking at the Amsterdam Manor on Eagle Beach in Aruba. They recently implemented an AI plan. It looks rather pricey though. The grocery store down the street delivers, so wouldn't have to waste time shopping if we did want to. We've also been considering the Lion's Dive in Curacao, but they only offer a meal plan. No drinks. The last trip we did, which was not an AI to T & C, we we're not happy with the paying as you go and having to find restaurants and transportation.

travelenthusiast Jun 7th, 2008 06:25 PM

I have friend that recently went to the Royal Hideaway and they loved it. If you went to Mexico you could do tour the ruins, Chichen Itza and Tulum. You could take a trip into Cancun or visit Isla Mujeres. I think Cozumel has a lot of snorkeling and is a day trip from the Royal Hideaway.

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