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Best Caribbean Island to go January thru March

Old Dec 5th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Best Caribbean Island to go January thru March

I am a mother of a 2yr old and need to get away long-term to heal from a thyroid disorder. I want to go to an island that is very warm but not blistering HOT. White sandy beaches, CLEAR water, and furnished housing is a must! I would like to spend less than $33/day in housing. I am a FOODIE so the food MUST be delicious. I need to be able to go to a nearby market, take hot showers, call the US, and watch TV/DVDs. I Love beauty, and SCENIC locations...I am a visual person. Being able to look off the beach and see other island is a must. I don't like flat places with just water to see around me. I am bringing a toddler...PLEASE HELP...I just want rest with the chance to go out fro a fun daily activity. I don't want the island to be tooo boring, but not to loud and crowded at the same time. THANKS!!!
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Old Dec 5th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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Cuba isn't very far south, could be cooler than what you are looking for. I also wouldn't consider Cuba a 'foodie' destination. It's been a few years since I was there, but they didn't even have fresh limes in Havana....

I don't know if your lodging budget is realistic. Hopefully, someone more in the know than I will be able to help.

I will say, though, that there are very nice and affordable accomodatins on the island of Isla Mujeres, off the coast of Cancun. Although the only body of land you'll see will be the high rises of Cancun....
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Old Dec 6th, 2010, 03:14 AM
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Your budget is unrealistic. Overall Caribbean is expensive destination, also be prepared to spend $600 - $1000 an airline ticket during your time period, plus you'll be lucky to find something for $150 nightly--Jan thru March is peak season, when everyone travels in Caribbean.

Also in general, white sandy beaches are more on the flat islands, and they tend to be dry and have no markets, everything is imported.

Caribbean is also expensive to stay once you've arrived-most places have to import most things, including adding on import taxes, so expect (compared with US) to have prices double, even triple for food, etc. Electricity is also extremely expensive in Caribbean, so a place with hot water and TV costs whoever is renting to you a lot more than the $33 you're willing to spend.

You need to either increase your budget or lower your length, probably both. You would probably have to change the time period too-to slow season which can get hot (September-October time frame.)

You may find $75 nightly in Belize, maybe Panama, maybe Costa Rica, but they definitely won't have TVs. You may be able to find something in Asia, but airfare will cost you, and again, no TVs for your kind of budgets. Asia might have Hostels for that pricing, but keep in mind you're sharing rooms and showers.

Also for how long term? Most Caribbean Islands allow 30-60 days, then after 30 you have to renew your stay (at a premium price).

Also, where are you coming from? Have you research any of the area?
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Old Dec 6th, 2010, 03:55 AM
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I don't know where you live but I doubt you can find accommodations that cheap "back home" let alone the Caribbean - you are talking about $231/week - it's not doable. Even a room in a modest "guest house" will cost you more than that. You have to rethink your budget.
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Old Dec 6th, 2010, 05:54 AM
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This thread made me curious so I did a bit of looking around on sites for Isla Mujeres. There are several options at $40.00 a night, and that's a nightly rate, could probably be discounted for longer stays.

These are apartments either downtown or in the colonias. I could certainly stay in these places, as long as they're clean.

Food on Isla is cheap and wonderful. The beaches are stunning.
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Old Dec 7th, 2010, 10:07 AM
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Thank you guys. @ JeanH, I appreciate you looking around! @ blamona, I don't see it being unreasonable, that is about $1000 per month and i would like to find an apartment to rent. Not a resort or a hotel. I have eard you can get an apartment for $500//month upwards which is less than $33/day. Maybe that confused some people... I would like to rent an patrment for $1000/month or less ($33/day) and I am coming from Chicago. Thanks for your input! Any answers?
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Old Dec 7th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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A word to the wise - DO NOT rent an apartment anywhere in the Caribbean sight unseen, especially those in the price range you are seeking. Decent housing in the Caribbean is not inexpensive and there are many "dumps" being offered on the internet so be careful. To paraphrase an old adage - Let the renter beware!

When looking for a long term rental be prepared to pony up 3 month's rent "up front" - most landlords will want first and last month's rent and a one month security deposit paid at lease signing. Also, at that price don't expect the rent to include utilities so again be prepared to pay security deposits for electricity, phone, etc. Lastly, finding a decent apartment at that price that is furnished may be a bit of a challenge. Just so you know on average housing costs in the Caribbean are anywhere from 25% to 50% higher than they are back in the states. That means a comparable apartment that rents for say $1,000/mo in the US might cost $1,250 to $1,500/month in the Caribbean so adjust your needs accordingly.

Lastly, if you are planning to stay more than 30 on any island (excluding Puerto rico, Culebra, Vieques or the USVI's) make sure you understand the laws regarding long term residency - many island will only grant you 30 day visitor's visas which you can extend (for a fee) for 30 days at a time for no more than 6 months.
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Old Dec 7th, 2010, 02:07 PM
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To add to Roamsaround: Less than a year's rental also costs on average more, so if you find an apartment say for $1000 a month, most are based on 6-12 month rentals, expect shorter terms to be about $300 more a month, plus utilities, which can be quite a shock in Caribbean. Low usage electric will put you out about $250 monthly more, water if not cistern another $100, phone and cable add about $70 and $40. Additionally you will probably need a car, and the cheapest islands rent them for anywhere of $300 weekly to $800 depending on island. Some car rentals do give discounts for a month, but expect to double your rent. Very few islands have there own growing fields of veggies and fruits, so expect that to be expensive. Gas is outrageous (but being small islands you'll only fill every 7-10 days.) Some islands do have markets, but warning, they are not usually daily, they have limited hours, and if your considering $1000 apartments, they won't be walking distance. (If they are walkable, then you're far from the beach!)

Someone suggested Isla Mujeres in Mexico to you. that may be a good bet--you can easily walk around, and hotels offer rooms with fridges for about $45, and includes utilities.

The apartments you're considering at $1000 monthly, I would bet my next vacation are in bad areas, car required, and you have to factor in utilities.

Also again, if you stay longer than 30 days, it will cost you to extend your stay at customs.

Again, maybe Isla Mujeres might work for you, but you need a small hotel or guest house. there you are able to walk around to beaches and a small town.

PS you can't even consider Cuba (you tagged it) if your American. Not allowed to travel there without a permit or Humanitarian mission.
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Old Dec 11th, 2010, 04:58 PM
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Wow! Thank guys! This is so helpful and I really appreciate your input... @ blamona I will keep u updated! MUAH!
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