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Best Honeymoon for Fall??

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Jan 17th, 2012, 01:03 PM
  #1
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Best Honeymoon for Fall??

Hello all,

My fiance and I are getting married this fall - most likely October. We want to head to the Caribbean, as we live in North Carolina, and we can easily travel to most islands.

We don't have a huge budget, but hopefully enough to stay at a nicer resort for at least a week, hopefully slightly longer. I have spent the last 2 months endlessly researching destinations, and I'm finally realizing that there is no 'right' answer, but I'm hoping to get general opinions of those more well traveled than myself.

What we want in our destination is not just fine beaches, but also affordable activities and excursions. This could look like rain forest, volcanoes, sailing, snorkeling, scuba, hiking, day trips to other islands, whale watching, etc. What we are NOT interested in is nightlife, lots of shopping, lots of driving, fishing, golfing, or sitting on the beach the whole time. We don't want to end up in the most touristy spots, but we don't want to be so far off the beaten path that we are stuck at our resort the whole time either. I would prefer to not need to rent a car, but it's not a deal breaker. I just want a vacation from driving! Riding bikes, or walking, or somewhat reasonably priced taxis would be great options.

Whale watching is something that is a life long dream of mine, so for that reason I am highly attracted to Dominica and St. Lucia. At the same time, I read lots of forum posts saying that those will not provide nice enough beaches. I looked at Secret Bay in Dominica which looks amazing (though we would stay at the resort most of the time), but I've also expanded the list to include St. John, Virgin Gorda, Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, Costa Rica and Riviera Maya. I realize Costa Rica is not the Caribbean, but it's still an option that provides a lot of what we are looking for.

T&C seems like the beaches are amazing, but we want more than that, so this has become a back burner idea for now.

The Virgin Islands all look gorgeous, especially beach wise, but I wonder if we will still be able to do things like whale watching and have great snorkeling and hiking as we would in Dominica? They also seem to be more expensive, so hopefully we would be able to go out to eat during our stay if we went there.

Puerto Rico seems like it has a bit of everything, but not quite the best of anything. I'd be interested in the culture, food, bio bay, etc., but it seems almost too close to home. We definitely want something new and exciting! We also were originally planning on marrying at our destination, and if we end up somewhere that would require a residency, we will marry here first, and then have some sort of ceremony - vow renewal ? - at our destination during our trip.

I also want to make sure that no matter where we end up, that we have enough budget left for insurance, because of hurricane season.

I know that no matter where we go, it will be amazing, but we don't get to travel a ton, so i just want to pick an amazing spot that is unforgettable.

I apologize for the abundance of information, it's just all swimming in my very overwhelmed head! I am trying to pick a destination in the next few weeks, so that we can then start pricing out accommodations and book our trip. Any and all thoughts and advice on these places, or some I may have overlooked, would be greatly appreciated.
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Jan 17th, 2012, 01:13 PM
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I should also mention some info about us! We are in our thirties, and pretty laid back. So while I mention wanting 'stuff to do', we also will want a good bit of down time, in our room, on our balcony, or by a pool, whatever is available. We do sail, so having rentable/free small Hobie cats or anything we can take out is a definite plus. We will bring books to read, and will not want to cook while there. We aren't huge drinkers, but do enjoy beer and wine, no need for lots of bars or clubs. We don't need to make friends while there, but certainly want to be in a warm and welcoming area where we have the ability to talk to people. Thanks
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Jan 17th, 2012, 02:05 PM
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Ok, you first said "We don't have a huge budget" and then you said you want "affordable activities and excursions" and finally you said you want to have "enough budget left for insurance, because of hurricane season". YET YOU NEVER DEFINED what your budget actually is, how much you can afford for activities and excursions and how much you are willing to pay for insurance. The terms you've use (affordable, not huge, etc. are meaningless with out an actual dollar point of reference. And, without knowing what those numbers are it's very difficult for anyone to make meaningful recommendations. So please help us help you by giving us an idea of how much you actually have budgeted for your honeymoon - it will make a big difference on what the experts here will tell you.

Now, St. john and the T&C's are among the most expensive destinations in the Caribbean so you might want to "save" those for future trips when you are more financially stable.

Puerto Rico can be budget friendly as are the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozemel so you might want to research those places.
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Jan 17th, 2012, 02:14 PM
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Since you're on a budget and want activities, sounds like Costa Rica is for you.

If this makes you feel any better whale watching season is Feb thru April, so you're not going to see them in October anyway.

Another thing to note, it is hurricane season, right smack in the middle of it, get insurance
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Jan 17th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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RoamsAround - I just thought I would come across as tacky if I said what our budget was, but you're right. We would prefer to keep it under $8k for flight and accommodations at least. If that amount could include food too, great, if not, we'll deal.

I definitely have the Virgin Islands and T&C On the very expensive list.

The other places you mentioned as being budget friendly seem super touristy, which is why I had left them out. Perhaps I am wrong?

Blamona - Costa Rica is a possibility. From all the research I've done, I thought that in Dominica and that area, whale watching was all year? That is what I keep reading, and what people there have told me.

I am aware of the hurricane season, but that's when we are going, so we will have to make the best of it, and get insurance!

Thanks so much for taking time to give me feedback!
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Jan 17th, 2012, 06:44 PM
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How about Belize? We had a wnderful stay on Ambergris Caya at Xanadu Resort. Activities are available - we went fishing and kayaking, and took a longer daytrip to ruins and zip lining.. The whole area is super low key and pretty budget friendly.
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Jan 18th, 2012, 04:50 AM
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First Welcome Congrats!

Second rain storm season look at
weather2travel.com Climate Guides ALL your areas

Safest bet in Carib out of storm Belt "Blue Sky" ABC isles
Hyatt.com Aruba Palm Eagle Beach cntraveler.com other optons
Marriott.com Curacao nice if you can get s deal.Bonaire more
laid back gooddiving luxurlink.com for options there.

Cabo or Pacific mexico Capella Pedregal or La Casa Que Canta

Least rain in fall very adventurous konaweb.com princeresortshawaii.com good deals for me on priceline.com
less than 1 inch of rain around Kona/Kohala in fall my fav
stayhawaii.com.

Costa Rica floats away almost every fall I always avoid CR/CA then beautiful in winter though.

insuremytrip.com always wise.

Happy Hunting PM if Imay help further!
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Jan 18th, 2012, 04:56 AM
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For Bonaire my fav quirky but cheap fun
Deep Blue View Intimate Resort
Luxurylink.com Say hi to Esther if you make it down there
She is a HOOT.
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Jan 18th, 2012, 06:18 AM
  #9
KVR
 
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$8,000 is a very healthy budget. You can practically go anywhere in the Caribbean/Mexico with that amount.

One thing about Costa Rica, in order to explore, you really need to pick up and move about every 3 days to a new area. Some hotels have a specific night minimum because they want you to see other parts. Belize would probably be a better option over Costa Rica for a honeymoon, unless you really want to travel around.

Considering it's hurricane season, look at Barbados, Curacao, Aruba or Grenada. You might consider Hawaii also, even though it will be a very long flight.
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Jan 18th, 2012, 06:30 AM
  #10
 
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I agree, $8,000 for a week is a good budget so a lot of your "money concerns" are really non-issues. See, that's why it's always good to give people that kind of info when seeking advices where to stay.

Costa Rica might very well be perfect for what you are seeking as is Dominica.

If I were you, I'd choose my destination FIRST than look to find accommodations that fit your needs. Don't worry too much about what you might be missing on 'the there island". Every island (destination) is different and no one island "has it all". Those of us who have traveled extensively can tell you the great thing about the Caribbean is there's ALWAYS another island to experience on our next trip. visit one place and you'll want to go to another.

I live in the Caribbean but every year we make it a point to visit a few other places we haven't been yet.

Good luck finding your place in the sun (and don't worry over the years there will be many places).
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Jan 18th, 2012, 06:36 AM
  #11
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Thanks guys! I will definitely look back into Barbados, Curacao, Bonaire and Grenada.

Costa Rica seems like it would be super rainy, which is why I started going more in the direction of the Caribbean. I also have heard from many people that because there are so many different areas to explore - volcanoes, rain forest, beach, etc., that we would have to move around a bit. It's definitely a future trip if it's not right this time!

I also have looked at Hawaii, and it's not off the list entirely, but if we can find something closer that we like a lot, we'd prefer the shorter flight time

Belize was on my original list, but after talking to friends who had been there, they all said there were places like Costa Rica and some Caribbean islands that they enjoyed more.

KVR, it's so nice to hear that it's a healthy budget. Going in, I thought, wow, this is way more than I've ever had to spend on a trip before, it will be amazing. But I guess it's been a while since I planned a big trip, and now I am overwhelmed, and felt like maybe it's not such a big budget! It is nice to have that reassurance.

Thanks so much, I'm going to go research a few new places, which hopefully will not continue to overwhelm!
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Jan 18th, 2012, 06:46 AM
  #12
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Oh, thank you RoamsAround! As I just said, it's nice to hear that it's a good sized budget! I figured it was at first, but after I started looking, it was easy to feel like maybe it wasn't enough!

I agree, my goal is to pick our destination, then figure out where we will stay and what we will be able to do.

I will keep looking in to CR, and Dominica, as well as the previously suggested spots. I just put so much pressure on my planning to make this trip perfect, but I know that nothing will be 'perfect'. I just need to pick a spot, and let go! Thanks so much for your help!
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 05:46 AM
  #13
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Well it looks like we've settled on St. Lucia. I am hoping it provides SOME of the aspects of nature we were looking for in Dominica, with some of the nicer beaches we were looking for elsewhere. Trip is being planned, any must do items or places to stay are welcomed. Thanks for all the help!!
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 06:22 AM
  #14
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We loved St. Lucia. It's been awhile since we've been. Avoid the Sandals resorts. They are highly overrated and not worth the money. We stayed at the Sandals Grande and was not impressed.

Look at sunlinktours.com for things to see and do. There is a flight to St. Vincent and boat trip to Martinique. We really enjoyed the Land and Sea tour and the Jeep tour. We also did the shopping trip to the duty free mall and the craft market.

We went in November, 2005 when hurricane Wilma creamed Mexico. We orginally had booked Cozumel, MX and our trip was canceled so we rescheduled to St. Lucia thanks to some really good trip insurance. I remember reading on several boars of some very upset people who either didn't have the insurance or didn't have the insurance to cancel for any reason. During that time of year it's really worth the extra money. All we had to do was pay the difference between the Cozumel package vs. the St. Lucia package, which is why we went with the overly expensive Sandals resort.

We only had 1/2 day of actual sun the entire trip. It rained on and off throughout and rained heavily during the night our entire trip, but it didn't deter us from activities and swimming. We climbed to the top of Pidgoeons Point down the way from the Sandal Grande and as soon as we got to the top it started pouring rain. That was not fun coming back down.

If you are interested we have all of our vacation pics including St. Lucia on our picture page at:

http://community.webshots.com.user/kvrlvn

Congrats!
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Feb 2nd, 2012, 06:24 AM
  #15
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Sorry, typed the link wrong.

http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 09:47 AM
  #16
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KVR,

Thanks so much! Sorry it's taken me so long to reply, I just have been majorly preoccupied planning wedding things!

I am going to check out your pics, thanks so much! At first glance, I'm drawn in to the whale watching Alaska trip. That looks incredible, and is a dream of mine. You've certainly been a few places, so I appreciate your sharing!

I definitely stuck to my guns and said NO to Sandals, thanks for the tip! It just doesn't seem like our scene, at all. We are staying at Jalousie, which I am super excited for, it looks amazing.

I certainly hope we get more than 1/2 day of sun, but regardless, I know it will be completely perfect.

We also got insurance, there's no way I'd book a trip this big without it.

Thank you!!
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