Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Caribbean Islands
Reload this Page >

Best Place with Beautiful Beaches and a LOT of activities

Best Place with Beautiful Beaches and a LOT of activities

Old Jan 2nd, 2009, 04:28 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Best Place with Beautiful Beaches and a LOT of activities

We have a Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde family, I can sit on a beautiful beach for months in total bliss, my husband and teenage boys (13 and 15) need ACTION! They can "handle" a few hours on a beach but they get very itchy. We all love to snorkel, play tennis, sail, explore, etc. I'm looking at Somerset based on these posts but I worry a little that there may bot be enough to do.

Maybe I'm looking at wrong island? We've never been to T&C but looks lovely and there are direct flights from Philadelphia (we're in Baltimore) . Anyone have some advice?
rede440 is offline  
Old Jan 2nd, 2009, 05:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,477
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Try Barbados! It has many many activities, water and land, even a cave (Harrison's Cave). see www.barbados.org
xkenx is offline  
Old Jan 2nd, 2009, 06:55 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
provo is my personal favorite island, but is no place to take ACTIVE dh and sons. they'll go nuts.
maya riviera might be a good choice - they can do all your listed activities plus take scuba course, go to cenotes, ruins, do a zip-line, horseback riding, atv jungle tours and there are 2 eco-marine parks (xcaret and xel-ha) that are loads of fun. you'd fly to cancun. actually cheaper from bwi than phl.
if interested look at www.locogringo.com
virginia is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:40 AM
  #4  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are very active on vacation. Can't see us spending the whole time on the beach. We like Islands that has lots of things to see and do.

I agree the Playa del Carmen, Mayan Riviera, Cancun area. Tons of things to see and do. We've been 8 times and haven't done it all. Most hotels are AI, so not really tons of resturants except directly in Cancun or Playa by 5th Avenue. Many resorts in the Mayan Riveria are set in the middle of nowhere, so you'll need transportation to get to Playa.

I would also recommend Aruba. Tons of resturants and bars in all price ranges. We found the shopping downtown good. Lots of things to do. Watersports on Palm Beach, Island tours, jeep tours, snorkel tours, party buses, etc.

We've been to T & C also. Unless you want to spend all your time diving, you will be bored to tears. We were. Nice beach, but very limited shopping, entertainment and resturants.

I also agree with Barbados. Haven't been, but it's definatly on our list. Been researching and found many things to do. We are also very interested in the Island hopping day tours to St. Lucia, Grenadines, Tobago Cays and Grenada. Pricey, but worth it to us.

Also will throw in Curacao. Haven't been, but also on our list. I found many things to keep us busy for a 7 night vacation.
KVR is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 07:14 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,594
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I think that Rivera Maya in the Mexico Caribbean is the best. Lots of cenotes, ATV parks, horseback riding, ziplining, etc., would be great for them, and the beaches would be great for you.

If you want to be at a resort, look at Ceiba del Mar in Puerto Morelos, or the Fairmont or Mandarin Oriental in Mayakoba.
mah1980 is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 05:11 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for all your help!!! I'm doing my research and you have all pointed us in great directions. Thanks so much for your help!
rede440 is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 05:18 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 24
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We went to T&C last year, the most beautiful beach and water on earth, we also stayed at the Somerset, nice choice. From the Somerset you can take out the small sail boats, find a place to snorkel or dive, or take a power boat out to remote islands. May not be everthing for the kids but is the most beautful island I have ever seen.
italyquest is offline  
Old Jan 3rd, 2009, 09:06 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 6,769
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
If money is not tight, try "Atlantis"on Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas.

Your teenagers couldn't ask for anything more.
TPAYT is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2009, 08:29 AM
  #9  
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,077
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Make sure you throughly research the Atlantas before booking there. There are more negatives than positives regarding that hotel. You really need to know what your getting into.
KVR is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2009, 12:21 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 414
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't quite agree with the comments about T&C not being a place where you can have an active vacation. We've only been once, but we had a pretty active vacation. It could have been even more active if we wanted.

I think there's plenty to do in T&C if you do your research. We stayed at a hotel that provided hobie cats and kayaks free of charge. We also took a half day snorkel tour, you could do whole day if you want, they take you out snorkeling and to explore a cay. You can go kayaking with Big Blue, I've read you need to be in decent shape to do their tours as they can be quite the workout. They also have a tour that takes you over to North Caicos for a bicycling tour. Or you can take the ferry over to North Caicos, rent a car and explore North and Middle Caicos. Beautiful beaches to explore and snorkel at. Arrange for a tour of the caves on Middle Caicos - very interesting. We went over to Salt Cay and went whale watching one day. There are also day trips to Grand Turk where you can take an excursion to Gibb's Cay and swim with stingrays. Back on Provo go to Malcolm's Beach or Smith's Reef or the popular Coral Gardens for snorkeling, take a banana boat ride on Grace Bay or parasail, do SNUBA, or take an intro to scuba course, go horseback riding on Long Bay Beach where the horses can swim in the water while you're on them if you wish. Go golfing, or play tennis at your resort (don't know if the Somerset has tennis courts or not, but several do). Visit Sapadillo Bay and climb the hill to see the pirate carvings. Visit Chalk Sound and rent kayaks to explore it.

Now, if you are looking for gambling or wild nightlife...no, T&C is not the place. And there are no ziplines or volcanos to explore. They do have the most awesome beach. Since your kids are 13 and 15 I think there is plenty to do for them. But it won't fall in your lap. You would have to do plenty of research. And you would absolutely have to rent a car to have an active vacation on T&C. Oh, and it's not a budget destination, but if you're looking at the Somerset, I'm sure you're already aware of that.
travelerfromtx is offline  
Old Jan 4th, 2009, 07:45 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 344
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I second the Costa Rica recommendation. You have two sets of beaches, volcanos, rafting, fishing, hiking, rain forest, lots of wildlife, ziplining and tons and tons more. We love the beach and watersports too, but a true adventure vacation leaves you with a lot more to remember. Belize is okay too, but there's more to do/see in Costa Rica and it's geared toward tourism where most everything is right there for you.
Linda137 is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 12:13 PM
  #12  
cdw
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 110
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You definitely need to check out the Barcelo Maya Palace in the Mayan Riviera. It has everything you are looking for in a vacation that will please a lot of different tastes. They have tons of sports and activities, the snorkeling is decent, there are nearby ruins to explore as well as lagoons and cenotes. We have been to over 20 islands and our kids have always loved our Mexico vacations the best with the exception of St. John in the USVI. Look at pictures on Trip Advisor or go the the unofficial barcelo maya website.
cdw is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 03:57 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So we have never been to Mexico and I am unsure what area is the "Maya Riviera", is that part of the Mexican Caribbean? It's all so big, I'm used to the caribbean islands.

I think we're going to go to Costa Rica next Xmas (isn't that the best time to go?). Boy will you all be sick of me then!

We're definitely not Atlantis people, well
I'm sure the boys are but my husband and I are not!

So I'm thinking Mexico, St. Lucia and maybe Turks and Caicos are still in the mix
(I look at those beaches and salivate!). I can send them off snorkeling and fishing and they will be happy.

So after you steer me in the direction of the Mayan Riviera, any hotel suggestions? I was thinking the area was Mexican Caribbean but can't fine the Barcela Maya Palace that cdw recommended nor the Madarin Oriental and Fairmont that Mah 1980 suggested.

Sorry I'm directionally challenged!
rede440 is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 04:23 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 13,764
Received 4 Likes on 1 Post
Aruba is a great island for watersports galore. You can sit on the beach while the boys are off on every watersport activity right in front of the hotel. My kids banana boated, snorkeled, tubed, and jet skied with dad while I read a book on the beach. Dining is very good. We stayed at the Marriott which is a big complex.
Lots of action there!
girlonthego is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 05:35 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
maya riviera is the area along the carib coast - south from cancun and extending approx 2/3 of the way to belize border. ends near a town called xcalet and the sian kaan biosphere - another wonderful place to explore.

http://www.locogringo.com/maps/riviera-maya-coast.html

barcelo maya: http://www.locogringo.com/pto-aventu...Barcelo%20Maya
or: http://www.barcelo.com/BarceloHotels...ayaPalace/Home

mandarin oriental: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/rivieramaya/

fairmont mayakoba: http://www.fairmont.com/mayakoba/GuestServices/

from the locogringo site: these aerial pics show you the entire coast. click the double set of arrows on the left at the top of this link to go south. you can click on the places they've labeled to see that hotel or villa's description. these start just south of cancun: http://www.locogringo.com/maps/tour/177a-t.html

this page might be useful: http://www.locogringo.com/dynamic/all-inclusive.cfm

virginia is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2009, 06:18 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 125
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Grand Cayman: Scuba, Snorkeling, Wave Runners, Deep Sea Fishing, Para Sailing, Golf, Horseback Riding, Submarines, Wind Surfing, Stingray City, Turtle Farm, Caves, Botanical Gardens (lots of Iguanas), Shopping, Mastic Trail, etc.

... and for you absolutely beautiful beaches!
luvtotravl is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2009, 05:41 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 172
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
search "unofficial barcelo maya" and you will find a website with tons of pictures, trip reports, info on the barcelo maya resorts. We have always stayed in midpriced ones Tropical/Colonial & would again in a heartbeat. Best family vacation we've ever taken. My kids all voted to go their over Disney again 2 years in a row. I was thinking Turkes & Caicos this year for something different but your post now has me reconsidering going back to Mexico. Really get a lot of bang for your buck there. Food was awesome too & nice to have all included too with kids.
mamamia66 is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2009, 02:51 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,771
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Grand Cayman does offer all the activities mentioned but almost all are are at quite a high price or they were in 2003 and 2005. They may have reduced rates for 2008-09 with the economy as it is. But, all I remember was expensive food costs and only fair good meals, costly car rentals plus the costly activities.
The comment about snorkeking in Aruba is, in my opinion, not correct. For kids it is poor to fair but for snorkelers who have want decent to good snorkeling you cannot find it in the waters around Aruba. It doesturn out that the 2 sister islands Bonaire and Curacao (on the WEST END) have very good snorkeling and diving)
StanKase is offline  
Old Feb 13th, 2009, 03:51 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 320
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The first time hubby and I went to Grand Cayman we raved so much my brother and his family went. Their daughter was 14 at the time. They were BORED to tears...nothing to do at night, blah blah blah. Part of the problem was they have 1 child.

But just wanted to give 'heads up' there.

Mayan Riviera is the Caribbean coast of Mexico.

http://www.travelyucatan.com/mayan_riviera_mexico.php

Good luck.

Trish
TnTWalter is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2009, 02:09 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 101
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Aruba is a great choice, many activities and offers some beautiful beaches, lots of good restaurants and very nice resorts.
patsfan1 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:57 PM.