Caribbean Newbies

Nov 4th, 2010, 09:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 17
Caribbean Newbies

Hi all!
My BF and I would like to go to the Caribbean the week after Christmas. Neither of us has ever been. I took the advice from some of you and went to "Destinations.".After taking the fodor's quiz, it said for us to go to Eleuthera or Exuma. After reading TONS of travel talk, I think the weather might be too cool.
We are in our late 40's and early 50's, love the beach and beautiful water. We also like to experience the culture of the different places we visit. Our budget would be $250-$300 (or so) a night.
Here's a wish list:
view from room
pretty beaches
good resaurants on and off property
some night life
some shopping
I realize there are so many places in the Caribbean, but was hoping someone could help us narrow our search. Of course we know we wouldn't be able to get everything on wish list, but wanted to give you an idea of what we like.
Thank you so much!
sarasue is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 17
oops- make that $300- $400-ish a night.
sarasue is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 10:05 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,934
Puerto Rico is a great 'starter' destination, is easy to get to & has everything (as far as variety goes) to offer. If you are taking a week I would split time between OSJ & Vieques or Rincon. That will also allow time for the Rain forest & bio-bay while enjoying Old Dan Juan as well.
SAnParis2 is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,589
You can find everything on your wish list on just about every island so the best way to approach your upcoming vacation is to select an island. it will then be much easier to find a resort that meets your needs. Don't get caught up in "the grass is greener on the other island" syndrome. Pick an island you like, find a resort that fits your needs and budget, make your plans and go. Don't worry about the other islands, you can visit a different one on your next trip. FYI - the regular contributors on this forum all started out the same way as you - making our first trip.

I agree that in early January weather can be a bit cool on Exuma and Eleuthera can be a bit cool so you'd be better off going some place further south. You tagged your post with the Turks & Caicos but they are not much further south so again there is a risk of encountering cool weather. I'm gathering from the choices you mentioned you'd like the flatter coral/limestone based islands for your "first trip".

If that's the case check out Anguilla - topographically it is very similar to Exuma, Eleuthera and the T&C's, there's 35 beautiful white sand beaches, over 80 different restaurants, so modest shopping (you can always take a day trip to nearby St. Martin for some excellent shopping) and everything else on your list.

You'll also find what you are seeking on Aruba - again similar in topography to the islands you mentioned plus it offers everything on your list. It's more built up than Anguilla but it may be just what you are seeking.

Barbuda is another island that is very similar to Exuma and Eleuthera but it may be a bit too far off the beaten path for "first timers" to Caribbean.
RoamsAround is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 10:59 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 17
Thank you- great idea to decide on which island. (over the years i have "traveled" to the islands via fodors and internet, so i am so excited!)
what about Frangipani?
sarasue is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 3
I would suggest Dominican Republic, but judging from my screen name, that's probably not much of a surprise. Ha ha.

The main reasons are:

1. Number one tourist island in the Caribbean and yet, its not over run by tourists!

2. Extremely friendly and overall good looking people.

3. Latin flavor mixed with typical Caribbean flare, can't beat that anywhere else (maybe Puerto Rico and Cuba).

4. The most incredible beaches you will ever see (especially in Punta Cana).

5. The place is filled with history (It's capital Santo Domingo is the oldest European built city in the Western Hemisphere, and where Christopher Columbus, Hernan Cortes, and all those historic guys lived and planned their conquest of the Americas. The most impressive thing is that their old haunts are still standing, completely renovated for the enjoyment of everyone. And it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site). There's more history all over the island.

6. Geographically beautiful and diverse (one minute its a jungle, the next its a desert, then there are pine covered mountains with temperatures so cool it feels like eternal spring while the eastern part has sprawling savannas covered in sugarcane plantations, cattle ranches, and other foodstuffs).

7. You get the biggest bang for your hard earned bucks!

If this description hasn't given you a clear idea of what to expect of the DR (short for Dominican Republic), the pictures should give the finishing touches:

Colonial Santo Domingo:

Playa Dorada resort area:

The world famous Punta Cana:

The super exclusive Cap Cana area:

There's more in those places.

I hope my message is helpful and enjoy your vacation where ever you decide to go.
Dominicana is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 05:19 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 17
I have seen the DR on House Hunters International and it is beautiful! thanks for all the info-will check it out.
sarasue is offline  
Nov 9th, 2010, 12:12 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 4,394
SaraSue, Which is it--London (per your Europe post) or Caribbean? If the former, and you say above you are concered that the weather in Eleuthera might be "too cool" why oh why would you want to go to London in late December?
Fodors Folks take lots of time expecting that the OP is sincereley interested and can be helped by advice. So narrow it down, and say which you actually plan to go to--so the folks on the other destination can put their time and energy to threads where the OPs know exactly what they plan.
CaliNurse is offline  
Nov 10th, 2010, 06:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
I would strongly recommend- if you decide to go to the Caribbean- that you pick almost any other time than Christmas to New Year's. That is the worst and most expensive time to vacation in the islands. On top of that, you will find huge crowds, harried staff at the hotels,
and long waits at the most popular restaurants/tourist destinations.
Weadles is offline  
Nov 12th, 2010, 06:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,362
Anguilla was our first caribbean island and we were hooked...I agree with the earlier poster - it would be a good choice based on your requirements
mnag is offline  
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