Desperate for Help!!!

Aug 10th, 2007, 10:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13
Desperate for Help!!!

My husband and I are currently planning our Caribbean vacation and are stuck!!! We have narrowed it down to a couple of places and have some concerns about each. The main concern with some of the destinations is the problem with no direct flights.

We are tied to having to stay at a Marriott Resort, so we have to go to one of these places.

I would LOVE any feedback (positive or negative) about your experiences or where you recommend.

These are the places:
Grand Cayman
Mexico (I know it isn't in the Caribbean, we would be staying in Puerto Vallarta)
St. Kitts and Nevis

We really love the idea of Curacao and St. Kitts and Nevis, but getting there and home is why we are struggling. We hate to spend one whole day bouncing between airports/planes/customs and waste a day of our limited vacation time.

Once again, any help you can offer would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!!!

Siena is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 10:40 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,519
Since one of your main concerns is travel time and ease of getting to your intended destination it would help if you could tell us where you are travelling from and how long you are planning to be away.

If it's any help here is a brief description of the places on your list:

Aruba is a flat arid island with lots of high rise hotels and a decidedly American feel, especially the shops and restaurats. The wonderful white sand beaches can be crowded at times.

Grand Cayman is also relatively flat but has some very good to excellent diving and snorkeling. There are plenty of watersports and casinos. The Marriott is located on a seven mile long beach. This island is the most expensive destination on your list.

Curacao - similar to Aruba in topography but it is not as built up. The beaches are nice but not spectacular. Less crowded and less costly than Aruba.

St. Kitts (where the Mariott is located) is mountainous with lush rain forests. The darker sand beaches on the island are not nearly as nice as the ones you'll find on Aruba or Grand Cayman. The resort is located on the Atlantic side of the island so the waters on the resort's beach can be wavy at times. This is the most laid back destination on your list and alkthough the Marriott is a large (300+ rooms) hotel if you venture off the resort you'll experience an "old world Caribbean" style island.

Puerta Vallarta is a rather populated resort area in Mexico. Plenty of high rise hotels and condos. Nice but not great beaches, generally crowded area.
RoamsAround is online now  
Aug 10th, 2007, 10:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13
Thanks! We will be flying out of Atlanta. Of course, we would love to use our Delta Skymiles - but that may not be an option.

We are looking for a very relaxing vacation. We would love to snorkel and maybe try out some other water activities as well.

We want to stay some where that feels a little more remote (not too crowded), but that we still have some stuff to do. Maybe 1/2 day excursions (maybe a hike, trying out another beach, touring historic sites, etc).

We loved Costa Rica and may end up just going back there. We loved that the pool wasn't too crowded in the afternoon and in the mornings we would go out and explore then come back to the Los Suenos Marriott and read and relax at the pool.

Thanks again for any feedback.
Siena is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 04:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 244
My family loved St. Kitts and the Mariott. My husband and son hiked the volcano with a guide. We also took an island tour with the same guide (Royston Stevens). We took a catamaran to Nevis. St. Kitts is relatively undeveloped with fields of sugar cane, plantations, rainforest. The beaches were nice but not the best in the Caribbean. The Mariott beach was lovely when we went and never crowded. The water was calm when we were visiting in April but I know it can be rougher. The resort is newer and has a casino, 3 pools (2 which are seldom used). We only ate breakfast at the resort because it was included in our package but left every evening to try the local restaurants. We traveled from the Northeast and had only 1 stop.
lovethecape is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 04:16 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 13
Thanks lovethecape!!!

We would love to go to St. Kitts especially after hearing your review and reading some others.

At this point, it looks like we are down to two choices (due to further Delta and Marriott research) in the Caribbean and one in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta in Mexico

Any feedback on any of these three?

You guys haev all been awesome - thanks a million!!!
Siena is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 04:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,899
I was just in PV and did not care for it.

I also do not like Aruba. It is scrubby and full of high rises, with a very Americanized feel. Once was enough.

I would use the points for a partner award and book the Ritz in Grand Cayman. we were there last weekend and it was truly a wonderful resort!

If not, there are direct flights to Cancun from ATL and the JW Marriott is a very nice property.

If you are a beach person, PV and Curacao cannot compare to GC and Cancun.
kfusto is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,832
As you are inquiring about the Marriott's - I don't think it gets any better than Curacao. The resort is attractive and kept spotless. Good restaurants on the island and it's not a commericalized place. Interesting culture.
As you have narrowed down your choices even further, let me just add that we found Aruba to be extremely commercialized and have no desire to go back. Lots of fast food places and lots of people.
Knowing is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 01:17 PM
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Thanks knowing!!!

We are now between Curacao and Costa Rica. We are leaning toward Curacao because we have never been there, though we loved Costa Rica and would love to go back.

If you have any other helpful information about Curacao please share!!! Like when you were there, how you liked the beaches, the people, the food, etc.

Siena is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,832
Hi Siena,
Curacao was actually the island that made us decide that we wanted to have a second home in the Caribbean. There are all different kinds of beaches on Curacao. The smaller ones naturally don't have any facilites but you will have them to yourself during the week. Some are small inlets with cliffs. Along the southeast coast, the shallow water tends to be a little rocky. The west end beaches have the smooth sand and if you rent a car, which I recommend you do for at least a day or two, is worth a visit. We had the opportunity to get in the midst of some of the locals. I had observed a small group of people (approx. 8)and had started talking to one of the women. Turns out they were celebrating her brothers birthday. We ended up celebrating with them for awhile and I have some wonderful pictures and memories. To date, they are without a doubt, some of the nicest people we've ever met. The "birthday boy" works for one of the airlines, so we saw him and spent some time chatting with him at the airport while we waited to go home. The food was sumptuous! Up in Westpunt you'll find Jaanchies, where there's no menu; they tell you what they've got. Otherwise there are plenty of good restaurants in Willemstad serving local and international cuisine. And Bistro Le Clochard was especially good.
Knowing is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 05:43 PM
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RoamsAround - FYI - No casinos in Grand Cayman.
Aug 26th, 2007, 12:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,366
I LOVE Puerto Vallarta, go there every year (have for a couple decades now). Casa Magna Marriott is a lovely hotel in The Marina area, which is between the international airport and downtown.

Granted, it is not the Caribbean, it is not even the Caribbean side of Mexico (like Cancun)!!

If you want to read posts from people who enjoy PV (a whole different group than fans of the Caribbean islands here), get on over to Latin America forum on Fodor's, or the Puerto Vallarta forum at Trip Advisor.
suze is online now  
Aug 27th, 2007, 09:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 21
I just flew dirrect from Atlanta to Grand Cayman GCM, on DElta, & excellent experience! The diving/snorkeling really great (lots of lovley fish, sea turtles, excellent dive boats/divemasters very professional. Beach time daily on Seven Mile beach (mine from 3-sunset) like an aquatic heaven! Look for rates of condos, Green Turtle Inn, in East End too...a car rental good idea for several days.
Note: hurricane Dean stayed well South of Cayman, so cleanup handled quickly and know if vacationing in Cayman, Delta, Cayman Airways I KNOW did hurricane exit flights for those who needed to exit asap...professional with a little patience, sunscreen, bottled water at the airport!
Great relaxed /safe/ fun island...I should know, I am there manasging Pure Art Gallery & Gifts (on South Church St) much as needed/possible!
i2pureart is offline  

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