Destination ideas for the month of February

Nov 30th, 2012, 09:48 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 7
Destination ideas for the month of February

Hello Everyone,
This is new (using Fodor) for me, but I'll try to give as much detail as possible for what were looking for: Basically I'm looking for suggestions for travel destinations in the Caribbean for the month of February. I know some are cooler at that time so ideally to be as warm as possible. Our group will be of 9 people, 4 adults and 5 children ages 5 to 11 yrs. One family traveling from LA, and the other Chicago.

We could stay in a resort or we've done condo's when visiting Hawaii, but we like them to be clean and more updated. Our time there will be roughly around 8 to 12 days (depending on the tickets) and our budget for resort/condo would be about $4000 - $5000 a week. ($2000-$2500 per family but we're staying as a group) Needs to have washer/dryer and kitchen. (we usually only eat out once a day). Also, a grill too. This is why we usually do a condo. Of course, if there's an all inclusive, we could explore that option too.

What we liked/disliked about other places we visited:
We've been to Maui, love the hot weather, but didn't like it too much because it was very commercialized. Still a beautiful place to visit, just not #1 on our list.
We love Kauai. What we love about it, is the people are kind and very laid back, abundance of fresh fruits from the market, the island is more true to Hawaiin culture and it's NOT very commercialized. Kauai has a lot of neat places to eat, but not an over abundance to effect the ambiance of the Hawaiian island. Basically, you get a true feeling that your someplace new and different (on vacation feeling) and getting away from it all. Botanical gardens, Canyons, boat tours out on the ocean and go swimming, lush and green with lots of flowers.

So we're looking for a Caribbean island that will offer some great beaches for swimming, love to snorkel, (including the kids), would like to take a Catamaran out on a tour if available, would love to see some "Nature" the island has to offer, like caves, or canyons, waterfalls. We love to visit Botanical Gardens and Historical interests as well. Also, I'd love to be able (if possible) to horseback ride (on the beach would be awesome). Also, for the resort/condo to have the option of a swimming pool, one that might have something of interest for the kids. This would make both families happy because not ALL the kids love to be at the ocean all the time.

Accomadation budget: roughly $4000-$5000 a week
Food Budget: about $10 per person (roughly)
Car Rental: Yes
Night Life: Not needed because we have the kids
Family Oriented: Definately a PLUS
Safe to be able to explore other than the Resort: Yes
Place to relax and soak up the sun (Not too crowded): Yes
Would be flying with United Airlines (redeeming miles)

I hope this time I've been a little more specific. I apologize, and I guess we all learn by doing. I thank everyone in advance for your help. hhosu

P.S. I selected a few tags of some places we're interested in, but it doesn't have to be limited to just those 5
hhosu is offline  
Nov 30th, 2012, 12:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,521
Look at "Condo Resorts" on Providenciales' Grace Bay in the Turks & Caicos. There are lots of "family oriented" places that have multi-bedroom units that are located on one of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean (11+ plus miles of white sand lapped by calm bright turquoise waters). There's some good "walk-in" snorkeling off certain portions of the beach. For staters check out Ganesvoort, Ocean Club and Ocean Club West to see if they appeal to you.

On St. Martin you'll find lots of condos and time shares that will fit your budget. It's easy to get to from many US International Gateway Airports. It's a very popular island so it may not meet your definition of being "not to crowded" - however since you are going in February you may find most islands in the Caribbean will not meet that definition (especially if you are planning to go during a school holiday period like President's Week.

Quite frankly, I think your food budget of $10 per person per day is very unreasonable for the Caribbean. I don't see how you can eat for that little in L.A. and Chicago.

Lastly, Grand Cayman is one of the most expensive destinations in the Caribbean so you might want to save that destination for a time when you have a more substantial budget.
RoamsAround is offline  
Nov 30th, 2012, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
i'd like to suggest the maya riviera coast of mexico (south from cancun to tulum). united goes from both your cities. somewhere in or near the town of akumal would work well for you. i'd also like to suggest a house with a pool vs condos as i think it will be more economical.
you can do all the things you're looking for within an hours drive of akumal including horseback on the beach, atv jungle rides, tour tulum ruins, visit/snorkel cenotes, duty free shopping in playa del carmen, 2 fantastic parks - &, beautiful beaches with good snorkeling from akumal beach & yal-ku lagoon (located in akumal).
you should be able to find all the info you need on in fact if you email them your dates & pricerange, preferred location, # of needed bedrooms & that your want a pool, they will send you a list of possibilities. you should also choose beachfront vs oceanfront -- with little kids you probably want to ask for sandy water entrance. most of their houses have daily housekeeper & groundskeeper, many are onsite in a separate tiny house. some will cook for you if you pay them. might also work for you.
virginia is offline  
Dec 1st, 2012, 06:24 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
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Food Budget: about $10 per person ("roughly") this is a rough estimate, and I meant it per person per meal
hhosu is offline  
Dec 1st, 2012, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 179
FYI, a fancy drink or even a glass of wine costs ~$10 (with tip) in many of the moderate to more upscale Caribbean destinations. Unless you plan on cooking in most meals, you may need to re-calibrate your budget.

I found the cost of dinning out in Maui and Kauai to be roughly equivalent to places like St. John, Turks & Caicos, Grand Cayman, the BVI, etc...a dinner entree in a nice restaurant is usually ~$25+. There are certainly less expensive places to eat, but it will take some effort on most of the easier to reach islands.
TurtleTagger is offline  
Dec 1st, 2012, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 20
From what you described I would suggest the North Coast of the Dominican Republic. DR has also those activies you are looking for as well as horseback riding on the beach. Look into a private villa rental, many are staffed so you won't have to cook, clean or do laundry and most have their own private pools. You should be able to find one for $4000/wk, perhaps less. Check Homeaway, VRBO, Tripadvisor for rentals.
Traveler1542 is offline  
Dec 1st, 2012, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,521
hhosu - even with the clarification your food budget of $10/meal per person is completely unrealistic. There is no way you can "dine out" for anywhere close to that price in the Caribbean. While you might be able to get a very "light" breakfast (think coffee and a sweet roll) for something close to $10US you'll spend double that for a plate of bacon & eggs or for a very modest lunch. For instance, on the island where we live a burger and a coke will run you the equivalent of about $20US not including tax and tip. We go out for lunch often and almost always spend somewhere between $45 and $60 for two people, and we are not big eaters. Dinner entrees run anywhere from $20US to $40US and you still have to add the cost of drinks, taxes and tips. Add more if you want an appetizer or dessert.

Now you can save some money if you stay in a villa or condo and prepare all of your own meals but you'll still find it very difficult to stay within that budget.
RoamsAround is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 04:37 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
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Hi hhosu, after reading your post St. Maarten and the Cayman Islands came to mind immediately . However Turks & Caicos also will not disappoint, and may be a great option. The beaches are stunning and there are plenty of condo/villa options where you can save on dinning out. How crowded or 'not' the beaches are depend on the beach you choose. Grace Bay on the Turks & Caicos has amazingly beautiful beaches and the island Providenciales is definitely worth considering it has plenty of desirable accommodation options, on one of the most picturesque beaches.
Delishbajansauce is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 09:03 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
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"Thank you" for all the replies. I will definitely look into some of the suggestions.
hhosu is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 09:14 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2012
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For Traveler1542, which cities would be good in the North part of Dominican Republic?
hhosu is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 10:30 AM
Join Date: Oct 2012
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I think Barbados may be a good option. There are plenty of vacation rentals/villas that could accommodate all of you and many of them do have pools. It's a pretty safe island so you can explore on your own. Car rentals are easily available (although they do drive on the opposite side of the road). There will be plenty of excursions available to you, including horse back riding on the beach, catamarans, swimming with turtles, etc.

It is a fairly expensive island though so there is no way you could get by on $10.00 per person (unless you are preparing all of your meals). I honestly don’t think there are many places in the Caribbean you could get by with $10.00 per person though.

Other than Barbados, maybe one of the US Virgin Islands? St. Thomas or St. Croix? St. John would actually be least commercialized and most lush but a lot of the island is National Park so I am not sure how readily available excursions and activities would be.
dontcallmecass is offline  

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