Dizzy with Decision

Old Mar 7th, 2012, 04:50 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Dizzy with Decision

Trying to plan a mid June island trip for me, hubby and 2 sons (ages 16 and 19) Started with Jamaica, switched to St Lucia, then heard Aruba is can't miss ... then read all the love on here about T&C and it was contagious! Therein lies my decision dizziness. WIsh list (no particular order)

- A resort i.e. not interested in a villa
- Proximity to airport (don't want to spend a whole day traveling)
- Kitchen/kitchenette preferable (one son has food allergies so in room food prep is a help)
- More than one restaurant on site (better chance of finding one who can accommodate special meal requests (typically the bigger chains are better for this but wanted to avoid Beaches if I could)
- Proximity to a decent food market (same reason)
- Water sports - more than non motorized, esp jet skiing. Doesn't have to be on property but close proximity would be great.
- Would consider an AI but not a must
- Live music/nightlife (both boys are musicians so they would enjoy having music be a part of the vaca)
- SOME resort activities (doesn't have to be pool contests etc; maybe a beach BBQ/bonfire one night)
- Excursion potential (doesn't have to be too extreme --an ATV tour, trip to a waterfall etc)
- Direct flights from Philly preferred
- Trustworthy medical facilities nearby (I know this could probably be a whole topic in and of itself)

T&C sounds awesome ... just wondering if it will it be a tad "sleepy" for older boys. They're not thrill seekers... but our last trip was to Atlantis will could be a tough act to follow.

St Lucia: More interesting, topography, yes? Seems like there would be more excursion potential but might not be as good for the kitchen/food market criteria.

Aruba- Wasn't considering until a friend (with similar boys' ages) told me of his great experience in Jan -- Natural pool, etc. Also heard nightlife/activities were within walking distance if you pick the right resort. So....

If T&C -- Seven Stars vs Somerset (I like the idea of a food market close by for food allergy reasons so am leaning toward SS) I have ruled out Beaches.
If St Lucia - Windjammer Landing vs. The Landings vs ???
If Aruba - Hyatt vs. Occidental
travel_rosemary is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 05:29 AM
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Based on your criteria my opinion is that T&C would be too laid back a destination for your family. Been to T&C and its all about the beach and some nice restaurants. I am sure you can rent a jet ski but dont remember seeing any when we were there. Its a relatively small dry flat island. The only excursion would be to rent a car and explore other beaches or take a snorkelling trip to nearby cays (no waterfalls etc). It would be perfect from the kitchenette perspective. I think Aruba may be more suitable for your family needs.
mnag is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 05:38 AM
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Aruba, which has a lot of condo resorts, is probably the best choice.

I think Barbados should also be on your list. If you went to Barbados, you'd want to stay near the St. Lawrence Gap. There are several condo-style resorts there, and nightlife and restaurants are within walking distance if you pick the right place (and this is the closest major resort area of Barbados to the airport). I'm not sure if USAirways offers nonstop flights to Barbados from Philly, however.

Grand Cayman offers much of the same allure of Providenciales (safety, beautiful white-sand beaches, lots of good restaurants, predominately condo-style accommodations), but it's easier to get to and can be somewhat cheaper. I'd put that on your list. You might want to rent a car there but don't have to.

Finally, I'd put St. Croix on the list. You'd have to rent a car, but it's easy and cheap to do (even though you drive on the left rather than the right). There are a lot of U.S.-style supermarkets, lots of good restaurants, and plenty of activities. There aren't as many condo-style resorts to stay in, but you'll find a few, though in St. Croix I think you should consider the Divi, which is now AI and on a good beach.
doug_stallings is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
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We have been to the Islands you mention and Turks & Caicos many times--our Favorite ! We also have stayed at The Somerset many times, the resort is beautiful , great suites etc ... BUT, it pains me to say T&C may not be for you and your family--it is very quiet. Also, Jet skis are not allowed on Grace Bay ( protected park) They are available on other parts of the Island.
Caribzack is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 07:40 AM
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Though I have to agree that T & C is a bit too quite especially after experiencing Atlantis, I just wanted to add that they have a fabulous 2 hour jet ski tour. We did this tour and it one of the highlights of our trip. Here's the link if anyone is interested:


We've been to all the destinations that you are considering. I love Aruba, but found the nightlife geared more to adults. If you want AI, I would go with The RIU over the Occidential. For non-AI the Raddison gets great reviews. There are a few hotels on Eagle beach with kitchenettes. A short bus ride away from all the hub-bub on Palm Beach.

I think Playa del Carmen, Mexico would be a better choice with they age of your kids. Tons of things to see and do off property that they would enjoy. Eco Parks, Mayan Ruins, snorkeling, jetskis/miniboats, cenotes, caves, and zip lines. 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen has tons of restuarants, shopping and entertainment that they would enjoy. There are some really nice AI hotels, in which their pools could compete with Atlantis. Look at the Barcelos and the Iberostars. Mexico keeps getting a bad rap, but it's funny that almost everyone posting a topic of where to go it fits almost all of the criteria. Don't believe the hype. We've been going to the Caribbean side of Mexico for the last 10 years.
KVR is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 01:18 PM
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I agree with the other posters. My husband and I loved Turks and Caicos, but it's probably better for a couple than a family with a teenagers.

If you decide on Aruba, you might want to look into The Marriott Ocean Club and Surf Club, which offer 2-bed units with small kitchens. The beach at that end of the hotel strip is not as nice as the beach in front of The Radisson, but the accommodations may suit you very well.

You mentioned the Hyatt. I'm not a fan because it's pricey with small rooms and a very crowded and narrow beachfront. I much prefer The Radisson because it has slightly larger rooms and a much better (wider) beachfront. Also it's usually slightly cheaper than The Hyatt.

Mexico might be a great option, too. We used to visit Playa when our kids were your kids' ages, and they loved it. Mexico overall will give you more for your money, and the Caribbean side is very safe, despite what you may have read/heard.
Weadles is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 02:09 PM
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Can I ask what made you eliminate Jamaica? It seems a good fit.

I also think Mexico has many more options that fit more of your wants (the Mayan Riviera/Caribbean side).
suze is online now  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 03:56 PM
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Thanks for the wealth of info. For Suze: the only reason I steered away from Jamaica was b/c my husband and I have been there twice so we thought we'd try a new island. Also when I couldn't land on the perfect resort in Mo Bay, I just switched destinations altogether. At this point, though, I'm open to anything. No one rooting for St Lucia?
travel_rosemary is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 04:02 PM
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St Lucia is beautiful. We stayed at Windjammer Landing years ago-The RATS were huge and were everywhere ( even in the rafters at dinner!) I'd go back to the island but stay at a nicer property. Crime seems to be more of a problem there lately. Windjammer was 1 Hour from the airport btw
Caribzack is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2012, 04:20 PM
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I don't think St. Lucia fits the criteria you stated. Everything is quite spread out with winding, twisty roads. Most resorts are quite far from the airport.
KVR is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2012, 04:56 AM
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So you've only been to MoBay in Jamaica? Not the best representation of the island! I would highly recommend Negril ( my family's been going there forever) but I'm worried that the grocery store there may not have the specific items you need.

Otherwise, the beach is one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. There are tons of water sports available, as well as river and deep sea fishing, parasailing, etc. The restaurants are plentiful and reasonably priced. We always stay at COCO LA PALM, but right next door is IDLE AWHILE, which has some units with a small kitchenette. These two resorts IMHO are on the best part of Negril's beach.

There are quite a few reggae/music clubs on the beach, although I wouldn't advise your kids to go alone late at night.

Just a FYI- Negril is about 1.5 hours from Mobay airport. It's a beautiful ride along the coastline, and if you time it right, you can be on the beach by mid-afternoon, sometimes earlier from the east coast.
Weadles is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2012, 05:55 AM
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I thought about this some more and Curacao fits a lot of your criteria. We stayed at the Lions Dive, which is a resort, in a 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment. It had a full kitchen and the dinnig table was on the balcony. They offer a free shuttle to a local grocery store everyday plus there are 3 restaurants on site and several more within walking distance. The hotel is also within walking distance to the Sea Aquarium. They offer a scuba dive with no certification required. It was an awesome experience.

Moomba Beach, just down the way, has evening entertainment for kids your age. There is a place that does jet ski tours to the Tug Boat for snorkeling.
KVR is offline  
Old Mar 8th, 2012, 09:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
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I would agree with the others that of the 3 Aruba would probably be your best bet. Last year my wife and I were trying to decide between T & C and Grand Cayman, we decided on Grand Cayman, while T & C has a great beach, there's not much else to do.
Caribbean_Vacations is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2012, 11:13 AM
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Thank you all for your help. Still deciding (welcome to my world) but will certainly let you know where we land.
travel_rosemary is offline  
Old Mar 13th, 2012, 08:23 AM
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I do agree with many of the above posts.

We love TCI, but way too quiet for the boys.

Aruba would be much better.

Also Barbados has it all. We stayed at a resort so I don't know about the kitchen thing. I must add that the music was the best. Every resort had live music every night that was really good. All of the resorts have extensive water sports. As far as a medical facility, MDH had a heart emergency and was in the hospital for 2 days in Barbados a few years ago. He's fine now and his doc in the states said that the doc there knew what she was doing. Maybe doesn't apply to your situation, but we were happy with the care.
TPAYT is offline  
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