First time in Caribbean - HELP!

Sep 18th, 2006, 11:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2
First time in Caribbean - HELP!

Hello everyone,

It was recommended by someone that this is THE place for all things vacations, so I come to you now in need of advice. My family and I are looking to get away for my winter vacation, and are thinking of the Caribbean. However, our only caribbean experiences have been on cruises, so we have no idea where to go or where to stay!

We'll be traveling with 2 adults, me (16) and my 1 year old brother. Price range is under 400 a night, staying for around 5 days probably. If we stay in a villa, then it would be under 2,000 for a week.

Would you recommend a villa or a resort? What islands would you recommend if we're looking for a relaxing vacation on a secluded beach?

I am very intrigued by the MarBlue property: has anyone has good exeriences? It looks amazing!

Thanks for your help in advance everyone!
lawandorder360 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2006, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,413
Some questions for you:
What is important to you on an island - great beaches, great snorkeling, beautiful scenery, nightlife, shopping, gourmet dining, lots of activities (and don't choose them all - select the MOST important)
When in winter? In January some of the more northerly islands might not be warm enough to suit you but by March or April, they will be fine.
Which islands did you like on your cruises?
Personally for a first time trip I would recommend a resort but note that for your budget on MOST islands you will NOT get a really high end place - nice enough but not luxury. The same is true with a villa, $2000 will not get you luxury.
semiramis is online now  
Sep 18th, 2006, 12:40 PM
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Probably tops would be beaches, snorkeling, and dining. Just to let you know, the prices I listed did not include air: we can get free flights. We'll be traveling in late February; we really liked Jamaica while on the cruise.

Will 400 a night really not get us into a luxury resort?!?!
lawandorder360 is offline  
Sep 18th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
hi, that i know of jamaica is not known for snorkeling. i may be wrong. i do know that the caymans or maya riviera section of mexico (approx 45 mins south of cancun) both have excellent snorkeling and beaches. mex in particular has less expensive resorts, so you might find something more deluxe for your money than on jam or caymans.
jamaica is a wonderfully diverse island though. a gentleman with tiverton for his sn is fodors resisdent jamaica expert so if you like that island i would post something with his name in it.
marblue does look interesting but i'm not sure from the photos if it on a good section of beach.
you can go to they have a huge section for ppl to enter trip reports and perhaps marblue will be there. also any other resorts you might be considering.
virginia is offline  
Sep 18th, 2006, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 997
Just to clarify for this weary brain...but the way I read the original post you are doing research for your family vacation...but you are 16 ?

I commend your research efforts, but wonder if you have all the financial details for planning such a trip ?

MarionCK is offline  
Sep 18th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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February is "peak" high season in the Caribbean so expect to pay top dollar for accomodations and no, you won't find luxury accomodations for $400 per night at that time of year. You should, however, be able to find some very decent (say 3 to 3 1/2-star) beachfront type accomodations for that price. So plan on setting your sights a bit lower. You might find condo or villa accomodations close to that daily rate but "in season" there are usually 7 or 14 day minimum stay requirements. Regardless of whether or not you stay at a resort, hotel, condo or villa, if you are planning to travel during President's Week don't delay making your plans as may hotels and resorts are booked a year in advance for that particular week.

Also, you mentioned are getting free airfare - if by free you mean using Frequent Flier miles or some other type of reward ticket you might want to be flexible with your dates of travel - depending on the type of award travel program you are using you may find it difficult to find available seats as many are often booked 330 days in advance.

Now to help pick your island, with only 5 days you probably want to stay on an island you can reach non-stop from your nearest gateway city. St. Martin can be reached from most major gateway airports. It has nice beaches, lots of good beaches, scores of very good restaurants, plenty of condo and time share resorts as well as moderately priced hotels and there is some decent snorkeling trips you can take to nearby islets and cays.

St. Thomas has some very nice beaches, very good to excellent snorkeling sites on or near the island and hundreds of other snorkeling sites that are accessible by short boat rides, plenty of restaurants from fast food to gourmet and you should have no trouble finding comfortable accomodations in your price range.

Of course, you already know about Jamaica which from your comment about MarBlue is in your price range.
A_Traveller is offline  
Sep 19th, 2006, 10:27 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 5,413
"Probably tops would be beaches, snorkeling, and dining. Just to let you know, the prices I listed did not include air: we can get free flights. We'll be traveling in late February; we really liked Jamaica while on the cruise.

Will 400 a night really not get us into a luxury resort?!?!"

As others have pointed out late Feb is prime time. About the only place where you could get something approximating a luxury resort for $400 at that time would be the Dominican Republic. It has some great beaches (snorkeling not particularly good) at Punta Cana BUT you have to be VERY careful when selecting a resort there - don't even consider anything less than a 4 star and only consider an AI.

Great Beaches and snorkeling:
Turks and Caicos (but you would only be able to afford a 3 star there):
some nice 3 stars:
Comfort Suites - very reasonable and suitable for a family but not directly on the beach.
Sibonne: on one of the best stretches of beach, very small, not a lot of ammenities, the pool is TINY. We like it but for us the ocean is the thing.
St. Martin:
some excellent beaches, great food,snorkeling not very good
There are a number of decent 3 star places.
We liked L'Hoste on Orient Beach

semiramis is online now  
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