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msexton Jul 7th, 2010 11:32 AM

HELP!!!
 
Hello-I’m in desperate need of help. I have spent over 100 hours researching different Hawaii and Caribbean destinations for my honeymoon at the end of October. I feel like I’m the only person in the world that isn’t excited about the idea of Hawaii. Due to this fact, we have decided on Turks & Caicos or Aruba. We are very picky travelers and obviously want our honeymoon to be prefect-who doesn’t:).
We are looking for a location that can provide luxury accommodations with a kitchen, beautiful beaches, great restaurants, lots of activates (eco tours, sport fishing, ect.). Lastly, we would love an area with a board walk, touristy area where we can walk around at night. We travel to Cabo frequently and love the boardwalk area. We love to walk around, grab ice cream or a glass of wine, people watch, and shop at the high end stores.
We would appreciate any advice or input as this decision/research is starting to take over all my free time;)!!

KVR Jul 7th, 2010 12:05 PM

Do not feel to bad about Hawaii. We didn't like it and won't return. We loved Aruba and can't wait to go back. We enjoyed Turks & Caicos, but found the shopping and entertainment quite limited. We like to be busy and adventurous on vacation and T & C is all about the water and Grace Bay Beach. As far as I know, T & C does not have a boardwalk. Someone will correct me if one has been put in since we've been there.

In Aruba, the Palm beach area has hotels lined up on one side and then across the street is a strip area of shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment. Great for all the things you mentioned. On the beach side of those hotels you'll find more resturants, bars and water sports places.

Look at the Amsterdam Manor. It's the first hotel on Eagle beach and about a 15 minute walk to the Palm Beach area or a quick/easy bus ride. The hotel is located across the street from the beach, but it's really not an issue to cross the street. The rooms have either a kitchette or kitchen and there is a grocery store down the street. Take the bus there and a cab back. I believe the old La Cabana on Eagle Beach also has kitchens, but it's not as nice as Amsterdam Manor. You could also rent a time share at either Costa Linda or Playa Linda.

Aruba has tons of restuarants in all price reanges. In a weeks vacation you'll not be able to hit even all of the most popular highly recommended places. There is even more restuarants and shops in downtown Aruba.

For activites, there are jeep tours, snorkeling, diving, bar hopping, water sports, sea trek, etc. From your comments, I think Aruba is what you have described.

RoamsAround Jul 7th, 2010 01:09 PM

The Turks & Caicos (especially Providenciales where 95% of the resorts in the island chain can be found) does not have the boardwalk, tourist areas, active nightlife and hig end shopping you are seeking. Outside of Provo there's even less so you probably will be disappointed going there.

As KVR a;lready pointed out Aruba fits your bill.

If you can do without the boardwalk (by the way very few Carribean destinations have actual boardwalks) you might want to consider St. Barts. It has everything you are seeking, and more.

Kristen1206 Jul 7th, 2010 01:21 PM

Aruba is a good choice for October due to its proximity. I would recommend the Hyatt on Plam Beach or Bucuti Beach Club on Eagle Beach.

While enjoyed Aruba, we love Turks & Caicos. And though there is no boardwalk, thee are clusters of shops and on Grace Bay you can walk from hotel to hotel and check out the different vars etc. The Somerset or Regent Palms would be great for a hineymoon and are in a convenient central location.

Kristen1206 Jul 7th, 2010 01:22 PM

Make that PaLm Beach, sorry.

Caribzack Jul 7th, 2010 01:58 PM

For what you want Aruba, Palm beach area for sure ...
BUT--we LOVE Turks & Caicos so much and heave been many times-Aruba felt like Florida to us--sorry Aruba lovers. Turks has wonderful resorts, restaurants , the most beautiful long white sandy beach and water so clear you will not see that anywhere else! We have stayed at The Somerset ( someone else mentioned it) It is stunning, 2 great restaurants and you can walk to many others. Great staff --beautiful condos!! Aruba has the shopping and the night time walking you desire-Turks kind of closes up at night and dinner is about it. You can check out bars and find live music of course but, it may be a car ride away. FYI www.thesomerset.com offering 2 nights free if you book 7 . Good luck

Weadles Jul 7th, 2010 07:16 PM

I've been to many of the islands in the Caribbean,( Aruba, Barbados, Nevis, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cayman) but none of them wowed me as much as Maui. So before you totally discount Hawaii, check out a luxury condo property called, "KAANAPALI ALI'I." We stayed there last year, and are already hoping to go back.

The resort is gorgeous, and has every possibly high-end amenity. It's located on the best part of Kannapali Beach ( there's big waves, surfing, snorkeling with giant turtles), and is right on a boardwalk that connects the hotels to each other, restaurants, and a small high-end shopping mall.

The resort town of Lahaina is only about a ten minute drive from the resort, and it's got plenty of dining/shopping/entertainment options. There's tons to do on the island- some beautiful drives and hikes- and it was really an amazing vacation.

The only downside is the long flight from the East Coast, but for us it was well worth it!



Just yesterday, we were discussing some vacation options for next year, and my husband

msexton Jul 8th, 2010 06:33 AM

Thanks so much for all the input, you have no idea how helpful it is! Sounds like Aruba is a good fit for our honeymoon. I hate to throw more options into the mix but how do you feel about The Bahamas or The Cayman Islands? Are we missing any locations that would be a good fit?
BTW- We have been to St. Lucia, so we would like to go somewhere new:)
You all are lifesavers:)! Thanks again!

RoamsAround Jul 8th, 2010 07:04 AM

The Bahamas consists of over 800 islands and cays. Which ones are you considering? There are the majors ones like Nassau and Grand Bahamas which are very touristy (probably more to your liking) and the more remote "family islands" like Eluthera, Abbaco, Long island, Cat Island, The Exumas, Andros, etc. which can be very quiet so it's doubtful they would fit your needs.

In the Cayman Islands only Grand Cayman comes close to what you are seeking. Little Cayman and Cayman Brac are much more reomte and lack many of the amenities/activities you want in an island destination. FYI - Grand Cayman has a reputation as being an expensive destination so factor that into your research and decision making process.

Topographically the Bahamas, and Grand Cayman

virginia Jul 8th, 2010 07:42 AM

provo is my favorite destination but i don't think you'll be happy there. i am not a fan of aruba - too busy, too americanized for me.
from the info you've given i think grand cayman could be a good choice. no boardwalk but there is a centralized town you can walk around in the evening. not as much nightclub nightlife as aruba but has bars & places to dance. lots of great hotels all directly on seven mile beach. has good dining, tons of water tours & fishing, stingray city. not as busy as aruba but a bit more upscale. also has some nice condos right on the beach.
you'll find fishing from every island and that all carib water is warmer than cabo and few if any beaches that are unswimmable as most are in cabo.

another option would be a resort near playa del carman south of cancun. the town has everything you're looking for on "5th avenue" which is an auto free zone in town just off the beach with tons of shops, restaurants, etc. you can walk into town from numerous resorts & all the rest nearby offer constant shuttles into town. this area has more activities avail in close proximity than any other carib location. (includes ruins, shopping, diving/snorkel, great beaches, fishing, eco-marine parks xel-ha and xcaret, ferry to cozumel for the day, ziplines, horseback, cenotes/caves & more). << sorry to muddy the waters with yet another option but i think it fits your "ideal" location.
oh and the shopping is duty free

KVR Jul 8th, 2010 08:59 AM

We didn't care for Nassau. We didn't find much nightlife off the resort. There are casinos, but that's not our thing. No boardwalk or centralized shopping area except the craft market, but that's not something you want to visit at night.

We love Grand Cayman. It's not as touristy as Aruba. Georgetown has lots of cute tourist shops and resturants. Snorkeling and diving are very good. Food/Drinks are very expensive as the American dollar is not worth as much there as in other destinations.

travelbuff Jul 8th, 2010 12:02 PM

I'd suggest taking a look at Harbour Island which is now one of the top destinations in the region.

Why a kitchen? Are you planning on doing some cooking or just for the convenience of a small refrig?

You might look up www.myharbourisland.com for some pics and info.

There are 5 resorts I can recommend onisland. My FAVORITE is a small almost B&B owned by Mark Messier, called Ruanway Hill, (www.runawayhill.com), small only 12 rooms, with an amazing view, great pool and steps to one of the top 10 beaches in the WORLD.

The others are The Landing, on the harbour side of the island but again with stunning views and close to lots of other restaurants, and one of the best restaurants on site.

There's also The Rock House (www.rockhousebahamas.com) next to The Landing with a beautiful pool and great restaurant.

Pink Sands (www.islandoutpost.com) is regularly written up as one of the best resorts in the region, and is right on the beach, there's tennis, a pool, great restaurant and beach bar

Coral Sands and Dunsmore Beach Club are along the same stretch of beach and both VERY nice.

If you like fishing there are charters and 2 dive shops onisland, and some amazing dive/snorkle sites, like a civil war TRAIN, just after the civil way sunk on a barge, makes for an amazing dive site a hundred years or so later.

So those are my suggestions in the Bahamas.

Opps almost forgot Atlantis and The One and Only Club on Paradise Island. The will meet most of your criteria, for casino, nite life, boardwalk, shopping, etc. There's even a movie theatre for first run movies now.

Have a wonderful time and let us know where you decide to go.


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