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Help a single dad and 2 boys pick a destination! Please?

Help a single dad and 2 boys pick a destination! Please?

Old May 30th, 2010, 11:41 AM
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Help a single dad and 2 boys pick a destination! Please?


I am a single dad with 2 boys, ages 18 and 15. We're planning a week-long trip to the Caribbean/Mexico from approximately July 30th - August 6th. I have been reading, researching, pricing, etc for a few weeks now and feel a little overwhelmed. Regardless of where we end up it will be awesome, but I want it to be just right. Our budget is around $3,000 - 3,500 for the 3 of us, including airfare out of Burlington, VT or Boston. We've been looking at all-inclusive so we can simply relax and not worry about where our next meal or drink is coming from. For the most part, we want to chill at the resort and enjoy each other's company, the beach, snorkeling, sailing, wind surfing/sailing, swimming. Depending on where we land, an excursion or 2 would be part of the plan. I have been waffling between some options....

Jamaica - this was the top choice until the recent violence in Kingston which now has me wary and wondering if we'd be okay. I'm thinking we would but don't want to end up with it spreading and screwing our trip up.

Dominican Republic - A lot of AI options and relatively inexpensive.

Bahamas/Bermuda - these may not pass the test for an exotic vacation spot but are being considered since they seem reasonably priced.

St. Lucia - found a couple of resorts on cheapcarribean.com which vaulted this island into the picture. One concern I have, if you can call it a concern , is the beach/water clarity.

I had been leaning towards an island until reading some other posts about the great snorkeling in Cozumel so am again looking at Mexico.

So many other choices are just too expensive for my budget (i.e Caymans, Belize, Barbados)

Any help and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 30th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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I have been to several (but not all( of the places you are consdering and here are my thoughts:

From a budget perspective and to give you a good choice of all inclusive resorts, I think that Mexico and the Domincan Republic are your best options. Cozumel, as well as some places on the Maya Riveria, which is the area on the Caribbean side south of Cancun all the way to Tulum, are supposed to be very good for snorkeling. I also think Mexcio offers a better range of other activities outside the resort compared to the DR. I have been to both places (La Romana in the DR; In MX, I stayed in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres and explored other parts of the Maya Riveria).

I don't think Bermuda is a good fit for all inclusives, and it usually is pretty expensive there. Furthermore, because it is further north (near N Carolina), its peak season is summer, so you won't find the lower summer rates that you see many places in the Caribbean/Mexico.

I would also think that St. Lucia might be more expensive, since flights there tend to run higher. I thought it was a beautiful island (lush, mountainous), but it does not have the white sand beaches and clear turquoise water that many of the coral based islands do. It also may offer less choices for a family AI trip.

I have not been to the Bahamas or Jamaica. I am assuming you are looking at AIs on the more popular islands in the Bahamas (i.e., Nassau or Grand Bahamas islands). For the most part, the quieter Out Islands do not have AI resorts, with one exception being the Club Med on San Salvador. The beach there is supposed to be fantastic.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 10:05 AM
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Take a look at the large Iberostar complex south of Cancun. There are 5 hotels located there but one is adults only, so that would leave you 4 hotels to pick from. Lots of activities and lots of kids to meet and hang with. Also, from there you could go on just about any activity you might want. Of course, its right on the beach with many pools.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 02:15 PM
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Playa Del Carmen Mexico -- Grand Sirenis Hotel and Resort -- great for teens and lots to do -- the town of Playa is fabulous and it won't break the budget -- try zip lining, snorkling and cave diving -- a trip to Xhelha is amazing and also the ruins at Tulum or Chichenitza -- took six teens there this year for March break and they loved it!
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Old May 31st, 2010, 04:13 PM
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Thanks for the replies, especially about the south of Cancun suggestions. I've been looking at those as an alternative to the DR or St. Lucia...but now I am freaking out about the heat and weather, hurricanes included.

Would this be the same case for the Caribbean Islands as well, heat and hurricanes? (i.e. DR, Jamaica, St. Lucia) - I was thinking we'd be at the beach at a resort with tons of pools so the heat would be acceptable.

This is the time we can go. Older son is off to college in August and with other plans and their Mom's vacation, we have a stretch at the end of July/beginning of Aug during which we can go. Maybe not ideal but with our life moving into another phase, we wanted to have a big beach trip this summer.
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Old May 31st, 2010, 04:47 PM
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The area south of Cancun will be about the same as the Caribbean Islands far as heat is concerned. But you will be close to the ocean and in the ocean and the breeze will cool you. If you are worried about a hurricane then look into taking out hurricane insurance. We have traveled extensively to that area of the world and have only been hit by one hurricane which gave us bad weather for a couple of days. No one can predict when and where a hurricane is going to hit; not even the hurricane predictors.
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Old Jun 1st, 2010, 04:36 AM
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re the heat. yes it will be hot prob avg 80-85, for mex or any island. it's the humidity that can be rough. however if you're at a beach resort there are normally breezes and you're always near water.
if you decide on the maya riviera (area south from cancun to tulum) besides sirenas and the iberostars also look at the riu resorts - another a cluster of resorts near pdc. if you stay at one riu you may use facilities at the others, same policy for iberostars. both offer "teen nightclubs" so the boys could party a bit at night and never leave the resort.
there are tons more options if these are too pricey.
look through this:
i put in 3 guests with your dates to get this list: http://www.resortvacationstogo.com/q...&ua_time=10109
above pricing does not include air but you can put that in. also this site offers info on all carib locations.

an outstanding site for maya riviera info is locogringo.com has info on Everything in the area. activities include snorkel/dive, tennnis/golf, caves/cenotes, fun food, ruins to explore, fishing, kayaking, zip lines, atv jungle rides, horseback and the 2 parks, xcaret and xel-ha.

an option normally considered to be outside the hurricane belt is aruba. has lots to do & some all inclusisve resorts, but i've never been so don't know much. one of our regular poster KVR has though. she should be able to give plenty of suggestions if you're interested.
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