Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Caribbean Islands
Reload this Page > HELP me uncross my eyes & brain PLSSSSSS!!!!!!
Notices

HELP me uncross my eyes & brain PLSSSSSS!!!!!!

Reply

May 15th, 2012, 12:54 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 33
HELP me uncross my eyes & brain PLSSSSSS!!!!!!

Whats up folks, here's the deal.. Must take this vacay in less than 30 days. This is my first post to this site. Spent the last 3 days looking at reviews and photos btwn Fodors and TA: my eyes are crossed and I don't feel any smarter than I did 48 hours ago! I read all the negative reviews on resorts to see if there is some sort of trend established rather than someone upset bcus their tea wasnt at the exact temp. I then read the positive reviews and they contradict each other. WTF!!! How do I know what/who to believe? I AM SO LOST!!

Trip is for myself and a friend. We both live in big cities (SF & NYC) so we are seeking relaxation with touches of tranquility, serenity and SOME social night activities. We are late 20's but not so much into our age group (spring breaky, binge drinking, jersey shore wannabe's- aka cancun lol). We are both active though.
Not married or crazy lovers (well after this trip who knows lol) so a 'romantic mushy thing' is not necessary. I've only been to the Caribbean once (Curacao) to a small dive resort, opposite island of the main stay. I loved the small resort feel but didnt like to sacrifice lights out by 9pm and hour ride just to get to night stuff.

I am thinking an Al is best bcus I want to do as little work as possible while on vacay.

With that being said, In no particular order, here is what we're looking for:
1. No commercialized, mainstream touristy type environment. No super large resort with west wings and east wings. I want no wings. Oh and no cruise ports!!!!! I work in and among tourist for a living, in a big city, so the last thing I want is this environment
2. Some form of sociable nightlife with dancing/disco etc... (outside or @resort, could care less)
2. No bingo and lights out by 8pm, but not looking for 4 in the morning all night binging. Want some good energy in the air, not the old man shuffle
3. Resort on the beach so I can lounge and be lazy one day and get some water activities in the next day.
4. I am not a morning person, so PLEASE GOD NO HAVING TO BE UP AT CRACK OF DAWN TO "BEAT THE CROWDS". I will do no beating of no crowds on my vacation !
5. Would like to feel like I am away from the states and in the tropics, white sand, BLUUUUUEE water and palm trees all over the place. I want it like one of those corona commercials!
6. No screaming babies or kids.. As much as I love and take care of my nephews and cousins I do not want to be around them during uncle anthony's timeout
7. Activities are necessary, there is only so much lounging one can do, before even that gets old. I dont need to climb a mountain and talk to animals, but I do need activites.
8. We both grew up with pools, so a nice one of those with swim up bar/s necessary
9. Could care less about shopping and casino's etc.. Again, I can do that in the states, don't need it for this trip
10. and last but not least, Budget, Budget, Budget, since I am footing the bill I would like to keep total (w/air) under $2,100 usd.

Please help me find a small resort feel without being a "boutique" resort (if that makes sense)
Heres what we had in mind based from feedback of friends..
*Playa del Carmen (she is worried bcus of current events, smh)
*Punta Cana (heard insane beaches/water, but cant leave grounds. does it even matter?)
*Bermuda (co-worker recommended based on my list- says I cant go wrong but seems like lots of denrios)
*Saint Maarten (got so many mixed reviews don't know what to believe)
*Cozumel (best friend says awesomeness but seems like if not diving, then nothing else to do)


Thank you for wasting 5 mintues of your life on my problems, but if you can be so kind and spare your thoughts, I will be so appreciative and grateful. Peace!
lazymanrunning is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2012, 01:05 PM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 33
..
lazymanrunning is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2012, 03:17 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 5,765
hi uncle anthony, welcome to fodors.
playa del carmen would be an excellenet choice. fly to cancun.
-air is easy & affordable from both coasts & much shorter trip for west coaster than to any island.
-safe to leave resort (tell friend to do some research on location. the drug wars are some 2000 miles away!!!!)
-has tons of ai's in all price ranges
- offers wonderful out of resort activities. you can visit ruins, go to either of 2 eco water parks (xcaret or xel-ha), zipline, horseback rides in jungle or on beach, atv jungle rides, visit/snorkel in cenotes http://mayan-reservations.com/pictur...kirixcheto.jpg which are the water supply for the region, all water sports, kayak through the sian ka'an biosphere. see locogringo.com for tons of info including resorts.
fodorite kvr knows tons about the ai's in the area. hopefully she'll see this and chime in. we rented a house so i don't know much about the ai's

st martin is quite crowded & gets lots of ships
dom rep is as you say. if you want activities not the place to go
bermuda is pricey

at the risk of exploding your head barbados might interest you. gorgeous palm lined beaches, lots to do off beach. not sure if you can afford it for this trip though. flt is long & pricey from sfo. perhaps for an upcoming trip 8-)
virginia is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2012, 04:21 PM
  #4
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,075
I agree with Virginia. Playa del Carmen, MX. Look at the Royal Playa del Carmen. An adult only, but not couple's only AI within a 5 minute walk to 5th Avenue if you want additional activity. Tons of things to see and do off property. 2 pools and a nice swim up bar. Good restaurants on site with no reservations required and should meet you budget.
KVR is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2012, 03:51 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 433
Hello Uncle Anthony !

I too think that maybe Playa del Carmen might be best for you, though if you DO decide on St Martin, please stay on the French side of the island, as the Dutch side would not suit you, though the French side would.

There are no AIs such as Sandals, Breezes etc. here, and the beach life in the Orient Bay area would, I think, suit you from what you say.

Not too sure how your indicated budget would stand up though but, as the saying goes, "You gets wot you pays for".
DavidSXM is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 16th, 2012, 10:08 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120
Another vote for Playa del Carmen (or anywhere along that Mayan Riviera, the Caribbean coast of Mexico). I'm not sure what you mean by "current events" but if you're talking about drug cartels and politics in Mexico, it does not/has not had any effect on this area. Nada.

Look at Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Akumal, Cozumel. Personally I never go all-inclusive. It's not necessary and there's better food and drink if you do it on your own. Also your budget goes farther in Mexico than in the Caribbean islands.

I've got to comment though, some of your requirements are a bit contradictory, like not wanting a "mainstream touristy type environment" but then expecting "swim up bars" and wanting to go "all inclusive".

You can find a nice hotel, nice pool, plenty of activities on your own easy enough.

My other alternate suggestion is Negril Jamaica.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 01:21 AM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 33
You guys are amazing.. Thank you for such speedy responses!
Virginia, thk u for the detailed information, you are wonderful for that! Barbados is definitely the place i would say yes to but it looks a little outside the range.. definitely in the cards though.

KVX, thx for the input, very helpful
David, I hear ya buddy.. you gets what yas pays for!
Suze, funny you said what you said about being contradictory because my friend said the same thing. I think my Curacao trip spoiled it for me as far as my expectations.

Do you guys think my budget is really possible with such short notice or am I being unrealistic??
*oh and another question, what is the difference between hotel and resort when traveling?

At this point, we are both becoming stressed regarding this entire process and I am ready to close my eyes and just pull the trigger on anywhere. Probably not the smartest but will make all the stress go away (I think)..

Im pushing for Mexico as it seems the most sensible, but she is shooting it down. All this stuff in the news about locals and tourist alike losing heads/lives etc.. is freaking her out. Said she was reading and some things were taking place right on this infamous 5th ave strip in PDC. I gave it my best sales pitch though.

Guess it now comes down to Punta/Bavaro Beach or Costa Rica (she's now introducing CR being she was just out there for a year on a teaching excursion and seems to think it gets a good bang for buck and its very very tropical).

At this point I don't care Al, or not anymore, I just want to know that Ill have this booked before I die!

Uncle Anthony cant wait for his timeout
lazymanrunning is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 05:46 AM
  #8
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,075
"Said she was reading and some things were taking place right on this infamous 5th ave strip in PDC."

Please post links to where she is reading this.

If you research throughly you will find crime issues everywhere including your very own back yard. I understand the concern based on media hype, scare tatics and inaccurate information provided to boost ratings.

I've been to Curacao and did not care for it. The beaches are subpar compared to many Caribbean Islands.

With what you stated you are looking for and that meger budget, you will be hard pressed finding much outside of Mexico, Jamaica or the DR. We've been going to Mexico for the last 10 years and will continue in the future.

We have all our vacation pictures posted. If interested, take a look. You might find something that interests you.

http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn
KVR is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 08:52 AM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120


Sorry but no one yes has *lost their head* on 5th Avenue, unless you're talking about too many margaritas!

If your girlfriend doesn't want to go to Mexico, I don't know I'd force it on her. Because then any little thing that might go wrong would be your fault. Not the position to be in. Go to Negril Jamaica. There are good value AI's on the 7-mile beach there. You fly into Montego Bay then it's a 90 min ride out to Negril ($30 per person on shared shuttles).

Or, OK this is back to Mexico... how about Isla Mujeres? It's a small island off Cancun. It's very gentle and low key. I defy your GF to find anything about violence there.

The difference between a "hotel" and a "resort" is... a hotel is just a building, usually with a pool, sometimes a restaurant. A resort of a larger piece of property with multiple buildings, also usually offering formal activities and entertainment for guests. A hotel is just a place to sleep and lounge around and otherwise you are on your own.

You don't have to stress out so much about planning a vacation...

All I do when I go to Puerto Vallarta is get online and price then purchase the best plane ticket I can find directly from the airline. Then also online direct with the hotel I make a reservation or rent an apartment. Period. That's it.

The rest I wait and figure out once I arrive. You need your passport, some USD (to change to peso), and an ATM card. A small bag with beach clothes and personal items. You're good to go.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 08:56 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120
Oh as far as budget, I can do 10 days in Puerto Vallarta (or Waikiki in Hawaii) from Seattle for ~$1500 but I travel pretty cheap. That's airfare between $350-$650. A hotel room between $40-75. For Mexico the airfare is more but hotel cheaper. Hawaii lower airfare but higher hotel rate.

And the rest walking around money. I eat/drink out some but also shop from the grocery store, and do set up a bar in my room to keep drinking costs down.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 11:21 AM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 33
You guys are too funny! I too, have almost lost my own head from many a margairta! @KVR I completely agree with you about the medias delivery method of crime in the news. We had this conversation last night about crime taking place all around us and in our own backyards, however, as suze stated, I am not forcing the issue, or else this beach better have some soft sand as that is where I'll be sleeping.

I have figured it out though.. The dive resort feel of the place I stayed in Curaco set my expectations a certain way. We are just regular middle class people who don't need or want the fancy schmany hotel lobbies or golf courses or presidential suites. I would like to feel like I can walk around in my swim trunks and a regular ol tee and not feel out of place. A place that is on the beach where we are like 20 steps or so from the beachfront, and we can walk out and be at peace without a million people surrounding us.

KVR- if the beaches in Curaco are sub-par as compared to rest of the Caribbean islands, then I should be satisfied wherever we decide to go. That makes me happy. I also understand the budget is megar, thank you for reiterating that, but I was given my orders on very short notice and this is all I can squeeze out. My next vacay in November will be to Barbados and I will definitely have more pesos to burn.

Suze- I like your style. I too am usually the take a deep breath, remain cool, calm and collected, and lets make it work kind of guy. This being a new process for me, there is added pressure being felt because I don't want to make the wrong decision and be forced to endure a miserable vacation for 5 days. This coming from all the reviews read online. Btw, how low key in Isla Mujures are we talking?

Now, I don't know if she is overreacting to the recent news in Mexico or if her gut is telling us to stay away, but if there is one thing I have learned in my short existence on this planet, it is to respect a woman's intuition.
lazymanrunning is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 11:27 AM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 33
KVR thank you for sharing your vacation photos. They are lovely and detailed. You have traveled quite a bit and I look forward to the day I will be able to say the same!
lazymanrunning is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 11:35 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120


Normally I would agree, but if she's outright afraid to go ahywhere in Mexico, in this case her "woman's intuition" is simply mistaken.

Just Google Isla Mujeres and you'll see what I mean. It sounds *exactly* like what you describe.
http://www.isla-mujeres.net/

AND as I already mentioned so does Negril.
http://www.negrilonestop.com/
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 12:07 PM
  #14
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 33
Ok suze looking it up as we speak! Where do you recommend to stay? Its also funny you mentioned Waikiki, because last night she mentioned the same thing. I have been lead to believe Hawaii is very commercialized for serious lovers and overly expensive. Am I wrong?
lazymanrunning is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 12:27 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120
Re Hawaii yup you are wrong but I mean that in the nicest way.

I adore Waikiki. Certainly there are parts and places that are "commercialized" since Honolulu is a large modern US city and Waikiki a world-famous beach and tourist attraction. I don't know what you mean by being for "serious lovers", I've always gone there either solo or with a friend. And "overly expensive", sure it's like anywhere else in the world it depends where you book your room, where you choose to eat, what kind of activities you do, etc. I paid $67/night for my hotel last trip, with meals typically costing me $5-12.

Like I said already I can bring it in for the same price as Mexico, and that figure is me paying for a room alone, so with two people, could be even cheaper.

Sorry I don't have any recommendations for places to stay. I've never even been to that side of Mexico, I just think it fits what you ask for. I've never stayed at an All-Inclusive either (because I don't think I would enjoy a "resort" setting).

Now if you want to go to Puerto Vallarta and stay in a funky budget hotel or rent a nice apartment, then I can make some specific recommendations.

In Negril I stayed up on "The Cliffs" area at Le Mirage, but from your post you would probably prefer to be right on the beach (the sister hotel to my place is called Charela Inn and was very nice too).

You sure do have a lot of preconceived notions about places, fortunately mostly they are not true (lol!!)
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 02:01 PM
  #16
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,075
I've been to Isla Mujeres and I don't think that is what you are looking for. It is very laid back. Not much to do there except eat and lay on the beach. There is a strip of tourist shops, beach bars/resturants. When we where there was one night club. We stayed at the Avalon, which was an AI. I would suggest the Excellance Playa Mujeres if you are considering it.

http://www.excellence-resorts.com/ca...FUZeTAodZCwhLw

Yes, we have traveled alot over the last 12 years, so I would say your girlfired is being overly cautious about Mexico. But, if it's not going to make her happy I would go with Jamaica. Look at Sunset at the Palms in Negril or any of the small boutique hotels on 7 Mile Beach.

Suze and I have respectfully disagreed about Hawaii for years. I felt it is way more built up and commericalized. Just like Florida. Airfare from Texas for 2 people was $1,800. We do eat in nicer restuarants, particpate in various activities on vacation and stayed in a decent hotel plus there is 2 of us. That added up quickly. I felt the beaches are not as nice and the water clarity lacking compared to the Caribbean. The scenery outside of the bustling town area was very nice though.

We are scheduled for Barbados as our vacation this year in November also and I'm finding it very expensive. Most of the "hotels" are acutally condos/apartments for rent. The resorts are 2-3 times more expensive and not as nice as what we get in Mexico. It's also very British and formal. Most restuarants have a formal dress code after 6 and for dinner.
KVR is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 02:50 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120
KVR, I think the reason we "disagree" about Hawaii is mostly about the costs. And that's only because you like to eat a nicer places and do more formal activities, neither of which I ever do.

When you talk about "Hawaii" you seems to be talking only about Waikiki/Honolulu on Oahu. I can't believe you think Kauai or Big Island (for examples) are like Florida.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 02:51 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120
Oh and I do think Negril is a perfect solution. But if the girlfriend is nervous about "safety" in Mexico, I can't imagine how she'd be more comfortable with Jamaica.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 04:16 PM
  #19
KVR
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,075
Suze, you are right and I was referencing Maui and Oahu.

I was going to say the same thing about Jamaica and hesitated as I didn't want to ruffle any feathers. Though I like Jamacia and have been twice and we did many off-site activities, I do feel more comfortable in Mexico off the resort than I did in Jamaica.

Since the OP really liked Curacao, I was trying to think of an Island that might be similar and the only thing that really came to mind was St. John. No AI's there though. Plus the low budget keeps throwing me off with suggestions. Maybe Cocobay in Antigua or Turks and Cacios if you can increase the budget.

Off topic, but Suze have you been to Cabo? We are thinking of going next April for a mile-stone birthday. I was looking at the Marina Fiesta Resort. Like that it's close to everything and their AI plan actually includes restuarants off site on/around the pier. I found some really great tours that look like fun.
KVR is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 17th, 2012, 04:29 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 87,120
Well there is that fantastic campground at Cinnamon Bay on St John. I loved staying there. Just gorgeous!! But probably not quite what they have in mind -haha.

Yes I've been to Cabo San Lucas. Just once, in 2009 for a week. It was a spur of the moment thing, where I got a killer airfare from Seattle ($279) and someone here on Fodor's ahd recommended I might like Mar de Cortez hotel downtown (which I did for $65/night), so off I went. I thought it was a really fun area and well worth a visit.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:03 PM.