Help! Starting Honeymoon plans over!!

Nov 10th, 2005, 07:50 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2005
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Help! Starting Honeymoon plans over!!

Hi,
I all but had my honeymoon figured out - Abacos ... or I thought. there have been quite a few snags.. I feel like I need to stay somewhere reputable, and am kind of starting over.

The details: May '06
Looking for an exotic island in the carribbean with very clear, calm water and SANDY beaches. some Peace and Quiet. shopping=not important.
It'd be nice: music, culture, orchids, lush vegetation.

Our interests: Abaco (great guana or elbow cay- we ruled out the original cay we were looking at), Providenciales, Curacao, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, etc..

NOT mexico, jamaica, punta cana, etc. no big islands.

Here's the catch: We don't have a ton of money. WE want to keep our entire honeymoon cost around $3,000 or so (incl. airfare from Louisville, KY or Chicago).

Thank you so much for your help in advance... I need it! I'm getting overwhelmed with all the websites, etc. I find personal references to be better at this point.

PS - I've been trying to read through posts as I can, I apologize if I haven't seen anything, The best internet access I have is at work.
pull4ud is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 08:20 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
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We were looking at the same considerations and about the same price limit for our 20th anniversary next year.

After doing a lot of research, including reading the helpful reviews on Fodor's Forum and Tripadvisor, we decided to make a reservation at the Nisbet Plantation Resort on Nevis. Nisbet is located right on the beach and it has a great history as it was once the plantation home of the wife of British Admiral Horatio Nelson (naval hero of the Napoleonic Wars). The resort offers a six night honeymoon/romance package that includes all of your breakfasts and dinners (including a beachside barbecue and another at one of Nevis's other plantation inns), a half day sailing tour, two massages in your room and lunch at a famous beachside restaurant. During the off-season when you're planning to go, the price for this package is just under $2400 (for a standard room). Airfare for two will probably run you another $900 or $1000. So the price will be a little more than $3000, but not all that much more.

Nevis is a lush island, quiet, with many wonderful restaurants and a few places to hear music and to experience the island's culture. The Nisbet Plantation Resort are worth taking a look at for your honeymoon.
Laby is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 09:21 AM
  #3  
 
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I've been to some of the places on your list and will try to respond. Our first priority like you is clear calm white sandy beaches that are NOT crowded. We've been to Abacos (we loved the abacos) and that would have worked well except there are no 'resorts' on Abacos. Hotels are very basic. Based on my research I think Cape Santa Marie hotel on Long Island (bahama out island also) may work for you. It seems very nice for the price. Another suggestion would be Anguilla. We loved the beaches on Anguilla however things tend to be pricier (hotels/restaurants). We enjoyed the beaches on Turks and you may be able to swing it with your budget (check out Royal West Indies) but it will be tight. Also there is construction going on everywhere on the island (we were aware of it and were expecting it) but you may not want to deal with it on your honeymoon. It also did not meet our "isolated" criteria. You may also want to consider a villa on Virgin Gorda. Exotic and isolated with pretty nice beaches but the couple nice hotels (little dix, bitter end) are pricey. We've been to Curacao and stayed at the Marriott (reasonably priced, good ambiance). I think it was my least favorite island to date. First I do not consider it quiet. Interior very scrubby and not really well kept and a big refinery on the island. I would not go there for my honeymoon. The beaches were ok, and do not compare to Abacos/Anguilla. Goodluck and let us know what you decide.
mnag is online now  
Nov 10th, 2005, 09:51 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 805
Try the East End of Grand Cayman... great beaches, quiet, friendly staff and local people, and our exquisite Botanic Park with a "colour garden" that will have orchid lovers in heaven ! On a personal level, I am a contributing supporter of the Botanic Park and have been since they opened, I love going there with my family and seeing how every time I go back they add more and more to the place.

As for price, $1000 will cover a five night honeymoon package at my place (The Reef).. sorry, shameless plug, but sounds like we are right up your street

Air fare from Loisville probably in the region of $500 per person with easy connections.

That leaves you a grand in your budget for great dining, Stingray City tours and maybe even a resort course to learn to dive... enjoy !
TomCayman is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 10:24 AM
  #5  
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Mnag, (and others!)
thanks for the replies! You mentioned you'd been to Abaco, and we don't necessarily need a resort. We were looking into small cottages very private, but just didn't feel comfortable booking on the small cay we were looking into (lubbers), but want to still experience Abaco if there is good feedback. We've looked into houses/cottages in Elbow and Guana cay, has anyone been there? The adventure aspect (ie. driving boats to cays) is very appealing to us as well... thoughts are MUCH appreciated!!
pull4ud is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 12:22 PM
  #6  
 
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I went on my honeymoon in May and went to Turks and Caicos. It is not lush, and like previous poster mentioned it is in the process of a lot of construction. Additionally, it has more of a family vibe in my opinion. we loved the beaches and the ease in which one can get around the island. however, if i had it to do over again we would have went somewhere more exotic, with more vegetation and culture.

i take it your price req't includes food and everything? tickets to st. lucia and st. vincent will be pricey from what i understand and that may take up half of your total budget.

it seems like i wanted the same things on a honeymoon that you want. having been a regular on fodors since i started planning our honeymoon, i think that i would recommend st. john for several reasons. first, if are vigilent you will be able to find a good deal flying into st. thomas (and then take a ferry over to st. john) probably for around $500/each. second, it meets all of your requirements- vegetation, beaches, etc.
third, since you are going in the offseason you will find good deals on lodging. you may want to get a villa and will be able to contain food costs by buying some food for breakfast and lunch and then eating out for dinner. there are many villa options on st. john (and believe me, i've looked a lot b/c i think that will be our next caribbean vacation). look at these websites to get an idea- vrbo.com, caribbeanvilla.com, and vivacations.com.

another good option to consider is using priceline to get the Westin St. John. this is an expensive hotel that you will be able to bid on (look at bidding for travel.com for the rules on priceline) and could get for as little as $120/night (compare that to the $500 rack rates). there will be plenty of amenities there, and although the beach is not supposed to be good you can drive to many other beaches.

i think that the marriott in Curacao comes up on priceline too. however, i don't think the beaches are as great as they would be in places like st. john or turks and caicos.

i did volumes of research for our honeymoon and will be happy to help you if you have any questions (i'm helping one of my friends find deals to st. john for her may honeymoon too). you can e-mail me at [email protected].
mah1980 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 12:54 PM
  #7  
 
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I forgot to add that you might want to consider Ambergris Caye, Belize as it meets all of your classifications. A friend recently got back from a trip there and the pics look fantastic. You could easily do that within your budget. Look at Victoria House (victoria-house.com) or Belizean Shores (belizeanshores.com) for an idea of the type of place it is.
mah1980 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 01:10 PM
  #8  
 
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I just ran some random May 06 dates in expedia for belize and the package price for Belizean Shores from both Chicago and Louisville is about $2000 for 7 nights, including air. It lists the room as a one bedroom beach level suite, with a full kitchen and living area (and it's 800 sq. ft.).

you might want to look at tripadvisor as this resort gets excellent reviews.

The things that my friend did in belize was snorkel, dive, visit ruins, rainforest tours, etc.
mah1980 is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 02:44 PM
  #9  
 
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While I love Belize, and it has great snorkeling, they do not have great sandy beaches, and there is a lot of grasses in the water.
St. John is always a good intro to the Caribbean, meets your criteria, if it can meet your budget.
In Guana Cay, Abacos, look into Dolphin resort, it's little colorful bungalos scattered next to the beach.
Also look into Club Peace and Plenty in Exumas, Bahamas. Great grouping of cays, and they offer a water taxi to Stocking Island, with gorgeous, gorgeous beaches.
While Anguilla is one of my favorite island in the world, I really feel it's out of your price range. It's one of the most expensive islands, and once you are there, one of the most expensive to eat at.
blamona is offline  
Nov 10th, 2005, 03:03 PM
  #10  
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This is great!! thank you, keep it up!!
pull4ud is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 11:14 AM
  #11  
 
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Leah,

I just replied to your e-mail.
mah1980 is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 12:55 PM
  #12  
 
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We made two trips to the Abacos, both to Lubbers. I can understand your reservations about limiting yourselves to a small cay. Both Great Guana and Elbow have better beaches and certainly more restaurant choices, although my wife and I love Cracker P's. I personally would favor Elbow for itsí more central location. Easy boat trips to Bakerís Bay and Little Harbour from Elbow plus Tahiti Beach is right there. While the Abacos make a great boating destination, keep in mind that boat rental could easily consume 33% of your budget.

As an alternative Iíd suggest St. John. Lush island with your choice of great beaches. In May 06 youíd take advantage of off season rates. I can recommend this studio (http://www.calabashcottages.com/sago.htm ) outside Coral Bay. The views are better than the web site and itís a very well maintained and managed unit by the owners who live nearby.
RobertoB is offline  
Nov 11th, 2005, 03:23 PM
  #13  
Cvechko
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If you consider Belize, check out the Jaguar Reef Lodge at http://www.jaguarreef.com/. Friends have a place at Ambergris Caye, Belize but when I told her what we were looking for, she recommended The Jaguar Reef in another section of Belize. We are going next March - I can't wait!!
 
Nov 11th, 2005, 03:36 PM
  #14  
Cvechko
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Cayman Islands: The best island in the Carribbean is the Grand Caymans - however, you need to stay on the East End or North Side to get away from the crowds and high-rise hotels. Our favorite place (and reasonable prices) were the places at the old Cayman Kai Resort (resort is gone but cottages are owned & rented by individuals. Our fav place was the Kozy Kai. We rented from Cayman Villas but I no longer see the Kozy Kai on their website. It may have been wiped away by Hurricane Ivan. Snorkeling east of Rum Point (there is public access to the beach) is the best snorkeling of anywhere we have been. The reef is just right off the beach and the water is calm on the beach side of the reef. At least all of this was true before Ivan.

Look at the map at http://www.caymanvillas.com/html/new.../RumPoint.html - our favorite place to stay was in the vincinity of places 4, 5, & 6.
 
Nov 11th, 2005, 03:55 PM
  #15  
Cvechko
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Sorry - one more suggestion: This may be too remote and low-key for you but if you are on a budget and want a unique, relaxing, economical trip - you may want to check out the Anegada Reef Hotel on Anegada, British Virgin Islands. It is all inclusive and costs $250 per night. The food is fantastic! Anegada is a trip you can tell your friends about and I'd bet none of them have ever had an experience like it.

It is awesome! Do not go if you are looking for first rate hotels and nightlife. Anegada is a remote island that will offer you a unique experience you will not find at other Carribbean Islands. If you want relaxation and just want to lay back - it is THE place to go. Wild long horned cows roam the island. There is vegetation but not lush like you may be thinking of - most is low growing. It took us three days to figure out where the grocery store in town was at - no sign on it, etc. Only 150 people live on the island & they were very friendly - we ran all over the island and felt perfectly safe.

There is nothing fancy about the Anegada Reef Hotel but it is clean, safe, has awesome food, and friendly people. Every night boats dock there to eat. There are no phones, alarm clocks or TVs in the rooms.

Rent a car to go to the beaches. A bus at the hotel will take you but we had a blast exploring this small island. There are nice beaches at each of the islands. Most of the time there were only a couple other people at them when we were there. There are bars at each beach & food. However, the Hotel will fix a lunch for you to take with you (which is included in the cost of your room). At a couple of the bars, if no one is working the bar, you can just serve yourself and leave the money on the counter.

Take books with you - I never found a place to buy books and the loaners at the hotel were not very good. However, you do become friends with the other tourists on the island and they loaned books to me.

Of all the places we have been, the North Side of Grand Cayman is our fave and Anegada is our second fav - it was truly a unique experience!!

 
Nov 12th, 2005, 04:08 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 531
Hi and congradulations. Just wanted to give you a heads up on St. Vincent as it was listed in your post.

St. Vincent to me is my paradise on Earth.(I'm leaving for there in 20 more days.) It is lush, green, full of life, much to see and do and there are sandy beaches.

But, the beaches are not wide with white sand. In some places it is gray, salt and pepper or beige white. Not like the usual beaches pictured on a travel magazine. There's a good reason for this, it is volcanic in origin. Because of the rich volcanic soil the island is largely rainforest, very green and very lush.

As for culture, if you are looking for the unspoiled this is the place. There is very little tourism on the mainland which would equate to little or no shopping and tourist areas. On the main island of St. Vincent accommodations are reasonable. Most of the hotels are in the Villa Bay area. The Mariner is one that comes to mind but the beach is small. Across the way is Young island which can be a bit pricey even in the off season but you never know so it might be worth looking into. At certain times of the yr specials might be available. The Grandview is another beautiful property but it requires a walk to the beach.

St. Vincent is actually the main island of the Grenadines chain. Just south of St.V. is Bequia. It is very quaint, quiet, yet is what I would call the tourist attraction of this group. I use the term tourist attraction loosely. There are some small resorts you might find affordable and exactly what you're looking for. Many good restaurants in Port Elizabeth and the surrounding area.

Mayreau, Petit St. Vincent, Canouan, Mustique, are others in the chain with resorts that are quite expensive.

Day trips are available. If you aren't at an all inclusive meal prices are still reasonable on St.V. and Bequia. I would say no more expensive than you would pay at any decent restaurant here in the States.

I have been traveling to SVG for 14 yrs. I stay at a small ma & pa establishment. Not a place I would choose for a honeymoon. Neat and clean friendly owners only very basic. I personally have no need for the extras and Tranquility is well within my budget range and I'm not traveling on a honeymoon. This would be someplace to stay if you wanted to see St.V on an absolute budget and willing to cook for yourself as the lodging are small efficiency apartments. My favorite part is the view of the Caribbean from my porch there.

Airfare can be expensive. That is most likely your drawback. I would suggest looking on line at expedia, orbitz, cheapcaribbean, travelocity as well as commercial airlines. Flying from Louisville you would most likely connect into Charlotte, Philly or Miami dependent on which airlines booked. There are NO direct flights to SVG. I fly from Pgh,Pa. and flights take off around 6-7am connecting usually Philly or Charlotte on USAirways then it's on to Barbados or San Juan. At that time your connection to St.V & Grenadines would be via Liat or Caribbean Sun/Star. With connections and layovers you're talking a 10-12 hr. travel day as long as you don't book an overnight flight.

I would suggest doing a web search of St. Vincent and the Grenadines tourism for more info. Many of the establishments are privately owned so you might be able to dialogue and reach an agreeable price.

Remember if you want the wide sandy beaches as in the Corona commercials you need to look into the the islands that are coral in origin.

Another suggestion. What about Grenada?
Much has been done in the way of recovery from Ivan and you might get an excellent deal.

One last comment, be diligent in your research. Make a list of all you are really interested in. Then compare that list to your findings. Narrow it down to pros and cons as well as what is the one thing that is a must have on your honeymoon.

We all have our favorites, likes and dislikes. For every good thing some one will say about an island 10 others may disagree. Keep that in mind when researching and reading the postings here.

When you get a good feel (relying on common sense) I suggest following your heart. If something doesn't go exactly according to plan go with the flow. You know that old cliche lemons out of lemonade. Think of the stories you will have to tell when you get back!
vinceygirl is offline  

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