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Staci_Prise Oct 30th, 2011 06:01 PM

Honeymoon Destination?
My husband and I are looking to take a belated honeymoon to a tropical area. We want a place that has beaches where we can be somewhat alone, but are still offered drinks while lounging. We would ideally get a place with an over the water hut, but also know that those are typically pretty spendy. We just want to have a quieter, beach-front resort, and possibly within driving distance of hiking/jungle/ruins. We were hoping to spend <$3000 including airfare...does anyone have any suggestions? We are quite inexperienced in tropical trips!

RoamsAround Oct 30th, 2011 06:26 PM

First, over water huts are extremely rare in the Caribbean and the resorts that have them are probably going to be out of your price range.

Second, you say you have a budget of $3,000 including airfare but you don't say where you are flying from or for how long you plan to stay. Depending on when you fly, where you are flying from and where you plan to go airfare could run you anywhere from around $350 to close to $1,000 per person (perhaps more for some remote locations). What you pay for airfare will have a great affect on how much you have left for your accommodations.

Now, assuming you spend say $900 for your combined airfare that would leave you about $2,100 for your accommodations which comes to around $300/day for a 7 night trip. Don't forget that's your room costs only and does not include food, drinks and any sightseeing or excursions as well as any government taxes imposed on the hotel bill (depending on the island that could add anywhere from 7% to 12% to your hotel costs). What all this means is your budget, while doable is not going to get you a very secluded resort since those tend to be quite pricy. All is not lost, however, as you can probably find plenty of resorts in your price range that will give you the illusion of being secluded.

You can stretch your budget by planning your trip during Low Season (generally late April through mid-to-late November or Early December) as that's when you'll find some of the least expensive room rates of the year.

Let us know where you are flying from, when you are planning to travel and how long a trip you want and it will be easier for contributors to make meaningful recommendations.

qwovadis Oct 31st, 2011 02:03 AM

The Yandup Lodge is located on a beautiful island in the center of the Kuna Yala Reserve. ... There are cabins over the water and cabins on ground and all cabins ...

Best and only over the water Bures I know of very exotic

Hard to get to... not really a resort though... has the vibe you are looking for

probably not over the water many others

Closer cheaper easier to get to.

Cheap flights down on Climate guides

go in winter for less rain...

Happy Planning!

qwovadis Oct 31st, 2011 02:08 AM sorry for dyslexia above

Lots of Bures in the South Pacific Tahiti Bora Bora Fiji etc.

Find them on no packages within your budget. has the best ones Meridiens

cheaper but not cheap... Good luck!

blamona Oct 31st, 2011 04:06 AM

If I may add, the properties that generally offer drinks while lounging will be out of your price range as they tend to be more upscale if they offer that.

Also, offering services and seclusion definitely are opposites. Caribbean is a pricy destination anyway, so to offer drinks has to be on a more inhabited beach to make it worth the while.

You have also tagged some islands, none which are jungly rain Forrest types. In general the rain Forrest type islands don't have the gorgeous beaches and vice versa.

Over the water bungalows are in Fiji, French Polynesia, cooks and Maldives, and tend to be $1000 - $2000 a night! There are some overwater bungalows in panama, but you'll be far away from jungles and rain Forrest, and not have beach service.

For your budget, you're not getting all your wish list. But the closest would be Roatan in Hondoras, maybe costa Maya Mexico, you'll get access to the jungles, it will be in your budget, you might be able to find a less crowded strand but with no services, but it might be the closest. You might also want to check out Costa Rica, but the beaches will have many others on them.

KVR Oct 31st, 2011 05:20 AM

Look at the Riveria Maya/Playa del Carmen area of Mexico. You'll find beach front hotels within driving distance to hiking/ruins/jungle. Most of the AI hotels in that area will offer beach service and swim-up pool bars and be within you $3,000 budget.

Look at The Royal Playa del Carmen, The Secrets Resorts, The Iberostar Resorts, El Dorado Maroma Beach, and the Grand Velas.

Jamaica would probably offer some of those same options also. Look at the Couples resorts, Sunset at the Palms in Negril and the Jewel Dunn's River in Ocho Rios.

Staci_Prise Oct 31st, 2011 11:24 AM

Wow! I had no idea I would get such a great reply! And I apologize for not being as informative as I should have been. We were hoping to go in March, over my spring break from Pharmacy School. We live in Milwaukee, WI, which has an international airport, but we are also open to taking the train to Chicago for cheaper flights. I will look into some of the places mentioned above (Honduras, Mexico, etc). Most important to us is being able to enjoy our time together without spring breakers or lots of children around. More of an adult, relaxing atmosphere. Thanks for all the input and I'm excited to look through these and to see if anyone else has ideas!

KVR Oct 31st, 2011 11:38 AM

Please keep in mind that air/hotel in March is going to cost way more than if waiting until May. Unless you get a resort that is adults only or off the beaten path they will probably be crawling with kids between January through April. We've not had issues with Spring Breakers as much as we did with tons of families/kids.

RoamsAround Oct 31st, 2011 12:23 PM

Destinations like Cancun & Cozemel tend to get inundated with Spring Breakers since they are traditionally among the least expensive destinations in the Caribbean and have a big "party atmosphere" making them attractive to college students on a budget.

As KVR said, during Spring Break you'll find a lot of families (many with young kids) going to many of the islands in the Caribbean so that while finding a place that in your budget range is possible you it may not be as quiet as you'd like.

Although Milwaukee has an international airport you may not find many non-stop flights to/from the Caribbean. Even if you did, your selections of islands will be limited. You might want to check your airline of choice or a local travel agent to see what destinations can be reached non-stop or direct from Milwaukee since that may strongly influence your ultimate destination.

Your instincts about flying out of Chicago has merit - there will be a lot more options and since there's often a lot of competition at the major international gateway airports like Chicago, New York and Miami you can sometimes find lower airfares. Look at destinations like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico - many airlines have flights with rock bottom fares to those islands and there are plenty of resorts in your price range on those islands.

Choosing a vacation in the Caribbean is sometimes a matter of compromise when you are working with a limited budget such as yours, especially when traveling at a peak time like "Spring Break". You may have to give up one or two things on your wish list but you'll still be having a Caribbean vacation.

My suggestion is you first choose an island that you can reach in a reasonable amount of time and for an airfare that meets your budget. You can then search for a resort on that island since you can usually find resorts in any price range on almost any island but you can't always find low cost airfare to every island. Think about it, if you spend your time finding a resort only to learn the airfare is too costly you'll end up frustrated and waste time and energy.

I've been going to the Caribbean regularly for ver 25 years and while I've found some destinations I liked more than others I've never been anywhere I didn't like. Besides, wherever you go you'll be there with your spouse on your honeymoon, what could be better than that!!!!

One last hint, when pricing out resorts, keep in mind that there are usually several different priced rooms at every resort but regardless of your room category you'll still have access to the exact same resort amenities whether you stay in a "standard room" or the "penthouse suite". So don't get too hung up on the location of the room. Sure, having a beachfront room is nice but you can save quite a lot of money by staying in a room with a garden or mountain view. Remember too, you won't be spending very much time in your room and when you are in your room you'll either be sleeping, getting dressed, taking a shower or engaged in adult activities where the view out your window is inconsequential.

Happy hunting!

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