Inexpensive Florida/Carribean Vacation Possible?

Old Apr 16th, 2010, 07:44 AM
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Inexpensive Florida/Carribean Vacation Possible?

My wife and I are looking at going to somewhere in the Caribbean or possibly Florida for late June, 4 - 5 nights. We are looking to spend around $2000 or less (including airfare) for the trip. Here are our preferences.

- somewhere without crowded beaches, and not commercialized (so to speak)
- we do not drink, so it is actually better if the destination does NOT have nightlife, and we aren't worried about anything all-inclusive that includes alcohol
- we are interested in snorkeling, swimming, hiking (if that's an activity in the Caribbean), among other things, but not so much into shopping unless it's island unique
- somewhere safe, where we could possibly 'explore' the area by car

adam09 is offline  
Old Apr 16th, 2010, 02:09 PM
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You don't say where you are travelling from and airfares can often account for a fairly large part of the "travel budget". In your case airfare for 2 could be anywhere from around $600 to almost $1,000, depending on where you are coming from and where you are going.

Your budget is on the low side but not "impossible" for a 4 or 5 day trip. You will most likely have to make some concessions regarding location of your resort or the location of your room within any given resort.

Check out resorts in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cozemel, Cancun and Playa del Carmen (south of Cancun) as they are among the least expensive destinations in the Caribbean and they are often easy accessible from many major international airports. Also, check travel websites like Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity and the major airline websites for package deals to those destinations. Often you can find some very reasonbily priced deals.
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Old Apr 16th, 2010, 02:51 PM
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We have been able to go to Mexico several times for that budget or less for a 4-5 night stay. However, we did stay in an AI hotel to save on those costs.

Cozumel will be the cheapest destination. Been 4 times. I wouldn't recommend AI there any way. If you choose a hotel in or close to San Migual, you find many restuarants within walking distance. Look at Coral Princess Hotel & Resort or Fiesta Americana Cozumel Dive Resort. Chankanaab Park has great snorkeling. Do the dune buggy Island tour.

Playa del Carmen would also be a good choice. There are several boutique hotels off of 5th Avenue. Some will include breakfast and about a 10 minute walk to a public beach. Though you don't want nightlife, 5th Avenue will have tons of resturants, bars, shopping and entertainment within walking distance. There are plenty of off site activites to do also; eco parks, cenotes, ATV's, motor boats, snorkeling, etc. Look at La Tortuga and Mahekal. Also go to and check their listings of accomendations.

Depending on your departure airport, you may get away with that budget in Aruba. Choose a hotel on Palm Beach and you're within walking distance to many dining choices. We've been once and looking at Amsterdam Manor for our second trip. It was coming in at around that budget for a 7 night stay. I wouldn't recommend shorter than that since it's a pretty long distance to get there and back.

We stayed 5 nights at the RIU Tropical Bay in Negril, Jamaica for that budget. I wouldn't recommend that hotel though, and it's an AI. Instead look at Sunset at the Palms. It's across the street from the RIU.

It will be difficult to find much with that budget. I agree, check out the on-line booking companies for prices. We are going to Key West for 6 nights in July and it didn't come anywhere near that budget. Luckily, we are using FF miles to make it more reasonable. I do perfer the beaches and snorkeling in Mexico/Caribbean than Florida.
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Old Apr 18th, 2010, 11:22 AM
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By looking at the OP's profile it looks like he lives in Virginia.

KVR is correct that Cozumel give you a lot for your money, you might also check out Cancun or the Mayan Riviera.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 04:07 PM
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The Dominican Republic is very affordable, once you're there. We stayed at Casa de Campo, in friends' golf villa. It has a private beach w/snorkeling and beach attendants (free use), a nice clubhouse, gorgeous hotel, three golf courses, polo grounds, etc. Very nice.

I think my friends rent theirs for $500/night, which includes a housekeeper during the days to make beds, prepare meals. Theirs has three bedrooms and three baths, beautiful open air living room and dining room, plus beautifully landscaped yard with a large jetted pool (maybe 12x12?) Try VRBO to find availabilities.
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Old Apr 24th, 2010, 06:44 PM
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agree that generally speaking most bang for buck at AIs on dominican republic or cancun/maya riviera coast.

take a look at this page. if you click the resort name it will give you an overview of the hotel. if you click the # of the deal it allows you to add air and get a final price (expand the new page).
for example you could select secret harbour beach resort on st. thomas from dulles june 26 to july 1 w/air for $1733.40 for the 2 of you. this includes no car or meals.

secret harbour is a quiet resort. car required if you want to go anywhere. (but if you want to be at all away from things on most island you'll need a vehicle) has on site restaurant and good snorkeling off their beach. this resort is a personal fav of mine so i used it as example.

if you expect to eat/sleep/fly for under $2000 you will probably need to stay in an AI, as island restaurants are pricey. option is to find condo resort & make your some of your own meals.

you might find a good deal at any of these condo resorts on provo in turks & caicos: royal west indies, the sands, or either of the ocean club resorts. provo is a quiet island with some good snorkeling.
using same dates -5 nights- as above royal west indies is $2076.40. 4 nights for $1788.40

here's the link to 4 nights ai's near playa del carmen, mex. with plenty of deals in your price range.
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Old Apr 25th, 2010, 07:27 AM
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Sanibel Island, Florida which is off Ft. Myers.
dianejoan is offline  
Old Apr 25th, 2010, 07:45 AM
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I've been looking for good deals also, and seems to have some pretty good deals. Has anyone ever booked thru them?
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 11:18 AM
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dianejoan, Do you have any more info / personal suggestions on Sanibel Island? This looks like it might be a nice place to go to.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 01:21 PM
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Almost all my trips to Caribbean have been under $2000 and we had great ocean front accommodations, excellent snorkeling/diving, great food in Coz (OK food in Belize)

Cozumel we stayed at these oceanfront condos for 99/night. Snorkeling and direct water access. I prefer Condumel although Miramar much larger. Fly into CUN for lower fares and take comfy a/c bus and ferry to Cozumel -- really effortless. I flew in business to CZM my first trip but was just as happy flying into CUN and skipping the connecting flight.

1. Condumel -
2. Miramar -

Great, inexpensive local seafood all over island. We walked many nights (without intending to) to and from our condo to town. Charming xmas event in square by local school children watched primarily by locals. We didn't expect anything but great diving but love this island now -- because diving main attraction, crowds seem to stay in Playa Del Carmen and Cancun.

In Belize, we stayed at Caye Casa for 85/night for oceanfront casita.
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