Looking for Caribbean Island Experts!

Old Aug 28th, 2010, 03:24 PM
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Looking for Caribbean Island Experts!

Hello, all! I am really hoping you can help me.

My boyfriend and I are trying to plan a Caribbean getaway for about 5 days at the end of December/early January. The problem is, we have yet to pick a destination! I've done a lot of research, but websites and books can only tell you so much. I'd love any input as to people's opinion on what island or destination may be right for us.

What we want:

-beautiful beach, white sand, clear water
-fun location with nightlife and interesting people to meet (but NOT like spring break in cancun)
- a decent price (we are both 24/25, so nothing over-the-top luxurious)

I have read from alot of people that Mexico is probably a cheaper option....I've just been there a few times already and I don't feel like I am really getting "away" when i go. I'm not completely ruling it out, however, if someone has a destination that they really love. I think we want to do an all-inclusive deal just so that we have a better idea of exactly how much money we will (or WON'T) be spending. I'd really love any input or advice you all have. I've traveled quite a bit, but am stumped with this one!

Thanks in advance.

Kristi
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Old Aug 28th, 2010, 03:49 PM
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Grenada sounds like a good choice for what you are seeking. The hotel belt is on one of the Caribbean's most famous beaches - the Grand Anse Beach, which is a 2-mile stretch of white powdery sand and clear blue waters. There are several nightclubs to choose from: Fantazia 2001, Bananas, Karma, etc. Most are open between Wednesday and Sunday. A few hotels to choose from in the Grand Anse area are: Coyaba Beach Resort; Blue Horizons Garden Resort; Flamboyant Hotel; Mount Cinnamon Beach Resort; Grand Anse Beach Palace Hotel. A few other options (a few minutes away from the Grand Anse area) are Kalinago Beach Resort - on the nearby Morne Rouge Bay; Grenadian by Rex Resorts; Lance Aux Epines Cottages. The hotels in Grand Anse are within walking distance of restaurants, banks, supermarkets, shopping malls and the main bus route. Grenada is famously known as the 'Spice Island' and island tours can include a stop at a spice estate (e.g. Belmont Estate) or spice processing station. Tours also include the Grand Etang Rainforest and lake, waterfalls, forts, Saturday market, etc. There is also a Fish Friday Festival which takes place in the fishing village of Gouyave every Friday night - includes fresh fish, lobsters, etc., cooked on open fires with cultural entertainment and a lively atmosphere. Grenada is also a very safe and friendly destination with very hospitable hotel staff. The tourism website has more detailed information on all of the above and other things to see and do whilst on island: www.grenadagrenadines.com. Hope this helps with your decision.
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Old Aug 28th, 2010, 03:57 PM
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Aruba or Barbados, both have beautiful beaches & nightlife and accommodation to suit all budgets.
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Old Aug 28th, 2010, 06:36 PM
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I've said this many times before. At that time of year, head south. Odin's idea of Barbados or Aruba would work. Anything north of Anguilla, St. Bart's area can still be cool in Dec.-Jan., even Feb.

I'm not saying that you can't have great weather in the northern Caribbean, but after 20+ different islands this has been our experience.
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Old Aug 29th, 2010, 07:42 AM
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well I'm no 'Caribbean expert' but I just got back from 10 days in Negril Jamaica last month. It has everything you are asking for. The scenery is spectacular. And lots of fun things to do, or just relax. Great atmosphere.
You can stay at a hotel or resort either on "the beach" (their 7 mile white stand stretch of gorgeous) or up on "the cliffs" (overlooking the sea in smaller cottages and inns, both budget-friendly and high-end). You fly into Montego Bay and take a 90 min. shuttle to get to Negril.
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Old Aug 29th, 2010, 11:01 AM
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If you want an AI, then Mexico will be your best bet for price, great beach, fun location and night life. What areas of Mexico have you been to?

Jamaica is another good choice for an AI option. A little more pricey than Mexico.

Aruba is a great choice for everything you're looking for, but not recommended for an AI vacation. There are a few hotels with AI options and 2 AI resorts, but I've run the numbers, plus we did go AI there, and it's just not worth it. There are so many resturant and bar choices. One of the main attractions is eating out and experiencing them all.

End of December/early Janaury is prime high season. Expect to pay top dollar for most places. If you can go within the first 2 weeks of December, you will find much better prices.
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Old Aug 29th, 2010, 04:39 PM
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are you looking for a hotel or vacation rentals? Usuay hotels are great but once u leave compound of hotel need to make sure about the area especially in Jamaica or Santo Domingo. No expert on those islands. i am more of. a st -martin expert and that is what i heard from my travelling friends.
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Old Aug 29th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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go to flipkey.com and u will see that there are 500 or so vacation rentals in Jamaica vs half that in St -martin. yet st martin is much smaller than Jamaica. this tells you something about people having thr ability to rent 2md homes and people willing to rent.
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Old Aug 30th, 2010, 06:51 AM
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friend of mine came back from punta cana in Domimican republic. Great hotel but stay within hotel and tour guides, don't venture on your own. Food was ok but not grear like St-martin.
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Old Sep 7th, 2010, 01:37 PM
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I like Dom Rep for an all inclusive if you dfinitely do not plan to leave the confines of the resort. Puerto Rico is the next closest island, and, being a US territory, is very easy to visit (no passport, US dollar) but still seems like a tropical exotic vacation. I dont know of any AI resorts there, but if you look at the smaller guest houses or private rentals and away from the chain hotels, you can do this relatively on the cheap (homeaway is a good site). PR has diving, surfing, rain forests, booze cruises, historical monuments and casinos. A little bit of everything on a relatively small island.
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Old Sep 7th, 2010, 01:40 PM
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stmarginguy~ Why can't you leave your all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana?
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Old Sep 8th, 2010, 04:37 AM
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From what you're saying, it sounds like Negril in Jamaica would be perfect--it's on the sunset coast and you get the choice of the laidback 7 mile beach or the funkier vibe of the neighboring cliffs area. Lots of options in every price range, and it's not so far south that it will take you a full day to get there and a full day to return home, making a 5 day vacation turn into a 3-day one. www.negril.com has a full listing of hotels.
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Old Sep 8th, 2010, 07:22 AM
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Chances are, you would love Jamaica. Our most recent trip there was in February and it was such a great vacation! Believe me, I tell all our friends how beautiful Jamaica is. I really can't say enough about the beaches, the good times we've had, and the easy flight!
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Old Sep 11th, 2010, 05:26 PM
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check airline schedules first - with only 5 days, you may burn most of it to some of the more southern locations. ...not to say they're not great, but travel in post911 postrecession americas is not as flexible as it used to be.....
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 01:05 PM
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If you are looking for a somewhat laid back yet full of nightlife for your stay, may I recommend Myett's in Cane Garden Bay on the island of Tortola in the BVIs. The British Virgin Islands are a true island getaway without the extra hours of travel. If you fly to St. Thomas USVI, then you can take a ferry to West End Tortola (about 45 min. ride) or flying to Puerto Rico and directly to Beef Island (Tortola) with a 25 min. flight. You can check out everything you need to know about Myett's at www.myettent.com and also check them out at www.tripadvisor.com. I loved the BVI's so much that I ended changing my whole life and moving out here! It all started with sailing in these incredible waters!! Best of luck!
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 02:09 PM
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I believe Jamaica has what you are looking for. However at that time of the year its a bit chilly early in the morning and late evenings. Any of these area would fit your description: Ochio Rios, Negril, or Montego Bay. Take a day trip to the Eastern End of the Island. Go to a beach called San San in Portantonio.
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 03:19 AM
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If you take only 5 days you will end up having only 3.5 days maximum to enjoy a resort even with a non-stop flight. If you can find a way to take 7 days you can have 5.5 days and really feel like you were away after spending all that money. Jamaica is lovely as long as you stay at the resort or go with a resort organized tour to an interesting destination. A young couple we know still found anti-American sentiment when they were alone walking around in Negril 3 months ago.St. lucia is a step up in cost and one of the Sandals resorts there I have read get's rated as one of the best AI in the Caribbean and the island is simply beautiful as suggested earlier in the Forum.
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Old Sep 26th, 2010, 04:58 AM
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End of Dec beginning of Jan is the biggest peak season of the year, 90% of the resorts will have minimum stays of at least a week, so really you'll just be subjected to whatever place is willing not to have the minimum, not just an open invitation to any island. Airfare, expect at that time to be close to $1000 per person.

Because you asked for a "decent price", you're not going to find it end of Dec, beginning of Jan--you may just have to pick from either Mexico (Playa Riviera or Tulum area) or Dominican Republic.

Also, certain islands are known for AI, it fits the personalities, again, DR or Mexico. Because AI cater to multiple people, you will also find the best prices.

As for asking people their favorite destination, ask 5 people, you'll get 5 different answers.

Are you stuck on your time frame? You'll be paying 3 times as much, plus have minimum nights. If you change them to before Dec 20, you'll save quite a bit, and be able to pick from anywhere in Caribbean for the 5 days. (Although the further South you go, you only end up with a 3 day vacation) and if you pick after the first week of Jan, prices go down a little, but still peak season.
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 04:11 PM
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crazy suggestion why not think of a cruise , my very first cruise was a 5 day cruise with carnival out of miami, key west, ocho rios jamaica, cozumel mexico. I was hooked and i have done 6 or 7 cruises since then. The benefits are you see 3 or 4 or 5 different islands each time you cruise( this allows you to get a feel for each island, maybe you might like one island in particular and plan to return for a longer stay), you can lay on the ship tour the island or just lay on the closest beach, choose a cruise that stays in a port overnight or enjoy the nightlife on a ship, it worked for me.
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Old Oct 1st, 2010, 07:59 AM
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I suggest the Island of Roatan! A small Island nestled in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Honduras. Roatan is home to one of the top ten beaches in the world, and surrounded by the second biggest coral reef in the world. There are resorts and accommodations available for every budget. Seven day bookings are not as necessary as many Caribbean Islands. If you are coming from Canada there is an AI charter from Toronto and Montreal during the time you mention that is seven days. http://roatanvortex.com/2010/09/25/c...own-to-roatan/

Coming from the USA there are flights throughout the week from major carriers. Check out Roatan, it could prove to be exactly what you are looking for!
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