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kfbanta Feb 26th, 2015 01:01 PM

Mid October Honeymoon
My fiancée and I are leaving for our honeymoon Oct. 18-25, our goal is to fly and rent a hotel for under $3000 for the 7 days. We will be flying out of Minneapolis, MN. He would like to sit on the beach and relax. I would like to go on nature hikes, do some birding and see some waterfalls. We both really enjoy fishing, snorkeling and outdoor activities. Big towns and culture aren't really our thing, we would rather spend our time out in nature. That being said, I need some advice on where to go. I just cannot make up my mind. I have looked into what seems like EVERYWHERE. Here are my thoughts,

Jamaica-sounds perfect, but a little weary of the AI resorts. I don't want to be stuck on a resort, but I also don't mind booking tours with a group of people. I have read some, not so pleasant, things about the locals hassling tourists and the crime-so that worries me a little. Still considering, but confused as to where is the best place for us to stay.

St Lucia-was my top choice, but not within our budget.

St. Johns/St. Thomas-we considered staying in St. Johns, but just feels too "Americanized" and I could be totally wrong about that. Judging by the pictures I've seen I'm not sure I would be too impressed with the rainforest, so now I'm looking at other options.

Puerto Rico- Went last March, loved it, will return, but not for my honeymoon.

Grenada-I have just started researching this, sounds pretty awesome, but not sure its within our budget.

We have also considered Costa Rica, Belize and Nicaragua-my fiancé isn't to keen on the central America idea.

Mexico is still in the running, but I am very weary of AI, getting sick and finding the right spot of Mexico to have the best experience.

So please, any and all advice is greatly appreciated. I am going crazy trying to decide where to go. There are so many lovely options!

eastenderusvi Feb 26th, 2015 01:47 PM

You won't be impressed with a rain forest on St John, because there isn't one. It is hilly, and there is some "moist forest", but it is largely "dry" forest and scrub land. If you can do without the waterfalls (there are a couple which are small and only there when it rains), St John might fit the bill. Since it is an American territory, I guess it is pretty Americanized, but it is largely national park, so no WalMart there. If you want rainforest, Dominica, St Lucia, and Grenada are better choices.

KVR Feb 26th, 2015 02:38 PM

We have been to Jamaica twice: Negril and Ocho Rios, and Mexico many times. Have stayed at various AI resorts. You are never "stuck" on an AI resort unless you choose not to leave. We never just sit on an AI resort and call it a vacation. We have done many off property excursions, tours and activities.

For your budget, Jamaica and Mexico would fit better than the other destinations. Not all of the destinations you listed with have everything on your wish list.

Snorkeling is best in Mexico and St. John, but not the others. Waterfalls can be found in Jamaica, Grenada and St. Lucia. We loved St. Lucia, but airfare alone was crazy expensive.

If you want waterfalls and nature, I think Costa Rica is a better fit if you can get within your budget. One thing about Costa Rica is traveling to many of the areas and not just staying in one place/hotel, which can add up.

Yes, there is harassing in Jamaica. We went with guided tours/private drivers and didn't have too much of an issue. Ocho Rios was definitely worse than Negril especially Dunn's River Falls and the shopping area. Never had that issue in Mexico.

kfbanta Feb 27th, 2015 04:19 AM

KVR, any recommendations on where to stay in Mexico? My fiancé seems most happy with this choice and I like the fact that we can go snorkeling. How crowded are the AI's there? Most people seem to like those best when traveling to Mexico.

Jimmie Feb 27th, 2015 06:23 AM

There are some nice Adults only AI's in the Mayan Riviera. See if you can get a good air+hotel package on a site like Expedia. Lots of good advice in the TripAdvisor forums too.

We went to the Akumal area last summer and had a great time. Lots of nature (esp. swimming in cenotes and swim with turtles) and cultural activities. You should know that you are going during a still-active part of hurricane season. Consider trip insurance. I will also say that even after growing up in Miami and visiting many Caribbean islands, the tropical heat in late July in Mexico was the strongest I've ever experienced.

KVR Mar 2nd, 2015 06:56 AM

My favorite AI in Mexico is the Royal Playa del Carmen resort. It's a fabulous AI on a good section of beach within a 5 minute walk to 5th Avenue.

However, for a honeymoon, most people will recommend Secrets Maroma or the Iberostar Grand Parasio resorts.

If your interested I have all of our vacation pics posted:

Just click "all" to scroll all the way down.

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