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kbund Jul 15th, 2010 10:36 PM

Need Help Deciding where to go!!!!
Hello my parents want to take a trip either somewhere in Mexico or in the Caribbean we have not been to either of these places only Hawaii. There will be six of us traveling two 20 year old girls two 24 year old single boys and my parents. My dad loves to explore and enjoys places with lots of beautiful landscapes and fun activities to do as in snorkeling, hiking, sight seeing swimming with dolphins. Us girls would enjoy anywhere with a nice beautiful beach and shopping, the girls as well as the boys would probably enjoy some nightlife activity nothing to crazy but stuff that could keep us entertained. We are planning on traveling right after new years eve, were not sure about the dates yet. As for the price range we really don't have one for now since we aren't really sure about pricing in these areas. We are also looking for a All-inclusive hotel and somewhere where we can feel safe while exploring outside the hotel. If you guys could help me out that would be awesome i have been looking and reviewing for hours over many different places but I just cant seem to decide!! I have selected some in the tag but if anyone has any other suggestions i am open to anywhere in the Caribbean and Mexico!
Thank you!

TPAYT Jul 16th, 2010 07:35 AM

If you are traveling in Jan. I would stick to the lower Caribbean because sometimes it's still cool up north.

You won't find that many AI's in the Caribbean, but after 20+ islands, we much prefer it to Mexico.

Aruba and Barbados probably have the most variety to offer.

On Barbados, I'd stick to the west coast for calm beaches,south coast for waves.The properties are beautiful and the restaurants many. Not such good shopping except in the hotel shops. Good snorkeling and you can swim with huge turtles on a boat, snorkel trip. We prefer the gorgeous calm, white sand beaches of the west coast.

On Aruba, Palm beach is a typical, crowded high rise beach and Eagle is a wide open beach with lots of condos. We like Palm Beach because of the beautiful properties with so many restaurants, etc. Aruba will also have the best shopping and nightlife. The snorkeling is OK, not fantastic.

Both are touristy, but so is Hawaii. We found both to be safe in our travels there(twice to both islands).

Bahamas I wouldn't take a chance on in Jan. We have been there 5 times at the end of Feb. and still had some "cool" trips. Then again a few times the weather was hot as expected.

St. Lucia we have only spent 1 day there off of a sailboat. It was beautiful but much quieter with far apart properties,so not much good shopping or nightlife---just whatever your resort has to offer. Good snorkeling though.

Our current favorites are Turks & Caicos (but unfortunately too far north for Jan.) and Anguilla or St. Bart's(a better location, but a bit hard to get there and then quite pricy).

After all of my above comments, IMO, Barbados or Aruba would be the places to look into and then ask more specific questions.

Hope I've been of some help.

virginia Jul 16th, 2010 10:35 AM

no bahamas in jan. too cold/same for turks & caicos.
the only caribbean island that i know of to be somewhat "unsafe" is the domincan republic/haiti. gorgeous beaches with lots of ai's but (& i have not been there) many report leaving the resort without an organized group is not advisable. as well snorkeling is not good from their beaches.

st. lucia is a large island & a bit difficult to negotiate, but does have drive through volcano, some hiking & the pitons. not much shopping except in the rodney bay area. not known for snorkeling & has dark sand. i think sandals has the only ai's on island.

have not been on aruba as the south beach style crowded thing does not appeal to me. however nearby bonnaire would offer excellent snorkeling.

barbados would be a good choice, lovely beaches, a good amount of to do's/go see's. it does have a couple ai's: the 2 almond resorts, mango bay, crystal cove & turtle beach. shopping would be in the gap area.

playa del carmen on the maya riviera coast of mexico might be an excellent choice for your group. ample Duty Free shopping, tons of activities (ziplines, horseback, tennis/golf, scuba/snorkel, caves/cenotes, fishing (bone & deep sea) ruins to explore, 2 way fun eco marine parks - Xcaret which is large, busy, has a night show and jungle animal exhibits of jaguars, monkeys, etc & Xel-ha which is smaller, more laid back, all about water and does have dolphins) and many ai's. in particular i'd suggest you look at the riu's a/or iberostars - each have 4-5 resorts in close proximity to one another and to playa. these resorts have on site nightclubs, some that don't even open til 10 or 11 so you can party without leaving your resort (and making parents nervous). shuttles into playa eliminate the need for a rental car if you don't want to get one. as well they both share facilities with their sister clubs - meaning if you stay at one iberostar you can use the facilites at the other iberostars.
look at for boatloads of info on resorts & everything to do/see.

cd Jul 16th, 2010 11:11 AM

Just FYI, Mexico is on the State Departments Traveling Warning because of drug and gang wars: Just last week a teenager from a cruise ship was killed while in port when he was in the path of two gangs.

cd Jul 16th, 2010 11:14 AM

Sorry, that killing was not in Mexico but in St Thomas. I was thinking it was Mexico.

virginia Jul 17th, 2010 03:04 AM

cd, please read a little before you post. all the problem areas mentioned in your link are on the West coast of mexico, in Border towns, 1000's of miles from the caribbean, and All very very well known as dangerous places to travel for a decade or more.

cd Jul 17th, 2010 05:17 AM

I did read. The OP states: "SOMEWHERE in Mexico OR in the Caribbean" SOMEWHERE in Mexico covers a lot of territory and the paragraph in the State Department's Travel Warning, "Crime and Violence Throughout Mexico", I would think, would be of interest to read for anyone thinking of travel in Mexico.

kbund Jul 17th, 2010 09:37 AM

Thank you all for your replies they are very helpful. I still have not decided yet but I was going to see what everyone thought about Puerto Rico?!?

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