Overwhelmed!

Old Apr 26th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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Overwhelmed!

Looking to travel to the Caribbean or Mexico during the 1st or 2nd week of Feb., 2011, and overwhelmed with choices - Help! Here's our want list:

1. Warm in Feb.
2. Beach front - white sands, clear water
3. All Inclusive (flight fm. Nash., TN, room, meals/bvg's, airport transf.)
4. Avail. x-tra of good deep sea fishing, beautiful snorkeling and scuba diving
5. Somewhat budget minded - looking for less than $800 p/p, if possible***
6. Very nice room - not necessarily lux., but nice with nice bathroom
7. Jamaica is off our list

Any insight is appreciated!
heatham is offline  
Old Apr 26th, 2010, 01:45 PM
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How long do you plan on going for? I think it will be hard to find an all-inclusive for $1600.00 for a week. I think Punta Cana in the Domican Republic would have the best deals. See what others have to say.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 01:57 PM
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Thinking 4 or 5 nights. Hum, may have to consider upping our budget, but looking for a good deal!
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 02:48 PM
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Akumal, Mexico would fit your criteria and include swimming with turtles right off the beach but not lux then again your budget isn't lux either.

Feb is high season so expect to up your budget.
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Old Apr 26th, 2010, 06:05 PM
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That budget is not realistic, even for Mexico. If you expand to about $1,000, I think you can do 4 or 5 nights. But you'll still be at the low end.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 06:46 AM
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We are looking at the Mahekal Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen for the first week of December. For 5 nights with air in a garden room for 2 people is coming in at $1,400. We go to Mexico every year at that time because of the excellant prices. In February, which is high season, you're going to pay a lot more. The hotel is not AI, but it offers breakfast and either lunch or dinner. It's walking distance to 5th Avenue in Playa.

Look at Cozumel. You'll find the least expensive AI resorts there compared to Playa or Cancun. We stayed at the El Cozumeleno for $1,350 with air last December.

Also look at Puerto Vallarta. We stayed at the Los Arcos on their AI plan for around $1,300 total with air. But that was in a December also.

Be aware, that AI hotels at that price, the food is only marginal. We don't do AI's for the food, we do it for the unlimted drinks and breakfast. Get an omlet or fried eggs off the grill and it's usually not bad. We also eat out because at that price you can and not feel like you've wasted your money on an AI.

If there is anyway you can go either sometime in the first 2 weeks of November or the first 2 weeks of December, you'll probably find what you are looking to pay, but you'll also need to lower your expectations.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 02:05 PM
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Thanks so much for all the good insight! So it looks like on a budget, I should be focusing on Mexico, not the Caribbean, huh? And I just assumed AI was a better bang for my buck. Maybe not? Do you think any of the Southern Islands in the Caribbean are just not do-able?
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 03:40 PM
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You run the possibility of cool-ish weather as far north as the Riviera Maya in February. I find the water a little too cool as well.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 03:54 PM
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You run into more transportation costs to the southern islands, except for Aruba, which is fairly expensive, though you can certainly save money by renting a condo and making some meals yourself.

The cheapest options are usually the DR, Jamaica, or Mexico. But if you rent an apartment somewhere and are willing to eat breakfast and lunch in, you can save a lot off the cost of an AI. So no, an AI is not necessarily more bang for the buck. You're still paying for all those activities and the maintenance of a giant resort complex with hundreds of staff. But if you want access to all those activities and a giant pool and lots of other people, then the AI option is usually the cheapest option over a regular resort, though you have to deal with very mediocre food at your price point.

"Cool" ish is all relative in Mexico. It's going to be over 80 degrees during the day. The same as in the rest of the Caribbean.
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Old Apr 28th, 2010, 03:58 AM
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We find the pools in December in Mexico to be rather cool. Almost unbearably cold. However, the ocean temps are perfect.

We've also been to several Caribbean Islands. We usually spend between $2,600 and $3,000 for air and hotel. Many have been either AI hotels or hotels with an AI plan. However, we have spent less than that in Jamaica.

I went to the DR many moons ago and didn't like it enough to return. We prefer Mexico instead. You can find smaller hotels in Cozumel and Playa del Carmen that still offer an AI plan, but are not huge mega resorts.

Look at the hotel selections at locogringo.com.
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Old Apr 28th, 2010, 09:31 AM
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Doug- I beg to differ.
It was not in the 80's consistently in the Riviera Maya this winter!
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Old Apr 28th, 2010, 04:18 PM
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I don't think that an AI is the best for someone on a budget. They charge a lot more than a non AI hotel because they assume that people will be eating and drinking significantly. If you are willing to eat at modest restaurants and to curtail your alcohol budget, a non AI will be much more affordable. I have found that local or ethnic eateries can be more affordable options.
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