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Please help me find the BEST place for honeymoon

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Hi guys...first time poster. I am tasking yall with helping me find the BEST place to go on my honeymoon. This task has been assigned to me by the most amazing woman on this planet and she deserves to have the BEST. With that being said, let me give you our requirements....

1) Beach. The room/villa/suite must be on the beach. We need to be able to walk out from our room and get to the beach. There cannot be a road or long path to cross or go down to get there. We would like to be able to lay in bed with the doors open and peer out at the ocean.

2) Room must have A/C. Non-negotiable.

3) Room must be nice. doesn't have to be too big, but we would like a bedroom and some small sitting area. A plunge pool would be nice or a jacuzzi, but that is not a hard and fast requirement.

4) Culture to experience.

5) HOT!!!!! We are from South Central Texas. We like it hot!!!! We love the water and the lake and we love nothing more than 100+ degree days baking in the sun. While I understand that I'm not gonna find many places that hot, the requirement is mid 80's minimum!

6) Extra-curricular activities. We're interested in rain forest type places with places to go hiking, or biking. Horseback riding. Maybe a drive through some trails in a jeep. We love to scuba and snorkel, but will not make it a deciding factor. We figure we will scuba at least 1 day, maybe 2.

7) Budget: Wedding is July 17th. So probably would leave the 18th and come back around the 27th. So we are looking to do a 9-10 day trip (including air travel). We'd like to spend no more than $7K, $9k for all inclusive. We might could make it a little shorter to get within budget.

8) Food: We love great food. We like different places, holes in the wall, we like to venture out and find different places, so all inclusive is what we'd rather NOT do.

I think that is about it. Just to give yall a little background on us...I am 30, and my beautiful bride to be is in her younger 20's. We've been to the Keys, Bermuda, St. Croix, The Caymans, Vegas, Europe, Hawaii, Cozumel, Mexico, and of course all over the big state of Texas.

We'd like to go somewhere other than where we have gone before.

So, your task, should you choose to accept it, is to help be find the BEST place for our honeymoon.

Thank you all so much for your time. I eagerly look forward to you guys suggestions.

Cheers!!!

Brandon

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    Do you mean July 17, 2010? If so your planning time is very short and you might want to put this challenge into the hands of a competent travel agent.

    That being said, I am finding it hard to think of places that tick all your boxes and I am pretty well-travelled within the Caribbean -- you might want to think more about a priority list. Here's some overall thoughts -- when you mentioned you are from Texas, I thought you might especially appreciate a very lush, tropical, mountainous environment such as St. Lucia or even Nevis. But with that kind of environment the beaches aren't as nice (it's the dry, scrubby flat islands such as Anguilla and Turks & Caicos that have the spectacular beaches). So that's a trade-off. Another challenge is some of the places that meet your criteria that I can think of tend to be upscale AI which doesn't fit the bill for going out and trying different restaurants. T & C and Anguilla have great beaches and restaurants, most resorts are not AI and there are lots of choices for rooms right on the beach (take a look at Cap Juluca, Cuisinart in Anguilla, Somerset, Grace Bay Club, Point Grace in T & C). If that's not the kind of environment you want, St. Lucia is a good choice but it is hard to get around so it's a more resort-bound place and most rooms are up on hills above the beaches. You might look at Ti Kaye Village, Anse Chastanet (not 100% sure Anse has AC) on that island. Barbados ticks the requirement of being a great place to try lots of different restaurants and has a good selection of activities and interesting things to see. For rooms right on the beach you might look at Royal Pavilion, those rooms are very close to the water. St. John would be a good overall choice for you as well, for rooms right on the beach check out Caneel Bay -- great snorkeling, lots of good restaurants, hiking, and seven beaches right on the Caneel Bay property. My all-time favorite Caribbean resort and a great choice for a honeymoon is Galley Bay on Antigua, great rooms right on a wonderful beach, very lush, tropical atmosphere, very quiet and romantic. The downside for your priorities is that GB is an upscale all-inclusive so you don't get to try lots of other restaurants (there are three on property). But it meets a lot of your other criteria and we love Antigua. It might be worth checking out -- FYI don't be put off by the high rack rates, there's at least a 25% off sale right now and everything is included!

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    Barbados would fit all of your requirements. The restaurants are awesome! These are the ones I would recommend:
    1. 39 Steps - especially if you are wine afcionados
    2. Brown Sugar is a sweet place
    3. Bubba's sports bar
    4. Champers is another perfect place
    5. The Crane does a Gospel brunch on Sunday mornings
    6. Oisten's - Cooking in the open air with the locals

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    You may want to consider Virgin Gorda (british virgin islands) or St John (US virgin island) for a wonderful mix of great beaches, hiking/exploring and good snorkelling especially on ST John. The resorts to check out are caneel bay on st john and on Virgin gorda is biras creek. Another suggestion would be peter island or Guana island - both standalone resorts in the BVI(though that would not meet your restaurant criteria. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

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    You may want to consider Spice Island Beach Resort or the Calabash in Grenada. While Spice Island is typically all-inclusive, email them and see if they will let you do a non-AI stay or breakfast only plan. The Seagrape Beach Suites meet exactly what you are looking for...a few steps to the sand, sliding glass door that you can open to hear the ocean, and a/c in the room.

    The Calabash is also beachfront but more of a boutique hotel. I believe there is a/c in the room.

    Grenada has culture, beaches to explore, plantations to visit, rainforest to hike, great food especially local food, and wonderful, friendly people. I'm pretty sure it is hot in July.

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    Hi billgatesceo,
    Congrats on your upcoming wedding, and I like your style of writing!
    I would look into Palm Island in the Grenadines. We've been dying to go there for years now, but it's been out of our budget, although in off season when you're going I think it would fit into yours. It fits most of your requirements, and you can do daytrips to rainforest type islands from there. Check it out! www.palmislandresortgrenadines.com

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    I'm jumping in here, as I'm trying to figure out a July 2011 honeymoon -- it's not the usual time of year for the Caribbean -- will it be too hot? too humid? would any island be preferable to others?

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    jgmc - temperatures on any given island in the Caribbean don't vary much throughout the year. In winter expect daytime temps in the low to mid 80's F. and in summer expect mid to high 80's F. with occasional forays into the low 90's F. Regardless of the time of year the sun is "strong" and in summer humidity is higher than in winter so those conditions make it feel a bit warmer. Islands in the northern Caribbean have slightly lower average temperatures than islands in the south but you are talking here about only an average 2 or 3 degree difference.

    To Bill - eileen gave you some great information. In over 25+ years of travelling around the Caribbean I've come to the conclusion that there is no "ONE PERFECT PLACE" but rather there are just "DIFFERENT" places and each has its own appeal and no one destination has it all. Selecting the "right" destination for a specific trip is a matter of compromise.

    As was pointed out the flat, arid, coral/limestone based islands (like Anguilla, Anegada, Barbuda, Aruba and the Bahamas Out-islands) tend to have those long strands of sugar white beaches that you see in television commercials but those islands are often not noted for their natural beauty.

    The lush tropical islands with majestic mountains, waterfalls and rainforests tend to have natural beauty but lack what most people think of beautiful beaches because the sand is often dark brown, grey or even black.

    There are some islands like the USVI's or the BVI's that have smaller mountains and golden sand beaches that combine the best of both worlds.

    So my best advice is to read up about the differences of the various island and choose one that appeals to you. You can easily do this by using the "Destinations" link at the top of this page. Click through to the "Caribbean" and read the summaries. You’ll be able to narrow your choices down considerably. Don't worry if you find several islands you'd like to visit as you select one and save the others for future trips. Remember, most of the "experts" on this forum have been travelling around the Caribbean for years - we didn't visit every island during one trip.

    Now here are some comments to your requirements that you might find useful:

    1) Beach - you can find beachfront accommodations in a wide variety of price ranges on almost any island so that should be a major factor in selection which island is right for you.

    2) A/C - now-a-days the rooms at a most resorts are air conditioned but it does pay to check with the resort just to be on the safe side as there are a few that do not have A/C.

    3) You'll find a wide variety of room "sizes and amenities" throughout the Caribbean but by and large the old adage "You get what you pay for" is going to be the driving factor. Don't expect 5-Star accommodation for 3-Star prices - it simply isn't going to happen. If one resort on an island has beachfront rooms for $300/night and another resort on the same island has beachfront rooms for $600/night you can be assured that the higher priced resort will be nicer and has more amenities then the lower priced one.

    4) Culture to experience - Truthfully, with the exception of St. Thomas and Aruba which are very "Americanized" you'll find different cultures on every island. Of course, your own definition of what "culture" means will have a great affect on what you find on each island you visit. Suffice to say, a great many islands are rich in history.

    5) HOT - I've covered the temperature ranges you can expect to find in the remarks at the beginning of my response. You can if you wish research historical weather information for most island destinations on such websites as: www.weatherbase.com and www.wunderground.

    6) Extra curricular activities - There's always something to do on any island - hiking, watersports, horseback riding and usually available anywhere. If you are seeking rainforests then your choice of destinations are limited to the lusher mountainous islands such as St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Nevis, Grenada, Puerto Rico, etc. The flat arid islands by definition have neither mountains nor rainforests. Generally speaking you can find some scuba and snorkeling around almost every island but the quality and quanty can vary greatly depending on the island. Normattly scuba and snorkeling are better around the flatter arid islands that have comprehensive reef systems nearby than it is around the lush mountainous islands, although there are a few exceptions. This is one of the trade-offs you might have to make so it pays to do some basic reasearch as you read about the differences between islands.

    7) Budget - your budget of $7,000 to $9,000 for a 10 day trip is certainly doable on just about every island. Some hints, don't feel that you have to stay in the most expensive resort on any given island. Remember, the island itself is the same regardless of where you are staying. So too is the room location, the person staying in a budget room overlooking the garden has access to the same beach, the same resort amenities, etc. as the person staying in a beachfront room at the same resort. I know you wanted a beachfront room but if it comes down to staying in a garden view room at a 5-star resort or a beach front room at a 3-star resort you might consider opting for the lesser room at the nicer resort. Ask yourself, how much time will you actually be spending in your room and what will you be doing? If you are like most people, you'll be out and about during most of the day and the time in your room will be spent sleeping, in the bathroom, engaging in marital behavior and other activities which require the shades to be drawn so it doesn't really matter what the view is. So it all boils down to determining if, FOR YOU, the ability to walk out your door directly on to a beach and/or spend an hour or two each day sitting on the patio gazing at the water is worth the price differencial. Only you can answer that question.

    8) Food - If, as you say, you love great food then skip going to an All Inclusive, unless you stay at an ultra high end property since most AI's have mediocre food at best. Once you select your island, it's fairly easy research which are the best places to eat as you'll find that one of the most frequent asked question on any travel forum is "What are the don't miss restaurants on NAME YOUR ISLAND". also, once you arrive at your resort do by shy about asking the staff about the dining options around the island. Don't worry you will never go hungry in the Caribbean.

    Hope this helps.

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    If you can skip the rainforest requirements, I'd say that Anguilla is the island for you. Cap Juluca is the hotel you should look at, as all of their rooms are beachfront and they're very nice. With their summer special rates, a jr. suite with a sitting area should fit nicely in your budget, leaving you enough left over to sample the AMAZING restaurants all over the island. The beaches are also second to none, but that's largely because it's one of the flat, coral-based islands.

    If you really want that lushness factor (and be aware that the price to pay for lushness is probably daily rain, though not necessarily for very long at any given time--typical shower might last 10 minutes and then pass quickly), I second mymoosie's suggestion for Grenada. It's tied with Anguilla for my favorite island and it will offer a stronger West Indian culture like you're seeking, plus the lush mountainous topography and the various activities that are associated therein, like hiking and river tubing. The beaches are lovely in their own right, though not as spectacular as Anguilla's. Spice Island is the best beachfront hotel on the island--and while it is all-inclusive, they might be willing to quote you a rate for just the room or room with breakfast, as previously mentioned. LaLuna is another beachfront location, very romantic, with one beachfront cottage (the rest are hillside) that you may want to consider, too.

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    Barbados definitely has all the items on your check list:

    I believe the Fairmont Royal Pavilion has rooms that a few steps off of the beach. There are also several holiday villas that are actually on the beach, most along the west coast.

    The Barbados offers great beaches and great snorkelling it's quite romantic when you think about it. They are a range of beaches to choose from and coastal features to admire.
    From quite long sand beach with hills as the back drop along the rustic east coast, to more touristy beaches along the south and west coast.

    Plenty of great restaurants, you can find restaurant serving almost any cuisine in the world from budget -friendly to the very exclusive. Great restaurants in terms of atmosphere, food and service are:

    - 39 Steps ( south coast) - romantic
    - IL Tempio Itlain Restaurant ( west coast). This one is on a spectacular beach. - romantic
    - Citar Idian restaurant in Holetown (west coast)(festive)
    - The Fish Pot in St. Peter ( west Coast near fishing village)- quaint and romantic


    And for culture definitely a night out at Oistins fish fry.

    Activities : nature wise you can go zip lining, horseback riding, I would recommend going on an Island Safari island tour, you'll see the ins and outs of the island in a day outback style on 4X4 s. YOu can hike through Welchman Hall Gully.

    Sailing on a Catamarn, helicopter island tour, Atlantis Submarine tour, and for culture definitely visit Arlington House Museum, Sunbury House and St. Nicholas Abbey.

    Enjoy

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    Grenada sounds like your ideal destination - it will fulfil all of your requirements. Hotels: Coyaba Beach Resort on Grand Anse Beach, (Spice Island Beach Resort is along the same beach but higher prices); Calabash Hotel on a secluded bay; Kalinago Beach Resort - also on a secluded bay. Lots of restaurants and cafes within walking distance from Coyaba and Spice island as it is very centrally located - walking distance to malls, banks, local bus route, etc. Grenada has a great rainforest - Grand Etang - with a lake at the centre of it together with several beautiful waterfalls on the way (Annandale is a 1 minute stroll from your vehicle); Grenada is also known as the 'Spice Island' so there are some very interesting spice plantations that are worth a visit; temperature in July will be between 88-95 degrees. Lots of things to see and do, including a trip to our Underwater Sculpture Park for snorkelling; Grenada has a Summer Promotion on at the moment - check out their website: www.grenadagrenadines.com for further details on that and other things to see and do whilst you are there. The people are always very friendly and helpful which is good if you intend to hire a vehicle and drive yourself around. This would be an excellent choice that you honestly will not regret!

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    Hi,

    Congrats to your upcoming marriage :-)!

    The day I get married I will take my wife to the lovely Water Island in the US Virgin Islands. It's great and what could be better than spending your honeymoon on Honeymoon Beach. I was there with my kids and uploaded some pics at http://www.g8journey.com/experience/open/experience_open.php?level=album&id=98

    I hope that it will suite you and that you have great hoenymoon and marriage.

    Good luck.

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    I went to Barbados last year with my girlfriend, and we agreed that if we get married we would definitely go back there for our honeymoon. We stayed at a place called The Bougainvillea Beach Resort, which is surrounded by beaches. The weather is always incredible, plus there's plenty of sights to see and activities to do. Some travel companies actually allow you to tailor-make the holiday to meet your specific needs. We used this company: http://www.littleluxuryislands.co.uk.
    Hope this helps. Have a great honeymoon.

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    Guadeloupe would tick all boxes. It's 2 islands for the price of 1. Fantastic rainforest with lots of activities, fab scuba at Jacques Cousteau, white sand beaches, loads of culture - Martinique is also just wonderful with lush forests and white beaches in the south. AI doesnt exist in these islands as the dining options are numerous.

    Spice Island in Grenada is a lovely hotel but Grand Anse, beautiful beach though it is can be crowded as it is public. So it has a barrier between the hotel rooms and the beach with security guards. Calabash might be more private. But Grenada also definitely seems to tick most boxes.

    St Lucia is much criticised for the beaches, because they are not pure white doesn't mean they are not beautiful. Anse Chastenet has the most beautiful beach and hotel, rustic, and so is Ti Kaye on Anse Cochon with the bungalows dotted around the cliff.

    Antigua's resorts are mostly remote (except awful Dickensen Bay where Sandals dominates) and dotted around the island, Galley Bay is fabulous and so is it's neighbour Hawksbill (only 3 star but has bungalows that open right on the beach, the more expensive ones have AC). More upscale (than Hawksbill) would be Carlisle Bay or Curtain Bluff. Dining options outside the hotels is a bit limited though.

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