Some sugestions please

Old Mar 15th, 2014, 12:26 PM
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Some sugestions please

Ok, So let me start by saying that ive spend the last 2 weeks reading on this forum
and it looks like about the 3 most popular destinations in the Caribbean are Aruba, punta cana and riviera maya..

Of those I have to say I like Arubas beaches the best but I think its out of my budget so I am oped to the other 2 destinations and am hoping you fine folks can point me to the right destination and resort....

It will be me and my wife traveling, we are both 30 years old (leaving the kids with grand parents), this will be our very first out of the country (usa) vacation and the first one period with out the rug rats.

We are looking for an all inclusive so we dont have to worry about paying for a thing once we walk through the doors. Our budget for everything from the time we leave out home until er get back is $5k TOPS (thus the reason aruba is out) we are looking for a week long trip....

Since this is our first vacation with out the kids we are wanting to stay some place that will absolutely amaze us, Not real into fine dining and fancy dining rooms, what we do like however is a pool/hot tub area that will AMAZE us, a pool side or swim up bar would be awesome, an amazing room, and a beach that is beautiful with water that you can actually see the bottom through unlike the eastern shores of the U.S where its do dirty with sand and silt it looks brown...

Good food is always a plus too, And I know it might be a big much to ask for but Id like to go snorkling, its not on the TOP of the list tho so I can live with out it. What we REALLY want is just to relax away from all the responsibility, Have a drink or 3 (mostly mixed drinks like long island tea) and enjoy our self..

One more thing, If the notion hit the wife to lay on the beach without her top, what are the rules on that?
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 01:10 PM
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First, you'll find the biggest concentration of All Inclusives in the Dominican Republic followed by the Mayan Riviera. Fortunately those two places are among the most budget friendly destinations in the Caribbean so your instincts about where to look are right on target.

Second, you don't say where you are flying from (other than it being somewhere in the US) so it would help if you told us that as airfares can eat up a large portion of your budget. Fortunately for you, those two destinations are also relatively inexpensive to get to from many US cities.

Third, a $5,000 total budget is somewhat on the low side for 2 people for a week but it is doable if you set your sights realistically - you might only get amazing not AMAZING if you get my drift. Hint, when looking at room prices remember most resorts have several different categories of rooms. You can save money by staying in a smaller room or garden view room vs. suites or beachfront rooms while still getting full access to all the resort's amenities. Besides, most people don't spend much time in their rooms except when sleeping, showering and engaging in "adult activities" during which time the drapes are closed.

Fourth, All Inclusives in your price range are rarely noted for having great food - most serving "theme buffets".

Fifth, there's better snorkeling in the Mayan Riviera area vs. Punta Cana but most of the good sights are accessible by boat. Neither place is noted for walk-in snorkeling.

Sixth, topless sunbathing - you'll see it in both places and shouldn't cause a problem if it's done discretely. If this is important to your wife concentrate on Adults Only resorts rather than family oriented places.
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 03:41 PM
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Thanks RoamsAround.. You seem knowledgeable on the subject. We are considering booking a package through a site like apple or funjet, Looking at their packages it looks like we have a wide range of resorts at either place for
$3,500 - $4,000 including air fair...

Is there something i should know about booking a package deal through them? I see resorts like dreams, secrets, grand palladium, paradisus, Iberostar and some others all coming in under the $5k mark with air fair..

Would that be a good way to go? Ill be flying out of WV, either Charleston or Huntington...

If a package deal through one of the travel sites is ok, and I can actually get in to a wide range of the resorts with my budget, witch one meets most of my criteria? For some reason im leaning more to punta cana. Is there a time of year that is best for avoiding LARGE crowds?
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 06:04 PM
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Those are very reputable "package" companies and offer good value for the money. They've been in operation for decades so "no worries". The resorts you listed are typical for your price range and they will all probably meet your criteria and you'll find many of the other guests will be in your age group.

High Season in the Caribbean (and by extension Punta Cana) runs from mid December to just after Easter (that date varies a bit from resort to resort). That's the busiest time of the year. After Easter crowds thin out quite a bit but pick up a little when school lets out in the summer - it's still Low Season so you should see too many crowds. The slowest time is between late August and the middle of November - It's peak hurricane season then so there's few tourist and some resorts close for maintenance and staff vacations.
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 07:12 PM
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Thanks again RoamsAround.. So of the resorts you know of in my package budget, are there any that stick out as far a the pool/hot tub area with pool side or swim up bar and a beautiful beach that you can actually see where you walking through the water?

I saw one on youtube that i can not remember the name of but i really liked it.. One of the things that stuck out to me was in the video people were walking around with alcoholic drinks in clear plastic cups with a lid and the resorts name on the side.

This stuck out because all the other videos i saw of different resorts were using normal hard plastic cups, I know its a long shot but maybe the Cup description will give it away to one of you regulars..
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 04:54 AM
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You should be able to find an all inclusive in the Riviera Maya within your budget.
Look into the Barceló Maya complex and the Iberostar Paraiso Lindo. Both are large all inclusive resorts with great pools and beaches and good services.
Most adults only all inclusive resorts will be outside your budget.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 05:09 AM
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Sorry, I'm way beyond "All Inclusives" - haven't actually stayed in one in over 25 years's so I can't recommend any particular one. I suggest you do first hand research -by visiting the websites for the resorts that interest you - most times that will give you a good feel for the amenities at any given resort.

I don't mean to sound condescending but you are young (in your 30's), this is your first time traveling outside the US and you have a somewhat limited budget. It's natural for young people in your position to gravitate toward "All Inclusives" - you pay a fixed price, get all your food, drinks and activities all in one package. It makes for a stress free vacation. As you travel more your tastes will probably change, your travel budget will grow and you'll be looking more toward non-AI's as you'll have greater flexibility in where you go, where you dine and what you end up doing. That said, some people (in all age groups) love AI's but I'm not one of them - I'm almost 2.5 times as old as you - so I'll leave the AI's to the younger crowd.

Have fun on your trip.
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Old Mar 16th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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For me the All-Inclusive choice has nothing to do with age. At least for me I've never stayed at them, not in my 20's, not later on.

A couple general comments I think the budget is low for the amount of *wow* factor your expecting. Plus side I think you get more bang for your buck in Mexico than in the Caribbean, so from your list I'd go with Mayan Riviera. There's lots of all different types of AI's around the Playa del Carmen stretch of the coast. Some walking distance into town, some further out.
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Old Mar 17th, 2014, 04:00 AM
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Check out the Grand Palladium in Riviera Maya, and look into staying in the "royal" section. Beautiful rooms, huge private jacuzzis on your own deck, private adult only pools, 14 different restaurants, gorgeous beach area, it has everything you are looking for, and we did 8 nights in the Royal section for just under 3K, which included EVERYTHING. They even gave us bottles of booze for the room, along with beer, etc. If you want to relax, and think about nothing for a week, this place has it all.
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 07:26 AM
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Everything depends on what someone expects. With your budget and intention to book an AI, I would suggest you set your expectations fairly low.

Just don't expect a champagne experience on a beer budget. AI is not known for fine dining.

From your list I would choose Mexico. For the best area I would suggest somewhere around Tulum or Akumal. I would avoid Cancun like the plague. Visit Tulum and Xel-ha.
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 07:03 PM
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"With your budget and intention to book an AI, I would suggest you set your expectations fairly low. Just don't expect a champagne experience on a beer budget. AI is not known for fine dining."

Oh my, this is so completely untrue. I have been to over 15 AI resorts throughout the Mexico and the Caribbean. I will be happy to assist you with any questions.

Most of the posters responding to your question do not have experience with AI resorts, and some of the responses you have received are not all that accurate.

With a budget of $5,000, you will most definitely find very nice AI resorts that offer what you are looking for. You may have to choose a lower category room, but that still gets you on the property. Mexico resorts tend to be less expensive than the DR, at least from our departure point in Texas (we are closer to Mexico) it is for us. Mexico does offer way more things to see and do off property than the DR.

The dining options at the nicer, more lux resorts tend to have buffets as well as multiple ala cart restaurants to chose from. The better hotels has no reservations required. Just walk in like you would at home and wait to be seated. They also tend to serve the better quality name brand liquors. We have found good food at AI's, and we don't stay at the most high end lux AI resorts. We go middle of the road. In some instances, better than what we found off property at the local establishments.

For avoiding large crowds, go with an Adults/Couple only resort. Avoid January through the end of April. We tend to go the 3rd week of May and within the first 2 weeks of November or December. We have found the pools way too cold on the Caribbean side of Mexico in November and December and go to the West Coast side instead where heated pools are common.

In Mexico, look at the Royal Playa del Carmen, the Iberostars, the Secrets, the El Dorados, and the Excellance resorts.

Here's a good list of AI resorts in Mexico. Concentrate on the Playa del Carmen area.

http://www.mexicoallinclusive.com/me...ve_resorts.cfm
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 07:36 AM
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I'm also looking for a gorgeous beach vacation in May. One resort I'm now interested in is the Club Med Columbus Isle, in the Bahamas, on less-populated San Salvador. It might be adult-only, and is smallish, with good reviews and awesome water activities included.
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Old Mar 19th, 2014, 08:32 AM
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tabernash2, I don't think it's adults only

"it doesn't have kids clubs so less children" says one TA review
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