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St. Thomas, Turks & Caicos or riviera maya ?

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Apr 21st, 2014, 03:10 PM
  #1
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St. Thomas, Turks & Caicos or riviera maya ?

We are trying to book a trip for 2 families (10 adults)with college aged kids in May. Thinking about st. Thomas(ritz Carlton villas), Turks & Caicos (house), or Riviera Maya(all inclusive)? We are looking to snorkel and do a fun excursion, but mostly just chill on the beach. The cost is roughly going about to be about the same. Which would you choose?
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Apr 21st, 2014, 08:45 PM
  #2
KVR
 
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Those are really diverse destinations as well as types of vacations. I have been to St. Thomas and T & C once and Mexico several times with another trip booked for next month. I really can't see the cost being about the same. We go to Mexico AI's because the price is so much less expensive than doing a none AI vacation in the Caribbean with regards to cost of flight, hotel, excursions, food and drinks. I guess with several people chipping in for the accomendations and food/drink costs that can make a difference.

You can snorkel, do fun excursions and chill at the beach in each of those destinations. It really depends on what type of vacation you are looking for. Having been to all 3, my choice will always be an AI hotel in Mexico. T & C has a fabulous beach, but there is not much else to there beside water related activities. St. Thomas was OK, but I didn't feel all that "safe" there. Not a destination I would want to return to. Most people will tell you to skip St. Thomas and head to St. John instead.
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Apr 22nd, 2014, 04:10 AM
  #3
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Thanks for the reply KVR. Is there a particular AI that you would recommend in Mexico? Is there an area that you prefer? We have been looking at the Riviera Maya area, but are open to suggestions. Would love to find really good food- and a swimmable beach.
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Apr 22nd, 2014, 04:58 AM
  #4
 
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Without hesitation due to the diverse group you have I would choose Maya Riviera. I have stayed in T&C and as KVR said it plain and simple it is way to quiet there for my taste. St. Thomas has issues. Many more options in Mexico.
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Apr 22nd, 2014, 05:04 AM
  #5
WWK
 
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If you're sure that you mostly want to "snorkel and do a fun excursion and mostly chill on the beach", I think Provo would be fine. Grace Bay Beach is one of the most spectacular beaches in the Caribbean. I love it there. But keep in mind that there's little else other than the beach and water sports, hardly any excursions, and almost no shopping. And it can be pricey for food.

I really like Mexico, too, but the beaches I've seen there- Cancun and Playa Del Carmen- don't hold a candle to Grace Bay Beach. That being said, there's much more to do and great, reasonably priced food.

Good luck with your choice!
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Apr 22nd, 2014, 05:05 AM
  #6
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Oh, and I totally agree with KVR. Not a fan of St. Thomas! Did really enjoy St. John.
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Apr 22nd, 2014, 07:31 AM
  #7
KVR
 
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There are so many AI resorts in that area. Here is a link to a list to help your research:

http://www.mexicoallinclusive.com/me...ve_resorts.cfm

I would avoid the RIU's. They are a low budget family resort chain and you truly get what you pay for. I know more about the adult/couple only resorts, but check out the Iberostars and Barcelos. They get the best reviews for family vacations.

5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen is several blocks of pedestrian walk way with tons of bars, restaurants, shops and entertainment. We like to stay as close to it so we can get the best of both worlds. There are not many AI resorts in that area and I agree with WWK, that the beach in that area is not that great. Go further out and it does get better. Several of the AI's in that area are set 20 minutes or more outside of Playa del Carmen. That is why there are so many AI resorts. There is literally nothing else around. You can take a cab, collective or a hotel shuttle to/from Playa del Carmen.

Some of the hotels do not sit on the best areas of beach, but that does make it more conducive for snorkeling. Fish like the rocks and grass to hide in. Though Grace Bay in T & C is a fabulous beach, the snorkeling there is not. Snorkeling from the resort area of Mexico is not that great either except in Cozumel. You really need to take a boat excursion and go to one of the reefs by Maroma Beach, Puerto Morelos or the Ka'an Sian Biosphere. There are many excursions to the Akumel Beach Resort where you can swim with the turtles. The best beaches in the Riviera Maya is Maroma Beach, the Tulum area and the Akumel area.
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Apr 22nd, 2014, 10:22 AM
  #8
 
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My vote is for an AI in the Riviera Maya. Although the beaches in Cancun are gorgeous and the area is much closer to the airport, we prefer to stay south of Play Del Carmen. My favorite AI is the Grand Palladium - heading back there again in November. The Barcelo has a great set up with the pools being beach front, but my heart belongs to the Palladium!

With a diverse group, I don't think you can go wrong with an AI. We tried the house/villa thing, but who wants to cook, clean, rent cars, try to get 10 people ready for dinner at the same time, AGREE on the same restaurant, etc.

Although not my favorite vacation destination, we find the AIs allow us better family time and relaxation.

PS A couple years ago we stayed in an AI in Costa Rica and enjoyed white water rafting, zip lining, volcanic mud baths, horseback riding, beach volleyball, body surfing, monkies, sunset sails ... not the great snorkeling but definitely an adventure!
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Apr 22nd, 2014, 04:31 PM
  #9
 
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We are going to Riviera Maya for the first time this summer, staying at the Grand Palladium. Never done AI before. Looking forward to beach, ruins, cenotes!
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Apr 22nd, 2014, 07:20 PM
  #10
 
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STT isn't as great as it once was. The Ritz is is not convenient to anything except perhaps the hotel section. You need a car and the driving is challenging to say the least,left side of road with No. American cars!!! Narrow roads and less than cautious drivers. I just came back and was no longer impressed but the place has been going downhill for the last 6 to 8 years,,Used to be wonderful but no longer.
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