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Travelling Aug 20...trying to chose between DR, Jamaica, Aruba, T&C

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Jul 5th, 2011, 10:18 AM
  #1
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Travelling Aug 20...trying to chose between DR, Jamaica, Aruba, T&C

My wife and I and another couple are planning a trip for approx 5-6 nights the week of Aug 20 to the Caribbean. This is a special trip for both couples as my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29 (2 months after our 1 year annivesary) and this will be our first trip since we've received the "all clear" from the docs. As for the other couple that is going with us, the husband has just been called back up to active duty and received orders for Sept 2011 (which has caused the short time frame on our planning). I have been doing some research on places and feel like I've narrowed it down. We are looking for an AI that is truly an AI....we went to Sandals for our honeymoon and that was perfect. We arrived, I put my wallet in the safe in the room, and I didn't need it again until we left the resort. We'd like a resort that offers nice pools, crystal clear ocean, and some nice choices for sit down dinner at night. Night life and activities are not very important, we just want to lay on the beach or by the pool and have someone bring us a drink while we just relax.

I started with Punta Cana as the place I was focusing on but have recently added Jamaica to the list as well. Aruba has been thrown in and out of the mix several times (in based on low risk of weather and safety of the tourist areas....out due to the reports of "desert type island" and "too Americanized"). The other couple have done some research and added Turks and Caicos and Bermuda to the list of options. They have ruled out all Mexico locations. Can anyone offer specific advice on any of these locations to narrow our list down or recommend a resort at a location that would fit our wish list...almost forgot, budget is approx $2,500 per couple....could go as high as $3,500 if necessary to really have a great celebration/fairwell vacation. flights would be small connection into Atlanta and then on from there. thanks
jcarroll is offline  
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Jul 5th, 2011, 10:31 AM
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I don't think you're going to find a true AI experience in Bermuda.
Does your budget include your airfare?
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Jul 5th, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Personally I love Jamaica, but August would be really hot, humid, and the rainy season, so probably wouldn't recommend it for this particular trip.
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Jul 5th, 2011, 01:36 PM
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thanks, we'll strike Bermuda off the list. Yes the budget does include airfare. Most everything i've found so far has been between $1,000 and $1,500 per person.
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Jul 6th, 2011, 01:18 PM
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Too bad they ruled out all Mexico locations because you could find just what you are looking for in the Riviera Maya.
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Jul 6th, 2011, 03:40 PM
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I wouldn't go to Jamaica in August. Our visits at that time of the year were often wrecked by really hot, muggy weather, and lots of bugs.

Aruba will probably have the best weather and if all you want to do is "lay on the beach or at the pool and have someone bring us a drink while we relax" I don't know why it would matter that is pretty Americanized.

Lastly, agree with the other poster who said it's a shame that you won't consider Mexico, although weather in Cancun could be similar to Jamaica. There are such great deals there for AI's, beautiful beaches, and not at all scary/dangerous in the big tourist destinations. Very misreported, I think!

Good luck!
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Jul 6th, 2011, 04:54 PM
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Your not going to find AI's in Bermuda nor Turks & Cacios for that budget.

I agree that Mexico will have everything you are looking for. Having been to 2 Sandals and several AI resorts in Mexico, you will get nicer resorts, better accomendations, food, service and price than any Sandals. It will be very hot and humid in Mexico and Jamaica in August. Also, buy the trip/hurricane insurance.

You will not find a AI resort like Sandals in Aruba. Most are small modest hotels with AI plan options. There is RIU and Occidential that are going to be more "true" AI resorts, but both allow kids and will not be up to a Sandal's standard. Aruba has tons of really nice restaurants and bars and part of the vacation experience there is trying as many as you can, so I would not even recommend AI there.

If you want AI and the standard of a Sandals, I would suggest Sandals Whitehouse outside of Negril or the Jewell Dunn's River in Ocho Rios. Look at Couples also in Negril and Ocho Rios.

We've been to 14 AI resorts all through Mexico and the Caribbean. I have all our pictures posted. If your interested, you may find something that is what you are looking for:

http://community.webshots.com/user/kvrlvn
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Jul 6th, 2011, 05:02 PM
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Mexico really does offer more of what you want and with a possibility of meeting your budget.

Jamaica in August is brutal.
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Jul 6th, 2011, 07:10 PM
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ok, i feel like you're twisting my arm....can you recommend a nice place in riviera maya that would meet our hopes/expectations. i'll try and persuade the other couple to change their mind
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Jul 6th, 2011, 07:28 PM
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Not Riviera Maya, but if you can keep an open mind about Cancun, look at LIVE AQUA. We had one of the best vacations of our entire lives there last winter. I can't believe I'm saying that, either, since I'm such a fan of Jamaica and other islands, but it blew them all out of the water (ha!) in terms of price, unbelievable accommodations, service, and luxury. Have fun!
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Jul 7th, 2011, 05:11 AM
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To meet your budget and give you an adults only, relaxing experience without children running around.....look into the Catalonia Royal Tulum. It is an adults only all inclusive on a fantastic stretch of beach. It doesn not have the "glitz" of some of the other resorts.
Don't know if your budget includes your flights or if they are already paid. If your flights are already paid and you can find a good deal....lookk into Iberostar Paraiso Grand, Secrets Capri, Secrets Maroma, Valintin Imperial Maya, Excellence Riviera Cancun,. All are adults only all inclusive resorts in the Riviera Maya.
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Jul 7th, 2011, 09:35 AM
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I have been to all of those islands in almost every month of the year, I would suggest The RIU Palace on Aruba, it never gets too too hot because of the constant trade winds. and it is located on the famous Palm Beach, which is one of the highest rated beaches in the caribbean, and the world. Also aruba is not just desserty in side the resorts, and on the beach, all the trees are so lush and it is beautifully landscaped. and there are not alot of kids running around. there is a huge pool with a swim up bar. the resort is all inclusive.and the restaurants are top notch!
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Jul 7th, 2011, 11:01 AM
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I agree with schmerl and will thrown in the El Dorado Maroma and the Royal Playa del Carmen.
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Jul 14th, 2011, 07:38 PM
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We stayed in Playa del Carmen back in November and felt COMPLETELY safe. There was police all over the place, for starters. We stayed at the Blue Parrot Hotel (the one on the beach). It was a different type of stay. It was a split location- condos were down the street from the main office and restaraunt/night club. We did not do AI, and really enjoyed the inexpensive mexican cuisine all over town.
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Jul 15th, 2011, 09:19 AM
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Having been to 3 of the 4 places you mentioned in your original post here's what I recommend

Turks and Caicos- My favorite- just went there on my honeymoon last month!(and I am Jamaican)- but you will not get an AI on that budget there as it is very pricey

Aruba- have not been

Jamaica- my home country- TONS of AI's to choose from and most within your budget! yes it will be hot in August BUT its the Caribbean so it's to be expected

Punta Cana- just spent a month there in April- again lots of AI's to choose from and somewhat affordable. But the beaches are NOT the best- you can find better beaches in Jamaica.

Let me know if you have any more questions!
God Bless
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