Where oh where in the Caribbean?

May 12th, 2006, 07:11 AM
  #1  
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Where oh where in the Caribbean?

Hi. I apologize for my ignorance, but my education on the Caribbean islands extends only as far as what I have read here and online. I'll try not to make my question too vague.
Husband and I (mid-thirties, no kids) would like to take a short trip just to get away July 4th w/e to SOMEWHERE in the Caribbean. We will only have 3-4 days. We really aren't sure which island to visit, but this is what we would like, so perhaps someone here with vast knowledge and Caribbean travels can help send us in the right direction...
-we want a relatively easy destination to get to-once we land in the airport, a quick transfer since our time is short.
-beautiful beaches to relax on..we are not snorkelers or divers but like the water.
-we don't want to have to rent a car to get to a great beach, and a few good bars, restaurants. We'd like to just stay put in one place with enough to do for 3-4 days.
-Accommodations - under $200/night - does not need to be fancy, but would like to be on the beach, or close enough to walk. A villa is fine. Resort with nice pool a plus.
-Not too crowded.
-favorable weather predictions for that time of year.

Please advise of your considerations/recommendations for us - would like to book soon.
Many thanks in advance, VERY MUCH appreciated!


michelina01 is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 08:53 AM
  #2  
 
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Try not to be so overwhelmed. The task is not as daunting as it seems. First, do concern yourself about the weather. It doesn't vary much throught the Caribbean at that time of year but you must realize no one can guarantee you'll have perfect weather - after all you are talking about mother nature.

Your next step is to select an island. Since you don't say where you are travelling from you should look at islands you can reach non-stop from your city or country of departure. Those will generally be (listed from north to south) Bermuda, Nassau, Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos (these three are not really in the Caribbean), Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Grand Caymen, Cancun, Cozemel, St. Thomas, St. Martin, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia and Aruba.

What you really have to decide is which island you can get to in the least amount of time. For starters check out air schedules to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cancun and Antigua. You'll find plenty of resort options in your price range on those islands and they are ideal spots for first time Caribbean visitors because they all offer plenty of activities usually in close proximity to the hotel. Keep in mind that, by definition, resorts and hotels that are within walking distance lots of restaurants, beach bars, and activities are usually going to be more crowded. Places that are "secluded" won't have too many off site amenities within walking distance - think about it - tourist supported business go where the tourists are - so fewer tourists mean fewer amenities. Don't get too worried because you'll find that many resorts are laid out so you get the feeling of seclusion even though they are in more populated areas.

Good luck.
A_Traveller is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 10:11 AM
  #3  
 
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I agree with previous poster that you should first figure out where you can fly to non-stop. It will narrow down your choices and make them seem less overwhelming.
You should tell us where you are flying from. U.S. presumably? Which state/airport?
The easiest flights are typically to the Bahamas (not in the Caribbean but still lovely getaway), Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and even Grand Cayman island.

My husband and I have done a short weekend getaway at the Westin at Our Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island. We really liked it (beautiful beach and great infinity-edge pools) but it was about 3 years ago, so I don't know how the hotel is these days.
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin...and=&links=all

We've been to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was not impressed with the beaches of San Juan so I would not recommend if you're looking for that white sand/blue water beach. My understanding is that the beaches in Culebra/Vieques are gorgeous but that would involve more travel time for you.

We have not been to Punta Cana but we've been eyeing this one resort if you want to check it out: www.puntacana.com

We haven't been to Jamaica either. However, we're going in August and staying in Negril. Staying in Negril involves an hour or so drive from the Montego Bay airport so I'm not sure that you want to do that. But 1 popular hotel for couples in Negril: www.rockhousehotel.com
We'll be staying at:
www.idleawhile.com

Turks and Caicos is another option. Popular couples places: www.capjuluca.com and www.gracebayclub.com
My husband and I will be staying at Grace Bay Club at the end of September for our anniversary.

You can go to Trip Advisor and check out reviews of all those places.
Good luck.



caribtraveler is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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I realize that I gave you some pricey places for the Turks & Caicos choices. There are places there that are more reasonably priced if that's where you'd like to.
caribtraveler is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Where are you flying from? That makes a difference inre to the time factor. My first thought was Curacao which is deep in the Caribbean. There are some good beach areas, it shouldn't be too crowded at all and its not that big so a car is not necessary. Aruba is also another good choice if you are not too far away in the states to accomodate the time frame you want. Another iddea is the Playa Del Carmen area in Mexico. Lots of AI's there. What is your departure point?
jacketwatch is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 10:50 AM
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I forgot to add that Aruba and Curacao are practically outside the hurricane belt. Bad weather is rare there.
jacketwatch is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Actually Cao Juluca is not on Provo Turks and Caicos but on Anguilla. On Provo there are lots of places to stay, Grace Bay Club, Royal West Indies, The Sands, Ocean club and ocean club west and Coral Gardens to name a few. Check out www.whenwherehow.com the on line magazine of the Turks and Caicos. Check out www.skyauction.com where Comfort Inn and Suites and The Sands are at auction. Where are you flying from ??

To Caribtraveler---The place you are looking at in Punta Cana is also at auction on www.skyauction.com. If you are over 55 they also have a seniors special package that sounds good. We are going to Punta Cana to Sivory 7-14 June. Won a luxury link auction. It is about one hour out of Punta Cana. Have been to PC before. Stayed at Paradisus. Nice place but large and touristy
HowardC is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 11:03 AM
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HowardC: Duh to me! I can't believe I put Cap Juluca on T&C since I sure know it's on Anguilla. I have NO idea what I was thinking (obviously I was not).
And I just love how you travel with all your LL wins! Please let us know how Punta Cana is. I still haven't tried LL but I plan to. We're not quite over 55 yet.
caribtraveler is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Caribtraveler--I know the person who handles the US marketing for the place in Punta Cana you are looking at. Can put you in touch with her if you decide to go. If you go to LL you can see the Sivory package and web site. I really got a good deal Will post a trip report when we get back.
HowardC is offline  
May 12th, 2006, 01:27 PM
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Provo T&C - Sibbone or Royal west indies
mnag is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 04:42 AM
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For a quick trip at a low-key resort without weather concerns, you might check Aruba...Divi hotel. We have stayed there 3 times and always had a great time. Unknown to us until we saw them there once, some friends have been going to the Tam for many years each Christmas.It is all inclusive with the Tamarijn hotel within walking distance (or their golf-cart shuttle) next door. The thing to look for with all inclusives is enough restaurants so you are not stuck with the same food for your 4 days. Besides the buffet restaurants, there is at least one other at each of the 2 resorts. The beach is nice, one pool, water sports included, rafts, towels, etc., easy to win and fun to watch bingo (with tee shirt prizes or wine) around the pool, and a casino in walking distance or golf-cart shuttle. They also have things like an island band in the evenings outdoors, and sometimes an island dancing exhibition which makes for an interesting night. An inexpensive bus right in front of the hotel gets you downtown for shopping if you want to, and, of course, there are tours available and cars to rent. Aruba also has great restaurants, but I agree with you that for a quick trip, staying put allows it to be more restful. The price might be higher than $200, but you get all your food unlimited, as well as drinks. I hope this helps.
Check this site
www.diviaruba.com/
toppy is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 05:04 AM
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One of the things I look for in an AI is the variety of restaurants. If you have several to choose from then its more palatable. However for Aruba we prefer non AI because of the very good selections of restaurants on that island. JM2C. Larry
jacketwatch is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 05:52 AM
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HowardC: That's so nice of you. Thanks. I don't know that PC is in the near future. We're all booked for vacations this year and next year we're thinking all French islands (I think I mentioned that to you in another post). But one never knows so I may take you up on it. Thanks again!

I agree with Jacketwatch's outlook for AI. It's a great thing if the island is not known for good restaurants and if the resort has a good variety of restaurants. It's a bit of shame to do AI if the island is known for good food and lots of good restaurants. Just my opinion too.
caribtraveler is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 06:30 AM
  #14  
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Sorry all, I did forget to mention where I was flying from! Atlanta. I had been considering Anguilla for the beautiful beach reviews, but I think I'd want to tack on an extra day, as getting there a a little hassle - having to fly into St. Maarten and trasferring and all. Caribtraveler, Punta Cana looks WONDERFUL online and terrific prices. If it is easy to get to, I am going to look into it...I imagine the beaches to be comparable in beauty to those in Anguilla. What great info you all have given me. Many, many thanks.
michelina01 is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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If you are flying from Atlanta I strongly recommend Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos. Delta flies direct. About a 2 1/2 hour flight. Although I love the beaches on Anguilla Grace Bay beach is the best beach I have ever seen. Great restaurants too so don't lock yourself into an AI.
HowardC is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 07:13 AM
  #16  
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Yes, I have been considering T & C. Any recommendations for reasonable lodging under $200/night?
michelina01 is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 09:43 AM
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We have stayed at The Palms, and The Sands at Grace Bay for our 3 separate trips. I can't recall but I think there is a shuttle to a grocery store, and busses you can use for a restaurant, although we rented a car.We enjoyed both places, although we found the water quite cold when we went (Feb and Dec, better in April) It should be nice for you...I love warm water so others might think the Dec temp was fine.
(By the way, the only reason I mentioned the AI in Aruba is because you said you did not want to rent a car, only had 3-4 days, and wanted to stay put with restaurants within walking distance. Aruba has some great restaurants we went to with our rental car, but we enjoyed being able to stay put for breakfast, lunches and some of our dinners, plus we love being able to get a snack round the clock, not to mention all our drinks. After dancing (or whatever)we found it great to get pizza from the grill after midnight or whatever seafood we wanted. Sorry if I offended the AI haters here...didn't mean to!)
toppy is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 10:15 AM
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Toppy: That's just annoying. Nowhere in my post have I said I hate AIs and that your post offended me. And fyi, I have done AIs. I don't want to speak for Jacketwatch but I don't see anything in his 2 posts that states he hates AIs and that you offended him as well.
Now if you post back saying "Sorry if I annoyed you!", that'd be a correct assessment of this last post of mine.

caribtraveler is offline  
May 13th, 2006, 11:10 AM
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I recommend looking at Sibonne and Caribbean Paradise Inn for rates around $200/night. Sibonne is sort of a small boutique resort on the beach. They do have an apartment with kitchen that I think goes for about $300 but there are two suites below the apartment that are called either executive or premier which would work. Bay Bistro at Sibonne is a very good restaurant and there are a couple of more within walking distance. Caribbean Paradise Inn is behind Grace Bay Club and just renovated. About a 300 yard walk to the beach. Has a pool, no retsaurant but I think they do breakfast. Within walking distance of Ports of Call Shopping Plaza where there are about three restaurants. There is a Comfort Inn and Suites at Ports of Call which is nice. About 500 yards to beach. Has a pool. The Sands might work too in a studio suite. next to Sibonne. Nice pool, Hemmingways is a good restaurant. About a mile walk to Ports of Call. Again check out www.skyauction.com for the Comfort Suites/Sands auction.
HowardC is offline  
May 18th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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You might try the Jolly Beach Resort in Antigua. It is not fancy but very clean and comfortable right on a great beach. We stayed a full week and found it to be a great value. They have an all inclusive option too. There are 2-3 restaraunts in the resort and more across the street at the marina. There's also a casino at the marina if you like to gamble.
Amesclao is offline  

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