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Which island would be best?

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Jun 28th, 2012, 08:44 AM
  #1
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Which island would be best?

Hello.

I am planning a vacation for my boyfriend and I, we are both in our mid 20's. We would like to travel to the Caribbean as neither of us have been. We are looking to spend about $1300-1500 each on airfare & accommodations.

All we really want to do is stay on the beach & hang at laid back beach bars. Maybe get out and explore the island a day or too, but our main agenda is just to relax on the beach. We want to go out to dinner on the island in the evening, but not spend a fortune. Also, we would like our hotel/condo/resort to be beach front if at all possible.

I was pretty sold on St. Marteen as of a few days ago, but can't decide if this would be the best place for us? If so, where should we stay, which beach area etc?

There are so many wonderful places to visit, we are having a hard time making up our minds!

Any advise/help would be much appreciated!!
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Jun 28th, 2012, 09:23 AM
  #2
 
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You don't say where you are traveling from and what time of year you'll be traveling and those two factors will have a big bearing on how far your budget goes. $1,300 to $1,500 per person is not a very big budget. You could easily spend 1/3 to 1/2 of that just on airfare.

Look at the Dominican Republic, Cancun and Playa del Carmem (45 minute drive south of Cancun) as they are traditionally the least expensive destinations to reach and amount the least expensive for accommodations.
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Jun 28th, 2012, 09:34 AM
  #3
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We are thinking of traveling the first week of November 4-11.

Also, we are traveling from Missouri, I understand this will have a large impact on cost and we are also looking in to driving to Chicago seeing as there are cheaper flights from larger airports.

Thanks for your suggestions!
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Jun 28th, 2012, 05:48 PM
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I think St. Maartin/St. Martin would be great for you. You could stay on the Dutch side, I would stay in a condo on Simpson Beach...the condos are all beach front, the beach is long, there is a great bar called Karacters you could walk to, there is a boutique hotel called Mary's Boon that has a honor bar and a nice patio restaurant...and there is Simpson Bay loaded with restaurants...Pineapple Petes, Toppers, Lee's Roadhouse Grill to name a few. If you are interested, www.caribbeandays.com....Maria will take good care of you.

You could also stay on the french side - Orient Beach has the best beach on St. Martin....tons of beach bars with good restaurants...and you could go to Grand Case - which has fine dining great restaurants...you could do a day trip to Pinel Island, etc.

The only problem is your budget...airfares are ridiculously high...the airfare is fine, but the fuel surcharge, TSA security fee - and all of the other fees are outrageous. I would for sure check out flights/fares from Chicago.

If you have specific questions on St. Maarten, let us know.
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Jun 29th, 2012, 04:06 AM
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your budget is tight for caribbean travel. i would think st. martin would be pretty expensive for you, although air is around $550 from chi.

a trip you could easily manage is chi to cancun on airtran, american or united - nonstop for approx $570. there is a small all inclusive in the town of akumal (45 mins south of cancun) - http://www.akumalbeachresort.com/en/
an ai will allow you to Know how much your trip will cost before you leave home. you could eat all your meals there & of course cocktails are included too. abr is on a super nice beach that offers good walkin snorkeling. abr is 5-10 mins walk into the small & delightful town of akumal with some shops & a few bars & restaurants. you can book a king ocean view for $917. you'd still have money to use to dine or drink out of the club when you choose a/or go on an excursion. tons of options for to do's from touring mayan ruins to ziplining.
here's a web cam from a restaurant just down the beach from abr: http://www.locogringo.com/Upload/akumal-beach-cam.html

or find a resort near playa del carmen for a bigger more "happening" town.

this site is excellent for trip planning to this whole area: www.locogringo.com

(ps this entire area of mexico (maya riviera) is considered by the US state dept to be entirely safe unlike the west coast resort towns & border cities.)
hope this helps 8-)
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Jun 29th, 2012, 06:40 AM
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I'd look at Negril in Jamaica. You fly fly for about $430.00 out of chicago, a bit more out of St. Louis.

There are dozens of small hotels on the beach there. Food and drinks are relatively inexpensive.

We went two years ago, split our trip between the beach and a couple of nights up on the Cliffs. Like two vacations in one.
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Jun 29th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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Since you seem to be undecided about a destination, have you thought of a cruise. You could pick up one out of Miami or Puerto Rico and spend a day in several different islands that would give you a taste and perhaps whet your appetite for a future visit to one of them.
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Jul 2nd, 2012, 08:51 AM
  #8
 
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I would definitely recommend you to go to the Dominican Republic. I went with my husband last year and stayed at Gran Ventana Beach Resort, the prices are around what you are looking for. Also, you can check out Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, this one is a bit fancier. Good luck!
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Jul 2nd, 2012, 10:29 AM
  #9
KVR
 
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I have done many Carribean vacations for $3,000 total for air and hotel accomendations for 2 people. The key is picking the right hotel, booking the lowest catagory room and not expecting luxury.

From what you described, my first thought was Turks & Caicos. We stayed at the Sibonne for 6 nights and with air it was around $2,700 and I pay some the highest air rates out there.

Food and drinks can be expensive if you let it. Our hotel included an extended continential breakfast and eggs/breakfast meat could be added on for an additional $2 each.

I researched restaurants before going so I knew what they were charging upfront.

We tend to go to all inclusive resorts in Mexico the most. The best bang for your buck as resorts and air are much cheaper than the Caribbean, and since it includes food and drinks we don't have to worry about extra funds for that. Lots of options and $3,000 there will get you a much nicer resort with more dining options and amenities than any of the Caribbean Islands.
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