Honeymoon Trip in Beginning of October

Jan 16th, 2007, 07:33 PM
  #1  
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Honeymoon Trip in Beginning of October

Hi all,

Me and my fiance are planning our honeymoon and looking for help. We will be leaving on Oct 8th, 2007 for approx. 7 days/8 nights (this is flexible though). We were mainly looking at the Caribbean but are definitely interested in Hawaii as well. We would very much like to avoid going to Mexico just so we can do something a little more exotic.

Our budget is in the $3,500-$4,500 range and we want this to include our flight, hotel and food/drinks. We really would love to do the all-inclusive since we did this in Nueva Vallarta Mexico at the Occidental Hotel and found it to be incredibly fun. We love the whole swim-up bar idea!

We want to stay at a place that has the very clear water, white sand beaches and a beautiful bedroom. The Occidental Nueva Vallarta didn't have any of those. We also want to have the option to do about 2-3 fun day trips during our stay (e.g. rainforest, snorkeling trip, volcano, ruins, etc...) It seems like Mexico has a lot more of these types of trips than the Caribbean though. Hawaii does seem to have tons of great trips but I don't know if we can swing it for $3,500 - $4,500.

We have looked at the Bucuti resort in Aruba ( http://www.bucuti.com ) which seems to have a perfect beach but it seems like Aruba doesn't have too much for day trips. The Bucuti's Tara Beach Suite is an absolutely ideal type of room though! The main issue with Bucuti is that it isn't all-inclusive which is a huge bummer to us. We loved having a drink or snack whenever we want it!

Does anyone have any specific resort recommendations that could cater to all of our needs? I know the hurricane thing might limit us, but we would probably be willing to risk it and then get the travel insurance.

Bottom line...we're looking for:

1. Beautiful, clear water and white/pink sand beaches
2. All Inclusive resort
3. Beautiful room (e.g. Bucuti Tara beach suites)
4. $3,500-$4,500 TOTAL price range for flight, hotel, food/drinks (if it was the greatest sounding thing in the world we would MAYBE go higher)
5. 2-3 day trip options

Thanks in advance for any recommendations or tips! I'll post back on here what we decide for anyone else that has a similar situation.
bluesphee is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 04:04 AM
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My fiance and I....

If you want AI, then Mexico and/or the Caribbean is where to look. You've already asked the question on the C board. That (and some research reading the many honeymoon posts on the C board) should help you pick "your" place in the C.

Congrats and best wishes.
starrsville is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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Keep in mind that October is still Caribbean hurricane season, and a storm early in the season could have destroyed the resort, too. This will also affect water clarity.

Very few AI's in Hawaii, and the ones there are really aren't good value...
ChristieP is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 06:45 AM
  #4  
Ag3046
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Where are you flying from? If your budget includes flights, it is helpful to tell us your departure city. You don't need an AI in Hawaii. My guess is that the Caribbean is more suited to your needs.
 
Jan 17th, 2007, 08:20 AM
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Some may think it's a bit cheesy, but Sandals in St. Lucia probably satisfies most of your criteria. Nice resort, nice rooms (especially if you get one with your own plunge pool) , all-inclusive, within your budget, swim-up bars, clear water, white sand beaches, and St. Lucia is a fairly lush island (as far as the Caribbean goes). They have cool local festivals on Friday nights, a dormant-volcano, sulfer springs, good snorkeling and diving (the best is near Anse Chastanet) and the beautiful Piton Mountains. The resort also caters to honeymooners and has lots of activities/entertainment for couples.
JarredK is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 09:31 AM
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Sorry I just have to weigh in here...I know a lot of people go to St.Lucia and love it but it sounds like you want 2-3 day trips and there's really not that much to do in St. Lucia! Even going to the major "cities" is not very exciting and also, the panhandlers in St. Lucia are the worst because of the island's economy (which is REALLY bad) and the socioeconomic distribution between rich and poor is immense. You will find this many other places throughout the Caribbean other than St.Lucia but unless you're planning to go to St. Lucia, hole up in your resort and never come out, I'm not sure this is the island for you. I think Hawaii makes much more sense but depending on where you live (East vs. West Coast) it may be out of your reach financially. I vote for Mexico.
lmoneylsauce is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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ChristieP - I don't think there are any AI's in Hawaii...
kamahinaohoku is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 11:02 AM
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In reply to lmoneylsauce - while everyone is entitled to their opinion, I wholeheartedly disagree with her opinion of St. Lucia. I've been to probably over 15 islands in the Caribbean and outside of a few (Grand Cayman and Bermuda for example) most are extremely poverty stricken once you leave the resort. Also, most Caribbean islands have very little to do culture-wise outside of water-based activities, beach, and eating. I actually think that St. Lucia has a lot more to offer in terms of activities than many of the other islands, due to its topographical diversity (beach, sulfer springs, volcano, fairly good snorkling/diving) and villages (I didn't find panhandlers a problem and they have fun festivals on Friday nights).

Of course, I would prefer Hawaii but, with your budget, St. Lucia just seemed to land right in-line with your criteria. I don't know what the AI options are, but you may also want to look into Playa del Carmen or Cabo San Lucas if you want to take the Mexico route. Both places have beautiful beaches, clear water, and plenty to do topside (Mayan ruins/jungle from Playa del Carmen; ATV tours, quaint towns, bull-fighting, world-class golf courses, sportfishing in Cabo).
JarredK is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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I feel far safer in St. Lucia than Jamaica. I don't care for AIs, but St. Lucia offers excellent options - both AI or not.
starrsville is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 11:22 AM
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There is one AI in the Kona area of the Big Island...Kona Village, I think.
ChristieP is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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Even though you want something more exotic than Mexico, it really fits the bill. We stayed at Playa del Carmen and there are many all-inclusives. Some day trips include- Mayan Ruins, cenote tours (swimming in open caverns), snorkeling tours, etc. For one week you could get a really nice All inclusive in your range, depending on where you are flying from. Don't forget unless you pick Hawaii, you will need a passport for the other locales. Good luck.
ilovetulips is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 12:32 PM
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ChristieP - Kona Village Resort's program does not include alcoholic drinks or sodas. Coffee, tea, iced tea and milk: yes, but not the others. So it's not really considered an AI.
kamahinaohoku is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 12:34 PM
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BTW - I called to confirm that with them before I posted.
kamahinaohoku is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 03:21 PM
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Thanks for all the responses! You are all great for taking the time to do so! Sorry about my response below being all over the place. Lots of things to consider here...

I'm in Milwaukee so I can fly directly out of Milwaukee or out of Chicago O'Hare. Either way is fine with us.

I have looked at St. Lucia and it does seem like the Sandals resorts are the best route to go but I will need to keep researching that. Any other non-Sandals resort recommendations? It seems like the Sandals Grande is the most luxurious/fun option but is kind of a rip off. The Sandals Regency falls into our price range better and seems to have an equal number of people that love it/hate it. Any feedback on that? I'll read through TripAdvisor too.

Hawaii sounds absolutely incredible and maybe we should not be so adamant about AI. I don't want to miss out on an incredible trip just for that. I will investigate more on Hawaii tonight and see what I come up with.

I checked flights to Big Island and they are $1750 for two people on Orbitz!!! Yikes! I'm not sure if Hawaii is doable on $4,500 but please tell me if I'm wrong! So far, Big Island and Kuaui seem to be other's favorite islands. Anymore comments on weather in Hawaii during early October (warm/rainy?) Are hurricanes ever really an issue there?

Thanks for the tip on the Kona Village non-alcoholic drinks! I didn't catch that on their website.

I guess based on the recommendations thus far I am wondering if anyone has any specific resort recommendations for Hawaii and St. Lucia in our $3,500-$4,500 price range. Assuming $4,500 for Hawaii, a $1,750 flight and an estimated $1,000 for food/drinks for a week, that only leaves us with $1750 for the resort! Is that enough for a romantic/beautiful place to stay?

As for Mexico, I will not completely rule it out, but if nothing is really getting us too excited in the Caribbean and the price is not right in Hawaii we may have to reconsider.
bluesphee is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 04:01 PM
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I think my pricing was way off base on Hawaii. I found out we could do the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa for $4,500 (oct 8-15th). This is definitely more than we would want to spend, but this is also an extremely gorgeous looking hotel. If we could find a hotel for about $750-$1000 less (total) then I'd really like to consider doing Hawaii! Of course that's not including any of the side trip costs or food/drinks though.
bluesphee is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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There are a lot of posts on this board by folks who stayed at condos - very nice condos - in Hawaii. You'll be saving a lot of money with your own booze in your room and breakfast/snack stuff to eat. Even if you don't cook and eat out, you'll probably come out as good or better than AIs. Often the food is not that good at AIs.
starrsville is offline  
Jan 17th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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IMHO, AI's are something you do when you're traveling to a country where you don't want to leave the resort (except on a snorkeling trip) for safety reasons. The food at AI's usually is not good, and the alcohol is rarely top shelf. IMHO, it is a total waste to do an AI in Hawaii because the locals are friendly and there are so many great things to do off the resort!

If you want a really nice AI in Playa del Caremn, Mexico, check out the Royal Hideaway or the Riu Palace. Both meet all of your criteria: swim-up bar, white sand beaches, fun day trips, etc. The only thing that may concern you is the risk of a hurricane in October.
ChristieP is offline  
Jan 21st, 2007, 11:45 AM
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I really like the Royal Hideaway but am concerned about the possibility of a hurricane. I also was very adamant about not going to Mexico, but this place does seem incredibly nice!

Hawaii has been dead end after dead end. I honestly can't figure out a good place to stay. Hawaii is very overwhelming IMO.
bluesphee is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2007, 08:49 AM
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Bluesphee,

I really felt I had to respond because you seem lost. I agree, Hawaii is very overwhelming! My husband and I have not yet been to Hawaii, but we are three weeks away from a vacation in Maui.

We honeymooned in St. Maarten in 2004 and HATED it. We chose the caribbean for the reasons you're using, and be advised that you will probably not want to leave your resort in the caribbean. It just isn't "pretty", in my opinion. Also, September/October is sill hurricane season and is the off season. We did not use an AI and had a hard time finding restaurants, etc. Probably lack of planning on our part.

As for Hawaii, we are going to Maui upon the recommendation of friends as well as previous posters. Maui is supposed to have a little bit of everything: scenery, shopping, good beaches, food, etc. There are 2 regions you may want to look into staying: Kaanapali (west coast) or Wailea (south coast). In October, either should be fine.

As for costs, I found airfare from $631 on expedia from Chicago to HNL (Honolulu) and you could take a short flight on interisland air when you arrive. Or, you could fly directly to Maui. Also, we used travel-hawaii.com to book our hotel, but they also book flights as well. THey are located in Hawaii and have been excellent answering all of our questions. Another plus, you can make payments as you go, so that might enable you to increase your budget a bit if you're anyting like me and can rationalize "a little bit here, a little bit there". If you spend 1200 (max) on flights and around 2,000 for hotel, that will give you 1,000 for food/shopping. We'll be staying at the Maui Sheraton in Kaanapali, and can give you a full report upon return.

Just keep in mind most of these posters have been to Hawaii numerous times and may take for granted that there are many newbies (like me) out there trying to week through all of the information posted! I hope this helps.
saxbe is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Hi I think saxbe has given some good info on Hawaii. I have never been but I know that some people have their heart set on it. One thing that I want to add is depending on what kind of wedding you are having (big elaborate or smaller and simple) and whether or not you leave the day after the wedding or not you may be feeling exhausted. My husband and I planned our entire wedding and we had a medium sized one (around 90 people). One great thing about going to Mexico is we could chill out at the hotel/beach and not plan too muc-where to eat, when should we leave to get there, what kind of transportation are we going to use,etc. With the All-inclusive everything was on site. When you travel to a place like Hawaii there are so many things to do it can be good and bad because you have to find your way around a new place and do a fair amount of planning to make the vacaton worth your while. Just take into consideration how much planning you will want to do after the excitement,and ultimately hectic times leading up to the wedding.
ilovetulips is offline  

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