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Trying to find a great beach for a June 05 vacation, very flexible and need help

Trying to find a great beach for a June 05 vacation, very flexible and need help

Old Feb 1st, 2005, 07:18 PM
  #1  
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Trying to find a great beach for a June 05 vacation, very flexible and need help

Message: We are planning a vacation for early June. This is our first real vacation, after college and with real jobs. We are in our mid 20s, and are very flexible on destination. Places we are looking into include islands in the carribean (aruba, st maarten, any others that you are considering), US (carolinas, hawaii, california, florida etc), and we'd consider traveling oversees to europe for the right spot also.

Here's what we're looking for....We want to be near the beach. We'd like to do a lot of outdoor activities such as snorkeling, horseback riding, and hiking. Good night life entertainment and clubs is a plus. It'll probably be a relaxing vacation with half day excursions.

Overall cost is not a big issue, but we don't want to go overboard. We're not sure what we're willing to spend because we're not sure how much it should cost until we narrow it down. We're figuring for 7-10 days it will probably run us around $2,000 - $3,000 including spending money and expenses beyond accomodations and airfare.

Need help and would appreciate an advice/suggestions for good beach spots for that time of year.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 04:47 AM
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Hi bradykp, what fun you will have planning and anticipating this trip! You mention snorkeling, horseback riding and hiking. The first thing that comes to my mind is Hawaii - we enjoyed all those activities on our last trip there. When you throw nightlife into the mix that narrows it down to Maui or Oahu. It might be cheaper to do Oahu (no inter-island flight needed), stay in Waikiki and do day trips for hiking and snorkeling. Stay in a condo to keep your expenses down. You can cook in to save bucks too. Try vrbo.com. Just for an example: http://www.vrbo.com/50536

Good luck on your search and take your time until it "feels right".

Cheers, Maggi
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:10 AM
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Acapulco. A bit nicer than Cancun but with plenty of places to enjoy the nightlife. Cancun might not be a bad option, either. While you might have the image of the wildness of Spring Break, these rest of the year is usually far less Bacchanalian.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:26 AM
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Go to the Caribbean forum & check postings for Negril. We were there in May & loved it. There are places to stay for all budgets & the beach was voted #3 in the Travel Channel's Top 10 Caribbean Beaches. It can be laid back or party central depending on your mood. We took our 23 yr old son there & he said it was the best vacation ever.

Another site to check for Negril info is www.negril.com. They have a message board & even links to live webcasts.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:38 AM
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All great responses so far.

Let me fill in some more information I forgot to mention.

Last year, for spring break (college) we went to Acapulco. Definately a beautiful place, and I can imagine an awesome vacation. There was a lot to do as far as sights, plenty of clubs, etc.

I would definately consider Cancun, the thought of Puerto Vallarta also crossed our minds.

Benji: thanks for the rec. on Negril. I have friends that have went there and loved it also, so it's definatley something to consider. I posted this same thread on the caribbean board, so hopefully we'll get some more idea.

Basically, we're both 23 and we are lucky enough to have comfortable salaries, so we don't have to do budget. But i'm not one to waste money, so anywhere i can be efficient I would like to be. We'd like to stay in an above average hotel. My girlfriend wants some of the nicer things in the room. For example, browsing one site she saw some sort of spa room that had all the extras. I personally don't think you spend much time in your room, so it doesn't matter to me.

Does anyone have a general estimate of what two people would/should spend on a trip to the Carribean? Or Hawaii, which we are definately considering.

Also, what are people's thoughts on the Carolinas (Hilton Head, etc)?

How about the california beaches?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:53 AM
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hawaii, hands down. I love Kaui, however, I know that there is not any real night life there. So Maui would be better. I am not a fan of Oahu, it is too much of a big city for me.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:55 AM
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Given your second post, I'm rethinking my answer. You are young, you've got 10 days - a luxury that you might not have for a bit. Depending on what you do for a living, finding the time to take two weeks straight becomes an issue as you're trying to stake your place in your company. If you work in finance or on Wall Street, your boss will probably double over laughing when you ask for two weeks straight.

That said, you might want to consider Australia or New Zealand. The flight can be long but you're both young enough to handle it. If you use the weekends, figure you can stretch the trip to 12 to 14 days. One day is shot from travel. But, with a solid 10 days, you can easily spend say 4 nights in Sydney and another 5 or 6 nights in an area like Cairns, near the Barrier Reef. The one issue might be the airfare.

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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 05:57 AM
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To answer the how-much question: unless we're doing a budget trip, we almost always spend $4000 for one week to the Caribbean. You can maybe shave $500 off of that by going in June, which is somewhat off-season for the Caribbean. This would include airfare, all meals and excursions, staying in a very nice place. We've stayed on Young Island, St. Vincent, Anse Chastanet, St. Lucia, Long Bay Resort on Tortola, rented villas on St. Lucia, Tortola, Abaco, and Eleuthera (Eleuthera would be $1000 cheaper but no nightlife). Also, all-inclusives in Dominican Republic or Mexico seem to be cheaper as well. I personally would recommend Playa Del Carmen area over Cancun, but you are much younger than me, and so might more enjoy the busier atmosphere of Cancun. Have fun planning!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:00 AM
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Ryan,

I like your response and I have considered Australia and NZ. The thing is, i'm not sure if i want to travel that far. A friend also suggested Okinawa Japan.

Can you tell me some more about Australia and NZ? I'll do some research tonight.

Some further background:

I probably won't be taking two weeks vacation. I want the trip to total 1o days, and carry over a weekend, that way I only use 7 or 8 vacation days. But after further consideration, I'm probably not going to want to go back to work in the middle of the week, the day after i fly in, so I might consider a 10 day break from work, 14 day total travel, I imagine this significantly increases my expected price though.

Any thoughts?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Joan:

Thanks for some useful info. $4,000 for two people for one week eh? Is this going all the way on most things? For instance, you said "staying at a very nice place." I 'll look into it, but i'm sure it's easy to shave a couple hundred off your stay without sacraficing much. And as far as airfare goes, i have a lot of options out of the new york or philly area. I've flown to florida for $90 round trip.

Can anyone give me an idea of how much a flight should cost to the carribean?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:22 AM
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Brady,
Australia is a fantastic place. Granted I went 10 years ago, but I imagine it's still a really great destination for those looking for a mix of fun and outdoor activity.

The hotel I stayed at (can't remember the name but apparently it was a jail for the some of the original inhabitants of Sydney) was just a few blocks from Circular Quay, the main transportation hub and an easy walk to the Opera House and much of the downtown area. Plenty of nightlife in the King's Cross area and some really great restaurants throughout the town.

The Cairns area is on the coast of Queensland and is the main jumping off point for the barrier reef area. Numerous tour operators run day trips, either for diving or snorkeling, out to the reef from that area. There is a class 4 river, the Tully about two hours south of Cairns that was an absolute blast for a full day of whitewater rafting. Renting a car or getting on a tour will allow you to explore some of the areas north of Cairns like Port Douglas and Mosmon.

Not sure how the USD has fared against the A-dollar so you'd probably need some more current in order to figure out of the economics will work.

It's a bit to long of a trip for me these days with two toddlers in tow, but I'd go back there again in a heartbeat. The people are really great and not averse to knocking back a few pints. I'm sure if you post a few questions on the Australia board, you'll find some more current info.

Good luck.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:27 AM
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Yes, $4000 would be getting a "standard" room at a really nice resort, and dining out every night, also includes rental car ($350/week), which we love to do in the Caribbean, and one or two tours. I would venture about $500 pp would be a good airfare number. You can go up to $700 depending on how remote the island. St. Thomas and San Juan are two lower priced/heavily traveled destinations. If you flew to STT, you could probably find a nice package on Orbitz. Play with that and see what you get. USAirways has lots of deals from Philly to the Caribbean (by the way they claim they'll be emerging from bankruptcy this year, so perhaps they're safe to plan with). San Juan has some great resort areas too, Rincon comes to mind as a young surfer's dream destination.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:46 AM
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Why not a cruise. you have everything that you need. Entertainment, fun, sun...etc. You can get a suite on the cruise. It would be a blast...
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:53 AM
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We just got back from the Mexican Carribean - it was amazing. 3 nights at Playa Del Carmen which is a very hopping resort town right on a gorgeous beach, and 4 nights in Akumal, a secluded somewhat upscale area with world class snorkelling and white sand beaches. Nearby are Mayan ruins, cenote caves, great restaurants, horseback riding, jungle excursions, etc,etc. Check out locogringo.com
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 06:55 AM
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You said your budget is around $3000? I don't know how you'll do either Australia or New Zealand on that budget. Airfare alone might wipe that out depending on where you live. And... a friend just went to New Zealand at Thanksgiving and said it was WAY more expensive than they had anticipated.

So... my recommendation would be Mexico - hop on over to the Latin America board to find out more about resorts. You can get great all-inclusive packages down there (we usually book through Apple Vacations). I would highly recommend the East coast - Riviera Maya, Cozumel, etc. I must disagree with Ryan in that Acapulco is nicer than Cancun. In my opinion, it's NOT AT ALL. I will never go back to Acapulco. It's a big, dirty city and the hotels are run down. You will get warm, turquoise blue water in Cancun and white soft sand. Imagine the complete opposite in Acapulco.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:16 AM
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Cabo
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:32 AM
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Response to tinathetoad:

We've explored the option of cruises, and I'm open for suggestions, but honestly, They don't seem to impress me much. It seems to me as though you have to spend approx $1,000 to have a nice room and good destinations, and then you spend a fortune on board. I could be convinced, but it would take some good stories.

zootsi:

I will definately look into this, sounds like a great destination (relaxing, good touristy stuff, and the one destination you mentioned has good night life)

Yale:

It's not that my budget is $3,000, that's what I'm assuming i'll be spending. That could go up if i was going to Australia, obviously. It depends on where I go. I'm in a position now where I can afford something if I want it, but the way I am, I look for good deals, I don't just waste cash.

As for Cancun being nicer than Acapulco, I have to say, you probably just had a bad experience in Acapulco. I stayed at a sub par hotel, and it was ok. That was spring break.

My girlfriend's parents stayed at a nice resort and loved it. I loved the beaches there, loved the culture there, the clubs were fantastic. But yes, the city was a little dirty.

I haven't been to Cancun, but you're one of the first people to praise it so highly.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:44 AM
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I wasn't trying to be negative. Just stating that if you've never been to the East Coast of Mexico, Cancun included, in my opinion, the rest of Mexico can't compare. The water and beaches are so much nicer.

On another note, if money is a little more flexible, another friend just got back from Costa Rica and loved it. Their trip was packed full of adventure.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:50 AM
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I have heard a lot about Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. I'd be willing to go to Cancun sometime in the future, just doubtful it will be this trip. For some reason, i thought Cancun was the west coast. Acapulco is the east coast isnt it?
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Old Feb 2nd, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Just a note, zootsi mentioned Playa del Carmen which is in the Riviera Maya on the East coast of Mexico 40 minutes south of Cancun (Cancun, Riviera Maya and Cozumel are all East coast). Acapulco is south. Cabo is West. I would even venture to say that Cabo is better than Acapulco, but again, that is just my opinion. You get Caribbean water on the East coast.
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