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Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

Louisville, Kentucky
posts: 51
Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

My husband and I are celebrating my 30th bday with some friends but don't have a destination!

We want that exotic feel- amazing beaches, great scuba/snorkel, wildlife, etc.

Traveling from Louisville mid-late July. 5 nights $4-5k budget per couple.

Priorities

1. Great beach- teal waters, white sand, swimmable beach

2. Activities- snorkel, scuba, waterfalls

3. Food/ drinks

4. Nightlife

We've been pushed to Go to Mexico by several Travel Agents. We went a couple of years ago and chose the wrong resort- stayed at Azul Fives. Great resort- Really rocky beach :(

We've also been to Jamaica- loved it but want to try something new.

Husband stayed at Ritz Carlton Grand Cayaman last year for business and loved it!

These resorts have been suggested to us-

Seven Stars- Turks and Caicos

Sandals Emerald Bay- Bahamas

Excellence resorts in Mexico and Punta Cana

El Dorado resorts in Mexico.

Doesn't have to be all inclusive but might be good with our budget.

Any suggestions/advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

Chicago
posts: 4,111
reviews: 177
1. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

personally, i would take hawaii over any of your other destinations. even tho i've never been to costa rica, i would say it has hawaii beat in the wildlife dept, but that's about it....

i could go on about why you should go to hawaii, but instead here's a link... get these books to help you decide, and to plan your trip.....

http://www.hawaiirevealed.com/

from what you've described in your post re priorities, maui is probably the best fit for you..... but keep in mind, hawaii isn't about all-inclusives. they are almost non-existant....

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
posts: 10,981
reviews: 182
2. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

Check out USVI (St. Thomas , St. John ) - beaches are awesome, as well as snorkling - but not AI.

Marietta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Beach Vacations, Bonaire
posts: 3,083
reviews: 19
3. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

Seven Stars on Provo, Turks & Caicos is a great resort on the best beach in the Caribbean. My only concern is whether it will fit your budget. SS is expensive itself and airfares to Provo run high and dining is expensive. Since this is somewhat off-season, it might work OK, but will probably be tight. If you can make it fit, do it... it is a great location and resort. Do it now before construction starts (probably next year) on new Marriott next door.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 1,739
reviews: 27
4. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

Another vote for Grace Bay Beach in Turks and Caicos. It would tick the boxes on your list. NOT Mexico IMHO.... Maybe Honolulu if you want night life in Hawaii. I'd skip USVI with whats on your list. Let us know what you decide

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
posts: 26,429
reviews: 31
5. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

great beaches, waterfalls, snorkel - Hawaii! I would pick the northshore of Kauai, maybe Maui - and go for a week! :)

posts: 13
6. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

I have been to Hawaii, and in my mind, it is one of the best places in the world. You will really feel the exotic and tropical feel there. Hawaii is not known for its mega all inclusive resorts but it is mostly known for its natural beauty and gorgeous beaches. I would recommend Hawaii.

Dallas, Texas...
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 11,320
reviews: 13
7. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

Another Turks and Caicos option would be Club Med. That should be more affordable than Seven Stars.

Marietta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Beach Vacations, Bonaire
posts: 3,083
reviews: 19
8. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

Actually Club Med, Turks & Caicos, would meet all the "wants" except the waterfalls. There just aren't any in the Turks & Caicos.

The only downside to Club Med is that it is a older resort (oldest in Turks & Caicos) and needs a significant renovation. It is kept clean, but rooms and furnishings are basic: no balcony/patio, no fancy bedding, no room service, etc. The idea at Club Med is that you won't spend much time in your room, so no reason to make it fancy. Club Med does offer the best section of the best beach in the Caribbean, along with lots of activities (sailing, snorkeling, windsurfing, diving, kayaks, tennis, circus/trapeze, and lots of other sports). It also offers entertainment every evening ( some good, some "high school talent contest" quality). It is all inclusive (except for diving) and surprisingly economical if you have a travel agent who understands Club Med deals. In July a 7 day "land only" (no air) package for two should be around $2200 - 2500. It is about a 15 minute walk up the beach from the Seven Stars and Club Med has about 1/2 mile of beach, so it is never crowded there.

The food is good (remember, Club Med is a French company) but generally more European/continental in style, so don't expect bug juicy steaks or lobster. The bread, especially the white chocolate bread, is to die for and the deserts are always great.

We've been to this Club Med about 12 times over 20 years. If you want to see more detailed information and trip reports, check my personal web page with trip reports and lots of photos. Go to www.hammocktree.us/ms/trips.html and scan for the Club Med Turkoise reports. Also, read the "Guide for First TIme GMs" at the top of that page to see what Club Med is all about; it is somewhat different from any other resort.

chicago, il
posts: 12
9. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

Turks and Caicos for sure!!!! I wouldn't go to Hawaii for 5 days taking in account travel time plus the time change adjustment. JMO. Grace Bay in Turks has everything on your wish list with the exception of waterfalls as ^^ stated. If I HAD to dislike 1 thing about Turks it would be that is pretty 'flat'. No mountains. The amazing beaches/water make up for it though for me for sure.

New York City, New...
posts: 1
10. Re: Carribbean? Hawaii? Central America? Want great beach

I recommend Aruba, perfect location for all that you require.

-Stephanie

I use http://www.needtomeet.com to find a time that works for everyone. Meetings, events, dinners, vacation clubs ... business or pleasure, great tool!