Help me choose my December beach vacation
August 24, 2008 2:17 PM   Subscribe

Where should I go for a relaxing, warm, beach vacation in December? I'm in New York City and would like to stay in North/Central America and/or the Caribbean due to flight times.

Longer version: I have a long weekend from Thursday December 4 - Monday December 8 or Tuesday December 9th. I'm NYC based - happy to use any of the three airports. Looking for somewhere warm. Not particularly interested in local culture and or activities as I really want a pure vacation. My brain hurts, I want the biggest decision necessary to be along the lines of: which pool? pool or beach? which place should we eat? Don't get me wrong, I *am* a Culture Vulture but that's not what I want in this trip.

I've read the following threads already:
Vacation Panic
Cheap Vacation in Mexico
Vacation Holiday
Island Paradise
December honeymoon
as well as those that show in the suggestions on preview, but I'm looking for more/updated suggestions.

In consideration:
Punta Cana, DR
St. Thomas

Factored out:
Puerto Vallarta - can't find direct flight, length with connection doesn't seem worth it
Europe beaches -- too far, nice beaches here
Bermuda - too cool this time of year
Bahamas - been there recently, would like to see something new

I'm up for anything really. Friend from LA might be flying to meet me but NYC flights are the main concern. I'm an experienced traveler so finding deals doesn't concern me -- I'll do the leg work, I'm just looking for places to consider. Places with Starwood facilities might have slight advantage as I have approximately a bajillion points I could use. Of note, I've been to "exotic" and lesser developed beach destinations so a bit roughing is fine, but I don't want camping. I want beachfront or very close.

Thanks from this first time poster, long time reader.
posted by TravellingCari to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Comment after I saw this post, nightlife not really something I'm interested in. Beach band is fine, clubs are not something I care about.
posted by TravellingCari at 2:53 PM on August 24, 2008

Welcome to AskMe!

Vieques and Culebra, Puerto Rico are awesome, domestic, English-speaking, and your LA friend can get to San Juan pretty easily. It's a low-key scene, I think - no huge mega-resorts - but lots of beaches and relaxation.

All your ideas will have lots of places with what you want, though you might find prices at all-inclusive places to be a bit much at that time of year - perhaps organizing your flight and accommodation separately would give you a little more freedom.
posted by mdonley at 3:00 PM on August 24, 2008

I love Grand Cayman (although they do drive on the left!) It is generally expensive there, but you can find reasonable places to eat (Over the Edge on the north shore). Rum Point is a wonderful, calm beach to watch a sunset. Seven Mile beach is among the prettiest beaches in the world, and the island boasts world class snorkeling and scuba diving. People are very nice also. I know someone down there with a nice condo on the northshore--which is the quiet side of the island.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 6:39 PM on August 24, 2008

I recommend Ceiba del Mar, located just outside of Puerto Morelos, on the Rivieria Maya. It was about a half hour drive from Cancun. Our room was poolside, and had a hammock on a patio. We could also see the beach from our patio. They brought fresh pastries, the paper, and coffee each morning via a butler's door. It is a small, quiet resort, with extremely friendly service. We ate breakfast by the pool, a ceviche and chips lunch on the beach, and a sit-down dinner either in town or at the fountain-side resort restaurant. There was complimentary wireless on the beach, too. We did basically nothing for a week. It was marvelous.
posted by kathryn at 7:14 PM on August 24, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all for the suggestions and the welcome. For some reason, Puerto Rico had escaped my ideas but I'll look into your suggestions now. Forgot to mention I speak Spanish so I'm comfortable in places where English might be less than fluent, tho I know most of the places will have English speaking staff available.

Grand Cayman and Ceiba del Mar are also officially on the list -- beach wireless wow. Doing nothing... exactly what I want to "do" :)
posted by TravellingCari at 7:21 PM on August 24, 2008

I recently returned from Punta Cana, DR and would HIGHLY recommend it. We stayed at the Paradisus Punta Cana along with 24 of my close friends and family members, and everyone had a wonderful time. It's very relaxing and is hands down the most beautiful place I have ever been. The pool is wonderful, restaurants and excellent - overall I couldn't find a thing to complain about and everyone that went is dying to go back.

There are plenty of other resorts in PC, but from what I've heard and experienced, the Paradisus PC is the best bang for the buck.
posted by tryniti at 5:08 AM on August 25, 2008 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just a heads up, I ended up with Cancun. Lagoon view room with a balcony. For some bizarre reason, Cancun is cheaper from NYC than is the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico. I don't get it, but an excuse to go to Mexico is never a bad thing.

Really looking forward to it. If anyone wants to know how it went after December, feel free to MeFi mail me.
posted by TravellingCari at 12:24 PM on August 31, 2008

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