where to go
November 27, 2008 8:38 PM   Subscribe

My family wants to do a family vacation somewhere in the Carribean, they said the Bahamas but we're open to suggestions, it doesn't even really have to be in the Carribean but that's what we were thinking. Any good suggestions for a family of 4, two kids in their twenties and we'll probably want to drink.

We were thinking of a cruise but I really don't want to do a cruise, I don't like the idea of being stuck on a boat. Any good ideas for a nice warm beachy island place to go to? None of us have ever been to the Carribean and this is probably one of our only opportunites to vacation as a family for a few years so we want this to be a good one.
posted by BrnP84 to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm currently living on the Turks and Caicos Islands, but I'm sure the rest of the Carribean is the same at the moment, hotels are desperate to fill rooms, so you can get some absolutely ridiculous deals. I'd suggest actually phoning the hotels directly and getting deals that way instead of via the interweb.

The TCI has some absolutely gorgeous beaches, not too much greenery though-- as with any island nation, drinking is a national past-time.

Great diving, good food. Nikki Beach opened a while back, which is good for a dance but needs a few more bodies for a really hectic night. Coming into busy season now, though we're all sitting on the edge of our seats to see how the American economy has hurt our tourist trade.

Pretty chilly recently down this way, 23-25C this week, so the water is pretty cold. But it is winter after all.
posted by Static Vagabond at 9:22 PM on November 27, 2008

FYI it's spelled "Caribbean". Just in case you're googling and wondering why you're getting such crappy results.
posted by intermod at 9:32 PM on November 27, 2008

I really like Playa del Carmen, Mexico. It's just south of Cancun. Decent beaches, easy proximity to Mayan sites like Chichen Itza and Tulum. When we went there were tons of families at our resort, with kids of all ages. Worth a look.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:57 PM on November 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

I love to suggest my parent's home: Vieques, Puerto Rico. Super easy to travel to, chock-full of beautiful unspoiled beaches, a handful of bars in the two main towns, and some decent house-rental options and hotels.

It's very relaxing and has many activities, such as horseback riding, kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay, small amounts of shopping and a bunch of cool restaurants.
posted by nursegracer at 10:08 PM on November 27, 2008

Check the weather! The Bahamas are not consistently tropical. This time of year, I've encountered surprisingly cool, sometimes wet conditions.
posted by speedo at 10:11 PM on November 27, 2008

I highly recommend Costa Rica.

Beaches, rain forests, volcanoes, coffee...plenty of opportunity for adventure, relaxing and drinking.
posted by jaronson at 2:54 AM on November 28, 2008


The Ritz-Carlton in Rose Hall is very kid-friendly. You fly into Montego Bay and the hotel has a shuttle to the resort. Round Hill is nice, too. We've been to both and there were more kids at the RC.
posted by Zambrano at 10:29 AM on November 28, 2008

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I can't recommend it enough. For a specific resort, try the Paradisus Punta Cana. I got married there, and brought 26 friends/family, ranging from 8 years to 65. We all want to go back - it was an amazing time and one of the more affordable destinations in the caribbean.
posted by tryniti at 3:21 PM on November 28, 2008

I know you are hesitant, but you should strongly consider a cruise.

For a mixed group of people, the cruise offers something for everyone. The kids can do their thing in the days and you meet up for dinner. If you get an itinerary where you island hop every day, you will have less of a sense of being stuck on a boat.

Some of the advantages of cruising are that everyone can do their own thing during the day and you aren't trying to coordinate activities (the ship has someone to do that for you) for everyone. The cost is generally far better than trying to do it on your own (because everything except alcohol is included in your fare) and you get to see more islands and evaulate whether you like them without committing to spending a week or more in one place sight unseen.

I have taken several cruises with several generations from both sides of my family, and although cruising isn't my favorite vacation, it is hands down my favorite vacation for a group.
posted by Sheppagus at 10:33 AM on December 1, 2008

As you might guess from my username, I'd agree with Sheppagus -- a cruise is a very good option, especially for a family vacation. It may help to consider that you're not stuck on the boat for the whole time, you stop at ports during the day. Also, ships today have a lot of options aboard: waterslides, several nightclubs, tennis, basketball courts, and on some ships even rock climbing walls and bowling.

If you're not too familiar with cruises, you might want to check out this introduction to cruises (self-link), it's a set of articles that describes what they're like, costs, etc.

BTW, one thing I would caution you against is the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. I spent a week there last week and was bitterly disappointed. The water park and the hotel room itself were nice, but if some places nickel-and-dime their customers, this place goes for the full ten-and-twenty. The places to eat in the compound were ridiculously priced: $35 for a buffet breakfast, $7.50 for a beer by the pool, $3.50 for an apple (!!!). Worse, the food wasn't even very good. (My husband described his meal at their top steakhouse as "a $10 steak, for which they charged $52 - plus sides".) Service was pretty bad (they didn't change the sheets on the bed even after I asked them to). If you decide to go for a land-based vacation, I'd opt for either all-inclusive or totally a la carte. Sorry for the rant, but the wounds are still fresh....
posted by CruiseSavvy at 12:29 PM on December 23, 2008

Oops, I was at Atlantis last month, not last week.
posted by CruiseSavvy at 12:30 PM on December 23, 2008

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