Non-"bro" inclusive resort or flight/hotel package in the Caribbean
January 6, 2010 8:20 AM   Subscribe

My GF and I are planning a short (4-day weekend) trip to the Caribbean in February, and we're trying to figure out where to go. Basically, we'd like someplace with a laid-back (not "party") vibe, beautiful beaches incl. snorkeling, and, ideally, some cool scenery & wildlife to check out. (Huge bonus points if there are monkeys and/or ziplines.)

We are late-20s / early-30s, no kids, and not at all into the "Bra, let's totally get faded, whoooo!" kind of scene. (Which is not to say we wouldn't partake of herbal delights.) We're considering some kind of all-inclusive package, for the sake of cost and convenience.

I've read some of the threads on here regarding Sandals and other "couples resorts", and that doesn't really appeal. Specifically, we're both opposed to giving money to someplace that is heterosexual-only, which seems like the modern equivalent to "No Jews Allowed" or something. However, a more open-minded couples resort would still be on the table. We're also open to simple flight/hotel packages, but aren't sure where to go. We're flying out of Austin, TX, if that's important.
posted by crookedgrin to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Oddly enough, this is the third time this month this question has been asked. Posts tagged Caribbean may be of use to you.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:27 AM on January 6, 2010

May I suggest Rincon, Puerto Rico? My bf and I went there last year in February and it was flawless. Fairly inexpensive and not an all inclusive, but the area's very easy to navigate and the locals are exceedingly friendly. Plus, you can see the humpback whales at that time. We stayed at the Lazy Parrot and they were well worth it. Good food and good folks. The beaches were great, the food was really great, and everything was so mellow and laid back. From what we understood, Rincon is where the folks in San Juan go to vacation.

We flew into San Juan and drove, but you can fly into Aquadilla pretty easily.
posted by teleri025 at 8:28 AM on January 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Not sure if they have monkeys, though.
posted by tryniti at 8:30 AM on January 6, 2010

I also love Rincon. We've stayed twice at Amirage.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 8:39 AM on January 6, 2010

My husband and I had the best time last year at the Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. They've actually recently been purchased by Sandals, who intends to make it an "upscale" chain, but this is the original, so don't be deterred.

No kids are allowed, and when we stayed the guests were almost entirely couples. The price (which is a bit steeper, although well worth it) prohibits frat kids/ swinger-types. At the same time, good liquor (and, ahem, other refreshments) were in abundant supply. As for wildlife, peacocks roam the grounds, and the staff can arrange for day trips to see more exotic animals.
posted by designmartini at 8:44 AM on January 6, 2010

Utila, Honduras. English-speaking, some (but not too many) expats, just a quick 15 minute airplane hop from the "braugh"-land of Roatan, and it's mostly hiking/backpacking/scuba/guesthouse and very little craptastic resort.
posted by SpecialK at 8:53 AM on January 6, 2010

Cabarete, Dominican Republic. It's about an hour from Puerto Plata, the closest airport. Some American ex-pats, European tourists and locals. Plenty of outdoor activities, like mountain biking, scuba, surfing. There are some inclusive resorts, but we had a great time staying in a cheap hotel and eating out.
posted by electroboy at 9:29 AM on January 6, 2010

Seconding electroboy's suggestion of Cabarete. Last year i went with a friend, and we stayed at an all inclusive that was along a strip of beach with independent hotels, beach bars, and kite-surfing places filled with relaxed expats hanging out on the beach. It was great to have the option to stay in our hotel, or to wander down the beach to another restaurant or bar, and to be able to meet/socialise with locals/expats.
posted by Kololo at 10:16 AM on January 6, 2010

I really loved visiting my friend's new house in Playa Las Lajas in Panama. We partied at the Las Lajas Beach Resort a bunch while I was down there and hung out with Pete, one of the owners. Very cool guy and this is a really nice place. Not all inclusive but very affordable. Never been to Panama before and totally fell in love with the country and people. I'm going to try to make it down there again this winter in Feb or March.
posted by white_devil at 11:06 AM on January 6, 2010

Iguana Mama is the tour company we booked mountain biking and the scuba trip through. They're run by American ex-pats (as far as I remember) but employ locals, fund a primary school, and generally give a lot to the community. They're a good resource for general local info and if they can't help you, they can generally connect you with someone who can.
posted by electroboy at 11:12 AM on January 6, 2010

Belize. Cheap as hell, they take dollars, and everyone speaks English.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:45 AM on January 6, 2010

Best answer: Seconding Belize - they have snorkeling, monkeys, ziplines, and awesome caving and cave tubing.
posted by ourroute at 5:08 PM on January 6, 2010

I would go for Costa Rica. All the chilled-out zip-lining monkeys you can handle.
posted by kaizen at 8:12 AM on January 7, 2010

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