Where to beach?
June 1, 2010 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Beachy, exotic, cheap, outside the US, pleasant in mid-July. Where am I talking about?

I'm going to school* in the fall, quitting my job soon, and would like to get out of the country for two or three weeks with an old friend. We're 26 year old guys, and it's possible a couple of other friends may join us as well. If possible, I'd like to spend around $1200 each, but am willing to spend more if necessary. I assume that budget limits us to Latin America, but could be wrong.

We're interested in:
-Sitting on a beach relaxing, maybe with a beer, and snorkeling if possible.
-Hiking around natural beauty and possibly seeing and photographing some ruins.
-Hanging out in and exploring some small towns, eating good local cuisine.
-Not spending a ton of money, for airfare from DC, or for lodging.

Originally, I was really interested in Peru, but I realized the climate won't be what we're looking for in July. Then I started to think Belize would be awesome, and maybe a side trip into Mexico and/or Honduras, but now I'm worried about this being the rainy season. Then I just decided to ask mefi.

Specific towns, islands, beaches, hotels, or guesthouse recommendations are extremely welcome.

posted by zazerr to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Azores, Cape Verde, Madeira?
posted by mdonley at 10:15 AM on June 1, 2010

Not sure the Azores have much in the way of beaches. How about Bali (great ruins nearby in east Java)? Expensive to get to, but very cheap once you're there. You could also try the Philippines which have some great beaches and some colonial ruins. Sri Lanka is great too, but it is the other side of the world for you.

That said, if I were you, I'd probably go to somewhere in LatAm, weather permitting.
posted by rhymer at 10:27 AM on June 1, 2010

I can't recommend the beach towns north of Merida in the Yucatan Peninsula enough. Though in July it'll be quite warm inland and July tends to be when the people who own the beach houses take their holiday so it might not work out... but worth checking into.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday last year I rented a six bedroom house on the beach about ten minutes east of Progreso, which is the port town closest to Merida. We had what felt likes miles of beach to ourselves, a huge deck with a cabana and a pool. We were 30ish minutes from Merida, so close enough to drive into town for a nice meal at one of my favorite places... Trotters. We also did a tour of ruins at Chichen Itza. On previous trips we'd done a trip to a cenote for swimming and I imagine if you were feeling adventurous you could go to a more remote one for a bit of a hike.

The entire cost of the lodging was about $1400. Food, other than restaurants was about $150 for the week. Airfare was $500 pp from Denver. If you got a smaller place you could easily do this on your budget.
posted by FlamingBore at 10:35 AM on June 1, 2010

Vancouver (no ruins, though)

Umm...no real beaches either, at least not worth travelling to Vancouver for. Sure, there's small strips of sand that locals flock to on the odd sun-kissed summer weekend, but it's not consistently warm enough here to be in a swimsuit outside everyday.
posted by randomstriker at 10:36 AM on June 1, 2010

Dominican Republic. There are amazing beaches, it's super cheap, and the food is yummy. It's the slow season, so the resorts are giving discounts and airfare should be under $500. Most resorts are all-inclusive, which is pretty nice if you and your friends are big eaters/drinkers.
posted by tryniti at 11:44 AM on June 1, 2010

Not quite all the way out of the country but have you thought about Puerto Rico? Cheap airfare, old city, beaches and a rainforest. Oh, and bioluminescent waters you can kayak through.
posted by lpsguy at 11:52 AM on June 1, 2010

Response by poster: lipsguy:I do like bio-luminescent waters. I mean, who doesn't? I'll check it out.

FlamingBore: Thanks. I'll check those out.

tryniti: We weren't planning on doing the all-inclusive resort route, but I'll look into it. Do you think it'd work out to not do that too?

I'd love to go to Bali, or Portugal, but I think the flight alone would be my entire budget, sadly.

So, as far as Central America and the Caribbean islands go, I shouldn't be too worried about the whole rainy season thing?
posted by zazerr at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2010

St John - there is a national park where you can rent a cabin, close to the beach, incredibly beautiful.
posted by bluesky43 at 12:13 PM on June 1, 2010

Junish to Octoberish is hurricane/wet season in the Carribean. It's generally the least pleasant time to go, but there are exceptions and breaks in the weather. This year is supposed to be an active one though.

What about South America? Chile or Peru would be very nice this time of year.
posted by bonehead at 2:18 PM on June 1, 2010

You may want to check out Panama or Roatan in the Honduras. Reef is right offshore in Roatan and you can swim out easily for snorkeling and prices should be cheap as it's Hurricane season. Panama is out of the hurricane zone and Bocas del toro may be to your liking too. Airfare is probably gonna be the biggest cost to either destination. FWIW I spent a week last June in Panama, but on the Pacific side and it wasn't any more rainy than what I see here in Florida in the summer. Great infrastructure and very nice people.
posted by white_devil at 2:19 PM on June 1, 2010

Vancouver (and Seattle) are just starting their amazing weather period too, though it's generally too cold to swim in the ocean at those lattitudes unless you find a very shallow, protected bay (Vacouver city has a couple of those). Diving off the west coast is great.
posted by bonehead at 2:20 PM on June 1, 2010

If you don't want to spend a ton of money you shouldn't even be considering North America, and especially not Vancouver, or Seattle for that matter. Not the best bang for your vacation buck.
posted by seagull.apollo at 8:49 PM on June 1, 2010

Vancouver (and Seattle) are just starting their amazing weather period too.

Uhhh...where on earth are you posting your comments from? You certainly ain't anywhere near the West Coast, because Vancouver's been miserable for all of May (10 to 15 deg, frequent rain) and the forecast is for more of the same. I assume Seattle has experienced something similar.
posted by randomstriker at 4:30 PM on June 2, 2010

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