Help us pick a vacation/honeymoon destination for the Christmas Holiday.
July 16, 2012 1:57 AM   Subscribe

Help my wife and I pick a vacation/honeymoon destination for the Christmas Holiday.

I know this is a question that gets asked a lot. I've searched MetaFilter and gleaned some pearls, but feel this topic could use a reboot. Appreciate your input.

The Details: My wife and I have decided to ditch our respective families and give ourselves a much needed holiday and belated honeymoon. The internet has changed much since I last searched for a vacation deal and I'm honestly a bit lost. Would love your suggestions.

We'd be leaving from Los Angeles and were thinking somewhere tropical. We have the time to take up to 2 weeks, and could even fly on Christmas Eve or Day, something like 12/25/12-1/8/13. I see that it's a hot travel time, so we are looking for suggestions how we can get the best bang for our buck. We're willing to make an investment, but want to be smart about it.

I'm usually a fairly adventuresome traveler, while my wife likes to keep it simple and relaxed. This time around we both agree that we don't want to work hard, we just want to be taken care of and enjoy each others company. Though it's not usually my style, we both were thinking of an all inclusive resort. I don't want to get crazy and do a Club Med-like thing. I'd probably shoot myself, but the idea of it all being sorted has its appeal.

The wife wants to be able to relax around a pool all day, which sounds good to me. We're both foodies to a certain extent. I'd like to maybe do some scuba diving and get in some trail running. Would at least be fun to have the option.

I've been to the Caribbean, Bali, Kauai and Bermuda and loved all of them. My wife's been to The Bahamas, as have I, but I didn't particularly care for it.

Any thoughts? Ideas about how to get the best airfare? Is all inclusive a good idea? Destinations? FYI-No cruise ships. I'm not much for long stays on ships. As for budget, I'm not sure what would be realistic. I can see from checking a few places, that time of year, you could easily spend upward of $600+ a night. Is that what we should expect? I'd really like to get well under that. When I was a kid my mom always had a knack for finding bargain holidays that were always fun. Hoping you can help me steer me in the right direction.

Thanks! Look forward to any feedback.
posted by Ergolad to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Tropical island in Thailand. You'll love it.
posted by mikeand1 at 1:58 AM on July 16, 2012

Christmas is hard in any warm climate, it will be crowded and expensive pretty much everywhere that's popular with the hoi paloi.

In many Asian countries the time at the end of the year is also a big vacation time.

What about Baja? It's close to where you are, so airfare shouldn't bankrupt you, and Mexico is pretty inexpensive. There are resorts that are all-inclusive without being all cheesy and summer-campy like Club Med or Sandals or the Poconos.

I have friends who loved Ixtapa.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:37 AM on July 16, 2012

Belize is nice. I went there for my honeymoon seven years back or so. The Caye's are, of course, really neat, but you can also go inland and visit Mayan ruins. There was also a pricey but really neat inland resort called Chan Chich as well. We did a few days on one of the Cayes and then went inland to Chan Chich for a couple more. It definitely worked well for us. If you decide to do this, book now, the holidays are busy.
posted by NathanBoy at 9:04 AM on July 16, 2012

Best all-inclusive I've been to was Couples Swept Away in Negril, Jamaica (Couples has another resort in Negril, called "Couples Negril" I believe, but I don't know anything about that resort). If you book before September for travel on or after December 26, they offer significant discounts. We did essentially this deal a few years ago - booked well in advance, got 50% off normal rates, and loved it. The resort is lovely, the food is fantastic, and the beach is gorgeous. There's a pool and work-out area across the road from the beach portion of the resort that is quite nice. I didn't do any diving on that trip, but the snorkeling was quite nice - no walk-in snorkeling, but they had a couple of good locations within a very short boat-ride from the resort. The only downside (depending on your constitution) to the resort is that it is down the coast just a bit from Hedonism, so you may run into their snorkeling groups.

Belize is also great, though I don't recall many all-inclusive options in the Cayes. Not that you'd necessarily want to do that - on Caye Caulker, at least, the food establishments are fantastic (particularly Habanero's, Don Corleone, and the Bamboo Grill (may now be called Bambooze)), and you'd want to try the local offerings. The (official?) motto of Caye Caulker is "Go Slow" and that's definitely the way to pass time there. There's not much of a beach on Caye Caulker, but there's great snorkeling off the east. The diving is fantastic off the Cayes. I've heard good things about Placencia, but have no first-hand knowledge, and don't know much about the diving options farther south. We did a few days inland, and then a few days on Caye Caulker, and it worked out beautifully, aside from the fact that travel within in Belize was somewhat painful. Most of the resorts inland will be all-inclusive.

Good luck, and have fun!
posted by dilettanti at 1:39 PM on July 16, 2012

I'm loving the feedback. Looking into the areas you've all suggested. Keep it coming!
posted by Ergolad at 2:49 PM on July 16, 2012

Ended up going to Playa Del Carmen. Stayed at Royal Hideaway Playacar. Nice boutique all-inclusive. Enjoyed a wonderful balance of beach, pool, diving and even a bit of ATV-ing!
posted by Ergolad at 6:02 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

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