Specific recommendations for Caribbean vacation?
March 5, 2013 7:06 AM   Subscribe

We're taking a honeymoon, 20 months late. I was wondering if people had current suggestions for a place to go close to the Southeast US with white sand, nice rooms, all included rum drinks, and maybe a few other niceties.

We don't have a huge budget - max of maybe $500/night but would be willing to go much lower. I'd like to go all inclusive so I don't have to stress at all about money while there - would rather just write one check. I would like the place to be clean and pleasant, but it doesn't need to be particularly grand. And the closer it is to the Caribbean region, the more I can get there on frequent flier miles, although I've also looked at places like Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Clean rooms and white sands will make my wife happy. Adding in unlimited rum drinks would make me happy, and if they were good rum drinks that would make me ecstatic. If there were kayaks for rent that would make us both happy and if there were Hobies for rent that would, again, make me ecstatic.

I was hoping to at least explore (online) a little beach hut on stilts type setup, but I couldn't find anything remotely affordable - maybe this just isn't really present on this side of the world?

This will be for a stay of a little under a week. I found a few previous asks, but nothing spot on, and I don't trust the wider Internet. Thank you in advance for any suggestions!
posted by ftm to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is definitely pricier than you are aiming for, but we went here for our honeymoon and it couldn't have been better. Kayaks, unlimited house drinks if you buy the all-inclusive package. Prices vary depending on the time of year you go. Just throwing it out there in case you wish to shift your budget.

Coco Plum Caye, Belize

posted by teragram at 7:19 AM on March 5, 2013


Aruba has some fabulous beaches and pretty much perfect weather all day. You might try the Divi resorts, which are away from the most crowded part of the island (beach-wise) and offer all-inclusive packages that might fit the bill. (No idea on price though, sorry.) I think you have to do it by the week.
posted by acm at 7:21 AM on March 5, 2013


We loved Sandals Whitehouse so much we have been there 3 times. In Jamaica, so easy plane ride, very friendly staff, great beach with beautiful water, all inclusive, wonderful food and drinks, kayaks and hobies and snorkeling, nice pools, etc. However, no huts on stilts but the rooms were nice, clean. They also have outside of the resort day trips.
posted by maxg94 at 7:30 AM on March 5, 2013


Overwater villas aren't really done in the Caribbean, as hurricanes would turn it into lots of expensive kindling. You're more likely to find that sort of place in the south Pacific.

That said, when we were in Antigua, we heard good things about Cocoa Bay, which does have private cottages (some with plunge pools), and an all-inclusive rate that includes non-premium spirits, plus taxes and gratuities. Their activities page lists kayaking and sailing, and it looks like you can get a discount for honeymooning there.

It would definitely blow the budget, but the good doctor and I went to Petit St. Vincent for our very belated honeymoon, and we enthusiastically recommend it.
posted by evoque at 8:30 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you want small and quiet, you could go somewhere like Anguilla. If you want bigger and more developed, you could go somewhere like Barbados, where the people are also very friendly. Turks & Caicos is small but "higher end" than Anguilla and has gorgeous beaches.
posted by Dansaman at 8:54 AM on March 5, 2013


I know this is going to sound corny, but how about a cruise? (NOT Carnival!)

Because of recent news, lots of cruises are suffering and there are great deals out there.

With your budget you can upgrade on Norweigian to the Owner's Suite. It's a different cruise entirely! There's a special pool just for Suite people, and you meet the captain for dinner in the French restaurant, get tours of the bridge, and a butler who will bring you cookies and canepes at 4:00 PM Every day!

We had a great time!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:25 AM on March 5, 2013


There are a number of places on Big and Little Corn Islands, in Nicaragua, that would likely fit the bill.
posted by Capri at 12:50 PM on March 5, 2013


Costa Rica and Nicaragua are amazing places to visit, but I don't think they'll really have what you're looking for, unless you're looking for more nature and adventure.

Have you considered Bocas Del Toro in panama? Red frog beach is a nice, isolated carribean resort, and relatively inexpensive. There's snorkeling, caving, surfing, ziplining through the jungle, etc. You can get a private bungalow in the jungle for like $150 a night. It's not all inclusive, but the food and drinks were really cheap when I was there.
posted by empath at 12:56 PM on March 5, 2013


We went to Sandals Negril and liked it once we moved from the loud party-atmosphere central areas to the quieter, more secluded cottages. Like other Sandals resorts, it was all[*]-inclusive, and they had sailboats and kayaks as well as lots of rum drinks.

If I was going to the Caribbean on a vacation again (ha ha I wish), I'd probably go to some place with a more mature (more sober, quieter) crowd with fewer spring break partiers, but for some people that would be part of the point. Your mileage will vary...

[*] Not including the spa stuff or the fancier wine list.
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:28 AM on March 6, 2013


These are all great suggestions!

It's a great idea but we're going to stick away from the cruise this time solely because sand and (relative) solitude are real important goals here. The smaller places including the Corn Islands look great to me but when you pick a place that's out of the way, there's always the possibility you'll get more adventure than you bargained for. Which will also be great, on a different trip - flights to Nicaragua are super cheap and so are those hotels! I've got that on the short list for our next trip! [As background, our original "honeymoon" was spent in a tent on Cumberland Island, GA, which was great and relaxing, but now we want the rum drinks!]

Mrs. ftm and I have a completely irrational prejudice about Sandals ever since Michael Scott went there, but, as Mrs. ftm said, it's starting to look like we might go stay with Michael! It sounds like Sandals, etc really have it down, and you know what you'll be getting.

I'm going to try to mark some best answers but everyone helped, and I'll keep watching.
posted by ftm at 1:47 PM on March 6, 2013


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