Where to go for a February babymoon, someplace warm?
October 20, 2015 4:44 PM   Subscribe

The husband and I would like to go on a trip in before we have our first child. Our ideal would be a relaxing and beachy vacation spot in the tropics (Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico?)—big bonus if it's a place we might want to return to in later years with our kid or kids! Specific resort/condo/hotel recommendations appreciated.

I'll be six months pregnant when we make this trip. We would be flying out of SFO or OAK. (Eventually, we expect to be living on the East Coast, so a destination that's more convenient to the east on the whole is okay with me.) We're generally athletic but I don't expect to be feeling overly chipper at that point—would love a condo or resort on or near a beach, where I can relax and he can snorkel and swim. Relative convenience to an airport is a plus (i.e., I don't mind renting a car if necessary, but am less interested in someplace that requires a long car trip over bumpy dirt roads, for example. Also not having to rent a car would be amazing).

We'll travel in February. Would love for it to be warm enough to swim wherever we go. We're budget conscious, the more affordable the better. Thanks!
posted by toomuchkatherine to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Puerto Rico, Copamarina meets most of your needs. It is about 2 hours from San Juan, but it's not a bad road trip.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 4:56 PM on October 20, 2015

Tamarindo, Costa Rica is very reasonable and relaxing- no car needed if you fly into Liberia and arrange to take on of the vans to your hotel in town. Not great for snorkeling, but awesome and safe for for swimming, reliably good weather (as opposed to the rainy east coast). Its filled with surfers (beaches just north and south have good waves) nature lovers (there's turtles hatching and howler monkeys) , yoga people, sea food lovers, europeans and very friendly people. English is fine there, not a ton of nightlife past happy hour.
I stayed someplace that was about 50$ a night and had a shared outdoor kitchen to use. It was a five minute walk to the beach, and next to the best pizza place in town.
posted by TenaciousB at 4:56 PM on October 20, 2015

When I did this, I chose Hawaii in order to have access to American medical care and American-standard drinking water while I was pregnant. It was awesome and I would absolutely make the same choice again. I would not want to be in Mexico or Belize while pregnant -- too punishingly hot and humid, for one thing, and traveler's diarrhea is NOT something I want to deal with during a pregnancy. We went to Maui and stayed in the next hotel over from the Black Rock Sheraton (i.e. paid half the price, but snorkeled at the Black Rock, which is a great site.)

Knowing what I know now, I would probably choose the Big Island, and get a condo across the street from Kahuluu Beach Park which is absolutely world class snorkeling, and there are some good value condos right there. There is a Costco convenient to the airport, makes it easy to stock your condo fridge and not have to spend restaurant money.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:34 PM on October 20, 2015 [3 favorites]

Yeah, I am a huge advocate of Mexico, but many years ago I went with a friend who was expecting, and who had been so sick on our previous trip there that she probably should have gone to a hospital, and everyone was a little on edge the whole time and probably a little over-intrusive into the general state of her digestion.

But, if you were gonna anyway, and you were going to go back with small kids, I'd probably recommend one of the resorts in Playa del Carmen or Tulum. I found the beaches in Tulum a lot less filled with cruise ship garbage, but this was a decade ago and we stayed at a place that didn't have electricity after 8pm so things are different now. It's tough to find a warm-water place in the US in February except for Hawaii.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:05 PM on October 20, 2015

I'm with fingersandtoes on this one - I was in Hawaii at about 5-6mo and it was great. All the health care access I'm used to, drinkable tap water, speak English, etc... and floating around in the water and lying on the beach (and eating lots and lots of cheeseburgers!) was *heaven*. We're going back with our will-be 18mo old next year, and am happy about all the same things (healthcare, drinking water, cheeseburgers.... oh, and good road rules and the ability to rent a good car seat!). We'll do more adventurous travel with him later, but...well... there's a difference between travel and a vacation. This is a vacation + meeting up with family. =) Allegiant has pretty cheap flights to HI.
posted by jrobin276 at 6:19 PM on October 20, 2015

Go to Hawaii, rent a condo (through Air bnb, Flipkey or whatever). Stop at the Costco wherever you land and stock up on groceries; find a farmers market early in the trip for local fruit, eggs and vegetables if you want.

Kauai: stay in Poipu. It is beautiful, calm beaches with monk seals right there, some snorkeling as well.

Maui: Lahaina is cute and walkable. You would be there at the right time of year to whale watch. Lots of resorts just north of the area as well as some condos (the big one is the Sheraton), and decent snorkeling there. Basically every woman I met there between the ages of 25-35 was 5 or 6 months pregnant.
posted by charmedimsure at 6:43 PM on October 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hawaii is great for the reasons listed above but will probably be very pricey compared to Mexico/the Caribbean/etc.

It's the USA, an isolated island chain where many things are transported in via cargo ship, and it's humpback whale season. There will be many USA and Canada residents fleeing snow. February is a super-popular time to visit and Hawaii is very, very kid friendly, so there will be tons of families.

Hawaii hotel and condo taxes are high at 13.42% (higher on Oahu at 13.96%). Many resorts are charging an overnight parking fee or a daily resort fee or both (adding an extra $55-70+ per night). Condos are more affordable overall.

However, lots of the best-value/budget-conscious condos will have been booked up well in advance by now, so you might find it slim pickings for February 2016, especially the week around Valentine's Day and Presidents Day (mid winter break for some schools). Try to go earlier or later in February, and avoid the 13th-21st. Maybe even late January? It should be less busy then.

Use VRBO.com over Airbnb, Homeaway, Flipkey, etc. VRBO has more reputable listings than Airbnb for Hawaii. The cheaper condos may lack a view, air conditioning, and pool, and these are often a short walk from the beach and do tend to be older/not newly renovated.

February is "winter" in Hawaii and you would want to stay on the drier side of each island for better chances of sunny weather and swimmable beaches (no guarantees as winter storms do happen). This includes the main resort areas of Waikiki in Honolulu on Oahu, Poipu on Kauai, the Kohala Coast on the Big Island, and Kaanapali and Wailea in Maui. Lahaina town on Maui is charming but doesn't really have the big wide swimmable beach you likely want.

You will also basically need a rental car. The cost of taxi/shuttle to and from the airport to the resort area tends to be pricey and comparable to a rental car. A small one will do. Hawaii also runs out of rental cars (they can't just "drive more over" from a nearby branch) so rent one sooner rather than later if you want to go. Gas is also more expensive in Hawaii compared to home (Costco usually has the lowest prices).
posted by kathryn at 9:19 PM on October 20, 2015 [1 favorite]

Playa Samara in Costa Rica was warm, walkable, safe and kid-friendly. I'd look into the availability of nearby good healthcare as the others suggest, though.
posted by phreckles at 10:57 PM on October 20, 2015

Please go here, in Costa Rica. You won't regret it! And perhaps also spend some time here? It's the least touristy, loveliest beach in Costa Rica, and would be very family friendly later.
posted by caoimhe at 5:54 AM on October 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody! I'm leaning away from Hawaii both because of price and because it will not be convenient to revisit once we live on the East Coast (also, we speak some Spanish and would appreciate a chance to brush up), but I do hear what you're all saying about medical care. I look forward to investigating your specific picks, as well as the whole medical q.
posted by toomuchkatherine at 11:19 AM on October 21, 2015

If you're open to a destination closer to the East Coast, consider the UVSI. St Thomas and St John are extremely touristy and popular with the cruise ship set (though you can certainly go there without one); St Croix is a bit further away (approximately 1 hour direct fight from Miami), less touristy, and absolutely wonderful. I have been there several times and there's always a good vibe, plenty of hotels and restaurants, and the beautiful, warm, clear Caribbean water to swim in all day. There's a pretty good hospital on the island for any potential emergencies staffed by US physicians (I've been one of them so I can attest to the quality of care).
posted by nightdoctress at 12:15 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

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