Author Topic: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?  (Read 6322 times)

mtn

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Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« on: September 24, 2015, 12:06:13 PM »
DW and I are planning our honeymoon for November. Does anybody here have any good experiences that they could recommend to us?

Ideally we're looking for a place that is all inclusive (or if it isn't not priced like it is), has a quiet beach, and has things to do--by things to do, we'd be looking for snorkeling, diving, sailing, wind surfing, fishing, etc.--things to make us forget we live in Chicago and it is November. We'd really like to be able to take a sailboat out on our own (even if we have to go through a lesson first).

Any tips?

Oh, to be difficult: No Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico (unless it is a smaller island), or Aruba. Those are non-negotiables.

Cromacster

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 12:27:06 PM »
I'll always recommend  St. John in the USVI.

It's a relatively quiet island and November is more or less off season, but getting close to the busy season.

I've always rented houses when I've stayed there.  Depending on your budget you can usually find some for 150-200 a night.  You can find places to stay for less depending on what your expectations are.  For food I'd recommend bringing a cooler full of meat and maybe condiments (if you're a meat eater).

There is plenty of great snorkeling, hiking, and great beaches.  I would highly recommend chartering a boat and going to the British Virgin Islands.  You can either charter a private boat or go on a group charter.  I've done both and have had a wonderful time.

I've never looked into renting my own sail boat, but I did meet a guy in a bar who took me sailing on his boat.  That was an experience haha.

Edit to add: Sometimes you can find airline deals to fly into STT for <400.  Though short notice prices seems to be more around the 600-800...atleast flying from MSP.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 12:33:33 PM by Cromacster »

AZDude

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 12:49:31 PM »
I'll second the virgin islands. We went on our honeymoon to Tortola, in the British VI. Now, this was in the midst of the recession, and in the offseason in April, but there was no one at the beach. We had a two mile to ourselves, and the entire island was laid back and relaxed. As far as stuff to do, there is less in the BVI than elsewhere, but we still went out sailing and snorkeling. Had a great time in a place that is a little off the beaten path. I would highly recommend it.

A word of caution though, places seem to randomly close there and the locals have no concept of time. Go to a restaurant, and if it is open, you will be there two or three hours.

Easye418

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 01:31:24 PM »
DW and I are planning our honeymoon for November. Does anybody here have any good experiences that they could recommend to us?

Ideally we're looking for a place that is all inclusive (or if it isn't not priced like it is), has a quiet beach, and has things to do--by things to do, we'd be looking for snorkeling, diving, sailing, wind surfing, fishing, etc.--things to make us forget we live in Chicago and it is November. We'd really like to be able to take a sailboat out on our own (even if we have to go through a lesson first).

Any tips?

Oh, to be difficult: No Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico (unless it is a smaller island), or Aruba. Those are non-negotiables.

Hello fellow Chicagoian, well I left that dump to WAY better Texas,  I encourage you to do it as well.  Dearly miss my Nonna's Pizza tho (South Burbs). 

Try Belize.  BEAUTIFUL country, super nice people, great beaches, great weather, etc.  Direct flights as well. 

JoJo

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 02:22:52 PM »
I did a two week cruise a couple years ago that hit 11 different islands.  The two I liked that seemed more tropical, less touristy, and budget minded and most likely for me to return to were St. Lucia and Dominica.

KCM5

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2015, 02:27:29 PM »
DW and I are planning our honeymoon for November. Does anybody here have any good experiences that they could recommend to us?

Ideally we're looking for a place that is all inclusive (or if it isn't not priced like it is), has a quiet beach, and has things to do--by things to do, we'd be looking for snorkeling, diving, sailing, wind surfing, fishing, etc.--things to make us forget we live in Chicago and it is November. We'd really like to be able to take a sailboat out on our own (even if we have to go through a lesson first).

Any tips?

Oh, to be difficult: No Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico (unless it is a smaller island), or Aruba. Those are non-negotiables.

Hello fellow Chicagoian, well I left that dump to WAY better Texas,  I encourage you to do it as well.  Dearly miss my Nonna's Pizza tho (South Burbs). 

Try Belize.  BEAUTIFUL country, super nice people, great beaches, great weather, etc.  Direct flights as well.

Insulting someone's home is kind of a weird way to begin a vacation recommendation.

Although I do second Belize!

Easye418

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2015, 02:34:54 PM »
DW and I are planning our honeymoon for November. Does anybody here have any good experiences that they could recommend to us?

Ideally we're looking for a place that is all inclusive (or if it isn't not priced like it is), has a quiet beach, and has things to do--by things to do, we'd be looking for snorkeling, diving, sailing, wind surfing, fishing, etc.--things to make us forget we live in Chicago and it is November. We'd really like to be able to take a sailboat out on our own (even if we have to go through a lesson first).

Any tips?

Oh, to be difficult: No Mexico, Jamaica, Puerto Rico (unless it is a smaller island), or Aruba. Those are non-negotiables.

Hello fellow Chicagoian, well I left that dump to WAY better Texas,  I encourage you to do it as well.  Dearly miss my Nonna's Pizza tho (South Burbs). 

Try Belize.  BEAUTIFUL country, super nice people, great beaches, great weather, etc.  Direct flights as well.

Insulting someone's home is kind of a weird way to begin a vacation recommendation.

Although I do second Belize!

Sorry, truth hurts sometimes.  I'd rather be upfront than sugar coat it.  Its not like I didn't feel the pain for 25 years.

Belize was magical.  Spent two weeks there.  Week in land and week on the coast.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2015, 02:38:13 PM »
I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean too(or Mexico), however I think i'll have to go to a very touristy place as I plan on using my southwest points that will only take me to one of the following places,
Aruba, Aruba
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, MX
Cancun, MX
Mexico City, MX
Puerto Vallarta, MX
Let me know if you go to one of these places and what you think of it, or if anyone else has some experiences from one of these places?

Schaefer Light

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2015, 02:54:42 PM »
I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean too(or Mexico), however I think i'll have to go to a very touristy place as I plan on using my southwest points that will only take me to one of the following places,
Aruba, Aruba
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, MX
Cancun, MX
Mexico City, MX
Puerto Vallarta, MX
Let me know if you go to one of these places and what you think of it, or if anyone else has some experiences from one of these places?
Of the places you listed, I've been to Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau, and San Juan.  I would definitely choose Aruba from this list.  The beaches there are amazing, and it's definitely more upscale than the other places I've been to on this list.  I've heard that some of the Mexican places are nice as well, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

mtn

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2015, 02:57:30 PM »
I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean too(or Mexico), however I think i'll have to go to a very touristy place as I plan on using my southwest points that will only take me to one of the following places,
Aruba, Aruba
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, MX
Cancun, MX
Mexico City, MX
Puerto Vallarta, MX
Let me know if you go to one of these places and what you think of it, or if anyone else has some experiences from one of these places?
Of the places you listed, I've been to Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau, and San Juan.  I would definitely choose Aruba from this list.  The beaches there are amazing, and it's definitely more upscale than the other places I've been to on this list.  I've heard that some of the Mexican places are nice as well, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

Where in Aruba? Any resorts? Recommendations?

Also, as to Mexico--I've heard of numerous cases of girls getting date raped there at the resorts by the staff. It is the reason it is off of our list. Yes, that is anecdotal. Yes, that could happen anywhere, regardless of location--Chicago or Texas, Mexico or Aruba. But we've heard enough stories about that in Cancun specifically that we're just crossing Mexico off the list.

mammothunder

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2015, 03:56:11 PM »
We also vetoed Mexico and Jamaica for our honeymoon.  I desperately wanted to go to St. John, but it was out of our budget.  We ultimately chose St. Lucia and stayed at one of the three all-inclusive Sandals resorts on the island.  I think an all-inclusive vacation was the right choice for us after the stress of planning a big, non-Mustachian wedding (last granddaughter to get married on both sides of the family).  However, I doubt we'll go on an all-inclusive vacation ever again.  I felt a little bit like I was stuck on a Southern plantation...

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2015, 03:58:37 PM »
I'll second St. John.  We visited a few islands on a cruise and St. John was small, slow, and gorgeous. Good hiking too.

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Jellyfish

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2015, 04:10:07 PM »
I hate admitting this on this forum, of all places, but I think my son and I are going to go to Club Med in the Dominican Republic on his spring break.  It's awesome (will be our 2nd visit).  Travel is where I try not to feel bad about spending and I really love Club Med (lots of activities, great for kids, all inclusive, has sailboats(!), and a circus school...for adults and kids. 

Jeremy E.

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2015, 04:48:05 PM »
I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean too(or Mexico), however I think i'll have to go to a very touristy place as I plan on using my southwest points that will only take me to one of the following places,
Aruba, Aruba
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, MX
Cancun, MX
Mexico City, MX
Puerto Vallarta, MX
Let me know if you go to one of these places and what you think of it, or if anyone else has some experiences from one of these places?
Of the places you listed, I've been to Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau, and San Juan.  I would definitely choose Aruba from this list.  The beaches there are amazing, and it's definitely more upscale than the other places I've been to on this list.  I've heard that some of the Mexican places are nice as well, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

Where in Aruba? Any resorts? Recommendations?

Also, as to Mexico--I've heard of numerous cases of girls getting date raped there at the resorts by the staff. It is the reason it is off of our list. Yes, that is anecdotal. Yes, that could happen anywhere, regardless of location--Chicago or Texas, Mexico or Aruba. But we've heard enough stories about that in Cancun specifically that we're just crossing Mexico off the list.
Did you hear the same about Aruba? Why is it off your list

Jeremy E.

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2015, 06:04:40 PM »
After some research, I decided Aruba looked perfect, and then found out the official languages are dutch and Papiamento, I've been learning Spanish..... I'm hoping to go somewhere that's official language is English or Spanish

mtn

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2015, 10:21:29 PM »
I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean too(or Mexico), however I think i'll have to go to a very touristy place as I plan on using my southwest points that will only take me to one of the following places,
Aruba, Aruba
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, MX
Cancun, MX
Mexico City, MX
Puerto Vallarta, MX
Let me know if you go to one of these places and what you think of it, or if anyone else has some experiences from one of these places?
Of the places you listed, I've been to Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau, and San Juan.  I would definitely choose Aruba from this list.  The beaches there are amazing, and it's definitely more upscale than the other places I've been to on this list.  I've heard that some of the Mexican places are nice as well, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

Where in Aruba? Any resorts? Recommendations?

Also, as to Mexico--I've heard of numerous cases of girls getting date raped there at the resorts by the staff. It is the reason it is off of our list. Yes, that is anecdotal. Yes, that could happen anywhere, regardless of location--Chicago or Texas, Mexico or Aruba. But we've heard enough stories about that in Cancun specifically that we're just crossing Mexico off the list.
Did you hear the same about Aruba? Why is it off your list

Different reasons--mostly everybody we've heard that has been there said it was a 24 hour party which isn't what we're looking for. I'm sure that it isn't the case when it isn't spring break, but I'm not fighting that fight because there are a lot of other good options.

Pro_Amateur

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2015, 01:34:48 AM »
After some research, I decided Aruba looked perfect, and then found out the official languages are dutch and Papiamento, I've been learning Spanish..... I'm hoping to go somewhere that's official language is English or Spanish
English is widely spoken in Aruba, since there are so many American tourists that go there. Also, Papiamento has a lot of Spanish in it. If you can understand Spanish, you can understand most of what is said and printed in Papiamento.


mtn

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2015, 08:10:56 AM »
things to make us forget we live in Chicago and it is November.

Hello fellow Chicagoian, well I left that dump to WAY better Texas,  I encourage you to do it as well.  Dearly miss my Nonna's Pizza tho (South Burbs). 


Insulting someone's home is kind of a weird way to begin a vacation recommendation.

Although I do second Belize!

Sorry, truth hurts sometimes.  I'd rather be upfront than sugar coat it.  Its not like I didn't feel the pain for 25 years.


We actually love Chicago--if we move, it is either to a very close suburb or farther north to Wisconsin, Minnesota, or the UP.

But don't worry, everyone in both Chicago and Texas appreciates your moving--raised the average IQ for both locations!

Jellyfish

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2015, 08:39:28 AM »
things to make us forget we live in Chicago and it is November.

Hello fellow Chicagoian, well I left that dump to WAY better Texas,  I encourage you to do it as well.  Dearly miss my Nonna's Pizza tho (South Burbs). 


Insulting someone's home is kind of a weird way to begin a vacation recommendation.

Although I do second Belize!

Sorry, truth hurts sometimes.  I'd rather be upfront than sugar coat it.  Its not like I didn't feel the pain for 25 years.


We actually love Chicago--if we move, it is either to a very close suburb or farther north to Wisconsin, Minnesota, or the UP.

But don't worry, everyone in both Chicago and Texas appreciates your moving--raised the average IQ for both locations!

Haha!  Fellow Chicagoan here.  Love it.  (Just booked my Dominican Republic spring break vacation last night...)

Easye418

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2015, 08:53:10 AM »

We actually love Chicago--if we move, it is either to a very close suburb or farther north to Wisconsin, Minnesota, or the UP.

But don't worry, everyone in both Chicago and Texas appreciates your moving--raised the average IQ for both locations!

Haha!  Fellow Chicagoan here.  Love it.  (Just booked my Dominican Republic spring break vacation last night...)

Apparently, I am not entitled to an opinion of my hometown after 25 years of living there and you can determine IQ from posting on an internet blog.  Jeez, go figure!

All bullshit aside, relaaaax.  To each his own I suppose and for another thread.

Back to the topic at hand, I still strongly encourage you to research Belize.  DR is beautiful as well.   If you decide on Belize, I know a fantastic travel planner who lives in Belize and is free (works off commission from resorts).
« Last Edit: September 25, 2015, 08:55:09 AM by Easye418 »

Seppia

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #20 on: September 25, 2015, 09:11:04 AM »
Salt Cay, Turks and Caicos.
Tiny island with residences around $175 per night with kitchenette.
Fantastic snorkeling, great diving (not Cayman great, but nowhere in the Caribbean is Cayman great).
Maybe 50 people living on the island.
Two bars.
2 miles of amazing beach where in my total 25 days on the island I have seen probably 15 people other than my wife.
From NYC there's direct flights to Providenciales (PLS) for around $450-600, plus you will need to add another $150-160 for the flight from Provo to Salt Cay.
I have no affiliation with the businesses there other than the fact we love them, we went twice in two years and we will be going again this year.
In February there's the migration of the humpback Whales and they can be seen all day.
Excluding diving, the cost is pretty low for the experience.
PM me if you want direct contacts.

Residence:



The very crowded beach






TN_Steve

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2015, 09:30:46 AM »
I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean too(or Mexico), however I think i'll have to go to a very touristy place as I plan on using my southwest points that will only take me to one of the following places,
Aruba, Aruba
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, MX
Cancun, MX
Mexico City, MX
Puerto Vallarta, MX
Let me know if you go to one of these places and what you think of it, or if anyone else has some experiences from one of these places?

Assuming, unlike OP, you don't want an all-inclusive:

Cancun is $20 bus ride (nice bus, with A/C, that you catch right past the timeshare hucksters in the airport) to Playa del Carmen--which has a less than $20 ferry leaving hourly (?) to cozumel.  We love cozumel, once you get away from the Cruise-Ship shopping areas. Quiet island, excellent restaurants, fun beach bars, and arguably the best bang for the buck Scuba destination from the middle of the US.

(Playa has its own adherents as well.)

Another off-the-path option from Cancun is to catch a bus/taxi from the airport to the ferry to Isla Mujeres, which is essentially an island neighborhood of the City.  Top time is late summer, when you can catch a boat and snorkel with the conglomeration of whale sharks.  Otherwise, a small, scenic island that is very amenable to golf carting around to fairly deserted beaches and has a good downtown area with bars/restaurants--and my understanding is that the diving is also better than decent.

snogirl

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #22 on: September 25, 2015, 10:02:44 AM »
I've been both to Belize and Roatan Island.
Both places didn't disappoint.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #23 on: September 25, 2015, 10:14:31 AM »
I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean too(or Mexico), however I think i'll have to go to a very touristy place as I plan on using my southwest points that will only take me to one of the following places,
Aruba, Aruba
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, MX
Cancun, MX
Mexico City, MX
Puerto Vallarta, MX
Let me know if you go to one of these places and what you think of it, or if anyone else has some experiences from one of these places?

Assuming, unlike OP, you don't want an all-inclusive:

Cancun is $20 bus ride (nice bus, with A/C, that you catch right past the timeshare hucksters in the airport) to Playa del Carmen--which has a less than $20 ferry leaving hourly (?) to cozumel.  We love cozumel, once you get away from the Cruise-Ship shopping areas. Quiet island, excellent restaurants, fun beach bars, and arguably the best bang for the buck Scuba destination from the middle of the US.

(Playa has its own adherents as well.)

Another off-the-path option from Cancun is to catch a bus/taxi from the airport to the ferry to Isla Mujeres, which is essentially an island neighborhood of the City.  Top time is late summer, when you can catch a boat and snorkel with the conglomeration of whale sharks.  Otherwise, a small, scenic island that is very amenable to golf carting around to fairly deserted beaches and has a good downtown area with bars/restaurants--and my understanding is that the diving is also better than decent.
thanks a lot, to me "all inclusive" sounds the same as "expensive and facepunch worthy". So this sounds like a much better option. I would like to someday do something like go curry cracker or retire early lifestyle, but currently I can only take a 2 week vacation (stupid jobs).

Schaefer Light

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #24 on: September 25, 2015, 01:31:46 PM »
I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean too(or Mexico), however I think i'll have to go to a very touristy place as I plan on using my southwest points that will only take me to one of the following places,
Aruba, Aruba
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Nassau, Bahamas
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos, MX
Cancun, MX
Mexico City, MX
Puerto Vallarta, MX
Let me know if you go to one of these places and what you think of it, or if anyone else has some experiences from one of these places?
Of the places you listed, I've been to Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau, and San Juan.  I would definitely choose Aruba from this list.  The beaches there are amazing, and it's definitely more upscale than the other places I've been to on this list.  I've heard that some of the Mexican places are nice as well, but I don't have any personal experience with them.

Where in Aruba? Any resorts? Recommendations?
I'd be happy staying just about anywhere on Palm or Eagle Beach in Aruba.  There are a ton of resorts, time-shares, and hotels along those two beaches (which are right next to each other).  I don't have any information about one specific place (as we were just there for a day on our cruise), but there were all kinds of nice looking resorts there.  The beaches and weather were what I really liked about Aruba, though. 

Schaefer Light

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Re: Caribbean Vacation recommendations?
« Reply #25 on: September 25, 2015, 01:37:41 PM »
We also vetoed Mexico and Jamaica for our honeymoon.  I desperately wanted to go to St. John, but it was out of our budget.  We ultimately chose St. Lucia and stayed at one of the three all-inclusive Sandals resorts on the island.  I think an all-inclusive vacation was the right choice for us after the stress of planning a big, non-Mustachian wedding (last granddaughter to get married on both sides of the family).  However, I doubt we'll go on an all-inclusive vacation ever again.  I felt a little bit like I was stuck on a Southern plantation...
My wife and I stayed at a Sandals resort in Jamaica, and it was probably the most beautiful property we've ever been on.  If you're going to stay at an all-inclusive, you shouldn't automatically rule out Jamaica.  We were so far off the beaten path at our resort that we didn't see anyone who wasn't a resort guest or staff member the whole time we were there.