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Old 04-06-2014, 12:56 PM
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
15,070 posts, read 19,013,423 times
Reputation: 24177


Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
I really would recommend a cruise except one thing: it won't be quiet and private like you have said you would like, but it is a good bang for your buck. Just remember to allow for drinking and tipping if you choose to do that. Cuba does sound interesting. I am not sure I want to give them my business, but I have heard the island is beautiful. I don't know how many days you are planning on staying, but whoever said your $3000 budget was plenty might be a little to optimistic. It is enough and yet there will be several places it won't go far. The good news, from late Aug into Sept though it is hurricane season it ia also the down season, so rates will be lower. I am a little confused, you want someplace quiet and private but with a lot to do. Don't those requirements sorta contradict each other?

I think, if it were me, I would just talk to a travel agent. They rarely charge anything or very little and they would be the best to advise you. I think you might want to consider Cancun or Cozumel. They are less expensive than the eastern part of the Caribbean and offer activities. Both areas have some nice ail inclusives which is probably what would work the best for you.
The highlighted portion is what specifically made me thing cruise. Get a balcony room, you get privacy and quiet on your private balcony. But you still have lots of stuff to do on the ship, in port, on excursions, etc.

All inclusive's are good idea, too. I've never been a fan, but since you're young folks, it's definitely an option you should consider (but I'd rule out Jamaica unless you really want to just stay in the resort. There are far better, more interesting locations.)

I'll also add that most vacation packages are cheaper in November and December (esp December) because so many hesitate to travel prior to the holidays. The exclusion to this vacation packages that include the actual holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve) - those prices are typically (but not always) sky high.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:40 PM
Location: Miami/ Washington DC
4,836 posts, read 10,188,748 times
Reputation: 2512
With that budget you can book a nice cruise. And you will likely head out from Miami or Ft. Lauderdale so enjoy a day/night there by getting in a night before.

Besides for that there are plenty of all inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, Dominican Republic has a ton. Just search around for deals. There are some nice places in the Florida Keys too.

But again if you want to see a bunch of places and not have much to worry about a cruise is a really nice way to go. Look at the itineraries on various lines and see where you want to see and what prices they have. It is such a nice easy way to travel and see different places. Get a cabin with a balcony (that can get expensive sometimes) and the view is awesome any time and ever changing. You have your room to get away from everything but also will have tons of things to do at night and during the day whether at port or at sea. I have not been on a cruise in some time. Need to get on one sometime.
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:00 AM
14,188 posts, read 6,430,715 times
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Has your girlfriend ever expressed an interest in a cruise? I only ask because if my man planned a vacation & it was a cruise, I would think he didn't know me at all. A cruise is an entirely different type of vacation than your basic going to a different country vacation. I would never want to go on a cruise, no interest whatsoever. So, if I were you, I would hope you know your girlfriend well enough to know if she would even like that type of vacation otherwise, you might sorely disappoint her if you go that route, lol.
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Old 04-08-2014, 03:54 PM
Location: Houston, TX
17,032 posts, read 26,876,260 times
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Cozumel. Fly direct and it will be about 1k less than your budget. Thank me later.
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Old 04-09-2014, 03:51 AM
37 posts, read 73,420 times
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Beyond doubt the out islands of the Bahamas, for example, Abaco, Eleuthera or Exuma. Awesome sunny shores that are totally left 90% of the time! You can lease a little vessel also to go investigating in the Harbor. A huge amount of fun!
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Old 04-10-2014, 04:59 AM
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I think Carribeans is the best option
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:06 AM
Location: NoVa
2,126 posts, read 2,911,096 times
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Regarding Bahamas, they can get very expensive. The last time I went there, the exchange rate was 1:1. Plus if you go to Nassau, you won't like the attitude the people have there, not to mention the automatic 20% service charge (aka tip) that they tack on every bill. Forget Exumas and outer islands of Bahamas with your budget, it will be really, really, a stretch. Especially if you wish for beachfront accomodation with ocean view, do the excursion, etc.

I would highly recommend Cancun. Yeah, I know, spring break destination and all that. But my husband and I just came back and had a great time. It's at the coast of Caribbean Sea, so you know you'll get the turquoise blue water and white sand beach and clear water. The people are much warmer and friendlier than Bahamas, the place is safe, and getting around is easy without renting a car.

Rent a condo instead so you can save some money by making light breakfast and lunch at home and splurge for dinner. I believe end of summer is their low season so you can get a beautiful 1 Bedroom beachfront condo with small kitchen for $99 per night or less. We rented a condo we found on FlipKey.com. You can make a stop at their Walmart in downtown to stock up on alcohol and light food on your first day and you're set for the week.

Getting around in Cancun is super easy since they have busses that run every 2-5 minutes 24 hours a day from right in front of your hotel / condo that costs 9.5 pesos (less than a dollar with an exchange rate of roughly $1 buys 13 Mexican pesos). You can take the same bus to any of the ferry stops along the hotel zone that'll take you to Isla Mujeres for a day trip, a small island off Cancun. On Isla Mujeres you can rent a golf cart or small moped to drive around the island, do snorkeling, go fishing, or simply kick back and relax with a cold beer at one of the beachfront shacks. The beaches on Isla Mujeres are even more beautiful than Cancun. The golf cart ride around the island was really fun as well!

Once you get bored of the beach, you can take the same bus to party central, halfway between hotel zone and downtown. Or explore other places beyond Cancun (such as Playa Del Carmen, another popular beach, or explore Mayan Ruins, etc) on your own by bus or take one of the excursion packages offered all over Cancun.

You will love it, I swear, since it has a bit of everything for everyone. My husband and I are not party types and we went during peak spring break, and still managed to avoid spring break crowds and had a good time. Don't worry much about language barrier either since most people speak broken english. Learn a few spanish words / phrases though, just to get by.
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Old 04-11-2014, 08:12 AM
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,259,760 times
Reputation: 36087
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
No need to do this anymore. There are organizations that book trips to Cuba directly from the US. They get permission from the fed by calling them 'education' or 'compassionate' travel groups.

Google 'trips to cuba from the us' and you'll get plenty of options. We know about 4-5 couples/singles who are well traveled, 50+ adults and have done these trips. None particularly enjoyed themselves or would go again. And it isn't cheap.
Yes, but you have to book it months in advance, arrange troublesome paperwork, go when and where the group wants to go, and follow the itinerary of the group. If you go through Canada (or Cancun or any other free country), you can book flight-only, go whenever you want, even on the spur of the moment, stay as long as you like, and do what you please in Cuba. And it IS cheap, probably cheaper than any other island in the Caribbean, which is why it is the most popular destination for the free Canadians. And while you re there, you will feel like you are a citizen of a free country, except that you may be subject to arrest when you get home, just for going where you please without Big Brother's permission.

Last edited by jtur88; 04-11-2014 at 08:51 AM..
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Old 04-11-2014, 09:04 AM
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,259,760 times
Reputation: 36087
Back to the OP:

Come on, man, she's your girl friend. Buy RT tickets, flight only, to someplace cheap, and get off the plane and look for the cheapest lodgings you can tolerate. Kick back and have the whole time all to yourselves, leave the cares of the world behind you, and spend the rest of your happy lives laughing about that ridiculous trip you took. Save a couple thousand dollars into the bargain, and use it back home for something a lot nicer than overpriced room service.

Believe me, I've been there, and they were the greatest times of our lives, and sometimes the glue that held us together later on. Highlighted by cutting the cast off her broken arm and leaving it in a drawer in a dumpy hotel room somewhere in a Colombian backwater (Mompos, as I recall). It comes under the heading of Adventure, which you will never regret..

Last edited by jtur88; 04-11-2014 at 09:16 AM..
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