Friday, October 03, 2014

Theoretically, of course

Let's say, you came into a bit of money, unexpectedly.  And let's say, theoretically, of course, that you decided to take a little bit of that money and plan a vacation.

On the beach. In late January, or February, when the weather where you live is the worst.

And Hawaii is out, because too far to fly and too expensive, but maybe, theoretically, you could go to the Caribbean.  Maybe Jamaica, or the Virgin islands.  Or maybe this place called the Riviera Maya that someone told you about.  For a few days.  Theoretically.

And you definitely have a budget, so it's not gonna be anyplace too over the top,  but you're not going to be squatting on the beach, either.

Where would you go?  Theoretically.


~~Silk said...

If what you want is sun, sand, and warm water, but you don't much care about shopping, night life, or bragging rights, then go someplace nobody else has heard of. Avoid the "hot" islands and avoid "resorts". Go for simple beachside hotels in less popular places, like the Florida panhandle.

I can recommend the Tamarind hotel on Barbados. [] Barbados is a small island ripe for exploring, and the hotel plus meals should cost you less than $100 per night.

Check airfares - it might actually be cheaper to go to the pacific coast of Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful little town again perfect for exploring. I recommend taking a horseback tour of the surrounding countryside. Avoid the resorts - there are many smaller hotels IN the town that are more convenient.

There's also Puerto Rico. My daughter says it's wonderful.

The only problem with avoiding the resorts is that being closer to the local people, you can be prey to people who hassle you for money "my children will starve if you don't buy my trinkets", and you'll see a lot of sad-looking stray animals. That can be hard.

rockygrace said...

~~Silk, I'd do Florida in a hot minute, but the weather is not guaranteed that time of year. Could be 80, could be 50. I once almost froze my a** off at Disneyworld.

Tamarind looks like a definite possible.

Pacific coast of Mex would be looking at an awfully long travel time. Even with Riviera Maya, the listed travel time is ridic, which I can't figure out, b/c one hour (flight) to NYC, then straight down ... WHY are the travel sites giving me 26-HOUR travel times? Is mystery.

I've heard Jamaica is full of beggars on the beach. No, I don't want my hair beaded, thankyouverymuch.

Thanks for the tips. Keep 'em comin', guys!

Domestic Kate said...

Dominican Republic? I heard it's pretty and budget-friendly.

rockygrace said...

Kate, I'll put it on the list. The travel agent is gonna love me by the time I get through with her. :)

Oh! But she did get back to me tonight with an initial, prelim package for the Riviera Maya, which would be totally do-able, budget-wise, and with a several-hour travel time, which is why it pays to use the professionals for this stuff.

rockygrace said...

Er ... several hour travel time, as opposed to the TWENTY-SIX hour travel times I was getting on expedia. Hm.

spiffikins said...

The Riviera Maya is next on my list - I want to go to Akumal here
and I want to swim in the cenotes

I am ALL ABOUT the swimming and snorkeling on my vacations!

~~Silk said...

Photos from the Tamarind provided by travelers -

~~Silk said...

NEVER NEVER go to Catholic countries over Christmas or Easter holidays. Everything is closed and the hotels are short-handed. When going to a non-US territory, especially anyplace with a relaxed populace, check for their local holidays.

fmcgmccllc said...

Stick with the Pros and get travel insurance and travel med insurance if you leave the states. It is worth it. I have never been down there, Key West is always supposed to be warm but may not be your cup of tea. Yea, I have frozen myself all over the south in the winter-spring.

Becs said...

Key West.

rockygrace said...

spiffikins and ~~Silk, those pics are ... awesome. That blue water! and ~~Silk, thanks for the heads-up on the holidays. I was just trying to avoid Christmas, spring break, etc. - never thought about holidays for the locals.

fmcetc., I used to forgo trip insurance, but learned my lesson on that one a few years back. It will be bought for this trip. What is travel med insurance?

and may I ask why you and Becs recommend Key West?

Keep those suggestions coming, guys! I am loving this help.

~~Silk said...

Seems like Key West in February-ish might be mega-expensive? And crowded. You'd have virtual day-tripper partiers from Miami.

~~Silk said...

I'm not familiar with Riviera Maya at all, but can I conclude from the name that there might be the possibility of guided day trips to ruins in the jungle? Now that seems right up your alley. I don't imagine you as the type to spend all day every day lying on the sand, or sitting on a bar stool, no matter how blue the water.

bridgett said...

Here's a resource for looking over all the islands...has a nice "when to go" that gives you a head's up. Frommer's also has stuff for the Pacific side of Mexico....

Becs said...

Key West because it's in the US and that just seems simpler. It's the most-southern point in the US. And I imagine spots for watching blue, blue water with alcohol nearby abound.

Hey, what about a cruise? I've been on two and loved them both.

fmcgmccllc said...

If you leave the US probably will not cover you and you will be charged have to pay for any problems. I had a MIL with a broken foot in the Caribbean once, no fun.

Not sure how beachy Key West is, I am more of a walking, sight-seeing, shopping foodie person.

~~Silk said...

Key West - A quick search - even in the middle of town, I couldn't find a decent hotel for less than $300 per night (inc. tax etc) available in February. On the other hand, most places seemed to have mini-kitchens in the room, which is nice.

(P.S. Hawaii is further south than Key west, and Puerto Rico is "souther" and is considered US.)

rockygrace said...

~~Silk, yeah, the Mayan ruins are right there. And yes, I will need more than "beach". I suffer from ants-in-the-pants syndrome.

Bridget, thanks for bringing up Frommer's! I'll check it out.

Becs, I kind of grew up on boats (Dad owned a marina), so a cruise ... eh. Personally, I don't care if I ever step foot on a boat again. But I know lots of people who went and had a blast! (and I wish you lived closer so I could ask who you use as a petsitter!)

fmcetc., I will definitely ask the travel agent about med insurance.

And ~~Silk, Hawaii is further south than Key West?! Mind=blown.

~~Silk said...

Yeah. We Tend to think of Hawaii as directly west of California, but the islands are actually sort of off the coast of central Mexico. Way down there, way out there.

spiffikins said...

Oh - if you're thinking about the Keys - I did a trip there in May of this year!

I stayed in Marathon - which is about the middle of the Keys and drove up and down the Keys to poke around the whole area. I spent one day in Key West - it wasn't exciting to me at all, quite honestly - I much preferred the other areas.

I am all about the snorkeling - and there is actually a ton of snorkeling off the Keys - and for really reasonable prices (at least compared to trips in Hawaii that I've done).

rockygrace said...

spiffikins, did you stay in a hotel? A resort? Was it expensive?

spiffikins said...

I actually stayed in a vacation home - it was a 2 bedroom bungalow in Marathon, and it was under $100 a night - far cheaper than any hotel!

I believe I found it on but it might have been (which I believe are now actually the same company)

It worked out really well - I dealt with a property manager, they had a night drop to pick up the keys, and the place was well furnished and because it had a kitchen, I was able to save money for breakfasts and a couple of dinners by cooking for myself.

spiffikins said...

Oh actually it was!

this is the one I stayed at - highly recommend!