Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Caribbean
Old 12-26-2012, 04:11 PM   #1
Full time employment: Posting here.
SumDay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 799
Caribbean

DH has "The Caribbean" on his bucket list. It's not on mine at all, seriously, and I don't know why.

I tried planning a trip earlier this year, and airfare & travel from the Midwest seemed to be a bit of a pain. I wasn't impressed with our timeshare availability there, and I don't look forward to driving on the wrong side of the road. Whaaaa.... Poor me, I know.

Part of the problem is that I don't know where to focus my search. I'd love to be able to tell DH to just plan the whole thing and tell me when to pack, but he has some post-chemo cognitive issues, so having him do the organizing just isn't an option.

I know I sound whiney, so forgive me. I just need a few tips to get me started.

Thanks in advance.
__________________

__________________
SumDay is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 12-26-2012, 04:19 PM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 925
The Caribbean means different things to different people. Include some details about what you (he) seek; and, I am sure there will be plenty of help here.

Personally, I love many aspects of the Caribbean from lounging on the white sand beaches of the Bahamas to hiking in the jungle covered mountains of Puerto Rico. I have not found a better area of the world for snorkling/diving. I would not be a good source of information about the high end shopping and dining available on some of the islands; but, I have heard that can rival many European alternatives.

Cheap/easy/direct flights from the Midwest are somewhat limited but do exist.
__________________

__________________
If there's one thing in my life that's missing; It's the time I spend alone
Sailing on the cool and bright clear waters; There's lots of those friendly people
Showin me ways to go; And I never want to lose your inspiration
CoolChange is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 04:19 PM   #3
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sacramento area
Posts: 444
Mel - consider a cruise. We JUST got back (12/20) from a 10 day on the Oceania Riveria. GREAT time. My ONE complaint about cruising is that you ONLY get from (say) 8:00-9:00 to somewhere around 3:00 to 6:00 IN porrt. You can never have dinner IN TOWN. BUT it is a great way to visit different locations. AND you can arrange shore excursions. We used Shore Excursioneer and saved about 1/2 of what the cruise line charges for the same trip.

DW subscrtibes to Travel Zoo and we have gotten GREAT deals from there. (this one AND a western mediterean out of Barcelona).

This one was a MID sized ship - 1,250 passengers instead of 4,000+. We paid something like $1,299 pp inside cabin for the 10 days, Air from San Francisco to MIA was an additional $400pp. The cruise lines want to charge something like $80 PP for a transfer from MIA to the cruise dock. Cab is flat rate $25.

Oceania INCLUDES in their price on board gratuities and all soft drinks. (Others charge for soda). Alcohol is on your nickel. Food was GREAT.
__________________
AWeinel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 04:29 PM   #4
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,373
Quote:
Originally Posted by MelBay View Post
DH has "The Caribbean" on his bucket list. It's not on mine at all, seriously, and I don't know why.

I tried planning a trip earlier this year, and airfare & travel from the Midwest seemed to be a bit of a pain. I wasn't impressed with our timeshare availability there, and I don't look forward to driving on the wrong side of the road. Whaaaa.... Poor me, I know.

Part of the problem is that I don't know where to focus my search. I'd love to be able to tell DH to just plan the whole thing and tell me when to pack, but he has some post-chemo cognitive issues, so having him do the organizing just isn't an option.

I know I sound whiney, so forgive me. I just need a few tips to get me started.

Thanks in advance.
Go get a travel book on the Caribbean, like Fodors or Frommers or Lonely Planet, from the library or Amazon, to give yourself an idea of the different places. And check AppleVacations.com for Caribbean vacation packages, at many price levels. It can be a reasonably priced lowkey escape, and imho the water color and clarity are breathtaking.
__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 05:15 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sacramento area
Posts: 444
***the water color and clarity are breathtaking***

+1

We went snorkling in Roatan, Honduras and also on Grand Cayman Island. WOW. Just got back and want to go again. lol.
__________________
AWeinel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 08:29 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Huston55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: The Bay Area
Posts: 1,801
Quote:
Originally Posted by AWeinel View Post
Mel - consider a cruise. We JUST got back (12/20) from a 10 day on the Oceania Riveria. GREAT time. My ONE complaint about cruising is that you ONLY get from (say) 8:00-9:00 to somewhere around 3:00 to 6:00 IN porrt. You can never have dinner IN TOWN. BUT it is a great way to visit different locations. AND you can arrange shore excursions. We used Shore Excursioneer and saved about 1/2 of what the cruise line charges for the same trip.

DW subscrtibes to Travel Zoo and we have gotten GREAT deals from there. (this one AND a western mediterean out of Barcelona).

This one was a MID sized ship - 1,250 passengers instead of 4,000+. We paid something like $1,299 pp inside cabin for the 10 days, Air from San Francisco to MIA was an additional $400pp. The cruise lines want to charge something like $80 PP for a transfer from MIA to the cruise dock. Cab is flat rate $25.

Oceania INCLUDES in their price on board gratuities and all soft drinks. (Others charge for soda). Alcohol is on your nickel. Food was GREAT.
+1 on the cruise. We're leaving for our 4th Caribbean cruise in two days; can't wait.

If you want to just be in one place , or one place as a base with short excursions, try St. Maarten. It's beautiful; half Dutch, half French; great beaches, great food, great shopping. And, excellent day trips can be had to St Barts (where I'd have my second home if I was filthy rich) and Anguilla for exquisite beaches. Plus, flights are typically not too hard to find.
__________________
You may be whatever you resolve to be.
Huston55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
We have been to many caribbean islands while on cruises. St Thomas, St Maarten/Martin, St John's, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, etc. Most feel similar. The smaller and less populous islands were very similar, and I guess the larger islands like Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico did have a little different feel since they had a little more to their economies than tourism.

If you just need clear water and white beaches I think most islands have that to offer. Plenty of watersports outfitters on most islands.
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (5, 11, and 12).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 08:50 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,526
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huston55 View Post
+1 on the cruise. We're leaving for our 4th Caribbean cruise in two days; can't wait.

If you want to just be in one place , or one place as a base with short excursions, try St. Maarten. It's beautiful; half Dutch, half French; great beaches, great food, great shopping. And, excellent day trips can be had to St Barts (where I'd have my second home if I was filthy rich) and Anguilla for exquisite beaches. Plus, flights are typically not too hard to find.
+1 on the cruise and +1 on St Martin/Maarten. I thought this was the nicest smallish island overall and felt the least "dirty" outside the touristy areas (we took a local van/bus between the French and Dutch sides riding next to mostly locals).

And after our first cruise, we pretty much figured out that we were best served by finding the best deal on the best cruise ship we could find and not worry too much about the destinations, since you have limited time in each one, and many caribbean islands are similar (especially in the touristy areas).
__________________
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (5, 11, and 12).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 09:29 PM   #9
Moderator
Sarah in SC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 13,456
I will throw in for Belize. Pretty beaches, driving isn't really necessary, easy to get to, English speaking, and easy currency rate.
Try Cayo Caulker, Ambergris Caye or Placencia.
__________________
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

Sarah in SC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 09:33 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Sacramento area
Posts: 444
We found Belize to be NOT that nice. Pretty rough. PERSONALLY, would not visit again. We much more preferred Roatan Island, Honduras
__________________
AWeinel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-26-2012, 09:49 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,017
I like St. Lucia. Very friendly people, lush, dramatic scenery. The resort I stayed at was The Body Holiday. Spa themed, private beach, very relaxing. Not cheap though.
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-27-2012, 05:00 AM   #12
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Huston55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: The Bay Area
Posts: 1,801
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
I like St. Lucia. Very friendly people, lush, dramatic scenery. The resort I stayed at was The Body Holiday. Spa themed, private beach, very relaxing. Not cheap though.
Hopefully, you returned with both kidneys.

Or, better yet, enhancements!*




* Not implying you need enhancements
__________________
You may be whatever you resolve to be.
Huston55 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 11:11 AM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 183
+1 on a cruise. IMO, it is the best way to sample the Carribbean first. The choice of islands is not as critical as you would initially think (for a cruise).Else, for land-based vacation you can also try Puerto Rico, Jamaica or Cancun.
__________________
pixelville is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 02:37 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,971
We spent a week at Club Med Martinique - pretty spartan, but most expenses are included in the package price, and there are more activities than you could ever engage in, and you can skip them all if you like.

We also spent a two weeks on Paradise Island Bahamas (a DIY trip where everything was ala carte), it was first class and very expensive but we knew that going in. You only live once...

We thoroughly enjoyed both vacations, one on the cheap and one not.

Everyone should experience a Caribbean vacation once IMO, and satisfying a bucket list is one of the best reasons I can think of. More than once is another matter, it can be quite expensive.

We've done two cruises, obviously they're far more insulated from island culture, but that's what many people like. We'd rather mix right into the culture as much as possible. YMMV
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 03:10 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,017
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
We've done two cruises, obviously they're far more insulated from island culture, but that's what many people like. We'd rather mix right into the culture as much as possible. YMMV
I've had one vacation at a nice all inclusive on St. Lucia, and I've taken a 10 day cruise and visited 5 other Caribbean islands. They are completely different experiences. I feel I know St. Lucia, and I feel I know the cruise ship. Of the five islands I cruised to, I would like to return to Sint Maarten/St Martin (especially the Dutch side) and Barbados. If you want to really get into the ambience of a Caribbean island (or anywhere else) you need to spend much longer than a day there. I am not a fan of the manufactured port environment and it is essential to go on at least one excursion. If you decide to spend all your vacation on one island, since they are all very different, you need to do your research before choosing one.
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 03:11 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 9,965
I enjoyed a week on Montserrat pre-eruption. I've been watching via the internet ever since and it's starting to look like it's time for a return trip. Possibly a bit adventuresome vs. a cruise, all inclusive resort, etc. But, it's the kind of place we like to visit.

We stayed at a friend's modest and far off the pavement vacation home on the windward side. It was only a short walk to the beach and some wonderful rock formations where we would sit and let the spray from breaking waves keep us cool. We had a great ocean view and seldom saw anyone other than some young locals herding goats around. We did go into Plymouth (now buried) a few times to try the restaurants and also visited some retired Canadians with a beautiful home on the leeward side that I met through my hobby.

Unfortunately the house we stayed at is gone. It was severely damaged in a hurricane and then later finished off by the volcano. But, checking the Internet, it looks like there is a blossoming tourist business coming into play again with very reasonably priced accomodations available.

http://www.visitmontserrat.com/
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 03:23 PM   #17
Moderator
MichaelB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Rocky Inlets
Posts: 24,445
+1@ Feever and Meadbh. There's a lot of variety amongst the Caribbean Islands, so it really pays to start with "what do you want to do" and use a good all-around guidebook to help you choose the location that best fits your needs, then look for a good travel package.
__________________
MichaelB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 06:49 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Mulligan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 7,376
Caribbean trip is a very vague idea. I have only been to a few, but I am only going to go to one from now on and that is St. John, USVI. My criteria, however, is simple. I do not want to drive, I do not want many people around me, I want to be safe, I want English to be the spoken language, and I want beautiful clear water beaches,several that I have to myself at times.
Flight from Midwest is usually 2 legged, as we go to Atlanta, then straight to St. Thomas. Take a cab to other side of island, take a 10 minute ferry ride to St. John, then you can literally walk to some nice places from the ferry. Cabs are right there also, but we never use them except to occasionally go to Trunk Bay when we don't mind sharing the beaches.I prefer to use VBRO to get my place and rent a condo for a week at a time. Many cool open area places to eat and drink at Cruz Bay. And I know where all the cheap happy hour spots are at.
__________________
Mulligan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 07:43 PM   #19
Full time employment: Posting here.
ShortInSeattle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Seattle
Posts: 517
+1 for St John. Lovely nature walks. We've done 3 cruises in that part of the world and Disney was the best, Carnival the worst.


SIS
__________________
ShortInSeattle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-28-2012, 08:22 PM   #20
Moderator Emeritus
Bestwifeever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 16,373
I've broken down the OP's into a few parts:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MelBay View Post

(a) DH has "The Caribbean" on his bucket list. It's not on mine at all, seriously, and I don't know why.

(b) I tried planning a trip earlier this year, and airfare & travel from the Midwest seemed to be a bit of a pain.

(c) I wasn't impressed with our timeshare availability there, and I don't look forward to driving on the wrong side of the road.

(d)....DH ... has some post-chemo cognitive issues...
Okay, reading this again--

(a) OP's DH wants to go to the Caribbean--not a cruise, apparently, and only once to check it off his list. We did a Caribbean cruise long ago and then made several vacations to Cozumel as a result, but it doesn't sound like this is what the OP is looking for. OP doesn't even want to go to the Caribbean .

(b) Coordinating airfare and travel seems to indicate a package to a single island/coastal area would be in order.

(c) BUT it also sounds like OP has a time share she would like to use. In that case, she's limited to destinations that have available properties, and she probably has to do airfare/travel separately on her own. Maybe someone here who is familiar with timeshares can give her some ideas--I don't know anything about time shares.

(d) I hope the OP's DH is doing all right and will enjoy the trip.
__________________

__________________
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Bestwifeever is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:49 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.