Carribean and Mexico


Warm turquois water, gentle breezes, and pristine beaches.  Every location in the Caribbean has its own charm and personality.  There’s romantic St Lucia with its volcanic beaches and lush vegetation, Turks & Caicos with their world famous white powder sand beaches, and the fun and friendly Jamaica to name a few.

This page is designed to give you a quick profile of several Caribbean destinations to help you sort out which destination is best for you.

Mexican Caribbean­- Recommended for those looking for not only great resorts & beaches but also a wide variety of off-resort excursions,historically& culturally interesting sites as well as the for the adventure traveler.Beautiful beaches, colonial cities, ancient Mayan ruins, eco-adventure parks, the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Sian Ka’an, and luxury all-inclusive resortsare among the offerings.   Its unique history & geography makes it a wonderful destination for people with varied interests.

History – Mayan ruins & colonial towns.  Chichen Itza archeological site was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Geography – There are no above ground rivers in the Yucatan Peninsula; instead there is a network of underground rivers that have created the phenomena called cenotes,allowing you to swim in caves.

Nature – Swim with whale sharksoff the coast of Cancun late June through July.  Islands off the coast of Cancun and the biosphere reserve at Sian-Ka’an are great for bird watching.  The second largest barrier reef in the world runs along the coast of Cancun & Riviera Maya, creating spectacular snorkeling opportunities.

Activities – Mexico has several eco-adventure parks with nothing like them found anywhere else in the world:

  • Xcaret:  Man-made eco-adventure park with over 40 activities, and a Mexican Spectacular show at night.  Two underground rivers to swim, beach activities, a Mayan village & Spanish hacienda, horse show, animal and butterfly exhibits, and Swimming with Dolphins on premises.
  • Xel-Ha – A beautiful natural site, and admission includes unlimited snorkeling, buffet and national bar.Two of the major attractions are: 1)A quarter-mile wide inlet from the Caribbean Sea with coral reefs  for snorkeling without the waves. 2) River for swimming or tubing.  The first half of the trek is through a tunnel of mangrove tree roots, and the second part is open with two cliffs to climb and jumpback into the riverand ropes-courses.All water attractions are patrolled by lifeguards.
  • Xplor:  Eco-adventure park with four activities:zip lines, amphibious vehicles, underground rafts, & cave swimming
  • Rio Secreto – Swim and hike through 600 meters of an extensive underground river with thousands of magnificent stalactites &stalagmites.  Guided tours last about 3.5 hours.

Jamaica Three great main resort areas reachable from Montego Bay Airport:  Montego Bay – decent beach & close to airport (the right choice for quick get aways); Negril – absolute best beaches on the island and its westernmost point also means the best sunsets;Ocho Rios – lush tropical vegetation & hotbed for active excursions including Dunns River Falls.  Jamaica is primarily an all-inclusive resort destination with dozens of great properties catering to all tastes and budgets.  Good choice for the budget-minded traveler.

Unique excursions like Black River Safari with crocodiles and rafting on the Martha Brae River,zip-lining, ATV tours, and horseback riding on the beach.  Hospitality is a strong-suit of the Jamaican culture.  However, watch out for panhandling “salespeople” on the beach; pick a great resort with good security, like Sandals and Beaches, and you won’t have to worry about being hassled on your beach.

Dominican Republic (Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, La Romana)–great beaches, almost all resorts are all-inclusive, and there are offerings for every taste and budget.  The Palanca Barrier Reef runs along the beaches here making for awesome snorkeling.  Many sea excursions, and some land as well:  zip lining, horseback riding & ATV rides.  Lots of golf! Not much of cultural interest nearby but the colonial capital, Santo Domingo, is a worthwhile full-day excursion for culture-seekers and history aficionados.  Another good choice for the budget minded traveler.

St Lucia absolutely beautiful island with lush tropical vegetation where the mountains meet the sea.  St. Lucia is outside the hurricane belt; home to three premiere couples-only Sandals resorts among many other top-notch all-inclusives and European Plan** resorts; very popular for honeymoons, milestone anniversaries, and other romantic getaways; very safe. Volcanic island, so many beaches are dark and pebbly with almost black sand.  Not as popular with families, and tends to be one of the pricier islands for flights & resorts. Fewer non-stop flight options so many gateways require connecting flights, longer flight times from the US.

Turks & Caicos -  some of the world’s most beautiful white-powder sand beaches.  The Grace Bay area is home to smaller non-all-inclusive resorts with shops & restaurants, close to airport.  Few all-inclusives, most notable is the fabulous Beaches Turks & Caicos.  Not much of cultural interest here, primarily a beach and pool destination, with emphasis on that fabulous beach.

Aruba – located outside of the hurricane-belt, beautiful stretches of beach, very American-style resorts & casinos, safe to explore on your own with lots of shops and restaurants for every taste & budget, nice downtown shopping area.  Aruba is a desert island, so don’t expect much tropical vegetation.  Not for people looking for cultural interest on this island.  Very close to South America, so long flights from the US.  The majority of the properties are not all-inclusive, but there are some great all-inclusive choices.

Bahamas – Recommended for those wanting shorter flights.  American-style resorts & casinos catering to American tastes & palates, a great spot for a 3 or 4 night get-away but 7 nights is a stretch for people wanting more than pool & beach.  Not very warm December through February.  Very limited all-inclusive choices, and food is expensive.

Puerto Rico no passport required for US citizens, great beaches & Old San Juan will satisfy those seeking cultural & historical sites.  Unique nature excursions with its bioluminescent bays and El Yunque rainforest, home to the coqui tree frog.  Safe to rent a car & explore on your own.No real all-inclusive resort offerings; European-Plan hotels. 

Note for the budget-conscious:

The three most economical all-inclusive destinations are Mexico, Punta Cana, and Jamaica.  Three main factors account for this: 

Competition:  Each of these three have dozens of great resorts to choose from, including adults-only properties and family resorts alike, whereas other Caribbean destinations have more limited offerings.  Lift:  Each also has short non-stop flights from many East Coast & Texas airports (just 3 hr 15 minutes from the mid-Atlantic) Resources:  These destinations are larger geographically and grow much of their own food so less has to be imported.

**European Plan hotels include lodging and taxes only.  Meals and drinks are extra.


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