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Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

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Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

We are a well travelled Australian family of two adults and a 15 y/o seeking advice on where to go for the best first time experience in the Caribbean for 10 nights.

We have a budget of $10,000 AUD for the 10 nights (5 nights split between two places would be ideal!) to spare before our 20 day Caribbean cruise (Royal Princess).

We are a fun family, with adventurous interests and enjoy historical experiences. We are also looking for a little bit of luxury and relaxation.

We are covering most of the Caribbean islands on the cruise and were looking to experience something different (unless one of the destinations on our cruise is worth a return visit.)

http://www.princess.com/find/searchResults.do (Link for cruise itinerary)

Our first option was Punta Cana (accom. -The Reserve)

Second Cancun (already been to Mexico) (accom. - Moon Palace)

Trinidad & Tobago (accom - Coco Reef)

Cuba (we know we cannot get here via USA)

Your suggestions, tips or advice would be extremely helpful!! Especially if you have been to the above places or even stayed at the accommodation we have looked at. If you have advice on one of the destinations on the cruise that is a 'must to go back and stay' please let us know!

Hopefully I have been thorough! Thanks!

nyc
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1. Re: Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

Actually, there are u.s. flights to cuba out of florida, you are an australian citizen? The ban is for u.s. citizens spending money in cuba. I dont see a problem, you can go to cuba from the DR as well.

Where will your cruise dock in the DR, laromana? If so, look into Bayahibe for a resort, Dreams laromana gets great reviews.

Its pretty close to the port. From this location, bayahibe, punta cana and the colonial zone (santo domingo) would be appx 1 hr away.

The reserve, at punta cana will work great for luxury and relaxation.

Good luch with your research.

London, United...
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2. Re: Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

Surely if you are well travelled family with adventurous interest you would go beyond the AI bubbles. Cuncun, Punta Cana - the only difference is the price and the quality of the buffe - staying in any AI you would be hard pressed to knwo which country you are in. Both these countries have vibrant cultures which you will not experience in an AI. Do something really adventurous and don't stay in an AI! Just my opnion.

Boston...
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3. Re: Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

If Cuba does interest you and you will be travelling out of the US, the following fly to Havana:

American Airlines from New York (JFK), Miami, and Tampa

Delta from Atlanta and Miami

JetBlue from Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa

United Airlines from Miami

As a US citizen not able to freely travel, I don't know the stipulations or how to book, but perhaps contact one of the airlines to see how to go about booking.

Canada
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4. Re: Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

I checked you cruise itinerary - your link wasn't direct but I think I found it.

Looks like you will be getting a nice overview of many different countries - fun.

If your guys are really adventurous I'd be looking at Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua - 10 days would be a nice amount of time to travel around there a bit. There are some really great places to stay in all those countries.

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

This is not accurate. The USA-Cuba flights are operated as charter flights only for travelers who qualify under a general license to visit or have a specific license issued by the US Treasury.. You have to fill out and sign an affidavit and you are questioned by US Customs and Border Protection before you leave. They do NOT allow tourists to buy a ticket for these flights, regardless if the passenger is a US citizen or not, as the purpose of the economic sanctions are to deprive the regime of tourist dollars. If you want to visit Cuba as a tourist and you are Australian, your best bet is via Mexico. (Contrary to myths however, traveling to Cuba during your trip to North America will not prevent or adversely affect any visit to the USA)

Having been to Cuba twice, I can honestly say that you wouldn't be missing much if you gave it a miss I'd still take the DR over Cuba any day.

Tampa, Florida
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6. Re: Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

But I would take Mexico over anywhere in the Caribbean. Such a huge country with so much to experience, full of rich culture. Experience the "Caribbean" part of Mexico (Cancun/Riviera Maya) in an AI, go to some of the colonial cities like Oaxaca or San Cristobal de las Casas, and get the big city experience in Mexico City, which is quite possibly one of the worlds most underrated cities with enough to keep you busy for weeks (I always tell people it is twice the size of New York for a tenth of the price) To me, the only advantage the Dominican Republic has(besides some very nice beaches, but everywhere in the Caribbean has that) is price compared to AI's in Mexico and other Caribbean destinations.

Ontario, Canada
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7. Re: Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

From one Aussie to another...we live in Canada and have spent the last winters ( Jan - March) in punta Cana in condos , I can highly recommend it. With your budget you could easily find a rental apartment , eat out at all meals,liquor .plus have plenty let for activities ,excursions.

8. Re: Hard to chose! Well Travelled Caribbean Experts tips needed

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