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San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Boston...
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San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Hey everyone! I am looking to book a vacation around new years (from late december to early january) for me and my boyfriend. We recieved a free one-way ticket on Airtran to any destination and I am currently having a very hard time trying to decide which of the Caribbean destinations to go to! Cancun was initally first on my list but the flights there are all booked. (We are flying from Boston, MA)

A Couple Guidelines:

-We are in college so the cheaper the better!

-We are mostly trying to find a place for ADVENTURE. (ex. dolphins, water sports like parasailing, jet skis, etc., ziplining, ATV, all types of things!) Also it would make a difference if these kinds of activities were cheaper.

-We LOVE seafood, but only if its not a ridiculous amount of money

-We are not big on night life and drinking.. moreover about the food and adventure. :)

-This is going to be our FIRST carribean adventure.. hopefully a good one!

Our budget for a 5 day, 4-night stay is less than 1k.

If any of you have had any experience in these places please let me know!

Thank you so much!

usa
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1. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Let me get this straight, you are spending less than $1000.00 for 2 people which includes everything: airfare, hotel, meals, activities, for 5 days in the busiest and most expensive time of the year in the Caribbean?

Boston...
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2. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Sorry, I meant to clarify that my budget is 1k per person! so a total of 2k in total. Airfare for the most part is going to be around 200-250, since one of my one-ways is free. I was looking up a couple of hotels in these areas, and i was thinking that a possibility is that me and my boyfriend were just going to stay at one of the budget hotels (60-70$/night) for those 4 nights for a combined total of around 250-300. That way it would leave around 500-ish for excursions and meals.

I have no experience with being in the Caribbean so i will need your help on letting me know if that is do-able. We arent expecting an amazing get-away, just a regular get-away in between the fall and spring semester so that we are able to just go somewhere! If anything, we could just lounge on the beach all day and just enjoy the weather.

Let me know! Thank you very much!

usa
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3. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Well, I don't think you are gong to find anything that low except perhaps a hostel in San Juan. December is peak season in PR and prices reflect that. Accommodations are harder to come by in December and early January as the Christmas season in PR extends from all of December into just past the first week of January.

Prices in PR reflect prices on the U.S. mainland as PR is a U.S. territory. Aruba is also high. You may want to consider the Dominican Republic or Jamaica (your choices) as their pricing is lower than PR's and you will get more bang for your buck. The Bahamas will also be higher from what I understand.

San Juan
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4. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Beer pocket & champagne taste... it will be quite difficult to meet your wishes and expectations during high season. Hotels close to the beach, one way flights and car rentals will be on the expensive side, specially during December until mid January.

Perhaps you may find an all inclusive in Punta Cana, Bavaro or Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic.

Good luck!

Boston...
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5. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Thank you so much for all of your informative posts! PC and Jamaica are pretty high up on my list as of now.. I also found this deal on Livingsocial and was wondering your input on it

https:/…15709-all-inclusive-dominican-resort

We would probably get the 4-night stay for $575 between the two of us (which is about 290 per person). This is an all inclusive (so meals included) which leaves around 400-450 for excursions and etc. what do you guys think?

Boston...
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6. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

I just called Airtran and unfortunately PC and San Juan is a no-go.. Now my options are basically Montego Bay, Aruba, and Bermuda, mostly leaning towards Montego Bay.

What do you guys think about this deal?

groupon.com/deals/ga-sunset-beach-resort-spa#

Its basically the same as the one i posted about PC except a tad cheaper. Any thoughts?

usa
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7. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

This is the Puerto Rico forum. Since you ruled out Puerto Rico, it would be best to post on the TripAdvisor Jamaica and Dominican Republic forums. The experts there can assist you better.

Edited: 16 October 2013, 12:35
Santa Rosa Beach...
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8. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

We are coming to SJ for 4 nights the end of Oct then another trip to Negril for 10 days the first part of Dec. Negril, hands down for food, beach, activities, we do not do AI since there are so many cheap places to eat in Negril, walking distance from our resort, go to negrilonestop.com and check out specials they have going but the time you picked is extremely busy and rates go up after mid Dec, there are many reasonable places to stay in Negril or stay in Montego bay, short taxi ride from airport but the trick is finding a reasonable place to stay that's not already booked for that time period...

Boston...
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9. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Out of the places listed Montego bay is going to be the cheapest. Also, you talk about Nassau in your heading which is in the Bahamas, but then you mention Bermuda. Big difference between the two, so I'm not sure if that was a typo. Bermuda is super expensive and won't be that warm in December.

New York City, New...
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10. Re: San Juan vs. Aruba vs. Nassau vs. Punta Cana Vs. Montego Bay

Agree with beagle33 - Bermuda would be freezing, so I would take that one off the list (it's nice in June). Nassau is also likely to be a bit chilly (though nowhere near as cold as Bermuda). I traveled to Nassau last March, and there was a great dolphin swim place (blue lagoon). However, even in march it was just warm enough. I think the water would still be a bit cold in January. I haven't been to Montego Bay (thinking about it vs puerto rico for this march). I think Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Dominican Republic would all have nice weather in January. Visited Punta Cana in January a few years ago and the weather was beautiful. Seems like the airfare may be the limiting factor, so I'd just pick based on that and then fill in the hotel and activities. Sure you will have a great time with Montego Bay or Aruba if those are the two you have narrowed it to.