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Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

Ottawa, Canada
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Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

With so many all inclusive resorts available, it can be extremely overwhelming trying to know where to invest your time and money. Each country is known for something different; food quality, beaches, nature, culture, wild life, and of course price...

So for anyone who’s gone everywhere, please share your opinions on what’s best? Not everyone can afford the elite islands (St.Lucia, Antigua, etc.) so I’d like to just focus on the popular hot spots for best value. We’re in a recession you know!

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1. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

I have not been to Cuba (although I heard that the beaches of Varadero are wonderful and it is a relatively safe country, I refuse to pay money to support a dictatorship out of principle )... Of all the four you mentioned, Mexico is my favourite. I have been both to the Pacific and Atlantic coast, and I recommend Riviera Maya for excellent value. The beaches are beautiful, the food delicious, the sightseeing is outstanding, and the people inside and outside the resorts are warm, friendly, and helpful. I speak Spanish, and am always eager to practice it with the locals, which probably made my experiences more authentic. I found the weather in December quite cool at night and the water chilly, but it was warmer than in Turks and Caicos at the same time of the year. You should consider Cancun if you are into nightlife and partying. Jamaica, though a beautiful country (my favourite one for scenery), is more dangerous. Dominican, the same as Jamaica, but it has the Latin feel, which I love.

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Peterborough...
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2. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

Oh, I forgot-I would not advise Dominican Republic now with the cholera. I almost booked a five stars resort in Samana peninsula ( great price, beautiful location, adults only), but changed my mind, and chose Turks and Caicos instead- the same price but only a three-stars resort with a modest breakfast. "Love in the time of cholera", I don't think so...

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Samana Province
Samana Province
Dominican Republic
Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

I've been to Punta Cana, which is suppose to be the newest and nicest part of Dominican... The scenery is breathtaking there and the landscaping is lush! Resorts are newer so more impressive than the older locations. Typically, prices seem a little higher for Punta Cana, and the beach is absolutely amazing and warm all year round. But the food is an issue there; taste fine but everyone I've spoken to gets sick during or after coming home.

I have heard that Mexico has the best quality accommodation and food. We haven't been yet, but will probably try Mexico this winter. I too enjoy brushing up on my Spanish and find that people with humility are always more warm than people who have no concept of how fortunate they are.

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toronto
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4. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

We have been to Cuba, Mexico (Cancun) and DR(Punta Cana) three times.

This year we are trying Turks Beaches!

Cuba has beautiful beaches, but the food is not the greatest....I'm sure you have been told that already....the food does not have any flavour at all...it all taste the same .....also a 5 star in Cuba is definitely not a 5 star in Punta Cana!

Cancun was fine, but I didn't find the beach to be that great and the water was rough. I'm sure there are other places in Mexico that I would consider visiting.

We love Punta Cana...beautiful beaches.....great 5 star hotels....great food and service.....great night entertainment....and my kids love their kids programs.

I hope I was helpful....good luck with your decision.

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Cancun
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Quintana Roo, Mexico
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Punta Cana
Dominican Republic
Atlanta, Georgia
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5. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

There are no Mobile (now Forbes) "five star" resorts anywhere in the Caribbean. AAA lists very few 5-diamond resorts in the Caribbean, but I don't believe any are all-inclusive properties.

It's been our experience that "food quality" and all-inclusive buffets don't usually go hand-in-hand, but everyone has their own preferences.

Good luck, and happy travels. :-)

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6. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

Royal Hideaway (an Occidental property) in Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya is still listed as a AAA, 5 diamond resort and it's an AI. We went there 6 years ago for a romantic "second" honeymoon when our daughter was 2 1/2-years-old and my sister watched her for us.

We had the best time, especially for it being an AI b/c I was leery of an AI experience. The restaurants were wonderful, the property and pools were beautiful, the service was friendly and, if you didn't want to, you never needed to eat a buffet meal the whole time you were there. They offered ala carte or buffet for breakfast and they had a buffet dinner show once a week. We usually ate at the breakfast buffet b/c it was quick with delicious, hearty choices but we didn't do the buffet dinner show.

They also had top shelf alcohol available - I remember having courvoisier while I was there and we even went to tea one afternoon, which was very relaxing with the piano playing. I think I had champagne instead of tea.

It was a very upscale experience but it was laid back at the same time b/c the property was very lush, tropical and cozy (a small boutique feel versus a mega resort with masses of people).

Playa del Carmen was also a nice little town and we felt safe walking around there. I'm not sure what Royal Hideaway is like now but it looks like it's still getting solid reviews.

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Royal Hideaway Playacar
Royal Hideaway Playacar
5,180 Reviews
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

In Cuba, we stayed at the 5 star Paradisus Rio de Oro in Holguin and very much enjoyed this resort. It gets consistently good reviews on Trip Advisor. The accommodations were a bit dated, but nothing problemmatic and the food was very good. They have a newer Royal Service section that looks quite nice.

Only stayed at one place in Mexico in the Playa Del Carman area and did not enjoy it. Not interested in returning.

Have been to Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana twice and loved both trips. My first stay was in the main resort and second was at their newly opened Reserve. Accommodations and amenities terrific, beach fantastic and I thought the food was very good (subjective area I know). I would recommend this resort.

In November, visited Turks and Caicos for the first time and absolutely LOVED it. We really didn't sightsee, so I can't comment on that aspect of the destination, but for beach, relaxation and food it was amazing. We stayed at the Regent Palms, and while is it not an all-inclusive, our travel agent, who booked us with Air Canada Vacations, was able to get us a meal plan that included three meals a day (with no restrictions as to choice). We did eat out a few times, but found the food at the Regent Palms to be so enjoyable, we weren't anxious to go elsewhere. I felt the Grace Bay beach beat all the others I've been to (except my beloved Bluewater Beach on Georgian Bay). Beautiful white sand, clear water and best of all, hardly anybody in sight. We'd see a few people in front of their resorts, and an occasional beach walker, but it really felt uncrowded. No towel games played here!

The Regent Palms vacation was the most expensive of the three, but was such a treat.

Best of luck with your vacation planning :)

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Providenciales
Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

Thank you for your great discussions! It would seem that the rumors are true, for once... That the two best all around bang for your buck seems to be Punta Cana in Dominican Republic and Riviera Maya also known as the Mayan Riviera in Mexico.

Obviously, there are gems to be found within each Caribbean Island. Food will always be subjective, but nothing beats a beautiful beach and welcoming resort. Of the thousands of resorts available, I just wanted a general idea of what area to focus on and it seems we have some clear winners.

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9. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

So many beautiful places to go! But on a budget I would say Mexico or Punta Cana. I think our least expensive AI was to Punta Cana (Eden H resort which I think may have a new name now). If you choose Mexico go to the Mayan Riveria~so beautiful! Plenty of resorts to choose from!

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10. Re: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican, and Jamaica... Caribbean’s best?

I was under the impression that this was the Turks and Caicos forum. Can't find any better beaches, food, and people IMHO. ;o)

Edited: 04 January 2011, 03:41
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