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Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

Which Playa del Carmen hotels are on sale?
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Bristol, United...
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Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....


We are planning our next holiday and we are looking for inspiration.

Usually we do Europe but last year we did an all-inclusive in Mexico and loved it.

It was our 1st long haul (from the UK) and was our 1st all-inclusive which we really loved.

We stayed in Playa Del Carmen.

The thing we liked about this holiday was the fact that we could use the AI as a sort of base and we visited various ruins, an Island for 2 nights and also we visited the nearby towns.

I know this is the Mexico forum but we are wondering if anyone could suggest other locations outside of Mexico which we may wish to consider.

Whilst we love the AI experience and relaxing, we also like to get out and see what’s around.

We are a couple in out late 30’s and we love good food (street food especially) and also like to relax.

We have looked at Jamaica and Costa Rica but don’t know if there are ‘out of resort’ activities etc.

I look forward to hearing from you.


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1. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

Costa rica have many things to do outside the resorts. White water rafting, volcanoes, zip lining, horseback riding to name a few things.

Baltimore, Maryland
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2. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

Have you been to Aruba? Lots of restaurants, places to snorkel, & sightseeing. We love it there!!!

Bayville, New Jersey
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3. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

I agree with Aruba. There are not a lot of AI's there because the local restaurants are sooo good! Beautiful beaches and calm warm water. It's a very safe island with very friendly people.

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4. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

Why don't you try Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Its one of my very favorite places to go. Lots of rainforest greenery and majestic mountains (Sierra Madre) cascading down to Banderas Bay. This city has character. "Old town" is where it's at. Cobblestone streets, fantastic restaurants from low to high, street and beach food, and great shopping. A new pier has been erected and there is so much to see and do OR you can relax in the several AI's they have there as well. We like to stay in old town at Playa Los Arcos (not AI) ...... right on Los Muertos Beach- it is where the action is. If you decide to go here, or are interested in any way, I can send you information on some of the great many things to do.

Edited: 24 January 2014, 03:16
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5. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

I would avoid Jamaica if you want to leave resort areas. Aruba has gambling and is pretty expensive over all. Puerto Rico has many things to do including the out islands of Culebra and Vieques with beautiful beaches, bioreserves, and rainforests. Haven't been to Costa Rico, but it is on our short list as is Belize.

London, United...
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6. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

Another vote for Aruba, lovely beaches very little rainfall

Saint James City...
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7. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

Although I didn't fall in love with Negril when we visited Jamaica, I do feel the need to jump in and say that its perfectly safe to leave a resort there. We don't stay at resorts, there are literally dozens of small, locally owned hotels on the beach. We wandered around day and night (although we aren't late night people).

We also hired drivers for longer trips to other parts of the island. It's a beautiful island, lush, mountainous, green. Lots of waterfalls.

I'm not a huge fan of Aruba. Too 'Americanized' for lack of a better word. I felt like I was in south Florida.

We spent the month of October in Puerto Vallarta. It was awesome. The 'old town' is very walkable. Lots of restaurants. There are some nice looking all inclusives a few miles, and a short bus ride away. We took the bus everywhere. 6.5 pesos anywhere in the city. You can get to other beach towns for a few dollars.

Okanagan Valley...
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8. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

I've been to Mexico many times, Dominican Repub, Negril and Ocho Rios in Jamaica, Aruba, and 4 islands in Hawaii.

I wish you could take something from all of these places and put it into one destination because they all have their own great things about them.

My first priority in a sun holiday is an excellent swimming beach and water, so for this I would choose Negril in Jamaica or Palm Beach in Aruba.

The only place I would not want to return to is the Dom Republic, and maybe Ocho Rios.

It all depends on what you like.

Toronto, Canada
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9. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

Like a poster a couple of posts back, I didn't particularly like Aruba. It is a very windy and very small desert island and very commercialized where almost every hotel/resort is a timeshare and has a casino. I like to gamble, but Aruba felt a bit like Las Vegas with it's dry desert landscape, with a beach. I felt like I was on a beach in the U.S. Aruba is not tropical at all and the few palm trees there have been imported and planted by the hotels and resorts. Some resorts even charge for a palapa hut for shade, because shade is needed and rare commodity in Aruba.

I would like to suggest Varadero, Cuba with a side trip into Havana, although I will say the food is very bland in Cuba, but the beaches are beautiful. Antigua, St. Lucia or Jamaica are other gorgeous tropical islands with lots to see and do. Punta Cana is beautiful, with a gorgeous beach, but not much to do or see off the resort. Haven't been to Costa Rica, but it sounds wonderful and would like to do that next. Enjoy your vacation and let us know where you decided to vacation.

Edited: 24 January 2014, 17:22
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10. Re: Need inspiration for Mexico alternative....

How about a twin city Havana-Varadero Cuba vacation? Tons of culture and lots to see in Havana and beautiful beaches and all inclusive resorts in Varadero. Safe and very friendly country.