08-16-2014, 10:51 PM
#1
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the wife and I are planning to take a week trip somewhere outside of the US within the next few months/early 2015. with the exception of my wife traveling to England and France in high school, neither of us have been outside of the country.

we're looking at a few places and would love help narrowing them down:
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cancun, Mexico
St. Thomas (Virgin Islands)
St. Maarten (Caribbean Island)
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Bermuda
Bahamas

any tips, suggestions, etc., would be helpful.

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 08-17-2014, 02:47 AM
#2
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(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Never been. I hear the fishing is tremendous if you like that.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Cancun, Mexico
Not a big fan. Very Americanized. Like Florida with "10% real Mexican fruit juice." However, it's very pretty further down the coast. Tulum is gorgeous.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: St. Thomas (Virgin Islands)
St. Croix is a nicer place to stay. St. John has gorgeous beaches. You can shop a lot in St. Thomas.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: St. Maarten (Caribbean Island)
Beautiful water, but it's a desert island without a lot to do. Philipsburg on the Dutch side is a good shopping place too.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Haven't been there. Went to Negril, which was full of annoying hustlers.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Bermuda
It's pleasant. Very boat-oriented.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Bahamas
We had a very nice time at the Atlantis resort.

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 08-17-2014, 04:13 AM
#3
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I too prefer St Croix to St Thomas or St Maarten. Christiansted is a great little town. Of course the other two islands are better if you like the tourist areas. Cancun has both kinds of areas.

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 08-17-2014, 05:02 AM
#4
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: the wife and I are planning to take a week trip somewhere outside of the US within the next few months/early 2015. with the exception of my wife traveling to England and France in high school, neither of us have been outside of the country.

You seem to be looking only at places where you can sit on white sand or you can wade in warm sea water or you can sit on white sand. If you are going to take a first trip (or, for your wife, a first in a long time trip), why not explore an entirely different culture? In the carpe diem mode, you never know when might be your last chance to meet and talk with some very nice people who have an entirely different world view from your own.

Because of a wonderful retirement perk, my wife and I take a trip across an ocean at lest twice every year, and we shall continue to go at at least that frequency as long as we are able. We have been to a LOT of obscure places. Our favorite of all destinations is Bologna, which is the food capital of the Western world: it is where Italians go out to dinner, and is the root source of all French cuisine (due to a Medici girl marrying French king way back when, and refusing to move to Paris unless she could bring her entire kitchen staff with her). You simply cannot get a bad meal in Bologna, and the city is very compact, so you can walk everywhere and have no need whatsoever of a car. And the people are simply wonderful. (Try Hotel Touring on Via De' Mattuiani; we stayed there for our 40th wedding anniversary in January 2012, when it was really cold -- but with clear skies -- and all of the major fashion houses, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and the like, were having 70% off post-Christmas sales. And in January, you can get a reservation at any restaurant in town the same day that you plan to dine, which is not always possible in more touristy seasons.)

Amsterdam is another very accessible city. In its Jordaan neighborhood, along a short street named Elandsgracht, there is a close-knit neighborhood of very, very nice people who all speak English, who are very friendly and welcoming to visitors, and who have it so good there that they mainly stay within their little neighborhood and just enjoy a truly different lifestyle than you ever have seen in Philadelphia. And there is a neighborhood tavern there, Eetcafe de Jordaan, that I confidently can say is the best tavern in the whole wide world. One of the greatest art museums in the world, the Rijksmuseum, is within easy walking distance of Elandsgracht, and easily can occupy several days all by itself.

Good luck.

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 08-17-2014, 12:10 PM
#5
  • Rufus
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  • Greater Toronto Area
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Of the destinations you have listed I'd only consider Bermuda and St Maarten. Both are pricey, but well worth a visit. I'm not a fan of Mexico or Jamaica; don't know the VI's. You should also consider The Turks and Caicos, and Barbados.

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 08-17-2014, 12:41 PM
#6
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(08-17-2014, 02:47 AM)Rory1262 Wrote:
(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Never been. I hear the fishing is tremendous if you like that.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Cancun, Mexico
Not a big fan. Very Americanized. Like Florida with "10% real Mexican fruit juice." However, it's very pretty further down the coast. Tulum is gorgeous.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: St. Thomas (Virgin Islands)
St. Croix is a nicer place to stay. St. John has gorgeous beaches. You can shop a lot in St. Thomas.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: St. Maarten (Caribbean Island)
Beautiful water, but it's a desert island without a lot to do. Philipsburg on the Dutch side is a good shopping place too.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Haven't been there. Went to Negril, which was full of annoying hustlers.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Bermuda
It's pleasant. Very boat-oriented.

(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: Bahamas
We had a very nice time at the Atlantis resort.

thanks for the replies.

my wife is going on a short cruise to the Bahamas in October, I think, with her family. if she enjoys the day that she'll be spending there, we might just go back for a week.

(08-17-2014, 04:13 AM)Nickadermis Wrote: I too prefer St Croix to St Thomas or St Maarten. Christiansted is a great little town. Of course the other two islands are better if you like the tourist areas. Cancun has both kinds of areas.

thanks.

(08-17-2014, 05:02 AM)Mel S Meles Wrote:
(08-16-2014, 10:51 PM)andrewjs18 Wrote: the wife and I are planning to take a week trip somewhere outside of the US within the next few months/early 2015. with the exception of my wife traveling to England and France in high school, neither of us have been outside of the country.

You seem to be looking only at places where you can sit on white sand or you can wade in warm sea water or you can sit on white sand. If you are going to take a first trip (or, for your wife, a first in a long time trip), why not explore an entirely different culture? In the carpe diem mode, you never know when might be your last chance to meet and talk with some very nice people who have an entirely different world view from your own.

Because of a wonderful retirement perk, my wife and I take a trip across an ocean at lest twice every year, and we shall continue to go at at least that frequency as long as we are able. We have been to a LOT of obscure places. Our favorite of all destinations is Bologna, which is the food capital of the Western world: it is where Italians go out to dinner, and is the root source of all French cuisine (due to a Medici girl marrying French king way back when, and refusing to move to Paris unless she could bring her entire kitchen staff with her). You simply cannot get a bad meal in Bologna, and the city is very compact, so you can walk everywhere and have no need whatsoever of a car. And the people are simply wonderful. (Try Hotel Touring on Via De' Mattuiani; we stayed there for our 40th wedding anniversary in January 2012, when it was really cold -- but with clear skies -- and all of the major fashion houses, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, and the like, were having 70% off post-Christmas sales. And in January, you can get a reservation at any restaurant in town the same day that you plan to dine, which is not always possible in more touristy seasons.)

Amsterdam is another very accessible city. In its Jordaan neighborhood, along a short street named Elandsgracht, there is a close-knit neighborhood of very, very nice people who all speak English, who are very friendly and welcoming to visitors, and who have it so good there that they mainly stay within their little neighborhood and just enjoy a truly different lifestyle than you ever have seen in Philadelphia. And there is a neighborhood tavern there, Eetcafe de Jordaan, that I confidently can say is the best tavern in the whole wide world. One of the greatest art museums in the world, the Rijksmuseum, is within easy walking distance of Elandsgracht, and easily can occupy several days all by itself.

Good luck.

thanks for the reply. right now we're not interested in going to Europe. we want to visit over there, but not until later in life.

(08-17-2014, 12:10 PM)Rufus Wrote: Of the destinations you have listed I'd only consider Bermuda and St Maarten. Both are pricey, but well worth a visit. I'm not a fan of Mexico or Jamaica; don't know the VI's. You should also consider The Turks and Caicos, and Barbados.

my friend has been to The Turks and Caicos. I'll speak to him about it.

I hadn't thought about Barbados!

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 08-23-2014, 01:14 PM
#7
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I think the wife and I are going to go to Cancun this year..

now that that is out of the way, for anyone who has been to Cancun, what do you recommend for activities and a place to stay?

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 08-23-2014, 04:21 PM
#8
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Not a fan of Mexico, been twice and my wife got really sick the last time.

I have not been to the other islands yet you have mentioned. I know you don't want to visit Europe yet, but when you do Florence has to be the first. It is so awesome.

Actually, I wonder if that should be the first trip...it is what we now compare anywhere else to, and they can be a disappointment if you do. London was even though we still enjoyed it very much...Keep that in mind as a what not to do.

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 08-23-2014, 06:08 PM
#9
  • Mel S Meles
  • On the edge, ouch
  • 44.4899° south of the North Pole
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(08-23-2014, 04:21 PM)Bowhnter Wrote: I know you don't want to visit Europe yet, but when you do Florence has to be the first. It is so awesome.

Actually, I wonder if that should be the first trip...it is what we now compare anywhere else to, and they can be a disappointment if you do. London was even though we still enjoyed it very much.

The older and more experienced we get, the more we realize that -- while we are on this mortal coil -- just two ways of passing one's leisure time really are worthwhile: friendship and food. (Sex and shaving may be nos. 4 and 4a, but I hesitate to propose no. 3.) And, fortified by nos. 1 and 2, one is freed to perform humanitarian service, which is more important than anything.

So -- to us -- a vacation that does not provide opportunities to make more friends, especially friends who are completely different in worldview than we are, and to taste superb food, is a wasted vacation. I have no desire to sit in a hotel bar populated with people from my own country who were sitting on the same beach I was sitting on earlier in the day -- but we did not connect then -- being served beverages by low-wage servers who deal with rich American strangers seven days a week.

There are a lot of really neat indigenous people to meet in Firenze -- even more opportunities if you lodge in the lower rent Montecatini Terme a couple of train stops west of central Firenze; and all of Italy is a food feast unmatched in the Western world. I endorse your endorsement of Firenze.

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