Planning first vacation ever! | Debbie's Caribbean Resort Reviews Forums

My husband and I are planning our fist vacation. We’re in our 30’s and have never been on a vacation in our lives! We want to go away somewhere nice and warm with beautiful beaches and tourqoise waters. We don’t have a lot of money so we are hoping for a last minute deal towards the end of January. We’re willing to sacrifice on accomodations, provided there is no major bug infestations, or mold, etc. We want the beaches, good food and activities, such as snorkelling. I’m pretty open where we go to. I’ve been checking out Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, etc. What would you all recommend?Crissi
:)Welcome to the board, fiftylager! You will find loads and loads of info on these boards.The most active ones are the Cuba and Dominican Republic boards, but there is also some great info on some of the other boards.Good for you guys in looking at your first vacation.Cuba has the white sand and turquoise waters you would be looking for. You may want to check out Breezes Jibacoa as an option. It’s a favourite with the Canadians (= perhaps less of a language barrier when it comes to meeting some of the guests and perhaps a cuisine more geared toward the N. American palate). It is also close to Havana, if you wanted to do a day trip. This location also offers you snorkelling from the beach.We love Cayo Largo, Cuba (= more Europeans, clothing optional beaches, nothing much to do but lots of R&R = it’s a little too quiet for many folks). Varadero, Cuba has a long white sand beach and many resorts along the beach. More things to do and see (= Varadero was "built" as a tourist destination).We have always felt safe off the resorts in Cuba. Keep in mind that most people don’t go to Cuba for the food, although it’s good, it’s rare that you will find it "gourmet". Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic is great, "better" food than Cuba, lots of N. Americans as well as Europeans (= you will see topless on the beaches), lots of resorts to choose from, lots of activities to do, not much in the way of snorkelling off the beach.Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana is beautiful, lots of palm trees and tropical feel to it, and can take you hours to stroll on, along with lots of other people.So, I hope some of this helps but as you can see, you have your work cut out for you.

Haven’t been to Jamaica but the pics looks beautiful and I’m not sure what the sell-off deals are like. But, their catch phrase is, "once you go, you know".

You should be able to find some good deals to Cuba and the DR at the end of January.As with most tropical destinations, you will have bugs of some kind. Most, if not all, resorts try to do the best they can to control this.We just came back from Cabo San Lucas (Baja Penninsula, west coast of Mexico) and, because it’s a desert, there were no bugs.We had a blast and would highly recommend this area but you won’t find the white sand and turquoise water there. Lots of deep sea fishing, though.

Good luck and don’t hesitate to ask more questions on the other boards.

Thank you so much for the information. There are so many to choose from, it’s almost torture!!! My husband has definitely said Cuba or the Dominican Republic. Topless beaches? Oh my, he might be excited at that, haha! These boards are fabulous. So much information that I will feel well prepared when I do go. Bugs don’t disturb me too much (I live in Northern Ontario where the black flies and mosquitos will take you away), I just don’t want to deal with cockroaches running rampant in my room. The size of the room or way it is decorated doesn’t really faze me. Food and drinks gotta be good but not I’m not looking for gourmet by any means. We’re not picky, we just want to have a really beautiful, relaxing vacation without it costing an arm and a leg. We have 2 young kids and Christmas always kills us financially!!! It’ll sure be nice to have a mom and dad only vacation somewhere tropical. I won’t sleep until a book a trip and then I probably won’t sleep because I will be soooo excited. Thanks again.

Are you with in driving distance to TBay, if so you should chech out departures from Tbay since that will save you time and money flying out of there
Punta Cana appears to be the only place you can get a direct flight from TBay

We are not far from Sudbury. We plan to depart from toronto though, because we need to drop the kids off at my parents and they are down that way. Sure would be nice if we were near Thunder Bay though because I wouldn’t have to drive all the way down to Toronto to get my passport.

Overall, What do you all think will be a better trip, Cuba or Dominican Republic. I am doing so much research but my brain is almost exploding with too much info!!! Thanks everyone.

I would say between the two, due to the fact you are planning on going the end of January – DR might be your best bet weather wise. You never know what kind of weather you will get in Cuba at that time of year. As SUJ said, you will get the beautiful beaches and turquoise water in Cuba.

I heard the nicer beaches in DR are in Punta Cana. Definitely not in Puerto Plata (we’ve been there.)

We are not far from Sudbury. We plan to depart from toronto though, because we need to drop the kids off at my parents and they are down that way. Sure would be nice if we were near Thunder Bay though because I wouldn’t have to drive all the way down to Toronto to get my passport.

Overall, What do you all think will be a better trip, Cuba or Dominican Republic. I am doing so much research but my brain is almost exploding with too much info!!! Thanks everyone.

You can drop your info off at your MP office and the will review it and send it off for you

That may help

I have not been to Cuba but I hear you will be treated like gold being a Canadian and all. I just got back from Jamaica and the reason we chose Jamaica over Cuba was the time of year and weather. I didn’t want to wear a sweater at night and like warm water. If Florida is cold well you can guess Cuba is not much better. I would wait till March to go to Cuba myself, but that being said, I’m sure you will still enjoy yourself tremendously.
Have fun!

I just returned from Cuba yesterda for our first vacation as well (early 30s, but with 2 kids in tow)I suggest it… great place to start – like a PP said, food is OK – not great, but everything and everyone else is!!The weather was wonderful too – lows of 20-22 at night and 30 in the day, one cloudy day.. that’s it…

Good luck and enjoy!

Selection, bland, re-done a hundred ways.For example, common buffet items were fish (sometimes hot, sometimes cold, sometimes I didn’t even know what they did to it), hot dogs cut up, french fries, lots of veggies (mostly carrots, corn) Pork done a hundred ways, and not usually looking yummy, sometimes potatoes, plain rice, salad (which is shredded carrot and cabbage)

desserts were odd and usually stale

Hi fiftylager, My suggestion will be different that the other posted above. Why don’t you go on a Wild card?Gotraveldirect.com is offering a option called Wild card, for last minutes.(Maybe other broker offer it too, I don’t know)Example I’ve seen, Punta Cana 4 stars for 999.99 per person. Since it’s your first time, you don’t have anything to compare it to. This would be ideal for you. Wild card means, you know the date you leave, you know where, ie Punta Cana (or somewhere else), but you don’t know which Resort. Go travel will choose a 4 star Resort for you. I’ve seen 5 star in Mayan Riviera for 1400, this is cheap. I’m thinking of doing it myself next year. I’m already booked this year, leaving in 8 days for Jamaica.Every body has their own perception of the resorts/countries etc, based on past experience, so if it rained 5 days for someone, then the place is crap, if it was sunny, then it was the best place ever. So it really depends on your experience.

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