Guanajuato, Mexico (Central Mexico)
The Riviera Maya
Well, not just any island beach resort, Cancun, and Cozumel to a lesser extent, were created to be the perfect Caribbean resort destination. Did the makers of the Riviera Maya provide the perfect place to vacation in the Caribbean? Let's look at resort accommodations, luxury villas, tours and attractions included in the typical Caribbean vacation package.
Of course, Cancun and Cozumel aren't the only island attractions available. The Caribbean is scattered with beautiful and luxury beach vacations. There are adventure tours, snorkeling tours, scuba diving tours, archeological tours and anything you can imagine.
Caribbean islands include the Bahamas (north and east of the Caribbean sea); the Central American areas of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Honduras, and the southern and eastern islands ruled by the Netherlands. The Caribbean Netherlands include the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao (the ABC islands). The Lesser Antilles make up the far Eastern border of the Caribbean.
Other Caribbean destinations lie in this area south of the Yucatan peninsula and north of South America. These islands include Jamaica, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands and many more. There are hundreds of islands in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean sea. It's easy to understand why pirates loved this area of the world. Vacationers of today love them just as much.
The first question to ask about planning a trip is, "Where to vacation in the Caribbean?" Once you have decided on which incredible location to visit in the Caribbean, you will have to make some accommodations. Hotels, motels, rentals, resorts, camping areas or luxury condos are all available. Zero in on which place is perfect for you then call your travel agent and get some ideas on the best places to stay. Access Wholesale Travel Prices Not Available to the Public by joining Snazzy Traveler!.
Look at all the photos, read the reviews and get opinions from friends who have traveled to the Caribbean. Call the hotel you are thinking of and talk to a real person. The staff may be super friendly or they might not be. Don't forget to check HubPages for hubs on Caribbean travel destinations. They have personal views of what to expect.
Expect to spend a minimum of $100 per night and a maximum of, well the sky is the limit on luxury Villa rentals in the Caribbean.
Luxury Villa Rentals in the Caribbean
If money is no object, the choices of luxury homes for rent in the Caribbean is extensive. Luxury Caribbean Villas and Home Rentals offers everything from ultra-private to incredibly decadent estates.
For that kind of money, I would go for a beach front property, but they do have hillside villas with pools for that stupendous view. These luxury rentals generally come with a chef, a maid, perhaps a butler and a chauffeur. You may also choose to eliminate some of the help if you prefer.
Generally, you decide how much you are willing to spend, what kind of property you like, which area of the Caribbean you want to visit and how many people will be joining you. Plug these search parameters into their handy dandy search box and voila, your dream vacation selections appear.
Air Travel to the Caribbean
Your travel agent will have a list of all reputable air services in the Caribbean and I strongly suggest you use a travel agent. It is their business to know the ins and outs or pros and cons of the various carriers.
While traveling in the Caribbean, it is sometimes necessary to "island hop" and small airplanes have assumed these routes. The good thing is that this means you have more choices in where to go and how far to go. The bad thing is that the Caribbean is notorious for small airlines that have, shall we say, questionable reputations.
In my humble opinion, there is no better way to visit the Caribbean than on a stellar cruise ship! This is luxury that almost anyone can afford and you get to see so much more of the area than you would normally be able to see.
Always, pay for the upgrades to a balcony room! There is nothing sweeter than fresh Caribbean air while you drink a favorite rum specialty drink delivered to your state room by a friendly attendant. And this service is generally available 24 hours a day!
You can have a relaxing cruise complete with formal or informal dining. The food is prepared by excellent chefs competent in almost any type of cuisine. Drinks are concocted by trained barristas. Desserts are downright heavenly!
You can have an exciting cruise with all kinds of shore excursions including hiking, diving, swimming, horseback riding or whatever you can dream up. Some cruise ships have on-board rock climbing, golf, tennis and water parks.
If you are a first time vacationer to the Caribbean, I would highly recommend an all-inclusive floating resort like Carnival or Royal Caribbean cruises. Don't forget to get a balcony room or suite. They are definitely worth every penny.
Getting a Passport
Apply for a Passport
Travel.State.gov is where you go to fill out a passport application, renew a passport or get more information on your application status. You can apply to expedite your passport application here also.
About Luggage and Travel Documents
Attention U.S.A. citizens: if you don't have a passport, visit the link on the right and get started immediately. It will take some time to get your passport for travel in the Caribbean or any other foreign destination. You will need your birth certificate and some other documentation during the process, so get your birth certificate first.
The fewer pieces you can get away with, the better. While in the Caribbean, you will most likely need very little more than a bathing suit, shoes, shorts and t-shirts. You will need more money than clothes. So the motto of all travelers everywhere should be: "Always pack fewer clothes and take more money."
Many people are not prepared for the heat in the Caribbean. It can be sweltering due to the high humidity. Plan on taking light weight and light colored clothing. Take a sturdy pair of comfortable sandals and perhaps some comfortable walking shoes. Do not pack much more than this!
Markets abound with t-shirts, dresses and other articles you may need. In fact, some people take an empty case along just to bring back their purchases.
Caribbean Vacation Packages
If you do not wish to travel by Cruise lines, which generally are purchased as a package, then I would also suggest using a travel agent to put together a package deal. It's like buying in bulk. The airlines, hotels, rental cars and specialty tours often have significant discounts available.
Travel agents coordinate specialty group rates for singles, senior citizens, adventure tourists and others. They can supply bulk discounts to the group which make itineraries a snap and so much cheaper than if you arranged everything one on one.
The exceptions to using a travel agent for vacation plans is if you really want to cut expenses down to the bare bones. Young travelers frequently throw on a backpack and hit the road booking round trip flights. They often hitch hike rather than renting a car or ride public transportation. The money they save is often spent on something outrageous like bungee jumping or base jumping. Anyone over the age of 30 really should use a travel agent.
What's your Caribbean style?