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Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :(

Posted By: BeachKitten

Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 09/23/2017 10:40 PM

It appears other Caribbean islands and the Keys are out this year. Too much hurricane damage.

Mexico has never particularly appealed to us, though perhaps I should give it another look. I just don't want over commercialized and overbuilt like Cancun. Cheap or spring break type vibe is out as well.

Is there anyplace on either coast (must be a beach) that has a chill perhaps upscale vibe? Not looking for cheap (possibly tainted according to the news) alcohol. I like beach chair service, and GOOD FOOD. Activities and perhaps a tour or two nearby. Shopping is ALWAYS a plus. wink

Is there a locale in Mexico that fits this bill? I explored Costa Rico, but RCI didn't have anything near the beach. Closest was a 2 hour drive.

Thank you!
Posted By: pat

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 09/24/2017 02:18 AM

Leona,

We stayed for a week at the Club Regina in Puerto Vallarta a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. We had an upper unit overlooking the beach with our own hot tub on the balcony. Did not rent a car and used the local taxi services. Booked a few tours through the hotel concierge desk and they were all fun. Did one day if shopping in town which was way too much for me. It was a fun week but nothing that we would rate over St. Maarten, unless SXM wasn't available. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/duh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/duh.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: SMC_Irish_68

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 09/24/2017 01:29 PM


I recommend staying on Isla Mujeres which is just off of Cancun. Here's some reasons why:
- Safe!
- It's easy to reach via air-conditioned ferry. We book a private airport to ferry transport online (very reasonable price).
- Lodging options are excellent: condos right on North Beach; luxury resorts; casas that can be rented from homeaway.com or vrbo.com; small boutique hotel like Casa de los Suenos, etc.
- No rental cars: visitors use the inexpensive taxis or rent golf carts by the day or the week (we rented by the week)
- Restaurants and shopping: Excellent!
- Day trips: You can book day trips for snorkeling, diving, etc.

There are also numerous large resorts all along the Maya Riviera which extends from Cancun to Tulum if you prefer the resort atmosphere. If you did decide to stay at one, I recommend booking a day trip to one of the Mayan ruins and also to a cenote.

Karen
Posted By: cruzer

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 09/24/2017 08:37 PM

Having gone through what you're trying to do, I settled on Isla Holbox, off the northern Yucatan Peninsula, about a 2 1/2 hour ride away from CUN, and also requiring a ferry crossing, and golf cart taxi to your hotel. Ironically, it'll take us as long to get from the left coast to either here or SXM, because of the 3rd leg via car service.

This place seems really laid back, and any activity off the island is a good 2 hours away by car. Looks to have many fine restaurants, and rooms run the gamut from $20 well over $500. Plenty of nice accommodations. Seems most people go for the few activities--especially whale shark trips, but the season is now over--reading, swimming, sunning, eating, and drinking

No building is over 3 stories tall, and the roads are hard packed sand. If you really want to kick back, this just might be the place.

I did have to spend many hours a day for 3 days to finally convince myself I really wanted this island as my SXM alternative.
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 09/30/2017 07:37 PM

Thanks for the suggestions!

We are ending up going to Mazatlan. Spectacular sunsets, and supposedly good food choices. The "Pearl of the Pacific" and looking forward to exploring the Golden Zone.

I did NOT want all-inclusive, so where we are staying has a kitchen and the option of AI. Now hope we can find a grocery store! <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/dine.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: bugambilias

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/25/2017 05:07 PM

I can tell you that is sure crowded here in Playa del Carmen and the rates are way up too!
It's not even High Season yet.
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/25/2017 05:30 PM

We had a wonderful time in Mazatlan! Sunsets were gorgeous, food was good. Everything was so inexpensive!

Dia de los Muertos parade was FUN! We were in the middle of it all, getting ice cold beer served down to us and the other revelers.

The resorts gardens were spectacular. Swans and flamingos. Fountains, floral arrangements. Three swimming pools, one of which was adults only....yay, no screaming kids! Golf cart shuttles as the property was so large. Free bus to their sister resort, and complete access to their amenities as well. 24 hour room service if we got too lazy to cook or get dressed! lol

Beaches and shopping very different than SXM, but it's a place we would go back to. Awesome staff, and made friends with one of our pulmonia drivers. Spent a great day with him in the countryside. Dancing horses, tequila farm, leather shop, authentic meal.

If Photo Bucket hadn't gone all $$ on us, I would have loved to share the pictures. frown
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/25/2017 08:02 PM

Would love to see those pictures too! Again, you can upload pictures here to the SXM or General photo forum. Or talk to Beerman or TomB about other options..
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 12:48 AM

I do have this Carol!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTr3aXQBP2U
Posted By: kneafseym

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 02:12 AM

Bug... interesting that rates are up. We head to CUN Dec 8 at Ocean Coral and turquesa at $135/night with $300 air fare from Tulsa. We go to a different place every year and have yet to be disappointed, the Mexican's understand customer service. So much better than DR or Cuba. You don't get the awesome beaches, but after working in the Caribbean for years I just want a cheap place to chill. On Dec 23rd the rate goes to $474/night.
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 01:28 PM

Says 'video not available'. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 04:42 PM

Quote
Carol_Hill said:
Says 'video not available'. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" />


Drat, I had it set to Private I think. Try this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTr3aXQBP2U
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 05:00 PM

Paso Fino horses? Really lovely.
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 05:29 PM

[Linked Image]

Yay!! I think I have figured out how to get pictures into posts! Stay tuned as I pull things together!
This is the Mazatlan Airport. Was very old-timey.

They had dogs inspecting passengers and luggage upon arrival. We had eaten chicken wraps and carrots on the plane, and had a few bones and carrots left. The dog followed us at the luggage carousel! lol
They Mexican government takes protecting their agriculture and crops VERY seriously. You cannot enter with fruits, veggies, etc.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 06:09 PM

Great! Looking forward to seeing more!
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 09:50 PM

Quote
Carol_Hill said:
Paso Fino horses? Really lovely.


And Friesians.
[Linked Image]

This one is owned by a singer, and he rides it in parades.
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 10:01 PM

First afternoon at the pool. Time for a snack of quesadillas and ceviche!

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Every night there is a themed buffet in addition to an ala carte menu. The dessert display is amazing.

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Funky beach side restaurant for breakfast. Looney Beans
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Delicious huevos divorciados! (but not as good as Ernest & Fidels)

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Another day of lunch by the pool. Burger and shrimp cocktail

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Sunset
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Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 10:12 PM

Swim up pool bar at the sister resort

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Birthday lunch. Filet mignon, seafood linguine (shrimp, scallops, calamari)

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Surprise from the waiters!

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The grounds and gardens were beautiful!

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towel swan at the towel exchange station

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Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 10:31 PM

Breakfast buffet was TO DIE FOR! (and if I ate like this daily it WOULD kill me! Lol) Everything you could possible think of. Omelet station, quesadilla station, pancakes, waffles, cereals, etc. All of that, all you can eat, for the dollar equivalent of $6.25 per person.

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So many fresh juices!
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My favorite!
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Fruits and salads
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Yogurt and oatmeal toppings
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The coconut marmelade….I thought I’d gone to heaven!

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Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/26/2017 11:34 PM

Thanks for the pics! Great stuff!
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/27/2017 12:45 AM

Thank you! More to come. It takes a bit of time with this new method I've figured out. Maybe I can go back and do a July report of SXM now...very sad though.

Next up....Parade of Dia de los Muertos, FOOD porn. More pics. wink
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/27/2017 12:51 AM

Regardless would appreciate seeing 'pre' pictures of SXM... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/cry.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 11/27/2017 10:00 PM

I should just email the rest of this Mazatlan trips pics to you Carol, I think you’re the only one who cares! Lol

Otherwise, it’s too much work if there’s no interest.
Posted By: TomB

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 12/16/2017 04:48 AM

I care!
Thanks for the PM heads up - I honestly missed them.

When I get a second I will shoot you a PM on how to size within the blog so they all come out the same size when you post them on TTOL.

Now it is midnight and I am hungry from looking at some of those shots.

<img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/dine.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: SMC_Irish_68

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 12/17/2017 03:11 PM

Keep posting photos! I'm loving them!

Karen <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />
Posted By: SXMbeacher

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 12/17/2017 04:27 PM

Great pics. Please post more! We have replaced our SXM trip with our first ever trip to Tulum Mexico. I know it's no where near where you vacationed, but we're trying to get a feel for Mexico! Thanks BeachKitten!
Posted By: HappyNude

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 01/11/2018 02:25 AM

We have booked 4 nights in Isla Holbox at Beachfront Hotel La Palapa and then 4 nights at Hidden Beach, the last week of February. Isla Holbox looks awesome from the YouTube videos I watched.
Posted By: Orange_Burst

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 02/27/2018 09:23 PM

Originally Posted by BeachKitten
We had a wonderful time in Mazatlan! Sunsets were gorgeous, food was good. Everything was so inexpensive!

Dia de los Muertos parade was FUN! We were in the middle of it all, getting ice cold beer served down to us and the other revelers.

The resorts gardens were spectacular. Swans and flamingos. Fountains, floral arrangements. Three swimming pools, one of which was adults only....yay, no screaming kids! Golf cart shuttles as the property was so large. Free bus to their sister resort, and complete access to their amenities as well. 24 hour room service if we got too lazy to cook or get dressed! lol

Beaches and shopping very different than SXM, but it's a place we would go back to. Awesome staff, and made friends with one of our pulmonia drivers. Spent a great day with him in the countryside. Dancing horses, tequila farm, leather shop, authentic meal.

If Photo Bucket hadn't gone all $$ on us, I would have loved to share the pictures. frown


I must be missing it, can you tell me the name of the resort? Thanks
Posted By: Carol_Hill

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 02/27/2018 09:30 PM

BeachKitten--since you're the 'expert' regarding the photo gallery, you could post those additional pictures now! grin
Posted By: BeachKitten

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 03/11/2018 07:50 PM

Sorry Orange Burst...just now seeing your post. Only a few weeks late! lol

The resort was Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay in Mazatlan...a bit North of the Golden Zone.
Posted By: Orange_Burst

Re: Seeking alternative to St Maarten this year :( - 03/11/2018 11:52 PM

Thank you!
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