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Wedding: Honeymoon Browsing

by Meghann on March 26, 2012

Now that we have our date set, our location locked down, and save-the-dates ready to go out (I’ll fill in the details once they’re sent ;) ), Derek and I only have one thing on our mind…

The Honeymoon! ;)

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We had a bit of fun googling potential locations over the weekend, but the truth is that we really have no idea where to start. We know what we want (for the most part), but there are so many options out there, it can be a little overwhelming to narrow it all down.

We’re looking for an all-inclusive resort somewhere in the caribbean that’s reasonably priced, but still has a bit of a splurge factor to it. Our main goal is to just fly somewhere and relax on a beach for a week. We don’t even care about exploring whatever island we land on – if we never have to leave the resort, we’re ok with it.

We’ve already ruled out a few locations – a big no to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cayman Islands (only because we know we’ll be tempted to visit family there), or a cruise – but we’re pretty open to everything else. I was originally leaning towards Costa Rica, but Derek was impressed with what he found on St. Lucia. I’m pretty sure we’re not 100% sold on either location.

Here’s the part where we ask for you help. :)

Does anyone have any recommendations for all-inclusive resorts out there? 

We’ve never done the all-inclusive route before (besides on a cruise ship), but we love the idea behind it and we’re eager to learn more about what’s out there.

{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Glenneth March 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I would definitely look at the Turks and Caicos. They have all inclusive resorts (even adult only resorts). Supposed to be beautiful there.
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2 melissa March 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm

St. Lucia is amazing and I hear the same about Costa Rica. It’s supposed to be like Hawaii! Aruba is nice and very affordable. We stayed at the Westin and barely left. The Rui next door was all inclusive.
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3 mindy @ just a one girl revolution. March 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I know several people that have been to the Dominican and raved about it.
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4 Cat Melnyk March 26, 2012 at 3:33 pm

What glenneth said. St.Kitts, St. Thomas, St.Lucia all awesome…. Also you can get riches in puerto rico

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5 Sarah March 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm

The Excellence resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic is amazing!!

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6 Chrissie March 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I second this! We went there on our honeymoon and loved it.

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7 laura March 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

We visited both Excellence locations in Mexico (Playa Mujeres and Riviera Maya) — HUGE thumbs-up to Excellence resorts!
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8 Carrie March 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Excellence all the way!!!
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9 Kelly March 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Excellence is the best! I went to the Playa Mujeres location on my honeymoon last summer and it’s awesome! No need to make reservations at the restaurants, awesome food and drinks, staff was friendly and awesome. Definitely recommend!

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10 cyndi March 26, 2012 at 3:35 pm

St. Lucia is amazing. I’d recommend staying at the Sandals resort – it’s all inclusive and you have access to three different resorts.

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11 kristin March 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I just got back from Costa Rica, and it was an absolutely amazing trip. However, if you just want to sit at a resort and relax, I think there are better options for you. The all-inclusives in C.R. are quite diiferent from the ones on other islands. There aren’t many options, and they have fewer restaurant options. We went to Jamaica for our honeymoon, and it was fabulous. Since you don’t want to go there though, I’d check out Turks and Caicos or St. Lucia and save Costa Rica for your first anniversary trip when you can be active and enjoy more of it!

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12 Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep March 26, 2012 at 3:47 pm

What about the Disney resort in Hawaii? I don’t think it’s all-inclusive, but I know you both love Disney and it’s tropical :)
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13 Rose March 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I really enjoyed my time in St. Martin. Affordable & nice!

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14 Kristen @ notsodomesticated March 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

We did Costa Rica for our honeymoon and loved it. We stayed at “Marriott Los Suenos Ocean Resort,” and did the all-inclusive thing. We were able to do some adventurous things, like zip-lining and hiking to a waterfall, but we also just did a lot of chilling by the pool.

One “con” about it … if you really like laying by the beach, the beach there was like black sand and not really the kind you’d want to lay in. That might not be all of Costa Rica, but it was like that where we stayed. But we loved the pools at the resort so much, that it didn’t bother us one bit! :)

Regardless, good luck with your planning!
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15 Lauren March 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Sandals St. Lucia – loved it!

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16 Lauren @ Part Time House Wife March 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm

We loved Kauai & Maui we didn’t stay all inclusive there tho.

For our honeymoon we went to Riviera Cancun and stayed at Secrets Silversands.
We never left the resort! We had the honeymoon suite and it was unreal!
The food was TO DIE FOR! And that’s hard to find at an all inclusive. They had 7 restaurants to choose from for dinner that were all included.
The fall back was the beach. It just wasn’t pretty.
We had really nasty weather so that may have had something to do with it tho.

Good luck on your search!!

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17 Jenny Lea March 26, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Meghan,

I saw this post and I felt compelled to post. I’ve been to both St. Lucia and Costa Rica and both are absolutely fantastic. In fact, my husband and I have made a pact to return to St. Lucia for our 10 wedding anniversary to renew our vows and have also made a pact to visist different parts of Costa Rica every other year. Here’s the low down:

St Lucia is phenomenal, beautiful, and so relaxing. We stayed at Anse Chastenet (this was featured on travel channels must-list for carribean vacations). They don’t advertise that it’s all-inclusive but if you work with a travel agent they can hook you up. It’s a bit pricey but totally worth it. All of the rooms are open air. In addition, it has a private beach (no pool) and no kids on the resort. They have tons of activities and are located right by the Piton mountains. Accompaning Anse Chastenet is Jade Mountain. They are separate resorts with the same owner that share the same mountain. Jade Mountain is AMAZING! We only stayed there the last two night of our honeymoon because it was SOOOOO expensive but it was all-inclusive, open air suite looking directly at the Piton mountains with an infinity pool and sun deck in your room (talk about relaxing). The resort is located in the town of Soufrie so not close to the port. I’ve also heard that the Sandals in St. Lucia is great! Let me know if you want to see pics of Anse Chastenet.

Costa Rica – another great place filled with lots of culture, awesome people, easy to get around (you could rent a car and drive up and down the coast). It’s beautiful and lots to do. There are volcanos, rainforest, beaches, and great food. The great thing about Costa is the affordability. You could rent a house on the beach with a pool for a pretty decent price (VRBO.com). Manual Antonio is a great spot but the beach access is limited and beach is black sand. The north end of Costa, (Tamarino area, Pivones, Arenal) are also cool places. I think you’ll have to do a little more research in Costa to find a great all inclusive on the beach. My one recommendation for Costa is to stay away from Jaco. Cool culture but not the best place for a relaxing honeymoon (nightlife is a little sketchy).

Have you checked out Barbados? They’ve got some cool places too.

I know I’ve provided some unsolicited information but I know how difficult this decision can be. Hope this is helpful!

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18 Jenny Lea March 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Sorry for my spelling error on your name. My deepest apologies!

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19 Meg @ My Chocolate Covered Life March 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm

My husband and I are traveling to Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia this June for our redo-Honeymoon (our first try in Punta Cana was TERRIBLE – would not recommend the DR). This place looks spectacular and has great diving/snorkeling, in addition to beautiful waterfall hikes. Also, there is supposed to be a five-star Indian restaurant on site that is included in the meal plan, a restaurant that draws travelers from resorts across the island.

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20 Alli March 31, 2012 at 8:20 am

Manuel Antonio actually has amazing beaches inside the park!

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21 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm

I’m sure you’ve seen it, but Kath (from Katheats…) went to an all-inclusive resort that she raved about! I can’t remember where it was though, so it might be on your No list. Other than that, I’m no help! I’ve been to the Atlantis, but I don’t recommend that for a honeymoon, too touristy. I have been sailing in the British Virgin Islands, which was GORGEOUS! The thing about that though is each island is pretty small, so the fun is in traveling between them. I know there was a nice resort there called The Bitter End Yacht Club, but I doubt it’s all inclusive. Good luck though, I’m sure you’ll find something amazing!
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22 Elisabeth March 27, 2012 at 12:05 am

I think the place Kath went to might have been in Jamaica, which it sounds like that is out for you two? Hope you find the perfect place! I’m thinking Saint Lucia, or maybe the US Virgin Islands? :)

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23 Marianne March 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I really enjoyed Secrets Maroma. To a degree it’s a bit of a honeymoon machine (it seems like all the all inclusives that are adults only are), but it was a gorgeous location, great food and yummy drinks.

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24 Katie March 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Cabo San Lucas was beautiful & Hawaii isn’t bad either ;)

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25 Emily N March 26, 2012 at 4:32 pm

My husband and I did cancun and booked through apple vacations. great prices and LOTS of options. It was a successful trip for sure!

I know cancun can seem kind of spring break-y, but the prices are better than just about anywhere in the caribbean and the views are amazing. Plus in January, it won’t be Spring Break time!
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26 Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride March 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm

We did a TON of research and talking with lots of people. We’re pretty set on the Sandals in St. Lucia (there are 3 different options so 3x the restaurants, golf, water activities and excursions)!

I have also heard great things about Costa Rica, Turks & Caicos and Puerto Rico (but harder to find all inclusive). I had a great time at a variety of all-inclusive resorts in Cancun and Riveria Maya but make sure not to go during holiday/school break times!
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27 Wendy March 26, 2012 at 4:42 pm

St. John is amazing!

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28 Abby March 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Costa Rica, for sure!!! I’ve been there twice (once for a mission trip in the southern-most tip and again a few years ago for a study abroad trip). One weekend we went to Punta Leona (I think that’s just the name of the hotel, but it’s within walking distance of the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. I can’t remember the name of the beach itself), and it was seriously so much fun. The beach had shade trees towards the back if you wanted to just chill out, but the water was crystal clear and the waves were perfect for getting out there and playing in them. The hotel was super nice and had a few pools, and the buffet meals were really really good. I think this is the website for where we stayed: http://hotelpuntaleona.com/.
I know you said you weren’t necessarily interested in exploring, but I would seriously recommend you guys either go zip-lining (close to this resort) or white-water rafting. We had to go to the other side of the country (only a few hours lol), but it was The. Best/Funnest. Thing. I’ve. Ever. Done. Seriously, it was a total blast and I would recommend it anyone. If you want more details about where we went, just let me know :)

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29 Allison March 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm

We stayed at an all inclusive in Trinidad and one in Tobago and they were really well priced and great food and drinks. Check out what you can down there, your money will go far.

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30 Nekeisha March 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Yay Trinidad and Tobago!!!!!!!

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31 Selene Thompson March 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm

We went to Punta Cana, DR two years ago and loved it!!! We had the exact same thought…. Just relax and enjoy the resort. :) our budget was $3000 and we stuck to it ($2500 was plane tkts and stay and $500 for any incidentals)! We stayed at the Bavaro Barcelo Palace Deluxe, it was awesome. The resort has about 5 hotels inside at the time the palace deluxe was the newest one. The food was great (we actually lost weight on this trip, bc there are tons of healthy delicious options and all the non-motorized activities are free) the jacuzzi tub on the balcony overlooking the ocean is fabulous (most other resorts have the jacuzzi inside the room). I can’t wait to go on another all-inclusive vacation again. –good luck picking a place–

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32 Val March 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm

A chain of all-inclusive hotels to recommend that have hotels all over the Carribean and Mexico is Riu. I have stayed in their hotels 3 times and they were great! They have different levels of pricing (Riu Palace’s are the most expensive, but definitely worth the money), but I have stayed at Riu Palace’s as well as a few others and Riu is a great company- staff so friendly, very clean, gorgeous spanish-style hotels, and yummy food!

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33 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday March 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

I second the Riu Palace.
I went to the Riu Palace Riviera Maya in the Mayan Riviera. It’s a bit of a jaunt on the bus from Cancun but it’s walkable to Playa del Carmen and you can take day tours to Cozumel or to Mayan Ruins or do some cave snorkelling (very cool, btw!)
The resort is gorgeous. It definitely has the splurge factor.

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34 Kalee March 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

We LOVE Adverntura Spa Palace in the Maya Riveria! It is awesome & they do all kinds of extras for newlyweds!!
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35 Karen @ Run Shop Travel March 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I just went to Costa Rica last December and LOVED it! Our resort was really nice and it had the option of being all inclusive or breakfast only. I can’t say enough good things about it, you can check out my recaps on my “Travel” page if you want.

I’ve also been to St. Lucia (just on a cruise) and thought it was nice. My favorite island I’ve been to though is Aruba!

Can’t wait to hear your decision!
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36 Joanna March 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I actually live in Costa Rica, just south of Jaco. If you stay outside of Jaco, or other touristy spots, then your experience is way better. I’d say check on VRBO for houses to rent. Rental cars are cheap and there is a ton to do (even though you said you didn’t want to do anything). The beaches are black sand, but beautiful, with jungle and wildlife right behind them. I’ve been to St. Lucia as well, and in my opinion the beaches in other parts of the Caribbean (especially the bvi, usvi, barbados and st. maarten)
are much better.

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37 Amanda March 26, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I went to Sandals La Toc resort in St Lucia for my honeymoon. It was definitely a splurge, but we figured it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. We actually got married there–just my husband and I (an elopment of sorts). They did an awesome job! Very beautiful and very romantic. Plus, everyone else there is honeymooning, so it makes for a fun environment.

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38 Michelle March 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Best vacation I ever had was our honeymoon. Sandal’s St. Lucia. Beautiful, restful everything you need. We took few excursions and just enjoyed the entire time. Wherever you decide to go just remember that it’s YOUR time together away from everything and everyone and recoup from the stressors of the wedding planning. Enjoy!

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39 Jenna March 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm

We went to Barbados for our honeymoon and stayed in an all-inclusive resort (Almond Beach Club and Spa). The resort actually had 2 sister resorts on the island and you could use their free shuttle service and visit any one of them to make use of their pools, beaches and restaurants. The resort we stayed at was the adults only resort which was nice. It also had amazing snorkeling right in front of our hotel (we booked a snorkeling tour, took a bus down to the cruise docks, boarded a catamaran that ended up taking us right back to the reef in front of our hotel).

Here’s a post I wrote about it recently with a few pics: http://lifeinthesunnyspot.blogspot.com/2012/03/barbados.html
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40 Britt March 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm

The husband and I stay here on our honeymoon last July:

http://www.excellence-resorts.com/caribbean-and-mexico-destinations/excellence-playa-mujeres

The resort was impeccable, the food delicious and the price was right. Perfection! I’d go again in a heartbeat. (and did I mention that we had a swim up room?)
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41 Angela March 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I was half way through recommending the only Caribbean place I have been to when I remembered its no use telling an American they should go to Cuba! The other places sound lovely though. You are so lucky to be so close. It would have to be a pretty amazing place for me to fly 10+ hours for!

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42 cat k March 26, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Ditto what Britt said. I went stayed at the Excellence Punta Cana last summer and it’s a great spot for honeymooners!

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43 Life's a Bowl March 26, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Check out of the wedding websites for honeymoon recommendations based on the time of year- it helps! I didn’t think much about the weather and other potential factors, I was mostly focusing on the places we wanted to go… But after realizing that September is still hurricane season, I crossed some of our “maybes” off of the list.

I haven’t been to an all inclusive resort myself, but I’ve heard good things about the Sandals Resorts!
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44 Carrie March 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm

We stayed at Excellence Riviera Maya…just North of Cancun! We were a bit hesitant to go to Mexico, but I’m SO glad we did. The resort was ridiculously nice and it was adults only, which we knew we wanted (definitely do adults only if you can find it!). It was a large resort, but not so giant that we felt lost. They have something like 9 restaurants to choose from and you don’t have to make reservations. Also, we were ALWAYS able to find a nice spot by one of the many pools without having to get up at 6am to claim some chairs. There are Excellence resorts in several other locations too, and I highly recommend them. Definitely the best bang for our buck that I could find. Good luck!

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45 Katie March 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm

We went to Costa Rica on our honeymoon (actually through a Living Social Escapes deal) and absolutely LOVED it. However we chose Costa Rica because of all the opportunities it offered to be active and explore the amazing country. That was important to us. We went white water rafting, ziplining, kayaking, to natural hot springs, volcano hiking, and more! It was amazing. So if you’re looking to just relax I’m not sure it would be the best place for that. Also, we didn’t do all inclusive because we really wanted to try the small, local places that offered the ‘real’ Costa Rican food as opposed to resort food. Just our preference! I wrote all about it here on my blog: http://runinspired.wordpress.com/2012/01/08/our-costa-rica-honeymoon/
If you don’t go to Costa Rica for your honeymoon definitely go another time! I loved it!
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46 Trisha March 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm

We went to St. Lucia for our honeymoon and stayed at the Rendezvous. It was an all-inclusive couples resort, so there were no kids running around and it was beautiful! They did a lot for us to make it extra special, and I cannot recommend them enough! Water sports were included, and we did a few extra excursions (helicopter ride, zip-lining in the rainforest, segway rides, and the land & sea tour). We spent lots of time doing fun things, and lots of time laying on the beach. It was amazing!

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47 Megan McK March 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Great choice! A few all-inclusive options are Sandals & Palace resorts, as well as the Excellence & Beloved Hotels. Some resorts offer an exchange option between closely situated resorts, which gives a better selection of restaurants, beaches and local activities. Good luck in your search!!

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48 Niki March 26, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Out of all the islands I’ve been to (including Saint Lucia) I can honestly tell you that Aruba was my favorite by far. The island has the most beautiful beaches that I have ever seen and it is very romantic. Best of luck on your search!
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49 Diana March 26, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Check out Belize! They actually speak english there as the official language so you can immerse yourself in the culture without feeling too out of place. Plus, it’s gorgeous!
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50 Margo March 27, 2012 at 9:59 am

I second Belize! I spent 6 weeks teaching in San Pedro (on Ambergris Caye), and while we stayed in a hostel on the island, I am sure there are some amazing all inclusive resorts. There is a reef for amazing snorkeling right off the coast and there are some companies who will take you inland for some Mayan culture adventures (ziplining, cave tubing, ruin climbing, etc.). It’s also very affordable if you choose to go the “affordable” route. It’s been three years since I have been and it’s on my mind litereally every day. Paradise!

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51 Margo March 27, 2012 at 10:01 am

I have also been to Costa Rica but I think it has way too much to offer to stay in one place. I would save that trip for when you are feeling adventurous. My husband and I also went to Curacao last summer and while it was amazingly beautiful, the recent oil spill and climate change have bleached the majority of the coral so snorkeling wasn’t worth it. It is also very arid so if tropical is your thing, you might choose another Caribbean location.

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52 Megan @ Bump on a log learns to jog March 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm

My fiance and I just booked our honeymoon in St Lucia for this June and we can’t wait. We aren’t staying in an all inclusive resort but I think there are two sandals on the island. The thing we loved about st. lucia when looking was the combination of the beach and the activities. We can’t wait to go zip lining, surfing and hiking but we also can’t wait to just relax on the beach. We are staying at the Villa Beach Cottages!
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53 Laura March 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm

ARUBA! My husband and I go every year (not A-I though). I think they have a Riu Palace there. They speak English, you can drink the water and short flight from east coast.

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54 Beth March 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm

We went to the Sandals St. Lucia after talking with several friends who went there on their honeymoons. They offer 3 resorts on St. Lucia with the ability to travel to and take advantage of all 3 for no additional cost. We loved it and would absolutely go back again!

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55 Kaley March 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm

We went to St.Lucia for our honeymoon, and it was perfect. We stayed at Sandals La Toc, which was beautiful, and like others have mentioned, there are 2 other Sandals resorts on the Island that you can visit to eat at or do whatever. It was all inclusive- drinks, food, and activities, but there are extra excursions you can pay to go on if you want! I would go back in a heartbeat- definitely my favorite vacation ever!

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56 Cat Melnyk March 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Ohhh living social Escapes has a deal on Costa Rica & Antigua right now!!!

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57 Katie March 26, 2012 at 8:41 pm

We bought a Living Social Escapes deal for our honeymoon to Costa Rica… I was a little unsure how it would be at first but it ended up being amazing, organized, and perfect!! And a really great price! Would recommend again to anyone!
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58 Ct cupcake March 26, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Try Hawaii, though I don’t think there is any all inclusives. I hated costa rica, they are much nicer places to go. Try st kitts or st John, also amazing!

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59 Amelia March 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm

We stayed at Sandals in St. Lucia. Kevin & I booked one of the butler suites with private plunge pool. When we arrived we were upgraded one step more, which was amazing!! St. Lucia has 3 different Sandals that you can stay at. We were at the one with the golf, but you can eat at the restaurants/ do activities at all 3–all inclusively included in your one price. We only went into the city for 1 day. It was a bit crazy and we were dropped of the heart of a tourist trap, but still fun. We both got certified to scuba dive, took plenty of catamaran tours, explored other parts of the island (via tours set up via sandals). We did not take advantage of the spas or golf since it was extra, but that’s okay b/c we spent a lot of time in our room. ;) Alcohol and all food is included. We did not drink anywhere near the amount of alcohol we had access to (FULL bar in our apt suite!).

If you decide to stay here and have any Q’s feel free to email me. There is so much information that I wish I had prior to going. I can even fill you in on flights/ how to handle the airport/ other rec’s, etc. :)
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60 Amy March 26, 2012 at 10:57 pm

Turks an Caicos or Costa Rica!

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61 Jen March 26, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Since y’all are from Florida, have you thought about getting away to a new area such as Hawaii or one of the Mexican west coast towns? Kauai is just gorgeous!

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62 Chickie March 27, 2012 at 2:31 am

I’ve been all over the Caribbean my whole life on a high end scale. St. Lucia has BAD rocky beaches. Dominican Republic (on the same island of Haiti) is really second rate, we came down with bad food poisoning, a parasite from the ocean and lost luggage- DONT GO THERE!) Jamaica is most beautiful- but go far away from the tourists. Tulum, Mexico is amazing- NOT CANCUN- in Tulum, amazing beaches, incredible all inclusive resorts with high end food- we would always go to Club Robinson, Tulum – my dad is a food snob of the highest degree, the ridiculous buffets were phenomenal. Of course St. John and St. Barts are incredibly beautiful, pristine. The Virgin Islands are beautiful, it just takes a mini plane and boats to get there. Bahamas a major no, Bermuda is windy and rocky beaches. Just make sure to stay away from the average, Tacky shtick like cruises, Cancun, Beaches Resorts or awful Cabo San Lucas. The European resorts are always the most elegant!

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63 Amy April 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Anyone who says Cancun is not amazing is clearly staying at sub-par resorts. If you 5 diamond – like the Real Resorts Royal in Cancun _ you can not go wrong. Better food there than half of the restaurants in Boston!

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64 Chickie March 27, 2012 at 2:38 am

p.s. the Domincian Republic resort to stay away from is Barcelo! Bad bad food and a lot of horror stories.

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65 Kristen March 27, 2012 at 3:20 am

Sorry no helpful advice but I can’t wait to see pictures!!
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66 Sara@RunningInPinkProject March 27, 2012 at 6:49 am

When you find a couple places you like be sure to check out reviews of the on-site dining. We once stayed at a beautiful fun resort in Mexico with the worst food ever. A girlfriend of mine stayed in St Lucia and loved it. Another friend swears that the Dominican Republic has the best all inclusives. Good Luck! :)
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67 Kelsey March 27, 2012 at 7:13 am

Hey Meghann!
As a long time blog reader (but only first time commenting) I couldn’t pass up giving my two-sense about traveling and all inclusive resorts — two of my favorite things to do! My family and I traveled to Riviera Maya Mexico this past January and were there to ring in the New Year. We stayed at Barcelo Mayo Palace and absolutely LOVED it! The resort was top notch, had 7-8 amazing restaurants, 3 buffets, and the most incredible Caribbean beach. We snorkeled everyday right off of it and saw the most amazing fish and even swam with some sea turtles. This is a resort you could stay at and never leave because it has everything on the grounds — also some awesome places to run which my dad and I took advantage of. Not to mention it wasn’t nearly that crowded in January so you almost felt like you had a lot of the resort to yourself. Overall, I have no complaints and we are already planning to go back in the near future. Hope this helps!

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68 Susan March 27, 2012 at 7:23 am

Aruba hands down has been my favorite place to visit. And if you do choose to explore the island, it’s beautiful and I recommend the jeep tour! :)

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69 Mel March 27, 2012 at 7:23 am

My vote is for Aruba, it’s gorgeous!! Perfect weather and great beaches!

If not Aruba, then Costa Rica. Or, what about Belize?

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70 Molly P March 27, 2012 at 7:29 am

We went to Aruba and stayed at Manchebo… We didn’t leave the resort once! It was absolutely gorgeous! It had the BEST beach on the whole side of the island. It was just fabulous! http://www.manchebo.com/
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71 Jennifer March 27, 2012 at 8:35 am

We went on our honeymoon to the Aventura Spa Palace in the Riviera Maya of Mexico: http://www.palaceresorts.com/aventuraspa/default-en.html

It’s an all-inclusive with an awesome spa (I’m pretty sure you can score free spa credits somehow – we did), top shelf liquors, and everyone who worked there was so nice.
Food was great, grounds were beautiful, and every room has a huge jacuzzi IN the bedroom. We didn’t feel the need to leave the resort but once to explore the town nearby a bit. There are other Palace resorts in the area that you can hop around to for free. Aventura is an adults-only resort (this is key on your honeymoon – i love kids, having one in 8 weeks, but wow. Peace and quiet was nice!) and I think the others in the area are not.

Good luck! Our honeymoon was my favorite time of the whole wedding process. We unplugged and relaxed and just enjoyed being together!

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72 Melanie March 27, 2012 at 8:38 am

We went to St. Lucia this past September for our Honeymoon and it was amazing! We went to 3 resorts and were there for 10 days. I highly recommend both of the following:

http://www.ladera.com: The concept of this resort is that the 4th wall of your room is missing and instead it it open to the incredible view of the Caribbean Sea and the Pitons! We stayed in room X8 which was just incredible and I can’t wait to go back! Each room has it’s own plunge pool overlooking that amazing view!The restaurant is also just fantastic! I can’t say enough good things about this place!

http://www.jalousieplantation.com: We went here after Ladera since it is closeby and also didn’t want to leave! :-) Beautiful villas with private plunge pools and and a beautiful beach nestled between the Pitons!

Have fun planning! Enjoy!!

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73 Teresa March 27, 2012 at 9:09 am

You didn’t mention this location but I thought I would suggest it if you’d like to look into it. My co-worker went to Aruba for her honeymoon, the Playa Linda, and absolutely loved it! (She said all the resorts were nice around the area so there are other options) Every morning they woke up early to reserve their cabana on the beach and then went back to the hotel to sleep in. Once awake, they spent the day on the beach (or lounging by the pool) until it was time to shower for the evening.
They went to the local restaurants for dinner and she said she NEVER had a bad meal. And I love my co-worker to death but she can be picky when it comes to food :) According to the sources she talked to, the area she was in had so many restaurants that they don’t recommend going all inclusive because you will miss out on all the great restaurants. She was happy she didn’t and loved all of her meals. Per her words, “I walked out of my hotel and had to choose where to eat from over 30 choices”.

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74 Elizabeth @ Chocolate Drops and Pearls March 27, 2012 at 9:19 am

I’ve been to several places in Mexico and in the Dominican. Both are absolutely beautiful and can be reasonable too.

To be honest what I have found is that any all inclusive will be absolutely amazing. Competition among the resorts is so tough that there isn’t a bad one out there!

Can’t wait to hear where you decide to go.
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75 sarah March 27, 2012 at 9:33 am

Have heard great things about Punta cana–http://www.applevacations.com/punta-cana/

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76 Dani March 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

I stayed in an all inclusive resort in Costa Rica–the Hilton Papagayo resort. In my opinion, all-inclusive resorts make sense if you plan to drink a lot, but the food is never spectacular. Still, the buffet usually makes eating anytime pretty easy. The Costa Rica resort buffet had a pretty sweet salad bar where I would pile my plate high with veggies before adding anything else.

I have also stayed in the Hilton all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica which was also fantastic. They had lots of local food specialties to try and the staff was amazing. Every night a band would play reggae music on the main patio!

I would recommend either one of these hotels! Costa Rica was really more special than Jamaica, which to me feels kinda typical. Enjoy! I’m looking to plan a honeymoon right now too–I have NO IDEA where we will go, probably out of the country!!
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77 Meaghan@ChooseYourJourney March 27, 2012 at 9:51 am

I think an all-inclusive in Costa Rica is a waste of a trip. There is sooo much to do and see in CR besides hanging out at a resort. So, I’d save CR for a time when you guys want to explore and be more active.

I’ve never been to St. Lucia but I have a friends that have gone for their honeymoons and done the all-inclusive thing and had nothing but good things to say about it. They stayed at two different Sandals and another stayed at Ladera.
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78 Kristin March 27, 2012 at 9:53 am

St. Lucia!!!! We stayed at the Anse Chastenet for our honeymoon, 4 years ago, and it was the vacation of a lifetime. We had a travel agent book it and got the all-inclusive package. The resort has amazing food and I have to second what one of your other readers wrote above…if you can afford it, stay one night at Jade Mountain. It’s a resort within the resort and has the most fantastic rooms you’ve ever seen. If you do feel like being active, I reccomend hiking the Pitons or biking through one of the old banana plantations. Happy planning!!

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79 Regina March 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

I went to St. Lucia in September 2010. We stayed at an all-inclusive and paid a pretty penny for the trip (we got the idea for the area after that season’s Bachelor ;) We’d done the all inclusive thing 3 times before in Cancun and LOVED it. I’ll be quite honest though. We got to St. Lucia and despite paying over $2K for the week we were so tempted to turn around and fly home. It was miserable! It rained all the time (which is typical. It’s a very small island). The food at the “all inclusive” wasn’t very good and wasn’t at all plentiful. We were starving the whole week and literally sat around counting minutes until the next feeding which even then was very limited in food. St. Lucia is very poverty stricken. It’s a tiny island that gets most of its all inclusive food sent over via planes and therefore there isn’t much of it. The only redeeming part of the entire experience was the scuba diving. It was truly the most mind blowing experience of my life (and I’ve scubaed many times in various countries). But I have to advise you look elsewhere. While the scuba diving was one of a kind it’d be better to visit the island as a destination on a cruise. Definitely not where I’d want to spend my honeymoon.

With that said I’ve been to quite a few places in the Caribbean. I loved St. Thomas and St. Maartens. Bermuda was really cold, extremely small and again the resort wasn’t great. My mom and I went on that trip together and ended up flying to Cancun 2 days into our week long stay. I’ve been to Cancun 3 times and loved every single time I’ve gone. Soooo relaxing and laid back. It’s gorgeous too and the food is delicious! If you end up there try Barcelona TuCancun hotel. If I could get there a thousand times over I would. I don’t have a single bad thing to say about it. The evening entertainment was terrific including a Cirque de soleil type show, the food was AMAZING and 24/7 including nachos/burgers/etc late at night and you could rent out paddle boats and kayaks for free. The spa was an extra price but the massages (and they have couples available) were sooooo nice.

I’ve heard fantastic things about Costa Rica and the all inclusive trips are reasonably priced. Puerto Rico was really nice though I’d want to explore there if I went again, not really a place you’d want to just relax on a beach forever at. I’d be wary of Jamaica. Though I’ve never been when my husband and I were on our cruise in Jan seasoned travelers kept warning us about how they dreaded that port (we never stopped there). I’ve also had friends stationed there with the military who advised to stay away especially recently because of the danger it’s presented.

Good luck though! Wherever you go as long as you’re together I’m sure you’ll have a blast! Honestly I’ve read a few of the above comments and some I agree with, some I don’t but every travel experience is going to be unique. Some people will love their trips, some will hate it even if everything is exactly the same.
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80 Melanie March 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

Also just to add the people we met at St. Lucia were incredibly friendly and the island is beautiful.

If you decide on St. Lucia I would recommend selecting a resort on the southern part of the island since it is less commercial and just gorgeous. Both Ladera and Jalouise are in the southern part of the island and closest to the main airport in Vieux Fort – Hewanorra International Airport.

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81 Babs March 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm

Hey Meghann! If this info is repeatative please feel free to ignore, there is so much good advice below I didn’t have time to read it all! After I graduated from college I went to a little island in Honduras called Roatan. It’s a beautiful island with amazing people (guests and locals!) we went to a resort that is mostly known for scuba diving, Anthony’s Key, but there are dozens of other resorts on the island. There are a few really nice things about this place. It is kind of “off the beaten path” of the Caribbean, since it’s closer to Central America, but it’s still got beautiful views and it’s 30 miles off the mainland so you are quite alone out in the sea! The island has it’s own airport so you fly right in. It’s fairly inexpensive and frequently there are deals for 2 for 1 or BOGO 50% off. We dove almost the whole time and loved every second that we weren’t diving. Anthony’s Key is also located right next to the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences where they have dolphin encounters and every single night when the sun was setting we went to the dock of the dolphin area and played with them! They are just like puppies and played fetch with seaweed and just wanted to have fun! I thought I would also just mention that I’ve heard St. Lucia is really expensive, even at all-inclusive resorts. I had two friends that just came back from their honeymoon to St. Lucia and they said it was beautiful but way to expensive, even with the all-inclusive resort. Good luck with your decision! Can’t wait to see where you guys end up going! :)

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82 Natalie March 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

My sister and her soon-to-be husband are going to honeymoon at the Sandals resort in Antigua. They don’t go until May so I can’t give you a full report, but they’re pretty excited about it and the pictures look gorgeous!

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83 juls March 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Turks and Caicos for sure. The Veranda was AMAZING

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84 Sneakers2Sandals March 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Hey!

Check out jetsetter.com !! They have AMAZING packages. Even if something isn’t ‘all inclusive’ jet setter sets part of it up kind of like it is all inclusive. My husband and I went to Cancun/Playa del Carmen (half and half in each place) and we didn’t do all inclusive but the hotels basically make it so you don’t have to leave. The best part is we could pick and choose what we wanted to do. We had the same mindset of just wanting to RELAX. We wanted to vacation, not travel :).
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85 Lauren @ Every Last Detail March 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

My husband and I did an all-inclusive in the Dominican, The Moon Palace. It was brand new 3 years ago when we went, and it was amazing. Seriously, the honeymoon is the absolute best part about having a wedding… best time ever! :)
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86 Emily March 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I just went to Costa Rica on my honeymoon this past Sept. and we absolutely LOVED it! Super reasonable w/ unforgetable experiences like zip lining, but we also got to relax and enjoy the most beautiful weather and truly wonderful people. I have never in my life met as many honestly nice people! We actually traded a wooden, hand carved rosary for a pittsburgh steelers t-shirt and you would have thought it was made of gold! wonderful memories :)

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87 Jessica March 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I am with those who said Belize. English is the official language, and it’s really, really safe there. We stayed on Ambergris Key, and I was able to get scuba certified in 1.5 days (it was off-season, and the diving instructor took me on 2-3 dives/day!) The barrier reef there is second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The prices are reasonable, and if you decide you WANT to leave the resort, there are lots of things to do (tour Mayan ruins, take boat trips, hike the jungle) Another plus? No tropical diseases. I’m going to Costa Rica in a few weeks, and I had to get a bunch of vaccines, an anti-malarial, and antibiotics for traveler’s diarrhea. Just something to think about.

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88 briana March 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

We went to Sandals in St Lucia and would highly recommend St Lucia and Sandals. St Lucia is a magnificent place with rainforest, mountains, and a beautiful ocean. The people at Sandals treat you like royalty, it can be pricey but for all inclusive there are a ton of restaurants to choose from and you can even go to a different Sandals resort on the island to try their restaurants. Look into it, the place is so amazing! Happy Planning!

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89 Kelsey March 27, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Why did you say no to Jamaica? We went there for ours and it was amazing.

But if you can’t be persuaded, I would recommend the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica– rainforests! And I heard that the DR is very affordable.

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90 Meghann March 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm

We’ve just both been there before and weren’t big fans. We want to try someplace different. :)

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91 Katherine March 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I went to an all inclusive in Riviera Maya, Mexico and it became my favorite vacation spot ever. It’s on the east coast of the country, so it is right on the Caribbean. The resort is called Valentin Imperial Maya and I 100% recommend it. My only request is that you pack me in your suitcase!

There were 4 or 5 restaurants, and all were sooo yummy. Drinks are 100% included, and there are breakfast and lunch spots were awesome with huge selections. The resort is enormous, and it is set in the actual forest, so there were cute little animals roaming around and beautiful tropical birds singing all the time. Because it felt so secluded, I thought the resort was so romantic. You could walk back to your room from one of the bars or events at night and not see a soul. It’s well-lit and there is authentic Mexican music being pumped through the walkways, so it really is a beautiful setting. There is beach service, so the waiters constantly circulate on the beach asking if you want a drink. They do this at all of the pools, too.

I honestly can’t say enough about Valentin Imperial Maya. I feel like an advertisement for the place, but honestly, it was the best vacation I have ever been on. My fiancé and I went a year and a half ago and still talk about it alllllll the time.
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92 mi-an d. March 28, 2012 at 8:12 am

i went to med school in st. george’s university in grenada…such a lovely island!!! stay at la luna, spice island, or calabash…amazing!!!

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93 sarah March 28, 2012 at 8:32 am

My fiance and I had basically the same mind set! We found a GREAT deal on Bookit.com for punta cana in the dominican republic for all inclusive at the majestic colonial… worth a look!
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94 Sara J March 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

My husband and I went to an all-inclusive in Riviera Maya, Mexico and absolutely loved it! It was a Secrets Resort (http://www.secretsresorts.com/) , called Secrets Capri. It was beautiful, the food was amazing – 5-6 different restaurants with different themes. They have activities to do on site, if you wanted. You could also book excursions if you wanted to get out for a few hours. We went to XPLOR which was an adventure park – zip-lining, 4-wheelers, paddling through caves. The rest of the time we relaxed by the pool/beach :-)
I highly recommend it!!!!

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95 Sara J March 28, 2012 at 9:20 am

And there’s a swim up bar in the pool… lots of fun drinks and beer to choose from!

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96 Kathryn March 28, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I went to St. Lucia on my honey moon in June of 2010 and it was AMAZING! We stayed at the Sandals Resort Regency, if you can afford it I’d stay at the Grand..we visited it and it was amazing!

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97 chris March 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Saw this article online today and thought of you:
http://www.facebook.com/Orbitz?v=app_131509140253700

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98 Chatelaine March 30, 2012 at 11:55 am

We just got back from Costa Rica and it was amazing. We can’t wait to go back. We rented villas with personal concierges and they’d deliver food for cook in the villa for you. So not quite all inclusive. If you want info on Costa Rica let me know.

Otherwise you can’t go wrong with the Riviera Maya area for all inclusive resorts.

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99 Alli March 31, 2012 at 8:25 am

Why do you want to go all-inclusive? Relaxation is nice, but for the money you could go somewhere awesome. We backpacked through Africa for way less money than an all-inclusive (including airfare.) It was amazing! You can lay on a beach and drink in the States… for free…

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100 Margaret March 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Turks and Caicos!! When I was in High school my family would go to an all inclusive resort there and I can’t imagine any island being better than it.

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101 Katie April 1, 2012 at 10:39 am

Ok, so we went to Ixtapa for our very belated honeymoon – we stayed at Capella Ixtapa. It isn’t an all-inclusive…but when we were shopping around/thinking about what we wanted for our vacation, it ended up working out better for us to not do all-inclusive. Justin and I are kind of…”snackers” instead of 3 big meals a day type of people…so when it came to seeing how much we’d pay for an all-inclusive we realized that (for us) we would be feeling like we would not be able to miss a single meal, which kind of stressed us out because all we wanted to do was just lay around and enjoy doing nothing. I’d just say to not rule out regular resorts completely – some “regular” hotels do include quite a bit! The package we had included breakfast every morning (which ran until 11am…so we usually ate brunch), and a 3 course dinner at their fancy restaurant one night. They delivered fresh chips and guacamole to our room every day at 5pm…they set cookies out at around 6pm, tequila bottle was out at 7pm, and they always had bowls of fresh fruit in their library. They stocked our room’s fridge with sodas, water, and juice, and we brought some liquor and wine along with us in our suitcase so we could have a few drinks if we didn’t want to leave our room. Not trying to change your stance on what you want whatsoever, but I just wanted to say that we were surprised by how much we could have included at a resort that is technically not all-inclusive! Oh, and if you ever go on Luxury Link…that is where we found the best deal for our trip! They have so many different locations and resorts on there (including all-inclusives), and the deals are pretty great!
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102 Anna April 3, 2012 at 5:51 pm

My husband and I went to Sanctuary in Cap Cana (right next to Punta Cana) and had an amazing time. When we were there it was owned by Secrets, but it appears that it was sold within the last year. They didn’t have a ton in terms of crazy activities (no ziplining), but there was snorkeling, kayaking and resort-hosted activities every afternoon and the front desk could help you reserve any other excursions of interest. The resort is adult only and all inclusive – pretty much everyone there was on their honeymoon. There were I think 5 restaurants for dinner – we never had a problem getting a table – and their breakfast spread was by far the most expansive I’ve ever seen. You name it, they had it. Everything was very clean and the staff was super friendly.
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103 Alejandra April 7, 2012 at 3:24 pm

The “Media Luna Resort & Spa” in Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras. It has everything you mentioned, all-inclusive, awesome beaches :)

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104 Hannah April 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm

My Husband and I loved St. Lucia! We stayed at the Windjammer. (http://www.windjammer-landing.com/) We didn’t do all inclusive, for the two of us for the 7 day we were there would have been $2100. With breakfast, lunch and dinner, and four excursion that we booked through the hotel we came in at around $1700. We brought granola bars with us for most of our breakfasts, and purchased fruit through the hotel grocery store to supplement breakfast, we aren’t big drinkers but probably purchased a drink each with dinner, occasionally at lunch. (A few of our excursions supplied plenty of complementary drinks and rum punch- delicious! )

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105 Amy April 12, 2012 at 10:44 pm

The Royal in Playa Del Carmen (or Cancun)

http://realresorts.com

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106 Sami May 30, 2012 at 12:41 pm

We booked ours in Curacao! It’s close to Aruba…and it’s out of the hurricane zone! Which is important since we are being married in September! :)
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