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Nonstop beach destination from MSP in Jan: LIR/CUN/SJU/etc.?

Nonstop beach destination from MSP in Jan: LIR/CUN/SJU/etc.?

Old Aug 11th, 2022, 06:55 PM
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Nonstop beach destination from MSP in Jan: LIR/CUN/SJU/etc.?

Having covered a great deal of the U.S. states and Europe, my wife and I (both mid-to-late 30-somethings who do not drink) are looking at a place we can unwind from what we're both sure will be a stressful rest of 2022. We don't have many requirements, but so far we've not been able to find a place to satisfy them all. Hopefully some of the more seasoned travelers here may be able to help. Here's what we're looking for:

- Direct flight (Delta preferred, Sun Country will do in a pinch), five hours max
- Not mainland U.S.
- Hotel budget: $300/night, willing to go higher if all-inclusive
- Not a party or a family-first destination
- Private or semi-private beach with swimmable water (not too deep or shallow and as little dangerous wildlife - including jellyfish - as possible)

The destinations available to us from MSP look to be:

- Cancun
- Belize City
- Grand Cayman
- Montego Bay
- Punta Cana
- Turks & Caicos
- Puerto Rico
- Aruba
- Costa Rica (Northern)

I really want to go to Costa Rica, but haven't been able to find anything remotely resembling what we're after for under $600/night and even then the beaches look iffy.
Would appreciate any and all help!
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Old Aug 12th, 2022, 11:30 AM
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I think you'll need to compromise here. No one place will meet all those requirements. Costa Rica is a fine destination, but its beaches can't compare to Mexico's or the Caribbean's.
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Old Aug 12th, 2022, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff_Costa_Rica View Post
I think you'll need to compromise here. No one place will meet all those requirements. Costa Rica is a fine destination, but its beaches can't compare to Mexico's or the Caribbean's.
OK, sure. I've gathered as much, in fact, so C-R has slid quite a bit of a ways down my list.
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Old Aug 13th, 2022, 05:40 AM
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If you want quiet relaxation, look into Royal Hideaway Playacar south of Cancun. It is an adults only all inclusive resort on a beautiful beach. Great service but not much in the way of activities. Great for relaxing.
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Old Aug 13th, 2022, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by schmerl View Post
If you want quiet relaxation, look into Royal Hideaway Playacar south of Cancun. It is an adults only all inclusive resort on a beautiful beach. Great service but not much in the way of activities. Great for relaxing.
How is their beach? The resort itself looks nice, if a bit outside our price range.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by DardenUnited View Post
How is their beach? The resort itself looks nice, if a bit outside our price range.
The beach is beautiful there.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by schmerl View Post
The beach is beautiful there.
I'm a bit more interested in how crowded it typically is. "Beautiful" is kind of assumed.
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Old Aug 14th, 2022, 10:53 PM
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You could fly into Cancun, but then continue on and stay in Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, Akumal, Tulum.
You could fly into Montego Bay, but then continue on and stay out in Negril.

But I am unaware of a "private beach". Mexico for sure all beaches are public.
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Old Aug 15th, 2022, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DardenUnited View Post
I'm a bit more interested in how crowded it typically is. "Beautiful" is kind of assumed.
It is a smaller resort so the beach does not get very crowded. The resorts near it do not use the RH beach.
All beaches are public, but only up to a certain property line.
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Old Aug 15th, 2022, 07:21 AM
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That's the case with Costa Rica too. There's no such thing as a private beach. Up to a certain property line, all beaches are public.
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Old Aug 15th, 2022, 12:46 PM
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Isla Mujeres checks all your boxes.
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Old Aug 15th, 2022, 03:50 PM
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Costa Rica is great, but I agree that it doesn't meet your criteria very well.

The Mayan Riviera and Isla Mujeres would fit the bill. I don't think I'd go as far down as Tulum though. Tulum is an odd mix these days - it used to be a laid back, reasonably priced place with small hotels on the beach. But the party crowd has discovered it (and Tulum is most definitely catering to them), so it has gotten crowded and expensive - AND - the raves etc have opened up as a new market for drug use, so the cartels have taken notice. Not good. But other places on the Mayan Riviera don't seem to be having these same issues.

Regarding Belize - We haven't been there yet, but are planning a trip there in May, so I am learning about the country. I don't think anyone has given any feedback on Belize yet, so I figured I would add something, based on what I know from my planning. Belize City seems to be mostly a jumping off point for most visitors - it looks like it has some interesting things to see and do there, but it also has an issue with crime, so most visitors don't stick around - sort of like San Jose, CR. For beaches, it looks like a lot of people head out to one of the cayes - Ambergris Caye or Caye Calker look to be popular, especially for snorkling - although I think the beaches on the cayes are relatively small. For bigger beaches, the areas around Hopkins and Placencia look good. Hopkins is definitely on our itinerary. I don't think any of these are real party places or particularly geared toward family travel. I think Ambergris Caye might have the most party scene of these places.
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Old Aug 16th, 2022, 12:00 AM
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I see nonstops to Honolulu on Delta aloha...
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Old Aug 19th, 2022, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by suze View Post
I see nonstops to Honolulu on Delta aloha...
Way too long a flight.
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Old Aug 19th, 2022, 01:46 PM
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Not on your list but it looks like there are non-stop flights on Delta from MSP to Puerto Vallarta. I think Garza Blanca resort meets your requirements. We've stayed there twice. Love it.

https://puertovallarta.garzablancare...ges/tafer-life

Although, I am sure there are quite a few all-inclusives on the Maya Riviera that would also meet your requirements.
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Old Aug 20th, 2022, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by tom42 View Post
Not on your list but it looks like there are non-stop flights on Delta from MSP to Puerto Vallarta. I think Garza Blanca resort meets your requirements. We've stayed there twice. Love it..
Thank you! I hadn't thought of PVR. I'll check it out, but the rates look a bit high for my dates...
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 02:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DardenUnited View Post
Thank you! I hadn't thought of PVR. I'll check it out, but the rates look a bit high for my dates...
Have you actually said what your dates are? When are you looking to travel?
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff_Costa_Rica View Post
Have you actually said what your dates are? When are you looking to travel?
Good point We are somewhat flexible between December 23rd and January 9th(-ish). The best dates for airfare look like either Dec 30-Jan 6 or Jan 2-Jan 9.
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 04:52 PM
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I'm sure the reason you're seeing such high hotel rates is that it's Christmastime. If you can delay travel until after Jan. 1, rates should come down. With New Year's Day being on a Sunday this year, I'm sure that will be a busy travel day with everybody headed back home from vacation.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2022, 09:54 AM
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I can speak specifically to Puerto Vallarta. And hotel rates nearly double the two holiday weeks. Seriously my "budget hotel" that I can usually get for around $50-60/night goes up to $100+ those weeks. Yes if you can wait even until the Jan 2nd date to travel should drop considerably. Generally speaking "high season" for PV is November thru May. "low season" being summer is June thru October. The two times everyone jumps hotel rates is Easter holiday and Christmas/NY holiday.
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