Send My Parents On Vacation

Mom calls today, asks what hotel I stayed in when I went to Cancun a few years ago. I asked why, did it burn down or something? No, her and dad were talking about going there. I said no, ew, don’t bother. Cancun did not impress me at all.

But they want to go somewhere this fall. Where should they go? Info:

[li]They are in their late 40s.[/li][li]They like white, sandy beaches and blue water. This is a MUST.[/li][li]They don’t want to spend a ton of money - don’t send them to Europe. Mexico is a good place to start.[/li][li]Dad won’t eat ethnic/local food. Somewhere touristy enough so he can get a hamburger ot steak. Yes we know he has issues.[/li][li]Somewhere with decent shopping is a plus.[/li][li]They dig boats, so if anywhere has anything cool to do with boating, another plus.[/li][li]They want to fly out of St. Louis Lambert Intl with as little hassle as possible.[/li][li]They’ve already been to Grand Cayman/St. John/St. Thomas/Key West[/li][li]They will likely be going in early September[/li][li]They are not the kind of people to go hiking, white water rafting, etc. They like to relax and drink. Sightsee a bit. Sit on the beach. But they can’t do anything extreme. Jetskiing is the extent of that, probably.[/li][/ul]

So where should they go? First/ close second hand experiences would be greatly appreciated. I haven’t been many places they haven’t - I can only tell them to go to Greece, which they will not do this year (already going to CO in June). Anywhere you’ve been that was cool? Share.

St. Croix is the biggest U.S. Virgin Island. It isn’t very similar to St. Thomas in atmosphere. It is pretty quiet and rural in places but they do have bars and restaurants in all styles. They also have a casino. It has all the white sand and blue warm water beaches you could want and you can always have one to yourself if you want that or you could go to a beach that is well advertised and it will have some people and a beach bar but there aren’t any of those mega-developed and hustling beaches. Water sports are available but not a huge deal. There are boats and afternoon cruises. The only underwater national monument, Buck Island, is an easy cruise to a white sand island with a leisurely snorkeling tour than has an environment that normally requires scuba diving.

St. Croix has most everything and it is tourism centered. It just doesn’t concentrate it that much and is a place for relaxation mostly. It is also fairly easy to get to. St. Louis may even have a direct flight.

There are a megabunch of Caribbean Islands and countries to choose from and many of them are very unique. There is everything from Saba to St. Lucia as well as the British Virgin Islands. All of them are beautiful but they vary in topography, population density, and culture.

How about Akumal? That site has a ton of information.

Beautiful beaches, beautiful water. They can go on a relaxing turtle snorkel trip, cause the bay is chock full of them. Playa del Carmen has decent shopping (about 30 mins away - the hotel will probably have a shuttle). There are some decent things to do - Mayan ruins, 4-wheeling excursions, etc. - if they get tired of the beach.

September’s a wicked time to go because they can go on one of the whale shark adventure tours out of Cancun. (PM me if you want a recommendation). That means heading out on a boat for about 4 hours, drinking a few beers, and snorkeling with the biggest fish in the world.

I can’t remember if Akumal had some restaurants that your dad would accept, but they could always head up to Playa, which I know has touristy restaurants designed for sensitive stomachs and fat wallets.

I was going to suggest Costa Rica, at a place in Port Limon called Cariblue, but the ocean is more for surfers than snorkelers.

Costa Rica is always cool and very (American) tourism friendly. It is a little culturally exotic though and I got the feeling they didn’t want that.

How about Aruba? I don’t know if it is a Boston thing but friends and coworkers seem to consider all possible choices before going on vacation: Cape Cod or Aruba. It is supposed to be an island paradise centered on tourism that is mainly American. It is too far South to be affected by hurricanes as well which might be important in September.

Canary Islands?

The Canaries are in Africa, a tad far for what the OP wants.

The place where I worked in Costa Rica, Península Papagayo, had two hotels: the Four Seasons is waaaaaay expensive, but the Alegría is pretty and has good prices (it didn’t meet the criteria for “ecologically friendly” because it’s painted in bright colors). Several great beaches with a free bus to take you to them.

Mom nixed St. Croix because it will be too expensive. And I forgot they’ve been to Aruba and all that too. Akumal is a bit more to what they are thinking. I told them to just go back to Cozumel - we hit it on a cruise and the ‘state park’ or whatever we visited was beautiful. They’re looking for a 3-4 hour flight or so out of St. Louis.

Cozumel’s okay - but I vastly prefer Akumal. Quieter and more beautiful IMHO. Both are about the same distance from Playa (by ferry from Cozumel / by car or bus or shuttle from Akumal).

How about a cruise? Tons to choose from, and if they find an island they like, they can go back there in the future for an extended stay.