If you thought your idea to spend the Christmas holidays in the Caribbean was a novel one, you’re in for a surprise. Whether it’s to avoid the snow, the cold or your drunken Uncle Marty at the holiday dinner table, it’s a dream that may be hard to fulfill.
Mexico / Cancun
Not only is the Mayan Riviera one of the hottest destinations for folks from Colorado, it is also one of the cheapest. That is, except for right now. It seems you’re not the only one running away from Christmas at home. Apple Vacations, one of the biggest bookers from these parts has only 2 listings for the Cancun area for the Christmas week. Prices range from about $2400 to $5200 for full packages (airfare, all-inclusive hotels)which isn’t too bad until we tell you that’s per person, not total. Usually you can book a week anywhere from $1000 up per person, so you better really hate Uncle Marty if you’re headed there.
Mexico / Mayan Riviera
Prices are always a little better south of Cancun, but not by much at Christmas. Cheap Caribbean, an outfit that normally has hundreds of listings and usually some of the better deals, lists only 13 properties in the whole Mayan Riviera with package prices ranging from $1700- $3900, and once again that is per person. You better plan on disappointing the niece about those Uggs and maybe Aunt Celia just gets a fruitcake from Costco if you’re going to afford this one.
Both Apple and Cheap Caribbean are low on listings and high on price. Since this is Jamaica we could say price is not the only thing “High” in Jamaica this Christmas season, but we won’t. Though just about everybody celebrates Christmas these days, if the idea is to avoid all the family obligations this trip, then where else but the land of “No problem, mon?” Apple has only 2 package listings priced around $3500 per person with Cheap Caribbean listing 6 resorts from $1700-$3900 per person. Sounds like a “problem, mon.”
You have the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands to pick from. All-inclusives are very rare in the Virgin Islands as are flights this particular time of year. You’re not going to get a cheap package deal from the above listed sites, so you better be loaded (with money that is.) That is a shame with amazing beaches like Megan’s Bay, Sapphire Beach on St Thomas, and so many others on the other islands. I’m sure Santa flies there on Christmas Eve, but even he carries an extra Visa (Card that is: for entry you just need a passport and Santa doesn’t need squat.) You might try VRBO or Homeaway.com for private listings if you can find and afford a flight.
Cruising has become a very popular Holiday option. The scary part , if you brought Uncle Marty with you, is he won’t be going home after dinner. Cruises Only, a popular cruise clearing house has lots of options with prices ranging from $550 to $5000 for 7 night Caribbean sailings. Ports range from San Juan in Puerto Rico to Ft. Lauderdale and New Orleans in the States. The problem is getting there this time of year and affording the airfare. Of course, if you blow off little Timmy’s Xbox, and Aunt Celia’s fruitcake, there’s your airfare right there. One thing to remember, if you’re picking up Uncle Marty’s bar tab, that’s not included in your cruise price.
If you live along the coast, you can just hop in your car and drive to a beach. It may be cold and miserable, but why shouldn’t you be like the rest of us? If you live inland like the previous mentioned “rest of us,” you can always mix up a pitcher of Margaritas or Pina-Coladas before Christmas dinner; not only will Uncle Marty be happy, but if everyone joins him, he will be much more bearable.
So in conclusion, when considering whether to bail on your family and loved ones and heading to the Caribbean to enjoy a selfish vacation, there are really only two major issues to consider: price and availability. Since both are huge obstacles this time of year, might we suggest you embrace this family holiday and yes, Uncle Marty too and spend this joyous time together. Then quick, when no one is looking, book that beach vacation for this spring in January when prices are lower, availability is higher, and Uncle Marty is back home in his own world.
by Michael Ryan