Where would you go for culture and a beautiful beach?

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Ronnie Sanford

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Looking to take the family on vacation in late June or July. My wife has informed me that wherever we go there has to be a nice beach. We are based in Dallas so the normal suspects are Mexico, Florida, California and the Caribbean. But what about the rest of the world? Where are the good deals at? And what is there to do besides just the beach (which bores me to tears)?
 

Séadna

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In Europe: Greece. Especially Crete or one of the smaller Cyclades.

Beaches approaching divinity, incredibly tasty and healthy food, hundreds of historical sites and walks and activities. Overall I'd recommend Chania in Western Crete and then explore the South of the island. Smaller Cyclades, particularly Milos, if you want more quiet.
 

Endless Flight

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The whitest sand I’ve ever seen is in Grand Cayman. It’s a place Anakin Skywalker would loathe. Not much to do other than that there though.

The most beautiful water I’ve ever seen is Hawaii. Just breathtaking.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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The whitest sand I’ve ever seen is in Grand Cayman. It’s a place Anakin Skywalker would loathe. Not much to do other than that there though.

The most beautiful water I’ve ever seen is Hawaii. Just breathtaking.
Flights to Grand Cayman from Houston are pretty cheap but I am afraid I would be bored. I agree with you Hawaii is beautiful. I would like to consider Tahiti but I can't really afford the airfare...
 

Fenris-77

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I have no interest in beaches. Blargh. However, anywhere with beaches and other cool stuff is good by me. So yeah, Croatia would work, and would France and Italy, and Spain. I'm more of historical sites, restaurants and pubs guy.
 

Séadna

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Any of you European type’s visited Italy’s Amalfi coast?
Yes, it's very beautiful. There's a high density of medieval and early modern sites in the area. Food is very classical Italian. Restaurant and bar culture very lively.
Italian beaches tend to be more packed than most of Europe, on par with Spain, if that matters to your wife. Unlike the rest of Europe they can often be private or fee-charging.
 

The Butcher

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Gotta check the COVID status of the place but look into Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia. Beautiful colonial architecture and amazing beaches.

Do look into Cuba as well. Politics aside, it’s got to be an interesting trip.

I’d love to recommend Brazil but given the current COVID troubles I’d say it’s not worth it. But were it not for the pandemic, Rio has some cool cultural attractions and the beaches are great. (And we could grab lunch or dinner some day!)

In Northeastern Brazil, there are cities like Salvador and Recife where you can spend two or three days immersed in history, then go on to a nearby resort or smaller town the better to enjoy the beaches.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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Yes, it's very beautiful. There's a high density of medieval and early modern sites in the area. Food is very classical Italian. Restaurant and bar culture very lively.
Italian beaches tend to be more packed than most of Europe, on par with Spain, if that matters to your wife. Unlike the rest of Europe they can often be private or fee-charging.
Probably best to avoid crowds. Reading about Greece and Croatia!
 

Ronnie Sanford

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Gotta check the COVID status of the place but look into Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia. Beautiful colonial architecture and amazing beaches.

Do look into Cuba as well. Politics aside, it’s got to be an interesting trip.

I’d love to recommend Brazil but given the current COVID troubles I’d say it’s not worth it. But were it not for the pandemic, Rio has some cool cultural attractions and the beaches are great. (And we could grab lunch or dinner some day!)

In Northeastern Brazil, there are cities like Salvador and Recife where you can spend two or three days immersed in history, then go on to a nearby resort or smaller town the better to enjoy the beaches.
Can Americans go to Cuba now? I wouldn’t have even thought of it.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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I met a young lady that was an American communist when she was like 25 (no judgement please she was very nice). She went to Cubsa legally with an Organization of American States group (all much older than she) that she thought was boring so she got away from her Cuban handlers and spent all night seeing how real Cubans had fun. I am far from communist but I nearly envied her!
 

3rik

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If you can take the heat and humidity, Yucatán is great for interesting excursions that take you away from the boring, tacky beaches.

And sometimes you get to combine the both, like at Tulum. The good thing here is, most visitors take to the beach soon and you'll have the ruins pretty much to yourself. Steer clear of souvenir shops selling "authentic spiritual Maya artifacts" and other hippie/New Age knick knacks.

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3rik

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You ever been to El Tajin 3rik 3rik ?
We've done extensive visiting of many archaeological sites in Mexico (and Guatemala), but El Tajín wasn't among them. We did visit Veracruz, but stuck to the mountainous region surrounding coffee producing towns of Coatepec, Xico and the state capital Xalapa, which is a lovely area.

If you're looking for other near-coastal archaeological sites in Veracruz, Cempoala might be of interest.
 
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Voros

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Looking to take the family on vacation in late June or July. My wife has informed me that wherever we go there has to be a nice beach. We are based in Dallas so the normal suspects are Mexico, Florida, California and the Caribbean. But what about the rest of the world? Where are the good deals at? And what is there to do besides just the beach (which bores me to tears)?


South Asia has wonderful beaches plus lovely temples, places to eat, etc. It is different enough that just visiting is an experience. And generally very cheap once you get there although the flights can be expensive unless you hunt around or buy a package to stay at a resort.

Not sure which countries are open right now due to Covid, I'm planning on waiting quite a while longer before travelling again.

But the safest countries are Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia right now. Well Singapore is the safest but is pretty much one huge city of course. If you plan on leaving the towns and going into the countryside I'd recommend hiring a local driver and guide.

I'd avoid the Phillipines, the government is on a murderous rampage and there's a rebellion in the south that sometimes kidnaps Westerners, particuarly Americans.
 

3rik

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With regard to safety I'd pick Yucatán over Veracruz, though tourists are usually fine regarding cartel activity.
 
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