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Claire
Austin (Texas)

General Travel

Best quaint beach town for a vacation?

My husband and I have a last minute opportunity to take a 10-14 day vacation next week. My go-to last minute travel destination, The Casitas in Akumal, has been bombarded by tour buses. What was once a quaint little hippy village is now a tourist trap, pretty sad. We are looking for a small little beach village where we can walk everywhere and have access to a beautiful beach. We are thinking Mexico, Caribbean, Belize, Costa Rica. Our budget is $$$-$$$$ and we have a lot of travel points that can get us just about anywhere. We live in Texas and would like to get somewhere under 8 hours travel. Would love any tips and advice!


13 Answers

answered by
Patrick from Miami

Check out Manzanillo in Limon, Costa Rica. Very small village with a Caribbean vibe. There is a cool organic farm you can hike to and if you want more action there is the fun town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca just up the road.


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  1. Manzanillo (attraction)
  2. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca (city)
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answered by
Eva from New York City

Are you willing to rent a car? I loved Xcalak in Mexico - the tip of the Yucatan but you really need a car there. The hotels right in town don't offer a lot of variety. I stayed outside of town at Costa De Cocos - a little rustic (fine if you fish/dive all day, not so much if you want an unbroken beach chair after snorkeling, unless things have improved). There's another better rated place called Casa Carolina (but they seemed too hands on for me). 

Hopkins in Belize is a nice small town with great restaurants and nightlife. Cool Garifuna drumming culture there too. Or you can go to one of the cayes off Belize. Some are private island resorts that can only be done as 1 week stays (Off the Wall; Turneffe Atoll Lodge & Blackbird Lodge  might have a shorter stay option); Southwater Caye for a shorter stay; Ambergris Caye, Belize or Caye Caulker if you want nighlife/more restaurants/shopping). Combined with a gorgeous inland jungle lodge where you can visit Maya ruins, go cave tubing, visit waterfalls and other natural caves - it's a great vacation. 

Off season, you might get lucky on Saint Barthelemy. It's hippie chic in that French way. Not cheap, but off season there are bargains. You'd have to fly to Sint Maarten and pick up a 10 minute flight from there. Easily under 8 hours, but you probably wont be able to use points on the 2 airlines (St Barth Commuter and Winair). Emeraude Plage, The Christopher are gorgeous hotels on the higher end. The Normandee isn't on the water but has great prices. You will need a rental car to explore the best of the island. Spectacular beaches, great restaurants, completely safe. 


Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Xcalak (attraction)
  2. Costa De Cocos (hotel)
  3. Casa Carolina (hotel)
  4. Hopkins (hotel)
  5. Ambergris Caye, Belize (attraction)
  6. Caye Caulker (island)
  7. Saint Barthelemy (city)
  8. Sint Maarten (attraction)
2 thankscomments (1)


answered by
Judith

Boothbay Harbor in Maine! Preferable at the Tugboat Inn.


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  1. Boothbay Harbor (attraction)
  2. Tugboat Inn (hotel)
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answered first by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Hello Claire!  I would take a look at Drake Bay.  We've stayed at Aguila De Osa InnYou are within walking distance to the little village, but removed, as well.  It is also a short walk to a very secluded beach, which we had to ourselves several times.  The Aguila can can also plan numerous activities if you want some adventure.  If you do consider this, I would fly into Palmar Sur from San Jose, CR.  You take a short drive to dock on the Rio Sierpe, where you get on a boat for a two hour nature filled ride to the Pacific, across Drake Bay and to the lodge.  It's a really neat experience.  

Another recommendation would be the Kuna Yala, or San Blas Islands in Panama.  A fantastic, isolated area.  Have a great trip wherever you go!


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  1. Drake Bay (attraction)
  2. Aguila De Osa Inn (hotel)
  3. Palmar Sur (attraction)
  4. Kuna Yala (attraction)
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answered by
Mitch

Go to Sayulita, Mexico and stay at the Villa Amor

It's fantastic and beautiful

~Mitch


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  1. Sayulita (attraction)
  2. Villa Amor (attraction)
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answered by
Lisa from Stuttgart

My favorite quaint beach village is Cornwall, in the UK.   Fly into London Heathrow and pick up a rental if you don't mind driving on the left side of road which is quite the fun experience.  We booked a little B&B using AirBnB ahead of time.  Once we arrived we were able to walk about the village of quaint shops, drink and dine in the local pubs and get to know the locals. It's near the famous Penzance and the coastline is gorgeous as well as the friendly locals.  


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  1. Cornwall (attraction)
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answered by
Missy from Newport

Hi, I would look at the Francis Ford Coppola hotel in Belize, Turtle Inn, just near Placencia, a lovely little fishing village with beautiful beaches, right next to Monkey River, where howler monkeys and parrots can be seen.  And if you decide on different scenery for part of the trip, you can be transferred to the jungle to the Francis Ford Coppola Hotel Blancaneaux Lodge in the Mayan Mountain.  


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  1. Belize (country)
  2. Placencia (hotel)
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answered by
Brenda from Long Beach

Cadaqués, Spain. Drive through a mountain range and drop down to a very charming beach. Beautiful and mostly locals. You can take a day trip to the The Dali Theatre Museum, Figueres, Spain if you want.


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  1. Cadaqués (attraction)
  2. The Dali Theatre Museum, Figueres, Spain (attraction)
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answered by
Courtney from San Diego

Hi Claire,

I recommend Southern Mexico- the state of Oaxaca From the city you can travel by bus (about 8 hours) to Puerto Escondido which is one of my top three favorite places in the world (so far).
I haven't been back in several years - but I know that it's one of those "secret" destinations that's getting whispered about too loud. In other words, there's no time like the present to enjoy it's secluded beaches.  Zicatela is centrally located to the really small town of P.E. and it's got huge waves for surfing. The fresh fruit, bread and seafood at all the cafe's cater to the dawn patrol crowd- breakfast at every option is incredible!
Just a taxi cab ride away are several coves and bays, perfect for swimming in the Pacific. Many beaches are unnamed.

Nearby is Mazunte which is popular as a sea turtle refuge. It's amazing to see them wash up. 


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  1. Oaxaca (city)
  2. Puerto Escondido (attraction)
  3. Zicatela (attraction)
  4. Mazunte (attraction)


answered by
Jason from Edmond

My answer is a little different from the tropical destinations listed by the other respondents, but for something different consider Cannon Beach.  I was last there summer of 2014.  It was 95 degrees when I left Portland by car and 56 degrees at Cannon Beach on the coast.  
 I only spent the afternoon but looking into a longer visit, there are a few smaller hotels and rental condos are available from the humble to very nice.  It also is a good place to base while exploring the Oregon coastline or the mountain range between Cannon Beach and Portland.  BTW, the pictures are all ones I took while I was there.


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  1. Cannon Beach (attraction)


answered by
Josh from Baton Rouge

For an option closer to you here in the states, check out Rosemary Beach.Rosemary is a beach community.  You can rent a house, or carriage house (think very fancy garage apartment).  Great beaches and 5 awesome pools.  Rosemary also has really good restaurants in town and nearby.

We have stayed in this property which was fantastic and is one of the best values in Rosemary.


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  1. Rosemary Beach (attraction)


answered by
Elizabeth from Long Beach

Laguna Beach - my hometown, so I'm biased perhaps, but it's one of the remaining precious jewels of the SoCal Coast.  A tourist trap in the summer, to a point, BUT ... all of downtown is walkable, loads of hotels right on the beach if not a block away, and during the summer, free shuttles run all over the city.  While the wealthy trickle in, the hippy artist vibe that founded this still-feels-like-a-small-town city remains.


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  1. Laguna Beach (city)


answered by
Tonya Russ from Charlotte

I would say San Pedro Belize first.  The town is amazing, you can ride bikes or rent a golf cart and travel the whole island.  Food is amazing, you also can pay for a half day fishing and catch fresh fish and have restaurants cook it and make ceviche for you.. It's amazing, I do nothing but drink Belikin in the water- in inner tubes that they send down in a bucket on ice at the Palapa Bar and Grill, get massages from Master Lee and eat ceviche at Wild Mangos.  Eat fry jacks for breakfast at Estel's Dine By the Sea.  You can rent houses or the nicest hotel is Victoria House

I know you said 8 hour flight, but you should go to Thailand and stay in Bangkok for a few nights and go to Krabi, rent this house with the cooks every night. https://www.krabivillas.com/en and go to Rayavadee Hotel for drinks at The Grotto.


I also stayed in this hotel in Mexico, I would go back in a skinny minute!! I would be totally fine just staying at the resort the whole time! Great food, service, rooms and cocktails.. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa


Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Palapa Bar and Grill (restaurant)
  2. Wild Mangos (restaurant)
  3. Estel's Dine By the Sea (restaurant)
  4. Victoria House (hotel)
  5. Bangkok (city)
  6. Krabi (city)
  7. Rayavadee Hotel (attraction)
  8. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa (hotel)




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