Sri Lanka, Mauritius or the Caribbean for my 40th birthday. Which to choose?

This would be 2025 for me and my friend for 11 or 14 days. We have £3300 each for the holiday and it would be in November. Which is the nicest place to spend ones birthday, relaxing, turquoise seas and nice beaches. Any other countries which are nice? Any ideas?

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  • We love the Caribbean, having visited many different islands over the last 10-15 years. However, we have noticed in the last year or so that prices are disproportionately higher than other locations. Many islands are also struggling with a sargassum (sea grass) issue meaning the picture post card images of beaches are not always true anymore. Not their fault at all but do research carefully.

    We’re looking ourselves at going to Mauritius instead and have found the prices to be incredible. For a similar price as what we paid to go to a 4* AI in Antigua this past April we can go to an amazing 5* AI in Mauritius (Belle Mare Plage) flying business class with emirates! 

    For us, until prices come back down again to a competitive level and the sea grass issue improves (unlikely as is due to climate change) we will be looking elsewhere.
  • Voyager2002
    Voyager2002 Posts: 15,226
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    Quite a wide-open question...

    In terms of the Caribbean, I have visited Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Cuba was fascinating, and it was easy to find beautiful beaches in good condition. Food was not great, however, so for me the real highlights of the trip were music and dancing, and how easy it was to make friends with beautiful local women. Dominican Republic: food was better; even the beach that was supposed to be the best in the country was noisy from constant motorbikes; other beaches were disappointing in other ways.

    Sri Lanka: I had a wonderful time but the beaches were not really special. Costs were incredibly low so I could afford to do a scuba diving course; to travel first class on the trains in the mountains; to enjoy some wonderful meals and explore incredible ancient temples. A place that I would recommend, although it certainly does not offer the best beaches in the world.

    Mauritius: I visited a long time ago (when I was living in the Seychelles) and was rather bored. The beach I explored was pleasant enough but nowhere near the quality of beach that you would find everywhere in the Seychelles.

    In sum: the most beautiful beaches in the world are in the Seychelles, and everything is well set up for activities around the sea. Food can be very good. However, costs are eye-watering.

    As a possible alternative, consider El Nido in the Philippines, which is remote and utterly beautiful. There is also an island called Coron that is famous for diving and sea-based activities: I have never been there but from what I have heard it could be as good as Seychelles but a fraction of the price.

    Oh: Aberdeen has a lovely beach. And for the combination of natural beauty and stunning beaches you really cannot beat the Gower in South Wales, no matter where in the world you go.  
  • Pollycat
    Pollycat Posts: 34,493
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    Quite a wide-open question...

    In terms of the Caribbean, I have visited Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Cuba was fascinating, and it was easy to find beautiful beaches in good condition. Food was not great, however, so for me the real highlights of the trip were music and dancing, and how easy it was to make friends with beautiful local women. Dominican Republic: food was better; even the beach that was supposed to be the best in the country was noisy from constant motorbikes; other beaches were disappointing in other ways.

    Sri Lanka: I had a wonderful time but the beaches were not really special. Costs were incredibly low so I could afford to do a scuba diving course; to travel first class on the trains in the mountains; to enjoy some wonderful meals and explore incredible ancient temples. A place that I would recommend, although it certainly does not offer the best beaches in the world.

    Mauritius: I visited a long time ago (when I was living in the Seychelles) and was rather bored. The beach I explored was pleasant enough but nowhere near the quality of beach that you would find everywhere in the Seychelles.

    In sum: the most beautiful beaches in the world are in the Seychelles, and everything is well set up for activities around the sea. Food can be very good. However, costs are eye-watering.

    As a possible alternative, consider El Nido in the Philippines, which is remote and utterly beautiful. There is also an island called Coron that is famous for diving and sea-based activities: I have never been there but from what I have heard it could be as good as Seychelles but a fraction of the price.

    Oh: Aberdeen has a lovely beach. And for the combination of natural beauty and stunning beaches you really cannot beat the Gower in South Wales, no matter where in the world you go.  
    I think the Pembrokeshire coast gives it a good run for its money.   ;)

    We've been to Sri Lanka many times. Great culture to explore, the beaches are better in the South.
    But check the weather.

    We dislike All Inclusive, we prefer to eat in small local places.

    Have you considered Thailand or any of the other Far East countries?
    We visited Phi Phi before The Beach book and film came out.
    It was paradise.
    Not anymore apparently.  :'(
  • A lot of it will really depend on what you want to do and what kind of things interest you - if it's just an all-inclusive resort type beach/pool holiday then you might find that they're all much of a muchness in many ways and its down to the hotel rather than the location. 

    I've only really done the DR in the Caribbean and I enjoyed it but didn't find much of interest in the resort beyond the hotel. I get a bit stir crazy in a place like that for two weeks as Im not a great one for just sitting at the pool reading or whatever. 

    I'm off to Sri Lanka in November for a fortnight so I can let you know how that is - I'll be based in Colombo though rather than a beach resort. 

    Mauritius I can't really speak to as never been but from what I've seen online it looks amazing unless you get bad weather and then it's a washout. 

     
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 29,969
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    ...Aberdeen has a lovely beach...
    But unlikely to meet OP's desire for turquoise waters, especially in November when both the water and the sky are likely to match the colour of the buildings!
  • Voyager2002 said:
    I have visited Cuba 
    The US currently consider Cuba a hostile state and as such entry to the US under an ESTA etc is banned for anyone that's visited. Personally, I'd rather spend time in Cuba than the US but it may be a consideration for some. 

    This would be 2025 for me and my friend for 11 or 14 days. We have £3300 each for the holiday and it would be in November. Which is the nicest place to spend ones birthday, relaxing, turquoise seas and nice beaches. Any other countries which are nice? Any ideas?
    Is it just beaches you are interested in? Do you prefer All Inclusive and dont step outside of the hotel until you are heading back to the Plane?

    Sri Lanka - was great but we spent most the time travelling around rather than on the beach. Beach was ok, hotel was expensive (we were B&B) but there were a choice of eateries and bars outside the hotel that were very cheap 

    Mauritius - never been 

    Caribbean - is 26 countries in the form of islands plus 13 countries with a coastline - you really need to narrow this down. We've been to a few, mainly in the southern parts. Most of our trips have been with friends/family or hiring an Airbnb type place so a fairly different experience to the big coastal hotel. 

    If you do just want AI, I'd book based on the hotel not the location if it's a toss up between a couple, look at the one with the best flights. Just check when the rainy season is as November is peak wet in at least some places you are mentioning
  • Hi, from your list I have only been to Sri lanka. A beautiful country, and we did a 2 week loop by trains and private drivers. We are not people who enjoy going to just 1 place and not moving around, so we've not tried that sort of holiday.

    Sri Lanka is beautiful but I'm not sure it would be what you conjure up for that perfect "bounty bar" snap shot of a beach. We travelled early November 2018 - and ended up at the South Coast , travelling back up the West coast to the airport, so we only saw that sides' beaches. Of the spots we stayed Welligama and Mirissa next door were probably the most picturesque beaches, but the sea was quite rough (I enjoyed some surf lessons). 

    We also stayed just North of Galle lighthouse, and then Hikkaduwa Beach, which had a few big swanky looking hotels right on the beach, we stayed in an OK hotel, but nothing amazing there. We picked it to se the turtles, and do some snorkelling, but again, a fairly rough sea.

    It's over 18 years since we went, but the most "wow" place we have visited for beautiful tropical beaches and just lovelyness was Railey off Ao Nang in Krabi Thailand. It may have completely changed now of course. We visite there in early November that year too.

    I hope you find your perfect location.
  • This would be 2025 for me and my friend for 11 or 14 days. We have £3300 each for the holiday and it would be in November. Which is the nicest place to spend ones birthday, relaxing, turquoise seas and nice beaches. Any other countries which are nice? Any ideas?
    So judging by my recent experience I don't think I would recommend Sri Lanka - not least of all because it's going to be raining for several hours every day in November if my experience is anything to go by. Haven't checked the weather for Mauritius but I presume it's the same? 

    I'd be tempted to look at the Caribbean options
  • jimi_man
    jimi_man Posts: 1,089
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    November can be a tricky month. The Caribbean isn’t great in November - Oct/Nov is really the rainy season and it can rain a lot!!! I’ve visited family there in November and we had a lot of rain.

    Sri Lanka is very similar being in the Northern tropics and Oct/Nov is the rainy season again. 

    Mauritius is in the Southern tropics so November is coming to the end of the dry season and starting to heat up. IMO based on your criteria, I’d go for Mauritius as the weather will be so much better than the other two places. 
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