ST. LUCIA: English-speaking, and French-Creole. Mountainous island that can take time to maneuver in a vehicle due to the hills and curves. Very green and tropical. St. Lucia is shaped like an egg. The international airport is at the very South of the island. Most of the resorts are at the north, so the ride to the resort and back to the airport can take about 1.5 hours depending on traffic.
You would need to fly out Louisville or another larger airport to get to this island. Rendezvous is an adults-only hotel. Fairly small and very easy to get around. One main restaurant that changes menu daily. The chef uses ingredients direct from the island and you will have the chance to try different types of food indigenous to the island. Another restaurant is open in the evening - more elegant - that requires a dress code. Several bars and swim up bars. Beach is a golden color with plenty of beach chairs. This is a quiet hotel, but they do have different entertainment in the evenings, beach buffets at dinner, hobiecats (mini sailboats) and kayaks, scuba lessons, archery, and tennis. There are lots of opportunities for hiking on this island, seeing waterfalls, ziplining, ATV riding, etc. The room is a beachfront room in which you will have views of the ocean that may be obstructed due to the palm trees. Small patio or balcony. This hotel is running a seasonal special offering a 50 min couples massage with your room. Very nice spa area too! Rendezvous will be on the higher end of your budget, but not close to your max, about $5900.00
ANTIGUA: Technically, it is Antigua and Barbuda: 2 islands and several smaller ones forming "one" large island. Antigua is generally flat with some cliffs, rolling hills, and rainforest. This is good island to rent a car for a day or two and run around the island. English-speaking, but you will hear a patois, like Jamaica.
You would need to fly out Louisville or another larger airport to get to this island. Cocobay is a 45 minute drive from the airport. Adults-only and considered luxury. The resorts sits on a peninsula cliff - the two beaches on property are accessed via paths and steps. Much different than your typical hotel - it is very Caribbean with bright colors and lots of wood. It is air-conditioned, but the room comes with a mosquito net in case you want to leave the doors open at night to listen to the ocean. NO TV OR FREE WIFI. The Deluxe Cottage comes with its own private pool and terrace area. There is a seasonal special offering $400 off this room. Food is very, very good here but keep in mind the following: Two restaurants on property, but only one is included in the all-inclusive rate. And if you wanted a premium item (lobster, beef tenderloin, etc) there will be an additional charge. Plenty of activities provided: Sunfish and Hobie Cat sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, guided nature walks, weekly cocktail party, and live entertainment, three to four nights per week. Cocobay will be on the higher end of your budget, but not close to your max, about $5800.00
Riviera Maya area of Mexico, South of Cancun: Mexico offers many activities off property: touring the Mayan ruins, visiting an eco-park, swimming in the underground cenotes, diving, and much more.
El Dorado Casitas is a 40 minute drive from Cancun. This is a large and sprawling resort. You will have access to 2 large pools plus the pools in the Casita section where you will be located. This hotel sits on a beach that is having a man-made reef put in to keep the beach from eroding. This is an ongoing project by the Mexican government. I tell you this because you may see sandbags or the concrete barriers in the water. There are freshwater pools here as well that you can swim in. There is a greenhouse on property and they use their own fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables in their many restaurants. It really makes a noticeable difference. There is a culinary theater on property that is included in the all-inclusive pricing. Definitely worth a visit. The room that will keep you right at your budget is the infinity pool casita suite. You will have your own private plunge pool on your terrace that will give you views of the ocean. This hotel is on sale until 2/10/17. You will spend close to $5100.00 here.