Any hotel suggestions for 5-6 couples in there 20's looking for a great sun and fun week's holiday in early Jan'13? Thank you

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I’ve been down to the island a few times, and out to resort areas like Varadero and Cayo Coco, and honestly, a lot of it depends on time of year. If you’re going during school break time in Canada (is that early January?) and Europe, almost any resort will be amped up. But I was told in Varadero that the Solymar from the Spanish  Barceló chain is da place (I wasn’t there at night, but I must say it did seem pretty young and active during the day when I visited early last year). The other big resort ghetto, Cayo Coco, is a little more out of the way and tends to be more laid back (plus if you want to party in local clubs off property, you have a longer way to go, over a longish causeway, to the city of Morón - whereas the town of Varadero is pretty close to the hotels).  But out there, I do hear the Tryp Cayo Coco gets more action among the local resorts.

But dude, here’s another suggestion. How about Cancun, Dominican Republic, or Jamaica? I know you’re Canadian and all, and Cuba being one of the world’s nastiest dictatorships means less to you than it does here in the States, but still – if I wanted fun in the sun and whatnot, there’s an entire Caribbean out there where your dollar can be spent much more ethically rather than propping up a murderous regime ($$ don't trickle down to the population the way it does in many other Caribbean islands). So if it’s fun, affordable resorts you’re after, Cancun, Jamaica and DR offer a lot of great choices, and so do other spots like the Bahamas, Antigua, Aruba... Don’t get me wrong, I do support travel to Cuba, as long as it’s to the cities and towns where you can have more contact with locals and learn about the history and culture. But if you’re hanging out and partying in a resort ghetto the whole time, you’re just funneling money to the dictatorship for them to fuck over their own people, and you could be anywhere in the Caribbean. So really, why not be somewhere else?

It wouldn't have occurred to me to say, Go somewhere else if you just want to party. After all, I'm a guy whose parents went to Cuba to party on their honeymoon, and that sure worked out all right. But yes, that was before Castro (I should note, though, that Batista was an SOB in his own right).

Anyway, John does make a good point, so I'll jump in and tell you where I would go for a week-long beach party with other couples:

(1) Cancun / Riviera Maya,

(2) Punta Cana, which John also suggests,

(3) San Juan, Puerto Rico, because it's a real city with real city entertainments but it's also got great beaches with real beach resorts -- sort of a twofer,

(4) Acapulco, which is also a twofer that way, with terrific beaches, restaurants, clubs, hotels, and outdoor activities that all cost way, way less than they ought to cost. Exactly why it's so much less expensive than other places, including places in Mexico, is a long story, but it is. But within one hour of arriving, you understand why it was THE place for Hollywood stars in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, from John Wayne to Johnny Weismuller, Liz Taylor to Frank Sinatra.


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