• BOTTOMS UP...SIGNATURE VACATION DRINKS YOU HAVE TO TRY!

    BOTTOMS UP...SIGNATURE VACATION DRINKS YOU HAVE TO TRY!

  • Top 5 Caribbean Spas as Recommended by La Jolla Mom!

    Top 5 Caribbean Spas as Recommended by La Jolla Mom!

  • Must-do adventure vacations for the thrill-seekers in us all!

    Must-do adventure vacations for the thrill-seekers in us all!

We know great beaches!

Find beachin' great tips and insider info!

Summer Lovin’ Falls into Fall

3 days and counting. This weekend marks the last official week of summer. On Tuesday, autumn will be here and it’ll be time to start thinking about all the things that come during the colder months – the leaves change, the days get shorter, and of course, the holidays will be here before you know it. We don’t bring up the holidays to intimidate you—we just want to make sure you’re prepared. So what’s our suggestion for the holidays this year? The beach, of course!

But this isn’t a typical “OMG…you HAVE to go to the beach” blog.  We’re proposing turning the holiday season into a special occasion for you and your honey. So often it’s easy to get swept up in the hustle and bustle of it all (yes, even in mid-September). So why not surprise your sweetheart with a beach vacation that’s meant for just the two of you?

For the spontaneous couple:

If there happens to be something called an anniversary that falls during the months of September to December, or you just like to pack a bag and go; the surprise travel trend everyone is talking about might just be perfect for you. CheapCaribbean.com’s Seas the Deal package lets you pick your destination, we’ll pick a resort for you (a top quality one that we keep a secret until just a few days before you travel), and you’ll save tons of dinero. It really is a great option for someone looking to save some dough but also keep the lady happy (and hopefully surprised).

Surprise Travel Trend - Seas The Deal - CheapCaribbean.comBest part: there’s even an adult-only resort option so you won’t have to worry about any children prancing around while you’re trying to enjoy your romantic (and spontaneous) rendezvous.

For the couple who works too hard:

Okay, what couple doesn’t work hard? Life gets crazy and juggling work and family can be very overwhelming. If you and your one-and-only are pretty much stretched to max, some quality time at Zoetry Villa Rolani Isla Mujeres is calling your name.

 Best Resort for Couples - Zoetry Villa Rolani ISla Mujeres - CheapCaribbean.comLet us set the scene: You arrive in Cancun. You jump in a car that takes you to a dock where a private, deluxe yacht awaits. A staff member who assists you as you board your yacht to the private island that Zoetry Villa Rolandi Isla Mujeres calls home greets you. You arrive and officially toast to the start of your vacation with a welcome bottle of tequila or rum. Once you’ve settled in, you grab a bite at Casa Rolandi (an organic-, vegetarian-, and gluten-free-friendly restaurant) and then head to one of two pools & Jacuzzi combos. Oh, and we can’t forget to include: you’ll have access to a complimentary wellness consultation and the Kimberly Art & Gem Gallery.

This 35-suite, boutique hotel experience is exactly what someone who’s craving complete mental and physical euphoria needs. What are you waiting for?

For the honeymooners:

Specializing in the honeymoon experience, Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana is just what you and your new bride envision when planning this special vacation. Located right on the white shores of Bavaro Beach, your days will be spent with ample beach/pool time with bottomless (should you chose that they don’t stop) cocktails being delivered right to you. And since you’re on an once-in-a-lifetime type of vacation, a customized couples spa treatment at the 17,000-sq-ft Secrets Spa by Pevonia would be a GREAT way to truly unwind after all the crazy wedding planning you both had to do.

Best Resort for Honeymoons - Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

Evenings at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana can include dinner at any of the six on-site restaurants or try a taste at the sister resort, Now Larimar Punta Cana with the Sip, Savor, & See option. The perfect end to a perfect day might include a nightcap on the beach and retiring to your swim-up suite. Sounds pretty perfect, huh?

For the overall “couple” experience:

Don’t sound shocked when we tell you that if you’re looking for a romantic getaway that really offers it all, we’ll suggest Couples Sans Souci in Jamaica. The name literally spells it out for you. This 4.5-sun rated resort is centered on maximizing the vacation experience solely for couples. In fact, those are the only other guests you’ll find at the hotel.

Best Resort for Couples - Couples Sans Souci - CheapCaribbean.com

You can choose to include in your trip itinerary deep tissue massages in one of the secluded cliff-side Hide Away Spa huts with a gorgeous view of the ocean. Or stroll hand-in-hand as you follow a new path each day, and you just might happen upon one of the hidden hammocks or a mineral hot tub. Don’t forget to check out Sunset Beach, not only for the 'au naturel' sunbathing, but also for the spectacular nightly sunsets. There’s a reason why Travel + Leisure just named Couples Sans Souci as the number one spa hotel in the Caribbean, and you’ve got to get there to experience it for yourself, don’t you think?

If we haven't convinced you that you're in desperate need of a romantic getaway, here are a few more recommendations to draw inspiration from. Tell us where you're headed this holiday season in the comments below!

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things and being spontaneous.

Football Frenzy at Home? Girls Getaway at the Beach!

Something’s different. No longer can you and your one-and-only spend weekends brunching on a patio, fixing up the house, or doing anything fun, really. Because football. Your main man is all like “Can’t do that, the game is on.” And it’s important we let you know – this is just the beginning. The next few months will be a constant struggle of you trying to sit down and actually watch a game you don’t have much interest in just so you can spend time together and making plans with all your other girlfriends who are in the same boat.

Two words. Girls weekend. Why not leave the guys at home, as you and your closest girlfriends jet away for some serious R&R time on a beach far away from home? Sounds like a dream, huh? Oh, and if there’s a conference or rivalry game on that weekend, it’s probably for the best that you’re far, far away. Here’s where the girls and us are heading this winter:

Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa

Think Las Vegas meets the beach. Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa is the place you’re picturing when planning your girls getaway. Its vibrant, chic, and modern experience is custom tailored for large groups of people looking for a good time. Days will be filled reigniting the summer tan that’s quickly faded with a strict schedule of beach and pool time. Advice: make sure to stop by the swim-up bar for a premium cocktail that comes standard as part of your Unlimited-Luxury® experience.

Best Girls Getaway - Breathless Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

The best part of the day comes when nighttime approaches. Start the night with dinner at one of six restaurants. Grab another fun concoction and head over to the open-air nightclub to do some mingling, or make friends with Lady Luck at the resort casino. Oh, and the best part? This resort is adults-only so it’s fully equipped for your group of ladies as you party it up in the Caribbean.

Zoetry Casa del Mar Los Cabos

Best Girls Getaways - Zoetry Casa del Mar Los Cabos - CheapCaribbean.com

If your idea of getting away would include a sunrise yoga session on the beach, a customized spa package, and gourmet (and health conscious) dining options cooked to order, then Zoetry Casa del Mar Los Cabos is exactly where you need to be. This beach haven focuses on health and wellness. Amenities such as heated swimming pools, bubbly Jacuzzis, on-site nutrition expert to verse you on the perfect Los Cabos food experience for you, and customized spa treatments are just a few of the things that await for you and the girls at this resort haven.

Iberostar Playa Mita

Would you believe us if we told you this option is actually budget-friendly AND five stars? We know. It’s hard to believe. But Iberostar Playa Mita is tucked perfectly in Riviera Nayarit and opened barely a year ago. It’s what we call a “mega-resort,” so the options are endless. This is where you need to head if you’re rolling deep and want to keep lots of different ladies happy.

Best Girls Getaways - Iberostar Playa Mita - CheapCaribbean.com

In terms of why it’s one of our recommendations for a good girls getaway comes from the five restaurants, nine bars, adults-only pools, signature spa treatments, nightly entertainment, and resort disco (among other things) that call this resort home. Not to mention Riviera Nayarit has been referred to as “Mexico’s secret jewel,” so it just seems fitting a group of girls would fit right in here.

San Juan Water and Beach Club

For the ladies who pride themselves on being trendsetters and staying ahead of it all, you’ll want to schedule a weekend at San Juan Water and Beach Club stat. Located in the Isla Verde area of San Juan (an exceptionally hip and upscale part of town), this boutique hotel just underwent a $2.5m renovation. That means you can expect a long list of hip things to do and fresh amenities to enjoy.

Best Girls Getaways - San Juan Water and Beach Club - CheapCaribbean.com

Perhaps one of our favorite perks is the pool and sundeck that’s located on the rooftop and overlooks the white sandy shores of San Juan beaches. You can stop for a cocktail at pool bar, Mist, then venture to over-sized lounging beds where you and the girls can truly unwind. When the sunsets, grab dinner at one of 2 restaurants and head to Mist Lounge (with rooftop access), where you can dance the night away as the DJ bangs out some sweet jamz. Also, there’s often a chance for a celebrity sighting, so keep your eyes peeled and if you see anyone noteworthy, play it cool and mingle away.

Not that you need a ton of convincing, but if a weekend with the BFFs at one of these beaches doesn’t sound like perfection; well, we just may not know you anymore. Where are you and your girls headed this season? Celebrating anything special? Tell us in the comments below!

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things and being spontaneous.

10 Excursions We’d Do All At Once, If We Could

We keep saying this, but…vacations are the best. Seriously, though. Yes, we’re fully aware that this isn’t the first time we’ve proclaimed how amazingly amazing it is to jet off to a nice, quiet beach somewhere and get away. So let’s imagine that this vacation we always speak of is booked and you’re ready to go (hopefully this is a reality and not a dream), and talk about some of our favorite excursions to do when exploring a beach destination, shall we?

Note: If we had superhuman powers and could do all of these 10 excursions on vacation, we would. But we want to give you options, so here are a few of our favorite excursions for some of our most popular destinations.

Punta Cana Excursions

Best Punta Cana Excursions - Reef Explorer - CheapCaribbean.comThis half-day excursion allows you to do just what the name says – explore. The Reef Explorer trip includes a stingray encounter (so close you can give these friendly creatures a hug), a swim session with nurse sharks, and a snorkel adventure around the reef. Drinks and snacks are provided, as well as a morning or afternoon of sea adventures.

Best Punta Cana Excursions - Speed Boat Tour - CheapCaribbean.com

Experience the life that James Bond lives on a daily basis with this speedboat adventure. You’ll hop on a speedboat and power through the Bavaro’s coastline and finish out the afternoon with a snorkel break to see what the action’s like below the surface.

Cancun Excursions

Best Cancun Excursions - Jungle Maya Tour - CheapCaribbean.com

Cancun & Riviera Maya are surrounded by tons of lush jungle and mystical water systems, which is why this Jungle Maya excursion is a crowd-favorite. Explore the longest underground river in the world before rappelling into a cenote (also known as an natural swimming hole formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock), and even finish you day off with a zip line through the Mayan jungle.

Best Cancun Excursions - Ferrari 360 Track Excursion - CheapCaribbean.com

Okay, speed demons and luxury car lovers—how does spending the day behind the wheel of a Ferrari 360 sound? Head to the track and wait for your instructor to give you the green light, and then put the pedal to the metal. You’ll get 5 laps on the 1.6 miles of track to experience the finesse and strength of this world-class vehicle. Oh, and some serious bragging rights when you get home.

Best Cancun Excursions - Swim With Whale Sharks - CheapCaribbean.com

The Whale Shark excursion is perfect for the self-proclaimed ocean explorer. If you’re dying to experience, firsthand, what it’s like to swim amongst some of the ocean’s most incredible creatures, a swim with whale sharks is a must. A marine biologist will take you out in small groups and allow you to swim alongside these incredible animals, with plenty of barrier reef snorkeling/diving to end the day.

Costa Rica Excursions

Best Costa Rica Excursions - Arenal Volcano - Cheap Caribbean

This makes the list because it simply sounds like a dream. Anyone who’s been to Costa Rica will tell you to plan a trip to the Arenal Volcano to experience the presence of an active volcano. With this excursion, you’ll get to do just that. But better yet—wrap up the day with a soak in the therapeutic waters of the hot springs, after a delicious meal, of course.

Best Costa Rica Excursion - Canopy Tour - CheapCaribbean.com

Costa Rica really does have it all—beaches, volcanoes, jungles, etc. So you should definitely make plans to see them all, and the Canopy Tour excursion allows you to do that. You’ll start off at the treetops of the Arenal Volcano, where you’ll zip line through 12 different platforms of the lush rain forest. Boasting powerful views and a fun time, consider this a Costa Rican must.

Jamaica Excursions

Best Jamaica Excursions - Black River Safari - CheapCaribbean.com

We’re proclaiming the Black River Safari, Appleton Rum Estate & Y.S. Falls excursion a triple threat. You’ll begin with a road trip through the fishing villages and small towns of Jamaica as you explore Jamaica’s longest river. And then continue on to Y.S. Falls where you can swim in the cool waters. Finish the day with a visit to Appleton Estate Rum Factory where you’ll tour the distillery and taste some authentic Jamaica rum. Say hello to your day of vacation perfection.

Dunn's River Falls - Best Jamaica Excursion - CheapCaribbean.com

Perhaps one of Jamaica’s most well-known tourist attractions is Dunn’s River Falls. There’s plenty to explore here with rock formations, fresh water streams, and a surplus of waterfalls. This excursion promises you a guide that can explain it all to you and lead you to the ultimate experience.

Best Jamaica Excursion - Negril Sunset Tour - CheapCaribbean.com

Closing out our top 10-excursion list, the Negril Beach and Sunset Tour is a great way to really get on island time and experience it all like a true Jamaican. Negril is known for having some of the most stunning sunsets, and after lounging on the beach during the day and grabbing drinks at Margaritaville, you’ll get to experience one for yourself. Close the day at Rick’s Café with a view of this iconic sunset (so beautiful you might just have trouble putting it into words). Recommendation: take lots of photos or else no one will believe the beauty you experienced.

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things and being spontaneous.

Dare to Dream and You Could Win a Free Beach Vacation

Cancun Beach Vacation - Dreams Sands Cancun - CheapCaribbean.com

Picture this. You’re lying on a silk-sanded beach. It’s a perfect 80 degrees and the sun is beating down on your sun-kissed body, as the calming sounds of icy-blue waves crashing on the shore soothe you into a state of utter relaxation. The only distraction you encounter is the cabana staff asking you if you’d care for another cocktail. It almost sounds like a fictional place right? False.

We’re simply describing the BRAND NEW Unlimited-Luxury® Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa. With the grand opening happening this weekend, we can only imagine that the next few months are going to big, bright beautiful ones for this 5-sun rated resort in Cancun. And the great news is that we want to send three lucky winners to experience it all firsthand in our Dare to Dream sweepstakes. But more on that in a minute

Cancun Beach Vacation - Dreams Sands Cancun Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

We want to tell more about what awaits for you at Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa. Located right on the coast in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, you’ll be right by all of the action. Downtown hot spots are just 15 minutes away, the convention center is near by, and shopping malls and restaurants are all within walking distance. But with all the hotel’s amenities, you may not even need to leave the resort.

There’s 650 ft. of beach called Playa Viva, which comes fully equipped with chaise loungers and palapas all across the sand. Two beachfront pools are perfect for bouncing between salt & fresh water. And Barracuda Bar is strategically located between the two so your palette always stays crisp and refreshed. Spend the days in the sun, but as soon as dusk hits – towel off and getting dolled up for a night packed full of fun.

New Cancun Cheap Beach Vacation - Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa - Cheap Caribbean

With eight on-site restaurants at your beck and call, meal choices will be unique and different for nearly every meal. Word on the street is the French cuisine at Bordeaux or Pan-Asian experience at Hitmitsu is pretty out-of-this-world. And there are even nighttime movies on the beach and entertaining shows. Oh and don’t forget to hit up Dreams Spa by Pevonia for a custom hydrotherapy spa treatment. Seriously, we couldn’t dream this vacation up any more perfectly.

So now, how to get your hands on one of three 4-night trips for two, including round-trip airfare to Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico:

  1. Visit the Dare to Dream Sweepstakes entry page between now and September 7th, 2014.
  2. Fill out the appropriate information including a valid email address. And be sure to mark your calendars to return to this page every 24 hours. You can enter to win once per day.
  3. Share the news with your friends and family! The more people that enter, the better your odds are for winning.
  4. Tell us what you #DareToDream about by tweeting or posting on our Facebook page.
  5. Stand by! Winners will be notified on or after September 7th, 2014. Good luck!

Now tell us, what do you #DareToDream about? 

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things and being spontaneous.

 

2014 Fall Beach Preview

It’s crazy to think that we’re already talking about fall. It seems like just yesterday we were swimming, barbecuing and taking summer vacations. Okay. Maybe that was just yesterday. But we’re exactly one month away from the official start of fall. And since we’re all about planning ahead, let’s take a look at what’s happening in the Caribbean & Mexico this fall.

Groove Fest – September 9 – 14, 2014

If you’re looking for a party—mark your calendar. Even if it’s a few days before the “official” start of fall, it’s an epic fun time you don’t want to miss out. This is a music festival unlike any other, really. Hosted in Puerto Plata, DR at Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa, it’s a weeklong dance festival that brings the world’s best DJs and artists together. And the best part? It’s all-inclusive. No extra costs for concert and event tickets. Once you get to Groove Fest all food, drink, and entrances are included so there’s no additional cost to attend all of the open-air events, beach parties, pool parties, and late night events. Sounds like a party animal’s dream if you ask me.

Groovefest Dominican Republic - Best Beach Parties - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.groovefestevents.com/

Learn more about the festival and see the lineup here.

Port Antonio International Fishing Tournament – September 27 – October 4, 2014

So if you’re looking for more of a competitive event to attend, we’d suggest the Port Antonio International Fishing Tournament in Jamaica. This is one of the biggest fishing tournaments in not just Jamaica, but the world. Competitive deep-sea fishermen arrive from all over the world to prove their hook and line skills. The great news for those who aren’t avid fishermen – there’s a canoe race and plenty of parties to keep the action going for the non-fishermen in your group.

Oh, and a little inside scoop: the precise date of this tournament varies according to the moon, to appease the superstitions of the sea captains.

Day of the Dead – November 1, 2014

Known as “Dia de los Muertos” in Spanish, this day falls after the U.S.’s holiday of Halloween. And while the name of this holiday insinuates horror and perhaps gore, there’s a deeper meaning to this Spanish holiday. The traditional meaning of this day is to honor the deceased friends and family members who have passed over time.

Some of the celebratory traditions surrounding Day of the Dead include placing gifts of incense, pan de muertos, Calaveras (aka sugar skulls), etc. at the foot of a self-created altar in the home. Once they’ve been blessed, they are taken to the cemetery, which is also decorated. There are also plenty of celebratory festivals and events that take place to pay tribute to those who have passed. For example, the Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte at Xcaret (eco-cultural park in Riviera Maya) takes place all weekend long. With art exhibits, music & dance performances with costumes, and festive food & beverages, this is a great way to get a taste of the vibrant, rich culture that calls Mexico home.

Oh, and an added perk if you want to attend this cultural festival – stay at Occidental Grand Xcaret. It’s located across the street from the eco-cultural park and has its on unique amenities and events planned for Dia de los Muertos.

Cayman Islands Annual Pirates Week Festival – November 6 – 16, 2014

One of our favorite things about the Cayman Islands (next to the picturesque blue waters and crystal white sandy beaches) is the Cayman Islands Annual Pirate Week Festival. Yes, pirate week. It’s 10 days in November where the Cayman Islands really know how to get down. Things like street dances, competitions, games, local food and drink, parades, and of course pirate invasions take over the island – and it’s pure madness (in a good way).

pirateweek

Photo credit: www.pirateweek.com

If this sounds like your kind of fun, book a stay at the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa and start putting together your best wench or pirate costume. The good news about staying at the Westin Grand Cayman (besides the fact it’s located perfectly on award-winning Seven Mile Beach) is that swimming pools, dining options, and scheduled events. So if you have any downtime from the festival, you’ll be covered with the resort accommodations that offer it all.

Thanksgiving at the Beach?

The autumn season marks the beginning of the holiday season, which means soon you’ll probably start to think about your plans for the family. Here’s a thought – instead of divvying up cooking and hosting duties this Thanksgiving, maybe pack a bag and head to the beach? Secrets Resorts & Spas are known for having epically wonderful celebrations. A feast with all the accouterments is a given, but there’s even special Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and football watching parties, as well as events unique to each resort. It might be the year to switch it up and spend this perpetually hectic (and often times, cold) holiday in the warm, relaxing sun of the beach.

Since you officially have a list of things happening in the Caribbean & Mexico this fall season, you pretty much don't have an excuse not to plan a fall getaway. So, tell us (in the comments below). Where are you headed?

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things, and being spontaneous.