Blog Archives

Author Archives: Caribbean Jim

About Caribbean Jim

Connect with me on Google+

Best Holiday & New Years Eve Beach Celebrations

There’s no denying that the last few days of 2013 are going to be full of parties, celebrations & quality time with the people you love. If you’re one of the lucky ones who are getting to celebrate your favorite holiday at the beach, you’ll need to know what fun parties & celebrations are happening and how to participate. Here’s what’s happening for the holidays in the Caribbean & Mexico. 

Party Bahamian Style at Junkanoo

For those of you planning to live the island life in the Bahamas this season, you’re in luck. The Bahamas celebrate Junkanoo on December 26th and it’s one of the biggest cultural celebrations these islands see all year long. It just wouldn’t be Christmas at the beach without an iconic Junkanoo celebration.

Junkanoo Holiday Celebration - Bahamas - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: Cathy K.

If you’re in the neighborhood, you’ll want to venture to Bay Street in Nassau during the early morning hours of the day after Christmas (which is known as Boxing Day in the U.S.) and prepare yourself for an experience you’ll never forget. All night long there’s a Junkanoo parade that moves through the streets of downtown Nassau and features traditional Junkanoo dance troupes with bright, colorful costumes, music, crowds and plenty of celebratory fun. After you’ve danced with your fellow Bahamians all night long, there’s a Junkanoo procession where judges award cash prizes for the best music, best costume and best overall group presentation. As you can see, this is one event you want to make sure you don’t miss out on.

New Years Celebrations at the Beach

The Caribbean & Mexico is known for plenty of sizzling nightlife. And this doesn’t exclude New Years Eve. You can guarantee that hot spots like Punta Cana & San Juan will be crawling with exclusive New Years Eve parties that everyone will be dying to get into. Here are a few of our favorite parties you might want to take advantage of:

  • Illusions, New Years Eve Celebration: Perhaps one of the most anticipated NYE events in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino hosts a New Years celebration called “Illusions,” and it’s sure to promise a good time. The event features all-inclusive bars with premium spirits, 4 main areas with different ambiances and the best line up on entertainment. This year there’s a long list of world-renowned DJs, including DJ Garcia, DVJ King Arthur and DJ Roger M. Get your tickets here.

Puerto Rico New Years Party - Sheraton Puerto Rico - CheapCaribbean.com

  • Bubbles NYE 2014, Club Brava: Located inside El San Juan Resort & Casino, this hot spot is known for throwing some of the most iconic parties. And with an occasion like NYE, nothing will be spared. Enjoy a chic atmosphere with a guest DJ spinning jams with the party lasting well into the 1st day of 2014. Get tickets & information here.
  • La Concha, A Renaissance Resort: This NYE event is perfect for the group that’s looking to kick back and relax as they take in the last few hours of 2013. You can expect hopping music, a fun light show fully equipped with fireworks and a group of your fellow hotel patrons looking to cheers to an exciting year ahead. And while the tunes may be playing into the wee hours of the morning, you can expect that when you wake up on January 1st the hotel will be put back together and ready for you to take on another day in paradise.

  • David Guetta and Calvin Harris Concert: If you’re spending any of the holidays in Punta Cana, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the concert of a lifetime on your calendar. DJs David Guetta and Calvin Harris will take the stage and perform beachside at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana on December 30.
  • Steve Aoki, featured at The City, Cancun: It’s no surprise Cancun is known to have some of the hottest nightclubs in Mexico and come New Years Eve the parties just won’t stop. Hot spot, The City in Cancun’s downtown area will feature world-renowned DJ/Producer, Steve Aoki on December 31st. He’s known to throw some amazing parties with plenty of champagne and tons of cake. You’ll definitely want to attend.

So as you can see the Caribbean & Mexico are going to be lively over the next few weeks. For those of you that are booked and ready to go, share where you’ll be staying in the comments below. And for those that are dying to be beachside at one of these events, make sure to shop our last minute deals. Happy Holidays! 

 

Thank You for 13 Years!

We’re officially a teenager! December 11, 2013 marks the 13th anniversary for CheapCaribbean.com and we couldn’t be more excited to have made it this far. Of course, we wouldn’t be here without each and every one of our fellow beach lovers. We’re so thankful for 13 wonderful years and we appreciate all of our customers. So this week, we thought we’d share a little bit of how we got our start and spend some time reflecting on what an exciting 13 years it’s been!

This may not come as a surprise, but for us…it all started at the beach. Jim Hobbs & wife, Marta were sitting on a white, sandy beach in St. Martin in 2000. After hours of sun bathing and enjoying ice-cold cervezas, Jim had a revelation. He looked over to Marta and said, “We should start a travel website. How cool would that be?” Naturally, Marta agreed that having their very own travel company would be a dream come true as she reapplied some sunscreen.

Caribbean Jim & Marta, CheapCaribbean.com Founders | Cheap Caribbean & Mexico Vacations

CheapCaribbean.com founders, Caribbean Jim & Marta

A normal vacation for Jim & Marta would consist of plenty of sun and R&R, but this trip was a bit different. While taking in the stunning beach views and bright Caribbean sun, they stumbled across a rental property that was only $99 for an entire week. Out of curiosity, they began exploring the rest of the island and they found a similar trend of awesome accommodations, all at reasonable prices.

As their week in paradise came to a close, they left feeling more rejuvenated and passionate about the beach than ever before. They spent the plane ride home brainstorming on the back of an airplane napkin and doodled the name “CheapCaribbean.com.”

As soon as he returned home from their vacation, Jim attempted to purchase the domain name. It may have been destiny, but when he was trying to register the domain it showed that “CheapCaribbean” has just been released a few days prior. A quick payment of $9.95 and www.CheapCaribbean.com was his. Jim took the first step towards fulfilling his dream that day. In the coming months, Jim set up shop with only a cell phone and a static URL page.

CheapCaribbean.com Anniversary | Cheap Caribbean & Mexico Vacations

One of the first renditions of CheapCaribbean.com's logo

Fast forward to 13 years later, we’ve grown into one of the leading online retailers for travel to the Caribbean & Mexico and we’re so honored to have been able to serve 1.5 million customers a year and counting. With offices in Dallas, Phoenix and Philadelphia, we continue to fulfill the original dream of bringing our customers the best deals in beach travel and providing an unbeatable value for luxury vacation packages and accommodations in the Caribbean & Mexico.

And as we said earlier, we couldn’t do what we do without YOU. So from the bottom of our hearts, we say “thank you” for 13 wonderful years and we’re so excited for what the future holds. Stay tuned, we’ve got plenty planned for the future and can’t wait to have you by our side. Cheers to the next 13 years!

Tell us how CheapCaribbean.com has helped to make your vacation special. We love hearing your vacation memories! Share your story in the comment below. 

CheapCaribbean.com’s Holiday Guide to Giving the Perfect Gift

Holiday shopping season is officially on! If you’re anything like us, you’ve been racking your brain to find the right present to wow your favorite people. Finding the perfect gift is part of the fun, but who are we kidding - we want our gift to be the best! And maybe this year some very lucky people on your shopping list will get the gift of a lifetime! Because nothing’s better than a surprise vacation, right?

The gift of travel is more than just a trip. It’s an unforgettable experience that will have the recipient giddy with excitement, even after the vacay is over. So whether you’re taking part in the trip or gifting to some special and deserving people, we’ve got the ideas to guide you along the way.

For the Hopeless Romantic:

For someone that’s always on the go, unwrapping a quiet getaway is a gift they’ll cherish. A secluded spot on the beach, a frothy drink and an ocean view seriously make for the perfect romantic getaway. One of our favorite resorts is Couples Isle Tower in Jamaica.

Romantic Vacation Package: Couples Tower Isle from CheapCaribbean.com

The couples only all-inclusive resort has major glamour appeal complete with a vintage diving board and an old Hollywood feel. But best of all, it has:

  • its own private island that you can only reach by boat.

  • an incredible spa that’s been voted the best in the Caribbean several years in a row.

  • a quiet beach, perfect for relaxation and privacy.

For the Perfect Family Getaway:

And, if you plan to surprise the whole family with a tropical trip, you’ll want to settle down in the sand somewhere at a resort that offers supervised activities for the little ones, family events for the whole group and of course, child care so you can take the night off, a treat you and your sweetheart deserve. Maybe somewhere like Dreams Punta Cana will suit your fancy.

Best Family Gift: Dreams Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

The all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic offers Unlimited Luxury® from its front door. It’s also got:

  • an Explorer’s Club with a pirate ship waterslide and even a weekly campout adventure!

  • a Core Zone for teens with video games, batting cages, archery and bonfires on the beach.

  • 10 bars, gourmet restaurants, cocktail-making lessons and a world-class spa.

The Perfect Gift for all the Thrill-Seekers:

For adventure seekers, a gift that connects nature, some enchanting scenery and the promise of a thrill will do the trick. What’s better than pairing a gorgeous backdrop with fun-filled days planned ahead? One cozy place to consider is El Establo.

Best Gift for a Thrill-Seeker: El Establo Costa Rica - CheapCaribbean.com

The mountain hotel is hillside in a quaint area called Monteverde in Costa Rica. It’s got the best features, including:

  • its own private, tree-top canopy tour and mountain biking trail.

  • a great location close to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Arenal Volcano.

  • gorgeous mountain-top views from cottage-like guest rooms.

Calling all Party Animals:

But if you’re looking for a party, the place to be is ME Cancun. Can you imagine finding out that your friends have booked the group for a beachfront New Year’s Eve party in Cancun? Check out that pool!

Best Party Gift: ME Cancun - CheapCaribbean.com

The swanky Me Cancun by Melia is hip, trendy and always lively with:

  • special guest DJs, live performances and bottle service at The Beach Club and Rose Bar.

  • the perfect location on white sand and a South Beach vibe in the heart of Cancun.

  • adults-only pools, a 24/7 fitness center and guest rooms so impressive they even blew MTV’s cast of The Real World Cancun away.

So as you can see, the options are pretty much endless when you're shopping for the perfect gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list. If you're looking for even more options, be sure to check out our full gift guide here. And be sure to tell us what you're buying for the loved ones in your life in the comments section below! 

 

CheapCaribbean.com’s Black Friday & Cyber Monday Preview

With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time you start making your lists & checking them twice. After the Thanksgiving leftovers have been packed away, you’ll naturally start looking for the best Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals, right? You’ll want to prepare yourself for a weekend full of shopping. Here at CheapCaribbean.com, we want to make it easy for you. That’s why we’re here to give you a sneak preview of all the great deals you should expect to see this upcoming weekend. So let’s get started.

Pre Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals Available NOW!

Royal Solaris Los Cabos Resort & Spa: 4 nights starting at $629/person

Black Friday Travel Deal - Royal Solaris Los Cabos - CheapCaribbean.com

The first exclusive deal you’ll see is a family favorite. The Royal Solaris Los Cabos Resort & Spa is an all-inclusive resort that has something for every member of your family. The long list of amenities includes five restaurants, three pools, a water park for the kids and the Spa in Cabo at Royal Solaris for a little bit of adults-only time.

You can spend 4 nights with the family here starting at $629 per person. You also get an added bonus because kids under 12 stay and eat free. 

Sugar Bay Resort & Spa: 3 nights starting at $699/person

Cyber Monday Travel Deal - Sugar Bay Resort, St. Thomas - CheapCaribbean.com

If the calm, crystal blue waters and silky, soft sands of St. Thomas sound like the perfect paradise for anyone on your holiday list, then you’ll definitely want to check out Sugar Bay Resort & Spa in the USVI. This all-inclusive resort features a secluded beach, three freshwater pools, a swim-up bar, four restaurants and three bars, in addition to a long list of other amenities. If you’re in the mood for a little bit of R&R, we suggest scheduling a spa treatment at the 10,000-square-foot spa, Journeys. This spa has been voted as one of the best in the Caribbean and makes for a perfect way to celebrate any occasion.

And all week long through midnight on Cyber Monday, spend three nights at Sugar Bay Resort & Spa with prices starting as low as $699. Hurry and grab this deal before it’s gone! 

Viva Wyndham Fortuna All-Inclusive Beach Resort: 3 nights starting at $429/person

Cyber Monday Best Travel Deals - Viva Wyndham Fortuna, Bahamas - CheapCaribbean.com

Grand Bahama Island is calling your name and what it has to say is simple – get to the beach. Cheap Caribbean’s deal to get you there packs plenty of all-inclusive beach fun, while keeping your wallet full. Viva Wyndham Fortuna All-Inclusive Beach Resort in the Bahamas is home to a freshwater pool and wading pool, perfect for the kiddos, three delicious dining options, two bars and The Viva Circus, just to name a few of the perks. Guests can enjoy the amazingly acrobatic stunts, thrilling interactive trapeze lessons and astounding circus juggling & entertainment. There’s also a long list of water activities like kayaking and scuba diving to take advantage of.

Your time spent at Viva Wyndham Fortuna on Grand Bahama Island is sure to be action-packed, and three nights start at just $429 per person. And as an added bonus, if you book this week, you’ll receive a free upgrade to an ocean view room. Now who doesn’t love a little added value?

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Steals & Deals

Black Friday Deal: Presidential Suites Punta Cana, 5 nights starting at $599/person

Best Black Friday Travel Deal - Presidential Suites Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

Are you a fan of an all-inclusive resort with a long list of amenities? Do you also love a boutique hotel that offers nothing but luxurious suites? Well come this Friday, you can get the best of both worlds by booking your trip to Presidential Suites Punta Cana.

This weekend only you’ll get access to this all-inclusive, all suite boutique hotel in the Dominican Republic. Enjoy the two free-form pools, three restaurants, four bars, but also be sure to take advantage of your modern suite equipped with a kitchen, dining room and ample living space. Located right on Cortecito Beach in Punta Cana, you can dedicate the majority of your time to some serious R&R and leave feeling renewed and ready to take on the world.

And the best part? Starting November 29th, you’ll have exclusive access to this deal starting at $599 per person for five nights. We can also give you a little insight – you might want to tune into CheapCaribbean.com’s Facebook & Twitter pages on Thursday, November 28th for a special surprise. 

Cyber Monday Deal: Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort, $15 per person/per night for 15 HOURS ONLY!

Best Cyber Monday Travel Deal - Lifestyle Resort, Dominican Republic - CheapCaribbean.com

Yes, you read that correctly. $15 gets you access to an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. Starting at 9am on Cyber Monday, you’ll have the opportunity to book your stay at Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Plata for $15 per person/per night. And while this resort is definitely easy on the budget, it certainly doesn’t sacrifice on all the perks. This all-inclusive resort sits right on Cofresi Beach and offers 10 restaurants featuring a wide range of cuisine, four bars onsite and of course a long list of fun things to do. Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort is also only a short walk from Ocean World Park, where you can swim with the dolphins, hang with the sea lions and explore the waters of Puerto Plata.

Book your stay at Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic for $15 per person/per night on Cyber Monday. But you’ll have to act fast. Find the deal starting Monday, December 2 at 9a.m. EST to midnight EST on CheapCaribbean.com. Please note: airfare is NOT included. 

So as you can see, the deals speak for themselves – it’s time for a vacation. No matter if you’re shopping for yourself or someone on your holiday list, any of these Black Friday & Cyber Monday deals would be the perfect way to reward someone this holiday season. Don’t miss out on some of the best beach vacations around. Happy shopping, friends!

Arrgh! Grab Your Mateys and Let Pirate Week Begin

Listen up, scallywags! It’s that time of year again - it’s Pirate Week in the Cayman Islands. If you’re considered one of the lucky ones to be in the Cayman Islands for this national festival, your days will be filled with music, street dances, competitions, games, local food & drink, and of course plenty of pirate’s booty. And since we all can’t be there to experience the party for ourselves, here’s a few ways you can bring the pirate’s booty to you. So grab your mateys and let’s party!

In the Cayman Islands, the Pirate Week festival begins on November 7th and continues through November 17th. And every day there’s a long list of themed parties, happy hours, parades, races and even a few battles. While we don’t encourage you to battle your fellow crewmembers, we do recommend conjuring up some authentic pirate themed cocktails to really get the party started.

Drink Like the Pirates Drink

Since it may come as no surprise that one of most beloved spirits of pirates was rum – light rum, dark rum, gold rum; doesn’t matter as long as it’s poured up! So drink like the pirates do with this delicious recipe for a Goombay Smash:

Ingredients: Serves 2

  • Ice cubes
  • 6 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup Malibu rum or other coconut-flavored rum
  • 2 tablespoons light rum
  • 2 tablespoons gold rum
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 2 pineapple wedges
  • 2 orange slices

How to make:

Fill cocktail shaker with ice; add pineapple juice, orange juice and all the rum. Cover and shake until very cold. Fill 2 short glasses with ice. Strain cocktail mixture over ice, dividing equally. Garnish with pineapple wedges and orange slices. 

Goombay Smash, Pirate Themed Drink - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.bonappetit.com

If you need a recipe that will accommodate all of your mates, try this Spiced Rum Recipe No. 5

Ingredients: Makes 3 ½ Cups

  • 1 bottle (750ml) medium-bodied aged rum, such as El Dorado 5 Year, Mount Gay Eclipse Black or Appleton Estate V/X
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cardamom pod
  • 1 segment of star anise pod
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 4x1-inch strip of orange peel
  • ½ vanilla bean

How to make:

Combine rum, allspice, cloves, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon and nutmeg in a lidded 1-qt. jar. Twist orange peel just above the mixture to release some of its oils; add peel to jar. Split vanilla bean length-wise; scrape seeds into jar and add bean. Cover jar tightly; shake to combine. Let set in a dark place for 2 days, shaking once after the first day. Strain mixture through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve into a clean bottle; discard spices. Serve however you’d prefer – over ice, straight up, etc. 

Spiced Rum - Pirate Drink Recipe, CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.bonappetit.com

See the Pirates Take on the Seas

If you’re in the Cayman Islands for this unprecedented occasion, you might even be lucky enough to witness a “pirate invasion.” On the first Saturday of the festival, a battle royal between two enemy pirate vessels takes place at George Town harbor. It’s also rumored that the opposing pirates take the Governor hostage until a victor is named and the battle is over.

Pirate Week, Cayman Islands - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.piratesweekfestival.com

Eat Like the Pirates Do

Next, we suggest that there are plenty of pirate-inspired snacks to feed your fellow mates. Of course, it’s a definitely plus when these tasty treats can double as protection, should an enemy ship come to invade.

Pirate Themed Recipes from Betty Crocker - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.bettycrocker.com

Perhaps our favorite idea for a pirate themed party comes from Betty Crocker®. Treasure map pizza, a watermelon pirate ship and plenty of snacks that can be used in battle can’t help but sound like the perfect menu to us.

For your treasure map pizza, grab your preference in pizza dough and use all your favorite pizza toppings to make the treasure map that will lead your guests straight to the booty (and a full stomach, of course). Hint: you can use red pepper slices (or any sliced vegetable) to make the “x” on your treasure map.

You’ll definitely want some make shift cannon balls at your pirate themed festivities. We recommend anything round and delicious – cheese balls, grapes, whoppers, etc. Not only are these great for sharing, but also they could be very protecting should you need them. Your snack assortment could also include peg legs (pretzel sticks), mermaid bait (gushers) and fresh caught fish (cheddar fish crackers).

And it wouldn’t be the perfect pirate party set up without your gang’s pirate ship right? Using a watermelon and some DIY paper pirate sails, your watermelon pirate ship should come right together. Simply carve your watermelon into a ship-like shape and add balls of honeydew, watermelon, cantaloupe and blackberries. Don’t forget to add your signature paper sails so everyone knows your ship stands tall.

Arrrgh mateys, there you have it. Now that you've got all you need to celebrate Pirate Week in style, your captain wants to know how yer plan to be celebratin'. Share yer favorite party tips in our comments below and watch out...you never know when a pirate invasion could be underway!