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Unleash Your Inner Foodie: The Best Food at the Beach

When you’re busy planning all the things you’re going to do on your next vacation, there’s a good chance you’re going to include R&R, fun in the sun, delicious drinks and of course, you're hoping for even better food. If you’re looking for recommendations on where to go for some delicious dishes at the Beach, here’s what we recommend:

The first of our favorites is a resort that promotes health-friendly food options, while still not sacrificing on any flavor or taste. Any of the Zoetry brand resorts are great for the health-conscious foodie in us all. This chain of resorts strives to promote health and wellness throughout each individual hotel, so you can expect to see dining options that are just as tasty as they are healthy.

For instance, Zoetry Casa del Mar in Los Cabos has an on-site nutrition expert to guide you on your dining options at any of the resort’s three restaurants. You should only expect the best at this resort with award-winning gourmet and organic dining options, as well as amazing wine collections. This resort also offers Unlimited-Luxury (R), which includes all of your meals and beverages, including international premium alcohol brands, a fresh bottle of champagne and seasonal fruit daily, a welcome bottle of tequila and even a relaxing 20-min massage per guest per stay.

Foodie Vacation at Zoetry Casa del Mar in Cabo from Cheapcaribbean.com

Organic and gourmet dining options can be found at nearly every restaurant at Zoetry Casa del Mar in Los Cabos.

Voted by Conde Nast Traveler readers as one of the "Top 100 Hotels in the World," you can bet that El Dorado Royale, A Spa Resort, by Karisma is another absolute foodie must. This is an adult-only retreat that offers a gourmet all-inclusive plan that pampers your palate while you swim in AAA Four Diamond Luxury.

Spend your days bouncing between the resort’s 12 freshwater pools, as well as scoot over to a swim up bar for a cold, refreshing cocktail. Don’t worry; with 10 in-pool bars you’ll hardly ever go thirsty. After a body scrub or beachfront sky massage, you can head to your Infinity Pool Swim-up Casita Suite to get ready for the night’s adventures.

Foodie Vacation at El Dorado Royale in Riviera Maya from Cheapcaribbean.com

With options like fondue, gourmet Mexican, wood-fired pizza, just to name a few, it's likely you'll never go hungry here.

Seven gourmet restaurants tempt your taste buds with selections like lobster lasagna from five-star D’Italia or Pacific Rim cuisine from Kampai. With no reservations needed, you can venture over to Fuentes Culinary Theatre, where flat screens give you're a sneak peek into your food being prepared by Michelin-trained chefs. And as the night comes to close, sip on a martini while enjoying live music at Las Guacamayas.

Another award winning hotel option is Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. This resort was also voted one of the “Top 20 Hotels in Mexico” by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, in addition to receiving the AAA’s Four Diamond Award. Fully equipped with a white-sand beach, three magnificent heated, fresh water pools and even a swim up bar, Dreams Puerto Vallarta isn’t just for self-proclaimed foodies.

Foodie Vacations at Dreams Puerto Vallarta from Cheapcaribbean.com

Enjoy a stunning ocean view while dining at Seaside Grill at Dreams Puerto Vallarta

You’ll also find the Unlimited Luxury ® Options that are part of the Zoetry brand. This means premium brand drinks, gourmet dining options and amentity-filled rooms and suites. And since we’re just as big of foodies as you, there are six restaurants including a beachside Seaside Grill, the adults-only Portofino and the saltwater delicacies of Oceana. Oh, and we can’t forget to remind you to stop into to El Patio, one of six bars on resort, and sample one of the 60 tequilas here.

If food that will leave your taste buds asking for more is just as important as white-sandy beaches and some quality spent by the pool, we recommend these options. If you’re still on the hunt for the perfect foodie destination, check out a few more of our favorites here. So it’s official. You have our permission to let our your inner foodie. What are you waiting for?

Celebrate Carnival Caribbean Style

It’s time to celebrate! Carnival is in its prime peak in the Caribbean. This means you’ll find lots of parties, parades and celebrations honoring the time leading up to Lent, a holiday that many islands participate in. For all the party animals out there, here’s a few celebrations happening amongst the Caribbean this Carnival season.

Aruba Does Carnival Right

Aruba is one of the choice Caribbean islands that celebrates Carnival all throughout January and the beginning of February. The entire schedule of events includes exciting parades, jump-ups, beautiful costumes and a truly vibrant atmosphere that you can only imagine by experiencing it.

There have been four major eras of Carnival in Aruba, with the first starting in 1921. This era was marked by debutante balls and costumed parties that took place at specific social clubs. The second era lasted 11 years through 1954 and was marked by the Lago Oil refinery success. This time period saw the introduction of carnival queen elections and the first parades were hold by Aruba’s oldest social club, the Tivoli social club. During the third era through 1965 is where the first island-wide public carnival took place. This also signifies the introduction of the island’s two grand parades seen each year. The fourth and current era has established a large majority of the tradition you’ll see at Carnival in Aruba. In 1966, when the era began, The Stichting Arubaanse Carnaval committee was founded at exactly 11:11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month. This day has been named Fools Day.

Carnival Celebrations in Aruba from Cheapcaribbean.com

The Grand Parade in San Nicolas showcases the Carnival Queen, as well as the colorful, traditional parade floats. Photo credit from VisitAruba.com

With a colorful January full of parties, costumes and celebrations Aruba’s Carnival begins to unwind during February. The final Carnival parade takes place on Sunday, February 10th. This year marks the 59th Grand Parade and will include traditional, extravagant costumes and floats celebrating a successful Carnival season. There will also be an appearance by the elected Carnival Queen. And what’s the best way to reward the island’s successful Carnival season and allow people to prepare for Lent that starts on Ash Wednesday? Carnival Monday, also known as Burnout Monday, is a national holiday recognizing a national day of rest.

Cozumel is one of Mexico’s biggest Carnival celebrations. The week leading up to Fat Tuesday is full of parties, celebrations and a series of parades with a Final Grand Carnival Parade down the Seafront Downtown. On Wednesday, February 6th the Grand Opening and Coronation of Carnival King and Queen will take place. This weekend will bring costume and dance competitions, as well as a Second Grand Carnival Parade. There’s even a costume contest for children and pets!

Cozumel Carnival Celebrations 2013 from Cheapcaribbean.com

Children, parents and even the pets get all dressed up in the festive Carnival attire. A friendly competition has emerged awarding the best costumes awards! Photo credit: CARNAVAL COZUMEL

If you ever want to plan a trip to experience all the rich culture and festivities of Carnival in Cozumel, you’ll want to make sure to attend one of the three Carnival Balls. Each ball is on a different night and features a concert or costume competition, with the final ball occurring on the evening of Fat Tuesday. Mexico’s version of Mardi Gras happens on the Cozumel seafront, offering iconic beach views the whole time. The Wednesday after Fat Tuesday there’s an award ceremony to acknowledge outstanding carnival participants. And after the final award is given marks the monumental burning of Juan Carnaval. Fires are started to burn the revelry associated with Carnival and begin the preparation for Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Let’s Party All Year Long

Carnival is celebrated at all different times throughout the year. And don’t worry, if you weren’t able to catch one of these festivities, there are plenty of other opportunities to celebrate. Jamaica has just begun their 25th annual Bacchanal Festival, which lasts all the way through April. With a Le Masqurade theme, there’s a series of parties all throughout February, March and April you won't want to miss.

St. Thomas’ Carnival attraction takes place throughout the month of April as well. It's a month long of dazzling pageants and talent shows that take place to name royalty over the festival. You can expect traditional music, food and a rich representation of this island’s vibrant culture.

Each parade has performers that perform different routines in traditional, vibrant costumes. Photo Credit by Virgin Islands Carnival

These are just a few of the celebrations that are to come this year. No matter when you’re looking to party, there’s a Caribbean or Mexico destination with a celebration with your name on it.

See What Life has to Offer Underneath the Water

A lot of times when we imagine jetting away to a Caribbean island, we think of beautiful beach views, ice-cold beverages and lots of R&R. And while this all sounds like a perfect way to spend your time off, there’s plenty of other activities to explore, including some under the water. The Caribbean and Mexico are home to some of the most beautiful beaches and some even more stunning sea life. Here are a few of the best Caribbean & Mexico snorkeling resorts, where you can discover the wonders of the sea with your very own eyes.

Snorkeling's Best Kept Secret: Riviera Maya

The first ‘Snorkeler's Paradise’ we’d recommend is in Riviera Maya. Located just outside of Cancun, Riviera Maya is an ideal Mexican destination to embark on an underwater adventure but also still enjoy everything an all-inclusive resort has to offer. One of our favorites here is 5-star, all-inclusive Valentin Imperial Maya. This large resort is located on Playa del Secreto, or “The Secret Beach,” making it a perfect hiding place to catch some beautiful snorkeling views as well.

Best Snorkeling Beaches in Mexico & Caribbean from Cheapcaribbean.com

It’s been rumored that there is a very active sea turtle life here. In fact, there’s a good chance you can catch a mother turtle harvesting her eggs somewhere along the half-mile stretch of stunning beach.

The great thing about the location of this resort is it makes for quick, easy access to Cozumel, which also boosts some unforgettable snorkeling and adventure. When you aren’t busy wearing out your goggles and mask, be sure to take advantage of all the amenities this resort offers. There are eight full restaurants, all sampling different cuisines from all over the world and nine bars with all types of concoctions and beverages that will leave you thirsty for more.  And during the day, bounce between the three different pools, Jacuzzi and even get a round of sand volleyball going. This secluded resort is the perfect place to lay your head after a long day of thrill seeking mixed with a little relaxation.

Luxury and Snorkeling Combined: Grand Cayman Island

If you’re interested in understated luxury paired with the best Caribbean snorkeling, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort is an absolute must.  Grand Cayman Island sits on Seven Mile Beach, which is infamous for its breathtaking scenery, as well as underwater views. Reefs like Cemetery Reef surround this island, where schools of Sergeant Majors surround the swimmers or Cheeseburger Reef, where 10 feet of water is home to plenty of friendly fish and iconic coral. And don’t underestimate the beaches on the Marriott shore…these current-free waters are home to parrotfish, yellowtail damsels and other colorful species just waiting to show off for snorkelers.

Best Snorkeling Beaches in Caribbean & Mexico, Grand Cayman Island from Cheapcaribbean.com

The crystal clear waters of Seven Mile Beach will practically be summoning you into diving underwater and seeing what colorful sea life accompanies these beaches.

Not only will you find colorful coral and playful sea creatures, this resort is home to 303 guests rooms and 4 deluxe suites that are the most spacious on the island. A recent renovation now allows for guests to take advantage of an all-inclusive option, fully equipped with four different restaurants and unlimited cocktails. When you’re not busy taking in the views on the iconic Seven Mile Beach, take a dip in the free form pool and hot tub that stretches 85 feet along the beach. With a resort that’s focused on luxury AND located on some of the best snorkeling waters in the world, your vacation and underwater adventure is calling…and we suggest picking up that call.

One Stop Shop for Snorkeling and Fun: Cancun 

For those of you that have been to Cancun, you know that this destination is never lacking in its imperial beaches, saucy nightlife and a wide selection of resorts that are sure not to disappoint. Named one of the “Top 20 Resorts in Mexico,” by Travel +Leisure, Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa is one of our favorites if you’re looking for quality time with some of earth’s friendliest creatures.

Best Snorkeling Beaches in Caribbean & Mexico, Cancun from Cheapcaribbean.com

The onsite lagoon makes it easier than ever to spend some quality time with Mother Nature's creatures of the sea.

Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa is the only area resort offering beaches on three sides and a chance to swim with dolphins right on the hotel grounds. You can even book a room with a view of the dolphin pool. The private saltwater lagoon, unique to Dreams Cancun, is filled with sea turtles and tropical fish. There are also dolphins at Delphinus Dreams Cancun complex, making it easy to take a dip with these fun, friendly creatures. This Dreams resort is the ultimate family vacation with an Explorer’s Club for the kids, private beach, freshwater pool and a ton of all-inclusive dining and drinking options. Look no further if your idea of the ultimate family vacation has everything you need all in one place.

No matter if you spend so much time in the water you almost consider yourself an honorary member of the sea, or just like to spend a little bit of time seeing what's beneath the surface, these destination hot spots and resorts are the ideal way to see it all. If you're dying for more recommendations on snorkeling spots or looking for more insights as your gearing up for your next vacation, check out all of our vacation articles here.

Ooh La Luxe, Luxury Resort Deals You Can’t Pass Up

When we are shopping for vacations we’re often looking for the package that’s going to give us the most for our money. No surprise there. In fact, all our favorite vacation packages this week highlight luxury but are still slim on your budget. Take a peek and see what you think.

Boutique Luxury on a Budget

Los Cabos is an area that’s packed full of high-end, luxury resorts, including this Condé Nast Traveler pick as one of the “Top Ten Mexico Hotels.” Pueblo Bonito Pacifica is a boutique spa resort that is the perfect spot for the adult only vacation you’re planning. This trendy hotel offers tranquil views and ultimate relaxation. Couples and singles both enjoy the all-inclusive beachfront luxe life here.

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel in Los Cabos from Cheapcaribbean.com

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica serves up beautiful Pacific Ocean views as well as pure relaxation and tranquility.

Spend your days lounging on a Bali bed on the beach or making friends with the bartender at the swim up bar at one of the two beachfront pools. You’ll also want to check out the daily scheduled activities, such as wine or tequila tastings, which make for a great way to give some new drinks a try. Don’t forget to schedule a customized spa treatment at Armonia Spa. We recommend the couples spa day with massages in the private couples suite, equipped with champagne and strawberries.

As the evening approaches, you’ll have to decide between one of the four signature restaurants home to this 5-star resort. Fresh local ingredients fill the menu at Siempre where chocolate fettuccine with lobster and salmon ravioli leave guests raving. There are also five bars, all with a different atmosphere, perfect for any mood you’re in. End the night by heading off to your Ocean View Suite, which comes equipped with your own butler and will prepare your room so you’ll have no trouble drifting off after a jam packed day. The best part of this whole vacation is the exclusive rates you’ll find for this winter and spring. With three night deals starting at $769 and even a $50 spa credit, this is an ultimate luxury getaway you won’t want to pass up.

Luxury Comes Alive

Cancun is home to tons of resorts and no matter what your occasion is, you can usually find a top-notch resort perfect for you. The occasion for this vacation is luxury, luxury and more luxury. And that’s just what you’ll find at Live Aqua Cancun. This resort was named “The Best Resort in Mexico” by Caribbean Travel + Life and is a beach enthusiast’s dream. Perfectly placed in Cancun’s hotel zone, all the hotel rooms at this resort have a patio that offers an ocean and pool view. Meaning you’ll wake up to crystal clear waters and beautiful Cancun sun that reminds you paradise really does exist. Not to mention, Live Aqua’s 371 rooms all offer Egyptian-cotton sheets and aromatherapy kits that might even make it hard to open the shades and get out of the beach.

Best Luxury Resort Live Aqua Cancun from Cheapcaribbean.com

Live Aqua Cancun is a luxe paradise that offers endless amenities to leave you feeling spoiled rotten.

Start your day off by reserving a private cabana and ordering a cocktail from the pool concierge and staff. You can bounce between the gorgeous infinity pools or the private swim up bar pool. Also, make sure to take advantage of the full staff and service on the beach. When it comes to dining options, choose from one of the four restaurants including MB, where celebrity chef, Guillermo Gomez prepares Latin-inspired dishes that are sure to leave you satisfied. End your evening with a stop at Ergos Bar where a DJ spins late into the night and cocktails are always flowing. And one final detail we’re sure not to leave out…for a short time only, Live Aqua Cancun four night deals start at just $879.

Jamaican Luxury, Come One, Come All

Jamaica is the epitome of the ideal Caribbean destination. Perfectly placed on a Caribbean shore with warm sun and an even warmer culture, this is a vacation that you can’t turn down. Don’t worry, Jamaica isn’t slacking on high-end, luxury resorts that fulfill your Caribbean vacation dreams either. Jewel Dunn’s River is a great luxury option that will send you home feeling pampered and relaxed, two necessities when returning from vacation.

During the day, spend some quality time on the resort’s private beach on Mammee Bay, fully equipped with lounge chairs and cabanas. Or wander back to the Jewel Dunn’s River Resort to take advantage of the Sunken Treasure swim-up bar and pool concierge service. Yep, that’s right someone will greet you at your poolside lounger to offer fresh fruit, ice-cold face towels or a mist of cool water. If a poolside concierge service doesn’t spell out luxury, then we don’t know what does.

Best Luxury Resorts in Jamaica, Jewel Dunn's River from Cheapcaribbean.com

Jewel Dunn's River is Jamaica's top pick for an adult only vacation that won't sacrifice budget or luxury.

When it comes to food, try one of the six outstanding dining options. We're big fans of the  Mediterranean fare at Moonstone by Dominic or the teppanyaki-style options at Jade Samurai, just to name a few. Jewel Dunn's River also has six different bars to sample all the local Jamaican drinks from. And the actual resort is located right in the heart of adventure with daily tours to Ocho Rios and quick cab rides to Montego Bay for some nightlife options. And of course, the best part of this vacation is three night deals start at $659, all-inclusive. Sounds a steal you can't pass up, right? That's what we thought too.

This year do your vacation right. Since budget won't a problem with these spectacular deals, it's easy to get everything you were hoping for on your getaway. You work hard and you deserve to have it all. But you'll want to grab one of the deals quick...who knows how long they'll stick around. Happy Vacation Planning!

New Year, New Travel: Your 2013 Travel Radar

It’s time to say goodbye to 2012 and hello to a brand new, fresh year. You’ve probably got big plans for the New Year. We do. 2013 will be packed full of new beaches and better deals. Here’s a sneak peek at a few places you’ll want to keep your eye on in 2013.

Los Cabos: The Ultimate West Coast Getaway

Sitting at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos is located where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet. While Los Cabos has been a stable in tourism as early as the 1940s, this area is expected to be the ultimate West Coast getaway this year. This is a beach aficionado’s dream vacation with World Class fishing, diving and award-winning golf courses and spas all located here.

Cabo Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Known as “the Corridor,” this well paved, four-lane stretch offers cliff-top views, which are especially outstanding in January and February, when gray whales often spout close to shore.

A Los Cabos resort you’ll want to put on your radar this year is Dreams Los Cabos Golf Resort & Spa. This Unlimited-Luxury ® hotel is located in the midst of “the Corridor” which lends its beautiful panoramic views of Baja, Mexico. With plenty for the whole family, parents receive a refreshing drink and kids get milk and cookies upon arrival, for example.

Cabo Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

The whole family can relax and let loose at the adults-only or kids pool options.

The resort boasts an infinity pool, which appears to blend into the sea, as well as a tranquility pool for adults only and a kid’s pool. Fully equipped with two swim up bars, your glass will never go empty. If you’re feeling adventurous give the Euro-bungee a shot, or take advantage of a cooking class or cocktail-mixing lesson. There’s six different restaurants and five bars, offering a wide variety of food and drinks…something that will satisfy every palette. Don't forget to schedule a round at one of the eight world-class courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, II and Jack Nicklaus, among others. If you’re looking for a serene, luxurious stay that’s perfect for the whole family, this Dreams resort is the only choice for your 2013 vacation.

Puerto Vallarta: The Friendliest Caribbean Vacation Spot

Once a tiny fishing village, Puerto Vallarta is now a world-class resort area that has retained all the quaint charms of its original village, as well as offers the top-of-the-line vacation we all dream for. It’s also been named one of the friendliest and cleanest beach destinations in the world. Puerto Vallarta has something special for everyone, regardless of your personal preferences. If you’re looking for cultural events, romance, epic nightlife, just to name a few, Puerto Vallarta is the beach destination for you. There’s definitely something special here for everyone, making Puerto Vallarta one of our destinations to keep your eye on this year.

Puerto Vallarta Caribbean Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Spend some time at the Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort and see why this destination wins the award for "friendliest beach."

Our recommendation for a resort in Puerto Vallarta is Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort. The Hilton Puerto Vallarta boasts 259 rooms and suites, each featuring the luxurious Hilton Serenity Bed and Bath Collection™. Its majestic views of Banderas Bay will make all your worries disappear. The Hilton Puerto Vallarta offers 2 pools, including an infinity view with a great view of the bay and mountains. With a Beach Bar that vows to always keep your drink full, you’ll never have to go without here. As you get hungry choose from one of five delectable on-site restaurants, each offering a different type of cuisine and menu. The Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort is the perfect match when making plans for your vacation this year.

Cancun: The Classic Beach Destination 

Cancun has been a popular destination in Mexico for many years. It’s known for its mega resorts, translucent turquoise waters and powder-white sandy beaches. Cancun has a long list of resorts to choose from, with plenty of options to appease anyone’s tastes. There are plenty of familiar places to shop, great restaurants and even better nightlife – the perfect combination for the beach vacation of your dreams. We anticipate that it’ll remain a hot spot this year with some great deals you won’t want to miss.

Cancun Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Shopping malls like Luxury Avenue and La Isla make shopping in Cancun a unique mix of the familiar and authentic Mexican culture.

One of our Cancun favorites for 2013 is the new Secrets The Vine Cancun. This resort is one of the newest properties in Cancun and offers elegance and luxury, all on a budget. The adult-only resort features a 12,580 sq ft full-service spa, as well as three infinity pools equipped with sun decks and an outdoor Jacuzzi. Spend some time on the white, sandy beach and relax in a lounger while the wait staff keeps your beverage full and cold.

Cancun Vacation Deals from Cheapcaribbean.com

Secrets The Vine Cancun is a modern twist on the classic vacation you'd expect to have in Mexico.

As you start to get hungry, sample one of the seven on-site restaurants that offer cuisine from all over the world. The evenings at Secrets The Vine Cancun include a live show in the resort’s open-air theater or live music spread about the entire resort. Be sure to head to Enoteca for wine pairings and tastings. There’s not enough we could say about this resort – if you’re planning a trip to Cancun, take advantage of this luxurious resort all while sparing your wallet.