bahamas

Celebrate a Caribbean Holiday

As the holidays are fast approaching, everyone is sure to be buying last minute gifts and getting them under the tree. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but perhaps the best part of the holidays is the traditions we all share with our families. The Caribbean and Mexico are no different. Here are a few island traditions you might want to incorporate to your celebrations this year.

The Tropical Celebration of Christmas

The Bahamas is home to a holiday Junkanoo celebration that takes place the day after Christmas on December 26th. In the dark hours of the morning, everyone gathers to dance through Bay Street, Nassau’s town center. During the Junkanoo festival you can expect to see infamous dance troupes, musicians, drums, cowbells, whistles, horns and brightly colored, imaginative costumes. The festival usually occurs between the hours of 2am to 10am. At the end of the famous Junkanoo procession, judges award cash prizes for best music, best costume and best overall group presentation.

Bahama Junkanoo Festival Vacation from Cheapcaribbean.com

A traditional Junkanoo costume pictured below. Photo credit by Elizabeth A. Gay.

While there are many different accounts on how the Junkanoo festival gained its popularity throughout the years, it’s believed to be developed in the days of slavery. In the late 18th century, Loyalists brought over enslaved people who were given three days off at Christmas. They celebrated their days off by singing and dancing in colorful masks, often on stilts. Once slavery was abolished, this Bahamian holiday tradition seemed to live on.

Nine Nights of Christmas

Mexico is home to “Las Posadas,” a massive celebration and build up to Christmas Eve, the biggest holiday of the year here. Beginning December 16th, each night after dark, a candlelit procession begins where individuals play the parts of Mary and Joseph or their pictures are carried. Each night the procession makes it way to a particular home, where a special song is sung and the travelers ask if there is any room for the members of the procession. For nine nights the procession continues until Christmas Eve, when finally they are granted access.

Mexico Vacations for Los Posadas from Cheapcaribbean.com

Children dress up as they participate in Las Posadas. Photo Credit: David Young-Wolff/ALAMY

Once everyone gets inside the house, a celebration occurs where traditional Mexican dishes, like tamales and ponche or atole (traditional hot drinks) are served. Children break piñatas and receive candy in celebration. The nine nights of las posadas leading up to Christmas are said to represent the nine-day journey to Bethlehem or the nine months Mary carried her child. This celebration is one of the better-known holidays throughout Mexico and holds significant meaning to everyone who participates.

Caribbean Christmas Food

There are many different types of celebrations and traditions throughout all of the Caribbean and Mexico. And with all these different celebrations come delicious, traditional holiday dishes and recipes. In Barbados, you’d find jug-jug, an island favorite made from ham, guinea corn flour and peas and is accompanied by traditional Christmas fixings. If you’re in Costa Rica for the holidays, you can expect chicken and pork tamales that are cooked in plantain leaves, accompanied by eggnog and rum punch.

Costa Rica Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Pork and chicken tamales are traditional holiday food in Costa Rica.

Jamaicans prepare Christmas dinner with a tropical twist, including rice and gungo peas, chicken, oxtail and curried goat. You’ll also want to try the festive Christmas drink, Sorrel. It’s made from dried sorrel sepals, cinnamon, cloves, sugar, orange peel and rum and is served over ice.

While everyone’s holiday traditions and plans always differ, it’s never a bad idea to incorporate something tropical into your season this year. We’d love to hear some of your holiday traditions. Share yours with us here!

Fun for the Whole Family!

There are many types of vacations people can take. Some prefer adventure; some prefer ultimate romance, while others want to make a vacation a family event. The Caribbean and Mexico are perfect places to plan a fun-filled family vacation. If you're looking to bring the whole crew, check out some of these family friendly suggestions.

The Bahamas: Paradise for Everyone

The islands that make up the Bahamas each have their own unique flavor but still all offer a sense of Caribbean life and culture - a great combo when bringing everyone along. Specifically, Paradise Island has all the amenities a family would want or need. A great budget-friendly option for accommodations on Paradise Island is Comfort Suits Paradise Island.

Paradise Island Bahamas Family Fun Vacation from Cheapcaribbean.com

Comfort Suites Paradise Island doesn't sacrifice amenities but still is easy on the pocketbook.

Not only will you find a pool lagoon tucked in the tropical paradise that is Paradise Island, a swim up bar to satisfy the adults thirst, dining options and free breakfast buffet, but children 12 and under stay free. Yep, you read that correctly. If your family has kiddos under the age of 12, they can stay here at no charge. Another great feature to this resort is its easy access to Atlantis, the mega resort on this island. At Comfort Suites Paradise Island, you get free access to the lagoons, lazy-river, pools, casino, waterslides and beach of Atlantis. And don't forget Aquaventure, a 141-acre water park with a kids' water-play fort. This Bahamian dream brings all the adventure your family is looking for but keeps your wallet under wraps - sounds like a perfect family vacation to us!

Cancun's Classic Family Getaway

Cancun is known for its crystal clear beaches and fun atmosphere. This destination became one of the first Mexican tourist locales years ago, meaning Cancun has what it takes to build the perfect family friendly getaway. With a long list of excursions and tons of resorts plucked onto the coast, Cancun is sure not to disappoint. A great family inspired resort here is the Oasis Cancun.

Oasis Cancun Family Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Hang with the kiddos at the free-form resort pool. Be sure to swim over to the waterfalls and have a ball.

Oasis Cancun is one of Cancun's first all-inclusive resorts and offers 959 air-conditioned guestrooms in different buildings shaped like Mayan pyramids. This grand resort has something for everyone. With a resort style pool, three swim up bars and a resort marina equipped with paddleboats and kayaks, your days here will be filled with fun in the sun. In the evening, check out one of the live shows or venture to the Up and Down Disco. There's even a nine-hole, par-3 golf course if you're up for a friendly game of golf. There's also easy access to some of Cancun's most splendid excursions, like the Mayan pyramids at Chicen Itza or take a fun zip lining tour. Bottom line is the Oasis Cancun is a Cancun classic well equipped to offer your entire family a vacation they'll never forget.

Dominican Republic: A Fresh Take on Family Fun

The Dominican Republic has always been a beautiful Caribbean destination, but in recent years has gained more popularity as a tourist destination. The main parts of this destination have silky sandy beaches and great all-inclusive resorts, making it a great choice when planning the next family vacation. One of our family vacay picks for the Dominican Republic is Riu Palace Punta Cana.

Punta Cana Dominican Republic Family Vacation from Cheapcaribbean.com

Let the kids hang out in the pool while you swim up to the bar for a quick cocktail.

Located on Arena Gorda beach, Riu Palace Punta Cana has a whole lot of resort to offer. You'll be 150 ft. from the beach with full all-inclusive access to some of the other Riu resorts in this complex, which packs multiple vacations in one. Lounge in a beach recliner while the kids play in the children's pool and poolside drink service accommodates your every need. If you're in the hunt for a little alone time for you and your significant other, let the kiddos hang out at Riu Palace Punta Cana's supervised kid's club, while you take advantage relaxing spa. Don't worry, there's a playground, tennis court and complimentary scuba lesson to satisfy all your vacation urges. And remember...with access to other Riu resorts in the complex you take advantage of their bars and late night hangouts if you're out on a date night.

Gone are the days of having to stress about what will everyone do on the next vacation. No need to question if there will be something that everyone will enjoy. By picking one of these family friendly resorts, you can truly unwind and let everyone have a little bit of fun. After all, family vacations can account for some of the best memories. Start planning yours now!

Ride These Top Rated Surfing Spots

Does the thought of catching a monster wave on a Caribbean beach sound like a dream? There’s no doubt that the Caribbean & Mexico are home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but there’s even a few that are home to waves perfect for any surfing enthusiast.  Whether you’re an avid surfer or simply contemplating a few waves on your next beach vacation, here are a few recommendations of top-notch surf spots.

Start Your Surf Adventure Off Right

Barbados is one the Caribbean’s most ideal places to go on a surfing adventure for lots of reasons. First, it’s known for its consistent climate and weather, making any time of year an optimal time to visit. Because of the ideal weather, it leaves surfing conditions consistent year-round. The waves on the southern coast range from about two to six feet high – perfect for the beginning surfer.

Barbados Surf Spots and Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Stop by Zed's Surf School for a quick lesson before you hit these beautiful waves.

For those of you looking to take some lessons or learn the basics, word on the street is Zed’s Surfing Adventure is the place to go. They offer group and private lessons and provide board rentals as well. This past weekend the Barbados Independence Pro took place and brought some fierce surfing competitors who went head-to-head for the title. Congratulations to Cody Thompson on winning the 2012 Men’s Hyundai Independence Pro Challenge.

Copyright Mark Harris

Congratulations to Cody Thompson, winner of the 2012 Barbados Independence Pro.

For a resort that compliments your surfing adventure, we’d suggest Almond Casuarina All Inclusive Beach Resort. This resort does a great job of blending elegance with the relaxation and casual element most people seek on vacation. There are 289 newly refurbished, apartment style rooms, four different restaurants and two bars to satisfy the foodie in you. It’s also located right on Dover beach, where you’ll find beautiful views and possible a wave or two you can test out the water with. The Almond Casuarina Beach Resort is almost a no-brainer for all the want-to-be surfers out there.

Barbados Vacations with Cheapcaribbean.com

Enjoy some downtown at this beautiful Barbados resort in the heart of the surfing region.

Consider Yourself a Surfista? Get Here Now.

Naming Puerto Rico as one of our top surfing destinations might surprise you, but Puerto Rico is home to an area called Rincón. This spot is known for its minimum 10-foot waves and huge breaks making it a surfing dream. Rincón is the Caribbean’s answer to other surf destinations outside of the Caribbean.

But the good news is Puerto Rico isn’t just built only for experts, there’s places along the Rincón coast that offer clean, small waves which are good for any level. If you’re looking for a solid place to take a lesson, check out Rincón’s Surf School, where there are lessons for all levels and time frames.

Puerto Rico Rincon Resort from Cheapcaribbean.com

Rincon Beach Resort is a perfect place to spend your off time when you're not busy killing the monster waves here.

When choosing where you’ll spend the time you’re not out on the waves, we’d suggest Rincón Beach Resort. This boutique hotel is tucked outside of San Juan and home to a sandy beachfront that compliments those looking to catch some R&R. Spend some time in the infinity pool with a swim up bar that can mix up a refreshing cocktail or two to reward yourself after a day on the waves. The stretch of beach that calls this resort home is calm and perfect for a paddleboat or just an afternoon spent lounging. With dining and drink options that are fit for a king, this resort is the only option for some secluded downtime after the waves.

Calling All Expert Surfers

The Bahamas are often timed named for their stunning beaches and blue waters. History also lends itself to the inhabitants being primarily pirates hundreds of years ago. But did you know that the Bahamas can also be named for the multiple beaches that are great for surfing. One of our favorites is the small area of Abaco in the Bahamas. The Abaco Islands are a set of small islands that is home to one of the best cays for surfing, called Elbow Cay.

Elbow Cay offers the best waves during the months of September and March. There are a total of four different areas in Elbow Cay that are good surf spots. These areas are also known to be fairly advanced and are often packed with lots of locals, as well as tourists. You won’t find a ton of surf lessons or schools in these parts, but if you’re looking to surf some gnarly waves and consider yourself an advanced skill set, a trip here might be a requirement.

Treasure Cay Hotel Resort & Marina in the Bahamas from Cheapcaribbean.com

This hidden treasure of a resort is perfectly located to some great surfing spots, and equipped with plenty of amenities that make your trip unforgettable.

In terms of where you should stay, we’d suggest living a local and giving Treasure Cay Hotel Resort & Marina a try. This resort is part of a quaint Bahamian Village known as Treasure Cay. It’s a low key and tranquil spot that attracts travelers looking to relax on their downtime from exploring these waters. Possibly one of the best features is the fine dining options that overlooks the marina or Coco Beach Bar, located directly on the white sands for a beach bite during the day. You’ll have the luxury of living a Bahamian life while you’re there…an option that sounds like a true surfer’s paradise.

No matter which category you fall into, there’s not denying that the time spent on a surfboard, just you and wave can be some of the most exhilarating, therapeutic time. That’s why we suggest giving a surf trip or lesson a shot. With some of these great surfing destinations and recommendations, the last piece of advice we’ll offer you is…surf’s up!

 

We’re Ready for Black Friday, Are You?

Black Friday is known for its deals – deals on pretty much anything and everything. And we’re no exception. But we’d like to do you a favor...instead of requiring you to wake up early, stand in line for hours and possibly risk the chance of what you want being sold out; we’ll bring you the best beach deals right to the comfort of your own home. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the things we have lined up for Friday:

Grand Bahama Island: 3 nights, all-inclusive with air, starting at $399

Yep, you read that right. The Bahamas are calling…you better answer. When the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. on Friday, November 23rd, you can book your perfect beach vacay for under $400.

Viva Wyndham Fortuna on Grand Bahama Island is as grand as the island it calls home. With 276 rooms, 3 restaurants, 3 bars and a full calendar of activities, your vacation will be anything but dull. Each night catch a show by the Viva Circus, equipped with daring acrobatics. You can also channel your inner circus act with the free trapeze lessons or juggling workshops.

Cheapcaribbean.com Bahamas Vacation at Viva Wyndham Fortuna

This resort is packed full of fun, sun and beach. Get it before it's gone!

See more of the resort with this video: Viva Wyndham Fortuna Video Tour

If you’re more of a beach bum and just want some quality time with the silky sand and crystal clear water, there’s plenty of beach loungers and a beach bar for when your appetite calls. Water sports are also big here, so chose from boogie boarding, wind surfing, jet skiing, among plenty of other activities. With all the amenities and everything this Grand Bahama Island resorts features, you’ll want to grab this deal before it disappears as Black Friday ends.

Puerto Vallarta: 3 nights, all-inclusive with air, starting at $599

If you’re looking for a destination that’s effortlessly placed on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Riviera Nayarit is a great choice. This area of Puerto Vallarta will bring lush, green hills and a picturesque beach. Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta is a luxury, 4-star resort that’s the perfect place to stay when visiting the Pacific Coast.

Puerto Vallarta Mexico Vacations with Cheapcaribbean.com

Give the gift of 4-stars and luxury this holiday season.

Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta rests on the beaches of Nuevo Vallarta, where the supple sands lie awash with the warm azure waves of the Pacific. There are plenty of activities for the kids, as well as an adult only pool for those looking for a few minutes of pure relaxation. Don’t worry, there are great dining options with 3 restaurants and 3 bars and two 18-hole, par 72 golf courses close by if you’re looking for a friendly golf match.

AND you’re in luck. Come Friday, we want to help you out by giving you the best deal around. Live in the lap of luxury for less with this great Black Friday deal. With prices starting at $599 for 3 nights, all-inclusive and including airfare, you’ll want to act quick. This exclusive deal won’t make it past midnight on Friday.

Puerto Rico: 3 nights, with air, starting at $399

Puerto Rico is a great travel destination because of the way it harmonizes unique culture with beautiful seascapes and ultimate relaxation. Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa is the epitome of this philosophy.

This 4-star resort comes equipped with 600 spacious guests rooms, rainforest or ocean view (your choice). Spend a few days at this resort and we can almost guarantee your days will be spent in utter paradise. Wyndham Rio Mar is located between the El Yunque Rainforest and Fajardo’s bioluminescent bay. There’s also The Ocean Course, a golf course designed by Tom and George Fazio with elevated greens, multiple bunkers and even iguanas at the signature 16th hole. Don’t forget that there’s two pools – one for adults and one for the kiddos and a 20,000-sq-ft sun deck.

Puerto Rico Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Puerto Rico might just make someone you know very happy this holiday season. Get the deal now!

As the evening approaches spend your time in the casino or have dinner at Shimas Sushi Bar and then head out to the vivid nightlight that calls Puerto Rico home. This is another of our deals that won’t last long…24 hours, in fact. And with a price so cheap, it’s almost impossible to turn it down. Unleash the jetsetter in you and get amped for this deal that goes live in just a few short hours.

Super Sneak Peek: A Cancun deal so good, we can’t tell you all the deets just yet.

And just because we love to keep you on the edge of your seats…here’s a teeny, tiny sneak preview of what’s the come as soon as Black Friday hits. You can expect a new, 4-star resort located right on the beautiful beaches of Mexico.

This resort is packed full of all sort of fun for the entire family. The kids can hang out at the customized kid’s club and adults can grab a drink at the beach bar, or even take on an introductory scuba diving lesson. There’s a full schedule of evening entertainment and even a brand new Renova Spa, which offers signature spa treatments that will take anyone to paradise.

Cancun, Mexico Beach Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Be sure to check out our site on Friday to find out this secret deal!

While we can’t tell you the resort or how amazing the price will be – all you need to know is it’ll be nearly unbelievable and it will go fast. You’ve got 24 solid hours to get this sizzling deal before the lights go out on it.

So your holiday shopping list may include lots of different things, but we challenge you think beach. What could be better than unwrapping a surprise getaway from a loved one, or even yourself? If you move quickly this Black Friday, you can book that much needed getaway at a much smaller price. Don’t miss out! Happy shopping!

Now Serving: Spooktacular Caribbean Vacations this Halloween

Halloween, All Hallows Eve, Dia De Los Muertos, All Saint’s Day…a few of the many names for October 31st. This time of year means you’re probably busy deciding what costume you’ll wear or hoping to receive plenty of your favorite bite size candy this year. As the many names for this holiday illustrates, Halloween brings about lots of history and culture, especially in the Caribbean and Mexico. Here are a few spooky legends you might want to investigate the next time you’re visiting.

Atlantis: Lost or Found?

The Atlantis Paradise Island Royal Tower Hotel is a 4-star resort packed full of amenities, a Dolphin Cay, 141-acre water park, 11 gigantic pools and endless amounts of food and beverage options. But it’s been built and modeled after the supposed lost civilization of Atlantis.

As Plato, the great Greek philosopher, describes the legend, Atlantis was a beautiful continent-sized island that existed somewhere east of the Pyrenees and Morocco and as far west as the Yucatan. The actual location of this forgotten city has been controversial for years, with accounts saying it existed as far as Antarctica. And while there’s been so much mystery around the existence of this mysterious island, divers have discovered remnants of what could be considered Atlantis.

Bahamas Vacations at the Atlantis from Cheapcaribbean.com

Exploring the new Atlantis is a great tribute to the forgotten city.

The mystery of this advanced civilization has never been solved but a trip of tribute to The Atlantis Paradise Island Royal Tower Hotel might be the perfect way to resurrect the legend of Atlantis and prove to be the ultimate family vacation.

Jamaica: White Witch of Rose Hall

Quite possibly one of the more recognizable stories of Jamaican spooks is the story of the White Witch of Rose Hall. Rose Hall is a massive Georgian-style mansion that was built in the 1770s, high on the hill overlooking the Caribbean waters. Sugar plantation owner, John Palmer owned the property and lived there with his Haitian wife, Annie.

Annie practiced voodoo and appeared to be a harsh mistress of the mansion and one that all the plantation workers strongly disliked because of her cruel and unusual mentality. In protest, the workers revolted against her and brought her to her fate in the Rose Hall mansion. A ritual was performed to rid the property of her soul but was not completed and is why her ghost is rumored to live on. It’s since been renovated after its demise during the great Jamaica slave revolution in the early 1800s.

Rose Hall Jamaica Vacation at Cheapcaribbean.com

Snoop around this spooky Caribbean house and see what trouble you can find.

Tours of the property are available daily and led by traditional Jamaican tour guides. They’ll take you through the great house, walk you through each bedroom, the myriad of secret passageways throughout the house and the basement – said to be the site of the dungeon she used for punishment. Make sure to stop by the bar serving cold drinks and a place to sit and take in the ambiance. And the tour will wrap up at the grave of Annie Palmer. Visitors of Rose Hall have taken pictures and swear they see images of Annie in their pictures, confirming that her tortured soul lives on.

Jamaica Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Look out at the night horizon while you contemplate the day spent searching for White Witch of Rose Hall

A great place to stay located near this haunted tour is Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa. Don’t worry, you won’t find any lurking haunts here. Hilton Rose Hall Resort is all about luxury and making sure you can truly relax after your spooky day. After a trip to the swim up bar for a drink and a meal at one of the four restaurants, finish up the day with a nap on the sugar-sand beach.  Whether you’re in for exploring the legend that is the White Witch of Rose Hall or just in the mood for a relaxing Jamaican vacation, there’s never been a better time to head out on a jet plane.

Barbados: The Chase Vault, open or closed?

Another Caribbean legend comes from the island of Barbados. In Christ Church Graveyard, a small parish’s cemetery stands The Chase Vault.  This tomb is located at the entrance of the cemetery in Barbados and is built of large cemented blocks of coral. During the early 1800s, the Chase family bought the vault to bury the family in one place.

Over a period of about 15 years, each member was buried in the vault. The first was an infant, Mary Chase who was buried in 1808. In 1812, daughter Dorcas Chase was buried there due to a suicide and then Colonel Chase was placed in the vault the following month. The peculiar part is that upon adding each coffin, the coffins inside the vault were not in their original spot. Eventually six people would be put in the vault and each time it was opened to add a family member, the existing coffins would not be in their original spot.

In July of 1819, the governor of Barbados ordered a professional investigation. When the caskets had been put right and the tomb was resealed, the governor put impressions of his signet ring into the wet cement to ensure nobody could go into the crypt late at night and move things around. Additionally, sand was sprinkled on the floor to capture any evidence of trespassers. In April of 1820, the vault was opened for the last time. As the men tried opening the tomb, they had trouble opening it and had to call more people over to help get the tomb opened. Once the door was finally opened it revealed Colonel Chase’s casket blocking the door and the other coffins scattered around the room. The signet ring in the vault was still clearly showing and the sand showed no signs of trespassers. After this, the governor ordered the caskets be buried separately and the crypt has been empty ever since.

Cheap Barbados Vacations with Cheapcaribbean.com

Enjoy a beautiful, tranquil view at Ocean Two where there's sure to be nothing lurking around.

While the story of the Chase Vault has and will most likely remain a mystery, that doesn’t mean a trip to Barbados to explore the island for yourself is a bad idea. The perfect place to stay amidst your Caribbean expedition is Ocean Two Barbados. This is a 4-star resort that’s tucked in the ancient arms of a secluded bay and surrounded by pearled, white sands. Ocean Two in Barbados is the perfect spot to relax after your days of exploration, whether it’s the hunt to solve the mystery or just to see some of this beautiful Caribbean island. There’s a large sun deck, a convenient swim-up bar and poolside cabanas that are the perfect way to spend your days. There are also great menu options and a roof deck that awaits you. Ocean Two is the compliment to a spooky expedition of this historic island.

Whether spooky Caribbean settings are calling your name or the crystal clear waters of these oceans are more your taste, a beach vacation is the perfect way to celebrate this iconic holiday. All of these Caribbean islands bring rich culture and mysterious history that’s unlike anywhere else, so the next time you’re on vacation be sure to embark on an unforgettable journey.