holiday

CheapCaribbean.com Wishes You Happy Holidays!

As we all finish up last minute shopping and prepare for some good old-fashioned quality time with our loved ones, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Here at CheapCaribbean.com, we can all be guilty of getting wrapped up in the day-to-day, but this week we want to take a moment to reflect on the past year and wish our devoted fans & followers a very merry holiday season.

CheapCaribbean.com Wishes You Happy Holidays

2013 has brought plenty of challenges and it’s fair share of success. And as we recently celebrated 13 wonderful years, we want to thank each and every one of you who’ve helped to make this year the best yet. We can only hope that 2014 will bring continued success. We hope to grow our technology and capabilities so that we can continue to strive to be the beach experts and bring the best in Caribbean & Mexico travel to our customers.

We hope that you’ll spend the next few days with the ones you love reflecting on your past year, as well as have the best holiday ever. And after the presents are unwrapped and the hype of the holiday wears off, we hope that you’ll continue to come to us with all of your beach vacation needs. From your friends at CheapCaribbean.com, we wish you a happy holiday and Happy New Year. Cheers to many more!

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! 

 

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! 

 

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!

How to Celebrate Halloween at the Beach

With Halloween only a few days away, we hope you’re not waiting until the last minute to get your costume together – you’ve got some candy to stock up on, right? And while Halloween here in the U.S. is that one day of the year it’s acceptable to go door-to-door to asking for lots of sweet treats, we thought it might be best to celebrate Halloween like our lovely friends in the Caribbean & Mexico. While Halloween isn’t wildly celebrated throughout the Caribbean & Mexico like you’d probably imagine, it is home to some spooky places and a celebration or two. Let’s explore Halloween at the beach.

Shipwrecks: Explore the Watery Graves

Our first site to see can be found in the deep, dark waters of the Atlantic. You’ll want to put on your dive equipment to truly explore these parts. The Caribbean Sea is littered with 400 years of shipwrecks, ranging from Spanish ships that sunk in hurricanes to old war boats from World War II. For instance, just off the coast of Barbados in 2006, a yacht was found with the petrified bodies of 11 immigrants bound for the Canary Islands.

Barbados Shipwreck - NOAA - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: NOAA's National Ocean Service

With an area of ocean so heavily populated with sunken ships along with the stories & secrets of their crew, these watery graveyards are sure to give you an icy chill as you submerge yourself among the tragedies.

Blackbeard: Dead or Alive?

It’s not news that Jamaica & the Bahamas are just a few of the places that were home to some of the most infamous pirate gangs years ago. This Caribbean region is filled with tales of bloody pirate attacks, buried treasure and vivid stories of piracy on the high seas.

Perhaps the most infamous pirate of them all, Edward “Blackbeard” Teach was active in the Caribbean from 1716-1718 and known to wreck havoc to anyone he came into contact with. Not only was he known for his “demonic-like” appearance, but he also spent most of his reign in the Caribbean terrorizing the islands and other pirates.

Haunted Caribbean Hotel - British Colonial Hilton - Cheap Caribbean

Not only does the legend of a monstrous & powerful pirate live on to this day, it’s rumored that Captain Blackbeard’s ghost still haunts Old Fort Nassau, located at the British Colonial Hilton. So if an evening spent on the hunt for one of the Caribbean’s most notorious legends and enjoying 4.5 stars of amazing luxury is your idea of the perfect getaway, then an investigative stay at British Colonial Hilton is an absolute must.

In fact…it’s safe to say we’ve assigned you a mission. Let Operation: Blackbeard commence. We expect a full report upon arriving home.

Day of the Dead: Mexico’s True Celebration

So as we’re busy getting dressed up in our most creative Halloween costumes, there’s a celebration that takes place in Mexico that’s known to be one of the largest celebrations in the country and in the world. Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration is a 3-day festival that honors the friends & family members who’ve passed in previous years.

Although the name insinuates that people are celebrating the ghouls & haunts that are known to come out in the U.S. Halloween holiday, this festival is meant to be a way to pray for & remember those who’ve passed away. It starts on October 31st with All Hallows’ Eve, continues with All Saints’ Day on November 1st & All Souls’ Day on November 3rd.

Photo credit: Paul Asman & Jill Lenoable

With tracings back as far as 3000 years ago, the festival is often celebrated with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos, the bread of the dead; sugar skulls & cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruits, nuts, incense; and other traditional foods & decorations. Often times, families will make plans to shower the graves of their loved ones with “ofrendas” or gifts so that the souls will hear their prayers. The Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico often taken on a humorous tone as people remember funny events and positive traits of the departed.

So if you’re looking to celebrate Halloween a little bit more unconventionally this year, you’ve got a few ideas on how Halloween could potentially be celebrated in the Caribbean & Mexico.

And with that, it only leaves one question…how are you celebrating Halloween this year? Share your plans and ideas in the comment section below. Happy Halloween!