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Celebrate National Margarita Day with CheapCaribbean.com

We’re two days out from one of our favorite days of the year. National Margarita Day is this Saturday, February 22nd and all of us here at CheapCaribbean.com couldn’t be more excited (and ready) to celebrate. It’s the one day of the year it’s perfectly acceptable to pay tribute to the drink that got it’s start nearly 70 years ago in Acapulco and has become a staple, especially at the beach. This year, we have lots of fun planned so tune in and celebrate with us!

While you’re busy counting down the days, hours, and minutes until party time, it might be helpful to know what margarita flavor is the perfect fit to your personality. That’s why we recommend quizzing yourself with our helpful infographic:

What Kind of Margarita Are You?

CheapCaribbean.com National Margarita Day Infographic | What Kind of Margarita Are You?

On the actual day of this wondrous occasion, you can bet that we’ll be drinks in hand, toes in the sand. We’re hosting a National Margarita Day happy hour and this celebration just wouldn’t be complete without you!

You’re invited & here’s how to join the party:

  • On Saturday, February 22nd, join us for happy hour from 5-6pm CST. Follow along with CheapCaribbean.com on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram as we share fun facts, drink recipes and plenty of other margarita goodness.
  • Use the hashtag #MargaritaParty to share with us how you’re celebrating National Margarita Day. Mention @CheapCaribbean in any of your posts & we just might share your pictures, videos & comments with our fellow beach bums.
  • We’ll be giving away 4 Margaritaville® Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker® to our favorite #MargaritaParty submissions.
  • Be sure follow our #MargaritaParty partners @SecretsResorts as they help us host the best margarita happy hour around!

So clear your calendars and get ready to hang with CheapCaribbean.com as we sip on some margs and pay tribute to one of our most favorite signature cocktails. It’s no secret we know a thing or two about margaritas and we can’t wait to celebrate with you. See you there!

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! 

 

Beach Bars You’ll Be Dying to Order a Drink From

Is there anything that goes together better than peanut butter & jelly, Sonny & Cher or salt & pepper, just to name a few? Well, we’d suggest that there isn’t anything more perfect for one another than a beautiful beach and an ice cold drink to compliment the view. So, this week we’re all about the places you can get a signature concoction and bask in the sun. Best beach bars…ready, set, go!

Nikki Beach, ME Cabo by Melia

Perfectly placed on Cabo San Lucas’ only swimmable beach, ME Cabo by Melia is one of the area’s hottest resorts and known to throw some of the best beach parties. Playa del Medano, the beach ME Cabo is located on, is near Los Cabos landmarks, Land’s End & Lover’s Beach and visible from the Bali beds and two pools at Nikki Beach. With pool DJs all year long and a swim up bar serving up the best beach drinks around, Nikki Beach is a luxurious beachfront utopia that Los Cabos has come to be known for.

Nikki Beach, Best Beach Bar in Cabo by CheapCaribbean.com

This trendy hotspot has an entire schedule of parties planned for the rest of the summer, like a Pirate themed party on August 17 or it’s weekly events, such as Nikki Beach in the House that takes place every Friday or Soleil @ Nikki Beach, every Saturday through the end of the summer. And after an afternoon full of bottle service and handpicked DJ tunes, head out on the town as you’re in walking distance from some of the most legendary clubs and lounges in the area. There’s no denying that your time at Nikki Beach and ME Cabo by Melia will leave you feeling like the a-list party goer you’ll be surrounded by here.

Rick’s Café, Negril, Jamaica

Quite possibly one the most well known bars in Jamaica and with good reason, Rick’s Café is a hotspot serving up signature cocktails and offering an unforgettable time. Since 1974, this bar & grill has come to be a Jamaican staple. Rick’s Café was the first public bar in the quiet fishing town of Negril years ago and still boasts unforgettable views from it’s naturally formed cliffs.

Rick's Cafe, Best Beach Bar in Jamaica by CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: http://rickscafejamaica.com/

At Rick’s, you can spend your day by the only cliff side pool and take advantage of the cabana service as your bask in the Jamaican sun. Or after spending the day at Negril’s iconic Seven Mile Beach, settle into the patio at Rick’s for possibly the best view on the island of the Jamaican sunset. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the cliff divers that regularly jump from the West End Cliff where Rick’s Café sits.

Infiniti Bar, Grace Bay Club, Turks & Caicos 

How does sipping a beverage served at a bar that stretches all the way onto Grace Bay Beach and the crystal clear waters of Turks & Caicos sound? If you agree that this sounds like pure heaven, then we’ll save you a seat at Grace Bay Club’s Infinity Bar. This five-star resort is home to the longest bar in the Caribbean, stretching over 90 feet long and boosting some of the best views on the islands.

Best Beach Bars in Turks & Caicos by CheapCaribbean.com

Spend your afternoon at either the family friendly main pool or adults’ only pool, or take advantage of the free watersports offered, such as snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing. And as the sun sets into the picturesque horizon, sample some of the tapas dishes and Caribbean cocktails at the bar that seems to disappear into the ocean. After a cocktail hour at Infinity Bar and dinner at one of the resort’s four restaurants, head to hip on-the-beach oasis, The Lounge for an evening of sizzling fun. And as you retire to your oceanfront suite, mentally prepare yourself to live this dream all over again the next day.

While these are just a sample of our favorites, there’s no denying that the Caribbean & Mexico are known to have some of the best bars with the best views. Let us know your favorite spot to catch some sun and a drink in the comments below. Cheers!

Five Fab Caribbean Beaches To Plant Your Bum by JetSetSarah

JetSetSarah blogs for CheapCaribbean.com

By: JetSetSarah

Get washed up on one of these beaches and cross your fingers that that no one comes to rescue you.

1. Bambarra Beach, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands­

Over on Provo, Grace Bay gets all the love. But one of my favorite strands is just a 30-minute ferry and less than 35 miles away from the Turks and Caicos Island tourist hub, secreted on sleepy Middle Caicos (pop. 300). You can’t help but be captivated by the beach at Bambarra, where, for about a quarter-mile, sun-warmed ankle-deep, crystal-clear water skims a rippled carpet of ivory sand. The tiny islet of Pelican Cay beckons you from the horizon, and in no time flat you’ll be answering its call, splashing your way towards it verdant landscape. While it might take you a minute to find this gem (there’s only a half-obscured hand-painted sign to direct you off the main road and down a gravel path to this casuarina tree-fringed beauty), Bambarra is totally worth the effort.

Turks & Caicos Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

2. Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

My favorite Jamaican beach is one of the island’s most picturesque, with a wide white-sand strand whose placid waters wash up against a sheltered cove. A small river flows through the 48-acre property, meeting the warm sea at the beach’s western end, where children fling themselves off a rope swing into refreshing waters. Cinematically beautiful (the movie Cocktail was shot here), blissfully quiet on a weekday, and located in what I think is Jamaica’s most idyllic quarter, Frenchman’s is a beach lover’s dream come true.

3. Seven-Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Cayman Islands Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Somehow the Caribbean sun seems to shine its brightest on Grand Cayman’s marquee strand, possibly the hottest beach I’ve ever had the pleasure to bask on. I love nothing better than to chillax on a chaise and watch the parade of people go by: oiled-up European tourists in big chains and tiny bikinis; conventioneers freshly escaped from the frigidly air-conditioned confines of their hotel conference rooms; cruise ship day-trippers making a bee-line for a bucket of beer at Calico Jack’s. It might be a bit of a cliché, but Seven-Mile Beach is a classic Caribbean choice  – and a great one.

4. Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

What’s not to love about this 12-mile long sweep of sand bordered by warm, clear turquoise water? When I first visited Grace Bay in Provo more back in the 90s, you could step out onto the shore, look up and down, and not see a single soul. Now, of course, the scene is completely different, with swanky mid-rise hotels and restaurants bordering the shore. But the beach bum-basics are still there: sand as fine as confectioner’s sugar, gin-clear sea, and a laidback vibe that encourages you to slow down, pop open a frosty Turks Head, and take it all in.

5. Maundays Bay, Anguilla

Like all of Anguilla’s 33 beaches, Maundays Bay is public, so you don’t have to be a guest of plush Cap Juluca (the resort which has pride of place on its sands), to enjoy it. If you are, however, more’s the better. Hotel guests enjoy the services of beach butlers, who, as soon as they see you coming, will open a beach umbrella, dress your chaise with a towel and pillow, and set down a cooler of drinks for your seaside refreshment. But whether you’re staying at Cap J or not, this spectacular combo of mesmerizingly blue water and bone-white sands is yours to enjoy, whether for a few days or for just one blissful hour.

Anguilla Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Photo Credit by Tiare Scott

Jet Set Sarah, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, is a Caribbean travel expert, award-winning travel journalist, and TV personality. Former executive editor of Caribbean Travel +Life magazine, she ventures to the beach and beyond, sharing the diverse culture, relaxed lifestyle and colorful people of the world’s favorite warm-weather destination. She is also jetsetter-in-chief at JetSetSarah.com, where travel and shopping meet.

Five Must-Shop Caribbean Stores by JetSetSarah

 

JetSetSarah blogs for CheapCaribbean.com

By: JetSetSarah

Got the retail itch? Step away from the three-for-$20 T-shirts and those dreadful knitted caps with the dreadlocks attached! Savvy shoppers bring home authentic Caribbean goods that look good and/or work well, and evoke happy memories every time you look at them. Here are some of my favorite souvenir-snagging spots.

Irie Life, South Hill, Anguilla 

There are T-shirts and then there are T-shirts. Irie Life sells the latter, and wearing one immediately marks you as one of Anguilla’s coolest customers (even the most stylish locals sport them around town). This store is located in South Hill and housed in a hilltop cottage painted red, green and gold. Expect trendy colors (neon Ts are current bestsellers) and styles (hoodies, burn-out textured stretch cotton), with nary a boxy crew-neck in sight.

Irie Life, Anguilla Shopping from CheapCaribbean.com

Shop Smart: Make no mistake; Anguilla is notoriously pricey. Time your trip for the end of the summer, however, when shops are anxious to move leftover merchandise in advance of the winter high season, and you’ll score great deals.

Gallery of West Indian Art, Montego Bay, Jamaica

When I lived in Mo’Bay, this decades-old store secreted in a residential about 10 minutes’ drive from the city, was my go-to for Jamaican and Caribbean art and craft. Montego Bay’s, The Gallery is most famous for its menagerie of multi-colored “spotties,” hand-carved painted wooden animals stippled with white polka dots. But it is also a great find for handmade small furniture pieces and an impressive collection of colorful Cuban canvases. For more about Gallery of West Indian Art, visit them online.

Shop Smart: Don’t leave without a handmade Christmas tree ornament from the store’s year-round collection.

Olé, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Looking for the perfect Panama hat? Make a beeline for Puerto Rico and milliner Guillermo Jeffs’ tiny boutique on Old San Juan’s bustling Fortaleza Street, where you can browse more than 5,000 of them. Toppers start at a very reasonable $50 and rise to a whopping $4,000 for a hand-woven model that takes about two years to make. Whichever you choose, Guillermo will custom-fit the Panama to your head, employing his decades of experience – and a hat block and blow dryer – to ensure the perfect fit. For more information, visit Olé's Facebook Page.

Jamaica Shopping from CheapCaribbean.com

Shop Smart: Ole offers more than 20 colors of hat ribbon to choose from, so instead of falling back on traditional black, get creative!

Mixik, Tulum, Mexico

I fell in love with the hand-carved wooden angels you see at resorts all over Mexico, so I was thrilled to hit pay dirt at this Tulum shop, which has a vast selection of the charming cherubs. It’s also jam-packed with locally crafted gifts, art and accessories you’ll find impossible to resist (or is that just me?)

Shop Smart: Can’t find what you want at the beachfront store? There’s also a larger location in el pueblo. Store can be reached at: 52-984-871-21-36

Zaka, Soufriere, St. Lucia

Simon Gajadhar used to be a shipwright but has clearly found his (ahem) groove as a wood carver and artist. Visit his fret-worked cottage in Soufriere, St. Lucia and you too will be enchanted by the colorful collection of masks and totems, all carved from recycled wood and old telephone poles. For more information about Zaka, visit their website.

St. Lucia Shopping from CheapCaribbean.com

Shop Smart: While the larger masks will set you back hundreds of dollars, prices for smaller pieces start at a very reasonable $20, so you can bring back something for everyone - even that grumpy woman in Accounting).

 

Jet Set Sarah, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, is a Caribbean travel expert, award-winning travel journalist, and TV personality. Former executive editor of Caribbean Travel +Life magazine, she ventures to the beach and beyond, sharing the diverse culture, relaxed lifestyle and colorful people of the world’s favorite warm-weather destination. She is also jetsetter-in-chief at JetSetSarah.com, where travel and shopping meet.