• BOTTOMS UP...SIGNATURE VACATION DRINKS YOU HAVE TO TRY!

    BOTTOMS UP...SIGNATURE VACATION DRINKS YOU HAVE TO TRY!

  • Top 5 Caribbean Spas as Recommended by La Jolla Mom!

    Top 5 Caribbean Spas as Recommended by La Jolla Mom!

  • Must-do adventure vacations for the thrill-seekers in us all!

    Must-do adventure vacations for the thrill-seekers in us all!

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Find beachin' great tips and insider info!

2014 Fall Beach Preview

It’s crazy to think that we’re already talking about fall. It seems like just yesterday we were swimming, barbecuing and taking summer vacations. Okay. Maybe that was just yesterday. But we’re exactly one month away from the official start of fall. And since we’re all about planning ahead, let’s take a look at what’s happening in the Caribbean & Mexico this fall.

Groove Fest – September 9 – 14, 2014

If you’re looking for a party—mark your calendar. Even if it’s a few days before the “official” start of fall, it’s an epic fun time you don’t want to miss out. This is a music festival unlike any other, really. Hosted in Puerto Plata, DR at Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa, it’s a weeklong dance festival that brings the world’s best DJs and artists together. And the best part? It’s all-inclusive. No extra costs for concert and event tickets. Once you get to Groove Fest all food, drink, and entrances are included so there’s no additional cost to attend all of the open-air events, beach parties, pool parties, and late night events. Sounds like a party animal’s dream if you ask me.

Groovefest Dominican Republic - Best Beach Parties - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.groovefestevents.com/

Learn more about the festival and see the lineup here.

Port Antonio International Fishing Tournament – September 27 – October 4, 2014

So if you’re looking for more of a competitive event to attend, we’d suggest the Port Antonio International Fishing Tournament in Jamaica. This is one of the biggest fishing tournaments in not just Jamaica, but the world. Competitive deep-sea fishermen arrive from all over the world to prove their hook and line skills. The great news for those who aren’t avid fishermen – there’s a canoe race and plenty of parties to keep the action going for the non-fishermen in your group.

Oh, and a little inside scoop: the precise date of this tournament varies according to the moon, to appease the superstitions of the sea captains.

Day of the Dead – November 1, 2014

Known as “Dia de los Muertos” in Spanish, this day falls after the U.S.’s holiday of Halloween. And while the name of this holiday insinuates horror and perhaps gore, there’s a deeper meaning to this Spanish holiday. The traditional meaning of this day is to honor the deceased friends and family members who have passed over time.

Some of the celebratory traditions surrounding Day of the Dead include placing gifts of incense, pan de muertos, Calaveras (aka sugar skulls), etc. at the foot of a self-created altar in the home. Once they’ve been blessed, they are taken to the cemetery, which is also decorated. There are also plenty of celebratory festivals and events that take place to pay tribute to those who have passed. For example, the Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte at Xcaret (eco-cultural park in Riviera Maya) takes place all weekend long. With art exhibits, music & dance performances with costumes, and festive food & beverages, this is a great way to get a taste of the vibrant, rich culture that calls Mexico home.

Oh, and an added perk if you want to attend this cultural festival – stay at Occidental Grand Xcaret. It’s located across the street from the eco-cultural park and has its on unique amenities and events planned for Dia de los Muertos.

Cayman Islands Annual Pirates Week Festival – November 6 – 16, 2014

One of our favorite things about the Cayman Islands (next to the picturesque blue waters and crystal white sandy beaches) is the Cayman Islands Annual Pirate Week Festival. Yes, pirate week. It’s 10 days in November where the Cayman Islands really know how to get down. Things like street dances, competitions, games, local food and drink, parades, and of course pirate invasions take over the island – and it’s pure madness (in a good way).

pirateweek

Photo credit: www.pirateweek.com

If this sounds like your kind of fun, book a stay at the Westin Grand Cayman Seven Mile Beach Resort & Spa and start putting together your best wench or pirate costume. The good news about staying at the Westin Grand Cayman (besides the fact it’s located perfectly on award-winning Seven Mile Beach) is that swimming pools, dining options, and scheduled events. So if you have any downtime from the festival, you’ll be covered with the resort accommodations that offer it all.

Thanksgiving at the Beach?

The autumn season marks the beginning of the holiday season, which means soon you’ll probably start to think about your plans for the family. Here’s a thought – instead of divvying up cooking and hosting duties this Thanksgiving, maybe pack a bag and head to the beach? Secrets Resorts & Spas are known for having epically wonderful celebrations. A feast with all the accouterments is a given, but there’s even special Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and football watching parties, as well as events unique to each resort. It might be the year to switch it up and spend this perpetually hectic (and often times, cold) holiday in the warm, relaxing sun of the beach.

Since you officially have a list of things happening in the Caribbean & Mexico this fall season, you pretty much don't have an excuse not to plan a fall getaway. So, tell us (in the comments below). Where are you headed?

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things, and being spontaneous.

 

All You Need to Know About National Rum Day & National Relaxation Day

Prepare yourself. This weekend has the potential to be, like, one of the best ones ever. What’s happening this weekend, you ask? Well today is National Relaxation Day and Saturday, the 16th is National Rum Day. That means kicking back with an ice-cold (rum) cocktail and unwinding is pretty much a necessity this weekend.

Here at CheapCaribbean.com, we aim to leave you feeling prepared. So we’ll start with a few of our favorite rum drink recipes to get you in the spirit of this weekend. And then we’ll give you a quick overview of our recommendations for the ultimate relaxation spots in the Caribbean & Mexico. So grab the rum and let’s start to loosen up!

Tropical Rum Punch

Tropical Rum Punch Recipe by Dreams Resorts for CheapCaribbean.com

As featured by Dreams Resorts & Spas, this concoction makes a pitcher’s worth and it perfect for the group festivities you have planned this weekend.

What you need:

  • 3/4 cup white rum
  • 1/2 cup coconut rum
  • 1/4 cup banana liqueur
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup pink grapefruit juice
  • Limes, sliced

How to make it:

Fill a pitcher halfway with ice. Add all the rum, liqueur and juices, mix well with large spoon and garnish with lime slices. Serves 6 to 8. Pour and enjoy!

Fresh Mint Mojito

Fresh Mint Mojito Recipe- National Rum Day- CheapCaribbean.com

The key to this light, refreshing cocktail is the fresh mint. Grab a few mint leaves and be sure to muddle in your mixing tin before concocting the rest of this drink. Sipping on this bad boy is almost a guarantee that ultimate relaxation will soon ensue.

What you need:

  • 4-5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 ½ ounces white rum
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar or simple sugar
  • 2 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
  • splash of club soda
  • Lime wedge

How to make it:

Use mixing tin to muddle 4-5 mint leaves. Add rum, agave nectar & lime juice and shake in mixing tin over ice. Pour into glass. Top off with a splash of club soda and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

Havana Lights Cocktail

Havana Lights Cocktail - Secrets Resorts - CheapCaribbean.com

Don’t worry. If you won’t be beachside this weekend, you can still drink like it. Secrets Resorts & Spas whips up their signature drink – the Havana Lights Cocktail, and you can now make it at home with this recipe.

What you need:

  • 3/4 ounce light rum
  • 3/4 ounce coconut rum
  • 3/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce melon liquor
  • A few drops of grenadine syrup

How to make it:

Mix and shake the first three ingredients, then pour into a cocktail glass. Add a few drops of grenadine and then finish the drink off with a splash of melon liquor. Garnish with your favorite fruit and enjoy!

Piña Colada

Pina Colada Recipe - Breathless Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

It wouldn’t be National Rum Day without a classic rum drink, like the Piña Colada. This recipe comes to us from the Vegas-style resort in Dominican Republic called Breathless Punta Cana.

What you need:

  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 2 ounces pineapple juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream of coconut
  • Pineapple wedge for garnish

How to make it: 

  1. Pour the ingredients into a blender filled with ice.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour cocktail into a glass and garnish with the pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry.
  4. Enjoy and picture yourself lying on the beach at Breathless Punta Cana!

Okay, now that the rum situation is under control. A quick session of vacation inspiration is only fitting for National Relaxation Day. You can find some of the best spa resorts in the Caribbean & Mexico, which is why all of our favorite relaxation day resorts are those with killer spas. They include:

Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya.

Spa Resort Mexico - Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya - CheapCaribbean.com
This spa is 22,000 sq. ft. and houses the only certified thalassotherapy and anti-aging center in North America. And for those of you that aren’t sure what that means (don’t worry, we didn’t either), it’s a type of spa therapy that treats your body through the use of freshly heated saltwater, seaweed and marine mud. So lather up with some therapeutic mud treatments, grab a (rum) cocktail and prepare to escape to a place of pure bliss.

Le Blanc Spa Resort.

Spa Resort Mexico - Le Blanc Spa Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

This boutique resort is focused around wellness and pretty much guarantees that your stay will be one of peace and quiet. Not to mention it's also a recipient of the "Conde Nast's "2012 Readers Choice Award." The spa itself has 19 treatment rooms and an extensive menu of services. You can recharge with a hydrotherapy circuit, beauty rituals and even a traditional Mayan "Kukulcan massage."

Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay.

Spa Resort Jamaica - Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay - CheapCaribbean.com

Tucked perfectly away on the tip of the Jamaican Island, this all-inclusive luxury resort is great for relaxing as a couple. Sign up for couples spa treatments at Secrets Spa by Pevonia or take advantage of the Unlimited-Luxury® program that comes standard here. That means instant access to beautiful pools/beaches, gourmet dining and endless drinks.

So there you have it – great inspiration for the upcoming holiday weekend. It’s pretty much mandatory that you whip up one of these rum-laced adult beverages and do your best to unwind from it all. Of course, we won’t blame you if you’d rather spend the weekend dreaming about making one of the above spa resorts of reality. The only thing we ask is that you do your part to make it happen (not asking too much, are we?). Oh, and be sure to let us know just how you plan on celebrating this weekend. Post your plans in the comments below. Cheers!

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things, and being spontaneous.

 

5 Beach Travel Gadgets You Need Right Now

Sure, vacations are pretty much amazing. They’re the perfect time for you to unplug and rejuvenate; if I had my choice, I’d have a permanent out-of-office reply on and be beachside every day. And traditionally, vacation is a time for you to put down the gadgets and escape from it all. While I definitely recommend clearing your mind, there are a few fun and life-saving gadgets that might just take your beach vacation to a whole other level. Here’s a list of beach-friendly travel gadgets you might want to consider throwing in your suitcase next time you’re beach bound.

ECOXPRO Audio Case for Extreme Protection:

Waterproof Phone & Audio Case - Beach Travel Gadgets - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.ecoxgear.com

This bad boy promises exactly what the name states – protection. You won’t have to worry about waterproofing your phone or not being able to snap photos because of FOSP (Fear of Sand in Phone), because ECOXPRO has you covered. It’s waterproof and protects from pretty much any of Mother Nature’s elements. It fits nearly every device and has a pocket for credit cards, cash, etc. that stays air tight and locked up. The speaker on the case makes for easy access to your beach tunes playlist. There’s even a 30-hour battery life on this thing. Oh, and the best part? It floats.

Perfect vacation spot: Costa Rica. Or any place where jungle zip lines are as common as fast-food joints and relaxation time is perceived to be a rigorous hike to catch some out-of-this-world views from the top.

Ray-Ban Remix:

Um. What’s more amazing than having the PERFECT pair of shades to protect your precious eyes from all things sun? That’s why I’m totally into the Remix collection Ray-Bay is offering right now. Choose from iconic Ray-Ban styles like the aviator, wayfarer or even my personal favorite, the clubmaster. Once you select your style, you’ve got options like color, lenses and metal details to think about. Finalize your selction and BOOM, they’ll ship your shades right to you. It honestly doesn’t get much better than that. And the customization comes at no extra cost. Design away, my friends!

Customizable Ray-Ban Sunglasses - Beach Travel Gadgets by CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.ray-ban.com

Perfect vacation spot: ANYWHERE. Yep, as long as sunny skies are in the forecast, you’re set and officially ready to take on the beach.

Shake Bottom Beach Bag:

Ugh. Sand. We all dream of putting our toes in the sand after a long hard day at the office, right? And while that’s certainly wonderful, bringing the sand home from the beach is always a drag. That’s why the Shake Bottom Beach Bag is sort of like the end-all, be-all for a beach trip. The bag features a reversible flap pinned to either side, allowing you to reveal or conceal the netting at will. When sand begins to intrude, just flip the flap and shake away! It doesn’t help that these bags boast an affordable price tag and are actually adorable. I may even be compelled to use this bag sans beach.

Shake Bottom Beach Bag - Beach Travel Gadgets by CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.quirky.com

Perfect vacation spot: Well, any beach will due. But iconic sand destinations to test this out include the pink sands of Bermuda, black sands of St. Lucia, or the whitest of the white sands in the Bahamas.

Waterproofed Kindle Paperwhite:

Are there any other bonafide beach bums out there? If at least one of your vacation days MUST be spent beach side with copious amounts of frosty drinks and poolside service, then you’ll probably consider a waterproof kindle papershite a necessity too. So if it’s time to switch from beach cabana to pool float (because it’s a better tanning angle for you, duh), don’t even think about having to mess with keeping the kindle away from the water, or even tucking it away in your bag in hopes it doesn’t come across some damage on it’s own. The paperwhite version is also a nice option because it will literally change your life when trying to read outside in the sun. And yes, this means it’s OK to finish Gone Girl and move onto the next title on your book club’s list.

Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite - Beach Travel Gadgets - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: www.waterfi.com

Perfect vacation spot: Again, any beach will probably suffice. Not to mention you can use this kindle when you get back home too. But all-inclusive luxury resorts like Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun offer all the amenities you need, all while allowing you to get down on the latest novel.

JUNE:

We all like to come home from vacation looking a little sun-kissed. But we’ve all been there when that golden brown color you think you’re safely developing turns into an outright burn and, let’s face it, it’s miserable. Well. Welcome to the future of sun protection. JUNE is a device that measures your sun exposure throughout the day and provides you with real-time updates on your smart phone. It’s a simple (and cute!) bracelet you wear when outside and the app on your smart phone will keep track of things like your current UV levels, the appropriate SPF for your skin, when you should probably put a hat on, and of course, when it’s time to move into the shade. So let JUNE do the work for you, while you just bask in the sun god/goddess glory at the end of the day.

JUNE Sun Protection Bracelet - Beach Travel Gadgets - Cheap Caribbean

Photo credit: www.netatmo.com

Perfect vacation spot: This is another “anywhere there’s some sun” gadgets, but one place that’s extra sunny and super popular this time of year is Breahtless Punta Cana & Spa in the Dominican Republic. With the DJ’ed pool parties this place sees on a regular basis, your JUNE will absolutely come in handy.

There you have it--some of the things CheapCaribbean.com considers to be beach travel musts. No doubt, these items will simplify and elevate your beach vacation experience. Ah. Thank you, technology. What are your beach travel gadget favorites? Tell us in the comments below!

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things, and being spontaneous.

 

It’s Not Too Late. Make Summer Vacays a Thing

Well…it’s here. Today marks the first day of August and the beginning of the end (of summer that is). There’s only a few solid weeks of summer left before the kiddos head back to school, the nights get longer and a natural chill starts to creep into the air. And you’re probably questioning if it’s too late to catch one last vacation, right? Well the good news is the answer is – no! With these last minute getaways, vacation might just be your best summer idea yet.

Holiday Inn Sunspree Montego Bay, 3 nights starting at $489

Last Minute Summer Vacation - Holiday Inn Sunspree Jamaica - CheapCaribbean.com

If grabbing the kids and going sounds like an ideal last minute getaway, then Jamaica is calling. Holiday Inn Sunspree Montego Bay is a top-rated family resort and makes our list of plenty of reasons. On top of kids staying and eating for free (yes, you heard that right), there’s plenty to do from parasailing to nighttime entertainment. With five restaurants, a teen club and Kidspree Vacation Club, every member of your family will be able to successfully soak up the last days of summer.

Oh, and 3 nights start at just $489. Does it get any better than that?

“Seas The Deal” Punta Cana, 4 nights starting at $699

Last Minute Vacation - Punta Cana Beach Vacation - CheapCaribbean.com

This one goes out to all the spontaneous folks out there. The summer in Punta Cana is so unforgettable (and popular), we’re jumping on the hot 2014 travel trend and keeping the resort a mystery until just a few days before the actual vacation. But don’t fret, you’re guaranteed a high-end resort like Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro, Secrets Royal Beach or Breathless Punta Cana. And if the odds are that we’ll end up at any of these three fabulous resorts, you can pretty much count us in.

The fact that this “Seas The Deal” offer is starting at 4 nights for $699 and boasts an adult-only, all-inclusive paradise; it’s almost a no-brainer. Soak up that last of that summer sun, y’all.

Barcelo Maya Colonial and Tropical Beach, 4 nights starting at $599

Last Minute Vacations - Riviera Maya - CheapCaribbean.com

Okay. How does being surrounded by a tropical rainforest and more than 1.12 miles of private white sand sound? Like perfection, right? Well that’s what you’ll find at the all-inclusive Barcelo Maya Colonial and Tropical Beach. On top of the kush surroundings, you’ll enjoy two free-form pools, sun-decks, lounge chairs, hammocks and even a pool bar. And when the sun sets in paradise, find yourself at one of eight restaurants with dancing at the resort’s disco to follow. Don’t worry, kids can hang at the Kid’s Club (fully equipped with a water park and scheduled activities) when mom and dad want to have a summer’s night out.

This whole shebang must be outrageously priced, right? Nope. Try 4 nights, all-inclusive starting at $599. Easy going and easy on the budget – you’re welcome.

Secrets Marquis Los Cabos, 3 nights starting at $949

Last Minute Vacations - Los Cabos - CheapCaribbean.com

Living the life of luxury is probably one of our favorite things about vacation. That’s why Secrets Marquis Los Cabos is on the list of last minute summer getaways. It pretty much reeks of oh, la, luxe and we think you’ll definitely want to be a part of it all. Imagine yourself enjoying a gentle breeze coming off of the Sea of Cortes as a cabana server brings you all the delicious (and free) food and beverages your heart can desire. Tucked in between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Look to San Jose del Cabo for the peace and serenity, and out-of-this-world nightlife in Cabo San Lucas.

This high-end luxury option doesn’t boast a killer price tag either. 3 nights start at just $949 and basically includes everything you could ever dream about (especially for a last minute vacay).

See! A last minute vacation doesn’t have to skimp on amenities and promise high price tags. There are plenty of vacation options right at your finger tips and we suggest you click away to find your ultimate paradise. Tell us the rest of your summer vacation plans in the comments below!

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things and being spontaneous.

Win a Free Beach Vacation from CheapCaribbean.com & On Air with Ryan Seacrest

Win a Free Beach Vacation from CheapCaribbean.com

Great news. We want to send you to the beach. For free. Nope, we’re not kidding. We’re partnering with On Air with Ryan Seacrest to host the Beach Getaway Giveaway! So mark your calendars for July 28th through August 1st and prepare yourself for tons of opportunities to win one of five all-inclusive beach vacations.

Here’s how it works:

  • First things first, log on to On Air with Ryan Seacrest and find out when the radio show is on in your area.
  • If you can’t find a local radio station broadcasting the show, you can listen live on iHeartRadio.com (there’s even an app that’s pretty useful).
  • Listen throughout the show for the gang from On Air with Ryan Seacrest to give you the heads up to enter to win. Or simply log on to cheapcaribbean.com/giveaway to enter!
  • We’re giving away a different trip every day, so be sure to tune in each day for the signal to enter.

It’s that simple--listen, enter, and win! Keep in mind: you can enter once a day, every day; so the odds just might be in your favor.

And now for where we’ll be sending our lucky winners:

Win a Free Beach Vacation from CheapCaribbean.com & On Air with Ryan Seacrest

Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa: We’re sending a lucky family of 4 to this beachfront oasis located 30 minutes outside of Cancun. This 4.5-sun rated resort offers Unlimited-Fun® and a long list of amenities that’s sure to please every member of your family.

Win a Free Beach Vacation from CheapCaribbean.com & On Air with Ryan Seacrest

Sunscape Sabor Cozumel: Besides the fact that Cozumel is a beach paradise, Sunscape Sabor Cozumel is located right on the second largest barrier reef in the world. That means great snorkeling & diving, as well as a family-centric experience that won’t disappoint.

Win a Free Beach Vacation from CheapCaribbean.com & On Air with Seacrest

Breathless Punta Cana: Whether it’s a group getaway for a special occasion, or you’re just looking to escape with your better half,  adults-only Breathless Punta Cana is the perfect place. Oh and don’t forget about the Unlimited-Luxury® you’ll have access to.

Win a Free Beach Vacation from CheapCaribbean.com & Ryan Seacrest

Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun: You’ll want to grab the whole gang and make time for some fun in the sun at another Unlimited-Luxury® property. With 5,000 feet of white sand and blue Caribbean waters, as well as plenty of activities and dining options to keep everyone happy, this trip for 4 will be one you’ll never forget.

Win a Free Beach Vacation from CheapCaribbean.com and On Air with Ryan Seacrest

Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort: Located right in front of the Sea of Cortez, the final getaway features white sand, beautiful views, gourmet restaurants and all the pampering you could dream of. There’s also an award-winning golf course on site. Sounds like the perfect romantic getaway to us.

And there you have it. Five trips, five days, five lucky winners. It doesn’t get any easier. So make sure to save the date, folks. We’re just a few days away from the Beach Getaway Giveaway! Good luck!

Brittany Innes is a travel junkie with a passion for food, trying new things and being spontaneous.