• 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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10 Excursions We’d Do All At Once, If We Could

We keep saying this, but…vacations are the best. Seriously, though. Yes, we’re fully aware that this isn’t the first time we’ve proclaimed how amazingly amazing it is to jet off to a nice, quiet beach somewhere and get away. So let’s imagine that this vacation we always speak of is booked and you’re ready to go (hopefully this is a reality and not a dream), and talk about some of our favorite excursions to do when exploring a beach destination, shall we?

Note: If we had superhuman powers and could do all of these 10 excursions on vacation, we would. But we want to give you options, so here are a few of our favorite excursions for some of our most popular destinations.

Punta Cana Excursions

Best Punta Cana Excursions - Reef Explorer - CheapCaribbean.comThis half-day excursion allows you to do just what the name says – explore. The Reef Explorer trip includes a stingray encounter (so close you can give these friendly creatures a hug), a swim session with nurse sharks, and a snorkel adventure around the reef. Drinks and snacks are provided, as well as a morning or afternoon of sea adventures.

Best Punta Cana Excursions - Speed Boat Tour - CheapCaribbean.com

Experience the life that James Bond lives on a daily basis with this speedboat adventure. You’ll hop on a speedboat and power through the Bavaro’s coastline and finish out the afternoon with a snorkel break to see what the action’s like below the surface.

Cancun Excursions

Best Cancun Excursions - Jungle Maya Tour - CheapCaribbean.com

Cancun & Riviera Maya are surrounded by tons of lush jungle and mystical water systems, which is why this Jungle Maya excursion is a crowd-favorite. Explore the longest underground river in the world before rappelling into a cenote (also known as an natural swimming hole formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock), and even finish you day off with a zip line through the Mayan jungle.

Best Cancun Excursions - Ferrari 360 Track Excursion - CheapCaribbean.com

Okay, speed demons and luxury car lovers—how does spending the day behind the wheel of a Ferrari 360 sound? Head to the track and wait for your instructor to give you the green light, and then put the pedal to the metal. You’ll get 5 laps on the 1.6 miles of track to experience the finesse and strength of this world-class vehicle. Oh, and some serious bragging rights when you get home.

Best Cancun Excursions - Swim With Whale Sharks - CheapCaribbean.com

The Whale Shark excursion is perfect for the self-proclaimed ocean explorer. If you’re dying to experience, firsthand, what it’s like to swim amongst some of the ocean’s most incredible creatures, a swim with whale sharks is a must. A marine biologist will take you out in small groups and allow you to swim alongside these incredible animals, with plenty of barrier reef snorkeling/diving to end the day.

Costa Rica Excursions

Best Costa Rica Excursions - Arenal Volcano - Cheap Caribbean

This makes the list because it simply sounds like a dream. Anyone who’s been to Costa Rica will tell you to plan a trip to the Arenal Volcano to experience the presence of an active volcano. With this excursion, you’ll get to do just that. But better yet—wrap up the day with a soak in the therapeutic waters of the hot springs, after a delicious meal, of course.

Best Costa Rica Excursion - Canopy Tour - CheapCaribbean.com

Costa Rica really does have it all—beaches, volcanoes, jungles, etc. So you should definitely make plans to see them all, and the Canopy Tour excursion allows you to do that. You’ll start off at the treetops of the Arenal Volcano, where you’ll zip line through 12 different platforms of the lush rain forest. Boasting powerful views and a fun time, consider this a Costa Rican must.

Jamaica Excursions

Best Jamaica Excursions - Black River Safari - CheapCaribbean.com

We’re proclaiming the Black River Safari, Appleton Rum Estate & Y.S. Falls excursion a triple threat. You’ll begin with a road trip through the fishing villages and small towns of Jamaica as you explore Jamaica’s longest river. And then continue on to Y.S. Falls where you can swim in the cool waters. Finish the day with a visit to Appleton Estate Rum Factory where you’ll tour the distillery and taste some authentic Jamaica rum. Say hello to your day of vacation perfection.

Dunn's River Falls - Best Jamaica Excursion - CheapCaribbean.com

Perhaps one of Jamaica’s most well-known tourist attractions is Dunn’s River Falls. There’s plenty to explore here with rock formations, fresh water streams, and a surplus of waterfalls. This excursion promises you a guide that can explain it all to you and lead you to the ultimate experience.

Best Jamaica Excursion - Negril Sunset Tour - CheapCaribbean.com

Closing out our top 10-excursion list, the Negril Beach and Sunset Tour is a great way to really get on island time and experience it all like a true Jamaican. Negril is known for having some of the most stunning sunsets, and after lounging on the beach during the day and grabbing drinks at Margaritaville, you’ll get to experience one for yourself. Close the day at Rick’s Café with a view of this iconic sunset (so beautiful you might just have trouble putting it into words). Recommendation: take lots of photos or else no one will believe the beauty you experienced.

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

Dare to Dream and You Could Win a Free Beach Vacation

Cancun Beach Vacation - Dreams Sands Cancun - CheapCaribbean.com

Picture this. You’re lying on a silk-sanded beach. It’s a perfect 80 degrees and the sun is beating down on your sun-kissed body, as the calming sounds of icy-blue waves crashing on the shore soothe you into a state of utter relaxation. The only distraction you encounter is the cabana staff asking you if you’d care for another cocktail. It almost sounds like a fictional place right? False.

We’re simply describing the BRAND NEW Unlimited-Luxury® Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa. With the grand opening happening this weekend, we can only imagine that the next few months are going to big, bright beautiful ones for this 5-sun rated resort in Cancun. And the great news is that we want to send three lucky winners to experience it all firsthand in our Dare to Dream sweepstakes. But more on that in a minute

Cancun Beach Vacation - Dreams Sands Cancun Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

We want to tell more about what awaits for you at Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa. Located right on the coast in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, you’ll be right by all of the action. Downtown hot spots are just 15 minutes away, the convention center is near by, and shopping malls and restaurants are all within walking distance. But with all the hotel’s amenities, you may not even need to leave the resort.

There’s 650 ft. of beach called Playa Viva, which comes fully equipped with chaise loungers and palapas all across the sand. Two beachfront pools are perfect for bouncing between salt & fresh water. And Barracuda Bar is strategically located between the two so your palette always stays crisp and refreshed. Spend the days in the sun, but as soon as dusk hits – towel off and getting dolled up for a night packed full of fun.

New Cancun Cheap Beach Vacation - Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa - Cheap Caribbean

With eight on-site restaurants at your beck and call, meal choices will be unique and different for nearly every meal. Word on the street is the French cuisine at Bordeaux or Pan-Asian experience at Hitmitsu is pretty out-of-this-world. And there are even nighttime movies on the beach and entertaining shows. Oh and don’t forget to hit up Dreams Spa by Pevonia for a custom hydrotherapy spa treatment. Seriously, we couldn’t dream this vacation up any more perfectly.

So now, how to get your hands on one of three 4-night trips for two, including round-trip airfare to Dreams Sands Cancun Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico:

  1. Visit the Dare to Dream Sweepstakes entry page between now and September 7th, 2014.
  2. Fill out the appropriate information including a valid email address. And be sure to mark your calendars to return to this page every 24 hours. You can enter to win once per day.
  3. Share the news with your friends and family! The more people that enter, the better your odds are for winning.
  4. Tell us what you #DareToDream about by tweeting or posting on our Facebook page.
  5. Stand by! Winners will be notified on or after September 7th, 2014. Good luck!

Now tell us, what do you #DareToDream about? 

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

 

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.