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Celebrate Carnival Caribbean Style

It’s time to celebrate! Carnival is in its prime peak in the Caribbean. This means you’ll find lots of parties, parades and celebrations honoring the time leading up to Lent, a holiday that many islands participate in. For all the party animals out there, here’s a few celebrations happening amongst the Caribbean this Carnival season.

Aruba Does Carnival Right

Aruba is one of the choice Caribbean islands that celebrates Carnival all throughout January and the beginning of February. The entire schedule of events includes exciting parades, jump-ups, beautiful costumes and a truly vibrant atmosphere that you can only imagine by experiencing it.

There have been four major eras of Carnival in Aruba, with the first starting in 1921. This era was marked by debutante balls and costumed parties that took place at specific social clubs. The second era lasted 11 years through 1954 and was marked by the Lago Oil refinery success. This time period saw the introduction of carnival queen elections and the first parades were hold by Aruba’s oldest social club, the Tivoli social club. During the third era through 1965 is where the first island-wide public carnival took place. This also signifies the introduction of the island’s two grand parades seen each year. The fourth and current era has established a large majority of the tradition you’ll see at Carnival in Aruba. In 1966, when the era began, The Stichting Arubaanse Carnaval committee was founded at exactly 11:11 a.m. of the 11th day of the 11th month. This day has been named Fools Day.

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The Grand Parade in San Nicolas showcases the Carnival Queen, as well as the colorful, traditional parade floats. Photo credit from

With a colorful January full of parties, costumes and celebrations Aruba’s Carnival begins to unwind during February. The final Carnival parade takes place on Sunday, February 10th. This year marks the 59th Grand Parade and will include traditional, extravagant costumes and floats celebrating a successful Carnival season. There will also be an appearance by the elected Carnival Queen. And what’s the best way to reward the island’s successful Carnival season and allow people to prepare for Lent that starts on Ash Wednesday? Carnival Monday, also known as Burnout Monday, is a national holiday recognizing a national day of rest.

Cozumel is one of Mexico’s biggest Carnival celebrations. The week leading up to Fat Tuesday is full of parties, celebrations and a series of parades with a Final Grand Carnival Parade down the Seafront Downtown. On Wednesday, February 6th the Grand Opening and Coronation of Carnival King and Queen will take place. This weekend will bring costume and dance competitions, as well as a Second Grand Carnival Parade. There’s even a costume contest for children and pets!

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Children, parents and even the pets get all dressed up in the festive Carnival attire. A friendly competition has emerged awarding the best costumes awards! Photo credit: CARNAVAL COZUMEL

If you ever want to plan a trip to experience all the rich culture and festivities of Carnival in Cozumel, you’ll want to make sure to attend one of the three Carnival Balls. Each ball is on a different night and features a concert or costume competition, with the final ball occurring on the evening of Fat Tuesday. Mexico’s version of Mardi Gras happens on the Cozumel seafront, offering iconic beach views the whole time. The Wednesday after Fat Tuesday there’s an award ceremony to acknowledge outstanding carnival participants. And after the final award is given marks the monumental burning of Juan Carnaval. Fires are started to burn the revelry associated with Carnival and begin the preparation for Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Let’s Party All Year Long

Carnival is celebrated at all different times throughout the year. And don’t worry, if you weren’t able to catch one of these festivities, there are plenty of other opportunities to celebrate. Jamaica has just begun their 25th annual Bacchanal Festival, which lasts all the way through April. With a Le Masqurade theme, there’s a series of parties all throughout February, March and April you won't want to miss.

St. Thomas’ Carnival attraction takes place throughout the month of April as well. It's a month long of dazzling pageants and talent shows that take place to name royalty over the festival. You can expect traditional music, food and a rich representation of this island’s vibrant culture.

Each parade has performers that perform different routines in traditional, vibrant costumes. Photo Credit by Virgin Islands Carnival

These are just a few of the celebrations that are to come this year. No matter when you’re looking to party, there’s a Caribbean or Mexico destination with a celebration with your name on it.

Make Family Travel Fun this Year

What beach should you take the family to this year? Where should you stay? What fun things should you make sure to see? These are all natural questions you ask yourself when planning for your family vacation. This year take the whole gang somewhere that has something for everyone - adults can relax, children can play and everyone will come home feeling happy and connected.

The Caribbean and Mexico tend to be great places for families and here's a few destinations you'll want to check out as you're making that dream a reality this year.

Jamaica - Fun for the Whole Family

What could scream family fun more than pearly white-sanded beaches, crystal clear waters and an island spirit that you'll never want to leave? Jamaica is the perfect destination for the whole family. A stay at a resort like Holiday Inn Sunspree Montego Bay is the best compliment to a vacation packed with memories you'll never forget.

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Grab a drink by the pool while the kids play at the Kidspree Vacation Club!

This beachfront property comes complete with a half-mile, sugar-sand beach perfect for soaking up the rays. It features great activities for kids of all ages too. Mom and dad can appreciate that one of the two pools, with a swim-up bar, is for adults only, while the kids are rockin' it up in the Kidspree Vacation Club. We also suggest that parents try out the honey-ginger body scrub at Sol Mer Spa and Salon.

Never go hungry with six different restaurants that offer everything from Italian to the traditional Caribbean island fare at Sea Breeze. Once you've appealed to your appetite, it's time to make plans for the trip. A stop at Dunn's River Falls is an absolute must. Dunn's River Falls is known worldwide as one of Jamaica's natural treasures and features thundering falls, hiking tours and scenic views - perfect for plenty of great family photo ops.

Aruba - the Most Unique Family Vacay Yet

If you're looking for a family trip that might be a first for everyone on the trip or want a spot that's not the standard family destination, Aruba is a great option. Home to plenty of great all-inclusive vacations, Aruba has it all for one low price. One of our favorites when booking accommodations here is Divi Aruba All Inclusive.

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After checking out the Divi Winds Sports Center or taking a Zumba class with the family, stop by the main pool for some relaxation.

This resort has a little something for everyone. Be sure to check out the Divi Wind Sports Center, an oceanfront fitness center with a 30-foot rock-climbing wall on the beach. You can also spend your days windsurfing, kayaking or snorkeling. Don't worry, there are bikes in all sizes, tennis courts, beach Olympics and amazing brick-oven pizzas at Pizza per Tutti. There's even a disco for kids and a casino for adults. Or if you want to kick back with a frosty Aruba ariba rum punch and lounge by one of the three freshwater pools, that's okay too. We won't tell. We promise.

Dominican Republic - the Place No One Will Want to Leave

Even though Christopher Columbus was the first to visit the Dominican Republic ages ago, the DR is a spot that's gained some serious popularity in the past few years. It's typically fairly easy to get to and offers miles of golden sands and bold, blue waters at nearly the perfect temperature. One of our favorites places to stay while visiting Puerto Plata, an especially family friendly part of the Dominican, is Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa.

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Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort will make the family vacation one no one will forget.

One of the best all-inclusive family resorts around, it offers 1.5 miles of golden sands on the Amber Coast that sets the stage for complimentary access to snorkeling, boogie boarding, kayaking and the perfect tan. There are dance lessons, tennis, volleyball and a cool Kid's Club. The resort's pools offer a designated quiet pool or a main pool with a cool volleyball net and waterfalls, so every member of the family can take a dive. With all you'll save thanks to 24-hour food and beverage service, why not pop for a day at the spa or a round of golf the nearby courses?

While planning your family getaway to the DR, be sure to make time for a trip to 27 Charcos. Located on the Northern Corridor mountain range, Mother Nature has crafted 27 stunning pools etched out of limestone. Experience these impressive waterfalls and pools with the entire family, making for a perfect day spent in the Dominican Republic.

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One of the many stunning waterfalls you'll find at 27 Charcos.

There's no denying that you want your family vacation to be one full of memories and great quality time that everyone will enjoy. This year you don't have to chose one feature or destination over the other. With our top family vacation picks, every member of your family will have some fun, so much so, you might never want to leave!

Happy Election Day! Celebrate with a Presidential Vacay!

It’s that time again. And it happens every four years. You’ve probably prepared for it, spent countless hours doing your research and finally figuring out what’s important to you. It’s Election Day. Today, you’ll have the opportunity to exercise your democratic right to vote. And because you’ve been working so hard to decide whom you’ll chose to lead our great nation, we think you should reward yourself…with a Caribbean vacation.

After your ballot has been turned in and you feel accomplished, it’s time to start thinking about where you’re headed and how you’ll pack. It’s your choice who you’ll vote for and it’s your choice which Caribbean destination you’ll head to after, but here are a few recommendations that could really rock your vote.

Off the Radar: A Private Presidential Vacation

An escape that’s fit for a president and offers a high level of privacy (think Camp David) is the perfect getaway option for someone looking to completely unwind. While there are plenty of small, private resorts to choose from, Sivory Punta Cana is one of our favorites.

Sivory Punta Cana features 5-stars of seclusion and ultimate luxury. It’s an AAA Four Diamond Boutique hotel, equipped with a private beach and 8,000-bottle wine cellar. With 55 luxury suites all with a long list of amenities, Sivory Punta Cana is sure to pamper.

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Lounge on a chaise recliner on the private beach or take a dip in the infinity-edge pool.

Spend your days bouncing between the strip of private beach or cool, infinity-edge pool. When you need to satisfy a craving, take your pick from one of the three top-notch restaurants, including Gourmond, the only AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant in the Dominican Republic. After your sophisticated palette has been satiated, finish up the evening with after dinner wine and a stop in the Cigar Lounge or head to Sybbar for some spicy music and signature cocktails.

Punta Cana Dominican Republic Vacations with

Dine at the Dominican Republic's only Four Diamond-Rated Restaurant, Gourmond.

There’s even an option to arrive by helicopter…how Commander-in-Chief of you.

A Romantic Getaway: Reward Hard Work

There’s no denying that after the pressure of the weeks leading up to election season are over, you’ll need a break…as will your running mate. Plan a vacation that celebrates one another, brings you back stronger and ready to embrace the country’s leadership.

Couples Sans Souci is a Jamaican paradise that only accommodates couples, making it one of the best options in romantic getaways. Spread out across 35 beachfront acres of cliff-side, Couples offers lush pathways for romantic strolls, private coves, with one special for au-naturel sunbathers.

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Let the Jamaican beach view transport you to a world of no stress and utter relaxation

Your mornings can be spent in the curative mineral pool or mineral grottos hidden around the resort and the afternoon lends itself to some couple time at the swim up bar or one of the five restaurants for some signature Jamaican cuisine. Known for its jerk chicken, the Beach Grill is a perfect place to stop for an afternoon snack. And as the sun sets and the Jamaican twilight takes over, make sure to attend the Tuesday-night Beach Party or Friday-night Starlight Gala for dinner, dancing and cultural entertainment.

Romantic Jamaican Vacations and Trips with

Catch the Friday-night Starlight Gala for dinner and experience the beautiful Jamaican twilight.

Don’t forget to book an excursion to Dunn’s River Falls, have a drink at Margaritaville or take a glass-bottom boat tour. Finish your day with a signature peppermint-sea-twist body treatment and see why Travel + Leisure has named this resort one of the best spa hotels in the Caribbean. Jamaica’s Couples Sans Souci is built for all couples alike and is sure to embrace the love and passion you’re seeking when on a couple’s getaway.

Win a Few Benjamins: A Gamble of a Holiday

Aruba is a destination where any presidential candidate would want to spend their R&R …especially if they’re really looking to let loose and take a gamble. The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba is an all-inclusive resort that compliments lady luck and utter relaxation.

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Stop in for a quick bet and some cash at the Westin Resort & Casino in Aruba.








Located on the world-class Palm Beach, the Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba mixes the world of high-end beach vacays with a world-class casino. There are 300 slot machines, a long line of black jack and roulette tables, among other casino favorites that give you the chance to bet big and win – a definite benefit to any vacation.

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Take advantage of the amenities in addition to the one-of-a-kind casino.

When you aren’t spending your time submerged in a deck of cards and deciding what your odds are, there’s a free-form pool and Jacuzzi, ideal for some ultimate sun bathing. There are also five restaurants to choose from, with casual beachfront meal options to steak and seafood specialties, not to mention an extensive wine list and two hotel bars to serve you ice cold beverages.

If you need a break from your high rolling ways, a trip to Tierra del Sol Golf Course is just right down the road. It’s the only championship 18-hold golf course of its kind on the island. So while you’ll make plenty of bets inside this high-end casino, you have the satisfaction of knowing your next vacation to the Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba is a hole-in-one.

As this monumental day comes and goes, we’d like to remind you, of course, to get out there and vote. It’s your voice and you should use it to shout from the rooftops. After you submit your ballot, put the political smack in your back pocket temporarily and ask not what can your country do for you, but what where will you vacay next?