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How to Live the Good Life at the Beach

Jimmy Buffett isn’t just known for singing a song or two about living life on the beach. He doesn’t just sing about “wastin’ away again in Margaritaville,” he genuinely lives the island life. That’s why, here at CheapCaribbean.com, we’re self-proclaimed “parrot heads” and talking you through ways you can live the good life on the beach this week.

Best beaches to relax on - CheapCaribbean.com

1. Pack the Perfect Bag.

First things first, to take on the beach the right way you’ve got to make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Packing the best beach bag is an absolute must and something you might want to take on before you hit the beach.

Start by asking around for the best beach reads and make sure to stock your iPod with tons of beach appropriate tunes. Some of our favorite beach songs include “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett (obviously), “Some Beach” by Blake Shelton and “One Love” by Bob Marley, for example. Our entire list of perfect beach songs can be found on our Beach Tunes playlist.

You’ll also want to make sure to include a solid sunscreen, a great pair of shades and flip flops, just to name a few things. A towel is important too, but if you’re staying at a fabulous all-inclusive resort as we suggest you do, these will usually be provided for you. You’ll just want to get with the front desk or concierge to confirm where beach towels can be located. An ice-cold beverage and great beach snacks are also important, but we’ll get to that later.

2. Find the Best Spot.

Now that you’ve got a bag full of all the essentials, the next step is to venture out to your destination’s beach and see what it’s made of! Don’t worry about bringing your own lounger, if you do the beach the right way, then a perfectly placed palapa or chair awaits with your name on it.

But you’ve got to decide what’s most important to you. Do you prefer to be closer to your resort so you can pop between the ocean and the pool? Do you need to be close to the water activities coordinator so you can plan what water sport you’re going to try next? Or are you simply looking for some good old-fashioned R&R and just need a great view and beach bar nearby? As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into the location of where you spend your day at the beach. The good news is – at the right beach, all of these options are available and ready.

3. Sample Some Beach Fare.

And of course, what could be more important than making sure you’ve got easy access to delicious grub and thirst-quenching sips? No matter how you plan on spending your days on the beach, you’ve got to stay hydrated and don’t want to go hungry.

We suggest trying something that’s local to the beach you’re at - mofongo in Puerto Rico or jerk chicken in Jamaica, for example. And when it comes to drinking, we’re big fans of a refreshing Mount Gay Rum mojito or Havana Lights Cocktail, made special at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. Sometimes the best experiences come from asking the locals or your resort staff for their favorites and trying their suggestions.

4. Find the Right Beach.

Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle is finding the ideal beach to live the good life on. This is where the resort and all its amenities come into play. Here’s a few resorts that are home to some of the best beaches and make living the good life almost a given.

Live Aqua Cancun: Located right on the Cancun beach, this 5-star luxury all-inclusive is the perfect place to live the good life. There are eight infinity pools with beachfront views, plenty of beach loungers and even cabana beds that come with daily foot massages. And don't worry, there’s a full staff of cabana waiters bringing you your choice of food and beverage all day long.

Best Beach Resort - Live Aqua - Cheap Caribbean

Barcelo Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic: This adults-only luxury fortress is located right on Bavaro Beach, one of the Dominican Republic's best beaches. Barcelo Bavaro Beach is the perfect beach if you're looking to indulge and get in some quality rest & relaxation. You can also hang out at the Bahio pool after the beach and when nighttime falls, test out your dancing skills at Disco Bavaro.

Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic - Barcelo Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

Seven Stars Resort, Turks & Caicos: A stay at this resort and an afternoon on Grace Bay Beach is the epitome of living the good life at the beach. This resort rests upon TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice Award for the top rated beach and promises nothing but luxe. We suggest grabbing a mojito from Sand Dollar bar, taking a dip in the heated saltwater pool and then head to claim your spot on the satin-like sands of Grace Bay Beach.

Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos - Seven Sands Resort - CheapCaribbean.com

So there you have it, folks. As you can see adopting a lifestyle of a permanent beach bum or "parrot head" couldn't be easier. Just a few simple steps and you're on your way to being a beach expert. What do you think? Did we leave anything out? Let us know how you'd live the good life at the beach in the comments below.

So Long Summer, Hello Beach: CheapCaribbean.com’s Winter Travel List

As Labor Day comes and goes in the next few days, we’re not only celebrating the hard working folks of our nation, but it also signifies the end of summer and beginning of the fall and winter months. The kiddos are back in school, the leaves begin to change and the temperature begins to fall - this means it’s time to start thinking about where you'll be headed when looking to trade in the cold for warm beaches and fun in the sun. The best winter travel deals await you at CheapCaribbean.com.

Be the First: Breathless Punta Cana, Opening November 15th 2013. 

How does it sound to be one of the first to stay at this brand new all-inclusive, adults-only resort? Scheduled to open on November 15th 2013, Breathless Punta Cana is the perfect place to spend some quality time with the sun and sand. This 4.5-star resort features Unlimited Luxury®, meaning you can expect unlimited top-shelf brand beverages and spirits, 24-hour room service and numerous daily activities, among other things.

2013 Winter Travel - Breathless Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

Spend your days bouncing back and forth between the 700 yards of picturesque Punta Cana beach and the five swimming pools, including an expansive infinity main pool, two quiet pools and two xhale club pools. You can also schedule a customized spa service at the Breathless world-class spa. And when it’s time for dinner, may we suggest one of 12 restaurants, such as Lebanese cuisine at Kibbeh or Sofrito for Latin Criollo cuisine. It’ll really heat up after dinner where you can enjoy one of the eight bars and clubs at the resort, including MartinOX, a cigar club and oxygen club or After Dark, the theater bar that opens up after dinner. So mark your calendars and start counting down the days to the Grand Opening celebration of Breathless Punta Cana.

Have it All: Iberostar Paraiso Lindo Resort, Rivera Maya

As the season begins to change and you’re slowly starting to layer an extra sweater or jacket on your outfit, there’s no denying that the cold is on its way. And while we may all welcome it with open arms after the heat of the summer, it won’t take long to realize we belong on a beach. So when it’s time to grab the whole family or a big group and jet away, look to Iberostar Paraiso Lindo Resort.

2013 Winter Travel Deal - Iberostar Pariso Lindo - Cheap Caribbean

Resting perfectly on a mile-long strip of beach in beautiful Riviera Maya, this all-inclusive, 4.5-star haven has something to offer for every member of your group. Use the currents of the Lazy River to take you around to all of the resort’s five sparkling pools. After you’ve floated in an inner tube down the Lazy River, test your agility in Riviera Maya’s only wave pool. Don’t forget you’ve got the Playa Paraiso Beach calling your name too. For the golfers in the group, schedule a round at the Playa Paraiso Golf Course followed up by a relaxing massage or spa treatment at Iberostar Lindo’s 32,000-sq-ft spa.

As hunger approaches, try some Cajun flare at Jambalaya’s or Italian bites at La Laguna. With up to 23 different dining options, it’s safe to say that your time spent at Iberostar Paraiso Lindo will never be boring. And when you’re looking for some nightlife, have an after dinner drink at the Lobby Bar before heading off to the theatre which offers live, nightly shows and entertainment that’s appropriate for the whole family.

Do it Right: InterContinental San Juan, Puerto Rico

One of our next favorites for holiday travel calls the island of Puerto Rico home. The InterContinental San Juan is the perfect vacay if you’re looking for something luxurious, adventurous and most of all – budget friendly.

In addition to being a great winter travel deal, this resort is an AAA Four-Diamond resort, meaning you can expect the highest level of service and even finer accommodations. Located only five minutes from the airport and on Isla Verde Beach, InterContinental San Juan is pretty much calling your name. Jump in the large, lagoon-style pool to cool off and order a refreshing signature cocktail from the swim-up bar.

intercontiental-san-juan.jpg

After a delectable dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steak House or any of the other four restaurants, you’ve got to get out and experience the city that is San Juan. Get warmed up with a quick hand of blackjack at the resort casino and then take to the sizzling San Juan club and bar scene, all within walking distance from your hotel. Oh and don’t forget Puerto Rico doesn’t require a passport for U.S. travelers, making it that much easier to get to during this winter travel season.

So don’t stress as the cool wind of fall and winter approach. We’ve got you covered with some of the best places to escape to when you’re looking for the sun. Find a full list of the best 2013 winter travel deals at CheapCaribbean.com. And be sure to tell us where you’re headed this season in the comments below. Happy End of Summer!

Spark the Flame: Getaways to Rekindle the Romance

We’re all about love. In fact, it’s safe to say we’re in love with love. And when you throw in a picture-perfect backdrop to match, it makes love that much sweeter, doesn’t it? So this week, we’re celebrating the love birds out there with our top picks for romantic getaways.

Whether you’re a honeymooner, celebrating an anniversary or just two people who want to escape for a little romance, the Caribbean & Mexico make for perfect places to do just that. Our first fave sits on the iconic Seven Mile Beach and has 4.5 stars of incredible luxury.

Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort is a five-story and 273 guestroom resort that recently underwent a $15-million renovation, making it an updated and perfect place to spend your vacation time. Grab a mai tai at the poolside Sol Bar with your sweetie or take a dip in the 85-foot beachfront pool that calls this resort home. Couples also love the hot tub or a romantic stroll in the lagoon-style courtyard fully equipped with lush greenery.

Grand Cayman Islands Romantic Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

The location of the hotel on Seven Mile Beach makes it one of the best beaches in the Caribbean, with warm water and a reef perfect for snorkeling just a couple feet of shore. There are also endless amounts of activities with scuba diving, windsurfing and sailing easily accessible to all couples.  Of course a romantic getaway wouldn’t be complete without a customized couples treatment at La Mer Spa. The Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort is the perfect mix of adventure and romance, all set on one of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean.

Now, how about a resort that truly celebrates couples? Couples Sans Souci is 35 beachfront acres of Jamaican cliffside dedicated to nothing but couples. It has also recently been voted the number one spa hotel in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure, making it a romantic oasis that's perfect for celebrating love, no matter the occasion.

Jamaica Romantic Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Here at Couples Sans Souci, your days can be spent in the private coves and curative mineral pool with hidden mineral grottos. Stop by the swim-up bar for an island cocktail or eat at one of five restaurants serving everything from authentic jerk chicken to stuffed shrimps at Casanova. With all the superb all-inclusive options at this resort, you’ll never go hungry or thirsty. Don’t forget to plan a trip with your honey and visit Dunn’s River Falls and then finish up the day with a peppermint-sea-twist body treatment, the perfect end to an adventurous day with the love of your life.

Grab your guy or gal and head to Punta Cana for a little DR romance. At Excellence Punta Cana, you can enjoy some adult-only paradise. Venture down to the Dominican Republic beach and grab a daybed where you and your honey can truly unwind in the Caribbean sun. The pool is home to submerged lounge chairs and a swim up bar, so you’ll never have to leave that water.

http://www.cheapcaribbean.com/deals/excellence-punta-cana-deals.html?sisearchengine=127&siproduct=romanceblog4.23&utm_source=blog&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=romanceblog4.23

Excellence Punta Cana is also home to a 1991.47 ft. jogging track, a full schedule of activities like yoga and the full-service Mille Spa. Arrive early for your appointment at Mille Spa and relax in the Swedish saunas, steam rooms and refreshing cold-plunge pools, and then be transported to a state of utter relaxation with a couples massage.

Dinner plans consist of a torch-lit dinner for two on the beach. As the night comes to an end, retire to your colonial-style suite, fully equipped with an in-room Jacuzzi. And by upgrading to the Excellence Club, you can enjoy Bulgari toiletries and a maxed-out mini bar and room service menu. This adult-only resort will help you and your partner come home feeling refreshed, clear-headed and stronger than ever.

So as you can probably agree, celebrating your love on a quiet beach may be just what you and yours truly need. Whether you’re a newlywed just beginning your journey or looking to commiserate the many wonderful years you’ve shared with your significant other, we strongly suggest a trip to paradise to celebrate it all. Who doesn’t love love right?

The Perks of All-Inclusive by Chris Gray Faust

The Perks of All-Inclusive 

By Chris Gray Faust, Chris Around the World

Chris Around the World Guest Blogs for Cheapcaribbean.com

My husband and I have different ideas of a perfect vacation. While I have no problem being on the go, he prefers to stay in one place, where he can relax and have everything that he needs at his fingertips.

Blame it on today’s job requirements: Many professionals and executives work 24/7, it seems. While smartphones have made it easy to stay in touch, no matter where you are, they have also increased our working hours. The result? When Don pries himself away from his inbox, he needs to truly unplug.

That’s where luxury all-inclusives come in. USA TODAY has noted that resorts where all of the extras are included are on the rise, particularly in the Caribbean and Mexico. It’s been a popular choice during the recession, when travelers preferred to know the price of their holiday up front, paying one bill instead of many. And while these resorts were once favored by budget travelers, maybe used luxury instead of high end properties have gotten into the act, adding spas, private plunge pools and butler service.

On her trip to Jamaica’s IBEROSTAR Grand, for example, USAT’s reporter, Kitty Bean Yancey, found that her gratis butler would unpack her suitcase, bring her a special pillow, make dinner reservations and uncork her wine. Even within her room category, which she described as the least expensive (at around $300 a day in January), 24-hour room service and a stocked minibar were also included, as well as all meals at the resort’s four restaurants.

Travel + Leisure says that the biggest improvements at all-inclusives is the food (important to foodies like my husband and I). Says writer Ann Shields: “Buffet lines haven’t disappeared entirely, but resorts are recognizing that showcasing fresh ingredients and local cuisine will lure guests with more refined palates.”

Shields’ article also notes that cheesy group events have fallen by the wayside – again, important to someone like Don who just wants to chillax without having to take part in a “meet and greet.”  “Resorts are one-upping each other with an ever-expanding roster of diversions: golf, tennis, ziplines, kids’ clubs, snorkeling trips, Spanish lessons, beachfront climbing walls, kayaking, and trapeze instruction,” Shields writes. “Even lazing on the beach has received an upgrade.”

And how. I noticed on CheapCaribbean.com that the Sivory Hotel in Punta Cana, within the Dominican Republic, has submerged padded loungers in their infinity pool, so you can stay cool and still order a rum drink.  A pina colada poured poolside? Perfection!

The AAA Four-Diamond resort, part of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, also has all-inclusive dining at its three restaurants. Considered one of the best restaurants on the island, Gourmond has an 8,000-bottle wine cellar, and Tau has fresh sushi. While spa services are extra, the rate includes weekly cooking classes, kayaking, snorkeling and access to the steam room and sauna.  Plus, Wi-Fi is complimentary (although I might not tell Don that if I want him to stop working).

I think I feel a sun break coming on.

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.

Jamaica Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

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.

Aruba Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

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.

Dominican Republic Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

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.

Dominican Republic Excursions from Cheapcaribbean.com

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!