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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.

5 Events You’ll Want to Attend This Summer at the Beach

Take a look around you. The grass is starting to look alive; the sun is starting to shine a little bit brighter and the summer season is quickly approaching. Doesn’t it feel wonderful? With school wrapping up, it’s time to solidify your plans for the summer. Maybe you’re one of the ones who’s all packed and ready for your summer vacation. Perhaps you’re still doing some shopping and deciding on the perfect beach for you. Regardless, you’ll want to know what’s going down in the Caribbean & Mexico this summer. These five events are sure to make your beach vacay the best yet.

Julio Iglesias Concert, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana: June 7th

Spanish musician and songwriter, Julio Iglesias is taking on the Hard Rock in Punta Cana next week and it’s going to be a blast. Julio Iglesias is one of the best selling Latin music artists with nearly 80 albums and over 300 million records sold worldwide in 14 different languages. He’ll be in Punta Cana at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Fillmore Ballroom and will be serving up some of his classics. Concertgoers will enjoy the iconic performance of Iglesias, as well as be able to take advantage of the casino that calls Hard Rock home, among the long list of other amenities this 4.5-star resort has.

Julio Iglesias Concert - Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

Tickets range in price from $95 USD to $260 USD and can be purchased here.

Crop Over Festival, Barbados: All Summer Long

What could be better than a celebration around sugar? Barbados kicks off the Crop Over Festival in the beginning of June and has parties all summer long to celebrate the end of the sugar cane harvest, one of Barbados most prominent crops. Dating back as far as the 1780’s, the summer months in Barbados are usually ones for the record books. You can find a full calendar of events for June, July and August here. Just a few of the events include Bridgetown Market, a huge carnival-like show called Cohobblopot and Calypso, the festival competition that hands out titles like “Party Monarch” and “Sweet Soca Monarch.” There’s even a ceremony to crown a Queen & King of the Crop, or the most productive cane cutters of the season. Barbados is known to be happenin’ all summer long with lots of parties you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

July 4th Celebration, Breathless Punta Cana: July 4th

If you’re like us, soaking up some serious rays on the beaches of Punta Cana sounds like the perfect way to spend your long weekend on July 4th. But if you worry that a beach vacation might not be the best display of patriotism, don’t worry – Breathless Punta Cana is having a full-on celebration. Being that it’s the first Fourth of July for Breathless you can expect a full day and night of activities.

DJ Rhiannon 4th of July - Breathless Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

The morning starts off with tennis, paddle & beach volleyball tournaments, followed by an afternoon parade and pool party fully equipped with a kick-A DJ. As the sun sets, get ready for the party to get even hotter. Enjoy all sorts of traditional American food (hamburgers, hot dogs, barbeque…you get the picture) and prepare yourself as DJ Rhiannon takes the stage after an epic firework show at 11pm. As you can see, your Independence Day at Breathless Punta Cana will be perhaps your best one yet.

Reggae Sumfest, Jamaica: July 13th – July 19th 

Reggae Sumfest - Jamaica - CheapCaribbean.com

If sweet jams and stunning Jamaica sunsets are your thing, then the Reggae Sumfest is probably a must for you. This is perhaps one of the most well-known music festivals in the Caribbean and occurs mid-summer every year. It’s essentially a week of good music and good vibes. Each year the line-up seems to get bigger and better. This year performers include Future, Tessanne Chin and Sean Paul. The headliners are Jason Derulo and Wiz Khalifa. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to truly experience Jamaica.

Tickets to all of the events of the festival can be purchased here. The official resorts of the event include Secrets Resorts & Iberostar Hotels (both we highly recommend).

La Fiesta de Playa, Cancun: August

La Fiesta de Playa - Cancun - CheapCaribbean.com

Another event you’ll find us at this summer is in Cancun. It’s exactly what the name of the event reads – Beach Party. On the beaches of Cancun every August, there’s basically a big ol’ party. The 12 miles that stretch on the coast of Punta Cancun to Punta Nizuc host a long list of activities that include: fashion shows, volleyball tournaments, beach dance parties, concerts, etc. All the hotels located on this stretch of beach organize themed parties and party well into the night. La Fiesta de Playa is one of our favorite times in Cancun and we hope to see you all there. Get all the information on La Fiesta de Playa here.

So as you can see, the summer is full of fun in the Caribbean and Mexico. It’s almost necessary that you attend one of these phenom events. Which one are you dying to go to? Is there anything we missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Brittany Innes is Manager of Social Media at CheapCaribbean.com. She's a travel junkie with a passion for trying new things and being spontaneous. 

The Best 2014 Travel Deals Around

It may be hard to believe that 2013 is quickly dwindling away. Naturally as the window to travel in 2013 gets shorter, you’ll need to start thinking about the vacations you’ll be taking in 2014. That’s why this week we’re going to discuss what are some of the hottest deals to be on the lookout for the upcoming year. Since the options are near endless for 2014, you’ll want to hold on to your excitement, vacation shopping is about get fun!

Now Jade Riviera Cancun: Your Family’s Paradise

If you’re in charge of planning the family vacation, you probably get plenty of requests from everyone asking for different things – good food, great beach, activities for the young kiddos and cool, hip stuff for the older ones, right? So naturally it’s important that the vacation you plan has something to offer for every single member of your family. That’s why Now Jade Riviera Cancun is a perfect fit.

Best Family Beach Resort - Now Jade Riviera Cancun - CheapCaribbean.com

This 4.5-star all-inclusive resort in Riviera Maya is a contemporary interactive hotspot with options for everyone in your group. Now Jade Riviera Cancun sits right on a half-mile of crystal clear beach with three resort pools, including an adults-only pool & swim up bar. There’s also an Explorer’s Club that offers a number of exciting activities for children ages 4-12, such as big screen movies under the stars, treasure hunts & even a ocean trampoline. And with Unlimited Luxury® dining options, you’ll have access to eight restaurants & six bars, as well. After having dinner and hanging out at the themed party on the beach, retire to your modern suite that accommodates the entire family and get ready to do it all over again.

Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort: The Ultimate Couples’ Escape

While family vacations are a blast and definitely something we all look forward to, sometimes you’re looking to celebrate the romance just a bit. That’s why a week away with your significant other can be just what you need to rekindle the romance. Of course, you’ll be spending some quality time with the one who has your heart, but it’s still best practice to make sure that there are things each one of you can fully enjoy.

Best 2014 Couples Resort - Sandals Grande Jamaica - CheapCaribbean.com

When planning your 2014 couples vacation, you should consider Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort in Jamaica. Located perfectly on 100 acres of Ocho Rios’ prime real estate, this resort makes its home on the pure, white sands of the Caribbean Riviera. There are more than 90 private & semi-private pools across the resort grounds, so you can easily find your favorite spot in the rejuvenating Caribbean sun. We also recommend experiencing the onsite golf course located 700 ft. above sea level and one of the courses Golf Digest Magazine has named “Courses to Play While on Vacation.”

And when it’s time to get your grub on choose from one of 11 restaurants with options including Caribbean cuisine at The Reef Terrace, Italian fare at Valentino’s and grill fare at Sandtrap Grille. After dinner, join in on the fun activities and themed nightly parties. You can participate in the couples’ game show, Lovers’ Passion or hang at the Beach Party Barbeque with live entertainment. Whether it’s a honeymoon, anniversary or just a simple getaway, Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa Golf Resort is THE place to visit in the New Year.

Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa: Calling all the Partiers

Now if your vacation is all about catching some serious rays and having the time of your life, then your 2014 vacation spot is Punta Cana – Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa, more specifically. This luxury, adults-only 4.5-star resort caters to the fun, energetic lifestyle of singles, groups and any other occasions in need of a celebration.

Best 2014 Singles Resort - Breathless Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

Come see what this Vegas-style energy center has to offer for yourself. Nestled between the jungle and ocean, this beachfront resort offers five swimming pools, including an expansive infinity main pool, two quiet pools and two xhale club pools. You’ll also want to take advantage of the 24-hour Unlimited Luxury® dining & beverage options with a total of 12 restaurants & eight bars. Among the bars, there’s MartinOX, a cigar club & oxygen bar serving top-shelf spirits and After Dark, a late night sports bar & nightclub. Opening November 2013, there’s no denying that this will be one of the hottest all-inclusive resorts in the upcoming year.

So as daylight gets shorter, the weather gets colder and the holidays quickly approach, it’s time to start looking to the future - your vacation future, that is. There’s no denying that 2014 looks to be a promising year full of family, fun and, of course, great vacations!

Where are you dying to go in 2014? Let us know in the comments below. 

How to Have a Destination Celebration

Silky sands, turquoise waters, frozen concoctions, delicious local bites, warm breezes and some good old fashion relaxation – sounds like the perfect way to take it all in and celebrate the beach. So where should you go if you’re looking to experience all of this for yourself? Here are a few destinations that are perfect for this kind of celebration.

Bávaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in the Dominican Republic, Bávaro Beach is located in the heart of Punta Cana. It’s home to all the things you need to get your destination celebration on. The first necessity is a top-notch resort that’s got a great location and ton of perks to help you celebrate.

Best Party Beach - Iberostar Bavaro - CheapCaribbean.com

Iberostar Bávaro is 4 stars of all-inclusive luxury and located right on the coveted Bavaro Beach. Your stay here could consist of swimming in the large freeform pool, playing in the onsite water park or taking an afternoon nap on the beautiful beach. And when you get hungry, stop into one of 10 restaurants or grab a drink at one of the 10 bars. You can also go for a round of golf at the Iberostar Bávaro Golf Club onsite. And as nighttime falls, enjoy DC-6, a disco styled after an airplane where the DJ spins international hits in a cockpit. Did we mention you’ve got access to 24-hour all-inclusive here?

While you shouldn’t need to leave your resort for hardly any reason, if you’re looking to get out and explore some of the beach – we recommend having lunch at Jellyfish Restaurant. Their world-class menu of fresh seafood and beachfront views makes it an experience you don’t want to miss out on.

And for the thrill seeker in us all, perhaps you should rent an ATV and explore the lush, natural terrain that calls the Dominican Republic home. While you’re off exploring the lands of the DR, you can also venture to one of the many coffee and cocao plantations and learn how the beans turn into the deliciousness that is our beloved coffee. And of course, you can grab a few organic samples to bring home with you.

Bahia de Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico 

The beaches in Cancun are known to be pretty, clean and in a near perfect location to many of the resorts here. Known as the hotel zone, the hot beaches of Cancun are home to over 80 all-inclusive resorts. If this doesn’t sound like you’ve got options, we’re not sure what does. One of our choice resorts for celebration central is Hard Rock Hotel Cancun.

Best Party Resort - Hard Rock Hotel Cancun - Cheap Caribbean

What’s more fitting than a resort that’s built around throwing one heck of a party? The ultra-modern interior speaks to its party vibe, as well as its fun nightlife and kid-friendly perks. Grab a seat at the Beach Bar and order a signature cocktail before heading off to the freeform infinity pool for a dip. The kiddos can enjoy the waterslides in the kids’ pool while you oversee it all from one of two swim up bars. And enjoy the teppanayaki show at dinner or the samplings at any of the other four restaurants. Kids can hang at the supervised kids club while you catch a show at the amphitheater, all before calling it a night in your rock’n’roll suite.

And since Cancun is known as a beach hotspot, you’ll want to see what all the buzz is about. Be sure to check out Señor Frogs or Carlos’n Charlie’s. Either of these fabulous spots will give you a dining experience unlike any other. Don’t be surprised if the staff asks you stand on your chair and do a crazy dance, or better yet, jump on stage and participate in a fun contest. These are just two of the many places in Cancun’s downtown area that are action packed and full of fun.

Seven Mile Beach, Negril, Jamaica

Taking on the island of Jamaica is sure to promise memorable experiences full of vibrant culture, beautiful beaches and high-end luxury. That’s exactly what you’ll find on Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica. This is one of the Jamaican beaches that attract visitors looking for a quiet retreat. You’re also in a perfect location to experience all of Jamaica, if you’re feeling adventurous.

Best Party Beach - Sandals Negril - Cheap Caribbean

Sandals Negril Beach Resort & Spa is the perfect place to call home while experiencing the 1,700 feet of Seven Mile Beach located on resort property. With ample amounts of pool or beachside loungers and palapas, we encourage you to sit back and enjoy the surf, while munching on jerk chicken quesadillas from Café Sandals. And cool down in the pool with a Coco Loco from the swim-up bar at one of the four pools before dinner. With seven restaurants, nightly entertainment and out-of-this-world service, it’s no surprise that this resort has won the coveted Five Star Diamond Award.

But if experiencing off-the-beaten-path adventure is more your way of celebrating Jamaica, make sure to go for a dip in the Blue Hole. Located 40 minutes from Negril, this mineral spring swimming pool is a hidden oasis. If you’re feeling braver than ever, jump 22 feet into this natural spring pool. Then enjoy some local food and a good cocktail as a reward for unleashing your inner daredevil. You might also consider stopping by the open air Craft Market on your way home for some authentic souvenirs.

So it’s fairly obvious that no matter where you chose to go in the Caribbean or Mexico, it’s all about destination celebrations. There are always plenty of things you’ll experience that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. It’s just another reason we love celebrating it all at the beach. Where would you go for the perfect destination celebration? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

 

Summer Songs to Live By

Happy Summer! This time of year means lots of warm weather, sunshine and fun with family and friends. It’s the one season where a vacation attitude is often encouraged and accepted. But what’s one thing your summer wouldn’t be complete with? Good music. We’d go as far to say there’s not much better than a perfect song that speaks to your state-of-mind, whether you’re beachside or poolside. Here’s what we’ll be listening to at the beach this summer:

Soak Up the Sun – Sheryl Crow

Who’s up for trading in the laptop for a poolside lounger? Any song that speaks to spending your days in the sun and channeling your inner sun god or goddess is an anthem of ours. We interpret Sheryl Crow’s song to be a direct request to find a pool, or better yet a beautiful beach where the sun is always shinning to fully live up to it's meaning.

So if you interpret the same, may we suggest Excellence Playa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico?  Two miles of dazzling white sand, cushy loungers and palapas, swim-up bars and hammocks suspended just inches above the pool are just a few of the reasons we’d say this is the perfect place to live out the lyrics to this summer tune.

best summer resort - Excellence Playa Mujeres - CheapCaribbean

And while our friend sings of soaking up the sun, don’t worry – she’s all about her SPF too. So in the words of Sheryl Crow make sure you’ve “got your 45 on.”

Summer Love – Justin Timberlake

The summer just wouldn’t feel complete without a little love. Whether you’re looking for love, looking to celebrate your love or just want to spend a little quality time with your significant other, summer is the perfect time to embrace the feeling.

Following the cues of Justin himself, we’re all for an escape to Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall for just you and your better half. Live it up by your summer love’s side, with thirteen restaurants, full service swim-up bar, beach cabanas and a crystal clear beach to accompany it all.

best resort for summer love - iberostar grand jamaica - cheapcaribbean.com

So you can chose to decide what type of L-O-V-E it is at the end of the summer, but for now grab a drink and your honey and celebrate each other with a magnificent beach view.

Two Piña Coladas – Garth Brooks

And of course, summer wouldn’t have the reputation it has without a few classics that never seem to get old. Among the many summer jams that can’t be forgotten, Garth Brooks’ “Two Piña Coladas,” is the epitome of the ideal summer day. And why not hold true to the lyrics of this song with two Piña Coladas, one for each hand, at the place the Piña Colada was said to be invented, Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

best summer resort - Caribe Hilton Puerto Rico - CheapCaribbean.com

First made on August 15, 1952 at the Caribe Hilton’s Beachcomber Bar, it’s safe to say that the Piña Colada is this resort’s specialty, making it the perfect place to live up to this song’s lyrics. Enjoy the two infinity pools, two beach view Jacuzzis, six restaurants, three bars and much more at this Puerto Rico and Garth Brooks classic.

But wait, there’s more. While we called out three of our favorites here, there’s a whole playlist that’s got our must-listen “Beach Tunes.” Listen to it here. And now it’s your turn…what are some of your favorite summer or beach songs? Make your recommendations in the comments section below.