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Best Beaches to Celebrate Special Occasions

The beach doesn't have to be just a place to get in some R&R and take in the stunning views; it can also be a place where special memories are made. That’s why we think it’s time to celebrate – time to celebrate all the reasons why the beach might be the perfect place for you and your friends or family to create stories and memories that will last a lifetime. Check out our favorite special occasion beaches below:

Best Destination Wedding Getaway: Half Moon, A Rock Resort in Jamaica

It’s your big day – the day you will pledge to spend the rest of your life with that special someone. And better yet, you’ve decided pearly white sands and crystal clear waters would make for the perfect backdrop for this ultimate occasion. But which beach is just as perfect for you as you are for your honey? While there are plenty of great answers to that question, a top pick of ours is Half Moon, A Rock Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Serving guests for over 50 years, Half Moon, A Rock Resort is home to two miles of private beachfront property and 400 acres of resort sure to offer everything the happy couple needs, as well as accommodate those you chose to include in your big day.

Enjoy a morning cup of coffee, breakfast with a view of Sunset Beach at Seagrape Terrace, as you calm your nerves and prepare yourself for what’s to follow. After a quick dip in one of the three pools, head off to get yourself ready for the event of your lifetime. Don’t worry, your guests can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking and pedal boats, among other things, as they wait in anticipation for your special event.

Best Destination Wedding Resort, Half Moon, A Rock Resort by CheapCaribbean.com

After you've exchanged your vows and are ready to begin truly celebrating, drop the kids off at the Children’s Village and eat, drink and be merry at one of six restaurants or seven bars. May we suggest the contemporary Caribbean cuisine at Sugar Mill or Italian option, IL Giardino for your first meal as husband and wife.

Best Honeymoon & Anniversary Getaway: THE ROYAL Cancun & THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen

What’s more special than celebrating you and your significant other, especially when it’s celebrating the beginning of your journey together or commiserating the time you’ve spent together and looking towards the future? Whether you’re looking to celebrate your honeymoon or honor your anniversary, we highly recommend THE ROYAL Cancun & THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen.

THE ROYAL Cancun is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort located in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone and perfectly placed on the pristine sands of the Caribbean tides, making it the place to spend some quality time with your better half. The Olympic-sized infinity pool, among the resorts oceanfront pool and 2 heated in-pool Jacuzzis make for ideal poolside and beachside lounging. Don’t worry, this resort is also home to exclusive Royal Beach Cabanas®, a convenient flag system for waiter service and beach butlers to provide cold towel service, suntan lotion, ice water and even reading materials delivered straight to your beachside canopy bed.

Best Honeymoon Resort, THE ROYAL Cancun by CheapCaribbean.com

And as the sun sets on this perfect day, have dinner at one of nine restaurants with features ranging from authentic Spanish tapas at Tapas and Pinxtos to unique Caribbean seafood fusions that can be found at Pelicanos. Also, be sure to take advantage of THE ROYAL Cancun offerings of tequila & beer tasting sessions once a week, educational wine tastings hosted by hotel sommelier and nightly entertainment that includes Cirque du Soliel-style shows.

And if you’d like to embark upon a more private, secluded version of what you’ll find at THE ROYAL Cancun, let us suggest a stay at THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen. Still located in a prime spot near Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue, this resorts offers all its Cancun sister property does, just on a beautiful stretch of beach in the very heart of a quaint fisherman’s village.

Best Honeymoon Resort, THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen by CheapCaribbean.com

You’ll still find an Olympic-sized lap pool, beach-front infinity pool and beach cabana service to help pass the time during the day. And when it’s time for dinner enjoy the nine restaurants, all offering a signature menu or custom feature that’s unique to THE ROYAL and the island of Playa del Carmen. In addition to Trade Winds, the swim-up bar and the lobby bar, perfect for wrapping yourself up in conversation with your honey, make sure to take advantage of the 24-hour, all-inclusive lounge that will cater to your need, no matter the time of day.

Best Singles Getaway: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana

Grab your homies and get to the beach. Whether the celebration is for a groom-or bride-to-be or just a group of friends looking for some good old-fashioned fun, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana is the perfect setting for the beach party of a lifetime.

Best Singles Resort Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana by CheapCaribbean.com

Being the first all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel in the world and recently named a 2013 AAA Four Diamond hotel, this joint is sure to please. This resort does everything big, offering 13 restaurants and snack bars, seven bars, and 15 pools – if that doesn't spell out time of your life, we’re not sure what does.

After spending the day tossing between the lazy river and four swim-up bars, try the fare at Ipanema, the Brazilian steakhouse, Isla, the Caribbean-inspired a la carte option or Zen, the Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant. And end the night by making big bets in the 45,000-sq-ft casino, wagering on major sports events at the Sports Book Bar or dancing the night away at Oro Nightclub with nightly entertainment and special guests.

So while we all want to go to the beach for different reasons, there's definitely a few times a trip to the beach means more than just vacation. What did you most recently celebrate at the beach?

Beach Bars You’ll Be Dying to Order a Drink From

Is there anything that goes together better than peanut butter & jelly, Sonny & Cher or salt & pepper, just to name a few? Well, we’d suggest that there isn’t anything more perfect for one another than a beautiful beach and an ice cold drink to compliment the view. So, this week we’re all about the places you can get a signature concoction and bask in the sun. Best beach bars…ready, set, go!

Nikki Beach, ME Cabo by Melia

Perfectly placed on Cabo San Lucas’ only swimmable beach, ME Cabo by Melia is one of the area’s hottest resorts and known to throw some of the best beach parties. Playa del Medano, the beach ME Cabo is located on, is near Los Cabos landmarks, Land’s End & Lover’s Beach and visible from the Bali beds and two pools at Nikki Beach. With pool DJs all year long and a swim up bar serving up the best beach drinks around, Nikki Beach is a luxurious beachfront utopia that Los Cabos has come to be known for.

Nikki Beach, Best Beach Bar in Cabo by CheapCaribbean.com

This trendy hotspot has an entire schedule of parties planned for the rest of the summer, like a Pirate themed party on August 17 or it’s weekly events, such as Nikki Beach in the House that takes place every Friday or Soleil @ Nikki Beach, every Saturday through the end of the summer. And after an afternoon full of bottle service and handpicked DJ tunes, head out on the town as you’re in walking distance from some of the most legendary clubs and lounges in the area. There’s no denying that your time at Nikki Beach and ME Cabo by Melia will leave you feeling like the a-list party goer you’ll be surrounded by here.

Rick’s Café, Negril, Jamaica

Quite possibly one the most well known bars in Jamaica and with good reason, Rick’s Café is a hotspot serving up signature cocktails and offering an unforgettable time. Since 1974, this bar & grill has come to be a Jamaican staple. Rick’s Café was the first public bar in the quiet fishing town of Negril years ago and still boasts unforgettable views from it’s naturally formed cliffs.

Rick's Cafe, Best Beach Bar in Jamaica by CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: http://rickscafejamaica.com/

At Rick’s, you can spend your day by the only cliff side pool and take advantage of the cabana service as your bask in the Jamaican sun. Or after spending the day at Negril’s iconic Seven Mile Beach, settle into the patio at Rick’s for possibly the best view on the island of the Jamaican sunset. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the cliff divers that regularly jump from the West End Cliff where Rick’s Café sits.

Infiniti Bar, Grace Bay Club, Turks & Caicos 

How does sipping a beverage served at a bar that stretches all the way onto Grace Bay Beach and the crystal clear waters of Turks & Caicos sound? If you agree that this sounds like pure heaven, then we’ll save you a seat at Grace Bay Club’s Infinity Bar. This five-star resort is home to the longest bar in the Caribbean, stretching over 90 feet long and boosting some of the best views on the islands.

Best Beach Bars in Turks & Caicos by CheapCaribbean.com

Spend your afternoon at either the family friendly main pool or adults’ only pool, or take advantage of the free watersports offered, such as snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing. And as the sun sets into the picturesque horizon, sample some of the tapas dishes and Caribbean cocktails at the bar that seems to disappear into the ocean. After a cocktail hour at Infinity Bar and dinner at one of the resort’s four restaurants, head to hip on-the-beach oasis, The Lounge for an evening of sizzling fun. And as you retire to your oceanfront suite, mentally prepare yourself to live this dream all over again the next day.

While these are just a sample of our favorites, there’s no denying that the Caribbean & Mexico are known to have some of the best bars with the best views. Let us know your favorite spot to catch some sun and a drink in the comments below. Cheers!

4 Things to Do this Summer in the Caribbean & Mexico

Where to go? What to do? These are all natural questions to ask when you’re busy planning your vacation itinerary. The good news is summertime in the Caribbean & Mexico is packed full of festivals, celebrations and plenty of fun things to do. If you’re heading to the beach this summer, be sure to pencil in some of these must-dos.

St. John’s Carnival Festival 2013: June 1st – July 4th

If you’re heading to any of the U.S. Virgin Islands in the next few weeks, St. John, more specifically, you’ll be there for the island’s largest celebration. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Come and Explore the Cultural Scene for Festival 2013,” which means you can expect lots of events centered around St. John’s culture and history.

The whole calendar includes activities featuring traditional food and music, among other things. Also, there’s a legend of West African inspired mocko jumbies, which were shape-changing ghost-like figures that traditionally appeared at night and scared those who were out late and being mischievous. People dressed up as mocko jumbies parade around the events on stilts and elaborate costumes, and are a signature of St. John’s festival. All of this is cumulated at the conclusion of the festival on July 4th with one final parade and, of course, a massive firework show.

Things to do in St. John from CheapCaribbean.com

See the beautiful costumes, taste the delicious food and experience the spirit that encompasses St. John with a schedule of events here.

Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival: August 1st – August 5th 

Jamaica is known for many things, reggae music being one of them. Upon its origination in the 1960s in Jamaica, reggae is a music style with influences of traditional African, ska and Rastafari.  And the first week of August in Ocho Rios is a festival to celebrate this true Jamaican style and most specifically this year “Woman in Film.”

Originating in 2008, the Jamaica International Reggae Film Festival is an opportunity to come together and celebrate the reggae style that is home to Jamaica. In the past, several of the films shown at the festival have received awards and honors from film festivals all over the world. And this year the Festival will include a larger emphasis on reggae music with a plethora of live performances and the addition of new Music Video Awards. The event will take place at Island Village in Ocho Rios, which is also home to great shopping and entertainment. It sounds like this week in Jamaica, among others, is one you won’t want to miss.

La Fiesta de Playa, Cancun: August 11th – August 13th 

If you’re look to party on the beach like the name of the festival means, it looks like Cancun is the place for you during this week in August. This celebration takes place in the middle of Cancun’s hotel zone and offers plenty of ways to let loose, such as parties, DJs, fashion shows, concerts, competitions, traditional Mexico food and plenty of other cultural events. This party has been rumored to be so legendary, it’s often called “The Biggest Beach Party in the World.”

Cancun Hotel Zone Beach Party from CheapCaribbean.com

And after three days of beach parties you can only dream about, you can hop over to Isla Mujeres on August 17th to take part in their Founding Day festivities. This day marks the day in 1854 when the first settlement was founded on the island and is often times celebrated with a mass dive off the coast of the island, as well as parades, a pageant, live music and dancing. Spending this week in August in Mexico will give you an accurate representation of how these people party and possibly inspire you to bring some of the fun home with you.

Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival – August 30th – August 31st

And if a-list celebrity, star-studded events are more of your thing, we suggest the Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival, a two day festival that takes place at the end of August. Just recently announced, Usher and Marc Anthony will be headlining this event celebrating jazz music.

Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival from CheapCaribbean.com

There’s a full roster of iconic music acts including The Roots, Diana Ross, Luis Miguel, Toto, Erykah Badu and Sonny Rollings, just to name a few. There’s no denying that this event sounds like one of the best beach music festivals all summer long. With picturesque beaches and even better tunes, we almost consider this event the perfect way to wrap up your summer travels.

If you’d like to WIN your way to Curacao for this festival, don’t forget to enter our Tweet to Win promotion running through June 25th. Make sure you’re following us on Twitter to get all the info.

Five Fab Caribbean Beaches To Plant Your Bum by JetSetSarah

JetSetSarah blogs for CheapCaribbean.com

By: JetSetSarah

Get washed up on one of these beaches and cross your fingers that that no one comes to rescue you.

1. Bambarra Beach, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands­

Over on Provo, Grace Bay gets all the love. But one of my favorite strands is just a 30-minute ferry and less than 35 miles away from the Turks and Caicos Island tourist hub, secreted on sleepy Middle Caicos (pop. 300). You can’t help but be captivated by the beach at Bambarra, where, for about a quarter-mile, sun-warmed ankle-deep, crystal-clear water skims a rippled carpet of ivory sand. The tiny islet of Pelican Cay beckons you from the horizon, and in no time flat you’ll be answering its call, splashing your way towards it verdant landscape. While it might take you a minute to find this gem (there’s only a half-obscured hand-painted sign to direct you off the main road and down a gravel path to this casuarina tree-fringed beauty), Bambarra is totally worth the effort.

Turks & Caicos Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

2. Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

My favorite Jamaican beach is one of the island’s most picturesque, with a wide white-sand strand whose placid waters wash up against a sheltered cove. A small river flows through the 48-acre property, meeting the warm sea at the beach’s western end, where children fling themselves off a rope swing into refreshing waters. Cinematically beautiful (the movie Cocktail was shot here), blissfully quiet on a weekday, and located in what I think is Jamaica’s most idyllic quarter, Frenchman’s is a beach lover’s dream come true.

3. Seven-Mile Beach, Grand Cayman

Cayman Islands Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Somehow the Caribbean sun seems to shine its brightest on Grand Cayman’s marquee strand, possibly the hottest beach I’ve ever had the pleasure to bask on. I love nothing better than to chillax on a chaise and watch the parade of people go by: oiled-up European tourists in big chains and tiny bikinis; conventioneers freshly escaped from the frigidly air-conditioned confines of their hotel conference rooms; cruise ship day-trippers making a bee-line for a bucket of beer at Calico Jack’s. It might be a bit of a cliché, but Seven-Mile Beach is a classic Caribbean choice  – and a great one.

4. Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

What’s not to love about this 12-mile long sweep of sand bordered by warm, clear turquoise water? When I first visited Grace Bay in Provo more back in the 90s, you could step out onto the shore, look up and down, and not see a single soul. Now, of course, the scene is completely different, with swanky mid-rise hotels and restaurants bordering the shore. But the beach bum-basics are still there: sand as fine as confectioner’s sugar, gin-clear sea, and a laidback vibe that encourages you to slow down, pop open a frosty Turks Head, and take it all in.

5. Maundays Bay, Anguilla

Like all of Anguilla’s 33 beaches, Maundays Bay is public, so you don’t have to be a guest of plush Cap Juluca (the resort which has pride of place on its sands), to enjoy it. If you are, however, more’s the better. Hotel guests enjoy the services of beach butlers, who, as soon as they see you coming, will open a beach umbrella, dress your chaise with a towel and pillow, and set down a cooler of drinks for your seaside refreshment. But whether you’re staying at Cap J or not, this spectacular combo of mesmerizingly blue water and bone-white sands is yours to enjoy, whether for a few days or for just one blissful hour.

Anguilla Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

Photo Credit by Tiare Scott

Jet Set Sarah, Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, is a Caribbean travel expert, award-winning travel journalist, and TV personality. Former executive editor of Caribbean Travel +Life magazine, she ventures to the beach and beyond, sharing the diverse culture, relaxed lifestyle and colorful people of the world’s favorite warm-weather destination. She is also jetsetter-in-chief at JetSetSarah.com, where travel and shopping meet.

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?