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Postcard worthy beaches perfect for Spring Break

Although Phil, the groundhog, saw his shadow a few weeks ago, signifying there’s six more weeks left of winter, the snow will slowly start to melt and spring will be here before you know it. With all of the sunshine & new growth that come with spring, also comes the time of year perfect for a little getaway. Yes, we’re talking about spring break. It’s the few days of spring that the kids are out of school and you can take off and jet away to somewhere warm and tropical. For this spring break, we recommend picking a destination that’s not only perfect for memory making, but also takes some pretty stellar pictures. See what’s on our list of post-card worthy beaches and start planning the most epic spring break getaway today.

Eagle Beach, Ojahansted, Aruba

Aruba is known for it’s cooling trade winds, friendly people and breathtaking beaches, making it an absolute must for our list of post-card destinations. More specifically, Eagle Beach is known for it’s pristine, white sand & clear turquoise waters. In fact, Trip Advisor recently named Eagle Beach as one of the top ten beaches in the world. Now tell us that isn’t picture perfect?

Eagle Beach, Aruba - Spring Break Vacations - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo by Aruba Tourism Authority

Not only is this beach a sight for sore eyes, but it’s perfect for tennis fans. On the weekends, tennis matches can be found all along the beach. And if you’re in Aruba at the right time of year, you might even be able to witness the hatchings of four species of sea turtle nests that call Eagle Beach home. If you see the beach lined with red and white markers, turtle nests containing as many as 80 eggs are in the process of hatching and making their way to their more permanent home, the ocean. Our pick for the perfect place to rest your head as you venture to Aruba’s iconic beach is Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa. This boutique, all-inclusive experience offers three restaurants, customizable spa treatments at Spa del Sol, among other things, all perfectly placed right on one of the world’s top beaches.

Playa Negra, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

If one of your spring break requirements is “something different”, Puerto Rico might just be the spot for you. The island is home to plenty of vibrant culture, delicious food, stellar nightlife and of course, unique beaches. For the ultimate family vacation spot, we recommend a stay at Gran Melia Golf Resort. Not only are there two 18-hole, championship golf courses for the avid golfers in your family, there’s an oceanfront lagoon-style pool with swim up bar, five onsite restaurants and a long list of extracurricular activities. This 4.5-star beach resort will surely have something to keep every member of your family entertained.

Gran Melia Golf Resort, Puerto Rico - Spring Break Vacations - CheapCaribbean.com

Now, for the reason this destination makes our postcard worth beaches list: Playa Negra. This black sand beach located on Vieques Island will most certainly make for postcard worthy pictures. The beach gets its black sand from past volcanic activity and a shift in tectonic plates. We recommend a day trip to Vieques Islands to explore it’s other iconic light sanded beaches and then venturing off to Playa Negra for an experience that’ll make your entire trip – and make for some good pictures, of course.

Trunk Bay Beach, St. John., U.S. Virgin Islands

For the adventure seekers on spring break vacation, let us suggest Trunk Bay Beach in St. John. Next to it’s stellar views and clean, clear waters, this spot is known to have some of the most beautiful ocean life. There’s a 225-yard-long Underwater Trail of reefs, made perfect for snorkeling & underwater photography. After lounging under an umbrella on the coral sands, you can take advantage of the water-sport rentals or take a swim in the calm waters of the bay.

Photo Credit: Travel Channel

Photo credit by Travel Channel

After a long day of beaching at Trunk Bay, you’ll want to have a place to call home. Our pick is Westin St. John Resort & Villas. This 5-star resort was recently voted as Best Island Paradise and Best Family Experience by Starwood’s loyalty members. The whole fam can take a dip in the quarter-acre freshwater pool or mom and dad can head over to the golf course while the kids hang at the Westin Kids Club. Enjoy plenty of dining options & even indulge in a spa treatment at the Westin St. John spa. It sounds like your trip to St. John will be packed full of fun things to do and see, all while being surrounding by stunning beauty. Don't forget that you're only a hop, skip and a jump away from the rest of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

With only a few weeks left until spring break season is officially underway, you'll want to get started planning the trip of a lifetime. What do you think of our list? Do you agree? What else would you add to our postcard beaches list? Tell us what you think 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. 

Best Holiday & New Years Eve Beach Celebrations

There’s no denying that the last few days of 2013 are going to be full of parties, celebrations & quality time with the people you love. If you’re one of the lucky ones who are getting to celebrate your favorite holiday at the beach, you’ll need to know what fun parties & celebrations are happening and how to participate. Here’s what’s happening for the holidays in the Caribbean & Mexico. 

Party Bahamian Style at Junkanoo

For those of you planning to live the island life in the Bahamas this season, you’re in luck. The Bahamas celebrate Junkanoo on December 26th and it’s one of the biggest cultural celebrations these islands see all year long. It just wouldn’t be Christmas at the beach without an iconic Junkanoo celebration.

Junkanoo Holiday Celebration - Bahamas - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: Cathy K.

If you’re in the neighborhood, you’ll want to venture to Bay Street in Nassau during the early morning hours of the day after Christmas (which is known as Boxing Day in the U.S.) and prepare yourself for an experience you’ll never forget. All night long there’s a Junkanoo parade that moves through the streets of downtown Nassau and features traditional Junkanoo dance troupes with bright, colorful costumes, music, crowds and plenty of celebratory fun. After you’ve danced with your fellow Bahamians all night long, there’s a Junkanoo procession where judges award cash prizes for the best music, best costume and best overall group presentation. As you can see, this is one event you want to make sure you don’t miss out on.

New Years Celebrations at the Beach

The Caribbean & Mexico is known for plenty of sizzling nightlife. And this doesn’t exclude New Years Eve. You can guarantee that hot spots like Punta Cana & San Juan will be crawling with exclusive New Years Eve parties that everyone will be dying to get into. Here are a few of our favorite parties you might want to take advantage of:

  • Illusions, New Years Eve Celebration: Perhaps one of the most anticipated NYE events in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino hosts a New Years celebration called “Illusions,” and it’s sure to promise a good time. The event features all-inclusive bars with premium spirits, 4 main areas with different ambiances and the best line up on entertainment. This year there’s a long list of world-renowned DJs, including DJ Garcia, DVJ King Arthur and DJ Roger M. Get your tickets here.

Puerto Rico New Years Party - Sheraton Puerto Rico - CheapCaribbean.com

  • Bubbles NYE 2014, Club Brava: Located inside El San Juan Resort & Casino, this hot spot is known for throwing some of the most iconic parties. And with an occasion like NYE, nothing will be spared. Enjoy a chic atmosphere with a guest DJ spinning jams with the party lasting well into the 1st day of 2014. Get tickets & information here.
  • La Concha, A Renaissance Resort: This NYE event is perfect for the group that’s looking to kick back and relax as they take in the last few hours of 2013. You can expect hopping music, a fun light show fully equipped with fireworks and a group of your fellow hotel patrons looking to cheers to an exciting year ahead. And while the tunes may be playing into the wee hours of the morning, you can expect that when you wake up on January 1st the hotel will be put back together and ready for you to take on another day in paradise.

  • David Guetta and Calvin Harris Concert: If you’re spending any of the holidays in Punta Cana, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the concert of a lifetime on your calendar. DJs David Guetta and Calvin Harris will take the stage and perform beachside at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana on December 30.
  • Steve Aoki, featured at The City, Cancun: It’s no surprise Cancun is known to have some of the hottest nightclubs in Mexico and come New Years Eve the parties just won’t stop. Hot spot, The City in Cancun’s downtown area will feature world-renowned DJ/Producer, Steve Aoki on December 31st. He’s known to throw some amazing parties with plenty of champagne and tons of cake. You’ll definitely want to attend.

So as you can see the Caribbean & Mexico are going to be lively over the next few weeks. For those of you that are booked and ready to go, share where you’ll be staying in the comments below. And for those that are dying to be beachside at one of these events, make sure to shop our last minute deals. Happy Holidays! 

 

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!

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.

Beach Foodie Favorites & Top Resort Chefs

Vacations are meant to be a time where you can indulge and live the good life. This often means hours spent hanging poolside, swimming in the ocean, relaxing at the resort spa and of course, eating. Your dining options often times are a deciding factor when planning your perfect getaway, especially if you’re considering an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean or Mexico. So we’ll make it easy for you – here’s a handful of top-of-the-line resorts that are known to have it all, including fabulous, well-known dining options.

Paradisus Playa Del Carmen, La Perla 

Playa del Carmen is known for having some of the clearest waters and softest sands in Mexico. And the 5-star Paradisus Playa del Carmen, La Perla is the perfect accessory to this incredible Mexico destination. Located near Playa del Carmen’s famous 5th Avenue, this adults-only resort offers a total of 11 restaurants and nine bars, including the full access you have at its sister resort, Paradisus La Esmeralda - so your options are limitless.

Playa del Carmen Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

In addition to the four swimming pools and beachfront location with a beautiful, swimmable beach, Paradisus La Perla has been made famous by Spanish, 7-Michelin-star winner, Martin Berasategui’s restaurant, Passion. With a touch of retro accompanied by elegant signature cuisine and dramatically decadent desserts, Passion is Berasategui’s interpretation of the perfect romantic evening for you and your special someone.

After a dinner you could only dream of, head over to the chic M Bar, with its stellar wine selection and martini menu. And end the night in your Royal Service Suite with an in-room aromatherapy treatment or a soak in your Jacuzzi. Don’t worry - your personal butler is on hand, should you need anything at all.

Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, you can expect to find a lot of luxury resorts with an array of dining options and featured chefs. One of our top picks can be found at Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza. This resort straddles the Condado Peninsula giving you a view of both the Atlantic and Condado Lagoon, as well as boasting a saltwater pool, freshwater pool, lap pool and two spa Jacuzzis. You’ll have no problem soaking up the rays at any of these water options or at the swim-up bar.

Conrad San Juan Puerto Rico Vacation from CheapCaribbean.com

And when the sun sinks behind the Puerto Rican horizon, slip into something a little more elegant and prepare yourself for a meal that can be described as “a fusion of exotic ingredients” from Puerto Rico, Africa and East Europe at Pikayo. Owned by true Puerto Rican chef, Wilo Benet this fine dining restaurant has been in business for 22 years and received honors from publications like Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Conde Nast Traveler, Caribbean Travel & Life, Miami Herald, and the New York Times. With a menu that often changes with the tastes of the season, sample things like Alaskan king salmon or truffle-cheese empanadillas. Finish out the night by trying your chance with lucky lady in the 24-hour casino on the premises.

Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, Oranjestad

Perfectly placed in the center of downtown Oranjestad, Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino is an absolute paradise. A stay here comes equipped with access to Renaissance Island, a 40-acre island boasting two private beaches, Dive Center and Marina offering snorkeling and scuba diving adventures, two casinos, 24-hour entertainment and a long list of activities to keep your itineraries full of fun and excitement.

Renaissance Aruba by CheapCaribbean.com

But now onto why it’s one of our foodie favorites. Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino offers eight restaurants including a signature tapas menu at Blue’s and L.G. Smith’s Steak and Chop House featuring Chef Edward Zievinger. Named after the late L.G. Smith, Vice President of Lago and the man responsible for turning a “useless” island by the Spainards into one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, this steak house offers juicy cuts of aged, USDA Inspected Certified Angus Beef among delectable appetizers and extensive list of signature desserts. Their boundless wine list is also a 2012 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence recipient, so no need to worry about what you’ll drink with dinner. The award-winning staff will be sure to provide you with the dinner of your dreams.

So if you're mouth is watering and begging you for a taste,  it's time to plan that much-needed and well-deserved Caribbean or Mexico escape. With these being just a few of our fabulous foodie favorites, you can check out more of our favorites here. And if you've got a favorite of your own, be sure to share with us below.