Blog Archives

Tag Archives: vacation

CheapCaribbean.com’s Holiday Guide to Giving the Perfect Gift

Holiday shopping season is officially on! If you’re anything like us, you’ve been racking your brain to find the right present to wow your favorite people. Finding the perfect gift is part of the fun, but who are we kidding - we want our gift to be the best! And maybe this year some very lucky people on your shopping list will get the gift of a lifetime! Because nothing’s better than a surprise vacation, right?

The gift of travel is more than just a trip. It’s an unforgettable experience that will have the recipient giddy with excitement, even after the vacay is over. So whether you’re taking part in the trip or gifting to some special and deserving people, we’ve got the ideas to guide you along the way.

For the Hopeless Romantic:

For someone that’s always on the go, unwrapping a quiet getaway is a gift they’ll cherish. A secluded spot on the beach, a frothy drink and an ocean view seriously make for the perfect romantic getaway. One of our favorite resorts is Couples Isle Tower in Jamaica.

Romantic Vacation Package: Couples Tower Isle from CheapCaribbean.com

The couples only all-inclusive resort has major glamour appeal complete with a vintage diving board and an old Hollywood feel. But best of all, it has:

  • its own private island that you can only reach by boat.

  • an incredible spa that’s been voted the best in the Caribbean several years in a row.

  • a quiet beach, perfect for relaxation and privacy.

For the Perfect Family Getaway:

And, if you plan to surprise the whole family with a tropical trip, you’ll want to settle down in the sand somewhere at a resort that offers supervised activities for the little ones, family events for the whole group and of course, child care so you can take the night off, a treat you and your sweetheart deserve. Maybe somewhere like Dreams Punta Cana will suit your fancy.

Best Family Gift: Dreams Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

The all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic offers Unlimited Luxury® from its front door. It’s also got:

  • an Explorer’s Club with a pirate ship waterslide and even a weekly campout adventure!

  • a Core Zone for teens with video games, batting cages, archery and bonfires on the beach.

  • 10 bars, gourmet restaurants, cocktail-making lessons and a world-class spa.

The Perfect Gift for all the Thrill-Seekers:

For adventure seekers, a gift that connects nature, some enchanting scenery and the promise of a thrill will do the trick. What’s better than pairing a gorgeous backdrop with fun-filled days planned ahead? One cozy place to consider is El Establo.

Best Gift for a Thrill-Seeker: El Establo Costa Rica - CheapCaribbean.com

The mountain hotel is hillside in a quaint area called Monteverde in Costa Rica. It’s got the best features, including:

  • its own private, tree-top canopy tour and mountain biking trail.

  • a great location close to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Arenal Volcano.

  • gorgeous mountain-top views from cottage-like guest rooms.

Calling all Party Animals:

But if you’re looking for a party, the place to be is ME Cancun. Can you imagine finding out that your friends have booked the group for a beachfront New Year’s Eve party in Cancun? Check out that pool!

Best Party Gift: ME Cancun - CheapCaribbean.com

The swanky Me Cancun by Melia is hip, trendy and always lively with:

  • special guest DJs, live performances and bottle service at The Beach Club and Rose Bar.

  • the perfect location on white sand and a South Beach vibe in the heart of Cancun.

  • adults-only pools, a 24/7 fitness center and guest rooms so impressive they even blew MTV’s cast of The Real World Cancun away.

So as you can see, the options are pretty much endless when you're shopping for the perfect gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list. If you're looking for even more options, be sure to check out our full gift guide here. And be sure to tell us what you're buying for the loved ones in your life in the comments section below! 

 

Save the Date: #CheapCaribbean Best Beaches Twitter Party, May 21st, 1-2pm CST

Mark your calendars, CheapCaribbean.com is hosting its first ever Twitter Party! This Tuesday from 1-2pm CST, join us and special guests, Matt Long, @LandLopers from LandLopers, Kara Williams, @KaraSW from The Vacation Gals and Katie Dillion, @LaJollaMom from La Jolla Mom on Twitter, as we discuss the best beaches in the Caribbean & Mexico. We'd love to hear your favorite vacation spots and what you love about the beach, as we'll be sharing insider tips on all of our favorite beaches and all the reasons why we love them.

Use the hashtag #CheapCaribbean to join in on the fun!

Use the hashtag #CheapCaribbean to jump in on the conversation!

Here's how to jump in on the fun:

  • On Tuesday, May 21st at from 1-2pm CST, log onto to Twitter and make sure you're following us at @cheapcaribbean.
  • Jump in on the conversation by answering our questions & tweeting your thoughts about the best beaches, using the hashtag #CheapCaribbean.
  • Three lucky partygoers will win the ultimate beach bum package valued at over $300! To be eligible, participants must follow @CheapCaribbean on Twitter and tweet using the #CheapCaribbean hashtag at least one time during the party. Winners will be selected at random.
Prize package includes Ray Bans, iPod Shuffle, beach bag, oversized beach towel and other beach accessories.

Prize package includes Ray Bans, iPod Shuffle, beach bag, oversized beach towel and other beach accessories.

 

Be sure to follow Matt Long at @LandLoper Kara Williams at @KaraSW and Katie Dillion at @LaJollaMom, as they share their travel insights with us. We're excited to hear what you have to say and we'll see you there! Happy Tweeting!

 

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.

Ooh La Luxe, Luxury Resort Deals You Can’t Pass Up

When we are shopping for vacations we’re often looking for the package that’s going to give us the most for our money. No surprise there. In fact, all our favorite vacation packages this week highlight luxury but are still slim on your budget. Take a peek and see what you think.

Boutique Luxury on a Budget

Los Cabos is an area that’s packed full of high-end, luxury resorts, including this Condé Nast Traveler pick as one of the “Top Ten Mexico Hotels.” Pueblo Bonito Pacifica is a boutique spa resort that is the perfect spot for the adult only vacation you’re planning. This trendy hotel offers tranquil views and ultimate relaxation. Couples and singles both enjoy the all-inclusive beachfront luxe life here.

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Hotel in Los Cabos from Cheapcaribbean.com

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica serves up beautiful Pacific Ocean views as well as pure relaxation and tranquility.

Spend your days lounging on a Bali bed on the beach or making friends with the bartender at the swim up bar at one of the two beachfront pools. You’ll also want to check out the daily scheduled activities, such as wine or tequila tastings, which make for a great way to give some new drinks a try. Don’t forget to schedule a customized spa treatment at Armonia Spa. We recommend the couples spa day with massages in the private couples suite, equipped with champagne and strawberries.

As the evening approaches, you’ll have to decide between one of the four signature restaurants home to this 5-star resort. Fresh local ingredients fill the menu at Siempre where chocolate fettuccine with lobster and salmon ravioli leave guests raving. There are also five bars, all with a different atmosphere, perfect for any mood you’re in. End the night by heading off to your Ocean View Suite, which comes equipped with your own butler and will prepare your room so you’ll have no trouble drifting off after a jam packed day. The best part of this whole vacation is the exclusive rates you’ll find for this winter and spring. With three night deals starting at $769 and even a $50 spa credit, this is an ultimate luxury getaway you won’t want to pass up.

Luxury Comes Alive

Cancun is home to tons of resorts and no matter what your occasion is, you can usually find a top-notch resort perfect for you. The occasion for this vacation is luxury, luxury and more luxury. And that’s just what you’ll find at Live Aqua Cancun. This resort was named “The Best Resort in Mexico” by Caribbean Travel + Life and is a beach enthusiast’s dream. Perfectly placed in Cancun’s hotel zone, all the hotel rooms at this resort have a patio that offers an ocean and pool view. Meaning you’ll wake up to crystal clear waters and beautiful Cancun sun that reminds you paradise really does exist. Not to mention, Live Aqua’s 371 rooms all offer Egyptian-cotton sheets and aromatherapy kits that might even make it hard to open the shades and get out of the beach.

Best Luxury Resort Live Aqua Cancun from Cheapcaribbean.com

Live Aqua Cancun is a luxe paradise that offers endless amenities to leave you feeling spoiled rotten.

Start your day off by reserving a private cabana and ordering a cocktail from the pool concierge and staff. You can bounce between the gorgeous infinity pools or the private swim up bar pool. Also, make sure to take advantage of the full staff and service on the beach. When it comes to dining options, choose from one of the four restaurants including MB, where celebrity chef, Guillermo Gomez prepares Latin-inspired dishes that are sure to leave you satisfied. End your evening with a stop at Ergos Bar where a DJ spins late into the night and cocktails are always flowing. And one final detail we’re sure not to leave out…for a short time only, Live Aqua Cancun four night deals start at just $879.

Jamaican Luxury, Come One, Come All

Jamaica is the epitome of the ideal Caribbean destination. Perfectly placed on a Caribbean shore with warm sun and an even warmer culture, this is a vacation that you can’t turn down. Don’t worry, Jamaica isn’t slacking on high-end, luxury resorts that fulfill your Caribbean vacation dreams either. Jewel Dunn’s River is a great luxury option that will send you home feeling pampered and relaxed, two necessities when returning from vacation.

During the day, spend some quality time on the resort’s private beach on Mammee Bay, fully equipped with lounge chairs and cabanas. Or wander back to the Jewel Dunn’s River Resort to take advantage of the Sunken Treasure swim-up bar and pool concierge service. Yep, that’s right someone will greet you at your poolside lounger to offer fresh fruit, ice-cold face towels or a mist of cool water. If a poolside concierge service doesn’t spell out luxury, then we don’t know what does.

Best Luxury Resorts in Jamaica, Jewel Dunn's River from Cheapcaribbean.com

Jewel Dunn's River is Jamaica's top pick for an adult only vacation that won't sacrifice budget or luxury.

When it comes to food, try one of the six outstanding dining options. We're big fans of the  Mediterranean fare at Moonstone by Dominic or the teppanyaki-style options at Jade Samurai, just to name a few. Jewel Dunn's River also has six different bars to sample all the local Jamaican drinks from. And the actual resort is located right in the heart of adventure with daily tours to Ocho Rios and quick cab rides to Montego Bay for some nightlife options. And of course, the best part of this vacation is three night deals start at $659, all-inclusive. Sounds a steal you can't pass up, right? That's what we thought too.

This year do your vacation right. Since budget won't a problem with these spectacular deals, it's easy to get everything you were hoping for on your getaway. You work hard and you deserve to have it all. But you'll want to grab one of the deals quick...who knows how long they'll stick around. Happy Vacation Planning!

New Year, New Travel: Your 2013 Travel Radar

It’s time to say goodbye to 2012 and hello to a brand new, fresh year. You’ve probably got big plans for the New Year. We do. 2013 will be packed full of new beaches and better deals. Here’s a sneak peek at a few places you’ll want to keep your eye on in 2013.

Los Cabos: The Ultimate West Coast Getaway

Sitting at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, Los Cabos is located where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet. While Los Cabos has been a stable in tourism as early as the 1940s, this area is expected to be the ultimate West Coast getaway this year. This is a beach aficionado’s dream vacation with World Class fishing, diving and award-winning golf courses and spas all located here.

Cabo Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Known as “the Corridor,” this well paved, four-lane stretch offers cliff-top views, which are especially outstanding in January and February, when gray whales often spout close to shore.

A Los Cabos resort you’ll want to put on your radar this year is Dreams Los Cabos Golf Resort & Spa. This Unlimited-Luxury ® hotel is located in the midst of “the Corridor” which lends its beautiful panoramic views of Baja, Mexico. With plenty for the whole family, parents receive a refreshing drink and kids get milk and cookies upon arrival, for example.

Cabo Vacations from CheapCaribbean.com

The whole family can relax and let loose at the adults-only or kids pool options.

The resort boasts an infinity pool, which appears to blend into the sea, as well as a tranquility pool for adults only and a kid’s pool. Fully equipped with two swim up bars, your glass will never go empty. If you’re feeling adventurous give the Euro-bungee a shot, or take advantage of a cooking class or cocktail-mixing lesson. There’s six different restaurants and five bars, offering a wide variety of food and drinks…something that will satisfy every palette. Don't forget to schedule a round at one of the eight world-class courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, II and Jack Nicklaus, among others. If you’re looking for a serene, luxurious stay that’s perfect for the whole family, this Dreams resort is the only choice for your 2013 vacation.

Puerto Vallarta: The Friendliest Caribbean Vacation Spot

Once a tiny fishing village, Puerto Vallarta is now a world-class resort area that has retained all the quaint charms of its original village, as well as offers the top-of-the-line vacation we all dream for. It’s also been named one of the friendliest and cleanest beach destinations in the world. Puerto Vallarta has something special for everyone, regardless of your personal preferences. If you’re looking for cultural events, romance, epic nightlife, just to name a few, Puerto Vallarta is the beach destination for you. There’s definitely something special here for everyone, making Puerto Vallarta one of our destinations to keep your eye on this year.

Puerto Vallarta Caribbean Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Spend some time at the Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort and see why this destination wins the award for "friendliest beach."

Our recommendation for a resort in Puerto Vallarta is Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort. The Hilton Puerto Vallarta boasts 259 rooms and suites, each featuring the luxurious Hilton Serenity Bed and Bath Collection™. Its majestic views of Banderas Bay will make all your worries disappear. The Hilton Puerto Vallarta offers 2 pools, including an infinity view with a great view of the bay and mountains. With a Beach Bar that vows to always keep your drink full, you’ll never have to go without here. As you get hungry choose from one of five delectable on-site restaurants, each offering a different type of cuisine and menu. The Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort is the perfect match when making plans for your vacation this year.

Cancun: The Classic Beach Destination 

Cancun has been a popular destination in Mexico for many years. It’s known for its mega resorts, translucent turquoise waters and powder-white sandy beaches. Cancun has a long list of resorts to choose from, with plenty of options to appease anyone’s tastes. There are plenty of familiar places to shop, great restaurants and even better nightlife – the perfect combination for the beach vacation of your dreams. We anticipate that it’ll remain a hot spot this year with some great deals you won’t want to miss.

Cancun Vacations from Cheapcaribbean.com

Shopping malls like Luxury Avenue and La Isla make shopping in Cancun a unique mix of the familiar and authentic Mexican culture.

One of our Cancun favorites for 2013 is the new Secrets The Vine Cancun. This resort is one of the newest properties in Cancun and offers elegance and luxury, all on a budget. The adult-only resort features a 12,580 sq ft full-service spa, as well as three infinity pools equipped with sun decks and an outdoor Jacuzzi. Spend some time on the white, sandy beach and relax in a lounger while the wait staff keeps your beverage full and cold.

Cancun Vacation Deals from Cheapcaribbean.com

Secrets The Vine Cancun is a modern twist on the classic vacation you'd expect to have in Mexico.

As you start to get hungry, sample one of the seven on-site restaurants that offer cuisine from all over the world. The evenings at Secrets The Vine Cancun include a live show in the resort’s open-air theater or live music spread about the entire resort. Be sure to head to Enoteca for wine pairings and tastings. There’s not enough we could say about this resort – if you’re planning a trip to Cancun, take advantage of this luxurious resort all while sparing your wallet.