|So many places, so little time! Not sure where to vacation this summer? Here are some ideas to get you thinking about your next trip.
Tropical Hot Spots
Tried and true, add these locations to your bucket list. There’s a wide range of resort sizes and styles to fit you perfectly. Nonstop flights from major US cities
Looking for something a little different? These destinations may require more travel time but the end result is worth it.
Looking for a long weekend getaway? Mexico City is a fun possibility. Popular “must see” attractions include the Frida Kahlo Museum, the great pyramid of Tenochtitlan (you can experience this by hot air balloon if you are daring), National Museum of Anthropology and the city historic center. Stay in a nice 5 star hotel, and enjoy the city’s fine dining options.
One of the six major islands in the chain, the island of Hawaii is nicknamed “Big Island” for good reason. It is formed from five separate shield volcanoes, three of which are still active. And at twice the size of all other Hawaiian islands combined, there’s no shortage of things to do. It is here that you’ll find rainforest, snow-capped mountain tops, black and green sand beaches, orchid farms, a world-class telescope atop Mauna Kea, and an enduring Aloha Spirit.
Hilton Waikoloa Village - this resort is a destination unto itself. Three unique towers set on beautiful Kohala Coast. Lots of activities onsite, including golf, a lagoon perfect for kayaking, tennis, and the only interactive dolphin program on the island. Rated 4 1/2 stars.
The Fairmont Orchid Resort – A luxury oceanfront retreat set on 32 acres along the Kohala Coast. Beautiful private lagoon beach and pampering treatments at the Spa Without Walls. Hike through the largest petroglyph field in the Pacific. The perfect setting for a honeymoon. Rated 5 stars.
NEW! American offers nonstop service from DFW to Kona for a limited time through summer 2017, so now is a great time to head to the Big Island.
Happy travels! ~Cindy Grant, Expert Family Travel. Contact us at 972-625-6200 to plan your next vacation. Serving the Dallas Texas metro area & clients across the US/Canada.
Photo courtesy St. Maarten Tourism
St. Maartin/St. Martin is a lively 37-square mile island east of the Virgin Islands which is governed by two nations, Netherlands and France. There are 37 beautiful beaches (one for every square mile, apparently), plenty of shops and restaurants, and a laid-back Caribbean ambiance.
Riu Palace St. Martin – an all-inclusive, family friendly resort located on 18 acres on the French side of the island. A beautiful cove beach and pool area. Great for a small group with plenty to do onsite to keep you busy.
Westin St. Maarten Dawn Beach Resort – large resort located on the beach, hillside, on the Dutch side. There is a casino onsite. Great for couples and families. No meals included.
Alamanda Resort – a small boutique hotel located right on Orient Bay. This is a great choice if you want to explore the island and restaurants within easy striking distance.
The cruise port is on the Dutch side, and can get quite busy so you’ll want to save your shopping for the days the port is relatively empty.
Direct flights to St. Martin from Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, New York, Boston, and San Juan, or with connections in these airports from your departure city.
Happy travels! ~Cindy Grant, Expert Family Travel. Contact us at 972-625-6200 to plan your next vacation. Serving the Dallas metro area & clients across the US/Canada.
Great news! AMResorts (Secrets, Dreams, Now, and Zoetry) and Palace Resorts now offer Indian destination weddings at their all-inclusive resorts, located in the Cancun/Riviera Maya in Mexico. Onsite wedding staff are onhand to make sure your wedding fits your exact wishes perfectly. AMResorts and Palace Resorts continue to offer symbolic, religious, interfaith, and legal wedding ceremonies as well as vow renewals.
Expert Family Travel can arrange your destination wedding in your choice of several locations, whether you are a party of 2 or a group of 1,000. We can coordinate your guests’ flights and travel dates smoothly and professionally, making your dream wedding a reality. Contact us today to get things started. Expert Family Travel is located in Frisco/The Colony Texas in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. We have clients located across the US and Canada. Contact us at 972-625-6200 or email at email@example.com
Christmas and New Years are behind us, the decorations are put away. Now what the next two or three months will be is cold weather, bleak skies, and slippery walkways.
So, no wonder mid January through mid March is the time to escape the cold weather and head to the tropics. If you are entertaining the idea of getting away for a week (or even a weekend), here are some suggestions:
-Cancun Mexico — offering all-inclusive resorts in the moderate to luxury range. This destination is more suited for adults, but there are still some family friendly options in the Hotel Zone for all price points. If you haven’t been to Cancun in the last decade, the biggest changes are the addition of some top-of-the-line luxury resorts.
-Riviera Maya Mexico — still reigns my favorite destination in terms of the quality of the resorts and the best “bang for the buck” in the upscale and luxury all-inclusive market. There are resorts here that range the size ranges (from tiny boutique to huge mega-campus). Plus, you can’t beat the flight times from the US.
-US Virgin Islands — a great tropical choice if you don’t have time time or energy to get your passports before heading south. Resorts here range from 3 to 5 stars, mostly without meal plans. Anticipate needing one connection with your flights each way, so a longer (4 nights or more) stay is best suited.
-Disney Cruise Lines — now with four ships instead of two, your options are double! Winter itineraries depart from Port Canaveral (Orlando), Miami, and Galveston (Texas). If you can travel during a week that schools are normally in session, pricing is pretty good. Spring Break and Easter dates are pretty full (and pricey).
-Tahiti — this is actually Tahiti’s low season and their summer. So if Bora Bora is on your bucket list, maybe this is the year you get to go! If you are looking to travel within the next 3 months, having some flexibility on travel dates, island, and resort will help (since space does book up early, especially with the overwater bungalows in the 5 star resorts). This is an ideal second honeymoon suggestion.
-Hawaii — A little bit of luau, plumeria in the air, and beachfront walks can do wonders to alleviate the winter doldrums. Maui is a great “first visit” choice, but you’ll need to rent a car. If you want to avoid driving, Oahu is your best option. Kauai is a little more adventurous (and by that, I mean more outdoorsy stuff to do). Big Island is where you get to see the active volcano. Stick to one island, unless you have at least 8 days to vacation.
Cabo, Mexico — Cabo is quite popular in the winter. The weather is milder (in the summer, it can get hot), and this is the season for whale watching. Cabo is also known for golfing and nightlife. New on the scene are some great 4 and 5 star all-inclusive resorts. I’m personally staying at the Secrets Marquis Los Cabos later this month — I can’t wait! A great choice for adults wanting a little luxury and to replenishment, and there are also some great family friendly choices.
Now, these are just a few suggestions. There are many others…in the Caribbean, South Pacific, Central America…so just ask!
I just returned from a short stay at the 3 ½ star all-inclusive Ocean Coral and Turquesa Resort, located in Riviera Maya (south of Cancun airport). I’m happy to report that this resort is a great choice for my clients who are looking for an inexpensive vacation option that is friendly on the budget.
With a renovation of the rooms, this resort could easily become a 4 star upscale property. However, the rooms currently are a bit “rough around the edges.” While the rooms are very large (think: junior suite with a sitting area) and include a separate shower and tub, there are some 3 star quality annoyances you must be willing to forgive. The tile is a bit scruffy, the shower mechanics are lacking (and you might get the oscillating hot/cold water effect, so be quick on the feet), and the curtains are a bit “bolder” than you would select for your own homestead. On the plus side, there is a stocked mini-fridge, a safe, and a late-model flat screen with enough channels to find *something* to watch in English.
What is really neat about this resort is that there’s always food and drink being served SOMEWHERE onsite. The poolside bar stays open ‘till late (I think 1 am), and then Route 66 (which is a hamburger joint) serves food and drink in the wee hours of the morning. Also, this isn’t one of those resorts that require you to stand in line in the morning to make dining reservations that night. The bartenders are friendly, and I love their coffee specialties. The waitstaff is a hit-or-miss, so in the restaurants expect average service.
The beach here is nice and wide, and gets raked in the morning for sea grass (which grows offshore). The pools are large and clean, and overall the energy at this resort is positive and refreshing.
The specialty steakhouse has way too many food items with surcharges , and free WiFi is located only in the lobby/main building area (and not in the rooms). However, this resort generally is priced so low, you can overlook the shortcomings.
Guanacaste on Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast has been growing with 4 and 5 star resorts in the last few years, and flights have increased into the area’s airport (Liberia). The result is a nice selection of upscale and luxury beachfront resorts offering wonderful on-site amenities and activities combined with offsite excursions into Costa Rica’s rainforests, waterways, and volcanoes.
Resorts in the Guanacaste area:
- Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica (5 star luxury)
- Westin Resort & Spa Playa Conchal (5 star luxury)
- JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort (4 1/2 star upscale-luxury)
- Reserva Conchal (4 star upscale)
- Hilton Papagayo Resort & Spa (4 star upscale)
- Riu Guanacaste (4 star upscale)
- Punta Islita Hotel (4 star upscale)
- Occidental Grand Papagayo (3 star moderate)
Romantic vacations to reconnect with your spouse to rekindle and reconnect.