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- 7 Caribbean Locations For a Legal & Stress-Free Destination Wedding
You're engaged, and you're thinking about a destination wedding. In fact, you want it to be a legal destination wedding. But let's be honest — most couples don’t exactly spend all of their free time researching legal requirements for making their marriage official in the places they want to get married, right? Thankfully, there are 7 great destinations you can choose from that will give you a legal wedding ceremony, without any extreme complications or hoops to jump through. The Caribbean islands are the top choice for weddings, as couples can enjoy a warm and tropical climate year-round. They can enjoy various outdoor activities, such as beach parties, sunset ceremonies, and water sports, to add an element of excitement and fun to the wedding festivities. They provide the perfect wedding backdrop guaranteed to provide a memorable experience for couples and their guests. WHY CONSIDER THE CARIBBEAN? On top of the fact that these 7 destinations are going to be helpful for an expedited legal wedding, here are a few more reasons to consider the Caribbean for your destination wedding, Range Of Venues The Caribbean has a diverse range of wedding venues to match couples' varying preferences and budgets. You can host your wedding in any of the luxurious resorts and private villas or choose the charming beachfront gazebos. Many All-Inclusive Resort Options The Caribbean offers numerous resort options that offer all-inclusive wedding packages. They include accommodation, meals, beverages, and wedding management services, and some even offer extra perks like spa treatments or day trips. Amazing Local Hospitality Above all, the Caribbean is known for its wonderful hospitality, vibrant culture, and friendly community. Couples can mingle with the locals and immerse themselves in the islands' unique traditions, music, and cuisine, creating a truly memorable and authentic wedding experience. Here Are The Top 7 Caribbean Islands For a More Stress-Free And Easy Legal Destination Wedding The Islands of Bahamas The Bahamas is unmatched for its allure, making it an exceptional choice for a destination wedding. With its powdery white sand beaches, secluded uninhabited islands, and incredible scuba diving opportunities, the islands possess a charm that is difficult for any other destination to match. It is also one of the nearest Caribbean territories to the United States, and hence convenient for guests to join the wedding. Best Time: December to April. Legal Wedding Requirements: Residency Period: 48 hours. It doesn’t take into account the day of arrival, holidays, and weekends. This means you will need to be in the Bahamas for two full business days first before you can get legally married. Many couples will fly in on a Tuesday or Wednesday, as they enjoy the resort and make final wedding prep with the onsite team Thursday and Friday, and then have their legal ceremony on Saturday. Most of the Bahamian islands do not allow Sunday weddings. Applying For a Marriage License The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in the Bahamas. Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 310 USD Documents Needed Original birth certificate and passport. The court issued concluding divorce rulings (if applicable). Legal name changes or legal adoption papers (if applicable). Death certificates with related marriage certificates. Working with a state-side destination wedding consultant is a huge help, when it comes to getting everything you need turned in ahead of time so that when you arrive, the process of getting married is smooth and pretty much effortless. I always make sure my destination wedding couples know what they need to submit, and when they need to submit it so that their destination wedding will go off without a hitch. Jamaica Jamaica offers a thrilling island retreat in the Caribbean. Beyond its pristine beaches and swaying palm trees, this country has a deep-rooted history and a vibrant population. At the core of Jamaican magic is its soul-stirring reggae music, which pervades every corner of the land and creates a highly relaxed atmosphere. For an exceptional wedding experience, Montego Bay, Negril, and Ocho Rios are highly recommended. Best Time: December to April. Legal Wedding Requirements: Residency Period: 48 hours. But unlike the Bahamas, your day of arrival does count toward your residency requirement so you can arrive on Friday and get married on Sunday. Applying For a Marriage License The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Jamaica. Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 95 USD Documents Needed Validated original birth certificate and passport. Court-issued concluding divorce ruling (if applicable). Legal name changes documents (if applicable). Death certificates with linked marriage certificates (if applicable). Validated copy of photo ID or driver’s license issued by the government. Turks & Caicos The Turks & Caicos Islands present an upscale ambiance distinct from other Caribbean destinations. The place comprises 40 stunning islands, including 8 inhabited ones. The Turks & Caicos epitomizes beauty and elegance—features couples look for while planning a destination wedding. Among these islands lies a true gem called the Grace Bay beach, which ranks among the best in the world. Best Time: December to April. Residency Period: 48 hours. Does not include the day of arrival, weekend, or holidays. So in this case, you will need to be in Turks & Caicos for two full business days, before you can get married legally. If you arrive on a Saturday or Sunday, your first residency day will start on Monday, which means you could get legally married as soon as the Wednesday of that week or later. Applying For a Marriage License The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Turks & Caicos. Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 400 USD Documents Needed Original birth certificate A valid passport or driver's license. Court-issued concluding divorce rulings (if applicable). Death certificates with corresponding marriage certificates. 21 years is the legal age to get married. Couples less than 21 years of age must have written consent from both parents. St. Lucia Saint Lucia is gaining popularity among those seeking destination weddings and honeymoons in the Caribbean Islands. This enchanting place offers a perfect balance of luxury and serenity, and breathtaking backdrops that are ideal for couples looking for both a stunningly beautiful and romantic wedding. Best Time: December to April. Residency Period: 72 hours (must be business day). No Weddings on Sundays. You can pay to expedite this and get married in 48 hours (of course you can show them the money LOL) with one of those days being a business day. Applying For a Marriage License The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in St. Lucia. Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 270 USD Marriage License And Administrative Fee with Expedited Services: 341 USD Documents Needed: Copies of birth certificate and passport. Court-issued concluding divorce rulings (if applicable). Legal name changes documents (if applicable). State-issued death certificates with related marriage certificates. Antigua Antigua has 365 beaches! It may be challenging to visit all, but you must not miss the key ones. Antigua offers a variety of delightful locations for weddings, such as historic forts, natural parks, and upscale resorts. You can visit places of historical importance or choose a luxurious setting to spend time with your loved one. Numerous options are available to make your wedding memorable on this island. Best Time: December to April Applying For a Marriage License The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Antigua. Residency Period: 48 hours, must include one business day, which includes the day of arrival. No wedding on Sundays and holidays. Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 288 USD Documents Needed: Original birth certificate and passport. Court-issued concluding divorce ruling (if applicable). State-issued death certificates with related marriage certificates. Legal name changes documents (if applicable). Aruba Aruba is one of the most sought-after wedding spots in the Caribbean. It has stunning coastlines, intriguing heritage and customs, and delectable food. The beaches are breathtaking, and the weather is enjoyable. Couples can engage in various activities, making it ideal for those who enjoy adventure. Best Time: Mid-December to April Applying For a Marriage License The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Aruba. Residency Period: None. Civil Ceremonies take place in the City Hall Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday with Saturdays available for an extra fee. Marriage License And Administrative Fees: USD 284 Documents Needed: State-certified copies of birth certificates for bride and groom Valid passport for Bride and Groom. Witness (18 years up) with a valid passport. Certificate of no impediment for bride and groom Declaration of Intent Form Single Status Form Final Divorce Decree or Death Certificate with Apostille if applicable Barbados Barbados is a lively and vibrant island representing the typical Caribbean charm. It offers a blend of natural beauty, upbeat music, rich cultural experiences, and a truly romantic atmosphere. You can enjoy your time on a boat, in a church, within a historic plantation house, amidst a stunning garden, overlooking dramatic sea cliffs, or with your feet in the sand. Those seeking a romantic adventure will leave the island with a lasting impression. Best Time: December to April Applying For a Marriage License The following fee and documents will be required to apply for your marriage license in Barbados. Residency Period: 48 hours. Does not include weekends or holidays. Marriage License And Administrative Fee: 325 USD Documents Needed Original state-issued birth certificate and passport Court-issued concluding divorce ruling (if applicable) Legal name changes documents (if needed) Death certificates with related marriage certificates We hope you have found this list of the top 7 locations for a legal destination wedding to be extremely helpful and are already thinking of a few you want to put on your shortlist. One reminder, although these are some of my faves, they might not be best for your destination wedding. If you really want to get your destination wedding location right, I would love to invite you to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me today, so that you can put an end to the endless searching, and start moving forward with your destination wedding planning. Click Here to Schedule Your Free 30-Minute Consultation Now!
- Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Book Your Wedding or Rooms Directly with a Resort
Sure, you've gotten serious about your wedding planning, and that means you're ready to lock in the resort where you will wed. However, before you pick up the phone and book directly with a resort or hotel, there are a few things to consider. Here are some of the reasons, I recommend avoiding booking your destination wedding directly with the resort. Let's dive in and discover why it's not the best idea: You Might End Up Spending More Sure, you might think that booking directly with the resort will save you some bucks, but that's not always the case. Resort managers are aware that it's a one-time deal with you, so they may try to maximize their profits. On the other hand, a destination wedding specialist or consultant will have solid connections with resort management and can often score special rates, discounts, and package deals that aren't available to individual customers. They can help you compare prices across different resorts and make sure you get the best value for your money. You Could Get Slammed With Fees It is so upsetting to see couples get blind-sided with fees based on the group contract. Essentially, when rooms are held for a group, there are attrition dates and cancellation penalties. If you don’t pay attention to those and have empty rooms in the group, or if your guests cancel their room when there are cancellation penalties, couples can be stuck holding the bag and have fees they weren’t expecting. This is why most destination wedding couples will learn from the mistake of others and choose to work with a travel professional who specializes in destination wedding group travel. You'll Be Left with Stressful Tasks Planning a wedding can be overwhelming, especially when it's a destination wedding. While the resort will take care of the wedding-specific infrastructure, there are dozens of other aspects to manage. Juggling all these tasks from afar can be incredibly stressful. Hiring a wedding planner or working with a destination wedding specialist can alleviate much of that stress. They can handle the logistics, coordination, and communication with the resort, allowing you to focus on taking care of your loved ones and ensuring their comfort and enjoyment during the wedding preparations. You'll Miss Out on Personalized Service & Experience Keep in mind that the resort might be handling your wedding along with a dozen other unrelated events at the same time. The best they can offer is a dedicated manager, but that doesn't really qualify as a personalized service. A destination wedding consultant can work closely with you to understand your dream wedding ideas and preferences. They'll customize the event to reflect your style, theme, and budget, ensuring that all the details are taken care of. They can also connect you with top-notch photographers, decorators, and entertainers to make your wedding experience truly memorable. Communication Issues May Cause Problems Let's face it, the customer service at some exotic and remote destination wedding resorts isn't always as speedy as we'd like. If you need to communicate changes or get information to help with your planning, reaching the right people quickly can be a challenge. Booking directly with these resorts may lead to communication difficulties. They might not respond to your emails promptly, and if you manage to get them on the phone, they might keep you waiting until you're frustrated. On the other hand, a reputable event management service or wedding planner knows how to connect with the right person quickly and relay your messages effectively. They might even have local contacts to make sure everything is set up perfectly for your big day. At first, Booking your destination wedding or honeymoon direct seems like a simple decision. But it's not always the best choice. That's why it's smart to engage destination wedding & honeymoon experts to help you locate the perfect resort, negotiate an unbeatable rate, and optimize your travel plans. By teaming up with a good consultant or planner, you can ensure that everything goes off without a hitch—and that's something you won't regret. If you are in the middle of trying to figure out your destination wedding, or just feel like you need a helping hand. Hit the easy button, and schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me today. I will do my best to help you make your dream wedding a reality. Schedule your consultation today! If you do not see a time that will work for you, email me to see if we can work out another time. By entrusting the planning to professionals, you can focus on cherishing precious moments with your partner and loved ones, knowing that every detail is expertly taken care of. So, embrace the support and guidance a wedding planner or travel agent can offer and get ready for a truly magical and unforgettable destination wedding.
- 7 Reasons Why You Should Have Your Honeymoon In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is the perfect honeymoon destination for couples who want the best of both worlds, having both romantic luxuries as well as experiencing authentic culture. Puerto Vallarta has it all, from amazing restaurants to super-hot nightlife to relaxing beachfront walks. The Gem of Mexico’s Pacific Coast: Puerto Vallarta, situated on Mexico's Pacific coast, is a popular destination for honeymooners. Couples are enchanted by its stunning beaches, abundant water sports opportunities, and lively atmosphere. There is something unique about the city center. It exudes a charming small-town ambiance. The cobblestone streets, the magnificent cathedral, the boutique shops that pull you in with their magnetic charm, and the diverse array of restaurants, clubs, and bars are factors that you are unlikely to find in any other popular honeymoon destination. Puerto Vallarta has a well-established tourist infrastructure, with numerous upscale resorts, beachfront hotels, and high-end dining options. The picturesque setting includes a well-designed and modern oceanfront. The majestic Sierra Madre Mountains to the city's east are popular attractions. While the natural scenery is incredible, Puerto Vallarta also offers a wealth of other attractions. You will have a wonderful time exploring its streets, savoring delectable local cuisine, browsing through unique boutiques, and reveling in the vibrant nightlife at its famous nightclubs. Notably, the city has some of the friendliest people on Earth. The place is a honeymoon paradise for the various things you can do together. Let’s explore some of them: Exploring The Malecón Boardwalk The best way to begin your romantic getaway in Puerto Vallarta is to visit the Malecón boardwalk, a popular attraction in the city. There are few honeymooning experiences to match strolling the entire boardwalk in the backdrop of the setting sun. The view is incredibly picturesque. This is peak business time for vendors and performers. You can get a range of local desserts and a host of Mexican handmade crafts such as jewelry, paintings, dolls, and other classics. Don’t forget to get your caricature done by the artists offering their skills near the Puerto Vallarta board in Malecon. Expert caricature artists can draw your picture in 10 minutes, but it could be the best memento of your honeymoon trip. Early Morning Sunrise - The Puerto Vallarta One Is Different! Puerto Vallarta offers breathtaking beauty in its ocean, buildings, flowers, and people. However, the awe-inspiring experience of watching the sunrise with your partner is of a different level. Watching the sunrise may not seem exciting and unique, but Puerto Vallarta makes it one. You must witness it firsthand to understand why this one makes it to the must-do list. Whale Watching - Don’t Miss This One Whale watching can be easily among the unforgettable memories you gather while on a honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta. Witness the mesmerizing beauty of humpback whales in Banderas Bay while savoring the panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Choose a good tour guide who can take you to picturesque sea-level locations, providing an up-close encounter with humpback whales in their natural habitat. Get some fantastic clicks from unique vantage points, offering a perspective rarely attainable in the natural world. The whale watching season in Puerto Vallarta commences in December and extends until March. Occasionally, whales can be spotted as early as November or as late as May. The best time to observe humpback whales is during January and February. A Day Trip to Tequila - Do It If You Love Mezcal The journey from Puerto Vallarta to Tequila in Jalisco is around three hours by car. It may be a bit of a distance for honeymoon couples to drive on their own. But taking a tequila tour, with the added bonus of a scenic drive through the breathtaking countryside, is an experience you must not miss for anything. Tequila and mezcal enthusiasts can check for reliable operators that offer day trips and the opportunity to visit a couple of tequila factories. You can explore the charming town alongside. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will also find some excellent local restaurants serving the best delicacies. Explore that too! Best Times To Go Honeymooning In Puerto Vallarta If you're planning a honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, it's important to consider the best times of year to visit. Here are some factors to consider: Weather The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. Expect sunny skies and warm temperatures. May to October is the rainy season, so be prepared for afternoon showers and higher humidity. Crowds The high season in Puerto Vallarta is from December to March when tourists generally flock to the area to escape the winter weather in their home countries. Do you prefer a quieter and less crowded atmosphere? Consider traveling during the shoulder seasons of April to June or September to November. Budget Prices for accommodations and activities tend to be higher during the high season. If you're on a tight budget or want to save money, consider traveling during the low season of July to August. Else, book your trip well in advance to benefit from early bird deals. Ultimately, the best time for your Puerto Vallarta honeymoon will depend on your preferences and priorities. If you are looking for a gorgeous honeymoon paradise, with excellent food, and unlimited fun, Puerto Vallarta is the place for you. The stunning beaches, lively nightlife, and alluring culinary delights make for a truly romantic setting for couples planning their honeymoon. By the way, if you’re in the midst of trying to pull your honeymoon all together, but you aren’t quite sure how to make it happen, feel free to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me, and I will do my best to get you headed in the right direction. Click Here to Schedule Now! As an Independent Travel Agent with Exclusive Travel Partners, I offer concierge travel planning for at no cost to you, specializing in Destination Weddings and Honeymoon / Romance travel. Message me today if I can help book a memorable vacation for you.
- Destination Wedding Dresses That Will Steal Your Heart
Are you looking for some unique destination wedding dress ideas that will make you stand out, while also staying comfortable on your big day? This guide will help you discover wedding dresses that are perfect for a warm & tropical destination wedding, as well as give you the opportunity to embrace something different and show off your personal style. I know that finding the perfect dress can be a challenge, but don't worry, I've got your back. I've put together a list of stunning dresses that are sure to turn heads and make your wedding day unforgettable. Check out these beautiful Styles: One-Shoulder Modern Gown With Chiffon Jeweled Waistband - This modern gown is perfect for brides who want to make a statement. The jeweled waistband adds a touch of glamour and sparkle to the overall design. Short Beaded Waist Crisscross Angelic Gown - The A-line dress with a crisscross bodice and sweetheart neckline is perfect for any destination. The waist is intricately beaded, and the dress comes in a variety of colors and styles. Lace Wedding Dress with Off-the-Shoulder Straps - A classic bridal gown with elegance and style for the bride who wants a fitted bodice and sweetheart neckline. The off-the-shoulder straps add a touch of sophistication and romance. This gown is perfect for a traditional and stylish look that can be accessorized to match your personality. V-Back or Backless Wedding Dress - Experience the epitome of elegance with a breathtaking back-revealing destination wedding dress. This refined, alluring style transforms a modest gown into a captivating masterpiece. Perfect for the contemporary beach bride seeking a touch of sophistication and allure on her special day. 6 Tips on How to Find Your Perfect Destination Wedding Dress Consider the fabric: Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like chiffon, lace, or organza. These fabrics will help keep you cool and comfortable in the tropical climate. Embrace the elements: When selecting a beach wedding dress, keep in mind the sand, sun, and sea. Choose a dress that is easy to walk in. Consider a dress with straps to keep it secure and avoid a wardrobe malfunction in the sea breeze. Be mindful of the length: A long train or full skirt may be beautiful, but it's not practical for a beach wedding. A shorter hemline or a high-low style will allow you to move around freely and enjoy the beach setting. Add some tropical flair: Consider incorporating some Caribbean-inspired elements into your dress. You could opt for a dress with a bold floral pattern or add a tropical flower to your hair. Consider getting one dress for the ceremony and one for the reception. Dancing the night away under the stars sounds romantic, but it can get really hot. A short party gown will be perfect for your outdoor reception. Don’t forget the shoes: Skip the high heels and opt for a pair of flats or sandals that are comfortable and easy to walk in on the sand. By keeping these tips in mind, you'll be sure to select a beach wedding dress that is perfect for your Caribbean destination wedding. As you can see, there are many chic and elegant choices for your destination wedding dress. Whatever shape or style is right for you and your dress, always take into consideration your comfort A destination wedding doesn't have to mean giving up the dress you really want! By the way, if you’re in the midst of trying to pull your destination wedding altogether, but you aren’t quite sure how to make it happen, feel free to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me, and I will do my best to get you headed in the right direction. Click Here to Schedule Now! As an Independent Travel Agent with Exclusive Travel Partners, I offer concierge travel planning for at no cost to you, specializing in Destination Weddings and Honeymoon travel. Message me today if I can help book a memorable vacation for you.
- 6 Things That Make Costa Rica a Bucket List Honeymoon Destination
When it comes to having a bucket list honeymoon, Costa Rica offers the whole package. Romantic resorts, mountain climbing, water sports, beach activities and surfing are just some of the exciting honeymoon features of this gem in Central America. Stunning Scenery in Every Direction Costa Rica is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. The lush rainforests, incredible waterfalls, and pristine beaches on Pacific and Caribbean coasts make the place an ideal destination for romantic couples. (I hear the Jurrassic Park theme song playing) An Adventure Seeker's Paradise If you are an active and adventurous couple, then Costa Rica is for you, because this country encourages eco-tourism, such as hiking, zip-lining white-water rafting, and snorkeling. You can even try your hand at diving in vibrant coral reefs. La Fortuna La Fortuna is one of the prime honeymoon destinations in Costa Rica. It was the destination where Eugene Levy went for episode 2 of “The Reluctant Traveler.” The key highlights are: Breathtaking natural beauty Adventure activities Relaxing hot springs Unique accommodations (like the Nayara Tented Camp where Eugene Levy stayed). La Fortuna is the ideal choice for couples seeking a romantic getaway. Enjoy hikes around the volcano, soak in hot springs, and witness the mesmerizing lava flows (when active). Go zip-lining through the rainforest, rappelling down waterfalls, go on a thrilling white-water rafting excursion, or take a canopy tour. La Fortuna provides a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and natural beauty for an unforgettable honeymoon experience. Guanacaste Located in northwestern Costa Rica, Guanacaste is an excellent choice for a honeymoon destination. Guanacaste stands apart for its Beautiful beaches Lush rainforests Various outdoor activities for couples The top attractions and activities you must explore to make it a perfect honeymoon spot are Tamarindo Beach Palo Verde National Park Rincon de la Vieja National Park Papagayo Peninsula Playa Flamingo Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve You can go on a sunset catamaran cruise along the Guanacaste coastline, enjoy the stunning views, relish a gourmet dinner, and even go snorkeling or kayaking together. Make sure you watch the weather when planning your honeymoon in Guanacaste. Costa Rica has a tropical climate, and December to April is generally considered the best time to visit the place for its sunny and warm weather. Monteverde Located in the lush cloud forests of Costa Rica, Monteverde is a fantastic choice for a honeymoon destination. Monteverde is special because of its Breathtaking natural beauty. Abundant wildlife. Reputation as a bio-diversity hotspot Monteverde is the top place for enjoying a honeymoon for many couples because It has cloud forests filled with mist, towering trees, and an incredible array of plant and animal life. Adventurous couples can explore, such as ziplining through the forest canopy, embarking on a guided hike to spot exotic birds and animals, horseback riding, or taking a romantic stroll along the hanging bridges. The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve or the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve is a must-visit place for its natural beauty. Monteverde is known for its commitment to sustainability and eco-tourism. You can indulge in eco-friendly activities that have minimal environmental impact. Monteverde also has a vibrant local culture. Couples can visit the Monteverde Cheese Factory to learn about the region's dairy traditions, explore the charming town of Santa Elena, and interact with the friendly locals proud of their community. More Reasons Why You Must Choose Costa Rica As Your Honeymoon Destination Costa Rica is recognized as one of the happiest countries in the world according to the Gallup World Index and the Happy Planet Index in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The country's high levels of joy, health, and longevity are closely associated with the concept of wellness, which plays a significant role in determining happiness. You can find wellness in a wide range of activities. Animal Sightings True happiness can be experienced in the Monteverde cloud forest, where small groups can embark on canopy bridge tours and enjoy a breathtaking aerial view of the national park. The rainforests of Costa Rica are home to more than 900 different bird species and a diverse array of monkeys and sloths, making animal sightings an assured experience and an opportunity for relaxation. It also helps reduce stress levels, allowing visitors to enhance their overall sense of well-being. Wellness Through Yoga and Meditation Finding wellness through yoga has become quite popular in Costa Rica. You can relax the mind and body through yoga sessions in Puerto Viejo’s Caribbean surroundings. Rustic, open-air studios in the Playa Cocles village integrate into the Zen experience, which allows vacationing yoga enthusiasts to have a relaxing time. The Southern Pacific region of the country is establishing a leadership role in promoting wellness activities. Surf camps and yoga teaching centers provide accommodations, allowing enthusiasts to improve their hobbies. These havens, surrounded by organic community gardens, offer a comprehensive wellness experience, especially for those who visit Quepos, Uvita, Dominical, or Ojochal. The options include enjoying guided meditations near waterfalls in Bajos del Toro, indulging in a soothing massage at luxurious resorts, and snorkeling alongside the diverse marine life in Cahuita National Park's coral reef. Wellness Through Food Food also plays an integral part in the wellness journey. Costa Ricans are experts in creating delectable meals using the freshest ingredients, adhering to the farm-to-table trend. The local Central Market in San José offers a way to connect with the earth with a vibrant assortment of locally grown fruits and vegetables. The weekend farmers' markets throughout the country offer seasonal items. Local sodas (small takeout stands) offer daily menus that change every day to showcase the distinct flavors of each region. It’s not difficult to find out why Costa Rica continues its reign as one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations. We have seen many reasons why you should plan a visit to Costa Rica with your loved one. The nation is abundant with unique encounters, thanks to its extensive offerings of natural marvels and verdant landscapes. If you’re trying to figure out your own bucket list honeymoon, but are struggling and on information overload, feel free to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me today, and let’s get your honeymoon on the “done” list. Click Here to Schedule Your Free Consultation Now. Remember, you can also follow me on Instagram & TikTok @travelagenttammy or Facebook: Exclusive Travel by Tammy.
- Valentin Imperial
If Disney built a tropical all-inclusive resort, The Valentin Imperial would be the blueprint. The theming of the property is reminiscence of a Spanish manor: Large, wrought iron chandeliers, peaceful water-features, mosaic tile, and lush vegetation. You immediately feel as if you're the special guest of a wealthy Spanish land owner. Beautiful marble tile floors and expansive, high archway welcome you to the one the most beautiful lobbies in the Cancun area. Lobby Check-In Area The expansive, well-landscaped property contains wide, stamped concrete walkways that make you feel like your hundreds of miles from civilization, yet all the meandering walkways make everything on the property conveniently located. Wide, stamped pathways lead the way to everywhere. Night lights illuminate all the paths after sunset. Your morning and evening walks will be enjoyed with the subtle music being played through speakers that line each walkway. The Valentin Imperial has the LARGEST pool of the 10+ all-inclusive resorts we've visited in Cancun. A second, quiet pool, is just steps away from all the amenities surrounding the large pool, yet somehow maintains its peaceful and relaxing feel. Trust me, this pool may look “plain jane" or boring but that's exactly what you want at the “quiet" pool. The palapas surrounding the pool provided welcomed shade, or you can pull your chair out into the sun – either way, this is a great place for “nap time". My morning walk provided this great image of the quite pool. Before I leave the pool conversation, I want to point out the only food available at the pool is from the Pool Bum Food Truck. But it offered plenty of variety. You could choose to eat at one of many tables under the shade or grub on your food of choice lounging poolside. What about the beach? Well, well, well…Valentin has one of the best beaches! Not only does Valentin Imperial have one of the largest (and nicest pools), they have a fantastic beach! Check out the walkway to the beach…subtle, yet it builds anticipation. Early morning champagne in hand....beach time! Just before you access the beach, the Sunrise Bar greets you on the left with a fantastic view and colorful drinks. The Sunrise Bar is a great location to swing or sit at a table to enjoy a great ocean view or just to contemplate life… :quot:There:apos:s no place like...the Riviera Maya:quot: Or dare I say it….check emails! There's Tammy – always working. Always checking on her clients! We grab our drinks and head out to the beach. Wide, expansive, and plenty of palapas to choose from. Cheers! Let's visit the rooms. We were fortunate to stay in the Junior Suite Silver Superior building. When you first look at the property map you may think, “it's not close to the pool" or “it's not close to the beach" or “it's not close to the restaurants". On the contrary, this location was perfect…it may not close to any one particular area but it was super convenient to everywhere. Of course there wasn't a pool or beach view from our room but if location convenience is high on your priority list, this is a great option. Building 1 was surprisingly convenient to everything. After a short golf cart ride, we make the quick walk to our room through the lush landscape. Here we go! Time to tour some other rooms! Astrid and Tammy leading the way! Let's get to the good stuff. Welcome to the Junior Suites Emerald. Now this is a walk-in shower...with a view! Relax the day away with this view. On our way to the Golden Pool area! Walking along the Golden Pool Not to be outdone, this next room is part of the Junior Suite Golden options. All the rooms in these buildings have either a view with quick access, or swim up access to the Golden Pool. Great view of the Golden Pool This would be your view for a swim up room. And our room tour is complete! Thanks to Astrid for showing us around and answering all our questions! Astrid rocked those high heels like a pro! Food! What about the food you ask? Well, there was plenty of it…and it was ALL delicious. We ate Mediterranean (L'Olivo), Mexican (LaHacienda) , Japanese (Ginger), and Surf/Turf (Mar y Tierra Restaurant) during our stay. We did not have time to visit L'Alsace (French Cuisine) or Taman Sari (Asian). I'm just going to post these pictures below and let you delight in their presentation. Ginger - Sushi Ginger: Teriyaki Beef L:apos:Olivo: Chicken Breast stuffed with mascarpone and saffron sauce. If you have a someone in your family who just wants good 'ol fashion bacon, sausage, eggs, etc for breakfast, well, they have that too! Plus a crepe station for the more refined members of your family 😉 Oh! I almost forgot to mention our favorite after-dinner spot: Don Miguel Bar. What a beautiful, sophisticated bar. Elegantly decorated and home to several signature drinks. My fave was the Blackberry margarita. Well, that brings us to the end of another trip report. I hope you enjoyed this quick look at The Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya. Here a quick summary of our Pros/Cons of Valentin: Pros: The resort has a soul, meaning you feel like family. The roadway entrance is impressive, and the drive onto the property is very prominent and tropical. The Lobby (Majestic in all its grandeur) Service Food Truck – The Pool Bum Ginger Restaurant Ambiance Don Miguel Bar Areas for Improvement: No restaurant directional signage Lack of Beach/Pool Towels (You are provided one towel each in your room for the beach/pool) Small Fitness Facility No poolside pizza Remember, you can also follow Tammy on Tiktok @travelagenttammy or Facebook: Exclusive Travel by Tammy. We look forward to sharing more resorts with you soon! Until then – cheers! #AllInclusiveResorts #Cancun #RivieraMaya #ValentinImperial
- Secrets Maroma
Welcome to Secrets Maroma. One of our favorite All-Inclusive Resorts. Secrets Maroma ranks in the Top 3 of all the resorts we've visited. Two of their amenities, the beach and the food, rank #1 overall. Lets get some of the formalities out of the way before I over-indulge your senses with pictures of the beach and food. Below is the modest check-in area for guests. After checking in, your know you've arrived on vacation when you walk into this beautiful lobby. Here's a view from the other side of the lobby. This marble slab with falling water is the lobby's impressive centerpiece. If you are visiting as a Preferred Level Guest, this will be your check-in area. The Preferred Bar is a great place to get a drink during check-in. Sometimes we would walk over to the bar mid-day to stretch our legs and grab an adult beverage. This property has some of the best all-around views. Eddie is an early riser, and his walks around the property in the morning provide some great images. His walks always take him to the beach for sunrise. Secrets Maroma has one the best beach front properties in Cancun. Occasionally you may hear about seaweed. This can be a common problem for most beaches in Cancun. The resorts can't do anything to mitigate seaweed but most of them have seaweed removal operations. Seaweed isn't present everyday either, it all depends on the ocean's currents. Much like the beach, the pool area is large are beautiful. Wow! Now this is what a “main" pool should look like. Pools We like to get to the pool early in the morning and enjoy some quality time before it gets crowded. A lot of times it feels like we have the pool to ourselves. It:apos:s Never Too Early To Start Hydrating In the afternoon we always had time to hang out with new friends! There's also a second pool that is very long and linear just steps away from the “main" pool. Check this out! This second pool is what I would call the “activity" pool but the main pool would host water yoga a couple times a week. Cool Activites Mini-golf Day or Night Lifesize Billiards Poolside Spanish Lessons Everyone wants to see the view from the room. As you wish… Sunrise Food and Beverage I won't bore you with listing all the restaurants and names of dishes, you just want to know if the food was good, right? Yes! When reviewing these pictures, I realized we eat A LOT of food, and most of it is poolside. Guilty! Enjoy. Guilty Pleasures of Maroma Well, that about does it for this trip report. If you're interested in Secrets Maroma or any other All-Inclusive resort, you know who to contact. Tammy can help you plan any trip…anywhere. Cheers to a good time. #playamujeres #Cancun #AllInclusiveResorts #Secrets #SecretsMaroma
- Sandals Montego Bay
We consider ourselves experienced travelers to tropical locations, but there was one vacation destination we hadn't visited…until now. Jamaica! This was a last-minute trip so we settled for a long 4-day weekend. The resort's close proximity to the Montego Bay Airport made it very convenient but also produced another unexpected surprise…more on that later. Since this was our first visit to Jamaica, we decided to take advantage of Club Mobay (extra cost) to have someone guide us through the airport and customs. We were greeted by a Club Mobay rep who was super friendly and very helpful. She escorted us directly to a special customs area for Club Mobay visitors. Welcome to Jamaica! It's starting to feel like vacation! Another advantage of Club Mobay is access to their lounge (circled below) when arriving or departing the airport. But since we were vacationing with Sandals on this trip, we also had access to the Sandals Lounge. Club Mobay circled in the background We checked into the Sandals lounge and was told the wait would be 15 minutes for the shuttle, but it turned out to be a 45-minute wait. Not a big deal – we're on vacation! The lounge was very nice, well furnished, and provided a refreshment area with fountain drinks and assorted snacks. No liquor though (Mental note: Club Mobay has liquor!) Sandals Airport Lounge The drive to the airport was a quick 20 minute commute. Darkness made it difficult to enjoy the entrance “arrival" but based on the bus needing to do a 3-point turn to get into the resort, it was easy to recognize there wasn't a grand entrance worth seeing anyway. Once the bus departed the property, it was easier to see the up-lighting and landscaped entrance. Now here's where I'm going to get real with you for a minute. As I walked through the open-air lobby area, I commented to Tammy, “This must be their flagship property". Not because it impressed, but more because it under-whelmed, especially compared to newer resorts. The property is also wedged along a very narrow strip of land between the airport and Caribbean – definitely not a location any developer today would say is a great location for a resort. I later learned Montego Bay is indeed Sandal's flagship property, originally constructed in the late 1980's but had recently completed renovations in 2019. The renovations must have all been concentrated in the suites and to adding the restaurants Tokyo Joe's and Butch because the lobby still felt dated – maybe it was the paint, the low ceiling, or maybe the furniture, either way it felt nostalgic. Now, don't get me wrong, once you walked through the lobby, you could venture onto a great outdoor patio area with fabulous views of the Caribbean. We would later learn that our room would be adjacent to this beautiful patio area with views from our balcony. I caught Tammy hanging out on the balcony one morning! The convenient location of this room was it's best asset. This had to be the only set of rooms that weren't renovated in 2019. I took some pics but the rooms were so small and dark, I didn't like the finished product. Imagine a four-post wooden bed with antique furnishings. I thought at any moment Ricardo Montalban from the 1980's Fantasy Island TV show was going to walk around the corner. This was the hallway leading to our room. Once again, a little unassuming, narrow, and plain. I imagine this is what a 1950's medical ward felt like. Thankfully the room was conveniently located to almost everything on the property, so we were able to overlook the nostalgic feel of this particular building. Let's talk pools! There aren't many pools on this property. Below is the “main" pool for the property. Even if you haven't visited other all-inclusive resorts, you can tell this pool doesn't accommodate a lot of people – very small for a “main" pool. There also aren't a lot of options for lounging around the pool. But it was quiet! Most people opted for the beach or hanging out in the “activity" pool located elsewhere on the property (but it too was tiny). If we had stayed in a “swim up" room, we may not have ever visited this main pool. In the picture below you can see the main pool is surrounded by cabanas that were first-come, first-served. I'm an early riser so I noticed most of the cabanas had been “reserved" with towels, books, hats, or floats by 6:00AM. It was disappointing to see several of the cabanas that had been “reserved" so early in the morning sit empty until noon or later. There's an open area next to the main pool for basketball and corn hole. The beach offered plenty of lounge chairs but limited palapas. Here's the obligatory picture everyone posts while on vacation. My view (and yours) from the beach chaise lounge. Now, here is an area where Sandals (at least at this resort) needs to get a handle on things. I mentioned earlier that I'm an early riser, meaning I'm usually up by 5:00AM. I usually like to walk the property and then grab a chair to enjoy the sunrise, read a book, or just wait for Tammy to rise and join me. Each morning, ALL the palapas chair were reserved with floats or towels by 5:30AM, and I thought this was odd because most people on vacation aren't early risers. So, these chairs were either being saved the night before or by Sandal's Butler Service (extra cost). I don't have anything against reserving chairs, or Butler Service (I liked to be pampered sometimes too), but most of the “reserved" spaces didn't have anyone sitting in them until 10:00AM. The number of “reserved" chairs was aggravating for other beach goers who were trying to find a spot earlier in the morning. Here's what most of the reserved spaces looked like early in the mornings. Once the sun comes up, and you can't find a beach chair, you can always wade out to this cabana to enjoy the vibe. If privacy is what you're searching for, you can rent one of the over-the-water cabanas. One of the coolest places to hangout is Latitudes Bar. You feel connected to the resort and it's location over the water provides a VIP feel. Check out these cool hammocks suspended over the water at Latitudes. Guess what? Cancun isn't the only tropical location with swings! Oh! Remember how convenient I said the resort was to the airport? And remember the “unexpected surprise" I mentioned? Well, here it it. A couple of times in the morning, and again between the hours of 2-4PM, you'll be jolted awake from your nap as planes take-off from the adjoining runway. Here's a view of how close the runway is to the resort. Busiest Time for Take-Offs: 1PM-4PM Let's talk restaurants. Cucina is the Italian restaurant with awesome 2nd floor views of the beach, water, and sunset! Caution: Being an open-air, elevated restaurant, the temperature was a tad warm with very little breeze during our visit. Our favorite menu item was the lasagna. Cucina is also a good breakfast spot too. Tokyo Joe's, added during the 2019 renovations, was a favorite spot for us. Think Hibachi-style grill. The restaurant is snuggled up against the resort, sitting atop pylons, hovering over the water. The food at Tokyo Joe's was fresh and delicious. Better than anything we've eaten at a Unico, Secrets, or Excellence resorts. The spicy tuna sushi and spring rolls were perfect appetizers. I didn't get a picture of the food (I was too busy shoveling it in my mouth), but I did get a picture of my date! Check out this hottie. One of favorite after-dinner spots each evening were these fire pits adjacent to Tokyo Joes. Another favorite restaurant of ours was Butch's Steakhouse. The addition of this restaurant was also part of the 2019 renovations. There is a really cool outdoor bar area for your pre-dinner drinks. The interior design at Butch's provides a much better high-end feel than other areas on the resort. And the food didn't disappoint. It was delicious. The Grilled Black Pepper Bacon and Crab Scallop Balls were some of the best appetizers we've ever eaten. Well, our time has come to an end. In all, we enjoyed our first trip to Jamaica. “Island time" is a real thing here, but once you come to terms with the fact that the service and pace is slightly slower than other all-inclusive resorts, you'll enjoy the stay even more. We will definitely visit Jamaica again but more than likely will try another resort brand or other Sandals property. Stay tuned! Until next time! And always remember, Never Regret Fun!
- 2021 Year of the All-Inclusive Resorts: Secrets Cap Cana Arrival Day
Greetings friends! Eddie here. Tammy asked me to take on the roll as blogger for this trip, so when your beautiful, travel agent wife asks you to carry your weight, you gladly respond “As you wish" (The Princess Bride fans will get that reference). Our 2021 travel year started in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic). With COVID still lingering around the globe, our options were limited but still luxurious and tropical. In 2020, we had traveled to other All-Inclusive Resorts in Mexico, like Unico and Excellence Playa Mujeres, so we wanted to venture to a new destination and selected Secrets Cap Cana. Here we go… The Punta Cana International Airport was surprisingly quaint. No mobile ramps or modern architecture to detract from the tropical paradise that awaits you. The thatched terminal rooftops left no doubt you had arrived to the Caribbean. The Customs and Immigration areas were spacious and well marked for travelers. COVID safety protocols were in full effect. Since this was our fourth international trip during the world pandemic, we were used to these measures, and so was everyone else around us. The baggage claim area maintained the charm of thatched ceilings and open breezeways. The warm tropical breezes were beckoning us. Punta Cana Baggage Claim Once you exit baggage claim, the shuttle/taxi area is very easy to navigate and find where you need to go. We had arranged transportation to Secrets Cap Cana through Mike Fisher Tours and Travel. The drive from the airport to Cap Cana was a very short 15 minutes. We've arrived! The welcome staff was friendly and very helpful. They always enjoyed pausing a moment for a great picture! In typical Secrets fashion, we were handed a glass of champagne upon arrival to kickoff vacation! Eddie, Tammy, and our two newest travel buddies: Julie and Angela! Tammy enjoying her champagne while I perform my duties as business photographer. The open-air lobby area is reminiscent of other Secrets Resorts. Their architects and designers do such a wonderful job creating great signature views as soon as you arrive. We were staying in the Preferred Club for this trip, so we were escorted to the Preferred Lounge for check-in. Along the way you get an opportunity to see restaurant locations or subtle landscape elements that make each walk memorable. Jourdain was patient with our questions. This was my favorite restaurant. My mother's side of the family is Italian (shout out to the Lazzuri peeps!), so naturally I quickly see the Italian restaurant Portofino's on the walk to check-in. This restaurant would later provide a great outdoor dinner experience on Day 2. There's something about wine bottles hanging from a tree that mesmerizes me, as if calling out my name. After a short five minute walk, we arrive at the Preferred Club lounge for check-in. Karla helped check us in as we waited for our Room Host (sometimes referred to as a “butler") Oliver, to arrive. Yes, I believe those are watermelon margaritas. And who else would it be, none other than the famous Javier! He was fantastic behind the Preferred Club bar. I watched him handle a many obnoxious and loud guests with grace in the evening hours. Oliver is on his way…here's where we're headed! Oliver is going over the details of the room. COVID cleaning protocols are visible throughout the room. Yes, Tammy is still nursing her margarita. Sanitized TV Remote and Tablet The snacks and refrigerator were stocked with plentiful options. If you wanted more or less of particular items, your room host can easily accommodate. So….you wanna see the beach! So did we. We quickly grabbed our bathing suits and headed out to the Preferred Club beach area! This was a great way to unwind from a quick flight and relax before dinner. You can see more beach, pool, and property pictures here. #DominicanRepublicAllInclusiveResorts #SecretsCapCana
- Secrets Cap Cana Beach, Pool, and Property Amenities
Thinking about vacationing at Secrets Cap Cana? Read this first. Tammy and I have visited other Secret Resorts (Secrets Akumal and Secrets Maroma) but this would be our first vacation to the Dominican Republic and Secrets Cap Cana. Let me say, it did NOT disappoint! From the moment you arrive, the Secrets brand of open-air lobbies welcomes you home. Cap Cana has one of the widest and most beautiful beaches we've ever visited. Lobby bar area Plenty of seating through the lobby Frequent visitors to Secret Resorts will recognize Coco Cafe. Strategically located in the lobby with fantastic views over the property. View from outside Coco Cafe Lets take a look inside Coco Cafe real quick. Muffins, Donuts, Cake. Yes, please. Lets cut to the chase. Here's the pool area. View from the beach. Early morning walk view Luis helped me every morning The best feature of Secrets Cap Cana is the view of the beach from the pool. Fantastic. View from our pool location Obligatory :quot:Wish You Were Here:quot: photograph. Tammy and our two travel buddies, Angela and Julie, enjoying some quality pool time. Can:apos:t vacation without a :quot:drinks in the pool:quot: picture Want a night time picture of the pool? Here you go. Swim Up Rooms provide same colorful glow Special Occasion Seating In The Pool The Preferred Club Pool area was small but intimate. Seating was understandably very limited during COVID-restrictions. Oceanfront Bungalow Here is the headliner…The Beach! Tammy was my model this evening. Preferred Club Beach Area View from our beach chairs under the Palapa Bali Beds Available for Extra Fee Early morning strolls provided some of the best picture opportunities. Beach Wedding Setup The clear water wasn't beaming with fish but I was able to see several conch shells. I placed it back where I found it. One last stop – the fitness center, just in case you want to burn off some calories. The center had plenty of well-maintained machines and weights to keep up with any fitness routine. Standalone Facility next to Building 9 Secrets Cap Cana is a fantastic resort. I wish we could've stayed a few more days. Stay tuned for a review on some of the restaurants we visited.
- Excellence Playa Mujeres
Hi, I'm Eddie (My friends call me Fast Eddie but that's a story for another time). It looks like my beautiful, talented, travel agent wife, Tammy, has handed me the reigns for this blog. I question her decision but if you're married, I know you understand the art of compromise. Here's a picture of compromise when your wife tells you to get on the swing when you don't want to. Now, I think you should know right up front that I'm not as eloquent with the written word as Tammy, but I am honest and to-the-point…which I think most people appreciate. If you're into connecting with an authors feelings or intimate thoughts, you can try reading some of Tammy's trip blogs on the Grand Canyon, Disney World, or Alaska! Having provided that disclaimer, lets get started! Trying to celebrate a wedding anniversary in the middle of a World Pandemic is difficult, but we haven't let COVID slow us down yet (Disney During COVID and Unico 20.87). So off we go! Before we take you straight to Excellence, this blog may be your first introduction to Mexico! If so, WELCOME! After you arrive to the Cancun International Airport and depart immigrations, you will have to pass through a rental car and resort sales area. If you have pre-arranged transportation to your resort, which we highly recommend, you don't need to stop in this area. Just keep walking to the double doors that lead outside to the transportation hub. Here you will see all the private transportation and public transportation options. Tammy and I prefer pre-arranging transportation with Kalido and Amstar. Each of them have provided great service. Tip and shameless plug: If you book your trip with Tammy, not only will she help you select the perfect resort, she will also prearrange your transportation for you (her travel agent service is at no cost to you!) This is the hub where your transportation greeter will escort you and your baggage. Here you will meet your driver. We selected Kalido for this vacation. Our driver was Adriano Sosa. He was one of the best drivers we've ever had. Kalido drivers have always been polite, helpful, and safe. As soon as we exited our van and before we enter the resort doors, the Excellence staff sanitizes your luggage, provides hand sanitizer, and requires guests to walk on a sanitation pad. Entrance through the front doors of Excellence offers the view of a seemingly ordinary lobby area. But when you take a few steps forward, the lobby opens up to this spectacular view! The COVID precautions continue at the check-in desk with temperature cameras and plexi-glass. Excellence staff decorated the room door to help us celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. Oscar did a fantastic job helping with the luggage and showing us the room. We had a fantastic swim up room in Building 7 with a king bed, full-size tub, and beautiful view of the lazy river outside. This room was fabulous. Having said that, there is one area for improvement. What is difficult to know by looking at this picture is how small and low these bathroom mirrors are fixed. For anyone shorter than 5'3", they will struggle to see more than the top half of their head. Like most resort showers, there are two shower heads, with one being a large rainfall element. The shower dimensions are huge. The winner of the mini-bar contest goes to Excellence! Forget the mini-bottles…They provided full bottles of liquors for consumption during the stay. So, if the all-inclusive alcohol at all the bars wasn't enough, you could still stumble back to the room. Or, if a subtle evening is more your speed, you could enjoy a quiet evening with a drink on the patio. The actual mini-bar was reserved for some delightful beverages too. After we unpacked and settled in, we decided to take a stroll around the resort. The pools and beach are stunning. The Prelude Terrace Bar provided a festive environment for bands and musical entertainment. Stars Theater was a fabulous open-air venue that provided entertainment every evening at 9:00PM. During our stay, the theater hosted a range of options from Fire Dancers to the Michael Jackson Tribute Show. Excellence is home to Aroma, a specialty coffee and pastry restaurant. The drink menu offers a variety of options for guests. There were 20 different flavors of sorbet. Check 'em out! The pastries and donuts were unbelievably fresh and hand-delivered every morning by the pastry chefs themselves. Aroma also has pre-made sandwiches for a quick bite. Perfect for a meal-on-go before you head to the airport. One of our favorite restaurants was Spice. You didn't need reservations unless you wanted the traditional dog-and-pony hibachi show. We opted for a quiet table and ordered off the menu. The decor, lighting, and food were all perfect. Although chicken teriyaki wasn't on the menu, the kitchen was kind enough to replace the steak teriyaki with chicken for Tammy. The tenderness was perfectly moist. Better than any Asian dish we've had back home. I opted for the Kung Pao that was packed with flavor. But the best stuff of the night was dessert. The Banana Tempura with warm chocolate sauce was sinfully good. OH. MY. Every restaurant was perfect. The food. The atmosphere. The service. But I won't bore you with all the details of every menu item we savored, but I have to devote a few sentences to our meal at the Indian restaurant Basmati. I can't adequately describe the flavor, spices, and aroma this dinner delivered. We love Indian food and have never tasted anything this good. The Korma Chicken (cashew nut, rich poppy seed flavored finished with rich cream) and Chicken Kadhi (chicken, green pepper, onion, tempered with roasted blended spices) was off the chart. The kitchen was also able to prepare a dish of Butter Chicken that wasn't on the menu. This meal was the highlight of all meals. Here are some delicious pictures of other food favorites we enjoyed! Oh! I almost forgot to mention the most important meal of the day…breakfast. Tammy and I chose to enjoy breakfast two mornings at The Lobster House which provided some great views. And like most great resorts, the drinks were plentiful and delicious. Tropical Buzz Having stayed at Unico a few months ago, we were eager to see how Excellence Playa Mujeres compared. It was almost on even par in all areas. There were two clear areas where Excellence exceeded expectations – the food and the beach. Every single meal was fantastic and the beach had plenty of lounge chairs, palapas, a long stretch of area to walk and activities such as jet skis and parasailing just steps away. There are a lot of resorts that provide wonderful service and amenities in Cancun. Excellence Playa Mujeres ranks in our Top 2 (A trip report of our Top 5 resorts coming soon). As we wrap up this trip report, here are some positive elements if considering Excellence Playa Mujeres: Plentiful Beach Palapas Lounge Chairs in Pool Breakfast views at The Lobster House Large room shower Wide Beach Agave restaurant (Awesome Mexican Food) Spice (Great Asian/Better than Unico) Basmati Indian Restaurant Toscana Italian Dinner/Breakfast Also….Excellence Playa Mujeres has some wonderful art. Check out a few of these landscape sculptures. These sculptures as scattered throughout the property and add to the elegance. When we returned home I noticed that we didn't have a lot pictures of ourselves from this Anniversary retreat, but I'll leave you with one of my favorites during our dinner at Toscana. #adultsonlyallinclusive #excellenceplayamujeres #mexico #playamujeres
- Disney During COVID
You want to visit Disney World during COVID but you’re unsure how safe it is. Well, this blog is for you. In July 2020, Disney World opened its doors with limited capacity and many new safety protocols were in place to keep their guests safe. Temperature checks at entrances, social distancing in lines, sanitizer stations, partitioned stantions, and limited bus seating are some of the new experiences at Disney parks. We arrived at Disney early evening. Since we were staying at the Yacht Club we decided to take a stroll on the Boardwalk over to restaurant Trattoria al Forno. The evening was warm with clearing skies, and the walk over was quiet. It was almost as if we had the Boardwalk to ourselves. Empty Boardwalk Our first full-day was a visit to Hollywood Studios to check out the newly opened Mickey and Minnie Runaway Railway and the possibility of getting a Boarding Group number for Star Wars’ Rise of the Resistance. On our walk to Hollywood Studios, we passed the Skyliner. This is where we first saw the new social distancing placards on the ground. The placards identified the safe waiting distances between guests, as was the case for this extended waiting line at the Skyliner. Please Wait Here Before entering any of the Disney parks, guests must pass through a temperature check point. Wearing masks was mandatory. The only time you were not required to wear a mask was when you were eating or drinking while stationary…this rule was strictly, but politely, enforced. Temperature Check Point Masks Mandatory Masks? Check. Time to get our Mickey on, so we begin our wait for Runaway Railroad! Aside from the temperature checks and mandatory mask wearing, the most noticeable COVID protocol was the expanded social distancing measures. Remember those “Please Wait Here" placards? Well, they are everywhere. The placement of placards extended wait lines swirling down sidewalks and streets. The extended lines create an image that wait times are forever, but the lines actually move fairly quickly. The image below illustrates the area where the Runaway Railway spilled out to the vast concrete areas in front of the former Chinese Theatre. There are patio umbrellas strategically placed to provide shade for waiting guests. See placards on ground. Once inside the Runaway Railway, the permanent stantions were outfitted with sturdy plexi-glass and metal framing. Here we go! Notice the cast members are masked up with face shields. If you haven’t seen or experienced the new Skyliner, here’s a quick pic. The Skyliner connects EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and the resorts of Pop Century, Caribbean Beach, and Riviera. Once back at the Yacht Club, we decided to have some relaxation time. Even the pool area was COVID-proof. There were signs reminding guests of COVID regulations and plenty of space between lounge chairs for social distance….which we didn’t have to worry about because we had the quiet pool to ourselves! Yacht Club Quiet Pool Later in the afternoon we headed back to Hollywood Studios for our #42 Boarding Group (2:40 PM) for Stars Wars Rise of the Resistance. Social distancing was still in full effect. Tammy was admiring the Stars Wars gear along the route to help the Resistance. Psst…she’s not a big Star Wars fan so this photo was staged. Guests ultimately end up outside prior to boarding an escape pod. Everyone was assigned a numbers for proper social distancing. This was your number throughout the remainder of the ride. I’m not easily impressed but Disney…WOW…you really impressed me with the Death Star hanger bay. It was stunning. Death Star Hanger Bay Even the storm troopers were masked up. After Rise of the Resistance, we headed over to Rock’n Rollercoaster. My hair is proof I was obviously still shocked from my experience on the Death Star. If you’ve ridden Rock’n Rollercoaster before, you know this scene is out of the ordinary. Never before has the line spiraled like this. With the heat index at 99 degrees, this was the hottest wait of the day. Everybody below was socially distanced in line. The permanent plexi-glass closest to the boarding area really complemented the “city" feel. After a long, hot, exhausting day, it was time to head over to Disney Springs for dinner. This was our opportunity to see the COVID measures on the Disney buses. All of the seats were numbered and dividers were added in between seats grouped together. Before stepping onto the bus, the driver would ask how many people are in your party, then assign you a seat number. The straps hanging from the overhead rails were zip tied unusable, so there is no standing allowed. The days of seeing 50 people crammed on a bus are over for now. Well, that concludes our hot, late summer, visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You can also check out our visit to EPCOT for the Food and Wine Festival. We hope our story and pictures help you feel comfortable and safe visiting Disney during COVID. If you’re excited and want to book a trip, you know the best person to call is my talented wife and Disney-expert, Tammy.