Live Aqua in Cancun

Beautiful Resort … A Must Visit!

Beautiful relaxing resort that fills the senses with different essential oils burning throughout the resort on different floors and even in your room! Clean beautiful beaches and great restaurants! Breakfast buffet was tasty with lots of great options! Perfect for a quite get away to relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, or a great retreat with friends!

A painting class you can organize before you travel for a group of yours!

Comparing All-Inclusive VS European Plan Resorts

All-Inclusive

When you think of heading on a warm weather escape you probably think all-inclusive—all meals and drinks included in your package! Most travelers go with this option as it takes away the stress of trying to figure out where to eat, wondering if the food is safe and what the cost will be. If you’re planning a destination weddings, an all-inclusive resort may be your best choice, it makes it easier for your guests that are not well traveled or adventurous. Most all-inclusive resorts in have many restaurant options to choose from. There are buffet style and specialty options, plus room service is typically included with all-inclusive plans.

European Plan

A European plan typically means that your accommodations only are included. You can sometimes find a rate that includes breakfast. If you choose this plan you will need to budget for tips, meals, drinks, activities and taxes. This is a good option for the more adventurous traveler, as they can get outside of the resort and explore the local cuisine. For your less experienced traveler this option may be more intimidating. You will pay room service as well.

Together let’s figure out what plan is right for you.

AM Resorts … No Wrist Bands, No Reservations and premium alcohol is included!

If these details matter to you on your all-inclusive vacations, AM Resorts is the company that provides these amenities at each of it’s resorts. With 41 luxury properties in 19 destinations, AM Resorts is embracing a competitive edge with its specialty catering to people of all ages.

There are 6 categories for AM Resorts that are designed to make everyone happy. All have usual amenities that not usual with other different companies.

  • Unlimited access to ala carte dining options, no reservations are required.
  • 24-hour room and concierge service
  • Pool and beach butlers
  • Daily refreshed mini bars
  • Daily activities and nightly entertainment
  • No wristbands

 

With all of these at all of the resorts, AM Resorts has an atmosphere to suit everyone.

Zoetry Wellness and Spa resorts: Treat your mind and body to slow down a little and take a minute to heal and be well. Zoetry is a premier spa resort that will capture your senses with healthy gourmet cuisine, relax your mind and body with specialized spa treatments and also provide the opportunity to experience ecotourism, arts and community stewardship activities.

Secrets Resorts and Spas: These upscale adults only properties provide world-class spas, gourmet international dining and beautifully appointed rooms provide a memorable experience for adults. 

Breathless is for the chic crowd that want to dress up and feel like you are out on thetown. Withthe younger, trendy themed adults only resort, luxury is combined with a nightlife atmosphere for great times for everyone!

Dreams is the resort where couples with children can come for a fun time. There is the explorer’s kid’s club, but there is also a teen club that provides supervised daytimeactivities and evening activities. Dreams is also a lovely setting for a wedding where the whole family is welcome.

Now is also for everyone in the family. While there are kids and teen club activities, Now properties focus on everything luxury for multi-generational families.

Sunscape Resorts and Spas is a high-energy, fun-filled designed getaway for friends and family alike. The price is nice, too.

With all resorts located on beautiful beach settings, AM Resorts let you pick your atmosphere, dine as you like and indulge without the tan line from a wristband. ENJOY!

  

Your Guide on What to Wear at Karisma Resorts

The luxury experience begins at Karisma Resorts from the moment you step foot on the property. You will receive impeccable service and hospitality throughout your stay. The luxury appeal at these resorts is exquisite and they even hold high standards for your attire when dining at the resort.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when you grab a romantic meal near the beach …

Suggested attire for breakfast and lunch:

  • Ladies: Sun dresses, elegant sandals, T-shirts and skirts
  • Gentleman: Long pants, formal bermuda, polo shirt, sleeved T-shirt, sandals or tennis shoes
  • Permitted: Shorts, sleeved T-shirts, flip-flops
  • Not Permitted: Swimming trunks, bikinis, swimsuits, tank tops, sleeveless shirts, baseball caps or any type of hat

Suggested attire for dinner:

  • Ladies: Dresses, skirts, long pants, shoes, Capri pants, elegant sandals
  • Gentleman: Long pants, collared shirts, casual shoes
  • Permitted: Formal bermuda, dress sandals
  • Not Permitted: Baseball caps, tank tops & flip-flops, sport shorts

You will certainly enjoy the Karisma experience for a romantic getaway and I would be happy to share my Karisma experience with you. Let me help you and your sweetie escape!

A Unique Twist on a Destination Wedding … Brunch!

I’ve been booking destination weddings for years and I’m always on the lookout for fresh ideas. Recently I had the pleasure of participating in a wedding brunch at Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa. Wow! What a cool idea! It was fantastic. Finally a new and unique experience.

They had a gorgeous set up on the beach adorned with white tents and low resting tables complete with large rugs and over-sized pillows to sit on. For those not wanting to sit on the pillows there were also some high top tables and chairs. Each guest received a sun hat which I thought was a nice gift for a morning at the beach!

There was a mariachi band as we walked up which added to the authentic Mexican feel. The buffet brunch was phenomenal! There were lots of tasty finds like freshly baked muffins and scones, egg bakes, crispy bacon, fresh fruit, and finger sandwiches. Let’s not forget about the refreshing mimosas!

I think the guests enjoyed waking up, getting ready for the wedding, attending a beautiful ceremony on the beach (before it got too crowded!) enjoying a brunch with friends and family. By 1:00 everyone was in their swim suits enjoying a dip in the pool or taking an afternoon siesta under their palapa.

I would definitely consider a wedding brunch to give your guests a unique and memorable experience!

Spring Break Alternatives After Hurricanes Irma and Maria

We all know that the Caribbean has suffered a horrible hurricane season this year with the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Many of the destinations will take months and even worse case scenario, years to recuperate.

All is not lost for winter and Spring Break 2018, though. There are many destinations in the Caribbean that did not get hit by Irma or Maria. Mexico is also a very safe and still wonderful choice too.

As of the beginning of October, probably the worst hit is Puerto Rico where people are without food, supplies, water or electricity. Barbuda, Dominica, St. Maarten and the US. Virgin Islands were not devastated as badly, but it will be some time before they are back on track and functioning as per usual, although cruise ships are already preparing for docking at many ports of call that were hit.

What didn’t get hit is a very nice list. Two of the major destinations, with their non-stop flights out of Minnesota , were not devastated or even suffered one bit of damage are the Dominican Republic or Jamaica. Each of these islands have their own personality and distinctions that are very popular with American tourists looking for culture and gastronomy.

Other more remote Caribbean islands that were passed over were St. Kitts and Nevis, Bahamas, Haiti, Martinique, Antigua, St. Lucia and Aruba. If you are interested in Caribbean islands that are a little less accessible, but gorgeous and relaxing, the Caribbean is still an option.

Lastly, Mexico is still a fantastic choice for sunshine, white sand beaches and teal blue water. There are many activities to experience and the scenery is wonderful. Mexico’s welcoming hospitality is still intact, and the food and beverages are still top notch. Tourist safety is the number one priority for both American Travel Agencies and Mexico. You can have as much nightlife as you wish or as much relaxing as you wish, for safe memories that will last a lifetime.

Treat Your Culinary Desires on your Honeymoon!

Mexico is where it’s at for great culinary experience—thinking Peruvian, Italian and Asian food on your honeymoon!

The Riviera Maya is home to the El Dorado Maroma, Playa Maroma. It is where you will be surrounded by white sand beaches, teal blue water and swaying palm trees in the warm Mexican breezes. The property is gorgeous, lush with green foliage and flowers. The El Dorado Maroma is also home to it’s first of a kind in Mexico, Palifitos, over the water bungalows just like Fiji without the long plane ride.

So if you like diversity with what you eat, the El Dorado has plenty to keep your palate entertained. Lima Limon is a Peruvian style restaurant featuring signature cerveches and Peruvian style prepared meat and seafood dishes, and the presentation is just as beautiful as the white sand beaches … 5-Stars.

Mio Cuccina Italiana specializes in classic fresh fish dishes like Carpaccio and Frutti di mare and homemade pasta, daily in an intimate restaurant setting.

As for Asian, the staff at Kiyoko does a fantastic job with a selection of Sashimi, teppanyaki and other specialties. Chef will even customize a meal for you.

If the Caribbean is what calls you, there is plenty of opportunity for fabulous gastronomy as well.

Sandals is always a wonderful luxury go-to in Jamaica, but the Sandals Royal Plantation raises the bar for French inspired cuisine, Escargot, La Coquille du Pecheur, and of course nightly featured chef-prepared entrees. And of course the red wine will be flowing.

If afternoon tea is the experience you desire, scones, pastries and clotted cream served on fine china is available.

For a little more casual dining with high-end flair, try the Wobbly Peacock Gastro Pub. With traditional mahogany furnishings and an inviting atmosphere, The Wobbly Peacock features Confit Salmon and Lamb Rump as two classic Brittish entrees.

So whatever destination you choose in Mexico and the Caribbean, there are endless options for fantastic gastronomy to go with all of the beautiful beaches.

Puerto Vallarta from Horseback

This excursion was definitely a highlight of our trip.

While vacationing with my family at the Iberostar Playa Mita, I was able to pre-arrange a horseback riding experience to Rancho Montalbena. We were picked up at our resort and whisked away to the ranch (which also offers zip ling and ATV tours). The guide gave very good instructions to everyone on how to control the horses.  We had beginners to advanced riders in our group, along with two guides (one in the front, one in the back) and also a professional photographer to capture all the perfect photo moments.

Thanks Felipe – Iberostar tour desk – for helping us set up this perfect excursion!

  

 

 

 

 

 

Client Review of Grand Velas Vallarta (Riviera Nayarit)

 

I meant to email you earlier this week. It was FABULOUS! We loved it. The beach was amazing, the food was fantastic and the service was totally awesome. It will be hard for us to go anywhere else. It was a bit smaller which was a nice change. Grounds and rooms were very nice as well. Even the transportation was seamless this time! We loved the adjoining rooms as well – that worked out perfect. They had a really cool fire show one night and live music on other nights. Really hard to pick on anything. I can’t say enough about the food. Wow – for all inclusive, blew every other place away by far – Chateau briand, sea bass, steak – all fabulous. Poolside fajitas – amazing. Even the “non-reservation” restaurant changed it’s menu and options in the buffet. They had a bbq night one night which was really nice too. We can name at least 4-5 staff members by name who were exceptional but everyone was so friendly and helpful. Just awesome. We had a fabulous time. Thank you!!!

Sherri B.
Plymouth, MN

Benefits of Postponing the Honeymoon

Many romantic comedies portray a Newlywed Couple exiting their wedding, and then being whisked away on the most romantic, tropical honeymoon you could ever imagine – that’s how it always works, right?

Not Always – As a newlywed myself, I had no intention of catching a 7 am flight the morning after my wedding. After twelve months of stressful planning, my husband and I decided the best way to celebrate our nuptials was to take a five day mini-moon up to the Minnesotan North Shore, and save the tropical trip to the Riviera Maya for a few months later. Here is why it worked for us, and why you may want to consider it as well.

There is less stress bundled into one weekend.

Have you been to an airport on the weekend? Chances are, it will be a rush. After an emotional couple of days, the stress of security lines, TSA, and catching a flight may be a little too much for your agenda right after the happiest day of your life. My husband and I avoided the rush of the airport and opted for a scenic drive to Lake Superior the day after. We were in charge of our own time, and had no obligations to be anywhere. This was the most relaxing thing we could have done for ourselves, and we had total freedom to do so.

You have more time to save for your dream trip.

Our mini-moon cost us less than $1,000 – Much less than a tropical “vacay” would have cost us. Delaying our “real” honeymoon by at least a couple months gave us the opportunity to save up for the must-haves in our dream getaway. Since we waited six months, we had the money to make this happen, and even had a surplus for some awesome excursions!

It gives you something to look forward to.

There was a lot of let down after our wedding – After a year of planning, our beautiful dream day was over. Although you will have letdown from your wedding whether or not you delay your honeymoon, saving the dream trip for later will give you something to look forward to in the future. Six months after our wedding, my husband and I hopped on a plane to the Riviera Maya, and spent seven days just enjoying each other, the scenery, and the sun. The anticipation for our warm getaway was well worth the wait!

Looking back on our choices, I wouldn’t change one thing –  saving the tropical, romantic honeymoon for later gave my husband and I something to look forward to down the road, after taking plenty of time to establish our married routine together. Weddings are exhausting, so give yourself time to recuperate! Sun and sand will always be there, waiting for you. No matter when you decide to answer the calls of the ocean, make sure you go into your trip relaxed. You’ll both be ready for it that way.

 

 

 

Xplor and Xcaret: Riviera Maya Adventures Xposed

In my last two trips to the Riviera Maya region, I had the amazing opportunity to experience both Xplor and Xcaret. These two parks are both owned by the same company, but are worlds apart. Let me explain to you why!

Xplor Fuego:

My first experience at Xplor Fuego was in November of 2016, with several other coworkers. Our time there was thrilling, and for some of us, scream-worthy.  Once you are strapped into a helmet after you check in, you are free to “Xplor” the park at your own speed. We ran up to the zip lining towers right away, and we were able to complete the zip line course during sunset, so the view was absolutely glorious. The zip lines are lengthy, the workers have fun pushing you off the ledge until you are air born, and there are even a couple of them that carry you through fire and waterfalls. Absolutely thrilling!

Every attraction here screams “Extreme Adventure”, and that is exactly what you get. From ATV rides through the jungle, to river rafting through beautiful caves, this park provides attractions that are definitely fit for the thrill seeking, active adventurer. Even walking to each attraction, you feel like you are on an expedition through the jungle!

Fun Travel Tip for Xplor: Invest in a water proof camera case that will hold your phone around your neck. This will allow you to capture many of your activities on video and in pictures, as many of the activities involve water. It was a great investment for me!

Experience Xcaret:

I had already visited Xplor twice before I made it to Xcaret, and I was completely blown away by how different they were. Xcaret prides itself by being located on a Maya Civilization Archeological site. This park goes above and beyond when they share about the Mayan Heritage and traditions. Throughout the day they have cultural dancing, shows, and opportunities to meet and greet the characters in their traditional dress. I felt like I was in a completely different world!

Xcaret also holds animal sanctuaries with many forms of wildlife – they have Panthers to Macaws, Manatees to sea turtles, you will not be disappointed by what you see. If you participate in the cave swimming, you will get to swim next to a tank full of Manatees – exciting, but slightly terrifying for me, as they are so much larger. But oh so gentle!

From 7:00pm-9:00pm, they hold their evening show in the arena close to the entrance of the park. This show has 19 parts, each one covering a important part of their heritage. It covers Mayan Traditions, such as Fire Hockey, Mayan Ball Games, and beautiful representations of the dress and talents of each region of Mexico. The performances were extraordinary, and I left with a new understanding of Mayan Culture, and had an even bigger appreciation for Mariachi.

If you find yourself in the Riviera Maya, make sure to make your way over to one or both of these parks. Each one offers a unique experience, but both will give you memories of a lifetime.

Back Home Again … in Mexico

I have been sending Steve & Joanne to Mexico since 2009 and their last 12 trips have taken them to Be Tulum, a small beachside resort in Tulum.  This has become their home away from home and they go back several times each year.  Be Tulum provides a low-key atmosphere where they are treated as returning family.  The attention to service and detail has earned Be Tulum a place in their hearts forever.

 

OverWater Bungalow – Closer than you think!

I had the pleasure of seeing overwater bungalows in person is so much more awe-inspiring than in a picture. We visited Palafitos at El Dorado Maroma, and it was stunning. If this is on your bucket list, I highly recommend saving a little bit on airfare, by flying into Cancun, and staying in one of these amazing overwater bungalows at El Dorado Maroma.

Now is the time!!!


The bathrooms are beautiful, with the Jacuzzi soaking tub indoors and out on the balcony!


With the full seclusion here, you can relax and truly escape the crowds and enjoy each others company!


There is something about being able to see the water from the inside of your room.  Absolutely beautiful.  (yes, you can put the rug over the top to cover it up if you prefer.


Beds face the sliding glass doors so you can see outside at all times.
 

Everything about the bungalows makes you want to just kick your feet back and relax.

Mountains or Beach … Puerto Vallarta is the place to be!

13709979_1232022230150193_4714941814747452933_nI had the opportunity to join Funjet Vacations to experience Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.   This picturesque town located between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre Mountains is a popular travel destination. It offers beautiful beaches, cultural activities, water sports, and more. The Grand Fiesta Americana is a stunning property perched on the golden shores of the Pacific Ocean and just east are the tropical rainforests of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Located just six minutes from the Historic Downtown District.

At Grand Fiesta Americana you can enjoy 14 restaurants and bars with all types of cuisines, from Asian to your traditional Mexican meal.  If you are a seafood lover you must check out La Cevicheria. I highly recommend their ceviche …it  is out of this WORLD!

Their accommodations are top notch. You’re not lacking space, that’s for sure, and be sure to indulge the beautiful ocean views. You can also admire the simply breathtaking red sunsets from your balcony. There’s nothing better then enjoying a cocktail with an ocean breeze in Grand Fiesta Americana open air Mojito bar. Imagine listening to the crashing waves getting ready to start your day or the sound will slowly put you to sleep at night.

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Mandy Visits Puerto Vallarta

In June 2016 my husband and I took our first trip to Puerto Vallarta and we had a blast! On our flight down we upgraded ourselves to first class and this is the way to go. If you have never done it I highly suggest you try it. All you can eat and drink, bigger seats and more leg room. We stayed at the RIU Jalisco and were told we had the best view in the hotel- full ocean view! It is such a treat when you come from a cold weather state to open your shades in the morning and see the ocean and hear the waves. The hotel is very large so there could be a lot of walking depending on where your room is located. The food is yummy, the hotel is clean and the staff is friendly.

When I am in a new location I like to take a tour to really get to know the destination so one day during our vacation we did this. Puerto Vallarta is not as Americanized as other Mexican destinations which allows you to have a more cultural experience. We visited a church that was built by the local residents who donated whatever material they had at home to build it. It was gorgeous! We also visited a flea market where we did a little bartering for our souvenirs and then visited a fourth generation home where organic tequila is made. I am not one to drink tequila but this tequila is yummy! Nice and smooth:-)

During one of the evenings we did an excursion called “Rhythms of the Night” and I highly recommend this tour.  I would describe it as Mexico’s version of a luau- you take about an hour long boat ride, where you are served unlimited snacks and drinks,  to the cove of Las Caletas. You dine under the stars at your own private beachside table bathed in the soft glow of candles. After dinner you walk over to the theater and the show begins. The dancers tell the story of ancient civilization through movement and music. Take my word for it, you don’t want to miss this show!

When you are ready to plan your adventure to Puerto Vallarta let me know, I am happy to help!

 

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