Tag Archives: beach

Airfare deals from Southwest, Half Moon Bay getaway, road trip in Tuscany

travel, Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay, by Aaron Logan, LightMatters, Creative Commons

This week’s travel deals include great airfare discounts from Southwest Airlines, an adventure in Tuscany, and 40% off rooms at Half Moon Bay, California.

Southwest Airlines is having a three-day sale on flights out of Denver. One-way airfare from Denver to Salt Lake City, Omaha, and Oklahoma City starts at $49. For $99 one-way from Denver fly to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and many others. Visit Southwest.com by June 4 for more details and to book your flights. Southwest is also offering discounts on hotel and vacation packages.

Grab those cheap flights to San Francisco, rent a car and visit the Oceano Hotel and Spa at Half Moon Bay, about 26 miles from the San Francisco (SFO) airport. Groupon.com has partnered with this hotel to offer a King Suite for two for $175 per night – a $313 per night value. The stay includes a bottle of wine. Bring the kids and stay in a Princeton Double Suite for the same price, with dates available into August. The suites include private balconies, fireplaces, and 42-inch flatscreen TVs. Browse the shops, boutiques, and galleries in historic Half Moon Bay. Many restaurants source locally, inviting you to sample the wine and produce from the area. Visit Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, watching the life in the tidal pools. For the sun worshipper, spend the day on Half Moon Beach. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to book your getaway.

For those who like road trips, check out Gate 1 Travel’s excursion to Tuscany and Milan, Italy. Discounted to $799 per person, this six day road trip through Tuscan countryside starts with roundtrip airfare from New York to Milan, five nights at a 4-star hotel in Tuscany, and one night in Milan, daily breakfast, seven day car rental (manual transmission), unlimited mileage, insurance, theft protection, taxes and airport fees. Departures from other U.S. gateways are available. Talk with the Gate 1 Travel representative. Personally, I’d ask about an extension! Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and to arrange your Tuscan treat. Book your vacation by June 17.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, go to www.debtalkstravel.com and follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

A Patagonian trek, getaway to Glenwood Springs, sun in the Riviera Maya

Caribbean beach

This week’s deals include adventure in Patagonia, a hotel deal in Glenwood Springs, and a getaway to the Riviera Maya.

Trek in Patagonia

Trek in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia for 11 days, starting at $2,744 per person for the land-only package and $3,785 per person with round-trip flights between Los Angeles or Miami and Santiago. Santiago is the Chilean capital city and has a booming restaurant scene and trendy shopping centers, with the looming peaks of the Andes Mountains in the distance. South of Santiago more than 1,500 miles, Torres del Paine National Park is a treasure-trove of mountain peaks, huge glaciers, and icy mountain lakes. Spend six days trekking through this spectacular wilderness. The packages also include round-trip ground transportation per itinerary from the airports to the hotels and sightseeing destinations, double-occupancy accommodations’ for three nights at the Casa Bonita Bed and Breakfast in Santiago and six nights at the Refugios in the National Park, with one night at Hostel Amerinidia in Puerto Natalas.  Also included is 10 breakfasts, seven lunches, and seven dinners, domestic airline flights, taxes, fuel surcharges, hotel fees, entrance fees, trekking permits and medical and evacuation insurance. As a bonus, 10% of the trip cost goes to the OneSeed Microfinance Fund for investment in local entrepreneurs. Visit Livingsocial.com to learn more about OneSeed Expeditions and this Patagonian adventure by May 8.

Swim in Glenwood Springs

For those who prefer to stay in the mountains close to home, Glenwood Suites in Glenwood Springs is offering a great deal on a rooms, with dates into June. Stay in a King Room for as low as $59 per night and a Double-Queen Room starting at $79 per night. Glenwood Springs is a great weekend getaway from the Front Range, offering hiking and biking trails, whitewater rafting, and the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool to sooth away the aches and pains of the day. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to book your getaway.

Sun in Cancun

Sun and sand is only a short flight away from Denver, and Apple Vacations is offering a great vacation deal to Cancun, starting at $599, including airfare and taxes. This package includes three nights at an all-inclusive beachfront resort, the Barcelo Maya Beach & Caribe. This luxury resort features a dolphinarium, spa, miniature golf, live shows, and kids club and surf ride wave pool. This is part of a larger sale on three- to seven-night vacation packages and stays at other resorts. Cancun offers beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and nightlife. Visit Travelzoo.com by May 6 to book your summer vacation.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Drive a Ferrari, explore the Amalfi Coast, enjoy an escape to Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta
On the Malacon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

This week’s travel deals include renting a luxury automobile, visiting the Amalfi Coast, and a romantic bed and breakfast in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

If your dream is to drive a Ferrari 458 Italia, a Lamborghini Superleggera, or Lamborghini Spyder, it’s finally time to realize your vision. Oxotic Supercar Driving Experience has partnered with Travelzoo to offer a 15-mile test drive on a Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday for $99 or the same experience on Friday or Saturday for $129. The drive lasts 20 minutes and you receive an orientation, instructor guidance, professional photos, and digital video of the drive. This price includes the fuel fee and your pick of the three supercars. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and to buy your voucher.

If you really enjoy driving on winding roads, consider seven days on the Amalfi Coast. Great Value Vacations is offering seven days on the Sorrento Coast starting at $1,299, double occupancy. The package includes round-trip air from New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco to Naples, and double occupancy four-star accommodations for five nights at Towers Hotel Stabiae Sorrento Coast. Also included is a manual shift economy car rental with unlimited mileage, six breakfasts, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and hotel fees. Explore the Coast on your own, spending time on Bagni d’Arienzo beach, hiking the Sentiero degli Dei, or touring the Villa Rufolo. Visit Livingsocial.com by April 9 for more information and to buy your voucher. Book your getaway by April 17.

For sunshine a bit closer to home, visit the Quinta Maria Cortez bed and breakfast overlooking the Sea of Cortez in beautiful Puerto Vallarta. Stay four, five, six, or seven night starting at $475.  This is an adults-only bed and breakfast where you can view the sunset over the ocean from your private terrace or balcony. The packages are for two and include daily breakfast served in the oceanfront dining room.  Each suite includes classic and antique Mexican furniture, kitchenettes, original artwork, purified water and coffeemakers. Downtown Puerto Vallarta is located minutes north of the property, with plenty of great restaurants and clubs. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to buy your voucher.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information,  follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.

Traveler or tourist? 6 Tips for planning a vacation to Panama

Century Bridge
One of the two bridges that lead out of Panama City and into the countryside.

The gentle thumping against the window drew us out of the night. It’s raining in Panama City, which is not unusual in October. We’ve come to this  Central American country to enjoy the sun, play some golf, and explore. Flying in during the early evening, we’ve stayed in a hotel downtown to avoid driving at night from the airport. As we traveled in this country, we discovered several planning strategies to help make your trip to Panama more enjoyable. With the advent of non-stop flights between Denver and Panama City, more tourists may make the trek.

1. Be prepared with basic Spanish. English is not widely spoken or understood. Tourism is new to Panama. Aside from the Canal and Bocas del Toro, the country hasn’t been much of a vacation destination for English speakers and most folks outside of Panama City only speak basic English. In the city, those in the hospitality industry may be more fluent but our waitress in the hotel restaurant still was puzzled when I asked for unsweetened iced tea. Be prepared with some rudimentary Spanish.

2. Rent a car to explore. Transportation is problematic. Officially, taxis are pretty inexpensive in Panama City. In reality, if you don’t know what it should cost, they charge you as much as they can get away with. From the airport to downtown Panama City, legally it should be about $12.00. In reality, it costs about $30.00 for a tired, non-Spanish speaking gringo.

Traffic in Panama City
Weaving through Panama City traffic

Traffic is awful and this affects both private and public transportation. There is a country-wide bus system as well as flights to the major cities if you need to get to David or Bocas del Toro quickly. If renting a car, be prepared to drive very aggressively and take the comprehensive insurance.  The condition of the roads range from good on the major highways to challenging in the neighborhoods. While my husband drove on the side roads, I kept an eye out for potholes that would swallow the front right quarter panel. Since many roads aren`t marked or named, GPS is not very useful either in the city or in the smaller towns. There aren’t many roads outside Panama City, particularly compared to most American urban areas. A good map is as useful as any GPS.

3. Arrange excursions before leaving home. Know who you want to call when you get in country for excursions. Our experience was that businesses that catered to tourists didn’t reach out or do much advertising. For example, we stayed in Coronado, a well-known resort area. My husband was interested in learning to surf, and we knew there were several well-known surf beaches close to where we were staying. We never found any information about any surf schools in the area. The resort didn’t have any brochure racks that we saw, and we never found a tourist office in town. We did plan on a day trip to El Valle before we left, and were able to drive there and enjoy the area. If there is something you want to do during your stay, arrange it or gather the information before you leave.

Pilot boat
A pilot boat comes to pick up the pilot that maneuvered the ship through the locks

4. Be ready to shop. Stocking items that are not necessities is not high priority for Panamanians. There were no vendors on the beach, unlike the beaches in Mexico where vendors constantly approach visitors. For those of you who expect to shop for souvenirs, Coronado has many stores, but they don’t cater to tourists. We did see a couple of stores for the local artisans along the Pan American Highway, but didn’t want to stop at the time. There are also many vendors in Casco Viejo with a large variety of handmade goods.  If you plan to return home with souvenirs, shop for them when you find them. The airport has mostly stores that cater to the high-end luxury goods crowd and very few T-shirts and shot glasses.

5. Ask about wireless service when booking a hotel. We had free Wi-Fi in the Doubletree in Panama City, at our resort in Coronado, and at the Country Inn and Suites on the Canal. My research indicates that not all hotels offer Wi-Fi, some offer it and charge, and some don’t. When booking accommodations, be sure to ask.

6. Talk to your cell provider. Cell coverage is fine in the bigger cities but may be less than stellar outside the most populated areas. We didn’t use our phone for calling or data on the cell network because it was too expensive. However, T-Mobile is offering international calling and data without additional charge. Check with your cell provider to determine what charges may be incurred in country. If you absolutely must have a phone, it is easy to buy a phone and load it up with minutes. Movistar and Cable & Wireless are the major cell providers in Panama and they have outlets in all the major Panamanian cities.

Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach on a Saturday morning.

Spending  time in Panama takes a bit more planning than the traditional resort vacation to, say, Mexico. Panama  is still up-and-coming, and hasn’t focused on tourism like some of it’s neighbors. For those who prefer to explore and travel rather than visit and be served, Panama is a great vacation destination. Go, meet the people, and experience the deserted beaches and beautiful jungles. You’ll plan to go back.

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.


Cunard cruises, New Zealand tour, sunny Belize

Tropical beauty
Tropical beauty

This week’s deals include transatlantic cruises, an adventure in New Zealand, and a resort in sunny Belize.

The Cunard Line, home of the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, and Queen Mary 2 is offering great deals on transatlantic sailings through June 2015. Cruisers sail on the Queen Victoria between New York to Southampton for eight days on April 25, starting at $1099 for an inside cabin. In addition save up to 20% off launch fare with up to $400 on-board credit per stateroom, specialty dining for two and free gratuities. Special fares are offered for the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth as well. Visit Cunard.com for more information and to book your cruise.

For those J.R.R. Tolkien fans, Air New Zealand is offering a 13-day “The Hobbit Trilogy” inspired vacation in New Zealand from $1,999 per person. The package includes round-trip airfare through Air New Zealand from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Auckland, returning from Queenstown. Package also includes intra-country flights, four nights’ accommodations at Mercure Auckland, two nights accommodations at Sudima Lake Rotorua, and half-day guided Hobbiton movie set tour in Rotorua. Spend four nights at Mercure Queenstown Resort with a half-day guided Safari of the Scenes tour in Queenstown. All U.S. and foreign taxes and fees and applicable airline fuel surcharges are also included. Visit Groupon.com by December 8 for more information and to book your Tolkien adventure.

Winter is in full swing in the Rocky Mountain West, and many folks are dreaming of warm water and sunny beaches. The Almond Beach Resort & Spa in Hopkins, Belize is offering a four night stay for two in an Ocean View room for $499 or in an Ocean View Deluxe room for $599. If you prefer to sun a bit longer, stay six nights starting at $699. The Almond Beach Resort is on the Belizean coastline between Dangriga and Placencia. The resort has two pools, beachside hammocks and on-site spa. For the active guest, visit the Mayan ruins nearby, go diving and snorkeling, or take a guide into the jungle for some bird watching. Visit Livingsocial.com by December 11 for more information and to book your Caribbean vacation.

Caribbean beach

Like this article? Click the subscribe link at the top of the page to get the latest information by email when it’s published. For more fun deals and information, go to www.debtalkstravel.com and follow Deb on Twitter at debtalkstravel.

These deals are subject to change or cancellation at any time, and restrictions may apply. Book early for the best deals.