Tag Archives: beaches

Travel Deal: Costa Blu Dive & Beach Resort in Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Photo: Dennis Redfiled

Looking outside and seeing the snow, I’m in the mood for a beachy, tropical resort.

The Costa Blu Dive & Beach Resort is partnering with Groupon Getaways to offer a great deal on stays in Ambergris Caye. Two guests stay 3 nights for $495, five nights for $825, and seven nights for $1,155.

The Costa Blu Dive & Beach Resort

This resort has 36 one-bedroom suites, all with private balconies overlooking the beautiful Carribean Sea. Each room is outfitted with a flat-screen TV, king-sized bed, and wireless internet. The resort also offers diving equipment and equipment for other water sports, including kayaks. Sun at the seafront pool or walk the beaches. Enjoy your meals at the Blu Restaurant.

Belize and Ambergris Caye

Belize and Ambergris Caye is known for its proximity to the world’s second longest barrier reef. If you’re a diver, you’ve either already been here or it’s on your bucket list. There are many different excursion companies available to take you to the best diving and snorkeling locations.

If you don’t dive, explore the island’s Mayan heritage and jungles. There is shopping in San Pedro, along with many restaurants, and galleries. The island is small, about 36 miles long and only about 5 miles wide at it’s widest point. You’ll see that most people get around with golf carts, bikes, or just walking.

Getting There

If you’re flying out of Dallas, Houston, Miami, or Los Angeles there are direct flights. If you’re flying out of Denver, the best fares I saw were from Tuesday to Tuesday, flying through Dallas. The rates were about $420 per person, roundtrip in March 2016.

Fly into Belize City and  take the ferry to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Or you can take an intra-country airline to the island. Airfare is not included in the stay packages.

Visit Groupon.com by February 16, 2016 for more information and to book your trip. There will be a 6% resort fee and 9% tax collected upon arrival. Travel by June 30, 2016.

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Puerto Vallarta hotel deal – CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

Sunset over Banderas Bay
Sunset over Banderas Bay by Deb Schaffer

Puerto Vallarta is a great winter getaway from Denver. Travelzoo.com has partnered with the CasaMagna Marriott to offer room rates starting at $109 per night for a garden view room. Guests can upgrade to a ocean-view room for an additional $30 per room.

This five-star resort includes five restaurants, three pools, and a spa. There’s plenty to do in Puerto Vallarta, from golf at the Marina Vallarta Golf Club, to a day trip to the Marietas Islands and see the blue-footed booby!

Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and black-out dates and to book your Mexican holiday!

Small ship cruising deals, the Northern Lights of Iceland, visit La Jolla

Northern Lights, Iceland by Moyan Brenn, Creative Commons
Northern Lights, Iceland by Moyan Brenn, Creative Commons

Today’s travel deals include specials on small ship Windstar cruises, a winter escape to Iceland, and discounts on bungalows in La Jolla, California.

Small ship cruise deals

The Fourth of July is bringing out the travel sales and Windstar Cruises is offering it’s best deals this weekend. With only 148 to 310 passengers on any ship, Windstar offers the best in small ship cruising. One of their best deals is seven days on the Wind Surf, setting sail fro

Ride Rio Grande rails, cruise the Inside Passage, enjoy Lake Las Vegas

This week’s deals include a train ride and concert, an Alaskan cruise, and a great deal at a resort in Las Vegas.

It’s summer in the Rockies, and the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is offering half-price tickets for their Mountain Rails Live Summer Concert Series. The package includes two economy class adult tickets for $19, the train ride and concert tickets with the train departing Alamosa at 10:30 a.m. and Fort Garland at 11:15 a.m. Standard class tickets are available for $39 for two. Standard class features more comfortable seating with chairs that can be reversed to make a four-person seating area. Children’s tickets are also available. There are eight shows during the summer included in this promotion. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for the dates and to buy your voucher.

For those who can travel at the last minute, Cruise.com has partnered with Celebrity Cruises to offer sailings to Alaska in mid-July 2015. Sail July 15 on the Celebrity Millennium starting at $749 per person for an inside cabin. The package includes prepaid gratuities, and up to $300 extra onboard c

Las Vegas Sign
Las Vegas Welcome Sign

redit, discounts on Vancouver hotel and shore excursions, and a value booklet with up to $350 in savings. The itinerary is Vancouver, thorough the Inside Passage to Seward, with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and the Hubbard Glacier. Visit Cruise.com for more information and other dates and to book your Alaskan cruise.

The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort in Henderson, Nevada is offering a great deal on room rates through September starting at $69 per night for two people. Breakfast is included with an upgraded, Premium King Lake-View room for $89 per night for two. Up to two kids 17 or younger stay free in double rooms. This resort has a private beach on the lake and watersports such as stand-up paddle boarding. Play some golf at the Reflection Bay Golf Club and the Southshore Golf Club or just hang by the giant pool. In Henderson, visitors escape the congestion and 24-hour hassle of the traffic on the Strip. Visit the Hoover Dam or nearby Lake Mead for hiking, biking, or fishing. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to book your Las Vegas getaway.

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.

 

Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic – flash sale on an all-inclusive!

Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Bavaro Beach, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic by Ian Bruce, Creative Commons

Apple Vacations is offering room rates starting at $49 per person per night at the all-inclusive VIK Hotel Arena Blaca in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – and two kids 12 and under stay free! This price includes all food and beverage and doesn’t require double occupancy.  The deal is available for September – October stays and you must stay three to seven nights.

Punta Cana is served by American Airlines, Frontier, and U.S. Airways from Denver.

The resort is on the Bavaro Beach – named to the top 25 beaches in the Caribbean. Bring the kids – they stay free if they’re under 12.  The resort offers a kid’s club, spa, and six restaurants. Shuttles from the airport are available.

Apple Vacations also has airfare-inclusive options available. The sale ends on June 18. Visit Travelzoo.com for more information and to book your 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

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

Beach
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.

Getaway to Prescott, vist San Clemente, airfare deals to Spain

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia

This week’s travel deals include a two-night stay in Prescott, Arizona, airfare deals to the Spanish coast and a great deal on rooms in San Clemente, California.

For those who are interested in a beach getaway, the San Clemente Inn in San Clemente, California is offering a great deal on rooms into mid-June. Two guests stay in a studio starting at $67 per night, a room for four in the Breaker Suite starts at $79 per night, or six guests stay in the Crest Suite starting at $85 per night. The San Clemente Inn is located less than a mile from the beach and has an on-site restaurant that specializes in hearty breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, soups, and salads. Each guest room has a kitchenette including a microwave and dishwasher and the property includes a heated outdoor pool and hot tub. Activities in the area include miles of biking trails, swimming, fishing, and surfing. There are plenty of great restaurants along the coast to have a meal and people-watch. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to book your getaway.

A trip to Spain is never a bad idea, and the Norwegian Air Shuttle is offering great deals on airfare to some of Spain’s most popular destinations. Currently Norwegian Air Shuttle is flying out of five markets: Fort Lauderdale, NYC, Los Angeles, Orlando, and Oakland. From Los Angeles, fly to Malaga in April, May, and October starting at $662. Fly to Barcelona April, May, September, and October starting at $696. Norwegian Air Shuttle was named the Best Low Cost Airline in Europe by Skytrax. The sale fares are their LowFare class which includes fees for checked baggage, seat reservations, and meals. To include these extras, check the LowFare+ class for pricing. Visit Travelzoo.com by March 31 for more information, including links to the reservation system. Book soon for the best selection.

If you love Arizona but the heat of Phoenix and Tucson is problematic, then visit Prescott, one of Arizona’s best preserved 19th-century towns. For fans of the Old West, Prescott boasts more than 800 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places and home to the World’s Oldest Rodeo. Stay at the Hotel Vendome, right in the center of town. The hotel includes oak furnishings, patchwork quilts, wireless internet, off-street parking, and an on-site pub. Prescott is about a mile above sea level and a short drive from five mountain lakes. Visit Livingsocial.com by March 28 for more information and to buy your voucher.

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.

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.

Beach
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.

Cruise the Panama Canal, visit sunny Palm Springs, adventure in the Maldives

The Panama Canal
Exiting the Panama Canal on the Atlantic side

This week’s deals include a trip through the Panama Canal, a great hotel deal in Palm Springs, and exotic adventure in the Maldives.

For those with flexible schedules, Princess Cruises is offering a great deal on 11-night cruises through the Panama Canal, starting at $649 per person. Set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, visiting Aruba, Cartagena, Columbia, and then a partial transit through the Panama Canal to Colon. From Colon, sail to Limon, Costa Rica and Ocho Rios, Jamaica before docking back in Ft. Lauderdale. This deal is available on the December 7, 2014 sailing on the Island Princess and the December 12 sailing on the Coral Princess. Princess Cruises offers such amenities as wine bars, live entertainment, and Movies under the Stars with 300-square foot open-air screens. There is an additional $331 fee per person the covers the cost of passing through the Panama Canal. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and the book your holiday cruise.

As the holiday travel season approaches, the Palm Mountain Resort in Palm Springs, CA is offering a deal on room rates through January. Two people stay in Garden King Room for $60 per night. Select the two-night package and get a $25 dining credit at the Matchbox Restaurant. The hotel is within walking distance to downtown Palm Springs, with its restaurants, shopping, and delightful art museum. The sun shines 300 days per year here, allowing visitors to golf, hike, or just enjoy time around the pool nearly every day. Palm Springs is also the birthplace of desert modernism, and there is a self-guided tour of the midcentury modern architecture available at the Palm Springs Official Visitors Center. Visit Groupon.com soon for more information and to book your winter getaway.

The Maldives are found several hundred miles off the southern tip of India. Indus Travels is offering a seven-day trip to these exotic islands, starting at $2239 per person. This package includes round-trip airfare between New York City or Los Angeles and Malé, double-occupancy accommodations for five nights at the Fihalhohi Island Resort, five breakfasts, lunches and dinners, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and resort fees. The Maldives have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and the reef is a snorkeler’s paradise. Visit Livingsocial.com by November 13 for more information and to buy your exotic island 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, 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.