Tag Archives: Caribbean

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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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

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

Escape to Athens, Greece, party in the Dominican Republic, spa day at the Four Seasons

Denver, Colorado
Denver, Colorado

Today’s travel deals include a wonderful escape to Athens, an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic and a spa day at the Four Seasons in downtown Denver.

Gate 1 Travel is partnering with Groupon Getaways to offer a great deal to Athens, Greece with travel dates in late 2015 and early 2016. Packages for a seven night stay start at $899 per person, double occupancy including airfare from New York, five nights hotel accommodations in Athens, daily breakfast in Athens, and all airline fuel taxes and fees. Stroll through the Acropolis and visit the Parthenon, ride the funicular to the top of Mount Lycabettus for great views of the city or take a tour of Delphi for an additional fee. Visit Groupon.com by June 8 for more information, including available dates and prices. Book by June 16 and travel by March 2016.

If the beach is more your style, Livingsocial.com has partnered with Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic to offer a six day stay starting at $560 for two. That package includes all meals, domestic alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks, non-motorized sports, daytime activities, nightly entertainment, and taxes and fees. Relax by one of the 12 pools or on the beach. There is an on-site spa and a movie theatre. Golf is nearby, as well as kiteboarding and waterfall climbing. Visit Livingsocial.com by June 9 for more information and to book your Caribbean getaway.

The Four Seasons Hotel Denver is offering a luxury spa day, including a facial or a massage and your choice of a massage add-on (collagen eye treatment, scalp treatment, or hand or foot scrub) or facial add-on (lip enhancement, scalp treatment or hand or foot scrub) for $119. You’ll also get a glass of sparkling wine or a mimosa and access to the pool and all other spa amenities.  This package is available Monday through Thursday starting on June 1. An automatic 18% gratuity will be added on to the total cost of the services. Visit Travelzoo.com soon 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.

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.

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.

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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

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

Discover New Orleans, ski Crested Butte, enjoy the sun in Fiji

Beach
Caribbean beach

This week’s deals include a tour of New Orleans and a cruise in the Caribbean, a great deal at a Crested Butte resort, and an adventure in Fiji.

Gate1travel.com is offering a ten-night package that includes time in the city of New Orleans and a cruise in the Caribbean from $749. The travel date for this price is February 5, but there are promo prices November 2014 through April 2015. This package includes three nights’ hotel accommodations in New Orleans, a walking tour through the French Quarter and Jackson Square, and an additional day to enjoy the city. On day 3 board the Norwegian Dawn and set sail for Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Honduras, and Costa Maya, Mexico. The package doesn’t include airfare to New Orleans. Visit Gate1travel.com soon for more information and to book your cruise.

Here in the Rocky Mountain West, ski season has just begun and it’s a good time to book a ski trip. The Elevation Hotel and Spa in Crested Butte is offering discounted room rates from October through April. Rooms start at $89 per night for a Courtyard King Room and $139 for a Deluxe One-Bedroom Suite with dining credit. Up to two kids 17 or younger stay free in the suites. The package includes two $30 spa credits per day. The property is located at the base of Crested Butte Mountain Resort, a short walk from the mountain and the village. There is an onsite restaurant, or you can enjoy the restaurants and galleries in the village. For an offbeat adventure, visit the downtown rum distillery that welcomes guests year-round. At the resort, there is a $20 per day resort fee collected at check-in. Visit Groupon.com by October 25 for more information and to book your ski trip.

Some prefer sun to snow, and Travelzoo.com is partnering with Fuji Airways to offer round-trip airfare to the South Pacific for $999 from Los Angeles. Visit Fiji between February 1 and June 10 and September 10-30. Dive or snorkel the Rainbow Reef, eat great food, and spend time on one the many beautiful beaches. Fiji is also a great wedding and honeymoon destination, with many resorts specializing in these big events. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information on booking your dream trip to Fiji.

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

Lakeside living in Las Vegas, Cozumel, the Moscow Ballet tickets

Beach
Caribbean beach

Today’s deals include a resort in Las Vegas, fun in Cozumel, and tickets to the ballet in Denver.

The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa is offering a stay in a King room with a resort view starting at $69 per night. Guests can upgrade to a premium King lake-view room for $99 per night, with a two-night minimum. The resort is located in Henderson, just south of the Strip, and these packages include breakfast for two or a $50 resort credit. The resort has exclusive access to the Southshore Golf Club, a private Jack Nicklaus Signature Course. Relax at the pools, or go into Las Vegas to shop or see a show. Visit Groupon.com by August 27 for more information and to book your getaway. Dates are available through October.

If ocean beaches are more your style, the Park Royal Cozumel in Cozumel, Mexico is offering an all-inclusive stay, starting at $399 for three nights. Packages include all meals, drinks, taxes, and gratuities as well as access to the gym and water areas and a 50% discount on spa services. The resort has Wi-Fi access, and three restaurants to choose from, as well as the Bikini Shack poolside bar. Guests can plan vacations of three, four, five, six, or seven nights. Travel through December 20. Two children under 6 stay and eat free, children 7 – 12 are $40 per person per night. Visit Livingsocial.com by September 4 for more information and to book your Caribbean adventure.

Christmas will be here before we know it, and it’s time to start planning to get tickets for your holiday entertainment. Travelzoo.com has partnered with the Moscow Ballet to offer tickets to the Company’s performances of the “Great Russian Nutcracker” on Friday, December 12 and Saturday, December 13 at the Paramount Theatre. Rear orchestra tickets are $36.50, rear mezzanine & middle orchestra are $53.50, and front orchestra tickets are $68. This production includes handmade costumes and classical choreography, honoring the original ballet. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for more information and for instructions on buying your tickets. Additional fees of up to $15 per ticket may apply.

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.

Discounted houseboat rentals on Lake Powell, deals on Las Vegas rooms, Christmas cruises

Las Vegas Sign
Las Vegas Welcome Sign

This week’s deals include discounts on end-of-season houseboat rentals at Lake Powell, a deal in Las Vegas for condos on the Strip, and discount cruises over the Christmas holidays.

For those who long for the lazy days on Lake Powell, lounging on a houseboat and swimming in the secluded coves, The Lake Powell Resorts and Marina is discounting three-day houseboat escapes. Rent the 46” Expedition that sleeps six for $799 for three days, or the 53’ Adventurer, sleeping 12 for $1489. Travel between August 17 and December 31, 2014. There are also five-day packages through August 16 that are discounted, departing from the Wahweap Marina in Arizona. Visit Travelzoo.com soon for the best availability and to purchase your voucher.

Las Vegas is always a fun getaway from the Front Range, and one of the few non-gaming hotels on the Strip is offering discounts on two-night stays. Stay in a Studio or a one-bedroom studio for as little as $50 per night during the week, $64 per night weekends. Polo Towers Suites offers a roof-top pool, family water park, a spa, and a fitness center. Parking and Wi-Fi at the Towers is complimentary, though there is a $20 per night resort fee required for use of the pool, hot tub, children’s splash pad, BBQ area, business center, and fitness center. There is no restaurant onsite, though due the location on the Strip, there are plenty of choices close to the property. Visit Livingsocial.com by July 16 for more information and to book your stay. Dates available through September.

Now that the July 4th holiday is over, many folks start thinking about their Christmas travel plans. Vacations to Go offers lots of great deals on cruises, and they do show some Christmas dates available for the Princess Emerald Princess. Sail from Bayport, Texas on December 21 and cruise the Caribbean, stopping in Cozumel, Belize City, and Roatan in Honduras, spending Christmas Day in Belize City, starting at $899 for an Oceanview room. If you prefer to spend the New Year’s holiday at sea, look into the Caribbean Princess, setting sail on December 30, 2014 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and visiting Cozumel, Nassau, and Princess Cays over nine days starting at $1249 for an Oceanview cabin. Visit Vacations To Go for more information on last minute cruise deals.

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.