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Friday, May 26, 2017

“Summer Only in Cayman” Family Friendly Deals

The Cayman Islands is offering exceptional savings up to 45% off accommodations, dining, along with land and sea adventures through its “Summer Only in Cayman” promotion. 

Book these incredible deals now through June 30, 2017 for travel between June 1 and September 4, 2017. 

Kids can fly 50% off with a paying adult via Cayman Airways on packages sold on or before June 30, and enjoy complimentary stays and admission to various properties and attractions island-wide.

 

Promotion Highlights

  • The longer you stay the more you save with book 4 nights, get the 5th night free at participating properties, including the all-new Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa
  • Complimentary dining for kids at various properties and restaurants, including The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, Cayman Cabana and Cimboco
  • 20% off regular admission rates and kids get in free at the historic Pedro St. James Castle and the lush Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park 
  • Up to 20% off most dive and water sports excursions, including thrilling WaveRunner snorkel experiences and unforgettable Stingray City tours 
  • Tremendous savings on dive packages with Sunset House and Red Sail Sports 
With several nonstop flights available via most major U.S. cities and national carriers, including Southwest Airlines from Fort Lauderdale beginning June 4, there’s no better time to vacation in the Cayman Islands.

Visit the site to view all the travel deals 


Happy Travels, 
Linda 

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Caribbean Daily News 




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Caribbean Hotels on Conde Nast Travelers 2017 Hot List



Congrats to the Best New Caribbean Hotels who made Condé Nast Traveler's 2017 Hot List. These properties opened in the past year, and were among the total 75 awards. 

Condé Nast Traveler’s team of 60 reporters, editors, and photographers traveled anonymously to more than 50 countries, flew a collective 529,500 miles, and slept in roughly 200 beds, evaluating each hotel on a standard set of criteria including service, food, atmosphere, and amenities.

The following six Caribbean properties were selected from a pool of 675 hotels. 

Le Barthelemy Hotel & Spa, St. Barts


Hotel Le Toiny St. Barth, St. Barts


The Other Side, Bahamas


The Shore Club, Turks & Caicos


Villa Marie Saint-Barth, St. Barts


Zemi Beach House, Anguilla




Happy Travels,
Linda

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Caribbean Daily News - What's going on in the Caribbean? 



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Anse Chastanet Hosting Photography Master Class


One of the world's most accomplished photographers 
is hosting a master class at Anse Chastanet Resort in 
St. Lucia for National Geographic Expeditions this year.


Anse Chastanet is the only property on the island of St Lucia offering views of both the Petit and Gros Piton mountains. 


Dubbed "Advanced Photography and Lighting Workshop, 
the session, to be held October 10-15, 2017, is designed for 
16 advanced photographers and National Geographic Photography Workshop alumni.


Joe McNally, whose acclaimed career includes assignments in more than 50 countries, will lead the classes at the eco-friendly resort. 

McNally, who has contributed to National Geographic magazine for more than three decades, has been described by American Photo magazine as "perhaps the most versatile photojournalist working today" and listed as one of their 100 Most Important People in Photography.

McNally will deliver lectures and guide participants through the complexities of advanced photography while taking them through the sprawling Anse Chastanet property, which features a tropical rainforest, an organic farm and jungle bike trails.


Photo Courtesy of Anse Chastanet

National Geographic Expeditions chose Anse Chastanet because it is "blanketed in lush jungles, edged by luminous sandy beaches, and crowned by the staggering twin peaks of its iconic Pitons."

The six-day workshop is designed to ensure participants benefit from daily instruction and critiques of their photographs offered by McNally and a support team of photographers. 

Attendees will also learn the fundamentals of artificial lighting and move to advanced techniques to take their skills to the next level, working hands-on with all manner of small flash techniques, from high speed flash to multiple speed light interiors.

For more information on workshops requirements and itinerary schedule visit http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com/expeditions/saint-lucia-tour-caribbean-photo-workshop/detail.

Anse Chastanet
www.ansechastanet.com


Happy Travels,
Linda

Monday, May 22, 2017

Caribbean Fashionweek Jamaica 2017

Caribbean Fashionweek 
June 7-11, 2017 - Kingston, Jamaica

It's almost time for the Caribbean’s finest designers, and international stylists, to showcase their current collections at the premier fashion event of the region.



As the main catalyst for Caribbean fashion industry development, Caribbean Fashion Week continues to remain true to its essence. 

CFW introduced a global perspective to fashion in the region. It has focused international attention on what the Caribbean has to offer by working with stakeholders to build capacity and generate business for Caribbean stylists. 

Caribbean Fashionweek designers have been featured in Vogue, The Associated Press, The Independent, Fashion TV Paris, The New York Times, i-D, The BBC and a host of other media around the world.



Photo Courtesy of Jamaica Gleaner - Photo Credit: Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer Pulse Caribbean Week Fashion (CFW) Fashion Shows, held at the National Indoor Sports Centre (NISC) , Stadium Complex over the Weekend of June 12-14, 2015.


International celebrities who will be in attendance at the event include: 
Grammy award winning R&B star Ashanti will be the 2017 CFW special guest. Hot new British star, Fuse ODG will both perform and debut his collection, along with other major superstars which are expected to be in attendance. 




Caribbean Fashion Week Schedule:


Monday, May 22
CFW Launch at New Porsche Motorsports Gallery

Wednesday, June  7
Press Conference at Courtleigh Hotel, Emerging Designer Showcase - Ent. Deck, Villa Ronai, CFW Pepperseed: PULS8, New Kingston

Thursday, June 8
CFW Gala - The New Spanish Court Poolside

Friday, June 9
CFW Fashion Collections at Villa Ronai,  After Party

Saturday, June 10
CFW Fashion Collections  at Villa Ronai,  After Party

Sunday, June 11
CFW Business Forum at The Jamaica Pegasus, CFW Fashion Collections at Villa Ronai,  After Party

http://caribbeanfashionweek.com/


Happy Travels,
Linda



Monday, May 15, 2017

USVI 100 Year Anniversary Travel Package




The Department of Tourism is promoting “Centennial PLUS”, an enhanced summer and fall travel promotion to coincide with the destination’s 100th anniversary as a U.S. territory. 




On March 31st 2017 the USVI celebrated Transfer Day - the 100th year anniversary of the Danish West Indies becoming the Virgin Islands of the United States.  Find out more about the history of Transfer Day here 

The “Centennial PLUS” travel package must be booked through participating tour operator partners through June 1, 2017 for travel between June 1 and October 31, 2017.

The travel package can be booked through participating tour operators, and offers $400 in spending credits along with 4th night free with a minimum 4 night stay. The $400 in spending credit can be redeemed at restaurants, retail stores, attractions and activities.

Participating tour operators include:
American Airlines Vacations, Apple Vacations, CheapCaribbean.com, Costco Travel, Delta Vacations (MLT), Expedia Inc., Flight Center Travel Group (Libgo), JetBlue Vacations, Pleasant Holidays, Travel Impressions and Tourico Holidays.


St. Croix Hotel Partners 
Arawak Bay, The Inn at Salt River, Caravelle Hotel & Casino, Club Comanche Hotel St. Croix, Divi Carina Bay Beach Resort & Casino, Holger Danske Hotel, Hotel on the Cay, Mount Victory Camp, Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa, The Buccaneer Hotel, The Palms at Pelican Cove, Sand Castle on the Beach and Sugar Beach Condo Resort.


St John Partners
On St. John, participating hotels include Coconut Coast Villas, Concordia Eco-Resort, Gallows Point Resort, The Westin St. John Resort Villas, and Vacation VI/SirenUSA.


St Thomas Hotels/Resorts
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, Emerald Beach Resort, Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach PGalleon House, Sugar Bay Resort & Spa, Windward Passage Hotel and Virgin Islands Campgrounds.

Visit https://www.visitusvi.com/ for more info on this promotion, along with other travel deals, things to do and lots more. 


Happy Travels,
Linda

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

In Search of Pura Vida Part 2


Day 1
Awoke early in the morning, and excited to head out for the 4-hour drive from Dominical to the cloud forests of Monteverde. Reservations were made in advance as there is a 12 person maximum on the Sky Walk Suspension Bridge.

The villa staff prepared a full breakfast of rice and beans, eggs, chopped beef, sour cream, fried plantains, tortillas, and lots of fragrant coffee. 

My breakfast at home usually consists of fruit, cereal, and coffee - this meal was far more than I could consume in one setting.


When arriving the previous evening, I made a point to personally meet the cook Jimena, and thanked her for sending the delicious meal for the ride from the airport. We talked for hours, and set up a personal tour of the Pacific coast towns with a family friend for Day 3. She packed up my uneaten tortillas and added some other goodies for the days trip.

One of my best travel tips - Get to know the staff, treat them with respect, along with tipping them well. They will always point you to the best places to eat, along with other off the beaten path places to visit. You can read guide books and reviews, however, the authentic culture will be discovered from the locals who live there.

The Central Highlands of Costa Rica provide some of the country's most scenic views

Driving to Monteverde the view was a continuous landscape of breathtaking mountains, sprawling coffee plantations, and active volcanoes in the background. 



We also ran into a few cattle being herded along the road.



Monteverde is one of the most popular ecotourism destinations

There is no actual town center, and the small town consists of a dirt road which leads to the Cloud Forest Reserve. I learned that the town was founded by Quakers from the U.S., and they started dairy farming and also established the wildlife sanctuary.

The top view sits on the continental divide, both the Caribbean and Pacific oceans can be viewed on a clear day.

The 300+-year-old trees are massive with numerous variety of plants and flowers clinging to the bark. Many animals make their homes in the hollow of these huge trees. 



The rain forest is home to hundreds of orchids, amazing tropical plants and birds, monkeys, sloths, anteaters, lizards, and even more exotic wildlife to discover.  







I was prepared with rain gear for the cloud forest . . . so I thought. 

The air was hot and very humid, and going higher under the canopy provided intermittent cool breezes. 

Once in the clouds above the canopy, I was saturated in a steady, heavy mist. At this point, the plastic rain gear was completely stuck to my body. 

This was not the planned photo opt! 

Keeping with the "Pura Vida" vibe, I ditched the rain gear, embraced the rain, and enjoying watching the monkeys frantically jumping through the tree tops. 









Monteverde Sky Walk Suspension Bridges 







The bridges are an intricate network above the cloud forest canopy. 

Monteverde has (6) bridges, and it takes about 2 hours to cover. 


The Santa Elena Cloud Forest is located on the other side of town. 

This rain forest is smaller than Monteverde however, it offers a higher elevation, and views of Arenal Volcano. 

The initial plan was to visit both. My shoes were soaked, and the last thing I wanted was blisters. 





Steady rain was now forecast for the rest of the day, so I headed back to the car, and enjoyed the tortilla's and cold beer on the drive back to the villa. 

Overall it was an amazing day. The forecast for the rest of the week is sunny, and the next adventure is Manuel Antonio National Park. However this trek will end on a white sandy beach which borders the rain forest. Pura Vida!



Happy Travels,
Linda

If case you missed In Search of Pura Vida Part 1, Click here to read

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Grenada Chocolate Fest 2017 - Honoring Our Chocolate Roots


Friday 12th May – Saturday 20th May 2017
Learn all there is to know about chocolate making from tree to bar

Grenada is the Spice Island of the Island of the Caribbean, and a leading producer of spices including cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, allspice, orange/citrus peels, wild coffee, nutmeg and organic cocoa. 

Photo Credits: Caribbean and Company


Chocolate has many more uses than just being delicious! 

Discover the aromas, flavors, scents and benefits of luxurious pure cocoa butter and chocolate.  


If you enjoy chocolate, this festival is a must! 

Get all the details and festival schedule here
http://www.grenadachocolatefest.com/


Happy Travels,
Linda

Join the conversation on Twittert
https://twitter.com/justatraveler





Tuesday, May 2, 2017

In Search of Pura Vida - Part 1

Pura Vida (poo-rah vee-dah) is the phrase used in marketing Costa Rica, and the English translation is Pure Life. 

During my nine day vacation, one of my goals was to discover what these words really meant from a local perspective. 


The native of Costa Rica call themselves Ticos, and they use Pura Vida quite often in their greetings and conversations. 

After speaking with many locals I came to realize for them Pura Vida is a lifestyle, and far more than a marketing slogan. It's being appreciative for everything you have - along with the realization many others have far worst lives and problems. 

It's also a oneness with all forms and nature, and the love of family is the main staple of their society. During my stay I was told more than once that our lives on this earth are brief, and therefore we should all strive to live each day to the fullest. 

Now prior to getting this insight on the essence of Pura Vida, my feelings were far from positive after a mechanical issue turned the 6-hour flight out of Chicago into 8 1/2 hours. I was the last of the group to arrive, and after landing still had a three-hour drive from San Jose to Dominical, a laid-back beach town on the Pacific coast.   

However, my mood lightened when meeting up with the driver sent by the villa. He greeted me warmly and had a full dinner waiting in the car. God bless this man - I had not had a good meal since breakfast! 

As we left the hustle and bustle of San Jose I wholeheartedly dived into rice and beans, grilled chicken smothered in sauteed onions, and a wonderful chilled ceviche made with sea bass. A large tumbler was full of a tasty lemon ginger drink of which the translation is toad water - quite an unappealing name for such a delicious beverage. 


As we continued on the drive, I was captivated by the various shades of green against the backdrop of the mountains shrouded in mist. 
As we finally arrive in Dominical, the view of the ocean comes into view. 
The very best experience when traveling is arriving at your destination, and immediately seeing it has met your expectation! 

All I needed at this point was a cocktail and a seat by the pool. 

The search for Pura Vida continues in Part 2 and 3 :)

Happy Travels,
Linda

https://twitter.com/justatraveler

Thursday, April 20, 2017

There's a Place in the Turks and Caicos Island

Sometimes all you need is a video to describe a tropical Caribbean paradise . . . 

 

The Shore Club Long Bay offering luxury beach front accommodations in Turks and Caicos. 

With four swimming pools, restaurants, spa, tennis courts, fitness center and of course stunning Long Bay Beach, Shore Club is the place for an ultimate Turks and Caicos vacation. http://www.theshoreclubtc.com/ 

Happy Travels, 
Linda