Greening Your Life

More than one million Apple Vacationers will hit the beach in 2013, but with the help of the growing eco-friendly vacation trend, their impact on the environment can be minimized, protecting the fragile ecosystems of our beloved jungles, beaches and oceans and enhancing relationships with the local culture.Eco-friendly travel is more just than a buzzword; it is a way to preserve beautiful destinations for future generations and for the locals lucky enough to live there.

Eco-Friendly Resorts

Apple Vacations is proud to partner with a variety of resorts that have made an extra-effort to preserve our planet. Eco-friendly resorts can fit any budget and will leave travelers with a more authentic vacation experience, due to a deeper understanding and respect for the places they visit.
Cancun | Cancun’s Riviera Maya | Vallarta | Cozumel | Huatulco
Los Cabos | Punta Cana | Jamaica | Aruba | Costa Rica | Hawaii

Here are more Earth-friendly Travel Tips to use when you’re on an Apple Vacation!

 

Money saving tips for booking your winter vacation

Here are some of our favorite travel tips for keeping you and your family traveling this winter while still keeping your budget intact.

  1. Look for a vacation package – Often times, you’ll get a better deal when you buy a package that includes your airfare, hotel and transfers, and you’ll save your own time by not piecing your vacation together from several different travel sites. Apple Vacations packages can include round-trip air, hotel accommodations, hotel transfers, all meals and drinks and taxes and fees. You’ll know the entire cost of your vacation up front.
  2. Make sure you’re comparing Apples to Apples – most online travel companies do not include hotel transfers, which could add another $100 each way. With Apple Vacations, hotel transfers are always included in international destinations.
  3. All-inclusives are the way to go – today’s all-inclusives have great dining options. A la carte restaurants, room service and your beverages are all included. There won’t be any unexpected bills at check out.
  4. If you know the dates you want to travel or have a particular hotel in mind, buy your vacation as soon as possible. This winter, we are seeing the best dates and hotels selling out already. So while you may have gotten a great last minute deal in year’s past, this winter you may not get your first or second choices unless you book early. Apple Vacations AVOK vacation protection offers a cash-back feature, where if the price of your vacation goes down after purchase, we will refund the difference so you know you’re always getting the best price.
  5. Your time is valuable too – Spend more time on the beach and not in the airport with Apple Vacations’ nonstop vacation flights. This winter, Apple Vacations will have 130 nonstop vacation flights to sunny destinations.
  6. Shop the sales like Apple Vacations SuperSale – Each November, Apple Vacations holds its biggest sale of the year, discounting brand name resorts like Iberostar, Riu, Secrets and Dreams for winter travel dates. SuperSale ends Nov. 22nd.

 

Apple Vacations launches aggressive expansion for winter 2013 vacation options

(Elk Grove Village, IL – Aug. 9, 2012) Apple Vacations today announced 11 new exclusive vacation flights to Mexico and the Caribbean from multiple US gateways. The expanded offerings enable Apple Vacations’ to provide consumers with thousands of new airseats – a year over year increase of 15% – on exclusive vacation flights initiating throughout the US in time for the winter 2012/2013 travel season.

 

Apple Vacations today announced 11 new exclusive vacation flights to Mexico and the Caribbean from multiple US gateways.

 

Additionally, Apple Vacations will expand operations into three new markets: Austin, TX, Des Moines, IA and Kansas City, MO. New winter exclusive vacation flights include:

• Austin, TX to Cancun, Mexico
• Detroit to Montego Bay, Jamaica
• Des Moines, IA to Cancun, Mexico
• Hartford, CT to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
• Kansas City, MO to Cancun, Mexico
• Kansas City, MO to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
• Kansas City, MO to Los Cabos, Mexico
• Lansing, MI to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
• Minneapolis to Huatulco, Mexico
• Rockford, IL to Montego Bay, Jamaica
• St. Louis to Huatulco, Mexico

“We are always looking for new ways to offer new vacation experiences to our customers,” said Tim Mullen, Apple Vacations President. “Extensive consumer research and input from travel agents helps us to determine what new, nonstop flights to offer to ‘which’ destinations’ from ‘what city’. We try to make our customer’s vacation experience the best it can be – and many times it starts with ‘where they want to go’ and how easily they can get there. This is where that experience begins.”

Apple Vacations works with established airlines such as Sun Country Airlines, Frontier Airlines. jetBlue Airways and AirTran Airways to provide customers with state-of-the-art, first generation aircraft for its exclusive vacation flights. There are many advantages to flying on one of Apple Vacations’ exclusive vacation flights:

• Nonstop flights to new vacation hotspots – Apple Vacations has weekly nonstop flights from select gateways this winter to beach destinations like Costa Rica and Huatulco, Mexico. From many US gateways, Apple Vacations has the ONLY nonstop flights to a vacation destination.

• Vacation accessibility from underserved airports – This winter, Apple Vacations will have nonstop flights from Austin, TX, Rockford, IL, Lansing, MI, Des Moines, IA, Hartford, CT and Kansas City, MO, in addition to nonstop flights from larger cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Minneapolis.

• Superior buying power – Apple Vacations is the number one tour operator in the world to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and its overall passenger volume results in rate advantage.

• With Apple Vacations, round-trip hotel transfers are always included on international packages. Depending on your hotel, this could save consumers up to $100 per person.

Have a FITcation!

April Wickey has been working for Apple Vacations for, going on twelve years.  She noticed changes to her body from the sedentary work life and was motivated by a friend to hit the gym.  Finding the motivation, April went forth-to the gym-and began the routine of treadmills and weight machines. Feeling the boredom and lack of inspiration in her routine, she noticed the group exercise classes always had participants, and they were working hard.  On a particular evening of fitness class exploration, April and her friend tried the Zumba class, not knowing what to expect.  She says, “I can be a very clumsy person.”   April fell in love with Zumba that night, as she stuttered over her feet while dancing and exercising with strength, laughter and fun.  Right after the first class, she was addicted and began taking many Zumba classes at her gym and watched her body change into feeling more energized, more balanced, and toned through the popular Latin dance sensation.

 

Have a FITcation! You heard it here first, folks! We’ll continue to combine luxury resort travel with your favorite fitness and wellness lifestyles.

Combining April’s admiration for travel and Zumba, she felt others have the same interests.  She thought, “How great would it be to have a Zumba party at a resort!”  April, being the event planner she is, came up with FITcation branding idea after reading Fit Chicks Rule blog, “Take a Fitness STAYcation this summer!”  April knew FITcation was the perfect word for combining fun vacation with fitness formats people love. She introduced the FITcation idea to her managers at Apple Vacations, with plans for the first FITcation to be all about Zumba!  Naturally, the idea was very popular and Apple Vacations launched FITcations.

 

Apple Vacations and Fit Bodies, Inc. visited the new Now Amber Puerto Vallarta and found the facility, staff, accommodations and activities perfect for the event.

April was put into touch with Suzelle Snowden at Fit Bodies, Inc. who specializes in placing fitness professionals at all-inclusive resorts. Suzelle jumped on board to partner with Apple Vacations and provide FITcation events with top-notch fitness and yoga instructors.

 

The next step for April and Apple Vacations was deciding which resort to host the premiere FITcation.  A family resort worthy of showing off was a must!  Staff members of both Apple Vacations and Fit Bodies, Inc. had visited the new Now Amber Puerto Vallarta and found the facility, staff, accommodations and activities perfect for the event. Now Amber is pleasant to work with and a wonderful rate was established with flight from Chicago. 

 

Fit Bodies, Inc. established the teaching team from Suzelle Snowden herself offering yoga and bootcamp classes, Lisa Snowden teaching yoga, Jodi Dody teaching yoga and Zumba plus Barbara Klontz, the ZES (Zumba Education Specialist) with Zumba who conducted the Zumba B1 teacher training on day 3 of the 7 day event. Plans were made for Puerto Vallarta days to be filled with Zumba, yoga, aqua fitness, excursions and great times!  Even secret plans were made for a romantic wedding vow renewal on the beach! 

 

Even secret plans were made for a romantic wedding vow renewal on the beach!

 

Everyone seemed to have a good time taking part in as much vacation time and fitness time as each individual wanted.  Do not miss the sunset from the resort’s lobby. Gorgeous! Popular excursions were the Canopy Tours, Rhythms of the Night, and Dolphin Encounter.  The resort is only a twenty-minute walk to the Puerto Vallarta boardwalk to soak in the culture rich town.  The potential for where FITcation goes next is unlimited!   

Have a FITcation! You heard it here first, folks! We’ll continue to combine luxury resort travel with your favorite fitness and wellness lifestyles.

 

 

Go Green – Hawaii

as told by Susan C. Bredo of Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows

Preserving Hawaii’s resources, environment and culture is an important part of the resort experience at Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on the Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island.  The resort, recognized as one of Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Hotels, is often referred to a destination within a destination, where you don’t need to leave Mauna Lani Bay’s sprawling 30 acre property to learn about Hawaiian culture and sustainable practices.

Since opening in 1983, Mauna Lani Bay has upheld its environmentally sensitive mission that has remained true to the Hawaiian practice of malama ‘aina, or responsible stewardship of the land. The traditional name of the land that Mauna Lani Bay sits on is called, Kalahuipua’a.  Here you will find a treasure trove of archaeological sties, royal fishponds and prehistoric lava formations.  It is also here that King Kamehameha the Great maintained his royal fishponds, a canoe landing and fishing village.

Mauna Lani Bay offers its guests complimentary cultural activities that celebrate, entertain and educate.  Activities include  Hawaiian historic tours, traditional throw net fishing demonstration, Petroglyph hikes, talk story sessions, fish feeding tours, lei making classes, coconut frond weaving classes, ukulele lessons and coconut husking. 

Many of our cultural programs are lead by Danny Akaka, Mauna Lani Bay’s Hawaiian Historian. Danny leaves a lasting impact on those he comes into contact with. Many visit Hawaii with the mission of seeking Danny out and learning from him first-hand about Hawaii’s rich history and culture.

Each month on the Saturday closest to the full moon Mauna Lani hosts the free Twilight at Kalahuipua’a event open to the resort’s guests, visitors to the island and the community. It’s an evening with local kupuna (elders) as they gather to perpetuate the traditional folk art of story-telling, with plenty of music and dance thrown in for good measure.

Mauna Lani Bay is widely recognized for its Honu program. Since 1989, the resort has received juvenile Honu(Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle) from Oahu’s Sea Life Park and has raised them in the saltwater ponds of the resort.  The Honu are cared for until they grow to a size and weight that is deemed appropriate for release into the ocean. Each July 4 the resort hosts Turtle Independence Day and over the years has released more than 200 Honu into the wild.

Mauna Lani’s innovative approach to green power has earned it the distinction of generating the most solar electric power of any resort in the world.  The resort’s hallmark photovoltaic (PV) solar panel system generates 1,150,250 kWh of green power and produces 13-18% of energy needs per day.  The PV system supplies the majority of the resort’s daytime water pumping requirements and during peak time it can power the entire 6th floor of the hotel.  The resort’s golf shop operates on solar power and at Mauna Lani Spa, the PV system heats the lava watsu treatment pool.

It’s estimated that over the 25-year lifetime of the PV system, solar-generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by almost 12,000 tons.

Think green, live green is a way of life across all levels of hotel operations where the focus is on reducing the carbon footprint. Other initiatives include a water system that pumps three to five million gallons of brackish water per month to water 38 golf holes, mulching green waste for fertilizer, a comprehensive resort-wide recycling program, programmable guest room thermostats with occupancy sensors, sourcing produce within 100 miles and raising palm trees and hibiscus plants rather than sourcing externally.

Mauna Lani Bay is proud to share its green initiatives and regularly accepts requests for tours of the property from hotel industry peers, government departments and energy research groups from all corners of the globe.  By actively showcasing all that it does, the resort hopes to encourage others to follow its lead. 

For more information about Mauna Lani Bay’s cultural and green programs click here.

Just in time for Halloween: Spooky Travel from Apple Vacations

“Have you ever experienced anything spooky on an Apple Vacation?”

Several years ago, I was having a late, beachside dinner in Huatulco with friends who lived there. They told lots of cool stories about the area, like about the town of Tehuantepec, about 2 hours east of Huatulco, where the women rule the culture and whose traditional dress inspired the paintings of Frieda Kahlo. We talked about the infamous blood-sucking, cattle-killing chupacacabra, a legend that conveniently resurfaces in rural Mexico in election years when there’s a candidate who needs a boost.

But my friend Luis saved the best story for last: He was on a nighttime ATV excursion, touring the bays of Huatulco. The guided tour heads down dirt trails to explore some of the secluded beaches of the area, and on this particular night, they ended up at a quiet beach, turned off the headlights of the ATVs and took some time to admire the stars over the ocean. Shortly after they stopped, the group noticed moving lights just over the ocean. The lights got closer, and not only moved on a horizontal plane, but vertically as well. He said they watched for an hour as the lights zipped toward shore, backwards and away from shore, over their heads, back out to sea. No aircraft they knew of moved in those directions, and with that speed, he insisted. Alone on the dark beach, the group was convinced they just had a UFO encounter! They watched the lights until they finally flew away, and then the group returned to their ATVs for the trip back. Luis said for the next few nights, he returned to the beach to look for the mysterious lights, but never saw them again.

As we wrapped up dinner, my friends and I anxiously and often glanced toward the ocean, keeping an eye out for the mystery lights. Of course, we didn’t see any, but when I got back to my hotel room, I made sure the curtains were shut a little tighter than I normally would.

Just in time for Halloween: Spooky Travel from Apple Vacations

Rose Hall Great House, Jamaica

Apple Vacations sells more than 40 destinations, all with their own colorful legends and histories. Between the real pirates of the Caribbean, the mighty, but violent, legacies of the Aztec and Mayan Indians and the ancient stories of native Hawaiians, Apple Vacations’ portfolio is full of locations with mystical and/or spooky tales. Here, in no particular order, are some of the scariest things sold by Apple Vacations:

1. The Rose Hall Great House in Jamaica is a landmark Georgian mansion, high on a hill with sweeping views of the ocean. In the early 1800s, it was owned by Annie Palmer, whose four husbands died suspiciously. Additionally, Annie was a practitioner of voodoo and was called the White Witch. Today, Annie, who was killed in her bed in a slave uprising in the 1830s, haunts the Rose Hall Great House.

True story: Around 10 years ago, Apple Vacations hosted a fancy-schmancy dinner for travel agents at the Rose Hall Great House. Dinner was elegant, with white-gloved service and tuxedoed waitstaff. After dinner, the group was given a guided tour of the mansion, complete with detailed stories of the cold-blooded life of Annie Palmer. Apple Vacations Director of Sales Sally Favia was there that night. She said the tour guide was a hypnotizing storyteller, bringing them room to room where Annie’s husbands died and her lovers murdered. The house is old and creaky, and they could hear banging from empty parts of the Great House. But, Sally said the scariest part of the tour was outside on the grounds, where allegedly you can still see the blood of Annie Palmer’s last victim. “Bone-chilling” is how Sally described it, and she insists that after that night, she won’t return to the Rose Hall Great House under any circumstances.

Heading to Jamaica? Ask your Apple Representative about taking a tour of the Rose Hall Great House. Tours are offered both during the day and, gulp, after dark.

2. Once an ancient Mayan seaport, today Xcaret is a popular Riviera Maya attraction. It’s an eco-archeological park, welcoming visitors to swim in the underground river, view tropical birds, jungle cats and monkeys and explore the Mayan ruins throughout the property. At night, Xcaret hosts an impressive evening performance, chronicling the history of Mexico through costume and dance.

But before the night show starts is when it gets real. As you walk through the ruins, prior to stepping into the theater, costumed performers are stationed periodically to set the stage and lure you into the show. Dressed as Mayan warriors, stoically posing with fantastic headdresses, incense and weaponry, the performers goose-bumpingly take you back thousands of years, when the Mayans ruled the very ground you’re walking on.

Explore Xcaret for yourself – you can add your tour to your Apple Vacations reservation before you leave, or see your Apple rep at your Cancun/Riviera Maya hotel. 

3. Oahu Ghost Tours claims that Oahu is one of the most haunted islands in the world with activity equal to Savannah, Georgia or New Orleans. For more than 10 years, Oahu Ghost Tours has been scaring the pants off of its clients, and Apple Vacations offers you three tour options:

  • Honolulu City Haunts Walking Tour: On this tour guests will visit several known haunted hotspots in Honolulu. This includes Iolani Palace, the State Capitol and China Town as well as downtown Honolulu. Guests are led by a storyteller who will relate the tales behind the spooky locations. Guests with cameras may be able to observe unexplained events at these sites.
  • Orbs of Oahu Driving Tour: On the Orbs of Oahu driving tour, you’ll be witness to the creepy sites where many years ago, horrifying events took place. The events are over, but the haunts are just beginning. On this 4-hour tour, guests will be taken halfway around the island to visit the same spots that have been told in books and tales for hundreds of years, and that make the island of Oahu famous for being a supernatural hotspot in the Pacific.
  • Sacred Spirits Driving Tour: These places are treated with much respect by the Hawaiians and from visitors alike.  The Native Hawaiians adamantly protect these sites.  On this excursion you will visit several of the most ancient and sacred spots in Hawaii.  You’ll learn about Menehune (the little people), as well as the feared Night Marchers.  You’ll visit the sites where Pele, the fire goddess visited

You can book your tour with Oahu Ghost Tours before you leave or after you arrive at your hotel. Call Amstar Hawaii, the office representative of Apple Vacations in Hawaii at 1-888-946-3930 to reserve your spot.

Tower of London

4. Known as the most haunted building in England, the Tower of London was a palace, a prison and a place of execution. With the ghosts of Anne Boleyn, Lady Jane Grey, Guy Fawkes, Sir Walter Raleigh and more, the Tower is a don’t-miss if you like spooky spots.

After booking your Apple Vacation to London, you can book a walking ghost tour of the Tower from a variety of companies or take a tour from an official Yeoman Warder.

5. While Nassau, Bahamas might be known for modern hotels and colorful casinos, you can learn all about its pirate history on the Historic Tour of Nassau City. In the 1700s, Nassau was a famous pirate hideout, and it’s said that Blackbeard himself haunts the Old Fort of Nassau.

See your Apple Representative at the hotel for information on these and other optional activities and excursions.

Did we miss any scary Apple Vacations destinations? Let us know in the comments below.