#BeachBlitz2017 Now on Sale!

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Are you a die-hard Philadelphia’s Eagles Fan? Do you know the Eagles Fight song by heart? Do you bleed green? If so, we have the Apple Vacation for you!

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Apple Vacations invites you to join our host Dave Spadaro along with Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Jordan Matthews at Now Jade Riviera Cancun in Riviera Maya for #BeachBlitz 2017.  Enjoy a week of fun in the sun with your favorite Philadelphia Eagles players and alumni, Ike Reese and Mike Quick, all with your feet in the white sand and a cold refreshing drink in your hand. And the back drop is the beautiful azure waters of Cancun’s Riviera Maya.

Apple Vacations’ Philadelphia Eagles #BeachBlitz includes:

  • Round-trip airfare
  • Deluxe hotel accommodations at Now Jade Riviera Cancun
  • Non-stop transfers to and from Now Jade Riviera Cancun
  • ALL meals, ALL drinks, ALL snacks and ALL tips in resort
  • #BeachBlitz group photo and gift
  • Private welcome party, photo session, and autograph session with the Eagles players and alumni Activities will take place for 7 days. Events with Players and Alumni will take place March 31 – April 4, 2017.
  • #BeachBlitz Lanyard for entry to the private events

Just a $200 deposit secures your space on #BeachBlitz. Space is limited, click here for pricing and more details.

Let’s Go E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!

Dia de los Muertos

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by Kimberly Wise

A long celebrated tradition in Mexico, Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, honors the departed and celebrates death as a natural part of the human experience. Families welcome the spirits of their loved ones with food, festivities, decorations, and gravestone vigils.

Girls dressed in Day of The Dead costumes and make posing

Traditional Day of The Dead costumes

Mexican culture has long believed that the dead are awakened during this time to celebrate with those still on Earth. Altars are built at burial sites and are decorated with photos, flowers, skeletons, and foods. You can partake in Dia de los Muertos celebrations at various Apple Vacations destinations:

Xcaret Park in Riviera Maya holds a “Festival of Life and Death” from October 30-November 2. Activities include concerts, parades, special tours, and theater and dance performances.

Puerto Vallarta celebrates from October 28-November 2 with special exhibits at art galleries, special menus at restaurants, decorated boats, face painting, and a religious mass. Be sure to visit the City Square at the Presidencia on November 1 & 2 to view the entrants of an altar competition.

Traditional mexican Day of the dead altar with sugar skulls and candles

Traditional Mexican Day of the Dead altar with sugar skulls and candles

The main square in Zihuatanejo is lit up by candlelight the night of November 1. The yearly tradition includes traditional food, colorful calaveras (skulls), and families paying tribute those lost at beautifully decorated altars.

Haunted Travel Destinations

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Apple Vacations offers travelers more than 40 destinations, all with their own colorful legends and histories. For those wanting to explore the chilling and mysterious side of these destinations, here are some haunted travel options courtesy of Apple Vacations:

Rose Hall Great House

Rose Hall Great House, Jamaica

Perhaps the most famous haunted destination in the Caribbean is the Rose Hall Great House in Jamaica. This landmark Georgian mansion sits high on a hill in Montego Bay with sweeping views of the ocean. In the early 1800s, it was owned by Annie Palmer, whose three husbands died suspiciously. Countless slaves also met their death due to her torture. The locals called her The White Witch due to her voodoo practices. Today, Annie, who was killed in her bed in a slave uprising in the 1830s, has been seen walking the halls of the Great House. Learn all about Annie during Apple Vacations’ Bewitched Tour, as guides tell the chilling stories by candlelight.

Iolani Palace, Honolulu, HI

Iolani Palace, Honolulu, HI

The Hawaiian island of Oahu is a well-known hot spot for supernatural activity. For over 15 years, Oahu Ghost Tours has operated creepy and haunted guided tours across the island. Explore the ancient stories of the Hawaiian history and culture, the ghostly side of downtown Honolulu, and ceremonial events at native sites. Be sure to bring a camera! Many guests have observed unexplained orbs and events at these sites.

The original Pirates of the Caribbean

The original Pirates of the Caribbean

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. Perhaps the most notorious pirate was Blackbeard, who would terrorize sailors on the Atlantic and Caribbean in the 1700s. Nassau was a famous pirate hideout during this time, and it’s said that Blackbeard himself haunts the Old Fort of Nassau.

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Plaza de Catredal, Havana, Cuba

Step back in time and visit the historic Plaza de la Catedral in Old Havana, Cuba. Witnesses have reported seeing a nun on the roof of the Cathedral. At times, she floats off the roof onto the streets of the Plaza and walks toward bystanders only to disappear as she gets closer.

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. Book your vacation package today!

How a big dig in Panama to make shippers richer saved a rainforest and astounded paleontologists

By Dave McBride

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Standing at the new Cocoli Pacific Locks of the Panama Canal today in the company of heads-of-state and assorted Pooh-Bahs and Potentates) we watched as Panama opened a bigger door to world commerce.

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By this time, most everybody knows the basic way that a lock system provides the steps for ships to climb and descend between sea level and the lakes above. But we also learned that the expansion of the canal is also the story of a scientific sensation and environmental salvation.

There is a newly made-up word in the world’s lexicography which, in that single word, describes a complex story about how corporate profiteering and a national need partnered to save the rain forests of Panama from ruinous development. The word is Neopanamax. Panamax was the word coined to describe the biggest size a cargo ship can be to fit through the Panama Canal. The locks newly opened after a decade of construction were designed for an even more immense ship called Neopanamax, which requires a space that is wider, longer and deeper. The wider and longer requirements are accommodated by the brand new locks on either end of the Canal. The deeper element of the design required that the waters across the interior of Panama be raised higher to float the enormous new ships. Deeper means more water and that requires rain.

Canal lake interior

Lake Gatun—Courtesy of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

Like the Everglades in Florida, the tropical rainforests of Panama help create their own weather.  The humid forests give up evaporated moisture that rises into the clouds and condenses into rain. To ensure that enough rainwater falls to raise the rivers and lakes that fill the canal and float bigger ships, the government of Panama, realizing their reliance on this symbiosis, declared the interior rainforests throughout the canal region to be protected from development.

Another gift to Panama from the new canal project is that scientists were able to follow the diggers into the bedrock carved out for the new locks and to discover fossils that surprised paleontologists around the world. Deep in the Las Cascades Geologic Formation, researchers from the University of Florida and elsewhere found seven fossil teeth that shook the foundations of animal origin theory. These are teeth of a monkey similar to the capuchin that wears a bellhop’s hat and dances to the tune of the organ grinder. The teeth are 21 million years old. That means monkeys lived in North America before it was connected to South America by the Panama land bridge.

Monkey images

Courtesy of the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

Till now it was assumed that South American monkeys evolved there and traveled to North America after the isthmus rose up. Now it is clear that somehow monkeys floated north, perhaps on rafts of floating debris, across a hundred miles of ocean separating the two continents to colonize the forests in the southern tip of North America millions of years before the two continents were connected. The scientists called the ancient monkey species Panamacebus transitus, to allude to the monkey’s movement across the ancient seaway that divided the continents. The U.S. National Science Foundation contributed almost four million dollars to the scientific project to study the fossil record revealed by the cutting of the new canal lock, which was led by researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural History. The great variety of fossils identified in the dig include those of camels, crocodiles and fierce bear dogs (Oh my).

Veteran Newsman Dave McBride is an award-winning news radio reporter, anchor and program director and creator of fan-favorite Dave’s Raves. Dave has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Writing for Radio/Large Market and the 2010 and 2011 Murrow for continuing news coverage. He was awarded the New York Festivals World Gold Medal for Best Writing for Radio. In his first year in Florida he received the Florida AP award for Best Long Light Feature in both first and second place. Dave is currently based in South Florida.

Posts by Veteran Newsman Dave McBride

We asked amateur birder Dave McBride to report back to us on bird-watching conditions in Riviera Maya. Here’s what he had to say:

Birding Safari on the Riviera Maya

2 Stalking Birds with a Camera in Mayan Muyil

The Black Bandit of Yucatan Birds

Babes in Mayaland

Puerto Morelos—where a picture of Señor Morelos will buy you a beer at the beach bar

Veteran Newsman Dave McBride is an award-winning news radio reporter, anchor and program director and creator of fan-favorite Dave’s Raves. Dave has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Writing for Radio/Large Market and the 2010 and 2011 Murrow for continuing news coverage. He was awarded the New York Festivals World Gold Medal for Best Writing for Radio. In his first year in Florida he received the Florida AP award for Best Long Light Feature in both first and second place. Dave is currently based in South Florida.

Puerto Morelos—where a picture of Señor Morelos will buy you a beer at the beach bar

by Dave McBride

Did you know that when you are in Puerto Morelos you can get a beer at the beach bar in exchange for a picture of Mr. Morelos, for whom the town is named?

Our Apple Vacation to the Now Jade Riviera Cancun afforded us abundant opportunities to discover new definitions of “putting one’s time to good use.” The Apple experience at the Now Jade Preferred Club afforded us time happily squandered in the ocean view balcony Jacuzzi in the company of Modelo from the mini bar; employing the free Wi-Fi to roam the internet via Kindle on a hunt for useful info, including:

  1. That when you visit Puerto Morelos you will have been there one time more often than the man the town is named for. Jose Manuel Morelos y Robles was a handsome, dashing freedom fighter in the Mexican rebellion against Spain. Between 1810 and 1815 he led the insurgent army, winning dozens of battles against the Spaniards, and when he was finally captured the Spanish Inquisition pronounced him guilty of treason and executed him by firing squad. He’s a national hero and his face is on the 50 peso bill. Which is why you can trade his picture for a cerveza at the beach bar. And get change back.

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  1. That La Panza es Primera (“The Belly is First”) on the south end near the town dock is arguably the best beach bar in Puerto Morelos. Good food on the water. Its theme is masked Mexican wrestlers.

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  1. That the Unico Beach Club on the north end of town is arguably the best beach bar in Puerto Morelos. It is planted on the beach with swings for barstools.

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  1. That the town dock is less than two miles from the balcony Jacuzzi.

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  1. That the tiny lighthouse on the beach by the dock that leans like the Pisa Tower got that way in a hurricane in 1967 and has survived two more big ones since; most recently Wilma, the same one that knocked off part of my roof 600 miles away.

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  1. That you will have your picture taken holding it up.

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  1. That there are two species of crocodiles lurking in the mangrove marshes surrounding the resorts. They come in three sizes: compact, mid-sized and SUV.

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  1. That the city dock is named for Andres Garcia Lavin, who was a media mogul who owned newspapers and radio and TV stations in Cancun.

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  1. That at the Andres Garcia Lavin dock, you can hire a boat and skipper to carry you back to the beach at the Now Jade resort for around 25 dollars US (less if you have haggling mad skills). You will be dropped off in the shallows about a dozen yards out so plan on getting wet while holding your phone and camera above your head.

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  1. That YouTube has some excellent drone aerial views of Puerto Morelos beach including this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-0oa8HrJjw

Veteran Newsman Dave McBride is an award-winning news radio reporter, anchor and program director and creator of fan-favorite Dave’s Raves. Dave has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Writing for Radio/Large Market and the 2010 and 2011 Murrow for continuing news coverage. He was awarded the New York Festivals World Gold Medal for Best Writing for Radio. In his first year in Florida he received the Florida AP award for Best Long Light Feature in both first and second place. Dave is currently based in South Florida.

Babes in Mayaland

by Dave McBride

Since everything a kid does is life-shaping, there is plenty of shaping going on in an Apple Vacation to the Riviera Maya.

4a It was Bilbo Baggins who said, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Outside the doors of the Now Jade all-inclusive resort, kids may be swept off to an ancient ruin, or to a water park for tubing, or to animal and bird preserves. Inside the doors of the resort, kids can swim with other kids in the pools or with turtles and rays in the blue-green Caribbean.

Kids who join the resort’s Explorer’s Club are afforded opportunities to build sand castles, camp out and even learn acrobatics on a bungee apparatus. Young Explorers have plenty of time for adventure even into the dinner hours while mom and dad are sharing some revitalizing alone time.

4b

Parents may remember a visit to Mayan Mexico as a child’s introduction to the wider world. Let your kids know that living nearby are Yucateco Mayan children who are descendants of the people who built the pyramids and who would find things equally strange and interesting on your street back home. They see coatis and howler and spider monkeys as often as you see raccoons and squirrels. Instead of listening to the calls of birds like robins and crows, they hear the songs of painted buntings and toucans and motmots.

4c

According to sociologists, Mayan children have traditionally engaged in less imaginary play than children in the US and Europe. Instead, their play mimicked the adult work they would be expected to do. They pretended to build, or weave, or cook, or wash clothes. Mayan kids learned useful abilities through play. And they were included in productive work in their communities as early as age 3 or 4. Additionally, more often than in the US, kids here would not be expected to play predominantly with other kids their own age. They were almost always in the company of older children and adults, and they acquired a growing self-worth observing and emulating grown-up behavior. By the age of 15, Mayan children would have been expected to be independent.

But change is coming to the Mayan family. Members of the Mayan community living west of Puerto Morelos acknowledge that their older village children are now moving to the town, where money can be made in tourism jobs and where they are not immune to digital technology. Increasingly, children from Mayan families are found with their faces focused on their phones. Smart phones and computers are among the factors fundamentally changing the traditional Mayan way of life.

Veteran Newsman Dave McBride is an award-winning news radio reporter, anchor and program director and creator of fan-favorite Dave’s Raves. Dave has received the Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Writing for Radio/Large Market and the 2010 and 2011 Murrow for continuing news coverage. He was awarded the New York Festivals World Gold Medal for Best Writing for Radio. In his first year in Florida he received the Florida AP award for Best Long Light Feature in both first and second place. Dave is currently based in South Florida.