Brave Enough for a Cancun Whale Shark Tour?

Swimming alongside dolphins is a popular and safe adventure for vacationers in Cancun and Riviera Maya.

But what about sharks?

If you’re feeling brave, you can take part in a Whale Shark Tour! Watch and swim with enormous local Whale Sharks, a species of shark that got its name for being the size of some whales.

The best part about this excursion? Unless you’re plankton, there’s no need to fear!

 

SuperSale!!

Apple Vacations SuperSale starts today! It’s our (and should be your) favorite time of year if you are planning an Apple Vacation!  Excuse the sales pitch for a moment, but this is really one of our biggest sales of the year!

Book during Apple Vacations’ SuperSale and you can save up to 40% on your next Apple Vacation to Mexico & the Caribbean.

Apple Vacations has sharpened our rates and is featuring some great deals including … save up to 40% at Dreams Palm Beach in Punta Cana, The Dominican Republic . Or, look for an Apple Vacation to Cancun, Riviera Maya, Jamaica, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta… there are big savings in so many destinations. Click here to see all of Apple Vacations SuperSale deals.

White sandy beaches, blue turquoise waters, tropical beverages and palm trees as far as the eye can see… will all be calling your name this winter. So stop dreaming about it and start planning!  Log on to applevacations.com or call your travel agent today to pick out your next Apple Vacation! Hurry, the best dates and hotels will sell out quickly.

 

 

‘Dia de los Muertos’ is a grand celebration of life itself!

The Day of the Dead is otherwise known as ‘Dia de los Muertos’ or ‘All Soul’s Day’ and can be traced back for thousands of years. This day is held to honor and remember family members and relatives who have passed away. During the day on November 1st and 2nd, people gather together to pray for lost loved ones. Altars are created to honor the dead and gifts are taken to the graves of the departed. The essence of this beautiful ritual is to lovingly and happily remember the dead relatives, their life, and in this way, give meaning and continuity to human existence. Here are some great places in Mexico that really embrace the Day of the Dead tradition:

Mural from Secrets Hualtuco Photo Credit: Stephanie Diehl, Travel Designed

Mural from Secrets Hualtuco Photo Credit: Stephanie Diehl, Travel Designed

1. Huatulco

Huatulco is one of Mexico’s newest and very unique tourism development areas. The state of Oaxaca has a rich cultural history and guests of Huatulco can take full advantage of interesting opportunities to experience some of Mexico’s charm. Although the Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico, Oaxaca has become known for the ornately richness of its celebrations.  The festivities begin a week before November 1st with the commencement of the “Plaza de los Muertos”, an elaborate initiation held in each city market, and a contest is held to judge the best of the city’s ofrendas.

 

2. Cancun & Riviera Maya

Marketing department at Apple Vacations

Traditional Day of the Dead Face Painting – Photo Credit: Jeff Farinosi

Xcaret is normally a hybrid action-eco-archeological-adventure park about an hour south of Cancun. From October 31-November 2, it transforms into an all out Day of the Dead celebration a.k.a. the Xcaret, “Life and Death Traditions Festival”. For those that really want to embrace the culture, complimentary face painting stands are set up through the park.

 

3. Los Cabos

Encompassing the two towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Lose Cabo, The Day of the Dead Festival is a key festival in Los Cabos throughout the Mexico. Families and loved ones pay their respects by creating spectacular altars that are elaborately decorated with photos, candles and food offerings. The altars are then displayed in the towns main square of Plaza Amelia Wilkes, where the best decorated alter is granted a prize.

 

Dia de Los Muertos skulls - Photo Credit: Travel Designed, Stephanie Dieh

Dia de Los Muertos skulls – Photo Credit: Travel Designed, Stephanie Diehl

4. Puerto Vallarta

There’s plenty to do in Puerto Vallarta to feed your adventurous spirit. Often called the “crown jewel” of the Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita, a small fishing town located just 35 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, has become a popular destination. The roots of Mexican culture are deep and complex, as is evident even in a place seemingly as simple as Sayulita: once a fishing and farming pueblo, now a magical, compelling tourist destination. Sayulitans set up alters around town to honor the deceased and there are lovely masses held in the cemetery.

 

5. Ixtapa Zihuatanejo

A varierty of learning opportunities await you in and around Ixtapa for those who enjoy experiencing the real destination behind the resort.  Ixtapa Zihuatanejo hosts a complete festival with lectures about the tradition, photographic exhibitions, traditional dance and music.  Building “altars” with flowers and tokens of the deceased is part of the tradition.  Local vendors will compete for the “Best Altar.” Activities start at the Zihuatanejo Bay with lighting of the area.

Have you visited Mexico for Day of the Dead? Where did you stay?  Feel free to share your comments and stories about your experiences with Day of the Dead traditions in the comments. Or continue this conversation on our facebook page!

Special Thanks to Travel Designed by Stephanie for letting us use her great photographs!

I Have a Secret – Secrets Capri

 

 

I know you are not supposed to have “favorites” when you work with so many hotels in Mexico & The Caribbean, and if you do, you are not supposed to talk about them right? It’s like, when you have children, you never say which one is really your favorite.  But I do have a favorite Secrets Resort – Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. I love it. I have written about it many times before.  It is currently a part of Apple Vacations SuperSale, so I wanted to feature it here again. If you are considering a vacation at this resort, you are making a great choice.

If you book with Apple Vacations, all of the Secrets Resorts and Spas have non-stop transfers to and from the resort, and you do not need wristbands, dining reservations or towel cards.  The service, staff, dining and amenities are exceptional at all of them as well. They are adults only unlimited luxury ™. Secrets Capri, however just speaks to me from the moment I walk in. It’s a smaller, more manageable resort for me and that is exactly what I prefer on a vacation. It reminds me of a colonial plantation resort on the west coast of Mexico.   It is very easy to walk around, and nothing seems too far away. The pool is a perfect size with space to relax and be alone, but also a pool bar to be social with other guests if you prefer.  The Cactus Club Ceviche & Taco Bar next to the pool and beach, is not to be missed.  Oceana the Fresh Seafood and Seaside Grill & Caribbean Steakhouse offer spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea while you dine.  And, the food at all restaurants is just spectacular. The rooms at Secrets Capri are a perfect size, they are a little bit larger than I was expecting and the bathrooms are beautifully decorated.  Even the beautiful yellow color of the resort is just calming.

Sure Secrets Maroma has one of THE  most amazing beaches in the world, and Secrets Silversands has a spectacular infinity pool and is a bit livelier, and Secrets the Vine is just breathtaking and in the middle of  Cancun, but Secrets Capri has my heart. Vacationing and visiting Secrets Capri is truly treat for me, since most of my vacations are family oriented and this resort is adults only.  But I cannot wait to get back here soon, very soon.

 

Exclusive Usher Concert Bash

 

Superstar Usher brought down the house at a concert at Cancun’s chic Moon Palace Resort and Spa on Dec. 29, 2012.

 

I “Usher-ed” in a new year, at a new night club, and at a recently renovated resort. Superstar Usher brought down the house at a concert at Cancun‘s chic Moon Palace Resort and Spa on Dec. 29, 2012.

Usher performed in front of more than 14,000 hotel guests, fans, VIPS and local government officials

Travel Tip – You need to see a concert while in resort!

 

Usher was awesome! The seven-time Grammy-Award winning singer and entertainer rocked the stage at an exclusive sold out concert. Famous for his record-breaking TOP 40 songs, Usher performed in front of more than 14,000 hotel guests, fans, VIPS and local government officials. No matter where you sat, the venue was laid out in such a way everyone was guaranteed a great view of the stage.  Attending a concert during vacation was such a cool idea! I would absolutely do this again.

 

The R&B singing sensation rocked the stage at an exclusive concert at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun on December 29, 2012.

 

FYI… Some of the Palace Resorts’ entertainment line-up for the first quarter of 2013 will be Jon Lovitz, Chris Kattan, and Tim Meadows, all former Saturday Night Live comedians. They will kick things off with two nights of live shows on February 16 and 17. On March 22 and 23, international soft rock duo Air Supply will perform romantic renditions of their timeless hits. They are expected to perform classic hits like “Lost in Love” and songs from their latest album Mumbo Jumbo.

Want to go now? Check out our great Cancun deals!

 

Fleet of Smart Cars at Oasis Sens

Side note:

Even though I didn’t stay at the Moon Palace, I was nearby at another resort in the Cancun Hotel Zone. I decided to take advantage of an offer from the resort to rent a Smart Car.  Driving to and from the concert was a breeze.  Plus it was something I have never done before, even though I’ve been to Cancun a dozen times.

Would you be up for driving a Smart Car in Cancun? Leave your comments below.

 

Apple Vacations’ 2012 Platinum Agency Retreat

What do 165 participants, 3 nights & temperatures in the 80′s all add up to?

 

Apple Vacations’ 2012 Platinum Agency Retreat – Secrets The Vine Cancun

 

Apple Vacations’ 2012 Platinum Agency Retreat. Secrets The Vine Cancun hosted, NOW Jade had us over to Sip, Savor & See. A Town Hall Meeting updated everyone on what’s happening at Apple Vacations, Amstar & AM Resorts. Site Inspections, Optional Excursions, Pool/Beach time and cocktail receptions rounded out the rest of the time. A pool side gala, featuring entertainment by Il Divo, brought the Retreat to a close.

A wonderful event, a great group of agents and 100 million reasons to say Thank You to each of them!

Check out my pics to see a more up close view of the event!

The 10th Annual Sea Turtle Festival

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Tulum Ruins, Mexico

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Baby turtle in Tulum Mexico

If you’re thinking about a trip down south to soak up the sun and enjoy warm tropical waters, here’s a great reason you should consider visiting Tulum, Mexico. The 10th Annual Sea Turtle Festival will take place in Tulum this upcoming week. Activities will include sandcastle competition, children’s painting, art exhibition, raffle and live music. It’s really great how many wild animals live and nest in the area.

From the 25th to the 28th October you will be able to be part of an exciting gathering of people who are passionate about sea turtles and their conservation. One of the hosts will be  Bahía Príncipe Hotel in Tulum. The festival aims to raise the local population and tourists awareness on the sea turtles protection, as one of the most primitive vertebrates in existence and now endangered too. Centro Ecológico Akumal is part of the organizing committee.

Will you be visiting Mexico in October? Here are some other exciting things to do in while visiting Cancun and Riviera Maya with Amstar DMC!