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!

Get Reconnected and Recharged

I just returned from an unbelievable one-week vacation in the Riviera Maya. My fiancé and I were really looking forward to a chance to spend some quality time together. Our hectic (and completely opposite) work schedules make it almost impossible for us to see each other throughout the week. We figured the only way to catch-up was to hop on a plane and head somewhere warm. Not a bad plan, if you ask me.

We knew we wanted Mexico. We knew we wanted an amazing beach with everything included, and though we look forward to having a family in the future, we knew we wanted an Adults Only resort.

Lucky for us, all signs pointed to Secrets Maroma Beach.

We wanted to make this a special trip so we couldn’t skip out on the necessary extras. We started the vacation off right with Preferred Perks. We had incredibly convenient and comfortable seats in the second row with more seating room – is a must for my 6’4” amigo. Being among the first off of the plane, we zipped through customs and by the time we reached the baggage carousel our luggage was already waiting for us. We grabbed it and headed outside to our private transfers. If you have never used private transfers before, you must do it. If you don’t believe me – try it, just once, and you will see the incredible difference it makes in your trip. We made it to beautiful Maroma Beach is about 30-minutes. To be fair, I purposely left my watch at home, so give or take a few minutes.

Ok, I have to be completely honest here. We have been to a few adults only resorts in the past, usually for short stays and we have always had a great time; but I was wondering “can we really just gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes for an entire week?” Rest assured there’s no other face in this world I would love to stare at more, but for an entire week? Speaking in hushed voices, tied at the hip and using pet names for eight days straight is just not our style. We want the romance but we like to have fun too, and I was nervous that there wouldn’t be enough options for us. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The resort was incredibly elegant, romantic, and the service was unbelievable. It managed to be all these things and yet still comfortable. From the moment we arrived we were able to really relax, have fun and most importantly, spend time together. Our week was spent so many different ways. We laid on the beach and soaked up the sun, met new friends at the beach bar, dined at amazing and intimate restaurants, even watched the Eagles game at the outdoor Sports Bar (which in retrospect, we probably could have skipped that week). We even participated in activities hosted by the Entertainment Staff – a bit out of character for us. One night we hopped in a cab and headed into Playa del Carmen for a fabulous dinner and some shopping, and the next day we took a fantastic snorkeling excursion in Puerto Morelos. We were able to make our romantic getaway 100% suit us.

It was by far the best vacation we’ve ever had. It was so hard to leave after only one week, but we came home reconnected, relaxed and ready to tackle reality again. And naturally we’re already planning our next trip back!

Stay Connected to Mexico

To help Golden Apple agents stay connected at the Apple Vacations Tradeshow in Chicago, they were invited to a very informative presentation Mr. Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, Deputy Director General of the Mexico Tourism Board. I wish agents everywhere had the opportunity to hear his dynamic presentation. He gave us the facts and figures to help set the record straight about traveling to Mexico. Mr. Lopez Negrete explained why the perception about travel to Mexico is not the reality:

  • Mexico is the #1 destination for American travelers.
  • 97% of American travelers to Mexico find they are very satisfied or better.
  • 99% of American travelers would recommend a vacation to Mexico to their family and friends.
  • The number of worldwide international travelers through July is up by 3.5%

The top markets are experiencing growth from 6.6% to 57% with the exception of the US which is down 6.3%.  Research finds Americans are traveling closer to home not only because of fear but more importantly due to the economy. Cruise lines that have temporarily suspended visits to Mexico did so because of economic reasons not because of safety issues.
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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda

Apple Vacations & BlueBay Grand Esmeralda in Cancun’s Riviera Maya has announced specials available from now through the of the year! We have gotten a lot of questions on the resort. So I asked one of our Sales Managers, Gina West, who was there for a report. Here is her review:

The resort is located just north of Playa del Carmen , so the commute from the Cancun airport is only about 30 minutes which is especially great for short stays.

Each guest room building has it’s own concierge and each building also has an elevator with glass walls that with views of the outdoors. The guest rooms are really very nice and richly appointed with plush bedding (not the hard mattresses that are so typically are found in hotels). All of the guest rooms definitely have the feel of a luxury upscale resort – which surprised me for the price of this resort. For an upgrade, they offer swim out rooms with a large and rather deep (3′ – 4′) common plunge pool that is shared by everyone on the ground floor. These plunge pools do not connect with the resorts main pool. They also offer suites which are two rooms – a living room and a separate master bedroom with a king bed.

The very large main pool runs parallel to the coastline rather than perpendicular to it, which is always more pleasing and dramatic. The pool has a lot of character. They have a children’s area plus exercise bikes in the pool and built in lounging seats in the pool around the perimeter. Very nice for hot summer days!

The white sandy beach is very clean and spacious with ample lounge chairs for those who prefer to sit closer to the ocean. In this case, you can be close to both the pool and the ocean!

The specialty a la carte restaurants were completely renovated about 2 – 3 years ago and I was very impressed with them. The main buffet restaurant is located by the pool with great views of the ocean. It’s very spacious and the food was good.

Their spa is large with lots of open air areas and a water circuit program. At the time that it opened, I remember thinking it was larger than most spas and just really different since it was so open.

The theater area was okay. The hotel also have a few specialty shops for guests. The lobby is nice. It’s probably the highest point in the resort. One thing to point out at the resort is that there is a distance between the lobby, spa, theater and shops and the guest rooms. You have to walk over a long boardwalk that was built over the mangroves to get there. They do have shuttles available, but mostly people walked.

For the selling points of this hotel, it is definitely worth it!

A Fam Experience to Remember

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Playa del Carmen

It’s hot and humid – summertime in Mexico. Riviera Maya greeted our group of Apple Vacations’ employees with a wealth of sunshine as we began our three-day Fam (familiarization) Trip, on-the-job training to gain personal experience of the destinations and resorts our company sells. This knowledge means we can help identify the right resort for every customer.

During the Fam Trip, twelve employees from our Chicago and Philadelphia offices participated in pre-arranged site inspections at various resorts. Sometimes an excursion will be on the itinerary, as well as scheduled dinners. Excursions are just as important for us to experience as the site inspections – it gives employees the opportunity to experience a destination and culture off resort.

On our itinerary this time, we have one scheduled excursion to Playa del Carmen, and one scheduled dinner at our host resort- Secrets Maroma. Before checking in, we have a site inspection at Barcelo Costa Cancun followed by Dreams Cancun. Both impress our staff for their value, location, and the buzz of activity that is apparent everywhere in Cancun. Continue reading

Where to Stay in Resort Destinations

090714_wheretostayBeing able to conveniently get around while on vacation is key for a fun and relaxing vacation for me and my wife. However, we also want to stay in the most beautiful areas of the destination, which can sometimes be off the beaten track. You need to do a lot of research or ask your travel agent to get the best of both worlds. I’ll give you some tips on where to stay in some of the most popular destinations.

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Nightlife in Playa del Carmen

Pez Vela Bar & RestaurantOne of my favorite spots to visit when I’m vacationing in the Riviera Maya is 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen.  Most hotels offer a complimentary shuttle, or you can take a taxi or local bus.  On my most recent visit to Riviera Maya, I stayed at the Iberostar Tucan and the taxi ride only set me back $5.  5th Avenue is a great place to visit for shopping or a few drinks during the day, and it is even better at night when many of the nightclubs come alive.

I enjoy having a few drinks and people watching.  My favorite spot for daytime fun is a corner bar called Pez Vela.  Pez Vela is located just a short stroll from the main shopping plaza on 5th Avenue and Calle 2.  But I have to say, my favorite feature at Pez Vela are the bar stools.  Well, they’re not exactly stools…they’re swings.  You can swing at the bar, have a few drinks, watch sports on the big screen TV or, if you’re not too dizzy from the swings, you can play a game of pool.  The drinks are reasonably priced and the food is good.

Pez Vela is a fun casual place to enjoy your day or to take a break from shopping.  It opens early in the morning and is usually busy until around midnight.  So next time you’re in Playa, be sure to stop by and go for a swing.  Who knows… I just might be right next to you.