Gems of Riviera Maya: Now Jade & Now Sapphire

Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun and Now Jade Riviera Cancun are truly “gems” in Riviera Maya.

Aside from their reputation of being family-friendly, fun and boasting luxurious accommodations, what makes these two resorts so special is that they are consistently included in great all-inclusive package deals!

They are both very unique and yet both provide wonderful vacation spots for the whole family. Here are my favorite things about each resort. Continue reading

Feel NO #MommyGuilt on an Apple Vacation!

#Mommyguilt  –  All the mommies have it, right? Well, I am on the first leg of my son’s summer break. As I was heading off to work and he was heading off to the library with Grandmom, it snuck up on me: I should be taking him to the park, pool or to a movie.

Then I remember – it’s OK!  I prepared, I planned! I have plenty of activities and trips planned for the summer, including some valuable #Familytime.

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Find Wedding Serenity at Zoetry Resorts

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana

Written by Megan Anderson, AVDW Expert

Everyone knows that weddings require an endless checklist of things to do.

Between deciding on a venue, tasting cakes, trying on dress after dress — it seems like the stress never stops! What’s one way to eliminate wedding planning anxiety? Choose a destination wedding at one of the breathtaking Zoetry Resort and Spa locations!

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The 5 things I LOVED about Dreams Puerto Aventuras

Tulum, Mexico

As told by Liz Bondelid, Apple Vacations E-Commerce Merchandising Coordinator

When March rolls around, it seems like it’s time for the brutal cold to start letting up. Philadelphia had other plans, with snow days and wind chills in the first week of March this year. Leaving my coat behind as I left for the airport, I wondered what it felt like to be warm again. By the end of the day, I had sand in my toes, saltwater in my hair, and a margarita in hand.

From beginning to end, I was blown away by everything I encountered at Dreams Puerto Aventuras – and no, I never mentioned to anyone that I work for Apple! If I have to narrow it down, let me give you a taste of my favorite things there.

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TRAVEL TIPS TO ENJOY YOUR APPLE VACATION TO CANCUN!

Phancation Logo

 

I cannot count the number of times I have been on an Apple Vacation. Each one has been unique and memorable. I can’t wait to add my trip to Riviera Maya this January to the list.  I will be on an Apple Vacation to Now Sapphire Rivera Cancun for the Phancation!

If you have never been to Cancun, here are my top 10 tips to have a successful trip.

1 – Get to the airport early.  For international flights, you should be there at least 2 hours prior to departure. I am always one of the first people to check-in.  You are never sorry you arrived early, but you could be sorry if you arrive late and miss the flight!

2 – Don’t forget your VALID passport.  Also, it must be valid for 6 months from the date of travel.  You will be denied boarding if you do not present this at check-in.

3 – Don’t forget the sunscreen. This is not the Jersey shore and the sun is STRONG! Apply frequently.  Missing a day of vacation because you are stuck in the room nursing sunburn is just not fun!

4 – Pack wisely.   Don’t pack too much and make sure you pack a carry on or easily accessible bag so you can hit the ground running and start your vacation! Most hotels have a check-in time of 3:00PM. However, flights usually arrive in the morning.  Expect that your room will NOT be ready when you arrive. Have a bag ready with a swimsuit or something to change into, so you can start your vacation right away.  Changing-rooms will be available and the bell man will hold your bags. Also, restaurants will be open for lunch. Resort maps will be available so you can explore and enjoy the property.

5 – Pack valuables such as jewelry, electronics and important medications in your carry on.   Then, leave them in the in-room safe when you arrive in resort.

6 – U.S. currency is widely accepted in Mexico. I, however, always do bring small bills in the form of $1’s and $5’s. This is beneficial when you make a purchase so you are not receiving too much change in pesos. Also, when you want to tip, you have small bills available. Tipping is included in the package price, but if I receive exceptional service, I tend to tip the waiters or drivers when appropriate.

7 – Don’t eat anything on vacation that would make you sick at home.  Whenever and wherever you travel, your system may react to new foods or drinks introduced.  To prevent any problems, I tend to be pro-active rather than re-active. I eat yogurt (Activia) the week before I travel.  I also make sure I have any over the counter medications with me in case I need them.

8 – Stay hydrated. Bottled water is readily available at the resort and included.

9 – Wear appropriate footwear. Hotels in Mexico & The Caribbean do not have carpet. Because of the climate, they are marble and tiled.  Be careful when near the pool or in the lobby or your room especially if there has been rain!

10 – Turn your Smart phone data off (to airplane mode) and make sure you check with your carrier on any charges you could incur if you use your phone in Mexico. Texting is usually very expensive.  My carrier has a minimal charge to use my iPhone in resort, but I have to sign up for it before I leave (and turn it off when I get back).  When I am in resort, I tend to use my iPad and communicate with family via the computer for FREE.

Puerto Vallarta – Enhance the Experience

Puerto Vallarta has become a hugely popular international vacation destination.  Somehow, it magically combines all that is wonderful about Mexico; its people, its diverse cultures and architecture, its sheer beauty and its food and drink! From the bustling old village to the plush resorts of Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta has so much to offer. So when I visited last September, I knew I was going to have a lot of “MUST- DO” activities.  Without question I knew I was going to the Malecon. I wanted to take a walk on the cobblestone streets and visit the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe that is on nearly every post card from Puerto Vallarta.  I made a promise to myself that I would really embrace this destination and get out of the resort. I usually opt for the infinity pool or nice spot on the beach under a palapa. Not this time – I booked 3 excursions during my 4 day trip. (Plus a spa treatment at Pevonia while I was at Secrets Vallarta Bay).

Small Fishing town

Sayulita – Small Fishing & Surf town

My first excursion was to a fishing town on the coast of Puerto Vallarta/Riviera Nayarit/Nuevo Vallarta. We drove alongside the Banderas Bay, the Sierra Madre Mountains and arrived in Sayulita. It’s a laidback seaside surfer town. While walking around I saw tortillas being made from scratch for fresh fish tacos, visited a shop with some majorly cool Day of the Dead gear and had a piña colada on the beach while I watched blue-green waves crash in front of me.  Excursion #1, success!

 

Turtle Release

Turtle Release in Puerto Vallarta

It’s not just tourists that like the beaches in Puerto Vallarta. Sea turtles love them, too. I couldn’t wait to check out the Turtle Release at Dreams Villamagna Resort & Spa – Here’s how it worked…. A staff member explained how to handle the turtles with care. Everyone lined up parallel to the ocean and was instructed to walk 3 feet toward the water. Everyone was to release their turtle and step back to watch. It was hard not to smile as everyone observed these tiny turtles make their landmark journey to the sea. Excursion #2, success!

 

For my last excursion, I really got out of my comfort zone! I swallowed my fears and tried to brace myself for what I just agreed to with the Canopy Tour – Ziplining!  I could handle riding a mule back up the hill, it was getting down the hill on a metal wire that was freaking me out! O.M.G. I was so nervous, excited and filled with adrenaline at the same time.

Puerto Vallarta Ziplining

Puerto Vallarta Ziplining

“fly through a thrilling series of zip-lines, rappel down waterfalls, traverse jungle bridges and finally splash through streams and natural river pools. With some of Mexico’s highest and longest zip-lines, at almost 1,000 ft long and 250 ft high, it’s no wonder we call it one the greatest adventures on earth.” -Amstardmc.com

I still can’t believe I actually went through with it! But I have proof. Excursion #3, success!

Needless to say – I LOVE PUERTO VALLARTA. I highly recommend going and I can’t wait to go back. But please take my advice; get out of the resort and experience all of what this destination has to offer!