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!

Breathless Punta Cana Opening Event – Photo Blog

Check out exclusive photos from Breathless Punta Cana opening celebration! Keep an eye out for the President of the Dominican Republic Danilo Medina, Kourtney Kardashian, Scott Disick and DJ Rhiannon. Looks like it was a great party!

 

Greetings from Sunny Puerto Vallarta!

Puerto Vallarta is a popular Apple Vacations destination.  It is about to become increasingly more popular with Apple Vacationers, as this winter we’ll  make it easier to get there from many popular U.S. gateways! Apple Vacations will offer NEW service from New York’s JFK and Philadelphia in addition to  flights from Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, together they provide an exotic backdrop and unique blend of culture, old world charm and nature at its finest.   It is a stunning destination.  Puerto Vallarta’s sunny weather is ideal for vacation planning with average temperatures in the mid-eighties year–round.

In addition to beautiful hotels, colonial architecture, and, of course, nice beaches, Puerto Vallarta has many unique features which keep visitors returning year after year.  A seasonal immensely popular favorite in Puerto Vallarta is Whale Watching.  Vacationers can watch whales up close in Banderas Bay from December through April.  It is a thrilling excursion which many destinations simply can’t offer, and many people schedule their Puerto Vallarta vacation during this time frame to ensure they can experience this marvel.   A year–round favorite in Puerto Vallarta is strolling The Malecon. The Malecon is where you can find open air cafés, boutiques, art galleries, local entertainment, dining and unique gifts.   When the sun goes down the nightclubs open and The Malecon is a fun evening attraction as well.

Puerto Vallarta is comprised of two major resort areas – Puerto Vallarta to the south and Riviera Nayarit to the north. Within each, you’ll find a unique destination with its very own personality and charm.  Stay tuned to this blog over the next few weeks as we point out some of the highlights of this enchanted destination from hotel reviews, to excursions to shopping tips. Apple Vacations Sales team just got back and gave me great information to tell you about!

Phillies Baseball Phans, are you ready for an All-Inclusive Phancation?

philliesLogoApple Vacations, a proud sponsor of the Philadelphia Phillies, invites you on an all-inclusive Phancation to Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun hosted by Scott Palmer, the Phillie Phanatic and some of your favorite Phillies VIPs and players this Winter. Take off with Apple Vacations and the Philadelphia Phillies for some – Phun in the Sun – in Cancun’s Riviera Maya. Spend a week enjoying the sunshine, sugar-white sand beaches and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

With Apple Vacations Phun in the Sun Phancation, It’s ALL included!

Prices start at $1499 per person for a full week including:

- Non- stop, round-trip flight on the Phillies Express to Cancun
- Deluxe unlimited luxury hotel accommodations at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun
- ALL meals, drinks, tips and transfers in resort.
- Phancation group photo, gift, private beach parties and games with the Phillies players and VIPs and more!

That’s right, for one affordable price – it’s all included on Apple Vacations’ Phancation!

What could be more fun than a week in the sun in the winter with your favorite Phillies players?

For more details, log on to applevacations.com/phillies. Space is limited!

*Based on double occupancy, includes gov’t taxes & fees. Price is per person from Philadelphia International on Frontier Airlines. 7 nights depart January 5, 2014. Price will vary for other departure cities. Phillies Players and VIP’s are subject to change.

Stay at Secrets Resorts & Spas

 One of our employees, Nina M. Scimenes, blogged about her trip to Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun.  We wanted to share her blog with our Juice readers!

Secrets Resorts & Spas is included in Apple Vacations’ Summer Fun for Everyone sale , and it is appropriate because a stay at one of the adults-only beachfront properties is beyond ‘fun’!  You can expect a spectacular beach vacation with the inclusions of Unlimited-Luxury® with spacious accommodations, unlimited top-shelf spirits, gourmet dining without reservations, 24-hour room service, nightly entertainment and more.  What’s not to love?

View of infinity pools at Secrets SIlversands

View of infinity pools at Secrets SIlversands

 

This past July I soaked up the sun for three days at Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun with my best friend.  I loved every second of our getaway.  The resort is very modern and chic and you feel it as soon as you enter the main lobby and see the sculpture of silver fish.  We received a warm welcome from the staff with a cold hand towel and glass of champagne!

 

It was the perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. From peaceful pampering at the Secrets Spa by Pevonia, to an exciting bike ride into Puerto Morelos, we enjoyed the best of both worlds. Most of our time was spent lounging poolside near Manatees and sipping on refreshing cocktails at the swim up-bar.   When the sun goes down the party continues with lively entertainment.  One night we enjoyed a captivating performance at ShowTime Theater, Secrets Idol, presented by Secrets Entertainment Team.  Guests competed in a singing competition and the judges were also guests.  The music selection got us on our feet dancing.

Lobby Bar at night

Lobby Bar at night

Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun offered a variety of dining options.  Each morning I enjoyed a hearty breakfast at World Café complete with a Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar! The ceviche at Oceana was one of my favorite meals and it is served al fresco overlooking the main pool.  El Patio is my favorite restaurant at the resort, not just because it serves authentic Mexican cuisine, but the warm ambiance is very inviting and just down right adorable. As soon as you enter the restaurant, there is a tree with blown glass hearts dangling, making the perfect photo opportunity. At least one Mexican meal is a must when in Mexico! I highly recommend the delicious guacamole and El Paster pork tacos. And of course, while we were there, we just had to order 24-hour room service one night for a midnight snack! There is truly something for everyone.

 

With 12 stunning Secrets Resorts & Spas to choose from, there is defiantly a perfect resort for you. Recently, SecretsResorts.com added a resort finder to their newly revamped website. http://www.secretsresorts.com/resort-finder. How clever! By answering a series of questions about what you expect from a vacation, you can find the Secrets Resort that is perfect for you. Sun, sand and special moments are waiting for you. Enjoy your getaway.

 

Fitcations – 10 Healthy Travel Tips

Don’t miss out on the 2013 Fitcation featuring Zumba by Apple Vacations this year at Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. HURRY, book by April 30, 2013!!!

Here are 10 Healthy Travel Tips from Apple Vacations own April Wickey.

10 Healthy Travel Tips

  1. Have a light breakfast before you leave for the airport, and carry a water bottle to fill up while you wait. You can’t bring food and drink past security.
  2. Bring sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and reapply often! Bring a travel size sunscreen, big sunglasses and bathing suit in your carry-on in case your room isn’t ready when you arrive.
  3. Take an early morning walk or run on the beach, or hit the fitness center before breakfast. That way, you’re burning stored fat instead of readily available carbs.
  4. Join in on the activities by the pool and beach. Water aerobics, volleyball,yoga…you’ll have so much fun, it won’t even feel like a workout!
  5. With tropical fruit, veggies and fresh seafood readily available, you can fill up on the tasty and healthy stuff before you’re tempted by heavy meats and fat-packed entrees on the buffet.
  6. Those fancy tropical drinks are packed with sugar, and even though you don’t taste the alcohol, don’t be fooled! Drink plenty of water and limit alcoholic beverages, especially the kind made in a blender.
  7. Don’t have dinner too late, as you won’t be able to burn off those calories as readily. After dinner, hit the disco for more fun and aerobic activity.
  8. Limit dessert to a cup of decaf cappuccino and a bite of dark chocolate. You’ll thank yourself later and won’t have trouble zipping your jeans.
  9. Get pampered at the spa with a relaxing massage, facial or seaweed wrap for your skin. Stress is the #1 cause of illness.
  10. If you over-indulge, it’s OK. After all, you’re on vacation! Just don’t over-do it at every meal.
Here’s whats included:
  • Round-trip Non-stop flights from Chicago O’Hare and Dallas Ft Worth or direct flights from Minneapolis to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • All-Inclusive hotel accommodations at Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta
  • $200 Resort Coupons per room included (restrictions apply)
  • All meals, snacks, unlimited drinks, non-motorized watersports and more
  • FREE non-stop transfers to and from hotel
  • Sunset welcome cocktail party June 8, 2013 and farewell dinner party June 14, 2013
  • Daily fitness activities including Zumba Fitness classes with licensed Zumba instructors

HURRY, book by April 30, 2013!!!

 

Fitcations Fit-Trip to Paradise – We’re at it again!

as told by Apple Vacations very own April Wickey

  

Last year, the Apple Vacations’ team got their feet wet by mixing the vacation package experience that we are experts at and adding in a little flare with Zumba®, Yoga, and other fun fitness activities.

We created Fitcations to offer the opportunity to take the fitness classes we love out of the gym.  We wanted this experience to be not only for the fitness savvy people out there, but also those looking to try something new.  Sometimes it’s easier to step outside of your comfort zone when you know no one else knows you.

We offered daily morning yoga classes by the beach and Zumba classes by the pool.  Even when the sun got hot, we kept our cool by making our own shade.  We even turned the disco into a Zumba® party.

With all of the publicity we got from this Fitcation experience, we heard a lot of good feedback from both the travel agent community and people just looking for this unique opportunity. We also received a lot of inquiries as to when we were going to do this again.

 

Well, we are ready to do it all again.  We’d like to introduce this year’s Fitcation experience.  We will be heading down to the beautiful Pacific coast of Mexico, and staying at the luxury-included Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta.  This Fitcation will take place June 8th through June 15th.  We have packaged this with our charters from Chicago O’Hare, Minneapolis and Dallas-Fort Worth.  And we have our personal touch desk ready if someone is looking to travel from another city.  We have, once again, teamed up with Suzelle Snowden founder of Fit Bodies Inc.  And we have added Zumba® Education Specialist (ZES) Kelly Bullard to our list of instructors to make sure that this experience will be one of a kind.