A wedding destination that will leave you “Breathless”

As told by Marissa Every.

Choosing the perfect location for your destination wedding is far from simple. With over hundreds of locations and resorts to choose from, how can you be sure you are making the right choice?

Allow me to help.

In a recent visit to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, one particular resort that I visited stood apart from all the rest. Situated amidst the jungle and the ocean on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, Breathless Punta Cana offers a luxurious, modern, and picturesque location for anyone’s big day.

Photo Credit: Breathless Punta Cana

Photo Credit: Breathless Punta Cana

A brand new adults-only resort with a modern feel and a recent opening in early November, Breathless is the perfect place to host your destination wedding. Lively yet relaxing, it is the happy medium for everyone attending.

Choose from their many different ceremony locations, including on the beach with your feet in the sand or a rooftop gazebo with the vast sea flowing behind you. Following your ceremony, host a cocktail hour or private reception at one of their eight beautiful gourmet dining venues.

Allow your guests to feel at ease as the resort offers many daily activities for them to enjoy:

–        World class spa

–        Snorkeling and kayaking

–        8 different swimming pools

–        Indoor nightly theatre

–        Beach parties and other nightly entertainment

–        On site casino

Photo Credit: Breathless Punta Cana

Photo Credit: Breathless Punta Cana

Breathless is the perfect resort for meeting all of your wedding needs! Tie the knot here and leave everyone at your wedding feeling “breathless”!

Start planning today! Contact our Destination Weddings department by filling out our online form .

Holiday Shopping? STOP and Book an Apple Vacation!

This is the time of year where the holiday panic sets it. The friends and family who always have their act together ahead of time have already tweeted or posted on Facebook that their holiday shopping is done. We all have those friends right? We read the status updates and feel like we are dropping the ball (if only for just a minute).  Then we have the friends and family that are just starting to organize their lists and ask what people want. They are on their game, but just not done yet. Then, we all have our procrastinator friends and family members that make us feel good and have not even started yet!

So if you haven’t finished your shopping yet, then STOP – don’t shop! Book an Apple Vacation instead. Wouldn’t the family love to be whisked off to Mexico or The Caribbean this Holiday season? Wake up on Christmas morning, and instead of seeing white snow, they can see white sandy beaches, blue sparkling waters…replace your twinkling lights and swap the Christmas tree for palm tree.

It will cost less than you expect! Log on to our Holiday Hot Spots page and see for yourself.

And if you go away, you don’t have to clean the house or cook – sounds dreamy to me!  Book your Holiday Apple Vacation then tweet it and update your Facebook status immediately so YOU can be the one everyone is envious of – including me.

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!

Dream Wedding

When you picture your dream wedding, what do you envision? Do images of crystal clear waters, soft white sand, and a tropical paradise come to mind? If so, then Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa is perfect for your special day! One of Apple Vacations Destination Weddings’ most revered resorts and November’s “Destination of the Month,” Dreams Riviera has it all.

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Nestled in the secluded Riviera Maya, Dreams Riviera incorporates the best of both worlds. Its prime location makes it especially attractive for both younger couples and families. Half an hour away from Cancun yet minutes away from Playa del Carmen, this resort is within close proximity of the area’s best attractions and landmarks. Tropical gardens, a beach setting suitable for a photo shoot, and limitless activities combine to create a truly unique and magical destination wedding experience. Looking for a quiet evening with your new spouse? Take a walk to the on-site spa for ultimate relaxation. Want to head out for a night on the town? Enjoy the many authentic waterfront restaurants, bars, and shops. Theme parties, live entertainment, nightclubs, euro-bungee jumping, an ocean trampoline, yoga, cooking and dance lessons, Spanish lessons, bocce ball, ocean kayaking, and tennis are just a few of the activities at your fingertips when staying at Dreams Riviera.

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

When it comes to reciting your vows, Dreams Riviera has it covered. Whether you want to gaze into your lover’s eyes and say “I do” on the beach at sunset or in a lavishly decorated and extravagant indoor venue, your wedding is sure to be memorable. Make a statement and provide your guests with a vacation and wedding they are never going to forget.

Your day is special—Apple Vacations Destination Weddings and the Dreams Riviera Cancun resort are here to make sure your wedding runs smoothly and stress-free. Book with us today!

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Photo Credit: Dreams Riviera Cancun

‘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!

Champagne and croissants should be office staples

Coffee and doughnuts are overrated. After last week, I say champagne and croissants should be office staples. With production well underway, last week I was asked to jump in and help tackle content for our forthcoming Europe brochure.

Eiffel Tower -  Photo Credit: Apple Vacations

Eiffel Tower – Photo Credit: Apple Vacations

 

Sounds simple enough, right?  Unfortunately, I developed a bit of an affliction along the way; a temporary condition I deemed “Chronic Creative Fixation”.  My symptoms included rapid-fire googling, endless image-scrolling, and gross abuse of adjectives.

I became 100%, head over heels, smitten with Paris.  Some may say obsessed, I say “creatively fixated”.

Oh Paris, you’re so dreamy. You are everything they say you are.

So steeped in history and culture that it would take a lifetime to take it all in. A culinary epicenter that plays host to everything from the renowned Le Cordon Blue, to quaint open-air bistros. A fashion mecca where names like Hermés, Vuitton and Chanel are not just a brand, but a national treasure. Paris is truly a city that exudes style, romance and elegance like no other.

:Le sigh:

With something to see, experience or taste around every corner, planning a Parisian getaway may seem a bit daunting.  Here are some suggestions when touring the City of Lights.

Already been to Paris? What did you think? Do you have any advice? Any must-sees?

We’d love to know what you think.

Merci!

Travel Wishlist

With more than 500 hotels and resorts in our portfolio, Apple Vacations has options for every kind of vacationer – from basic budget to ultra luxe. We canvassed our immense hotel offerings and picked the top outrageous luxury offerings in the Apple family. From private islands to Lamborghinis, these resort options can definitely knock some things off your vacation bucket list!

Grand Velas All Suites Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya Stay and Luxury Drive package

Grand Velas All Suites Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya Stay and Luxury Drive package

 

Cancun Secrets The Vine Taking up more than a third of the 20th floor of Secrets The Vine, the Preferred Club Presidential Suite has dazzling views of Cancun’s modern hotel zone, the Caribbean Sea and Nichupte Lagoon. Featuring two bedrooms, luxurious Italian porcelain bathrooms and a chic, oversized private, furnished terrace, the Presidential Suite also includes all of the resorts Unlimited Luxury amenities and its own personal concierge.

Riviera MayaGrand Velas All Suites Resort & Spa Located on more than 80 acres of protected mangroves, jungle and natural freshwater cenotes, Grand Velas enjoys over 1,000 feet of carefully preserved, pristine white sand beach and is the only family-friendly All Inclusive resort in the Mexican Caribbean to receive AAA’s prestigious Five Diamond rating.Guests who book Grand Velas’ adrenaline fueled “Stay & Luxury Drive” package get the opportunity to race luxury cars and hot rods on the resort’s specialized courses. Guests can drive the car of their dreams, including a Lamborghini Gallardo, Lotus Elise, Ferrari F430, Camaro SS and Corvette Grand Sport. (Travel through Dec. 19, 2013)

Los CabosZoetry Casa Del Mar In addition to deliciously high-thread count sheets and towels, the guest rooms at Zoetry Casa del Mar feature Bvlgari bath amenities, aromatherapy pillows, sparkling wine and fresh fruit daily and a charming souvenir beach bag handcrafted by local artisans. Zoetry Casa del Mar guests receive Endless Privileges® which grant limitless access to almost all the pleasures this intimate jewel has to offer, including daily breakfast, lunch and dinner gourmet dining options with an assortment of organic food and beverage selections

Samana, Dominican RepublicLuxury Grand Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Located on an exclusive island almost a mile long, Luxury Grand Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado is a short ferry ride from the mainland, making it a perfectly romantic, adults-only getaway. On the island, there is only find the resort and a small market, giving you the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind. To leave the island, take the free ferry, or go big with helicopter or private boat service.

Punta CanaHard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana With 15 swimming pools, nine restaurants, the area’s biggest casino, exhilarating nightlife and legendary rock & roll memorabilia, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana is a destination in itself. Every spacious guest room features a private balcony, LCD satellite TV and double Jacuzzi, but it’s the ridiculously fun Rock Star Suite that definitely stands out. Featuring three bedrooms, living room and full kitchen, the Rock Star Suite also includes a Baby Grand Piano, a pool table, Paul Stanley and Aerosmith Memorabilia and a digital safe larger than any other room in the resort.

Hawaii’s Big IslandMauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Amidst mountains and the sea on the sunny Kohala Coast on the tropical Island of Hawaii, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows is consistently rated one of the “Top Hotels in the World” by Travel +Leisure. Discover true luxury in one of the resorts five stunning Bungalows: Plumeria, Hibiscus, Orchid, Bird of Paradise and Heliconia. The 2,700 sq. ft. of indoor living space features an expansive living area, two spacious bedrooms, wet bar and a private kitchen for the chef at heart. A 1,300 sq. ft. outdoor area offers a private Jacuzzi and heated swimming pool creating a laidback setting for socializing or quiet enjoyment. Each bedroom features a spacious naturally lit bathroom with a soaking tub overlooking an outdoor shower and private garden. A guest bathroom is available off the living area.