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!
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:
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
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.
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!
As told by Kelly Re, Destination Wedding Specialist
You’ve been dreaming of your wedding day since you were a little girl.
It’s been planned down to the smallest detail: the floral arrangements, the venue, the decorations, the dress, the wedding party. And your husband, well…I guess he’s in there somewhere too.
Every bride wants to make her day special, an event to remember for a lifetime.
Some couples go the traditional route. They surround themselves with close family members and friends and get married in a church or at the Justice of the Peace. Other couples choose to embrace more extravagant options—ritzy venues, expensive cakes, etc.
So, what’s a memorable medium? Believe it or not, there is a way to be kind to your wallet while still satisfying your taste for lavish indulgences. You can make your day special in a totally unique, affordable, and personal way that is tailored to suit a bride seeking even the most unusual experience.
How, you ask?
Destination weddings are amazing because they epitomize what it means to make a statement. It’s a vow ceremony, reception, and honeymoon surrounded by your family and besties all rolled into one. Apple Vacations Destination Weddings prides itself on delivering phenomenal service and insuring the wedding-planning process goes as smoothly as possible. You will be matched with a dedicated team of wedding specialists and guest coordinators to ensure efficiency and productivity.
Whether it’s a low-key island in the Caribbean, a scenic beach in Mexico, or an adventurous resort in the Bahamas, your destination wedding is guaranteed to be one of the best and most memorable experiences of your life. And Apple Vacations Destination Weddings will be with you every step of the way, making sure your wedding is not just the wedding of your childhood dreams, but better. Get started today!
Still need inspiration? Check out our Destination Wedding Pinterest Board!
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Interested in more Travel Tips? Check out Apple Vacations Quick Links & Things to Know Before You Go!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 Maya – Grand 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 Cabos – Zoetry 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 Republic – Luxury 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 Cana – Hard 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 Island – Mauna 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.
Have you heard of speed dating? Well, here is some speed reviewing! After visiting many of the resorts in Puerto Vallarta, here are the top reasons to book these resorts right from our sales reps– what made them stand out from the rest! The Apple rating of each resort is listed for your reference.
Golden Crown Paradise / 5 Apple. Great location! This is an Adults Only resort with a pretty cool Disco! Nice beach with many, many palapas. Hit the Breeze Bar for excellent Sushi every night!
Crown Paradise Club / 4+ Apple. Right next door to the Golden Crown Paradise. This resort specializes in Family Fun and is Family of 5 Friendly! Family room offers a king bed with a dividing wall that encloses bunk beds with a trundle pull out and a TV just for the kids! Kids Club for 4-12 year olds. And, an Infant Club for 18 months-4 years old! Ultra – cool Pirate Ship themed water park. Children have their own drink menu at all the watering holes! Adults only access to the Giant Jacuzzi swim up bar. This is a quality product especially on a family budget.
Barcelo Puerto Vallarta / 5+ Apple. WOW! Some of the largest suites EVER SEEN! The rooms are HUGE! You walk into a living room area, and then pass the bathroom area going into the bedroom. Then, there’s another living room area! Families looking for space – this is the place.
Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta / 6 Golden Apple. Single parents get a special discount. Boutique Spa where you can grab a pedicure while enjoying the stunning ocean view. Free WIFI throughout the property AND on the beach! Unique open-air amphitheater offers nightly shows. They offer $1500 in in-resort credits! The majority of the hotel rooms have a French balcony with no seating.
Marival Resort & Suites / 5+ Apple. This is a quaint and comfortable resort with a great children’s water park. Room service is available from 7am – 11pm for a $5 fee. Dining reservations required but you can make them online for up to 7 nights prior to arrival! For the rate, this is a fantastic value!!!
Riu Vallarta / 5 Apple. “Art–Deco” resort with a stunning lobby. You can make dining reservations 2 days in advance. Family friendly with a kid’s pool with slides. Huge beach with hundreds of shady palm trees. Clients enjoy exchange privileges next door at the 4+ Apple Riu Jalisco.
Riu Palace Pacifico / 6 Golden Apple. Bi-level junior suites. Guests can make dining reservations 4 days in advance. Complimentary 24 hour Room Service. Exchange privileges with Riu Vallarta and Riu Jalisco! Everything you’ve come to expect from RIU Resorts – great food, great service and a great value!
Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa / 5 Apple. 50 minutes from the airport in the Punta Mita area of Riviera Nayarit. Lovely drive along the coast through the mountains. This resort offers a Kids, Teen and Baby Club! Botanical walking paths and mini zoo. This resort is very hilly and may not be the resort for vacationers with mobility issues.
Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta / 5+ Apple – Apple clients receive private check in and check out. The room has a shower that looks into the bedroom area. Junior suites are actually a true one bedroom suite. Resort has an adults- only pool. Apple clients have no dining restrictions but are required to make reservations (up to 48 hours in advance). Everything connected with covered walk ways. Beach is HUGE, WIDE, CALM and very SHALLOW – great for families. Majority of rooms do NOT have balconies. Upgrade clients to the Royal Club on the 6th and 7th floors for private restaurant, bar and beach with cabanas. Great shopping is a 5 minute walk away at Paradise Village. Nice property!
Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort / 6 Apple. This is the first all-inclusive Hilton in Mexico! About 5 minutes from the airport. Nice, bright and modern. Has a bit of a sleek Miami Beach feel. Rooftop adults only pool and bar area known as “O West”.
Iberostar Hotels & Resorts will be opening a new resort in Punta Mita area in December of 2013. It will be located about an additional 15 minutes past the Grand Palladium (about an hour from the airport).
Stay tuned, we have our final Puerto Vallarta review coming in the next few days.