Make it Summer Fun for EVERYONE!

Grand Bahia Principe Coba

Grand Bahia Principe Coba

The school year is winding down and like many parents out there, I am in denial that I need to line up sitters, start camp sign-ups, and look into pool memberships to keep my family happy this summer.

But the one thing I am REALLY looking forward to is planning is my summer family vacation.

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Apple Vacations & AMResorts Appear on The Meredith Vieira Show!

Meredith

Did you see Apple Vacations and AMResorts on The Meredith Vieira Show yesterday? Apple Vacations and AMResorts were happy to participate in Premiere Week!

Recent numbers have proven that 40% of Americans don’t plan to use all of their paid time off or vacation time. We want to change that! We surprised each studio audience member with a 3-Night resort stay to an AMResort!

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Iberostar, Cancun Win Big at 2014 Golden Apple Awards

Backdrop at the Golden Apple Awards 2014

Backdrop at the Golden Apple Awards 2014

On Monday night at the famed Art Institute of Chicago, dignitaries from all across the travel industry came together for the 2014 Golden Apple Awards, hosted by Apple Vacations.

2014 Crystal Apple Awards

Award for Best All-Inclusive — Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall

Best Staff & Service – Mexico — Now Amber Puerto Vallarta

Best Staff & Service – Caribbean — Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar Don Pablo Collection

Best Staff & Service – Central America — Riu Palace Costa Rica

Best Staff & Service – Hawaiian Islands — Kaua’i Marriott Resort on Kalapaki Beach

Best All-Inclusive Family Resort — Iberostar Playa Mita

Best Hotel Chain — Secrets Resorts & Spas

Best Destination — Cancun

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Go Green with These Eco-Friendly Resorts

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

For many, “Eco-Friendly” is an empty buzzword.

For these 33 resorts, Eco-Friendly is a lifestyle in preservation. It’s protecting the fragile ecosystems of the beautiful jungles, beaches and oceans that millions enjoy and the local cultures thrive on.

It’s an extra effort with future generations in mind.

But what does Eco-Friendly actually mean? Here’s a taste of what some resorts are doing to #GoGreen.

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Escape the Typical, Go Tropical – Costa Rica!

Costa Rica Beach View 2

Written By: AVDW Wedding Specialist, Amanda Martin

Are you searching for the next up-and-coming destination for your big day? Somewhere where you and your guests can relax and explore without breaking the bank? Then look no further than that little country South of Mexico, Costa Rica!

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#BeachThursday – Top 5 Dreamy Beaches

A common question I hear at Apple Vacations – Where is the best beach?

Sit back, relax and imagine warm, tropical breezes tickling your skin as I take you on a tour of the Top 5 Dreamy Beaches to go to on an Apple Vacation!

1. Bavaro Beach – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Named one of the top ten beaches in the world by National Geographic, Bavaro Beach is an immense stretch of beautiful white sand beach, dotted with swaying tropical palms and bordering along warm turquoise waters. Bavaro boasts a majestic coral reef for diving and other water activities.

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Bavaro Beach - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

 

2. Playa de Los Muertos – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta‘s golden beaches and indigo waters invite carefree bayside relaxation. The famous Playa de Los Muertos (“Dead Man’s Beach”) is named for a legendary story that this stretch of sand was a hub of pirate activity during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Playa del los Muertos - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

 

3. Waikiki Beach – Oahu, Hawaii

Waikiki is most famous for its beaches. With Diamond Head as your backdrop, the calm waters of Waikiki are perfect for a surfing lesson.

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Waikiki Beach - Oahu, Hawaii

 

4. Maroma Beach – Riviera Maya, Mexico

Often nominated as one of the best beaches in the world, Maroma Beach is Mexico’s most exclusive beach hideaway. Determined to preserve its ecological balance, Maroma is a world away from the Yucatan hot spots’ hustle and bustle. Set against 500-acres of lush jungle, the beach is a pristine stretch of sand slipping in the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Maroma Beach - Riviera Maya, Mexico

 

5. Playa Tamarindo – Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Located in the northwest of the country on the Pacific side, Guanacaste is known for its beautiful beaches, incredible bird watching, excellent surfing and superb snorkeling.

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations - Playa Tamarindo - Guanacaste, Costa Rica

 

 

Costa Rica Travel Tips – (Part 1)

I just returned from an amazing week in Costa Rica with friends, it was one of my best vacations in recent years. Costa Rica has so much to offer, whether you are looking to relax or take on a new adventure

Keel billed Toucans - sited on the road to Monteverde

We started our week with two nights in Monteverde. The drive from Liberia takes you through beautiful, green meadows with grazing cattle and higher into the mountains you pass coffee plants hugging the hillsides. If you are lucky, as we were, you will view several varieties of birds, including colorful toucans. The small town of Monteverde is casual with a variety of restaurants and accommodations. Tip – be sure to sample the local ice cream, the cows are known to have sweeter milk that makes it delicious.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve provided us with a full morning of hiking in the most peaceful setting imaginable. We saw a variety of plants and birds and an amazing view at the Continental Divide. The overall beauty is just hard to put into words. Our afternoon was spent walking the hanging bridges in Monteverde. This experience gives you a chance to see the forest from the top looking down. Tip – be sure to pack your binoculars, it’s the best way to see the birds and monkeys.

Trail in the Monteverde Cloud Forest

For the next four nights, our journey continued with a drive around Lake Arenal to the town of La Fortuna. This is the center of activity for visitors to the Arenal Volcano. Tip – Don RuFino in downtown La Fortuna is an excellent place for lunch or dinner – atmosphere is casual but the food is elegant.

In the Arenal area, we enjoyed a variety of activities including:

Bird watching – we did a special hike in El Silencio Reserve. Tip – get up early to see the birds when they are active, we started our hike at 6:00am. Over the course of 7 days, we saw 45 different types of birds, including hummingbirds, toucans, Montezuma Oropendola, woodpeckers, Collard Aracari, Emerald Toucanet, Swallowtail Kite, Rufous Motmot, just to name a few.

Zip lining – you can’t go to Costa Rica without doing at least one zip line adventure. Not only did we have the thrill of zipping over the rain forest but we saw Spider monkeys and a variety of birds.

Rappelling through waterfalls in the Arenal area - yes this is me

Rappelling through waterfalls –as if jumping backwards off a ledge isn’t enough, imagine doing it through 5 waterfalls in the mountains of Costa Rica surrounded by the beautiful rain forest. This was my first experience at rappelling and that first 165 foot drop was a blast!

Arenal Hanging Bridges – this reserve has 17 bridges with great bird and monkey viewing opportunities, waterfalls and the lush rain forest.

La Fortuna waterfall – this spectacular 210 foot waterfall is worth the hike down to – Tip – be sure to wear your swimsuit, the water is cold but swimming at the base of the waterfall is memorable.

Thanks for reading the first part about my fabulous trip to Costa Rica and I hope you’ve enjoyed all the little tips throughout my journey. Stay tuned for more Costa Rica Travel Tips!