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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SuperSale!!

Apple Vacations SuperSale starts today! It’s our (and should be your) favorite time of year if you are planning an Apple Vacation!  Excuse the sales pitch for a moment, but this is really one of our biggest sales of the year!

Book during Apple Vacations’ SuperSale and you can save up to 40% on your next Apple Vacation to Mexico & the Caribbean.

Apple Vacations has sharpened our rates and is featuring some great deals including … save up to 40% at Dreams Palm Beach in Punta Cana, The Dominican Republic . Or, look for an Apple Vacation to Cancun, Riviera Maya, Jamaica, Cabo, Puerto Vallarta… there are big savings in so many destinations. Click here to see all of Apple Vacations SuperSale deals.

White sandy beaches, blue turquoise waters, tropical beverages and palm trees as far as the eye can see… will all be calling your name this winter. So stop dreaming about it and start planning!  Log on to applevacations.com or call your travel agent today to pick out your next Apple Vacation! Hurry, the best dates and hotels will sell out quickly.

 

 

Hot Wedding Destinations in 2013

 

Considering a destination wedding in 2013? These 5 romantic spots are ideal for tying the knot in style!

1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Caribbean islands are blessed with all the trappings for a spectacular destination wedding: powder-fine sand, crystal-clear waters and romantic resorts aplenty. But lately the tropic sun seems to shine brightest on the resort area of Punta Cana, thanks to new direct flights from wallet-friendly airlines AirTran and Frontier, it makes getting to this breathtaking (and affordable) stretch of paradise a cinch. The plethora of choices extends to lodging as well. No matter your style, there’s a resort for you: All-inclusive ease!  Resorts in this popular wedding locale come with staff planners to handle the work and packages that make pricing a breeze.

Travel Tip — Welcome your guest! Leave a gift bag in each room full of goodies for your guest. Don’t forget suntan lotion and trinkets to remind them of your wedding destination when they’re back at home.

2. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Fiestas don’t get any more authentic than in Puerto Vallarta. It’s the perfect spot to welcome guests with icy margaritas and exchange “I do’s” as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. Sheltered by the jungled landscapes of the Sierra Madre Mountains to the east with romantic views of the Pacific to the west, Vallarta provides an exotic blend of cosmopolitan culture, Mexican flavor and nature at her best. Vallarta is home to Banderas Bay, where you can enjoy the thrill of whales up close from December through April. Vallarta is divided into two general areas: Puerto Vallarta to the south and Riviera Nayarit to the north.

3. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Exchange vows on this island paradise where reggae, romance and the Caribbean sun come together. Pioneers of the all-inclusive vacation concept, you won’t find an island that does it better. For many, it’s positively addictive. The country’s pulsating heartbeat is embodied by soulful cuisine, lively reggae and generous smiles from locals who love to show off their country. Getting married here is so simple that more visitors than Jamaicans are wed on the island every year.

Travel Tip – Planning an off-season wedding or honeymoon (May – Dec) can help you save big on hotels & other costs. Jamaica’s tropical climate does not vary from season to season so marry in the “off-season” and save!

4. Maui, Hawaii – U.S.A.

Maui is a hassle-free place to make a tropical wedding a reality. Both independent wedding planners and onsite coordinators at big resorts can pave the way to I do. There are countless reasons brides and grooms flock to this ever-popular Hawaiian isle. For starters, everything about it seems to cater to couples seeking one romantic experience after another (think unlimited sunsets and picture-perfect beaches). Although Maui’s certain to exceed your expectations as a tropical paradise, its unique inland offerings will give you the opportunity to turn a fantastic beach vacation into an unforgettable adventure. Plus, with direct flights from the mainland, the island is easily accessible for wedding guests.

5. Riviera Maya, Mexico

This 112-mile stretch of coastal paradise, with its white sand beaches fronting turquoise waters, tropical jungles and ancient Mayan ruins, provides the perfect setting for your fairy-tale wedding and heavenly honeymoon.

Travel Tip – While a tropical climate might be great for your tan, it can wreak havoc on big, fluffy satin dresses. Consider lighter-weight fabrics, a shorter hemline or a strapless gown to keep you cool on your wedding day.

 

Black River, Jamaica

 

When I think of Jamaica, I think of dreadlocks, white sandy beaches, steel drums, and endless fruity rum drinks.  I imagine everyone in cornrows and tye-dye clothes, singing to the rhythms of Bob Marley while yelling ayyy, no worries, mon!!  While this is my fantasy (minus the cornrows because my scalp is too white), there is a lot more to this incredible island country than most of us expect.

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations, Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Pool

 

While visiting Jamaica, I traveled with a group on several incredible tours through the middle of the country for the Black River Tour.  Most tourists only see the incredible beaches and turquoise waters of the north side of the island, stretching between Negril and Ocho Rios – but we traveled to the southern side of the island for a completely different experience. Our bus wound through the lush mountains just south of Montego Bay, and we ended up in the town of Black River. In Black River, there are beautiful churches, manicured lawns, and incredible houses that dot the expansive shoreline. The town is named after the black river, a name that misleads those who haven’t experienced its beauty. This crystal clear river flows from the center of the island out to sea, and is home to lush mangroves and plentiful wildlife.

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations, Guide checking out the crocs on the black river

Our group boarded a boat in Black River, and embarked on a journey upstream.  Within moments, we spotted a prehistoric beast beyond anything we had ever seen.  We found ourselves face-to-face with an 18 foot crocodile, lumbering along through the water.  He noted us curiously, but lazily floated by.  After growing up watching Croc Hunter, part of me expected him to leap out of the water and try to steal one of my arms.  (I crossed them tightly just in case).  But he didn’t want to bother our boat, and kept his eyes on the birds darting down to the water for fish.  I had a strange moment of understanding as I watched this dinosaur relic- he wasn’t the killer Id expected him to be, he just wanted to be left in peace.

So, away we went, speeding away down the river in our pontoon boat.  This area of the country is breathtaking.  A small mountain range surrounds the valley through which the black river flows, and is blanketed by a dense, dark green jungle.  There was no trace of humanity around, and whenever the boat engine quieted, we could only here the soft chirping of birds and the gentle lapping of water against the mangroves.

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations, Crocodile Black River Jamaica

We spotted another crocodile, then another.  Our wild guide even kissed one croc on the nose, while we all screamed and flailed and made a huge scene over it.  After a while, we started to realize how many there are in this area of Jamaica.  But, we soon learned that while they are plentiful on the river, they are highly endangered and only found in a few places.  Luckily, they are a protected species and can no longer be hunted- so we hope the species will return to a healthy number in the near future.

On the rest of our journey, we spotted several more crocodiles, flocks of egrets, and giant ferns (imagine Jurassic Park sized ferns) that were crowding the riverbanks.  This place was truly incredible.  Part of me expected a pterodactyl to swoop down from the sky and carry me away with its talons- but instead, we all popped open a Red Stripe and kicked back to take in the incredible scenery.  After a few hours of excitement and breathtaking beauty of the lush valley, we turned back towards the town of Black River.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Apple Vacations, In the town of Black River

I never expected such an incredible and remote area to be hidden in the middle of Jamaica, but alas, this natural wonder proved to be an incredible hidden gem.  If you are lucky enough to take a trip down to the carefree island of Jamaica, set down your rum drink and change out of your flip flops for and adventure down to Black River- you will discover a spectacular valley and a charming town that you will never forget.

 

No Problems Mon’ – Gran Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay

As the Senior Manager of Customer Care for Apple Vacations, I try to make an effort to travel just as any other customer would, and not as an extension of my work. Sometimes this is a challenge, some hotels make it so easy.

 

Photo Credit: Melissa Brown – View of the resort at Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay, Jamaica

 

I recently had the absolute pleasure of staying at the Gran Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay Jamaica, and what a pleasure it was! The resort is large, but not overbearing. It is also one of the cleanest resorts I have ever stayed at, with the nicest staff and most excellent food and drinks.

 

Photo Credit: Melissa Brown – View of the Bay at Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Jamaica

 

The added bonus about staying at the Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay (as if the above wasn’t enough!), is that you really do get the use of a beautiful, crystal clear bay, in addition to the beautiful ocean, and gorgeous pools! The bay is large, shaped like a horse shoe and was very popular with families with small children. The parents quickly learn they didn’t need to worry about waves, as the water was calm; and even walking out 100-150 feet, it still only got waist high, ahhhhhhh.

 

Photo Credit: Melissa Brown – View of beach at Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Jamaica

 

The steel drum band that played at the “Jerk Center” ( where they have an outdoor breakfast and lunch buffet everyday) was so much fun, many came by just to listen to the band. Those of us floating in the bay could hear it perfectly, which just helped convince me all the more that there were absolutely “no problems mon” at all with this lovely resort!

Interest in going? Look no further….

Warm up to Super Savings, with exclusive non-stop vacation flights and more all-inclusive resorts than anyone, Apple Vacations offers the all the best beaches and the lowest package pricing to paradise! We’ve got your winter vacation at a price you’ll like. Apple’s buying power and experience is second to none. After all, the Beach is our Business! Book by December 20, 2012.

 

Simply The Best…

As an employee of Apple Vacations, and as someone who has been in the travel industry for over twenty years, I often get asked on Facebook, by friends and family what’s the best ________ ? (Fill in the blank). So I have taken all of these questions and polled Apple Vacations employees, so we can share our expertise and help you make your travel decision. Each week I’ll be featuring the answers to these questions.

This week I have tackled sunsets. Where is the best sunset you have ever seen on an Apple Vacation? A photo-worthy place, perfect for a romantic dinner, a place to pop THE question or to steal a moment with a loved one.

Survey says … Negril, Jamaica and Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta received an overwhelming response for having the most amazing sunsets. Experiencing a sunset in Puerto Vallarta is a heavenly experience. It is like watching a sunset in “Oz“. On one side there are the magnificent Sierra Madre Mountains, then on the other side the sun looks as though it is setting right into the ocean. There are innumerable places to catch a sunset, and each one is better than the next.

Negril, Jamaica was the other favorite location. Negril is at the western tip of Jamaica and is known world-wide for amazing sunsets and a gorgeous Seven Mile Beach. Both are truly breathtaking and I have been able to experience both first-hand. Besides grabbing a spot on the beach, there are many unique ways to take in a Sunset (or several of them). If you want romance, there are several sailing and catamaran excursions where you can experience a magnificent sunset from right on the water. However, one of the most popular and fun recommendations is to head out early for a cold drink or meal, and watch the local cliff jumpers at Rick’s Café, and stay for the view and stunning sunset. A visit to Rick’s Café to see the sunset is a must do in Negril.

So, do you agree? Where is the best sunset you have ever seen on an Apple Vacation?

Why Secrets Resorts & Spas Jamaica?

stjamesThe decor, the location, the luxury, the staff, the service… Secrets Resorts & Spas has it all, and now they have it in Montego Bay, Jamaica!  Now that the resorts have been opened for a few months I sat down with their Director of Sales to find out what he thought the key reasons why these hotels are the #1 choice in Montego Bay. This is what he had to say…..

Secrets Resorts & Spas have 2 separate adults only resorts in Jamaica. They each have their own distinct personality. Secrets St. James exudes true Jamaican enchantment. The décor reflects the island’s British Colonial history: rich, dark wood floors and furniture.  Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay has warm neutral tones, and native works of art are in balance with its island surroundings. The décor was inspired by the lush tapestry of flowers, which dot the landscape at the hotel. Continue reading