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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Hot Historical Adventures in Antigua

April 30th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Family Vacations, Honeymoons | Leave a comment

There are hundreds of ways to enjoy the expansive white sand beaches in Antigua – after all, there are 365 of them, "one for every day of the year," as the locals like to say. The beaches are beautiful, but they are only the beginning of all the adventures Antigua has to offer. 

This island offers the ultimate in family trips, honeymoons or adult vacations in the Caribbean because of its natural splendor & its cultural significance. Legendary Admiral Horatio Nelson sailed to this remote island in 1784, establishing Great Britain's most valuable Caribbean base. Since then, the island has undergone a number of cultural transformations, but the qualities that attracted European settlers – the warm, steady winds, safe harbors & protective coral reef – still draw thousands of entranced visitors every year. 

If you have any history buffs in your group, make sure you stop by these hotspots of a bygone era during your Beach Bum Vacation to Antigua:

Nelson's Dockyard
No trip to Antigua is complete without seeing this famous attraction. Nelson's Dockyard is the only Georgian-era dockyard still in use. Established in 1671 & fully functional as a garrisoned station by 1704, this dockyard would later welcome Admiral Horatio Nelson & other important Englishmen. It was eventually abandoned by the Royal Navy in 1889, but was restored in 1951. Today, you'll find a vibrant cluster of shops, restaurants & restored, 18th-century hotels in what is known as English Harbour. The Dockyard Museum, located in the original naval officer's house near the bay, contains historical artifacts like ship models, silver regatta trophies, maps & antique navigational tools for visitors to see.

Shirley Heights
English Harbour is stunning when you're on the ground, but it's even more spectacular when you climb up to Shirley Heights. This vantage point is also known as a key historical attraction, since it was once home to a military base. The gun emplacements & barracks that still lie scattered across this spot are a reminder of its military significance. It was named for General Shirley, who was governor of the Leeward Islands during the late 18th century. 

Dow's Hill
This peak overlooks the the dockyard & historical area as well, but features an interpretation center that will guide visitors through the island's history, starting with the American Indian inhabitants, exploring British colonialism & bringing you up to speed on today's events. The multimedia exhibitions at this museum give visitors a vivid picture of the many influences that made Antigua what it is today. 

Packing: The Hurdle Between You & Your Beach Bum Vacation

April 30th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in All Inclusive Travel | Leave a comment

Here at Beach Bum Vacation, we strive to make the vacation planning process as easy & streamlined as possible, working out all the logistics of beach wedding packages in Mexico or all inclusive trips to the Caribbean. Still, there's one step of the vacation prep process that is all your own: packing.

We would happily assist with the suitcase stuffing if we could, but for now, we'll offer you these these tricks that we've picked up throughout our own travels across the globe. Try a few before your next luxury vacation – they're sure to give you a little packing peace of mind!

Pick a color, any color …
… & stick with it as you pack! We're not suggesting you pack a monochromatic wardrobe, but to make matching outfits easy once you arrive in your destination, choose pieces that all match. It's tempting to just pack all of your favorite clothes & pieces of jewelry, but sticking to a color scheme for your vacation makes it easier to fit it all & makes getting ready a breeze once you arrive. A red, white & blue color palette is one that works well – it could include a red striped dress, a jean jacket, a navy scarf & some white shoes, & they'd all match once you arrive in your destination. Pick two neutrals, like black, brown or white, & add a couple of bright shades that coordinate. 

Choose fabrics wisely
Some fabrics wrinkle more than others, & some take up more space in your suitcase. Fortunately, the non-wrinkly types also tend to be the kind that take up the least amount of suitcase real estate. Stretchy jeans take up about half the space of a regular pair of jeans, & any blend with nylon, elastane or polyester resists wrinkles better than 100 percent cotton. Textured fabrics, gauze & seersucker also make wrinkles less noticeable. This tip should narrow down your options, too!

Consider your folding options
You could throw all your stuff into a duffel & be done with it, but you'll have better chances of being wrinkle-free (& fitting more) if you adopt a folding technique. Rolling individual items is best for when you are using a soft-sided bag like a duffel, but can cause wrinkles, so reserve it for things like T-shirts & workout wear that you won't mind creases in. 

Folding prevents wrinkles better in structured suitcases & for wrinkle-prone materials. Make sure you fold items the way they do in department stores, & layer plastic bags between rows of clothes. The smooth surface of these can fend off wrinkles. 

Hit the Links at Some of Punta Cana’s Best Golf Courses

April 30th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Luxury Vacation Travel | Leave a comment

It might be tempting to lounge on Punta Cana's pristine beaches all day on your next Beach Bum Vacation to the Dominican Republic. However, if golf is your sport of choice, don't miss the chance to work on your swing at some of the area's best courses during your luxury travel experience.

Punta Espada Golf Club
Last year, Golfweek named Punta Espada the best course in the Caribbean & Mexico, & visitors have no doubts about why. This par-72 Jack Nicklaus signature course, located at the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana All Inclusive Collection, is one of the most gorgeous in the Caribbean, with breathtaking ocean & beach views that have helped it become a fixture on the PGA Champions Tour. With various water hazards & tricky tee positions, Punta Espada can be a challenge, but talk to any past visitor and they'll tell you it's totally worth it. 

La Cana Golf Club
The Dominican Republic's La Cana Golf Club includes 27 holes (14 of which feature stunning views of the Caribbean Sea) & three nines. However, aside from its gorgeous vistas, this P.B. Dye-designed course is also known as one of the most environmentally friendly greens on the island, as it was one of the first in the Caribbean to use paspalum, a type of grass that relies on seawater. Keep in mind that as La Cana has risen as a favorite course among golfers around the world, it can get quite crowded, especially during peak season. Try to reserve a tee-time well in advance if you want to play at La Cana on your Caribbean Beach Bum Vacation.

Barcelo Bavaro Golf Course
Without a backdrop against the glistening Caribbean Sea, Barcelo Bavaro Golf Course may lack the stunning scenery that La Cana & Punta Espada are known for. However, make no mistake – Barcelo Bavaro is truly one of Punta Cana's golf gems. This 18-hole, par-72 championship course is designed to accommodate all levels of play, which has helped it become one of the most-visited courses in the area.

The Many Adventures of Costa Rica’s Manuel Antonio National Park

April 29th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Family Vacations, Honeymoons | Leave a comment

When you are booking family vacations or honeymoons in Costa Rica, you may be excited to enjoy the many amenities of your resort or the tasty fare offered by nearby restaurants. The 5 star Costa Rica hotels offer plenty of activities & luxurious amenities, but nature lovers should be sure to plan a trip to Manuel Antonio National Park. 

The natural splendor of this ecotourist destination will take your breath away, whether you decide to set out on a hike through the rainforests or simply lounge on the gorgeous beaches. Just under 90 miles southwest of San José & 43 miles south of Playa de Jacó, this park boasts a variety of ecosystems that are home to rare plants & animals, but also offers wide white sand beaches where visitors can relax under the forest's verdant trees. Here are the top three things you should do when you visit this park:

Spot the different animals
The younger members of your Beach Bum Vacation will love seeing all the different animals that live in the primary & secondary forests, mangrove swamps, lagoons & beach vegetation. There are about 109 different animal species & 184 birds living in Manuel Antonio, so keep your eyes open! You'll likely see plenty of capuchin, howler & squirrel monkeys, as well as sloths & iguanas. Head down to the beach & set your sights on the horizon to see if you can spot dolphins. 

Explore the diverse underwater scene
Under the surface of the water, there's just as much ecological diversity. If you plan on spending time on the beach, bring your snorkel, mask & flippers & swim out to the reefs. The two most popular beaches for swimming, snorkeling & simply spending time in the sun are Playa Espadilla Sur & Playa Manuel Antonio. Head to Cathedral Point, a former island that is accessible by a thin strip of land & separates the two beaches, for spectacular views of the coastline. 

Hike the dramatic trails
The three major trails that wind through Manuel Antonio National Park make hiking the rainforests simple, but these trails are in no way boring. If you are experienced in rainforest hiking, you'll have no problem traversing this lush terrain, but everyone else should sign up for a guided tour through the verdant forests. You can sign up for a two- or three-hour guided trek for about $25 to $30 per person, & you'll be guaranteed to learn a ton about the habitats & plants & animals that call the forest home. 

Seeing Hawaii From a Different Perspective

April 29th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Luxury Vacation Travel | Leave a comment

Hawaii may be best known for shady palms, bright coral reefs & fascinating volcanoes, but if you're looking for something a little different for your upcoming vacation to Hawaii, there are plenty of unconventional activities to try. To shake up your trip to Hawaii luxury vacations, here's a few unique attractions and activities worth checking out:

Stargaze from the mountaintops
Hawaii is home to the highest sea mountain in the world, Mauna Kea, & atop this volcano, there's one of the most renowned astronomical sites. The volcanic mountain, which towers 13,796 feet above sea level, has 13 telescopes representing 11 countries that watch the skies. When you visit the Big Island, you can see some of what these telescopes take in when you sign up for a star show on the mountain. There's minimal light pollution in the clear air of this spot, so you can see millions of sparkling stars in the night sky. Tours generally include transportation, dinner, access to the summit & detailed stories of the historical & cultural significance of the volcano. 

Ride a tram through the garden
Visiting the small, unspoiled island of Kaua'i? This park boasts plenty of conventional activities like swimming, snorkeling & hiking in its stunning state parks, but one unconventional attraction you shouldn't miss is the Allerton Garden, where Hawaiian & European styles blend harmoniously in Poipu's Lāwa`i Valley. When you sign up for one of the daily tours of this garden, you're lead around partially on a tram & partially on foot, where you'll see golden bamboo, flowering vines & plenty of native flora. Tropical trees form outdoor rooms in this oasis, which also features plenty of waterfalls, pools & fountains. 

Meet ancient gods on the beach
You probably expect to see soft sand, blue waters & maybe even some green sea turtles on the beaches of Hawaii, but ancient chiefs & gods? Perhaps not. At the Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island, you can come face to face with these figures of a time gone by. Massive carved wooden figures, known as "ki'i," tower above as you enter this spiritual site, which once served as a place of refuge for native Hawaiians in ancient times, & is still a sacred site where many ceremonies & other events are held. Visitors may stop by to experience life the way it was when Europeans first arrived there.

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