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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Discover a Better You at the St. Lucia Health & Wellness Retreat

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

Your health is a top priority, but sometimes it suffers due to a busy lifestyle. Between your job, family obligations & other responsibilities, it's often difficult to take care of yourself in the face of so much stress. That's why a luxury vacation is the perfect opportunity to refresh & recharge. After a trip to St. Lucia for the Health & Wellness Retreat this fall, you'll come back feeling your most beautiful, ready to approach life with an improved perspective.

During the event from Nov. 1-3, you'll learn the right way to detox, gain insight into healthier cooking habits, engage in hands-on culinary demonstrations & get expert beauty advice. Ready to clear your body & mind on one of the most relaxing Caribbean islands? Here's a glimpse at the itinerary:

Day 1
The early bird catches the worm, so rise & shine at 7 a.m. & head to the Pigeon Island National Landmark for yoga with guru & founder of Unity Woods Yoga Center, John Schumacher. Be prepared to sweat, though – this class is more intense than the 4:30 one, which is focused on relaxation. The emphasis in these classes is a combination of strength & flexibility. If you sleep in, though, don't fret – the session is offered all three mornings.

Next head to the Body Holiday spa experience. If you're looking to turn your life around, Gabrielle Bernstein's "Living a Miraculous Life," will no doubt leave you feeling positive. Considered a thought leader in the realm of mental well-being, she's the New York Times bestselling author of "May Cause Miracles, A 40-day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change & Unlimited Happiness." She's also been seen on Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday."

Since stress might be taking a serious toll on your health, it's worth checking out the "Life is for Living" seminar, which is designed to help you "get the best out of every moment of your life." What could be more luxurious than spa treatments by the beach? After a relaxing massage, enjoy a healthy & delicious lunch at the quaint Pigeon Island.

Day 2
It might be a struggle to get up at 5:30 a.m., but you don't want to miss the boat for a ride to Soufriere from Pigeon Island.

Soak in the island's healing minerals in the mud baths at Sulphur Springs. Then head to the Spa & Lounge Experience at Anse Mamin Beach, where you'll be treated to lavish treatments & a decadent but healthy lunch. Then hop back on the boat & ride back to Castries.

If you're looking for some more nutritious dishes to make at home, Healthy Cooking with Cat Cora will give you a bevy of new ideas. The "Iron Chef" contestant will show you that you don't have to sacrifice flavor for healthier fare, & she'll give you tips that can make a serious long-term difference in your diet.

Ever considered martial arts? There's no better time to dabble in new forms of fitness than at this retreat, so head to tai chi on the Saddle at Pigeon Island with Sifu Jimmy James, who has won seven gold medals at international tournaments.

Day 3
There's hardly a better way to start your day than exercising for a good cause, so set your alarm for 5:30 a.m. & head to the Yoplait Walk for Cancer.

If you need to kickstart your weight loss efforts, personal trainer & nutrition expert Marie Piazza will offer realistic tips in "Take It Off & Keep It Off."

Still, no one said that shedding pounds was easy. At 4:30 p.m., fitness guru Dani Devaux will lead the Blood, Sweat & Tears sunset bootcamp on Pigeon Island. You might be surprised at your capabilities as you push yourself in this innovative program, which involves high-intensity interval training (HIIT) using only your body weight to blast fat, build up muscle & enhance both your strength & stamina.

Let Beach Bum Help You Plan the Ultimate Girls’ Getaway

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

These days, it's hard enough finding the time to catch up with your gal pals, never mind plan a vacation. Between work, relationships & trying to cling to the vestiges of a social life, finding some well-deserved "you" time is no easy feat. That's why you & your girlfriends should let Beach Bum Vacation help you plan that tropical beach getaway you've been dreaming of for so long.

Taking the Hassle Out of Planning
You've been fantasizing about spending some time working on your tan on a golden, sun-kissed beach for months, but actually planning your trip can be a major headache. Rather than stress out about the little things before you've even started packing, talk to one of our certified travel concierges. 

With many years of experience offering adult vacations in Hawaii and other stunning destinations, our concierges know what it takes to provide you with an unforgettable vacation. That's why we can take care of all the details & let you focus on what to wear & where to go. Simply get in touch with us, tell us about the kind of trip you're looking for & we'll do the rest!

Living La Vida Local
Many other travel agencies claim to have teams of experts who can advise you on the best places to visit, but few employ the kind of dedicated travel specialists that Beach Bum does. Our experts have extensive, firsthand experience of what makes a trip truly unique, & can help you find the best-kept secrets that most tourists miss. This specialized local knowledge is what sets our travel consultants apart from the rest, so rather than visit the same crowded hotspots as everyone else, why not experience the most beautiful beach destinations in the world like a local?

Upfront & Personal
We know it can be frustrating to get hit with unexpected costs when you're working with a travel agency. For this reason, we strive to be as upfront as possible, & you'll never get stung with hidden fees or cleverly-worded contracts that will hurt your wallet.

In addition, nobody enjoys being put on hold by automated answering machines, which is why when you contact Beach Bum, you'll be able to talk with a real person who cares about your needs. You're not just a number to us, so get in touch today & see how we can make booking an all inclusive trip almost as fun as actually going on one!

Your Gourmet Getaway to the Caribbean Food & Wine Festival

September 26th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Luxury Vacation Travel | Leave a comment

There are some people who simply eat to survive & others who live to eat. Whether you're a foodie-in-training or a true culinary connoisseur, a luxury travel to Turks & Caicos for The Caribbean Food & Wine Festival will allow you to mix & mingle with your own kind as well as celebrity chefs, acclaimed winemakers from around the world & local gastronomy gurus.  

This isn't just any festival, either. From Oct. 31 – Nov. 2, you'll have the chance to attend pairing seminars, sample street fare, meet with industry stars & even tour some of the best restaurants in the area on a Gourmet Safari. According to Turks & Caicos Weekly News, there are only 80 spots for these festivities, meaning you'll actually get some one-on-one time with the chefs & winemakers. On top of it all, you'll be staying in one of the most stunning spots in the Caribbean. Ready for your gourmand getaway? Here's a guide so you know what to expect on your luxury vacation:

Day 1
The only way to kick off an epicurean event like this one is with craft cocktails & a 6:30 p.m. welcome dinner at The Regent Palms. The meal will be led by Chef Tiffany Derry of Top Chef fame – & since she made it to the final four in Season 7, your taste buds are surely in for a treat. Meanwhile, you'll savor wine from Napa to South Africa at a tasting at Jai Boutique.

Once you've gotten your fill of food, the festivities continue with a Patrón-sponsored after-party where the tequila will be flowing. 

Day 2
While men have traditionally dominated the culinary world, all that is changing. At 1 p.m., celebrate notable female chefs at The Women of Wine Luncheon, where you'll sample their most delectable dishes. Then rest up, because you'll need a lot of energy & an empty stomach to hop between the best restaurants in Providenciales at the Seventh Annual Gourmet Safari.

Start with an aperitif & light hors d'oeuvres at the Grace Bay Club, then make your way to Coyaba for appetizers. At this gazebo-style restaurant, you'll dine in a tropical garden surrounded by colorful scenery.

You're sure to be satiated by the end of this adventure, as you'll be served not one but two different main entrées. The first is prepared by Seven Stars, while The Regent Palms provides the fish course. Save room for a decadent dessert at The Gansevoort hotel.

Day 3
The action starts early on the final day of the festival with a four-course food & wine pairing at 11 a.m. There, you'll match up cheeses, chocolates, meats & seafood with various glasses of vintage vino.

Are you glued to the TV when reality cooking contests are on? The Street Food Fair is your chance to try some truly authentic & unusual eats while also seeing a competition firsthand. Starting at 3:00 p.m., you'll have the chance to observe 12 of the island's most skilled chefs go head to head in a cookout, & you'll get to sample their barbeque ribs as well as other fare.

At 8 p.m. that night, the Dinner with the Stars at Grace Bay Club is sure to end your experience on a special note. Xoliswa Ndoyiya will be preparing the memorable meal, & she certainly has the talent to lead the event: She worked as the personal chef to Nelson Mandela for more than 20 years. She's also pleased the palate of other famous people, including Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey & actor Danny Glover.

Puerto Vallarta: Peak Season for a Luxury Getaway

September 23rd, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Luxury Vacation Travel | Leave a comment

As you head into the autumn & winter months, you might be dreading the cold climate, but luxury travel could be the light at the end of the tunnel. The ideal destination is likely somewhere warm, with breathtaking beaches, delectable cuisine, a laid-back vibe yet non-stop nightlife & a historical appeal with a modern sophistication. Does such a place exist? Miraculously, it does – at Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. Better yet, the upcoming dry season from November to May is the best time of year to visit, with temperatures hovering around 80 degrees in the the daytime & dropping to crisp 60s at night. Whether you're a diehard shopper, adventure-seeker, history buff or sun-worshipper, here's a peek at what your adult vacation to this dynamic city would look like:

Exploration & adventure
Puerto Vallarta is the best of both worlds when it comes to terrain & atmosphere. Wandering down the cobblestone streets of downtown Puerto Vallarta, you'll be drawn in by the historical architecture & statues. Meanwhile, the pristine beaches, lush jungles & magnificent mountains give you a chance to get closer to nature.

Athletic-minded travelers will definitely get an adrenaline rush while participating in one of the countless adventures here, from surfing to water skiing. According to VisitMexico, the warm Pacific water in Banderas Bay lends itself to a diverse array of aquatic life that includes sea horses, manta rays & octopus, making for an exciting scuba diving or snorkeling experience. If you're not into water sports, a horseback ride on the thrilling rocky terrain, zip lining in the rainforest canopies or mountain biking through exciting jungle paths are all unforgettable ways to break a sweat while taking in some of Mexico's most stunning views.

A foodie's paradise
If you tend to let your taste buds be the guide while you're traveling, Puerto Vallarta has a wealth of options for eating. Whether you prefer to nosh on authentic street food from a taco stand or dine al fresco at a five-star restaurant, you can satisfy any craving.

On a Saturday afternoon, wander the farmer's markets at the Paradise Community Center, where VisitMexico explained that locals shop for mole, salsa, granola, fresh bread & pastries. 

Those who want a culinary education should definitely to book a trip around the International Gourmet Festival Nov. 14-23. World-renowned chefs come to Puerto Vallarta for this eating extravaganza, where they join local experts for elaborate wine dinners, cooking demonstrations, beer, cheese & chocolate tastings & even a "gastronomic debate."

Did you know that The John Huston film "The Night of the Iguana" was filmed in Puerto Vallarta? You can even sample fare from Huston's personal chef, who VisitMexico noted opened his own restaurant, Archie's Wok, right near Los Muertos Beach in 1986. While Archie has since passed away, his family keeps the spirit of his Asian-inspired dishes alive.

Bustling nightlife
If you're a night owl, the energy after hours here is bound to draw you in for a few exotic drinks followed by some dancing.

Start by watching the sunset at the rooftop terrace El Nido, located at the Chez Elena. If you're lucky, you might catch the unusual green flash that occurs the final moment the sun sinks beneath the water. While watching, enjoy the bar's signature drink with a corresponding name.

True party animals should check out The Zoo, which VisitMexico explained is a bar where you're beckoned inside by a man in a gorilla costume. Inside, you'll find creatures' heads mounted on the wall. However, if you're looking for a more tame evening, VisitMexico compared the waterfront promenade called the malecón to the Champs-Elysées in Paris. 

Culture buffs will feed off the creative energy at the Art Walk, which starts up again on Wednesday evenings at the end of October. Meander through 20 galleries & studios, which stay open until 10 p.m. with drinks, snacks & even the artists themselves on hand to discuss the work.

Top Caribbean Wedding Trends

September 20th, 2013 | By admin | Posted in Beach Weddings, Destination Weddings, Island Weddings | Leave a comment

If you've ever dreamed of marrying your sweetheart with the sun shining overhead, pristine sand beneath your feet & a gentle beach breeze in the air, a destination wedding in the Caribbean is ideal. While the tropical conditions on these islands are obviously conducive to a carefree big day, there are certain aspects of a wedding that require consideration & planning for a truly memorable celebration. Wondering what the top trends are for a ceremony in this exotic locale? These are just a few that brides- & grooms-to-be are buzzing about:

Location & decoration
The exact location of a destination wedding ceremony depends largely on the couple's tastes & preferences. After all, this special day should reflect the eccentricities & unique qualities of their relationship. However, certain islands are attracting a significant amount of attention for these events. 

Aviva Samuels, founder of Kiss the Planner, reported that St. Lucia is one of the hottest destinations right now for weddings & honeymoons. According to Samuels, many couples are attracted to this island because the Piton Mountains & botanical gardens both provide a breathtaking background. She mentioned Sandals Grande St. Lucia Resort & Spa as a top pick. 

She revealed that another popular location is Antigua, which boasts a bevy of pristine white & pink sand beaches as well as a highly unusual wall of coves, coral reef & other striking natural wonders. It's no surprise that Sandals Grande Antigua Resort & Spa came highly recommended from Samuels: It has been named the "World's Most Romantic Resort." 

As far as the ambience goes, Travel Age & West reported that according to research by Sandals, brides-to-be are opting for sea glass, soft sand & other neutral color palettes. Additionally, Wedding Republic revealed that patterns, from playful polka-dots to classic stripes, are becoming popular for decor.

In terms of flowers, Travel Age & West noted that the Dendrobium Orchid is the most chosen blossom for island weddings.

Food & fun
For guests, the food is one of the best parts of a wedding reception, so it definitely shouldn't be neglected. Many couples are choosing to incorporate local fare to support the region's economy while also giving the celebration an authentic vibe. According to Travel Age & West, Sandals' studies determined that the most popular flavor for wedding cakes is somewhat predictable: Caribbean Fruit. A considerable 40 percent of couples selected this flavor, while another 35 percent went with vanilla & 25 percent chose chocolate. Wedding Republic pointed to mini desserts as another alternative that many couples are turning to so that guests can sample a variety of treats.

Travel Age & West noted that another emerging trend is to have a live Caribbean band providing the soundtrack for dancing at the reception. Meanwhile, some couples are deciding to take a sunset cruise for an even more romantic celebration.

Attire & accessories
Brides just want to have fun, & a destination wedding in the Caribbean presents the perfect opportunity to do just that. There's no reason to stick with traditional dress styles – more brides are opting to don an unusual gown that's more tailored to fit to their personality. Wedding Republic revealed that many brides are going for two-in-one gowns so that they can change up their look instantly between the ceremony & reception without having to run off to the dressing room. Dresses with pockets are also big for practicality reasons. With this convenient feature, you can easily keep a lip gloss or other small necessity on hand for emergency touchups.

Couples are also getting more tech-savvy for their big day. Wedding Republic pointed out that social media is starting to play a prevalent role in these occasions, especially as brides look to share photos & other details with friends & family throughout the planning process.

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