Beach Bum News
Beach Bum News

Category Archives: Great Exuma

Beach Bum Vacation Honored at Prestigious Sandals Resorts S.T.A.R. Awards

Sandals Resorts has recently recognized Beach Bum Vacation for their outstanding achievement by Sandals Resorts at the 11th Annual Travel Agency Recognition S.T.A.R Awards held recently at the elegant Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, Nassau, Bahamas.

This prestigious event honoring travel agents from across the U.S., Canada and Latin American and recognized top travel agencies for not only their exemplary sales performance and marketing expertise but for their commitment to using their extensive product knowledge of the world’s best Luxury Included® resorts in creating dream vacations for their clients.

Beach Bum Vacation’s awards included:  Best of the Best, Top Suite Concierge, Top Producing Sandals Agency, & the prestigious Chairman’s Award appointed to Founder & President/CEO of Beach Bum Vacations: Hayley Whorrall.

“Each one of our resorts is unique and offers more quality inclusions than any resort on the planet – from luxurious suites with exclusive butler service, to 17 dining options per resort, to unlimited land and water sports – even golf’,” says Gordon “Butch” Stewart, Chairman of Sandals Resorts.  “A Certified Sandals Specialist and a Preferred Sandals Agency is specially trained and qualified to best recommend the resort that is perfect for you.”

Whether you’re planning a destination wedding, honeymoon, romantic getaway or a family vacation at Beaches Resorts, Beach Bum Vacation has all the latest information on developments and services at Sandals Resorts, Beaches Resorts and Grand Pineapple Beach Resorts.

Beach Bum Vacation specializes in Caribbean vacations, honeymoons, family reunions, corporate incentive travel, & destination weddings.  Beach Bum Vacation is based out of Fishers, IN but operates nationwide, 7 days a weekPlease call 317-577-7775 or toll free 1-877-943-8282 to find out more about Sandals & Beaches Resorts. www.BeachBumVacation.com

Beach Bums Experience James Bond 007 Thunderball Tour Great Exuma, Bahamas

By: Beach Bum Rachel

Visiting Great Exuma is the type of experience you could never duplicate anywhere else.  Bahamians light up when describing the electric blue, deep turquoise and crystal clear waters surrounding the 365 islands and cays.  The beauty of Great Exuma attracts travelers from all across the globe as the landscape is not just to be seen, but experienced as well.

The locals will tell you, anyone making a visit to their highly esteemed island must take in the James Bond 007 Thunderball Tour.  Operated by Exuma Water Sports, the James Bond 007 Thunderball Tour is “one of the world’s most spectacular tours” allowing adventurous visitors to experience the beauty and hidden secrets of 150 islands and cays stretching from Great Exuma to Compass Cay.  As destination experts, your Beach Bum Vacation team knew this was an experience not to be missed.  The morning started out on an up beat, everyone stirring with excitement as we boarded the 35 foot, 600 HP sea rocket and took off on what we knew would be an experience of a lifetime.

Captain Ray Lightbourn along with his first mate and son, Justin were the perfect hosts.  We’d be flying through the islands and come to a quick stop so they could point out a site of interest we’d never have picked up ourselves – a sunken plane visible through the turquoise waters here, a celebrity home there, the last lighthouse in the Bahamas and at one point Justin dove off the boat to grab a starfish resting just 10 feet below on the ocean floor for us all to see.  Not only do they know the sites but they explain the significance of the landmarks which helped us all to better understand and appreciate the island history.

After an exhilarating ride and site seeing tour, it was time to get to the action.  We started by pulling up to what seemed like an uninhabited island but as soon as we hit the shore, iguanas started descending from the hills knowing we were waiting for them with delicious grape kabobs.  The friendly lizards were all too happy to entertain us by dancing and smiling for our cameras.

Among the next few stops was one of our favorites.  The famous Swimming Pigs were just as anxious to see us as we were to see them.  They paddled their way out to the boat and we jumped in for a swim with them.  While we were having fun, these pigs were on a mission to eat as many rolls and turkey dogs we could feed them.  As soon as our supply was out, they ditched us for shore, and we were off to our next exciting adventure.

The James Bond 007 Thunderball tour has attracted the attention of celebrities and national media crews looking to see one of the best kept secrets in the Caribbean, the Thunderball Grotto.  As the ‘headlining act’ of the tour, we were excited to slip our fins on and dive in and see what all the hype was about.  After a quick lesson on navigating through and under the rock walls, we swam with ease into the Thunderball Grotto.  The most amazing rush of tropical fish surround you as you enter into the cave, and taking a rest on the inside walls allows you to marvel at the hidden cove of sea life inside the rock.  Ducking through the passages makes you feel as adventurous as James Bond himself!  After all, it is the location where the fight scene between James Bond (Sean Connery) and the SPECTRE henchmen was filmed in the 1965 classic Thunderball!

Throughout the day we enjoyed cruising along with plenty of refreshments, fresh pineapple slices and coconut cookies.  For lunch we stopped at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club and sampled their fresh specials including conch fritters, the mahi mahi sandwich and of course, the Goombay Smash!  The day would have not have been complete without a sweet ending of home-made rum cake on a secluded sandbar out in the middle of the ocean.  All in all it was a delicious, adventurous, beautiful day every beach bum should experience!

After living on Caribbean and Mariana islands as well as traveling extensively abroad, Beach Bum clients Melissa and Rick agree that the tour was the best they’ve ever experienced.

“Our Beach Bum, Robert, recommended that we take the 007 Thunderall Tour during our trip to Exuma to celebrate our 30th anniversary.  Let me just say it was the highlight of our trip.  We took lots of pictures and I display them on a digital picture frame in my office.  People always ask about the “swimming pigs” and laugh when they see it!  It is a tour that I also recommend and when I tell them about all the activities and experiences they are amazed.   The beauty of the ocean and abundance of sea life leaves a lasting impression and wonderful memory to cherish for a lifetime.  This has been one of my best days ever!!!!!  I want to go again!”

Don’t just take our word for it, put it on your bucket list and contact your Beach Bum about planning your own trip of a lifetime to Great Exuma.  It’s much closer than you might think!

Be sure to check out Exuma Water Sports on Facebook!

Wedding Talk: Unique Ceremony Locations

By: Beach Bum Marcie

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The Beach Bums have been assisting and recommending great destination wedding locations to couples for over 12 years now…and what we have found is the trends are ever-changing.  In order to keep up with the shift in fashion, we continually visit and share with our preferred resorts what it is our client is looking for right now.  We spend time exploring new properties and destinations, checking out the latest options for you, our client, to ensure we can offer exactly what it is that you envision for the most important day of your life!

Destination weddings are up 400% since the early 2000s, as couples are finding that they want something less expensive, less traditional and to take it a step further, more unique.  However, as with any rise in popularity, the simple beach background becomes less exciting to some couples who picture themselves in the sun.  We speak to many brides and grooms who are now craving something new and distinctive.  Brides are wearing more formal gowns and wanting to sport their special wedding stilettos, which (let’s face it, girls!) don’t work so well in soft white sand!  Not only that, but the idea that people are eloping is becoming much less popular!  We find that most couples bring many guests who they would like to accommodate and the beach is not always the right choice for everyone.

As the needs for couples change, many of our favorite resorts are offering a refreshing take on their wedding location options and we could not be more excited to share the stand outs!

Top 5 Most Unique Beach Bum Vacation Wedding Locations

Sandals Resorts offers at least three locations per resort to choose from for your wedding ceremony from idyllic hilltops to gazebos overlooking the water on three sides to lush garden areas providing privacy and simplicity.  But one of our personal favorite locations is the poolside gazebo with beach and ocean views at Sandals Emerald Bay in beautiful Great Exuma, Bahamas.  Not only is this island the “Bora Bora of the Caribbean,” and by far, one of our top sellers in terms of “unqiue,” but the wedding gazebo provides everything a couple could ask for in a perfect wedding backdrop to recite their lifelong commitment to each other.  The reflecting pool and garden area delivers privacy, intimacy and romance without being right on the sand giving the couple everything they need in elegance and luxury for the unforgettable union of two surrounded by friends and family.

In beautiful Riviera Maya, Mexico, Azul Beach Hotel and Azul Sensatori Hotel introduced the fabulous rooftop sky terrace location for couples interested in a perfectly private experience.  We cannot quite describe the sights you see from the highest building on each resort, which offers unobstructed views of the crisp blue Caribbean Sea boasting shades of turquoise for miles and miles!  Not only that, but the area is completely intimate away from other guests with breezes coming off the ocean and endless options for decoration to turn a blank slate into your wedding dream!  Decorate the gazebo with sheets of fabric in your wedding colors that blow in the wind behind you or leave it in its simple white glory, so the two of you are the spotlight.  The “sky” is truly the limit with these incredible rooftop locations.

Have you ever envisioned yourself on your own deserted island getting married with no one around except those nearest and dearest to you?  Well…your dream can easily become reality at Sandals Royal Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica, where they offer an unbelievable private island location option to host your wedding and reception, creating an unforgettable experience like no other!  The island becomes your own escape with no other guests but you and your wedding group.  It rests lazily just off the coast giving couples an opportunity to host their big day by transferring their friends and family via a unique watercraft off the mainland to the beautiful intimate beach or garden area within the island to witness their nuptials.  Once the island is rented, it is yours for the evening to host cocktail functions and an awesome reception for memories that expand beyond just saying, “I do”.

In stunning Cancun, Mexico on a stretch of beach that is to die for is beautiful family-friendly Gran Caribe Real and exquisite adults-only The Royal Cancun by Real Resorts.  These two properties offer an amazing oceanfront wedding chapel that is truly one of a kind, with glass walls that allow for a 180 degree view of the incredible azul sea and stunning white beach that runs along the east coast of this bustling tourist town.  The windows of the chapel are like a view into the couple’s soul, creating spectacular lighting and plenty of seating for larger wedding parties, as well as, offering Catholic couples the best of both worlds – a Catholic chapel with unforgettable sounds of the ocean waves as the background music to their romantic day.  How could a guest forget the reciting of the vows from their perfect pew with a gorgeous view?

There is something special about St. Lucia, wouldn’t you agree?  The “Hawaii of the Caribbean” got its name because of the insane landscape that ranges from stunning beaches to idyllic volcanoes!  This gorgeous country in southeast Caribbean has incredible weather all year round and has many options for a romantic wedding in the sun.  Sandals La Toc in Castries boasts two unique wedding locations that should not be overlooked when shopping for a beach-free locale.  Their cliff top verandah with its dark wooden deck and fantastic views is a great place for a small intimate experience at sunset, where guests can enjoy the nuptials and the incredible backdrop of the Caribbean Sea! But not only that, Sandals La Toc offers an amazing hillside deck with endless vistas for the perfect scene for your perfect day.  The height of romance is offered with the rolling hillsides serving as the extraordinary background creating fond memories for a lifetime.

The beach is lovely and perfect for relaxing but when it comes to getting married away it’s not for everyone.  Luckily there are NO LIMITS to having your destination wedding and we can help match you up with the ideal spot for the two of you!  With so many unique choices out there, hook up with your favorite Beach Bum for a free wedding consultation to find your dream location and let’s get started making your wedding dreams come true today! Also be sure to check out out Destination Weddings by Beach Bum Vacation on Facebook for more insider tips!

Wedding Talk: The Worry-Free Wedding

By: Beach Bum Marcie

Destination Weddings are one of the hottest trends in the travel industry right now. It can be a stress-free, fun, romantic, laid back atmosphere for planning the wedding of your dreams when you carefully choose the right professionals and resort to work with. Destination wedding couples come with an array of wants, needs, and often, envision their perfection in such a simple form – the two of them, their friends/family members and the beach.  No fuss.  So many couples will say that they just want to enjoy their experience and not worry.  They don’t want the stress that often accompanies hosting a function in their hometown, with oversized guest lists, choosing vendors and researching venues.

Beach Bum Vacation Wedding Specialists have taken the stress out of the research side by matching our clients up to the perfect resort for their wedding experience, and lucky for us, Sandals and Beaches have really taken the worry out of the wedding planning!  We are so excited to be partnered with Sandals and Beaches to tell you all about “Your Wedding. Your Style,” which simply means – NO WORRIES, MON!

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Giving couples the choice between trendy Customizable Themes in the latest beautiful colors and Martha Stewart’s stunning pre-designed packages allows the couple to decide what works best for them!  But not only that, it is so easy to legally get married at Sandals and Beaches, with simple, easy paperwork, inexpensive government fees and minimal residency requirements. They will ensure all the details, legalities and worry are removed by working with us to manage your time-line, guest list and what extras would work best within your budget!

Mostly, we are so happy to share that they are listening to the needs of the Millennial Bride, allowing them around the clock access to their wedding details and providing constant wedding coordinator care to pre-plan every detail before heading to warmer climates.

The days of cookie-cutter wedding choices from Sandals and Beaches is gone, with the new Wedding Designer, which allows couples to build their dream wedding online with multiple color options, floral arrangements, photography packages and so much more.  With the ease and simplicity of clicking your choices for a very relaxing wedding planning experience, it takes planning to an all new level and is easily accessible 24/7! You truly get the opportunity to design your custom wedding package to reflect your own personal style!

Nadine Dennis, Sandals and Beaches Wedding Manager, was asked why she believes Sandals and Beaches is the best option for a “no worries” experience and this is what she had to say: Our weddings provide a  worry free experience, so that brides and grooms can focus on what matters most – each other! We find that our weddings are worry free because we have created a seamless planning process for the bride and groom, providing and sourcing all of the services needed to create a dream wedding at each resort.  Our properties offer the most magnificent backdrops, whether it’s a beach wedding or intimate garden wedding giving so many easy options to each couple.”

The Beach Bum Certified Travel Concierge Wedding Specialists could not agree more!  After spending four luxurious days last month becoming Certified Sandals Wedding Specialists (on location in Jamaica where the sun is always shining and the water is refreshing), the Beach Bum team saw firsthand how Sandals and Beaches Dream Makers are truly creating memories to last a lifetime for their destination wedding couples.

The new Customizable Wedding option is so special creating multiple color palettes with the favorites of couples today!  They realize that providing this option to create your own vision is truly where the Millennial Bride envisions herself and that no two weddings should ever be the same!  Nadine went on to tell us The items featured on our website provide ‘inspiration.’ But with the Wedding Designer, couples can share their own ideas with us, and we would be happy to work within our resources to make it a reality.”

“Your Wedding. Your Style” is truly just the beginning and the sky is the limit for creating beautiful wedding day memories!  Beach Bum Vacation Wedding Specialists and Sandals and Beaches can help make your dreams come true as well by customizing, not only your wedding experience, but your overall resort experience by matching you and your family up to a resort that best fits what you are looking for in an amazing experience!  We want you to enjoy wedding planning, choosing the details and this time before you walk down the aisle.   We would love to take you through our “no worries” step by step process to ensure that you have all the knowledge you need to make the best decision for you!  Come with us, as we take the worry away!

Beach Bum Tells All: Sandals Emerald Bay

By: Beach Bum Hayley

Calling all Beach Bums! News Flash: we’ve discovered the Bora Bora of the Caribbean! Exuma, Bahamas, Sandals Emerald Bay Resort & Spa where the only thing missing is over water bungalows (don’t think we didn’t put it in the suggestion box! 😉 ). The one mile stretch of pristine powder white sand beach snuggles up to the most sparkling turquoise blue ocean I’ve ever seen!  Zero beach solicitation, no crowds, no commercialization, a true tranquil, exquisite Paradise where service is second to none!

Located a very quick flight from Ft Lauderdale, Miami, or Atlanta (nonstop from Toronto, Canada also) Sandals Emerald Bay is a short 10 minute shuttle from the airport, which coincidentally looks like someone’s home, too cute! Just love the charm & simplicity Exuma exudes, not to mention the overly accommodating, friendly people who are obvious products of their Heaven-haven 80 degree year round temperature surroundings. It’s no wonder celebrities like Johnny Depp, Faith Hill & Tim McGraw, & David Copperfield have homes on the island! Spot the celebs’ oceanside mansions on the awesome “007 Thunderball Tour” available through your Beach Bum Travel Concierge via Island Routes Tour Co. A must do during your chilaxation on Exuma at Sandals Emerald Bay.

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Opened in January 2010, Sandals Emerald Bay is the newest of Mr. Gordon “Butch” Stewart’s collection. I daren’t say that it’s also the one he’s most proud of by the ear to ear smile that comes across his face when talking about it & rightfully so!  In 2011 Sandals Emerald Bay was voted Best Honeymoon Caribbean Resort by Bride’s Magazine. It is also the recipient of Travel Weekly’s 2010 Magellan Gold Award for Golf Course Design (a stunning 18 hole beauty designed by Greg Norman). The World Travel Awards voted Sandals Emerald Bay the Bahamas’ Leading Spa Resort, and it’s Red Lane Spa has earned the Six Star Diamond Award!

Speaking of awards, during our stay at Sandals Emerald Bay General Manager, Jeremy Mutton, presented Beach Bum Vacation with an Appreciation Award! Thank you Mr. Mutton, you & your staff’s hospitality was second to none. A+

Sandals Emerald Bay is perfect for couples. Looking to celebrate a new marriage or rejoice in a milestone, it truly is romantic, luxury, relaxation, secluded with everything included. It features two fresh water pools, including the Caribbean’s largest zero-entry pool with a fire pit in the center.  There are couches, chairs, poolside cabanas with misters, and tables in the pool so you may lounge around in comfort. There are 6 delightful dining options including Il Cielo (Italian), La Parisienne (French), Bahama Bay (Mediterranean, Asian, Mexican or Italian flares throughout the week), Dino’s (Pizzeria, Pasta, Stromboli), Drunken Duck (British Pub), Barefoot by the Sea (Local Specialty), & Café De Paris (Patisserie). Let’s not forget, every suite includes 24 hr room service!

While it is a more quiet resort, there is still plenty of action. At Sandals, all-inclusive really means just that! Complimentary to all the guests are dance lessons, introductory golf and tennis lessons, live music, jazz performances and piano sing-alongs. If water sports are what you’re seeking; kayaks, windsurfing, hobie cat sail, snorkeling, scuba diving, or take out a paddle boat, all included. Social events such as White Nights, Opera Singers,  Beach Parties, & Chocolate Late Night Buffets also keep you entertained.

One of my favorite experiences here at Sandals Emerald Bay was touring the golf course. Greg Norman designed this 7001 yard, par 72 Championship course, which features 6 Signature Oceanside holes. To me, that means nothing because I’m not a golfer, but trust me when I tell you that this course MUST be experienced. The beauty of the contrast between the green fairways and the turquoise waters, the peacefulness of the waves crashing against the rocky shore…WOW! A great place for a photo opp!

Sandals Emerald Bay is truly a luxury property in every sense of the word. Each room comes with personal Concierge service, and if you stay in a One Bedroom or more, you will get your own professionally-trained Butler, who will take note of all of your preferences and make sure you are always refreshed with a drink and stocked with everything you need to enjoy your vacation or honeymoon experience to the maximum. Stephen was our butler, he was absolutely AMAZING! Check out our phenomenal Prime Minister Beach Front One Bedroom Villa Suite, WOW!

BEACH BUM’S HIDDEN FINDS IN EXUMA: Check out Chat “n” Chill – a relaxing hang out on its own island just a short ferry ride from downtown Georgetown. Feed the friendly stingrays right from knee deep transparent waters, drink a delightful Goombay Smash or 2 😉 while relaxing under a palm tree, try the most amazing conch salad prepared by AJ right in front of you, or do absolutely nothing at all! Tell KB the Beach Bums sent you.

Catch A Fire Restaurant & Bar, offering an amazing ambiance Wed and Sat evenings for the most beautiful sunsets, musical entertainment, & the best curried lobster! Tell Tony & Neville the Beach Bums sent you.

Contact your favorite Beach Bum Travel Concierge today to get started planning your ultimate luxury getaway to Sandals Emerald Bay! We can’t wait to help guide and support you all the way to Great Exuma!