Best Private Island Getaways (III)

Tag: Exotic Destinations

Best Private Island Getaways (III)

For many travelers, their idea of a perfect vacation is a secluded spot away from the rest of the world. These vacationers prefer to be close to nature, isolation and utter relaxation. If this kind of destination appeals to you, we've picked out the best private island gateways. The following islands all have one thing in common: peace and quiet.


5. Best Private Island Gateways: Medjumbe Private Island— Mozambique

Set among the secluded islands that make up the Quirimbas Archipelago off the coast of Mozambique, Medjumbe Private Island is the perfect getaway for those who love the outdoors. The exclusive retreat is comprised of just 13 thatched chalets all with beautiful ocean views. The diving in the warm Indian Ocean waters is ideal — the stunning coral reef and pristine marine environment are nearly undiscovered by the diving world. The Quirimbas Archipelago also offers some of the best game fishing in the world, with opportunities to hook Kingfish, Barracuda, Dorado, Queenfish, Serra, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna and Sailfish. Kayaking allows guests to glide with the local dolphins and watch the visiting whales from August to November. This beautiful country, full of rich cultural history, is one of the world's best-kept secrets. While the resort aims to fulfill the wishes of guests, they equally aim to fulfill the needs of the surrounding environment; the conservation of the indigenous environment, and the implementation of community development.


6. Best Private Island Gateways: Ometepe Island — Nicaragua

Lake Nicaragua is one of the wonders of the Western Hemisphere. One hundred miles long and as much as 46 miles wide, it is the largest freshwater lake in Central America. Freshwater sharks and tuna, and the extremely rare sawfish swim in these waters. Out in the lake, accessible only by ferry, lies the magical island of Ometepe. The island is composed of two volcanoes and an isthmus that connects them. Trails up the volcanoes Conception and Madera lead the curious explorer through fields of plantains, sugar cane and coffee to a lush rainforest. Pre-Columbian petroglyphs and sculptures dot the island, reminding visitors of prior civilizations. There is also a cloud forest, one of the rarest ecosystems on earth, on Volcano Madera, and down in its caldera, a cold crater lake where the cries of howler monkeys echo out of the mists. Afterwards, spend some time on a beautiful island beach, relaxed and undisturbed except by the breeze in the palms.

Discover the Secrets of South Beach, Miami

Don’t be daunted by the shirtless set — even foodies, art lovers, and band geeks can find their scene in Miami’s hottest district.


1. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: FLAGLER MEMORIAL ISLAND

Half a mile from South Beach, this three-acre, man-made island in Biscayne Bay has remained totally undeveloped, and is only reachable by private boat, Jet Ski, or, the best way, South Beach Kayak’s Fool Moon tour. On Saturdays closest to the full moon, kayakers embark on a sunset tour of the bay islands, ending with s’mores over a beach bonfire. Depart from Maurice Gibb


2. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: MONTY’S RAW BAR

With its no-frills tiki hut and plastic chairs, you’d never guess you were at the Miami Beach Marina, home to multimillion-dollar yachts. Have a cold one and a slice of key lime pie as you watch the boats set sail.


3. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: MY CEVICHE

Skip the long line at Joe’s Stone Crab for James Beard nominee Samuel Gorenstein’s fresh spin on seafood.

Despite the chef’s pedigree, it’s take-out or delivery only, so the best way to enjoy the ceviche (octopus, fish, or shrimp) is a picnic in nearby South


4. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: WOLFSONIAN-FIU

Think South Beach is only about art deco? Step inside Florida International University’s design museum, where movements such as modernism and art nouveau are well represented in the 120,000 pieces of furniture, posters, and textiles from 1885 to 1945. And the onsite shop is a trove of usable gifts: retro cardboard suitcases, Mondrian-inspired boxes, or a USB drive based on the 1929 Wrestler statue in the lobby.


5. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: DAVID’S CAFE

Locals looking for a taste of old Miami amid the glitz swear by the Cuban sandwiches and cafés con leche at this 24-hour spot, opened by Cuban immigrants in 1977 in a former Jewish deli.


6. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: MIAMI BEACH SOUNDSCAPE

Next to Frank Gehry’s New World Center symphony hall is a two-and-a-half acre park that brings Mozart to the masses via its live Wallcast series: Select concerts are projected onto a 7,000-square-foot wall, while 167 speakers around the park mimic the sound inside the hall.


7. Secrets of South Beach, Miami: RIVIERA HOTEL SOUTH BEACH

This hotel, situated in an art deco building two blocks from the sand, added 50 rooms in May. A chic palette of dark hardwood floors, crisp white sheets, and tangerine accent pillows belie the great price point.


Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast (I)

From the North Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, the United States east coast offers up some of the world's most spectacular beaches. Dotted along its sandy shore are wonderful towns and exciting regions playing host to millions of visitors each year. Though there are hundreds of beach towns scattered across America, here are six that are among the most popular from the coast of Maine to the shores of the Gulf.


1. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: Bar Harbor, Maine — Located on Maine's Mount Desert Island, the town of Bar Harbor bustles with activity from Memorial Day to Labor Day every year Throughout the year, about 6,000 call this island town home, but when the summer sun shines, crowds pack its beaches to absorb the long-anticipated season. With the warm summer temperatures and the cool northern Atlantic waters, vacationers find Bar Harbor the perfect place to relax. At low tide many locals, and visitors alike, venture out to Bar Island for magnificent views and even more peaceful isolation. Just a note though, be aware of the tidal schedule so you don't get stranded on the island when nearly ten feet of water covers the path back to town at high tide. Nearly one hundred cruise ships visit Bar Harbor every year from late spring to early autumn, bringing thousands to this Northeast jewel. Aside from the summer beach-life, Bar Harbor is also a popular destination for those craving outdoor activities, ranging from kayaking fresh water streams to trekking through the Acadia National Park. When you add up all that Bar Harbor offers, it's no wonder its considered one of the best beach towns in America.


2. Greatest Beach Towns on America’s East Coast: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina — For years first-time visitors to Hilton Head Island have found what so many before them have bragged about Being "on island" truly must be experienced. From world-class golf courses to twelve-miles of beach on the Atlantic, Hilton Head is where millions travel annually Some stay for just a few days, while others have either chosen this border island as their winter home, or even their permanent residence. With winter's average temperatures in the 600, to summer highs in the mid-80s, Hilton Head has been said to be one of the most comfortable places to live in the country. Home to the yearly PGA stop known as The Heritage Golf Classic at the Harbor Town Golf Links, and host to the largest annual wine festival on the Atlantic coast in early March, Hilton Head offers so much more than just lazy days at the beach. 

Tourist Attractions on the Mayan Riviera (II)

Tourist Attractions on the Mayan Riviera: Xel-Ha

Xel-Ha is one of the most magical spots of the Riviera Maya. It’s an amazing biological aquarium where the ocean combines with the freshwater currents of springs and underground rivers, creating a mesmerizing ecosystem. This amazing formation of nature is surrounded by thick jungle, caves, cenotes, and even a few small archaeological spots. The park is the perfect habitat for all types of flora, fauna, and aquatic life.


Tourist Attractions on the Mayan Riviera: Tulum

Farther down the coastline, Tulum historically attracted backpackers, throwback hippies and nature lovers who wanted to enjoy an off-grid vacation. Today, Tulum is still more boho than Cancun, with rustic restaurants and bars on the sand, yoga at sunrise, and soothing massages on the beach. No high rises or condo towers, (thanks to building restrictions), just rustic yet chic cafes and coffee houses. Tiny retreats line the streets that lead to the beach. Tulum caters to those in search of intimate settings, solitude and the desire to get closer to nature.


A huge coral reef, the largest in the northern hemisphere, protects the Riviera Mayan shoreline from crashing waves and dangerous undertows. It's teeming with tropical fish — an adventurer's paradise for divers and snorkelers.


Ancient Mayan ruins, from a powerful civilization long gone, are perched right on the coastal cliffs and along the shoreline. Even more ruins are tucked away safely in the rainforest, protected from the tropical storms and hurricanes that pass by from time to time. Inland and south of Tulum, the Sian Ka'an biosphere covers more than 2 million acres of national parks and reserves with lagoons, forests, pristine beaches, and an intricate network of underground caves and cenotes. Flamingos, tapirs, wild cats and dolphins call this their home. Seasonally, baby sea turtles shuffle through the sand towards the water— called home by the ocean.


Other Tourist Attractions on the Mayan Riviera

Other more laid back attractions include Coba, a small Mayan town in the midst of ancient ruins where you can actually tour a Mayan village. Akumal, once barely a dot on the map is growing up with resorts, restaurants and bars all perched on the Riviera Maya's dazzling white sand. Eco-resorts, all-inclusive resorts, villas, and even planned communities all want a piece of this paradise. 

Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera (VI)

With the hundreds of destinations that line the 80-mile stretch of this white-powder Caribbean sand, how do you decide where to stay on the Mayan Riviera? Whether your goal is to party all night long with friends, learn how to scuba dive and swim in the cenotes, discover the fascinating world of the Maya or simply relax and become one with the sun and the sand, we've picked a few of our favorite places…knowing that more will be added to the list with each visit…


Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera:

Eco-friendly / Secluded

Casa de las Olas


A little oasis of alternate-energy luxury on the south end of Tulum beach, Casa de las Olas is tranquil and serene, yet close to all the bistros and beach restaurants in Tulum. Whether your sensibilities lean toward massage and meditation, or tours and adventure, ifs all here. The suites feature private ocean view balconies, four post beds, crisp linens, native hand-painted tile, tropical hardwoods and a mix of Mexican and Indonesian furnishings. Four of the five oceanfront suites have either a kitchen or kitchenette giving you the flexibility to venture out or stay in. Guests can take satisfaction in knowing that the shampoo, conditioners and soaps provided by the facility are all biodegradable. The water filtration systems reuse the water in the gardens. Biodegradable wet garbage is composted. All power for Casa de las Olas is generated by solar panels.


Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera:

Cultural Immersion / Eco-friendly

Maroma Resort and Spa by Orient Express


Located on the Riviera Maya, Maroma Resort and Spain bringing a touch of authentic Mayan culture to guests by recreating an Aldea Maya (Mayan Village) on its grounds. The Aldea Maya will offer toadies a truly cultural experience by giving them a chance to sample genuine Mayan cuisine which will be produced both traditionally and sustainably. Mayan dinner menus are based entirely on regional specialties such as black bean stew with sour cactus fruit salsa, and banana leaf cooked lionfish with mint and tomatillo. Traditional Mayan methods of cooking over an open fire in clay pans will create the exotic Mayan flavorings and 100% of the ingredients will be sourced locally from organic farmers and from the hotel’s own milpa-style farm. A portion of the Aldea Maya proceeds will benefit the local Mayan communities.

Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera (V)

With the hundreds of destinations that line the 80-mile stretch of this white-powder Caribbean sand, how do you decide where to stay on the Mayan Riviera? Whether your goal is to party all night long with friends, learn how to scuba dive and swim in the cenotes, discover the fascinating world of the Maya or simply relax and become one with the sun and the sand, we've picked a few of our favorite places…knowing that more will be added to the list with each visit…


Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera:

Adults Only / All-Inclusive

Live Aqua Cancun


This extravagant 4-star beach spa and resort is located across the road from La Isla Shopping Mall and at very short distance from some of the best restaurants and shopping malls in the city. The Live Aqua Cancun All-Inclusive is a place of luxury designed to pamper you, and create a memorable experience. Live Aqua Cancun's 371 elegant lodgings feature plush bedding with Egyptian cotton sheets, flat-screen Television, Home Theaters and DVD players, aromatherapy supplies, high-speed Internet access, marble bathrooms with separate showers and tubs and private balconies with beautiful views. Visitors will love the magnificent beachfront with secluded cabanas (surcharge on Deluxe Rooms), eight enormous pools overlooking the Caribbean Sea, spa, state of the art fitness center, three exquisite diners, five taverns featuring signature liquors and conference facilities for up to 1,000 visitors.


Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera:

Adults Only / Secluded / Intimate

Viceroy Riviera Maya in Playa del Carmen


Upon arrival, a Mayan Blessing is performed for guests by an authentic in-house shaman. This blessing releases visitors from their cares and worries into a new beginning at the resort. The 41 villas each have a private plunge pool and terrace and outdoor shower. Mayan healing techniques and traditions infuse every aspect of the spa concept, and one-of-a-kind experiences are enjoyed in an Herbal Steam Room, Jungle Spa Suite for Two, Outdoor Rain Room, Fertility Spa Suite and traditional Mayan Temazcal sweat lodge. Located on a sea-view loft, La Marea accents time-honored traditional recipes with innovative ingredients to create a tableau of flavors. The seaside Coral Grill features a Mexican-Mediterranean menu cooked on wood-burning grills and a bar know for its creative mixology. Among the amenities are a lagoon pool, a fitness center offering a variety of classes, day beds at the beach, and a pier where guests enjoy massages and savor private dinners. 

Winter Bargains in The Romantic Caribbean (III)

It is no secret that winter is high season for the Caribbean. It's the coldest, snowiest, iciest time of year for many places, and some folks have just had enough of it by January and February. In fact, some folks figure they'll need to 'hunker down' and wait out old man winter through March. But that doesn't mean there are no travel deals to be found to make your 'Great Winter Escape: In fact, there are plenty, and some experts believe that the best time to book your winter bargains in the romantic Caribbean is from New Years to early March, when airlines are slashing prices before the big spring-break rush.


According to Yahoo Travel, there are great deals for hot spots like Jamaica, undiscovered charmers like Bonaire, and romantic paradises like St Thomas.


So check out this list for romance in a Caribbean Paradise and start packing!


Winter bargains in The Romantic Caribbean: Dominican Republic

This ever-popular destination draws tourists from spring-breakers seeking low-cost beach thrills, to families looking to make sandcastles in the sun. A wealth of all-inclusive resorts clustered around Punta Cana offer a lot of 'bang for your travel buck' this season.


Deals and Bargains: According to Yahoo Travel, round-trip flights to the DR are unusually inexpensive this year, with flights from Chicago in the low $400s. Take advantage of cheap airfare, and consider a number of budget-friendly hotels, through April 18.


Winter bargains in The Romantic Caribbean: Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, has it all, from golfing to gambling and from salsa dancing to surfing. Beyond San Juan's vacation condos, the island abounds with waterfalls, colonial history, and the national rainforest of El Yunque. The best part? You don't even need a passport to get there.


Deals and Bargains: According to Yahoo Travel, in late January and early February, flights are as low as $329 from New York on JetBlue or Delta. (And right now, JetBlue Getaways is offering amazing deals on four-night packages, including airfare, accommodations, and resort credits, starling at $745 per person.) Inexpensive hotel options aren't hard to spot, either Wad, with a travel professional; travel pros will probably be able to find even more deals. You will probably find the cheapest rates clustered around San Juan. 

Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera (IV)

With the hundreds of destinations that line the 80-mile stretch of this white-powder Caribbean sand, how do you decide where to stay on the Mayan Riviera? Whether your goal is to party all night long with friends, learn how to scuba dive and swim in the cenotes, discover the fascinating world of the Maya or simply relax and become one with the sun and the sand, we've picked a few of our favorite places…knowing that more will be added to the list with each visit…


Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera:

Banyan Tree Mayecoba


Banyan Tree Mayakoba brings Asian hospitality to the Riviera Maya The resort is situated within the resort development of Mayakoba. Banyan Tree sought to conserve the natural landscape of low jungles, dunes, mangroves and reefs, while developing a modern design which uses indigenous materials when possible. Banyan Tree Mayakoba introduced an All-Pool villa resort concept infused with Asian hospitality and architecture. All 107 villas, Banyan Tree Spa, signature restaurants and Gallery will provide guests a sanctuary for the senses. All villas are freestanding units on land or above water. Banyan Tree has also used the existing flora and fauna to function as a natural shield between neighboring villas. The Banyan Tree Spa features intimate outdoor spa pavilions located in the lagoon, where guests can enjoy Asian-inspired spa treatments.


Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera:

Adults Only / Romantic / Intimate

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun


Situated on 71 tropical oceanfront acres, Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun provides an Unlimited-Luxury® getaway that includes active lifestyle activities, cultural experiences and healthful eating. This AAA Four Diamond resort is the only all Preferred Club resort, where guests enjoy personalized concierge service, pool and beach wait service, 24-hour concierge service and complimentary internet access. Designed to reflect the charm of a Mediterranean villa, Secrets Capri features 291 luxury suites and guest rooms that include four-poster canopy beds, private balconies and patios, full Italian marble bathrooms with a jetted whirlpool and 24-hour room service. Guests can also indulge during breakfast, lunch and dinner at six distinctly different gourmet restaurants; five full service a la carte and one buffet style. The dining experience also includes chef’s table invitations, and wine and tequila tasting events. The Secrets Spa by Pevonia offers more than 30 restorative services, treatments and hydrotherapies.

Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera (III)

With the hundreds of destinations that line the 80-mile stretch of this white-powder Caribbean sand, how do you decide where to stay on the Mayan Riviera? Whether your goal is to party all night long with friends, learn how to scuba dive and swim in the cenotes, discover the fascinating world of the Maya or simply relax and become one with the sun and the sand, we've picked a few of our favorite places…knowing that more will be added to the list with each visit…


Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera:

Eco-Friendly/Family-friendly (3 in 1) Complex

Mayakoba Complex on the Riviera Maya


A team of talented biologists, architects and designers persisted in the preservation of the flora and fauna of Mayakoba resort surrounded of sweet water lagoons Six miles of freshwater canals surrounded by exotic mangroves and birds connect three enchanting hotels: Rosewood, Fairmont and Banyan Tree. Guests are peacefully transported in boats through the resort — a vision of beauty and harmony.


Where to Stay on the Mayan Riviera:

KarismaA Collection of Gourmet Properties in the Riviera Maya El Dorado — Adult-Only Paul Hotels — Family-friendly


El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels cater to romance travel, whereas the Azul Hotels are for everyone and have incredible family-friendly amenities. What sets these resorts apart is the culinary experience. At El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and Paul Hotels they offer top-shelf liquor, award-winning wine lists, smoothie bars, Gourmet Bites at the pool and beach, and 24-hour room service. A new partnership with Jackson Family Wines and is taking place the first week of each month throughout 2013. Called the Jackson Family Wines Culinary Series by Karisma, this event is a select wine and food program spotlighting top chefs and wine masters from around the world. The week-long series includes access and insight into highly sought-after wines, vertical tastings, educational classes with sommeliers and winemakers, cooking courses, special pairings and an exclusive Guest Chef and Winemaker Dinner. Additionally, guests of Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and Paul Hotels by Karisma will experience one-of-a-kind luxuries such as the fresh fish market, where they can choose from a fisherman's catch of the day to be prepared by the chef, a beach paella party, beach picnics, genuine Italian, Mexican, Asian and Grill cuisine. For children, haul Hotels by Karisma provide Gourmet Gerber baby food. Additionally, there is a 100,000-square-foot Greenhouse at El Dorado Royale, A Spa Resort, by Karisma, which grows a variety of herbs and produce for all eight properties, and guarantees that the cuisine at each of the resorts' restaurants is further centered on local and sustainable ingredients.


Best Beaches in Maui, Hawaii (I)

Best Beaches in Maui, Hawaii: Baby Beach – Toddler Alert


The hardest thing about Baby Beach may be finding it. Everyone talks about it, but directions are always vague.


It stretches around Puunoa Point ton the north side of Lahaina and may be reached from Ala Moana Street, where there is parking along the road. Look for Jodo Mission with its big Buddha. The beach is also reached from the end of Puunoa Place.


A reef protects the shore keeping the waves to gentle laps, and the shore drop-off is very gentle. You can walk quite far out and be only waist deep. Locals with young children love this beach, but it's not Maui's best. The sand is gray or brownish tan, and there are submerged rocks in the water, which you can see and avoid.


But the stronger surf at nearby Kaanapali, Napili or Kapalua, will easily knock little ones over. Here the splash and play happily away.



Best Beaches in Maui, Hawaii: Hamoa Beach – Michener's Perfect 10


James Michener called this spot the “most beautiful beach in the Pacific.” Its gray sand sifts through fingers like the finest sugar. Palms fringe the perfectly curved shore like mother nature’s eyelashes. Winter and spring surf is often high, ripe for body surfing and Boogie boarding. Summer finds even the smallest youngsters dashing in and out of the lapping waves. 


Hotel Hana-Maui uses this beach for guests and occasionally holds luaus or other events here, but the activity doesn’t interfere with public use. 


Access is from Haneoo Road off Hana Highway south of town


Best Beaches in Maui, Hawaii


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