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Beach vacations are relaxing but you also want adventure!


Beach vacations and honeymoons are lovely and many couples dream of relaxing on a tropical beach in an exotic locale. But variety is the spice of life, and after a few days working on a sun kissed glow you may find yourself craving activities. So here are some tropical vacation and honeymoon ideas that offer relaxation, romance and active adventures you’ll talk about for years to come!

Picture yourself on the lush tropical island of St Lucia in a stunning open air sanctuary with private pool or a luxurious overwater bungalow with butler service. Both settings provide everything you need for a pampered, relaxed and romantic vacation and the beautiful island of St Lucia offers a wealth of exciting excursions and adventures. You can:

  • Hike the beautiful and rugged Pitons
  • Zip line through the dense green rainforest canopy
  • Island hop to Antigua, Barbados or Grenada
  • Take a mud bath near a dormant volcano
  • Sail to nearby Martinique
  • Snorkel, scuba or snuba on colorful coral reefs

Sound outstanding?  You can have it all:  luxurious accommodations, butler service, beach time and some really awesome escapades. Here’s another exotic beach adventure combo –

Few places on earth match the incomparable beauty of the South Pacific and Fiji offers a private island vacation within a reasonable budget. The main island of Viti Levu has mountains, rivers, a lush fertile interior and long stretches of coral rimmed coast so you can enjoy:

  • shark diving
  • white water rafting
  • horseback riding
  • zip lining
  • a jet ski safari
  • cave tours

But Fiji’s real gems are the tiny outer islands where your accommodation will be a beachfront bungalow steps from the sea, tree house amidst a lush tropical jungle or overwater bungalow suspended above a coral reef. Activities on the outer islands center on the beach and water but you can also

  • hike or swim at the Bouma waterfall
  • visit a pearl farm to see exotic colored pearls cultivated by hand
  • explore a local village and meet the chief
  • drop a fishing line in the water and bring home dinner
  • snorkel amid an amazing soft coral garden
  • kayak from one island to another

Then kick back and relax with a good book, climb into a hammock for a snooze, share a cup of kava with the locals and enjoy a vacation where time no longer matters.  You won’t be the first to shed a tear when it’s time to say goodbye.

Now, picture yourself in Belize, where you can mix your beach vacation with:

  • climbing ancient Mayan ruins
  • caving with hard hat and headlight in eerie darkness
  • river rafting beneath iguana-filled trees
  • hiking through jungles that ring with the hoots and hollers of howler monkeys

San Ignacio in Belize is a fantastic base for jungle activities with easy access to Tikal plus unique adventures like the challenging Actun Tunichil Muknal tour.  Then, after a few days in the interior, head for the beach! You can choose a lovely spot on Ambergris Caye or a more unique, adventurous setting.

Reached on a road that is more pot hole than dirt, Hamanasi offers beachfront and treehouse accommodations luxurious enough for an awesome honeymoon or vacation and you’ll have a choice of unique adventures like bird watching, hiking in a jaguar preserve, exploring mayan ruins and world class snorkeling and scuba diving. On a single dive I saw spotted eagle rays, free swimming green morays, hawksbill sea turtles, nurse shark, 300 pound grouper, lobsters large enough to feed the resort, thriving coral and hundreds of colorful exotic fish.

Relaxation in a warm climate, beautiful water, and luxurious pampering in a romantic atmosphere are some of the reasons the beach vacation is so popular but remember…  You will gather your favorite travel stories from trips that also include adventure, planned or unplanned.

My personal travels have taken me to hundreds of beaches all over the world plus adventures in Patagonia, Kenya, Machu Picchu and the Amazon, Australia, Greece, Italy and more. I hope you’ll call or email and allow me to help you find the perfect combination of experiences for your vacation or honeymoon. We can have a grand adventure planning it together!

What does a tropical island honeymoon cost?


Most couples get married in the summer and the majority of honeymoon couples choose a tropical beach honeymoon where the focus is on relaxation and romance. But weddings are expensive and budget may be a factor. So where can you go for a romantic honeymoon without breaking the bank and what does a dream honeymoon cost?

Here are some popular spots for exotic summertime honeymoons from $1K to $20K –

  • You have dreams of a lovely beach but a limited budget? Don’t stay home! Head to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic where $1000 buys 5 nights at a quality all-inclusive resort on a stunning white sand beach. Add airfare and voila! Instant, affordable, awesome honeymoon.  Hint: ask Uncle Al to get you there using credit card points or frequent flyer miles. He’s been sitting on them for years and loves you both to pieces.
  • At $1500 there are options in Jamaica and Puerto Vallarta for adult only all-inclusive honeymoons on the beach with 5 nights accommodations, meals, drinks, evening entertainment and lots of activities for two.
  • Want a longer honeymoon? Consider island hopping in Hawaii with a couple of nights on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu then a longer stay at a luxury resort on Maui’s famous Kaanapali Beach. 7 nights’ accommodations, transfers, car rental and daily breakfast should be about $2.5K traveling peak season.
  • For less than $3K, stay one week at a couples only Sandals Resort with everything included from gourmet dining to wine/beer/cocktails, land and water sports, entertainment, even snorkeling and scuba trips. You’ll find swim up bars, sexy firepits, hammocks and candlelit tables for two at every restaurant.
  • If butler service and a private pool or swim out room is on your wish list, St Lucia, Grenada or Barbados could be a great choice with options from $5.5K for a 7 night all inclusive honeymoon. These islands also offer unique open air “sanctuaries”, overwater bungalows and ultra-extravagant accommodations in the $12-20K range for one week.
  • Exotic islands in the South Pacific calling your name? From the west coast, a honeymoon package with airfare and 6 nights in a beachfront bungalow at an adult only resort in Fiji starts between $6-7K.
  • Glorious overwater bungalows overlooking Bora Bora’s shimmering lagoon with a view of Mt Otemanu and fabulous sunsets will set you back more. Figure $10K+ for airfare from the west coast and a 5 night stay.

So with tropical island honeymoons from $1K to $20K where do you start?

1. Begin with the dream and have fun visualizing the perfect honeymoon! Read blog posts and magazine articles, look at photos online, talk with everyone you know.

2. Make a note of every destination, feature or activity that made your heart race or put a starry eyed look on your face. This is your wish list.

3. Sit down together and talk about reality. How long can you be gone? How far are you willing to travel? What are you comfortable spending and what needs to be included in that budget?

4. Call or email a honeymoon travel specialist. When you share the fantasy, the reality and allow time for us to work our magic you may find your dream honeymoon really does come true!

Secrets, Excellence or Sandals – Which is the Best All-Inclusive Resort for Adults?


A few years back we wrote a post comparing Secrets vs Couples vs Sandals Resorts but things change fast in the travel biz and new players have come on strong in the adult only all inclusive market. Having stayed at almost all the adult only resorts including Excellence, Iberostar Grand, Hyatt, El Dorado and aforementioned Secrets, Couples and Sandals, we are often asked which is the best all-inclusive resort for adults.  All of these resorts are quality brands with multiple locations. All have newer and older resorts, bigger and smaller hotels, simpler and more luxurious settings.  All have special features that may be on your wish list and all offer a range of room categories and prices with varying amenities and services.

So what if your destination is flexible and money is no object?   Which is the best adult only all-inclusive resort?  I still don’t have a quick answer because it’s like naming a favorite restaurant.  Mine would be Italian but you may prefer steak or sushi and choosing the best is difficult because they are totally different. That said, there are some broad generalizations we can make about adult only all-inclusive resorts plus specific recommendations for some best in category resorts.

Target Clientele and Special Inclusions

  • Excellence, Secrets and Iberostar Grand Collection are top choices for adults traveling with friends, families with adult children, singles and couples. These resorts allow 1-4 adults to share a room and have a choice of bedding in various room categories.
  • Sandals Resorts are best for couples planning a honeymoon, romantic getaway, destination wedding, vow renewal or anniversary. With 16 couples only resorts on 7 islands, Sandals has the broadest price range, largest selection of room styles all with king beds, includes free weddings at every resort and gives free nights for anniversaries.
  • Hyatt, a newcomer to the all-inclusive market, has adult only properties adjacent to family friendly resorts with select public areas and restaurants reserved for adults. This works particularly well for mixed groups and multi-generational families.
  • Breathless caters to adults seeking a livelier vibe and more nightlife.
  • Iberostar Grand has more organized group activities and a higher rate of participation than other adult all inclusives.
  • Couples has the Caribbean’s first unlimited spa service option with treatments included along with meals, drinks and other land and water activities. Couples also includes more off site tours.
  • Sandals Resorts includes the widest range of land and watersports, resort activities and evening entertainment. Activities like snorkel trips, tubing, waterskiing, scuba diving and golf are free at Sandals but cost extra elsewhere.

    

Beaches & pools

  • All of our favorite adult only resorts are beachfront but not all beaches are created equal, so it’s important to be specific. Our picks for best beach would be Sandals Emerald Bay and Iberostar Grand Bavaro followed by Secrets Akumal, Sandals Grande Antigua and El Dorado Maroma.
  • Excellence and Iberostar Grand have fabulous pools as do some Secrets and Sandals Resorts. Our best pool award goes to Sandals Royal Barbados with the Caribbean’s first rooftop pool plus stunning beachfront pool and hundreds of rooms and suites with private pool or swim up feature. Wowzer!

Restaurants and bars

  • All of these top quality adult only all-inclusive resorts have specialty international restaurants and a high standard of food quality and presentation.
  • All include alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages including beer, wine and cocktails with top shelf brands available.  Bottles of wine and champagnes are available for purchase.
  • Excellence and Secrets are known for no reservation dining.
  • Sandals Resorts can accommodate celiac and other dietary restrictions with an onsite culinary concierge at every resort.
  • In room bars vary widely. Only Sandals includes full size bottles of liquor, wine and champagne plus beer, soft drinks, mixers, fruit juice and water in Club Level and Butler Suites. Standard rooms include soft drinks, water and juice. Couples Resorts allow you to personalize a minibar with a selection of liquor, wine and beer but quantities are limited and champagne is not an option. Secrets Resorts include beer, soft drinks and water in every room and Preferred Club rooms add alcohol but no wine or champagne. Iberostar Grand offers a selection of wine and liquor in airplane sized bottles plus beer, soft drinks and water.
  • Room service varies within chains and even room categories. Excellence and Secrets earn top honors with 24/7 room service for all guests and a “secret box” for delivery and pick up without intruding on your privacy.

Rooms and services

  • Iberostar Grand has the most luxurious entry level rooms with shared butler service, jetted soaking tubs and more.
  • Most Excellence and Secrets Resorts are contemporary in styling and offer private pools and swim up rooms however “beachfront” rooms can be problematic as many are far from the beach and have a limited ocean view.
  • Sandals Resorts offer everything from standard rooms to “sand in your toes” beachfront rooms, overwater bungalows, swim up rooms and villas with private pools. The décor at Sandals runs the gamut from traditional to modern and services are provided at three levels – Luxury, Club Level and Sandals crème de la crème Butler Service.
  • Rooms at Couples Resorts can be minimalistic although we love the plantation suites at Couples Swept Away and every room has what you need to be comfortable

Hopefully this gives you a starting point to find the best all-inclusive resort for your adult only vacation, tropical honeymoon or destination wedding. For more information please call, email or request a quote. We’ve been to all the popular destinations, stayed at almost all the resorts and would love to help you choose the best adult only all-inclusive resort for you!

Best All Inclusive Resorts for 2017


Caribbean Journal’s article on the Best All Inclusive Resorts for 2017 included many Totem Travel favorites and while their top 25 list includes a mix of adult only and family friendly properties small and large it was dominated by resorts in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico. This is great news for clients seeking an all inclusive vacation or honeymoon from Seattle as these destinations have good air service from the west coast as well as other U.S. gateways. Score!

With that in mind here are 10 of our favorites that also made the Journal’s list for best all inclusive resorts in 2017

  • Grand Velas – the service and food at Grand Velas Riviera Maya is at the highest level anywhere and yes, the resort is drop dead gorgeous.
  • Zoetry Agua Punta Cana – an intimate resort with sexy rooms and health conscious gourmet dining
  • Galley Bay Antigua – as Billy Crystal would say the beach is mahvelous!
  • Sandals Royal Caribbean – brand new and stunning overwater villas and bungalows
  • Le Blanc – an upscale choice in Cancun perfect for foodies and nightlife
  • Sandals Barbados – getting to Barbados is a little more difficult but the weather is awesome in the fall when other areas worry about hurricanes
  • Secrets Maroma – great beach, great service, nearby snorkeling, adult only
  • Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Rose Hall Jamaica – one is for families the other for adults and both at Hyatt standards
  • Beaches Turks and Caicos – the Disney standard for family all inclusive. It simply doesn’t get better.
  • Couples Tower Isle – new spa villas include treatments along with all other inclusions.

Still not sure which resort is best for your all inclusive getaway? We have been to them all and go back every year. Our service is free and we always guarantee the lowest price available so please call or email and let an all inclusive resort specialist help you plan the perfect vacation.

 

 

 

Best places to vacation in Jamaica


Jamaica is a fun destination full of white sand beaches, turquoise water, lively music, tasty jerk chicken and friendly smiles that welcome tourists every year.  The island is full of dozens of all-inclusive resorts which can make choosing the best place to stay over your next vacation very difficult.

If you are a couple looking for a romantic “adult only” or “couples only” all-inclusive ambiance to celebrate a special anniversary with butler service or honeymoon sans kids, we highly recommend starting with looking at one of the seven Sandals Resorts on the island. Sandals has been adding sexy new suites to many of their properties that would make any getaway feel special and they have been including activities like snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing and other water sports for years.

Other good choices for this type of ambiance are Secrets Wild Orchid, Hyatt Zilara , Jewel Dunns River or one of the four Couples Resorts on the island. Each resort has something different to offer honeymoon couples and adults seeking an great all inclusive vacation.  For those couples who are looking for a more unique, smaller, upscale feel and quiet atmosphere, The Caves and Jamaica Inn are excellent choices.  If you want activities nearby like golf, swimming with dolphins, ziplines or unique activities to Jamaica like Appleton Rum Estate Tour, Floyd’s Pelican Bar or Rick’s Café, let us know and we will help you select a resort that allows you to easily escape off property and check them off your bucket list.jamaica-kids

For families looking for fun in the sun and Jamaican smiles, it really depends on your budget.  You can have two and three bedroom butler service accommodations and your water activities included at the super all-inclusive Beaches Negril Resort or you can stay close to Montego Bay for a quick family vacation at either the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall or Iberostar properties which are all within 20 minutes of Montego Bay Airport.

Singles who want to have fun and spend time at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, might want to look at two new “adult only” resorts that have recently opened.  Close to Montego Bay and the famous hip strip, Breathless Montego Bay is lively, upscale and modern and Riu Reggae Resort is only one quarter mile from shopping and nightlife.

Wherever you decide to stay, be prepared to come back with a whole new attitude, hooked on Jamaican patties and humming Bob Marley.  Remember in Jamaica, there are “no problems, just situations”.  If you want us to help with your next Jamaica vacation, feel free to call (800) 321-7907 and ask for either Patty or Linda.  We will help make this your best vacation yet….no problem mon!

 

 

 

 

Staying healthy and fit on an all inclusive vacation


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Indulge yourself or diet? You can do both on an all inclusive vacation!  Shape up, warm up , chill out and exercise. On your next vacation you can start the road to fitness with yoga on the beach,  fine tune your golf or tennis game with a pro, keep your sculpted beach bod in perfect form with state of the art equipment or morning run and still have hours to relax and enjoy the good life. It’s all possible on an all-inclusive vacation. But will a never ending supply of beautifully prepared meals and desserts plus fun, fruity, calorie packed cocktails tempt you off your diet? Or will vegetarian meals and low carb restaurant selections be difficult to find? Not if you choose the right resort!

The best all-inclusive resorts cater to a variety of guests and can easily accommodate most dietary needs and restrictions. They also offer health conscious food and drink choices and numerous opportunities to stay fit while enjoying a relaxed getaway. Some resort groups, such as Zoetry, focus on health and wellness as part of their luxury inclusions. Others, including Sandals and Beaches Resorts, guarantee diet and allergy friendly foods at every restaurant. So you’ll find it easy to manage a low cal, low fat diet or enjoy a gluten free resort vacation without extra effort or expense.

So what’s most important to you? An awesome tennis program, the latest pilates equipment or miles of beach for walking or jogging? Here are some of my favorite “stay fit while indulging” choices after decades of vacationing at some of the best all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean:

  • Panoramic oceanview fitness center with state of the art equipment and sunken chaise lounges surrounded by cushy, canopied pool beds at Iberostar Grande Bavaro Punta Cana.
  • Kick your butt Boot camp, fabulous frozen mudslides and hammocks slung over a meandering river pool at Excellence Playa Mujeres.
  • Oceanfront, feet in the sand, feeling the  vibe yoga and gourmet dining with fat grams and calories discretely noted at Zoetry Agua.
  • Zumba with a hunky instructor and 12 miles of beach for long walks plus gluten free brownies and beer at Beaches Turks and Caicos.
  • Health bar with yummy fruit smoothies, an Olympic size pool for laps and breezy oceanfront verandah suites with plantation shutters at Couples Swept Away in Jamaica.
  • Pilates, spinning and decadent crème brulee at The Royal in Playa Del Carmen.
  • Water aerobics, scuba diving and wakeboarding plus low cal and gluten free choices at Café de Paris and a 90 minute East Indian spa treatment at Sandals Whitehouse.

By watching portions, staying active and choosing wisely I’ve returned from dozens of all inclusive resort vacations with nary an extra pound. You can do it too, so happy travels!

 

 

 

Which Resorts Offer Free Weddings?


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With the cost, stress and hassle of getting married stateside increasing every year, many brides are looking to cut their costs and stress levels and get married in Mexico or the Caribbean.  I can’t say I blame them, as it is pretty hard to turn down a free wedding in tropical paradise!  Yes, I said free.  Sandals Couples Only All Inclusive Resorts which are on the islands of Great Exuma, Nassau, Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia and Antigua offer free weddings to couples without having to book a particular room category or stay for 7 nights. There are no room category restrictions at Sandals and the minimum night stay for the free wedding is only 3 nights.

The resorts take care of everything from flower details to decorations etc. and you can customize your own wedding through Sandals Wedding design website.  You will be given a personal wedding coordinator to work with when you first reserve your wedding space and then when you arrive on property, you will also be assigned a personal wedding coordinator who will hold your hand through the entire process and make sure your dream wedding comes true!  Because there are so many Sandals properties and each couple has different things on their wish list and their own budget requirements, we suggest these steps when you start the planning process:

  • Reach out and give us a call (-1-800-321-7907), shoot us a quick email, or Request A Quote on our website. Let us know your dates of travel, budget, originating city if you need help with air, what things are on your wish list and the target budget you would like to stay under.

We will use our experience at the resorts (we have been to all of them and travel to them often) to match up some of the better options given your wish list, time of year you are travelling and budget.

  • Once you have picked the perfect resort for your wedding, we will get you booked and help you reserve your desired wedding date and time. We will put you in touch with your Sandals Wedding consultant and act as your advocate should you need additional assistance in any way.

Your Sandals wedding consultant will set up a planning session and go over all the legal requirements for getting married (varies with each island) and help you get all that in order.  Then they will help you customize your wedding to make your wedding day and details just how you want them.

  • You arrive at the resort, all relaxed and ready for your special day! Your onsite wedding coordinator will take care of everything for you.  No worries!!

It just takes these three easy steps to plan a free destination wedding.  If you have guests, we can set up group codes for your guests as well. If you want something more elaborate than the basic wedding which is included, you can opt for a fancier package or add things to the basic package. Since Sandals are “Couples Only” Resorts, if you have families with children who might want to share in your special day, then Beaches Family All Inclusive Resorts would make an excellent choice and also offer the same free destination weddings as Sandals Resorts.

Other resorts in the Caribbean or Mexico that offer free weddings require at least 7 nights booked in a specific room category or higher in order to receive the complimentary wedding. This is never the entry level room category so you end up spending more money to save money.  Resorts like Secrets “Adult Only” Resorts or Dreams Family Resorts offer this option, so if you had planned on staying in a nicer room category for 7 nights anyway, these resorts are still a good option in addition to Sandals.  Otherwise, most resorts have basic wedding packages that start around $850 USD, but to get a free wedding, take a look at Sandals or family friendly all inclusive Beaches Resorts.  They often run promos that give you a $1000 Weddingmoon credit. So you get the free basic wedding ($500) and an extra $500 that you can use towards specific things related to your wedding/honeymoon. Government fees vary depending on the island, but you can even use part of your Weddingmoon credit towards your government fees at Sandals. Sandals Resorts run promos all the time and we can help you take advantage of any current promo that comes along.  Our job is to work with you to help find the best Sandals Resort for your wedding and provide counsel and guidance throughout the entire process. Free is great, but we also want your special day to be everything you dreamed it would be without stress and worry.

So if you are thinking about the possibility of a destination wedding, give us a call (800-321-7907) or send a quick email.  We have three Sandals Specialists in the office and we all work with weddings all the time.  We do not charge any additional fees to use our services and we would be both happy and honored to help plan your special day.

 

Review of Sandals La Source Grenada and tips on island sightseeing


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One of the best perks of being a top Sandals agent is being invited to the grand openings when a new resort opens and I just returned from Sandals newest resort in Grenada, Sandals La Source. Here’s a quick review of the resort and some recommendations of what to see and do on the island of Grenada –

• Food and drink – All I can say is wow! I enjoyed some of the best meals I’ve had at any all-inclusive resort. Don’t miss the incredible crab crusted salmon at Le Jardinière; scrumptious shrimp, spinach and puff pastry appetizer or fiery jerk pork with fresh pineapple at Spices; delectable sushi at Soy; crepes with fresh fruit and specialty coffees at Café de Paris; Mediterranean inspired salad and local seafood at Neptunes; or a great steak at Butch’s Chophouse. Every dish I tried at Sandals La Source was excellent and a distinct step up from Sandals’ prior best. The same could be said of drinks and I had a mean martini, nutmeg infused rum punch, well-made black russian and several varieties of wine. All good and of course all included!

• Rooms – There isn’t a bad room in the house although I have clear favorites at every price point. Entry level rooms at Sandals La Source are lovely with comfy king beds, high end bath fixtures and huge walk in rain showers and you can choose a beachfront room quiet enough to be lulled to sleep by waves lapping at the shore or step up the energy and stay near the South Seas pool. Butler suites with private pools are stunning and come in an array of locations from ground level rondovals tucked amidst tropical gardens to the tippy top floor of the Italian Village with stunning ocean views. Waterfall and swim out river suites offer even more unique accommodation choices. Check out the kazillion room choices or ask for help choosing one of the best rooms at Sandals La Source in your price range!

• Beach – With the resort at 100% occupancy I found the beach half empty so there is ample space to spread out and find the perfect chaise lounge in the sun or shade. The sand is soft and white and the water clear and inviting with no seaweed or rocks to interfere with a delightful swim in the ocean. Drink service is available on the beach and there are no vendors hassling guests.

• Pools – There are too many to count! The South Seas signature pool is the largest with a huge swim up pool bar and cabanas dotting the perimeter. The Pink Gin section has a beautiful beachfront pool with sitting area and fire pits integrated into the design for day or nighttime enjoyment. Dozens of butler suites have their own private pool and Jacuzzi and swim up suites have direct access to a beautiful river pool which flows along the ground floor of the Italian Village.

• Watersports – Scuba divers and snorkelers will enjoy a vibrantly alive reef system teeming with brightly colored fish and coral. All dive equipment is free of charge and dive sites on Grenada include an underwater sculpture park, marine reserve and various walls and reefs. Seasoned sailors will find enough breeze on a typical day to challenge their skills and those new to the sport may request a ride with a watersports captain at the helm. Kayaks and trikes are in good supply but were unused during my stay.

• Fitness – There is a brand new fitness center with state of the art equipment, a personal trainer and daily classes including core training, abs blast, yoga, circuit training and aquasize.

• Weddings – Although many will choose a beach wedding with toes in the sand, my favorite spot at Sandals La Source Grenada was a secluded garden bridge amidst tropical foliage and flowers. But whatever setting is chosen Sandals Beautiful Beginnings Wedding package is free and getting married in Grenada is easy.

So where is Grenada and what would you see and do on the island? Grenada is known as the spice island and you’ll find cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, mace, vanilla and other spices growing is casual profusion. If you decide to tour the island stop and see John at the Spice Place for a demonstration of how spices are harvested and processed plus a nice selection of product for purchase. Belmont Estates is another great place to stop where you can learn about cocoa processing and taste the yummy product.

The coastline of Grenada is dotted with 55 beaches including one pink, 9 black sand and 45 white sand beaches. Leatherback turtles lay their eggs April through June on the north end of the island and a few months later baby turtles make their dash to the sea. Grenada’s interior is rainforest and there is dense vegetation, monkeys and numerous waterfalls to enjoy. It takes some hiking to reach 7 Sisters and Mt Carmel but other waterfalls are only steps from the road and easily accessible to all. Other sites include a historic fort, two rum factories and Leaper’s Hill where fleeing Carib’s leapt to their death to escape imprisonment by invadors.

Grenada is at the southern end of the Caribbean chain and escapes most tropical storms and hurricanes. In fact it was 50 years between major storms until Ivan and Emily packed their one two punch in 2004-5 so hopefully another 50 years will go by before the next storm to worry about! So put Grenada and Sandals La Source on your must do list and call or email linda@totemtravel.com for favorite room categories, help figuring out the somewhat challenging  air situation and more info to make your vacation or honeymoon perfect.

Still not sure how to choose the best all inclusive resort? Call us! We’ve been to all the resorts and will make it easy and fun to plan the perfect honeymoon, destination wedding or all inclusive vacation. Plus we guaranteed the lowest prices, can help with tours and special requests and will make sure you don’t miss any of the amazing specials and deals. That’s what we’re here for!

Attention foodies – top 25 list includes all inclusive resort favorites!


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Here at Totem Travel we get a lot of questions about food, especially the food served at Caribbean island resorts since that is our #1 destination and honeymoon clients mention a great dining experience as often as they mention a fabulous beach or romantic ambiance when we ask for a wish list. So when I spotted this list of the best hotels for food I couldn’t wait to share.

Foodies that question if fine dining can ever be synonymous with all inclusive will be happy to note that three of our favorite all inclusive resorts made the list – adult only Sandals Whitehouse on Jamaica, the unique and romantic Zoetry Agua Punta Cana, and Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Other long time faves include Cap Maison and Ladera in the lovely island of St Lucia and Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman.

1. Ritz Carlton – Grand Cayman

2. Graycliff – Bahamas

3. Cap Maison – St Lucia

4. Belmond La Samanna – St Martin

5. Sugar Mill – British Virgin Islands

6. CuisinArt – Anguilla

7. Eden Rock – St Barth

8. Cap Est Lagoon – Martinque

9. Grand Velas Riviera Maya – Mexico

10. Four Seasons – Nevis

11. One & Only Ocean Club – Bahamas

12. Young Island – St Vincent

13. Boucan by Hotel Chocolat

14. Frangipani Beach Hotel – Anguilla

15. Regent Palms – Turks and Caicos

16. Zoetry Agua – Punta Cana

17. Half Moon – Jamaica

18. Ladera – St Lucia

19. Montpelier – Nevis

20. La Toubana – Guadeloupe

21. Sandals Whitehouse – Jamaica

22. St Regis Bahia – Puerto Rico

23. Nisbet Plantation Beach Club – Nevis

24. Cobblers Cove – Barbados

25. Avial – Curacao

But even the best food is only one feature of a great getaway so we hope you’ll call, email or request a quote from the tropical island experts at Totem Travel and we’ll make sure every aspect of your honeymoon or vacation is the best it can possibly be!

Choose the best Couples Resort in Negril


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I recently returned from Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away in the Negril Area of Jamaica and as a Preferred Sandals Specialist I’m used to being asked how to choose the best Sandals Resort. But lately I’ve also been asked about choosing the best Couples Resort, so here are my thoughts on choosing the best Couples Resort in Jamaica.

Both Couples Negril and Swept Away are very nice, clean, on good beaches and they both have excellent food quality especially for the price. If you are looking for a smaller more compact resort, then Couples Negril might be a better choice for you. While both resorts are very casual, Couples Negril is slightly more so and with only 234 rooms compared to 312 at Couples Swept Away, the overall feel to the resort is more cozy and compact. I stayed in the entry level room at Couples Negril and it was clean, very simple and the bathroom had been renovated so I would consider it a great deal if you are okay with a basic room. These rooms do tend to be noisier because they sit closest to the road, but again if your budget is tight or you want to stretch your budget and get more time in Jamaica, then this resort is a excellent choice. Lychee Restaurant was fabulous!

If you want to be on the 7 mile stretch of beach in Negril and want a more active atmosphere, then Couples Swept Away  might be a better choice. Couples Swept Away has more luxurious rooms like the Great House Beachfront Suites or Premium Beachfront Suites which are located throughout the maze of two and three story buildings throughout the property. Again, this resort is more spread out both in buildings that house the accommodations and the sports complex which is located across the street. If you are interested in fitness, tennis, squash etc., then for most people Couples Swept Away is a better choice, although Couples Negril has tennis courts as well and they are very nice.

Some key questions when considering either Couples Swept Away or Couples Negril are: what is your target budget (usually Couples Swept Away id more costly), what sort of atmosphere is most important, and what are expectations with regards to your accommodations? We can help find the best Couples Resort that fulfills your wish list. And we can also help with activities to do in the Negril Area.

If you are looking at Couples Resort thinking you want even more luxury in your accommodations, pools, restaurants etc, then perhaps a resort like Sandals Whitehouse  which sits on a beautiful white sand private beach would meet all your expectations and dreams.

We visit and stay up to date on all these resorts and we are happy to steer you in the right directions based on your individual desires and wish list, so please surf our site or give Patty, Linda or Sandi a call @ 1-800-321-7907. We all specialize in all inclusive resorts for adults and families as well as tropical island resorts in Fiji and Tahiti and are always happy to help!

 

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