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GETAWAY BLOG

Getaway Travel Suspended Bridges, Costa Rica

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COSTA RICA is such a diverse country offering both luxurious All-Inclusive resorts on sun-drenched beaches to boutique hotels in the Cloud Forest of Monteverde with breathtaking vistas.

We spent 4 nights at the Riu Palace Costa Rica on a beautiful black-sand beach and 3 nights at the Hotel Belmar in Monteverde with an amazing view from our Peninsula Superior Balcony room; we could even see the Pacific Ocean!

Our 1st stay at the All-Inclusive Riu Palace in Guanacaste was wonderful! The food was superior; even in the buffet, you had so many choices that you didn’t even want to go to the specialty restaurants. The daily bar-b-que’s by the pool area was also phenomenal! They offered beef, chicken, pork & sausage with all the trimmings along with various fruit drinks. The daily nighttime shows were also varied so if you stayed 1 week, you’d see a different show each night. A small casino was also on the property.

The 3 hour ride inland to Monteverde’s Cloud Forest was an adventure in itself! The views going up to the mountains over 4,000’ and the bumpy road the last hour of the trip kept you awake and enjoying the beautiful scenery. The small Hotel Belmar just outside of town was a delightful boutique hotel with it’s own greenhouse used for growing their restaurant’s produce. The architecture and views at this hotel give it an ‘Austrian’ feel which is where the original owners came from.

Some of the excursions you can enjoy are Suspended Bridges, Canopy Ziplining, Coffee Tours, Bird Watching, Jungle Night Hikes and more – Pura Vida!

 

GRAND CAYMAN

 Getaway Grand Cayman

Arrived at the small airport in Georgetown, Grand Cayman in early afternoon.  Seeing a picture of Queen Elizabeth in the Customs area was surprising but once we rented a car and started driving on the left-side of the road, I understood!

Checked into The Reef Resort on the ‘quiet’ side of the island on the East End into a studio unit with a small frig and microwave. Next time, I’ll book the 1-bedroom unit as they offer full kitchens; great for cooking and dining in. The resort offers studios, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units all providing a beachfront view. The beach is great for swimming and snorkeling; they also provide kayaks and small sailboats for a fee.  Resort has a small gym; not great but good enough to keep up your workout regime. How many of us really work out the same as we do at home? Not me!

We ate at Vivian’s Kitchen sitting outside on picnic benches and enjoyed a meal of grouper, rice, beans, plantain, bread pudding & 4 waters for $27.00; not too bad. The 2nd night, we dined at the Water’s Edge restaurant which describes to a tee ‘where’ it’s located…yep, right on the ‘waters edge’ on a wooden deck. The food was very good there!

Since my husband is a scuba diver, I dropped him off at Compass Point each morning for a 2-tank dive which they offer both morning and afternoon. They are one of the best off-shore dive companies on the island and take extra time and care with all of their guests. Highly recommend them!

Getaway Travel Rum PointSome other activities we did were visiting Rum Point, a beautiful beach where the turquoise water is beyond gorgeous! You have to see it with your own eyes to truly appreciate it!

 

 

 

Our last stop was the famous Seven Mile Beach where we checked into the Ritz Carlton where we were pampered beyond our imagination! This destination offers so much and would take several visits to experience it all! Although the islands do not offer All-Inclusive resorts, it offers much in beauty and culture that will not disappoint!

Getaway seven mile beach

 

JAMAICA Visiting Jamaica 3 times in less than 1 year has been a great opportunity to see the island as it truly is: a lush, tropical, mountainous island with a beautiful turquoise ocean surrounding it.  I visited Sandals Royal Caribbean resort on a cruise day-pass for several hours which was a great way to spend a fun-filled day eating, drinking and taking part in water sport activities such as paddle-boarding and kayaking. Also, being invited to the Sandals WeddingMoon Specialist training at the beautiful Sandals Whitehouse was a day filled with learning. What a great way for a couple wanting to ‘tie the knot’ at a tropical beach destination!  After being taken to the wedding department where the bride & groom go over every detail with their personal wedding planner, we got to view a beach ‘mock’ wedding. So stunning! Some of the other resorts I inspected were Sandals Montego Bay, Grand Pineapple, Beaches Negril, Sandals Negril and Sandals Carlyle, Grand Palladium, all 3 Iberostar resorts, Riu resorts and Couples Negril. The Negril area with Seven-Mile Beach was just gorgeous! The deep white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters were so inviting, we just had to stop and enjoy. With horseback riding offered and local musicians performing on the beach, there is much to do & see to experience the local Jamaican culture. Oh, don’t forget to try the jerk chicken and the famous Jamaican rum drink!

Windstar Cruises On January 31, my husband & I set out to spend a week aboard the Wind Spirt, a 100+ passenger sailboat (more like a yacht!) sailing to St. Martin, St. John, Tortola, St. Barts, Jost Van Dyke & Virgin Gorda.  Our cruise began and ended in St. Thomas.  Being on a smaller vessel has many advantages over the larger cruise ships; the staff greets you by YOUR name, your every need is met by your very attentive room steward, you make new friends easily on the ship (it’s more like a large family reunion!), and your vessel docks in marinas & ports where the larger ships cannot go just for starters.  Our captain delayed our departure from St. John until midnight on the 2nd day so we, the guests, could watch the Superbowl on the island!  Now, that’s personalized service!!  Each day we were at a different island and spent the day exploring on our own or with an organized activity. This cruise line also has itineraries along the coast of Costa Rica, the Mediterranean, the Southern Caribbean and the Greek Isles.  Our ‘new’ friends suggested we do a reunion cruise next year and we just might take them up on it!  This cruise would be great for honeymooners or for people just wanting to relax and get away from the ordinary!

Mandalay Bay; Las Vegas, NV I just returned from Las Vegas and Mandalay Bay. Wow!  The hotel is HUGE and you literally don’t ever have to leave as everything you need to do or see is there.  I didn’t leave the property for 2 days!  The 1st night there, I went to see the live show Mama Mia which was great; the actors were superb & gave a stellar performance.  I was on the 7th row right in the middle and in front of the stage; great seats!  Also, the exhibit Shark Reef is there and is sure to please everyone.  The casino is right in the center of the hotel so you have to walk through it (smart!) to go to the restaurants or exhibits; it always seemed to be bustling with activity night & day.  Mandalay Bay has a great pool & lazy river which were closed due to the season; it will reopen in the spring ’09.  The full service spa was also wonderful!  There is a complimentary monorail that takes you to the Luxor and Excalibur hotels which is very convenient.  I did see the choreographed fountain show in front of the Bellagio Hotel; it is spectacular & happens every 30 minutes.  I will definitely be back to see more of Vegas!

Romantic Honeymoon Getaways! Suzy Secora Mexico On my last trip to the Riviera Maya, Mexico area, I was able to tour several wonderful Adult-Only All-Inclusive resorts!  From the ‘welcome’ drink which greeted you in the front lobby, the jacuzzi tubs in the rooms with rose petals, the personalized towel arrangements and the beach beds,  I was very impressed with each and every one of these great resorts!  I loved the ‘swim-up’ suites which allows you to plunge into your own pool right in front of your terrace; some even wind around up to the main pool bar!  Awesome!  This is my favorite destination for honeymooners where I’m sure they will find every amenity to satisfy their every desire.  At one of the resorts, El Dorado Royale, you can even have an ‘open’ air shower in your suite where the water comes out of a branch giving a sense of real freedom!  Some of the other resorts I visited were El Dorado Seaside Suites, Azul Blue Resort and the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso.  From the grandeur of the Iberostar Grand to the boutique-style of the Azul, there’s that perfect resort for everyone!

My visit to Costa Rica! Suzy Secora Costa Rica I flew into Liberia, Costa Rica for 4 wonderful days of exploring this beautiful country!  The 1st day, I was taken on the Canopy Tour; after a short hike through the forest, I got up on a platform, was strapped up and hooked up to steel cables and off I went ‘flying’ over the different levels of the lush canopy of trees.  Expert guides and strict safety measures allow you to fully enjoy this half day of fascinating adventure.  Some other places I visited were Palo Verde National Park where white-faced spider monkeys were coaxed out of the trees onto our boat for some yummy bananas; that was totally awesome!!  The next day, I was off to Monteverde and stayed at the Cloud Forest Lodge where our group could take the Skywalk Tour or visit the Butterfly farm.  Although Costa Rica is a small country (slightly smaller than West Virginia), it holds more the 5% of the world’s life forms which is why protection of Costa Ricas delicate ecosystems is a top priority.   There are only 2 seasons here:  subtropical dry season (Dec. through April) and a rainy season (May through November).  Don’t let the ‘rainy season’ stop you from visiting this beautiful country; the fun goes on year-round.

Book Alaska Now! I never thought I would enjoy an Alaskan cruise; after all, it’s cold!  And I thought it would be boring looking at snow & ice.  I was so wrong!  This was probably the best cruise I had ever been on.  We went with another couple and weren’t quite sure what to expect. We choose the Norwegian Sun out of Vancouver, Canada for a 7-night roundtrip cruise.  After catching a very early morning flight, we arrived in Vancouver by mid-afternoon.  Embarkation went well and we were resting and getting settled in to our balcony staterooms waiting to set sail.  NCL offers the ‘free-style dining’ which means you can go to the formal dining rooms anytime between 5:00pm and 10:00pm for dinner.  No rushing to get to the dining room on time! We stopped at 4 ports of call:  Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway and Wrangel.  In Ketchikan, my friend & I took a kayaking trip around an island off the coastline while our husbands tried their luck at salmon fishing; their cooler was soon overflowing with salmon!  In Juneau, we took the Ice Glacier Helicopter tour; now that was awesome flying over the glaciers and then landing on one!  We got out and explored for a while before heading back to the small airport.  By the way, we booked all our shore excursions through the locals which was great!  Smaller groups and personalized service.  In Skagway, we took the 2-hour horseback ride up in the Canadian Yukon.  Our guide looked like a modern ‘Annie Oakley’ and showed us some unbelievable scenery!  In Wrangel, we walked around  the small town visiting with some of the sights the locals recommended.   Then cruising back to Vancouver, we saw lots of glaciers as the captain of the ship maneuvered through the small passages. Since the Alaskan cruises are seasonal: mid-May through mid-September, they fill up quickly!  Now (fall/winter) is the time to book your Alaskan cruise for the following summer to get the best prices and availability.   Feel free to contact me with any questions.  I’d love to share more with you!  

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico We departed for Puerto Vallarta on a chartered flight out of Houston on a Thursday afternoon and returned on Sunday afternoon. I had never been to that side of Mexico (Pacific ocean) before so I had no idea what to expect. Upon our arrival, we were taken to the Marival Resort & Suites Nuevo Vallarta. Our suite was awesome! A 2-bedroom/3-bath room, more like a small apartment that faced the beach. We had a small refrigerator and microwave in the kitchen area but didn’t need to cook since this is an ‘All-Inclusive’ resort. The resort is great for families or couples and is very spacious. We enjoyed a Canopy Tour the 2nd day where we were taken by jeep to the jungle area. Bring a scarf or hair tie, ladies; it’s a bumpy, windy ride! We were instructed on how to put on our gear and the guides were great explaining every detail to us. We then walked a short way to the 1st ‘platform’ where we were strapped to the zipline and off we sailed above the treetops! We zipped to about 13 treetop platforms. The next day we were taken by boat to Caletas Beach Club. We were treated to a great buffet lunch at tables up on the hillside where we watched a school of dolphins swim by; plus I splurged and got a massage while there to soothe the aches from the bumpy ride day before! Puerto Vallarta is definitely a place I would go back to!