Newport Beach, California – More Than a Day at the Beach

Synonymous with great surf for decades, Newport Beach, on California’s sunny coastline, is no one trick pony. Newport Beach’s unique culture and climate can probably be chalked up to the juxtaposition of the luxury homes, storefronts and restaurants that are occupied and frequented by sun-kissed beach bums.  I like to think of it as sand between your toes chic.

Newport beach vacation rentalsLocated in the heart of Orange County’s beachfront between Huntington Beach (to the North) and Laguna Beach (to the South), Newport Beach is home to a handfull of the most beautiful beaches in the state, and arguably, the world.
 
Including the beaches on the harbor and back bay, there is over 15 miles of beaches to discover, which I definitely plan on doing! 
Some of the beaches include Balboa peninsula beaches, The Wedge, Corona del Mar beaches and Crystal Cove State Beach, plus some back bays, the Newport Dunes, and some small community beaches.
Each beach has its distinct attributes that set it apart from the others – Balboa Beach, Newport Municipal Beach and the West Jetty View Park with The Wedge are flat, sandy expanses along the peninsula where Corona del Mar, Newport Dunes and Crystal Cove, have cliffs, rocky points and tidepools.

Best Newport Beach Rental

Of Endless Summer fame, The Wedge is one of the best surf breaks, thanks in part to the improvements (done in the 1930′s) to the rock jetty on the North end of Newport’s harbor. South swells reflect off the jetty creating a second wave, which meets up with the following wave of the set and forms a peak. This series of events is the perfect recipe for creating waves that are often several feet larger than waves at other south facing beaches in Newport on any given day.

Newport Beach Rental Property

Newport Beach Rental Beach Houses

Newport Beach offers mostly outdoor shopping in little boutique stores but is also home to the shopping Mecca known as Fashion Island. Fashion Island is an outdoor shopping mall in the heart of Newport Beach where shop-a-holics go to see and be seen. With department stores such as Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Macys, many appreciate the fact that Fashion Island is also welcoming of your furry friends.

Back on the mainland other attractions include Pelican Hill Golf Club, a luxurious 36-hole championship golf course, that is said to rival Pebble Beach, and, The Orange County Museum of Art, a premier visual arts museum.

Considering a beach vacation? Book your beach house today through BeachHouse.com! Find our most popular Newport Beach Rentals here!

Puerto Vallarta – Why It Should Be Your Next Vacation Destination

Puerto Vallarta Villas for Rent

Villas for Rent

Puerto Vallarta is one of the most stunning, cultured, and vibrant vacation spots in Mexico and, arguably, the world. It is a modern destination that offers contemporary entertainment, a rich history, and world class villas, while still retaining its traditional Mexican town essence.

There is an abundance of things to do in Puerto Vallarta. See the region from a different perspective…from out at sea!The area is known for their visiting cruise ships, but if you would prefer to stay in Puerto Vallarta, you can still check out one of the local cruises that the area offers. For an adventure, take in 360-degree views and participate in a one-of-a-kind experience aboard the Marigalante “Pirates of the Bay” cruise. Or charter the Geronimo catamaran that can take you to the beautiful Marieta Islands, or to a private beach where you can snorkel, swim or relax in the sun with your favorite book. Ask your captain about the stunning and secluded beach, Las Caletas, where visitors will find guided walks through the jungle and orchid gardens, kayaking tours and snorkeling tours.

Puerto Vallarta's Hillside Homes

Puerto Vallarta's Hillside Homes

The town has a variety of breathtaking beaches including Playa Conchas Chinas (Chinese Shells Beach), Playa Camarones (Shrimp Beach, Playa Olas Altas (High Waves Beach), and Playa Los Muertos. Each of these beaches is unique, nearby and worth-visiting. If you feel like driving or experiencing the local bus system (be prepared to share your seat with a chicken!) the towns of San Francicsco (to the North) and Mismaloya (to the South) have their own charm and beaches that are definitely worth a visit!

Puerto Vallarta is an especially vibrant and cultural town and loves an excuse for a good fiesta! Why not plan a vacation around one of these holidays and experience the excitement! Perhaps the area’s biggest day to celebrate is December 12th, Our Lady of Guadalupe day. In the days leading up to the 12th, the Malecon (boardwalk) and the town’s zocolo (plaza) are gathering areas for festivities and excitement. Locals, visitors and those making spiritual pilgrimages participate in parades and celebrate with music, Aztec folk dances, traditional costumes, fireworks, and women carrying baskets of flowers, food and other colorful gifts to give to the Virgin. The culmination is the night of the 12thwhere the entire festival wraps up with a special gathering and Mass held at Our Lady of Guadalupe church, one of the most recognized buildings in Puerto Vallarta’s skyline. Christmas and New Years host similar traditions.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

Holidays aside, Puerto Vallarta has a wide selection of lively clubs and bars, including the Sunset Club, the BeBotero Bar, Carlos O Brians, and Blanco Y Negro, just to name a few. Puerto Vallarta also has some of the finest and eclectic restaurants in Mexico…either follow the crowds or venture off to find one of the small family run restaurants specializing in mole, ceveche or pazole.

Puerto Vallarta is a must-see destination that will leave you with fond memories that you will cherish all your life.

Travel Deals – Croatia & Eastern Europe

I need to travel. I would rather sacrifice in other areas so that I can travel. I am constantly looking for somewhere or someway that I can travel, that doesn’t require me getting a third credit card. If I hear of someone who just went on a great vacation, I pick their brain and then research the area, the beaches, whatever I can find. If there is a shred of doubt in my mind weather or not I can afford the trip, I usually start researching flights immediately. I have friends who just got back from their honeymoon in Croatia, so of course I researched Europe and now I want to go!

Republic of Croatia

Croatia’s peak season starts in May and goes through September. Try planning your vacation for October – weather is cooling off slightly, but most beaches will still be warm enough to swim at.  Prices will be lower in the off season and there are fewer other travelers to contend with. 

Kristin (the new bride!) also recommended that travelers rent a beach house rather than paying premium prices for hotel accommodations.  You may have to pick up after yourself and do your own laundry, but you will save money in the long run, plus you have the privacy of your own home, access to a kitchen and often your own pool!

Generally, Eastern Europe is much cheaper to travel to and around than its counterpart to the West. If beach destinations like Croatia, or the popular (and pricier) cities of Paris, Rome or Barcelona aren’t your thing, travelers can still see the old world charm found in Western Europe, for less of their cash. Places like, Sofia and Budapest, Bruges, and Tallinn make for unique and exciting vacations. karen-and-mom

Tallinn, Estonia is safe, on the cheaper side, and offers more charm and beauty than its other former Soviet neighbors with a contrast of cobblestone streets winding past 13th Century churches and nightclubs such as Club Bonbon and Privé entertain revelers until 5 a.m.  The best way to see the town is by foot (look into walking tours) and be sure to visit Viru Street for excellent shopping!

Sofia, Bulgaria is a walking town surrounded by things to see. Take a day trip to the Vitosha Mountain or stay locally and join in on the leisurly meals served at one of many cafe-style restaurants.

Travel America – Michigan City, Indiana

Ever have that itch to get away?  Sometimes I just need a vacation – but then reality sets in…I can’t take any more time off of work.  Who would watch the dogs?  Can I even afford an overseas flight?

Lucky for me – and now those of you reading this - my job has allowed me to discover offbeat destinations right here within this glorious country of ours!  I say “offbeat” because haven’t we all either been a college student on spring break in Daytona, participated in the Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans, or, at the very least, seen the Baywatch crew run in slow-motion on the beaches of Los Angeles?  If you’ve been there, done that, and are looking for some variety, our “Travel America” articles will explore the hidden gems across the United States – cities and towns waiting for you to arrive…

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana

I’ve never been to the Great Lakes, but ever since that 2003 surfing film depicted guys riding the waves off of Minnesota, I’ve wanted to visit.  There are many small towns dotting the lake’s coastlines, but one town in particular, Michigan City, Indiana, piqued my interest.

Michigan City has long been a vacation destination for the residents of Chicago (it’s only about 50 miles east of the windy city – on a clear day you can even see the Chicago skyline!) and for residents of nearby areas of Indiana, but it is gradually becoming better known by the rest of the US.

Plan your trip to Michigan City for one of the summer months if you plan to hit up the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore – nearly 25 miles of beaches, sand dunes, marshes and woodland forests along the southern shore of Lake Michigan.  The Lakeshore is home to over 35o species of birds and has one of the most diverse plant communities of any National Park in the US.

Visit the Lighthouse Place Outlet Mall for Michigan City’ s best shopping and some great dining options.  The outlet was named after the Old Michigan City Lighthouse – one of the state’s few lighthouses.

And if birds and lighthouses aren’t quite your thing, pony up at The Blue Chip Casino!  The largest riverboat in Indiana, The Blue Chip Casino, offers 24/7 boarding and a 65,000 square foot gaming floor.  Casino’s are fun and all, but I am on a budget here.  I think I’ll check into the casino’s entertainment scene, which attracts National acts to the 15,000 square foot Stardust Event Center.

While Michigan City has a variety of accommodations, ranging from camping to hotels, my friends and I would rather rent a house or apartment. And I confess,  because I rarely travel the US without my fur-babies, it can be hard to find a short term rental that allows my dogs to stay with me.  I am booking my stay at the “Miami” – a lakefront home I found that has panoramic views of the dunes, beach, and Michigan City’s famous lighthouse. There is not going to be anything between me and the fine sandy beach but a foot path through the sand dunes to the lake!

Beachhouse.com in the News! Named one of the best “Blogs that Offer First Class Travel Advice)

globe-medium34 Blogs that Offer First Class Travel Advice

Updated Jan. 21 2018, Originally Posted May 31st, 2010
by Tucker Lima

Everyone loves to travel, but there are always frustrating times while traveling, especially with many of the modern day restrictions and screenings involved while just trying to board an airplane. People are willing to deal with that though because they know it is for safety reasons and once you do arrive at your vacation destination you quickly forget about the small hassles that annoyed you on the way. Here are 34 blogs that offer excellent travel advice that can help make your trip a bit easier, and some may even help you find a new vacation spot for your next trip.

  1. Peter Greenberg’s Travel Detective Blog – Travel news and tips from Peter Greenberg with great tips, advice, and all kinds of other travel news and notes.
  2. Euro Cheapo – Budget travel tips and advice, why not save some money on your next vacation.
  3. An American Stranger – Excellent travel blog, the quote in the site description is a great one as well – “A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Carlo Goldoni
  4. Art of Backpacking – Another top notch niche travel blog, if you are into backpacking then this blog is a must read.
  5. Escape Artists – Postcards from the edge. Blogging since 2010
  6. Abandon the Cube – Abandon the Cube has travel photos, guides, tips, adventures, and experiences about the histories and cultures of the places they’ve been.
  7. Uncommon Travel – Also a blogger for Lonely Planet, Gail Walter runs a first class blog about travel here. The writing is outstanding and her descriptions make you feel as if you’ve been to the places she’s writing about.
  8. Miss Travel Girl – Miss Travel Girl is the blog of Rachel, she suffers from a syndrome that causes slow progression of blindness and deafness. She is travelling the world to appreciate as much as can while she still has usable vision.
  9. Contemporary Nomad – Modern day nomads who travel the world and share their experiences and tips by blogging about their adventures.
  10. A Travelers Library – All kinds of great travel related information and tips.
  11. A Luxury Travel Blog – This blog is updated daily with posts covering travel destinations, tours, hotels, restaurants, bars, guidebooks and much more.
  12. Gadling – A travel blog loaded with travel news, tips, advice, deals, stories and much more.
  13. The Vacation Gals – Expert advice on family travel, girl getaways, and romantic escapes.
  14. Beachhouse Blog – Some excellent travel tips, deals, and advice on this blog. Well worth reading and subscribing to, just like the rest of this list.
  15. The Planet D – A blog by a traveling Canadian couple with some awesome posts that include amazing photos, vides, advice, and much more.
  16. As We Travel – Awesome travel advice and stories that cover amazing destinations world wide.
  17. RV Travel – News, information, and advice for RV travelers.
  18. Ciao Bambino – Kid friendly travel tips, advice, and info so you can always have the best family vacation possible.
  19. Nile Guide – A round up the best travel advice received from the noteworthy travel writers and bloggers in our 5 interview series.
  20. The Practical Nomad – A travel blog by author, journalist, blogger, consumer advocate, and travel expert Edward Hasbrouck with all kinds of A+ tips and advice.
  21. Nomadic Matt – A travel site designed to keep people motivated to travel and contains travel information, travel tips, travel advice, travel news, personal stories, and photographs.
  22. Mighty Goods / Nomadic Life - MightyGoods aims to share stories and knowledge from the most interesting and experienced people from all over the world. We talk with adventurers, nomads, athletes and other people who live life to the beat of their own drum.
  23. Online Travel Review – Online Travel Review has been publishing airline industry news and commentary since 2003.
  24. Chris Around the World – The former travel editor of USA Today has a unique perspective on travel – first as the editor of one of the best travel sections in the country, and now as a traveling blogger.
  25. The Cheapest Destinations Blog – A blog on the world’s cheapest places to travel, with advice on budgets, savings strategies, travel deals, and cheap destinations.
  26. Journey Etc. – An interesting and fun blog covering different areas of travel as well as offering advice and tips for all travelers.
  27. 2 Guys Around the World – One of the top travel blogs on the web full of real world travel stories by 2 friends..
  28. Delicious Baby – Another excellent blog about traveling with kids and how to have fun traveling with the kids.
  29. Budget Globetrotting – This blog is a great source of information for international travel and backpacking on a budget.
  30. On the Road Travel Blog – On The Road Travel is an online resource for independent travelers in South and Central America. This blog provides updates on current events and topics related to Latin America.
  31. Passport Chop – An online Blog/Journal of travel experiences around the world.
  32. Ms. Traveling Pants – Personal travel stories and insights from a classy and sassy world traveler, known on the web as Ms. Traveling Pants.
  33. Green Travel Blog – Eco friendly travel tips and advice for those of you that live a green lifestyle.
  34. The Travelers Zone – The Travelers Zone has information which will turn your vacation into wonderful travel experience. Get the latest travel info on vacation planning, budget travel, and family vacations.

Thanks to the guys over at Travel Insurance for including us in your list!

Top 5 Beaches Where You Can Bare it All

2916787894_cc7c44f5e4Banana Beach, Greece - What would you expect from the aptly named Banana Beach, but lots of – er – bananas?  Well get your mind out of the gutter, because this beach is actually a trio of beaches located on the small Greek Islandof Skiathos, whose name came from the yellow-hued sand and the curved shape of their coastline.  The three beaches that make up Banana Beach are Little Banana (also called Sparticus), Big Banana and a small beach separated from Big Banana by a rocky outcrop.  And while one may have assumed that bigger would mean better (especially in this situation) Little Banana is actually the most popular of the three.  Durring the peak winter months, clothed onlookers tend to swarm the other two beaches while leaving Little Banana to itself.  As if there wasn’t already enough to look at, all three beaches have tremendous views of the tree covered foothills that surround the beaches behind you and the crystal clear Aegean Sea in front of you.

5111987645_5d03bd3665Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA – In the city that is known for its liberal lean, Baker Beach is right at home in San Francisco.  Baker Beach is blanketed in clean, fine white sand – not too dusty, not too pebbly – clear sapphire water, and maybe the most dramatic views of any beach you will come across.  Satisfy your inner vouyer, and we’re not just talking about the old men bits and pieces you are sure to see… as you walk the beach you will also catch a glimpse of some of California’s prime real estate – and have a chance to take in the same views that those homeowners enjoy – the cliff houses look out over the bay and the famous Golden Gate Bridge.  Parking is a breeze, free, and just a short walk from the beach, or you can opt to take public transportation, which dropps you off very close by.  Visit in September or October as the summer months tend to be covered with San Francisco’s notorious fog bank.

4910303358_101ac07014Valalta (Rovinj), Croatia – As far as nude beaches go, Valalta is perhaps the Mecca – the destination where all nude sunbathers and naturists feel drawn to and hope to journey to at least one time in their life.  This resort (yes, it is a planned resort, different from some of the naturally occuring beaches that have been gradually morphed into a nude beach over time) is huge, with the beach alone streatching over 3 miles.  Visitors can stay in a variety of accommodation – Valalta offers everything from fully-equipped apartments and bungalows to luxury mobile homes and glorified tents…all with electricity and running water though.  There is also a sports harbor, a number of restaurants, beer that has been brewed in their own brewery, souvenir shop, kids club, and a host of day and overnight excursions.  And if you prefer to get your bare-bronze on in relative seclusion rather than with the rest of the resort, there is a beach that is not an official part of the Valalta Resort that is usually much less crowded.

2773305082_27c5f70fb2Little Beach, Maui, Hawaii – If you like to live on the edge (which you must if your’re reading this post in the first place), Little Beach may be perfect for you.  Although nude sunbathing is technically illegal at the secluded Little Beach – and the rest of Hawaii – it’s referred to as Maui’s “unofficial clothing-optional beach” since the law has not been enforced here for a number of years.  It’s also somewhat of a local’s hot-spot…while the vast majority of beach-goers opt to sunbathe au natural, there are those who wear clothes (mostly tourists).  So if a little thing like illegality doesn’t rock your boat, grab your sandals and towel and make the trek to Maui’s Southern coast, and you will find Little Beach located just North of Big Beach.  Tucked behind rocks and high shrubs, and guarded by a narrow entry, Little Beach is picturesque Hawaii – white sand contrasted by bright blue/turquoise water.

5651319954_6a3b1c6a39Wreck Beach, Vancouver, British Columbia -

Named for a hulking, wrecked vessel that once sat on the sand, Wreck Beach is the shore of choice for Vancouver students. Just several hundred steps below the University of British Columbia, the 3-mile-long beach is a wildlife and nesting area for both bald eagles and bald bodies. Other sections of the beach assume a more carnival-like atmosphere. One stretch on the beach known as Vendors’ Row is a 1-stop shop for souvenirs, refreshments and the ever-important sunscreen.

Great surf spots you’ve (probably) never heard of…courtesy of Budget Travel

Surfing Steamers Lane 1 - by Jim Bahn

Surfing Steamers Lane 1 – by Jim Bahn

* re posted from BudgetTravel

In honor of International Surfing Day on June 20, and another ‘endless’ summer (shaka!), we asked the Surfrider Foundation to put together a list of some lesser-known surf spots around the country that everyone from the novice to the experienced rider can enjoy.

“I tried to pick spots that are legit from a surfing standpoint, but for various reasons don’t get the attention that they deserve,” explained Matt McClain of the Surfrider Foundation, an international non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of coastlines.

McClain put together this list from West Coast to East:

1. Pine Trees, Kauai, Hawaii: Located off the sleepy surf town of Hanalei on the north shore of Kauai, Pine Trees offers an escape from the circus-like atmosphere of Oahu’s North Shore. It’s a fun break for intermediate and advanced surfers, while beginners can find gentler waves in front of the nearby pier.

2. Yakutat, Alaska: If you want to get away — far away — then Yakutat is the place. Don’t let the towering Sitka spruce and bald eagles fool you. Yakutat is a bona fide surfing destination that has drawn some of the biggest names in professional surfing.

3. Cowell’s, Santa Cruz, California: Located just inside the famous break at Steamer Lane, Cowell’s is the perfect spot to learn how to surf. This break is renowned for its gentle peaks and long, rolling waves. A number of surf schools operate here.

4. Burnout, Torrance, California: Despite being one of the most photographed spots in Southern California, Burnout is still relatively unknown outside of the South Bay. A quintessential California beach break, on any given day pro surfers like Alex Gray and Holly Beck can be found pulling into the barrels at Burnout.

5. Trails, San Clemente, California: Technically part of San Onofre State Beach Park, Trails is often overshadowed by the park’s other spots, Trestles and San Onofre. The surf itself is not the most amazing you’ll ever ride, but the laid-back atmosphere and dog-friendly policy make it worth the trip.

6. Reef Road, West Palm Beach, Florida: With it’s clear, warm water, Reef Road is about as good as Florida surfing gets. A popular spot with local surfers, the sandy bottom break can range from three- to six-footers, up to two times overhead on a storm swell.

7. The Cove, Cape May, New Jersey: If The Cove were located in California or Hawaii, it would probably be as famous as Malibu or Waikiki. The Cove is primarily a longboard spot and attracts surfers of all ages and abilities.

8. Alamo, Montauk, New York: Located out on the tip of Long Island, Montauk pulls in all kinds of waves and weather. The hearty souls that are willing to brave the wind and strong currents are rewarded with thick heaving lefts (waves that break from left to right when you’re looking out from the beach). This spot is for experienced surfers only.

There’s also a whole host of activities taking place around the country, and around the world, over the coming days in honor of International Surfing Day. For a schedule of events and additional information about the day set aside for celebrating the sport of surfing, go here.

In Beachhouse.com’s Backyard: Dolphin soars; wipeouts galore at the wild Wedge

It was another wild day at the Wedge, with more surfers and bodyboarders in the water getting worked on Friday morning, as waves in the 15-foot range and bigger slammed the shore.

More spectators lined the shoreline today, with news crews out and the echos of “ohhhhh” ringing loud when one of the insane riders was pummeled by a huge wall of water. There were big-time wipeouts, as well as some amazing rides. If you were stuck in your office and couldn’t make it to the sand, be sure to check out our slideshow HERE.

Wild Wedge thrills and spills on Friday as swell stays strong

Wild Wedge thrills and spills on Friday as swell stays strong

It was a big day for thrills and spills as the guys out in the water tried to take on the big bad Wedge before the swell starts to drop over the weekend. It was day 2 of the swell, a bit cleaner today but more crowded.Check out images from Thursday if you missed them (with newly added evening shots after it cleaned up.)

After you check out the photos, below is a can’t-miss video that hit Facebook last night by photographer and Wedge local John Minar.

A few of us were on the sand Thursday morning when the swell started to hit hard, and all of a sudden a huge dolphin came flying out of the top of a wave, propelling itself way up in the air.

I pulled up my camera and hit the button, but it happened so fast the dolphin was gone in a split second. Another photographer and I looked at each other, mouths dropped “DID YOU GET THAT?!” Neither of us did.

Fortunately, John Minar had the camera rolling, and said he didn’t even see it until he was looking through his footage later that day. It goes to show that the dolphins are the original locals out there, and none of us can compete. Definitely take a few minutes to watch; it’s guaranteed to make your Friday:

*article from orangecounty.com

June 25, 2011…It’s coming!

beachapedia

What is it?

Hands Across the Sand is a movement made of people of all walks of life and crosses political affiliations and the borders of the world.

What’s it about?

This movement is not about politics; it is about the protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife and fisheries. The accidents that continue to happen in offshore oil drilling are a threat to all of the above. Expanding offshore oil drilling is not the answer, embracing Clean Energy is.

Let us share our knowledge, energies and passion for protecting our planet from the devastating effects the burning of filthy fuels and offshore drilling present.

What can I do?

On June 25, 2011 the people of the world will join hands to champion clean energy solutions to our filthy fuels problem. Embracing a clean energy future now is the path to a sustainable planet.  Click HERE to find an event near you, or to help organize an event in your area.

What are we trying to accomplish?

On a local, national and global level, Joining Hands sends a powerful visual message of human solidarity to our nation’s leaders. We are unified in the defense of the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we consume from dangerous, dirty energy sources. Every time we join hands that message is reinforced.

It’s simple and logical. Embrace clean energy. A line in the sand is a powerful thing.

4361019748_ce0e3673fc

Have you heard about Beachapedia?

beachapedia

See what all the buzz is about:

Beachapedia captures decades of experience and knowledge gained by Surfrider Foundation activists, scientists and staff through hundreds of environmental and educational campaigns on our coasts.  By sharing this resource with the public they hope to provide tools and information to help communities make a positive impact on their local beaches.

With cool features like the “Coastal Factoid” of the day and continually-updated “State of the Beach” report, Beachapedia is an awesome resource for anyone and everyone who loves the beach, ocean, waters, or the environment.

Check it out today!  http://www.beachapedia.org/Main_Page

***

Property Spotlight: Casa Morocco in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Casa Morocco - Street View

Casa Morocco – Street View

Welcome to the majestic Casa Morocco, newly constructed in 2011. Casa Morocco exhibits meticulous and intricate detail blending rich African and middle-eastern architecture of the highest quality and craftsmanship. Imperial archways and elaborately hand-carved mahogany doors all come together creating an exotic charm certain to carry guests away to another world. Custom-designed, hand-painted tiles of the richest colors contrast the pristine white walls on every level of this extravagant Moroccan palace which sits just steps from turquoise Caribbean waters. Atop Casa Morocco’s stately architecture stands a magnificent dome illuminated nightly, creating a spectacle of beauty and grandeur against the Caribbean’s star filled sky.

Casa Morocco - Beach View

Casa Morocco – Beach View

One of the most stunning features of Casa Morocco is its private pool, fully laid with iridescent tile, unveiling shimmering brilliance in the island sun. Overlooking the glistening pool stands an impressive iridescent wall fountain, adorned with a majestic lion head surrounded by a dazzling 24-carat gold dial.

Casa Morocco is located on Isla Mujeres and offers the epitome of versatility for travelers in search of an affordable, yet exquisite luxury retreat. This Moroccan-themed haven boasts four superb suites; each fully furnished with en-suite baths and fully appointed kitchens. Guests can lease from one suite up to the entire ocean-front property which accommodates up to 8 guests for a memorable island experience. Three ocean-front suites and one bay-view suite all showcase extraordinary vistas and the ultimate in comfort and privacy.

Infinity Pool

Infinity Pool with Grand Ocean View

Imagine your own personal beach graced with white sands where you can sunbathe, eased by the sound of ocean waves caressing the shoreline, or go for a dip in the luxuriant pool with its majestic Moroccan flair and commanding view of the open ocean, or grab your gear and snorkel in the crystal blue waters found in your own backyard. Enjoy an evening of Al-fresco dining under the third level terrace palapa as you watch the sun set upon the Cancun coastline. There you can entertain your guests with a barbeque or enjoy an intimate rendezvous. There is generous space to lounge with a glass of wine on integrated sofas, or hide away in the bubbling jacuzzi. Take in an awe-inspiring and dramatic 360 degree view of the island beauty surrounding you.

Make this the most unforgettable vacation getaway you have ever experienced by making Casa Morocco your tropical island vacation destination.

Casablanca Master Suite

Casablanca Master Suite

Casablanca Guest Suite

Casablanca Guest Suite

Tangier Suite

Tangier Suite

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Children in traditional dress celebrate Cinco de Mayo; © Lawrence Migdale

Children in traditional dress celebrate Cinco de Mayo; © Lawrence Migdale

Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “fifth of May”) is a holiday held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla. The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Contrary to widespread popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s Independence Day, the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico, which occurs on September 16th.

If Cinco de Mayo has you craving a south-of-the-boarder get-away, click HERE to see Beachhouse.com’s great inventory of Mexico beach vacation rentals!

Puerto Penasco‚ Mexico

Puerto Penasco‚ Mexico

Property ID#20335 - Cabo San Lucas‚ Baja California Sur‚ Mexico

Akumal, Mexico

Property ID#5353 - Puerto Vallarta‚ Pacific Coast‚ Mexico

Puerto Vallarta‚ Pacific Coast‚ Mexico

Property ID#5239 - Cozumel‚ Yucatan Peninsula‚ Mexico

Cozumel‚ Yucatan Peninsula‚ Mexico

Beachhouse.com 2010 JAYO International Team Player, James Pribram – In the News!

Yahoo News: Pro surfer rescues woman swept out to sea

Call it coincidence, serendipity or divine intervention, Maira Khan’s alive today thanks to a stranger’s last-minute change of plans.

Swept out to sea, non-swimmer Khan was rescued by a pro surfer who wasn’t supposed to be there.

“The fact that a pro surfer came and saved my life? It’s a miracle.”

James Pribram is a pro surfer. He was supposed to be in Canada that day, but an injured family member had him in California earlier than expected.

While standing on the balcony of his parents’ Laguna Beach home, Pribram saw Khan climbing on the rocks below when a 6-foot-wave knocked her off-balance.

The waves battered her body against the rocks, sweeping her out to sea.

Pribram saw the distressed woman. He called for his mother, told her to call 911, and ran toward Khan.

In the very waters where he learned to surf, Pribram pulled a scraped and bleeding Khan from the water.

He handed her over to the care of paramedics and quietly left without introduction. Only after a lifeguard told Khan her rescuer’s name did Khan discover that her good Samaritan was a professional surfer with an already heroic reputation.

Dubbed “The Eco Warrior” by one journalist, Pribram was named Laguna Beach’s 2011 Athlete of the Year for his work teaching school kids to care for their ocean.

Khan told the Orange County Register, “I feel like he was sent from God to see me at that moment and save my life.”

Khan has since reunited with her hero; she accepted his offer of swimming lessons.

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Beachhouse.com Clients go GREEN!

This video shares the story of the Anna Maria Historic Green Village, the pioneering sustainable development and one of the most exciting projects Anna Maria Island has seen.

Click HERE to view some great vacation rental properties on Anna Maria Island!

Through the Historic Green Village, we aim to create a new standard for sustainability by developing the first LEED Platinum and the first Net Zero Energy campus in the Florida.  LEED means Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a rating system with certification for “green” buildings developed by the Green Building Environmental Council of the United States (USGBC) and provides certain environmental standards for construction.  Being Zero Net Energy, means the Green Village, will generate more energy on-site than it will consume in a given year.

The Green Village covers 6 lots on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City and when completed, will contain 7 commercial buildings and 2 rental units.  Our goal is to showcase the best in sustainable design and technologies while maintaining the unique charm of our historic seaside community.   Over the last six month we have planned and designed a wide range of strategies and technologies that demonstrate how we can foster a sustainable future while preserving the historic charm and scale of Anna Maria Island and set a new benchmark of performance in energy, water and sustainable design.

The project will feature:

  • HOT Technology: 100 kilowatts of Photovoltaic’s (PV) panels to generate electricity on-site and solar thermal panels to produce a steady supply of hot water for our café
  • COOL Technology: Geothermal Cooling & Heating – using the constant temperature of the earth to reduce the energy required to cool & heat our buildings
  • SMART Technology: from the simple – using cisterns to capture rainwater to irrigate our site and flush toilets, to High Performance equipment: all fixtures and appliances will be either EPA Energy Star or Water Sense certified; ensuring that only the most-efficient equipment is used
  • REUSE & RECYCLING on a big scale – historic buildings, recycled materials, low-emitting paints, sealants and solvents, and a range of other sustainable design choices and material selections choices that reflect our desire to have minimum impact on our environment.

We hope that you might find this video interesting in regard to the projects and programs you are currently involved.  For more information, please visit the Anna Maria Historic Green Village Website.

Some History on the Chickee

Seminole Indians gathered under a chickee

Seminole Indians gathered under a chickee

“Chickee” is the word Seminoles use for “house.”  The first Seminoles to live in North Florida are known to have constructed log cabin-type homes, some two stories tall, with sleeping quarters upstairs.  The chickee style of architecture – palmetto thatch over a cypress log frame – was born during 3669333433_d791d04913the early 1800s when Seminole Indians, pursued by U.S. troops, needed fast, disposable shelter while on the run.  Though indigenous peoples in other parts of North and South America have developed similar dwellings, it is generally agreed that the Seminole Indian technique and product are far superior.  So popular, efficient and functional is the chickee that such Seminole architecture can be seen all over South Florida.  The chickee structure should last about ten years and needs to be re-thatched every five years.  Several Seminole Tribal members make a living building custom chickees for both commercial and private interests.

*Thank you to Beachhouse.com homeowner and property manager, Sarah Rapp, with Beach Vacation 4 Me, for contributing this article.

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They’re not Chickee’s, but Beachhouse.com has some great beach vacation rental properties in Florida…click HERE to browse our inventory.


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St Barth News Bytes

Check out these beautiful photos taken at The Bucket Airshow, the first of it’s kind in St Barth, and held in conjunction with the bucket sailing regatta, a very popular spectacle!

The Round Point or La Tourmante was covered with hundreds for the low level passes at the airport, featured at the bottom of this section.  There were also thousands on hand each day at Shell beach to view the flybys and aerobatics each day of the bucket.  Photos published in St Barth News Bytes Newsletter and taken by Captain Daniel Harper who was aboard a couple of the planes in flight.

Click HERE to view Beachhouse.com’s inventory of beautiful
beach vacation rental properties
in and around St Barth!

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Invasion of the Single-Use Plastic Bag

They invade our homes, lurk in our backyards, wander our streets, swim in our ocean, float down our rivers and streams, and find shelter amongst trees and bushes.  They are found in the most populated and the most remote places on Earth.  They need no resources to persist and may indeed outlive the human race.  We cannot ignore them, we cannot escape them and we cannot destroy them.

Gull With Plastic Bag

So what can we do?  We can stop producing them.

Single use plastic grocery bags are the most widely distributed product in the world.  The average family accumulates hundreds of plastic bags per year without realizing the harm single use plastics cause to humans, animals, and the environment.  In fact, it is estimated that, world-wide, approximately one billion plastic bags are used every minute!  It is easy to think of plastic bags as free, abundant and disposable tools for improving our quality of life.  They are in fact environmentally expensive; one cost is that both land and ocean animals die from entanglement or ingestion of plastic bags.  They are persistent; plastic bags can take up to 1000 years to photo-degrade (break up into small pieces), and do not ever biodegrade.  And they reduce our standard of living; plastic bags disrupt our appreciation of nature’s pristine landscapes.  More significantly, they clog storm drains, increasing the chance and severity of flooding during rainy seasons.

The overwhelming prevalence of plastic bags on Earth has created a problem so extensive that many countries around the world are taking action to prevent plastic bag distribution.   As early as 1988 environmentally minded people realized the costs of single use plastic bags far outweighed the benefits.  By 1998, thirty Alaskan villages banned the plastic bag.  Now, in 2011, multiple countries in Africa including: Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa have banned the plastic bag.  African countries are not the only ones catching on: Bhutan, Brazil, Italy, Macedonia and Taiwan have all instated plastic bag bans.  Multiple cities in the United Kingdom, France, India, Canada, Australia and the United States have also officially banned plastic bags.  And those are just the places that have prohibited plastic bag distribution.  Many other countries such as Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Israel and the Netherlands, have implemented a plastic bag tax to slow the proliferation of the bag.

There is clear evidence that taxes and bans do reduce the amount of single use plastic bags in the environment.  In 2002 the government in Ireland introduced a plastic bag fee called PlasTax. The law resulted in a 90% reduction in plastic bag consumption, a huge reduction in plastic bag litter and a significant decrease in oil use. Individual corporations and companies have proven that they can make a difference too. Whole Foods Market banned plastic bags on Earth day in 2008 and has since estimated that reusable bag use tripled in just one year!

The Plastic Bag MonsterHere in California, we are fighting for change with hope and determination.  In 2007, San Francisco jump started the bag-ban trend in the United States.  Upon learning that plastic bags cannot legally be taxed in California, San Francisco became the first city in the state to pass a full ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags in major grocery stores and pharmacies.  Since San Francisco’s legendary decision to ban the bag, a cascade of anti-bag campaigns aiming to eliminate single use plastic grocery bags have swept through California.  A few other California cities that have effectively “banned the bag” include Malibu, Fairfax, Palo Alto and San Jose.  In November 2010, Los Angeles County passed a plastic bag ban affecting unincorporated areas, but as the ban is not applicable to LA cities, the cities are currently working for bag bans independently.  On January 25th 2011, Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed an ordinance that will ban plastic bags and charge a five cent fee for paper bags beginning in 2012.  Also in late January, Santa Monica approved a ban that will be enacted in September of this year!  Calabasas joined the many cities striving towards sustainability by eliminating plastic bags in February.  Most recently, Albertson’s in Carpinteria has agreed to run a pilot program that will test the practicality of banning plastic and paper bags from all Albertson’s stores.  Albertson’s is not the first corporation to take this approach.

Although battles are being won at the local level, the opposition is not going down without a fight.  Oakland, Fairfax and Manhattan Beach have all met major resistance by the American Chemistry Council, the main proponent of single use plastic bags.  The Save the Plastic Bag Coalition, as well as the Coalition to Support Plastic Bag Recycling have both filed and won lawsuits against the cities, claiming that the bans were passed without sufficient Environmental Impact Reports.  While plastic bag bans enacted by Oakland and Manhattan Beach are currently ineffective due to this complication, Fairfax avoided being sued by passing a voter initiative to ban plastic bags.

Small-scale successes have given us the hope and the knowledge essential for large-scale change.  Although Californians’ previous campaigns for a statewide ban have failed, defenders of the environment are not giving up.  The movement away from single-use plastics and towards sustainable practices is continually gaining speed. Education campaigns and recycling programs are steps in the right direction, but statistics have shown they are not enough to change shoppers’ behavior. Experience is telling us that in order to get results, make the plastic bag a valuable commodity, or get rid of it.

Plastic Bag In TreeAt Ocean Futures Society we support banning single use plastic bags because we stand behind the principle, “There is no waste in nature.”  This means that in nature everything is recycled in one way or another. Even the harmful chemical defenses of plants and animals are naturally broken down in to harmless raw materials that become available for reuse in another form. With this valuable lesson from nature we conclude that we should only produce materials that can be easily rendered harmless after use and then become raw materials for another use.

We strongly believe it is crucial to stop producing disposable plastic bags that create waste neither humans nor nature can adequately dispose of.   There are more environmentally friendly materials that can be used to carry our groceries and belongings. We are not against the use of durable plastic for long-lasting products, it just does not make sense to use a plastic bag for ten minutes to carry our groceries and then throw it away, liberating it to linger on our planet for thousands of years. We are smarter than that. But it takes a willingness to create change. We need to rise up the challenge and support those companies and cities that are moving in the right direction; the direction we need to follow so we can all enjoy a more sustainable future.

Warm Regards,

JMCSignature_1.jpg

First Photo: Gull with Plastic Bag. © Jamie Persoon

Second Photo: Plastic Bag in Tree. Public Domain

Third Photo: The Bag Monster © Holly Lohuis, Ocean Futures Society

Vacation with your Pet & Save!

$50PetDiscountLandingPage

Love to travel, but hate to leave your furry friend at home?  With Bluewater, not only can your dog come along, he can save you money!

Receive a $50 discount on your pet fee with a new weekly booking made on any of these PET FRIENDLY beach vacation rentals in the month of March!

MENTION BEACHHOUSE.COM to REDEEM THIS OFFER.

These great pet friendly vacation rental properties and many MORE:

Getaway

View pet friendly rentals on BeachHouse.com

Bella Vista

Bella Vista

Sea Song

Sea Song

Pelican View

Pelican View

North Carolina Beach Rentals


Beachhouse.com Homeowners go GREEN!

Beachhouse.com is lucky enough to work with some of the best homeowners in the world…they never cease to amaze us.  One of our clients, PineappleFish, is so committed to doing good for the planet, that they went green for the Holidays.  We are happy to present to you…

The Greenest Christmas Tree in Florida!

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PineappleFish wanted to celebrate the holiday season with a beautiful tree at the site of the Anna Maria Green Village, but of course, being Green they did not want to use electricity to power the lights.

The Result?  The first Zero Net Energy Tree ever seen on Anna Maria, with power for the lights generated by the sun!

Tom Stockebrand, their solar expert, took a very simple solar panel, generating 175 W of energy over 5 hours.  He hooked it into a bunch of 24-volt batteries to store the energy and an inverter, which converts the energy into an electrical current to turn the tree lights on.  Then they set the tree lights onto a timer – from 6pm to 11pm each night.   Only 5 hours of sunshine charges the batteries!   They switch the lights on when the sun goes down and get 5 hours of electricity to light the lights!

The panel actually generates more than they need because the tree lights don’t need very much (and Florida has plenty of wonderful sunshine).
If you’re on the Island, check it out, and perhaps take a photo with the only sun-powered Christmas Tree in Anna Maria (maybe the whole of Florida!)

Click HERE for more information on the Anna Maria Historic Green Village and all of the Green initiatives on Anna Maria Island.

Homeowner Brings New Meaning to “Pet Friendly” Vacation Rentals

BBBlabel3Beachhouse.com homeowner and owner of Mermaid Cottages, Diane Kaufman, has combined 2 of her loves – property management and dogs – in her latest “pet” project, Beach Bum Biscuits.  These delectable all-natural bakery-made dog biscuits are currently on sale in Tybee Island, Georgia at Seaside Sisters, and will soon be available in a beach town near you.  As if you needed any more reason to spoil your furry friend, proceeds from the sale of Beach Bum Biscuits also go to support service and guide dogs!IMG00114-20100605-1443

Also,  by staying at any Mermaid Cottage vacation rental property, you help to support 2 great guide dog foundations:  the Southeastern Guide Dogs’ Puppy Sponsorship Program, and The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind.

Stay up to date on the latest Beach Bum Biscuit news by following their blog!

Beach Bum Biscuits are also a great Holiday gift for your pet or that special pup in your life!  To order in time for the Holiday’s, contact Diane at:  Diane@MermaidCottages.com or call her at:  912-313-0784.

Mermaid Cottages has always sponsored Guide Dogs.  Read below for bio’s and information about a few of the dogs they have sponsored:

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Clark

Clarke is one of the first dogs we sponsored who trained at Southeastern Guide Dogs’ School in Palmetto, FL. Clarke has proven to be easy going, extremely comfortable with people of all ages and very quick to learn new tasks. We are all hoping for a great career for her as a guide dog for a deserving blind individual. Clarke is also from the Southeastern Guide Dogs Program.

(Update)  It is with great joy we tell you that Clarke was matched in June 2009 with her blind partner, Joyce. They both are quite laid back and easy going and from all appearances will be great companions for a very long time. Clarkes’s truest challenge might be living with Joyce’s six birds!! No doubt, she’ll do just fine.

Erik

Erik

Erik was given a career change in 2007 due to medical issue. We are happy to report that Erik is currently embarking on a new career as a Hearing Dog for 5 year old Jay Lommel. Jay, born deaf, recently received a cochlear implant, and with his new pal Erik will hopefully be on his way to speaking as well as hearing. Erik is receiving his new training at Polite Paws in Bluffton, SC, courtesy of owner, trainer Robin Walter.  Erik is also from the Southeastern Guide Dogs Program.

Tony

Tony

Tony is one of our newest guide dog sponsees for spring 2009 from the Southeastern Guide Dogs Program. Our update on Tony is that he is a great pup! He will be a year old in November. He is sweet and has a great work ethic. He lives with his new owner’s other dog, Sherlock, who is 8 years old. They go to work together, play and enjoy each other’s company.  Tony is a beautiful black lab, who loves to please.

Berkeley

Berkeley

Berkeley is our newest Service Dog from the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, Inc since Fall of 2009.  Here is a great pic of him at Diane’s cottage.

Spotlight: Casa Piazza, Manzanillo, Mexico

Christmas & New Years weeks: Book Now & SAVE $1,000 OFF regular Holiday rental rates AND get $1,000 to use towards meals cooked by Casa Piazza’s Chef!

Welcome to Casa Piazza, a striking blend of Mediterranean and Mexican style in a peaceful natural setting. Our home is truly your vacation fantasy come true.

Located in in the exclusive gated community of La Punta which features controlled 24-hour security, Casa Piazza is a stunning 8000 square foot multi-level blending of Mexican and Italian Mediterranean architecture. Created by owner Scott Piazza and Italian designer Paolo Cressini, Casa Piazza is spacious and airy, designed for relaxed tropical living and lively entertaining.

Unusual and well-thought-out touches catch your eye everywhere, like custom made hardwood furniture, Mexican tilework, American antiques and Malaysian chairs. Some beds are adapted from antique farmhouse doors and the floors are tile, hand-peened brick and stone.

Relax poolside under the PalapaThe property has sculpted grounds, a tiled swimming pool, two separate palapas (outdoor living areas) wet bar and spa tub. At every turn you’ll find striking views, comfortable furniture, balconies and large windows that admit the cooling sea breezes.

Easily accommodating ten guests, the main house offers 5 master bedrooms with 6-1/2 baths. Every bedroom has a private balcony, comfortable King bed, air conditioning and ceiling fan. The outdoor dining pavilion seats 12 guests adjacent to a modern, fully equipped kitchen with gourmet appliances. The sprawling living and family rooms are perfect for relaxation with comfortable sofas, satellite tv’s, vcr/ DVD player, a film library, games, ping pong table, books and recreational diversions galore. Up on the 1600 square foot rooftop terrace, life is good as you watch the afternoon slip into evening and enjoy after-dinner drinks.

The tiled pool terrace features chaises, deck chairs and tables with large umbrellas to shade you from the afternoon sun. Just across the street are 4 semi-private tennis hard courts with night lighting. The Casa Piazza staff includes a manager, chef, houseman and maid. They are all dedicated to making your vacation perfect in every respect.

Palapa Life
In Mexico, outdoor living areas are called palapas and traditionally shaded by native-style thatched roofs. Our two palapas let you enjoy pleasurable outdoor living in the mild climate of Mexico’s Pacific Riviera, which shares the same latitude as Hawaii but offers more consistantly good weather.

Mexican and Italian Mediterranean architectureThe 1600 square foot rooftop terrace palapa has comfortable sofas, tables and chairs, a wet bar plus a second kitchen and dining area. There are also padded sunbathing chaises and a spa tub. The covered outdoor dining palapa adjacent to the main kitchen has a massive table and chairs for 12 guests to dine in comfort and style.

The rooftop palapa offers an incredible view of our glorious Mexican sunrises and sunsets. Relax with a tropical drink and you might see a migrating whale, wild parrots or frigate birds drifting lazily past. The night sky is so soft and clear you’d swear the stars are just within your reach.

Amenities

  • Masterful combination of Mexican and Mediterranean architecture
  • Designed for comfort, relaxation and easy living
  • Total living area 8000 square feet
  • Main house & casita have total of 5 bedrooms and 6-1/2 bathrooms
  • Rooftop palapa w/kitchen, wet bar, dining area, Jacuzzi Tiled heated swimming pool 3.5 to 5 feet deep
  • Poolside lounging area w/ chaises, chairs, outdoor dining pavilion
  • All bedrooms have King beds, private balconies, a/c & fans
  • Purified water system throughout
  • Chef-prepared meals to your taste included (you pay food & beverage costs only)
  • Satellite tv/vcr, DVD player, video library, internet email, direct phones, book library, games, ping pong table, croquet, darts, fishing poles, snorkel equipment and more
  • Staff: chef, manager, houseman, maid
  • Offsite administrator
  • 5 star daily housekeeping, all meals prepared on-site, your special dietary needs graciously accommodated

View from the 1600 square foot rooftop terrace palapaActivities Nearby
Golf: There are 4 golf courses nearby. The world-famous La Mantaraya at the Las Hadas resort is just over the hill from Casa Piazza. Other courses include Isla Navidad, Club Santiago and El Tamarindo.

Tennis: Right across the street. 4 semi-private hard courts (open only to La Punta owners and their guests). These are well-lighted for night play. Racquets provided at the casa.

Beaches: It’s an easy four-minute stroll to our very own La Escondida Beach Club which has an 800 feet long beach with ocean & bay frontage, a lap pool and gym. Much of the time you will be the only one on this hidden gem of a beach. There’s a stunning view of Manzanillo in the distance, plus great snorkeling or sunbathing on our floating pontoon just offshore.

Other nearby beaches include Playa de Audiencia, where Dudley Moore and Bo Derek cavorted in the film “10,” and Las Hada, La Boquita and Salagua, plus Miramar and Olas Altas for surfing. Some beaches offer boat trips, paddleboards and kayaks, boogie and surfboard rentals, waverunners and other on-or-under-water experiences.

Fishing: Manzanillo is world famous for sailfishing, with international tournaments held every year in November and February. You can charter a private boat or share one with other anglers.

Tours: We can arrange shopping, cultural, sightseeing and nightlife tours of Manzanillo. You may want to visit the colonial town of Colima to see ancient tombs and caves plus the twin volcanos Nevado de Colimo and Volcan de Colima. Shop at local native bazaars for crafts, silver and textiles and see the protected bird islands. It’s possible to visit exotic plantations and see bananas, mangos, papayas, and coconuts being grown.

07top4“El Centro”
The downtown area of Manzanillo consists of a Malecon, or boardwalk, about a mile long.

You can walk along the harbor, enjoying the view of anchored fishing boats, from the motor cruisers chartered for tourist sailfishing, to small pangas, used by local fishermen. Along the way there are numerous benches, shaded by palm trees, and sculptures done by local artists. An old ship’s anchor (a cargo ship sunk in the hurricane of 1959) is an interesting conversation piece, and a good background for a photo.

As you get to the downtown area, you’ll see the “Jardin,” or garden, which is the town square. If you’re driving, the best parking is on the north side of the Jardin. The Jardin is where everyone congregates–to have lunch, get their shoes shined, or “people watch.” On many evenings when it’s cooler, bands play in the gazebo, and folks dance in the plaza. Feeding pigeons is a favorite pastime, too.

Just off the Jardin is Av. Mexico, with its numerous shops offering tourist treasures. In fact, all around the Jardin are storefronts offering everything from silver to T-shirts. There are also several restaurants offering a variety of Mexican dishes and seafood at reasonable prices.

The “Mercado”
Manzanillo’s mercado, or market, offers a variety of items for consumption. If you want the freshest seafood, fruits or vegetables, go from 8-10 in the morning. This is mainly a “locals” market, but tourists love it for its authentic Mexican flavor. Of course, other items, such as pi๑atas, pottery and leather goods are available. The mercado area is located on Av. Francisco I. Madero, behind the Club de Leones (Lions Club), one block south of Av. Mexico.

Additional Activities (Extra Fee)

  • Fishing charters
  • Sailing/boat rental
  • SCUBA
  • Jet skis
  • Kayaks
  • Massage

Guided Tours

  • Beach
  • Forest
  • City
  • Shopping
  • Cultural
  • Mountains Golf
  • Spa services
  • Restaurant dining

Policies

Weekly Rental Rates
Weekly Rate ……………..$11,750
Holidays …………………..$14,000

  • One week rental minimum
  • Maximum 12 person occupancy
  • Saturday to Saturday stay

Terms & Conditions
50% deposit secures confirmed reservation. Security deposit of $2000, returned after your party has vacated the casa in good order. Full rental fee and deposit due no later than 60 days prior to arrival date.

Cancellations

  • 50% of total forfeited 30 days or more prior to arrival date.
  • 75% of total forfeited 15-30 days prior to arrival date.
  • 90% of total forfeited 7 days or less prior to arrival date.

Laguna Beach, Three Arch Bay & Tidepools

Laguna Beach, CaliforniaWhen I decided to move to Orange County, I was excited and nervous.  This was going to be my first time living away from the Central Coast town that I was born and raised in, had gone to college in, and had started my career in.  I had barely settled and homesickness hadn’t even had a chance to kick in, and my family and some of our close family friends came down to visit – it ended up being one of the best weekends I have ever had…

Our family friends have a house in Three Arch Bay, a private beach community on the southern end of Laguna Beach, that was established in the 1930′s.  We started the weekend at the property and headed down to check out the private beach.  A few hundred steps later (maybe only a slight exaggeration) we found ourselves on a quaint, private, and uncrowded crescent of sand, sheltered by bluffs on one side and open to the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean on the other side.  Once I had staked out my spot on the sand, I started checking out my surroundings.  There was a handful of other groups at the beach that day – a couple groups of teenagers and skimboarding, some 20-somethings working on their tans, a couple families with young kids playing in the sand and jumping in the shallow whitewater…and a crew setting up what looked to be a stage.

One of the crew members told us that they were setting up for a birthday party that one of the homeowners was having at the beach that evening.  Sure enough, as the day went on, the stage was completed, and the party site really started to take shape.  Tables and chairs were arranged, tents were erected, decorations were thrown up…so, of course we decided to stick around to see what all the fuss was about!

Tide-poolGuests started showing up around 4, and by 5 or so, sound checks started to sound over the microphones.  By this time, there were maybe 50 party guests, the ten of us, and only about 15 other beach-goers.  When the music started we all wandered over to hear who was playing.  We recognized the classic surf rock immediately once The Beach Boys started crooning and proceeded to play all of their best hits – we had stumbled upon a private Beach Boys concert!

The night eventually wound down and we made our way back up to the beach house.  The next morning, we woke up to sunshine and clear blue skies – another perfect beach day!  We went into Laguna Beach, where we had lunch at Goko Cafe (great Greek food – very fresh and mostly organic) before visiting the tide-pools at Picnic Beach (also known as Heisler Park Reserve).

As a kid I remember being fascinated by the sea creatures I found in the tide-pools – starfish, sea urchins, tiny fish, and my favorite, hermit crabs.  At Picnic Beach that day, there were several families with small children – all of the kids were enjoying exploring the rocks, looking for their favorite tide-pool critter.

Laguna Beach also has a variety of shops – everything from vintage boutiques and candy shops, to jewelry stores and art galleries.  It is a great beach town to vacation to and there are tons of beach vacation rental properties to stay in.

What stores and restaurants do you hit up when you are in Laguna Beach!  What is your favorite stretch of sand?  Leave us a comment!

At the Beach: Kahuna Kupuna Surf Contest

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In Hawaiian, “Kahuna” means “Big Chief” and “Kupuna” means “Grandparent” or “Older member of the community to whom everyone goes for advice and counsel.”  So, “Kahuna Kupuna” means “Big Chief Grandparent” in Hawaiian.

Kahuna Kapuna is the only amateur surf contest in the world that focuses on surfers age 40 and over by offering separate shortboard and longboard heats (pending demand) for men and women in the following age divisions:

  • 40-49
  • 50-54
  • 55-59
  • 60-64
  • 65-69
  • 70-74
  • 75-79

The suggested entry donation is $65 and all net proceeds support Pacifica’s Environmental Family, a 501(c)(3) non-profit fiscal sponsorship organization.

Driftwood trophies, crafted from driftwood collected at Pescadero State Beach, south of Half Moon Bay and Moat Creek Beach up near Point Arena, will once again be given to the top 6 finishers in each division.

There will be a post-contest reception with live music, a full buffet dinner featuring delicious organic mexican food from the Green Enchilada and another lollapalooza of an award ceremony starting at 5:30 PM at the Pedro Point Firehouse. Each contestant’s entry will cover admission for the post contest festivities. A sliding scale suggested donation of between $10 to $20 is requested from additional guests who want to join us at the Firehouse. Will call tickets for your guests are available in advance or during the day of the contest.

For more information visit the official contest website:  Kahuna Kapuna

Organizations We Love – Vacation Homes for Charity

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We love finding great companies and organizations to blog about.  And even better when the company or organization incorporates a great cause and the travel or vacation rental industry!  We just came across Vacation Homes for Charity, a great organization that partners vacation rental homeowners with charities in need.

From their Website:

dogoodfrontpreview-300x218“There are 1000′s of charities in dire need of live auction items.  Our goal is to make the process of donating time at a vacation home to a charity easy and efficient for all parties.

In the fall of 2008, we at The Society opened up our platform to help charities source vacation homes for their auctions and other fund raising events. We tested this new service in the fall all parties including homeowners, property managers, real estate brokers, and charities were delighted.

We created VacationHomesForCharity.org to highlight upcoming events, success stories and news regarding this new service.  For 2009 we have some audacious goals: we are going to giveaway over 1000 nights to charities! It’s time to go big and the charities need our help.”

If you own a vacation home or know someone with a vacation home, you can CONTACT them or REGISTER today!

Before you donate your rental property, be sure that you’re up on the latest tax regulations in regards to what you can and can’t write off.  For information on the tax benefits, you can check out this ARTICLE.

Cheers to a good cause…

2007 Surfrider Chardonnay2005 Surfrider Red2008 Surfrider Sauv Blanc
The other night, my friend came over for dinner and, being the great friend that she is, she also brought along a bottle of wine…and not just any wine.  An avid reader of this blog (thanks K!) she knows that the Surfrider Foundation is a frequent topic of conversation, so she brought a bottle of Surfrider Chardonnay!

I know…who knew they even made that?!  Well, technically, Surfrider doesn’t make it.  Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate winery is responsible for this delicious wine.  And even better, 85% of the fruit used in the wine was grown in the Edna Valley of San Luis Obispo where I grew up!

After a glass (maybe 2…) I started researching for this post.  Turns out Rosenthal has a whole line of Surfrider wines:  a 2007 Surfrider Chardonnay, a 2005 Surfrider Red,a 2008 Surfrider Sauvignon Blanc, and even a 375 ml 2005 Red Dessert Wine.

labelI am such a wine novice that I wouldn’t feel right subjecting you all to my review of these wines, so I’ll leave it to Randy Fuller, writer of the Now and Zin wine blog:

It’s a pale straw-colored wine.  The nose features a fragrant show of mainly tropical fruit and flowers.  The palate is not belabored by wood, although it is 30% barrel-fermented, with five months in oak.  In fact, it feels quite clean and crisp in the mouth. The fruit comes from Edna Valley, not Rosenthal’s Malibu estate, which may explain some of the minerality.  I even noticed a slight effervecsence on the second day which I didn’t see in the previous night’s glass.  I’m a big fan of Chardonnay with a hint of oak, but I also love a refreshingly unoaked variety.  Surfrider falls somewhere in between.  I’m glad I could hang five – fingers, that is – on a Surfrider Chardonnay.
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Randy Fuller, Now and Zin Wine Blog

Rosenthal supports the Surfrider Foundation by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottle.

Now you don’t have to feel guilty about having that glass of wine…you’re helping to keep our oceans and beaches clean!  Cheers!

Help Wildlife Affected by the BP Oil Spill

Help NWF save wildlife in the Gulf.  Text “WILDLIFE” to 20222 to donate $10.

http://www.nwf.org/oilspill


How Can You Help:

  • Volunteer for the Cleanup Efforts – The National Wildlife Federation is helping coordinate the on-the-ground volunteer effort, including NWF’s Gulf Coast Surveillance Teams, which are being set up to monitor the coastline for wildlife in distress.
  • Text “WILDLIFE” to 20222 to Donate $10 – You can help wildlife threatened by the oil spill by donating via your mobile phone. Your donation will help support National Wildlife Federation’s on-the-ground volunteer and restoration efforts.
  • Speak Up for Cleaner Energy Choices – Tell your senators that now more than ever we need to pass comprehensive legislation that provides America with cleaner and safer energy choices.  Click HERE for a list of all senators and their contact information.
  • Help Spread Messages Online – Follow @NWF on Twitter or join us on Facebook to get all the latest updates about the BP Oil Spill. On the ground in the Gulf?  Share your photos and videos on Flickr by tagging them SPILL_NW10.

PLEASE, if you find wildlife along the Gulf Coast that you think may have been injured by the oil spill, do NOT attempt to rescue it. Call the Oiled Wildlife hotline at 866-557-1401.

Karl Strauss Brewery’s Beach to Brewery 2010 – A Beer & Music Fest to benefit Surfrider Foundation

BTBLogo

WHAT: Beach to Brewery Beer + Music Fest

WHEN: Saturday May 8, 2010 from 2:00p-7:00p

WHERE: Karl Strauss Main Brewery in Pacific Beach (Map It!)

Other Info:

  • This year marks the 7th year of supporting the local San Diego Surfrider Chapter.
  • Admission includes a souvenir taster glass and 5 samples.
  • Tickets are $25/pre-sale and $30/at the door.  All proceeds go directly to the Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Chapter.
  • Interested in becoming a Surfrider member?  Buy a ticket to the event and a 1-year membership for only $40 a $50 value.
  • On-line pre-sale ticket sales end at 2:00p on Friday May 7th. Tickets will be available at the door on May 8th for $30 each.
  • Free shuttles starting at 1:40pm are available from Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach and will run throughout the event.   The PB pick-up/drop off point is at the corner of Dawes/Thomas at the edge of the PB Library.  No event parking is available at the Library, so plan accordingly.   The OB pick-up/drop off point is at Dusty Rhodes Park.

Check out this video from their event last year:

Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery from Love Machine Films on Vimeo.