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.

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!

Travel Deals

BeachHouse.com Specials 

Visit BeachHouse.com to view “Specials” on beach housevacation rentals.
Find beach house vacation rentals on beaches anywhere. Browse listings from all over the world from one website, with ease and convenience.

LakeHouseVacations.com

Visit LakehouseVacations.com you can search for lake homes, cabins, and cottages for rent on over 3,000 lakes in the United States and Canada. Find a lakehouse for that perfect waterfront vacation and book it directly through the owner.

Know of a great travel deal?  Send us a comment – we’d love to hear about it!

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.

Spotlight: Bluefields Bay Jamaican Seaside Villas

15% OFF Adult Rates When you Book Through Beachhouse.com!
(you must mention “Beachhouse.com” when you make your reservation to receive discount. Offer valid for stays before November 1, 2010)

Imagine boarding an airplane, taking a scenic helicopter transfer and reaching Bluefields Bay, Jamaica, in time for a refreshing beach swim followed by sunset cocktails and a gorgeous candlelit dinner.  Located 34 miles south of Montego Bay and less than an hour from Negril, Bluefields Bay whisks you away from the hustle-and-bustle of urban life, with mesmerizing vistas of sugar cane fields, mountain ranges and vibrant blue sea.  For a luxurious, yet authentic Jamaican experience, consider planning your stay at Bluefields Bay Jamaican Seaside Villas.

Villa San Michele

Villa San Michele

Villas:
Whatever they may be, Bluefields Bay has the vacation property to suit your needs.  Milestone Cottage, dramatically perched 30 feet above the Caribbean Sea, has spectacular panoramic sunset views and is the perfect spot for a secluded romantic getaway.  In addition to its fabulous vistas and private terrace overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Cottonwood Cottage features a king-size, four-poster canopy bed, an exotic marble shower that opens out to the tropical garden and sea view, and a new infinity-edge swimming pool with whirlpool jets. Mullion Cove boasts rich mahogany furnishings, with silver, crystal and fine china, in addition to a private seaside patio with staircase directly into the sea and hammocks set in a luscious grove of trees.  San Michele is not only beautifully decorated, but also features a private island, reached by footbridge, with a pool pavilion, lounge chairs and hammocks, freshwater shower, stereo system and bar.  The majestic Hermitage is always a favorite, with its impeccable attention to detail in furnishings and phenomenal views from every room.   Each of these five distinctive villas offers exquisite hideaways to relax by the sea, stocked with beverages and included service too.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

All Inclusive:
Your all-inclusive stay provides the highest level of service, and includes a full staff of cooks, waiters, chambermaids, drivers and nannies, as well as meals, liquor, beverages, airport transfers, sports equipment, clubhouse/beach use, and night-lit tennis courts.   Each villa has a headman who ensures that all aspects of your vacation are smooth and “irie”, and who also meets with his guests daily to plan menus, timing, and location for meals.  Shopping, cooking, and cleaning are taken care of by the staff, with meals and drinks catered to guest wishes.

Activities:
Whether you’d like to stay close to home, or venture out and about, Bluefields Bay provides endless entertainment.   Mingle with company at the Manager’s Cocktail Party every Monday, or over Jerk Chicken Lunch held Wednesdays at The Treehouse.   Hold a match on the night-lit, competition-sized Laykold tennis court, or hike the Bluefields Mountain with expansive landscape views.   Catch Tuna, Kingfish, Mahi-mahi, Snapper and Marlin while deep-sea fishing, and your chef will prepare it for dinner!  Discover a rich world of tropical fish, coral, rays, and much more while snorkeling in Moor Reed or South Coast. Paradise Plantation offers horseback trail excursions across Sweet River for stunning vistas of tropical foliage, the coastline and mountains.  Chukka Caribbean Adventures offers a 2.5 hour long breathtaking canopy tour via zip line, mixing amazing views of flora and fauna with an exhilarating adrenaline rush.   Don’t forget to pack your clubs- Jamaica is home to Negril Hills Golf

Milestone Cottage

Milestone Cottage

Course and Tryall Golf & Country Club, which hosted the Johnnie Walker Open for many years.   Explore YS Falls, boat up the Black River for crocodile-watching, or visit Treasure Beach, Appleton Estate’s Rum Bottling Plant, and Negril, among other popular locales.   Return home in the peak of health after enjoying Bluefield’s spa services, which include massage, scrubs, wraps, manicures, pedicures and cornrow braiding.

As a family friendly destination, children are welcomed at Bluefields.   Kids will love building sandcastles on the shoreline, taking nature walks, swimming, sea-kayaking and snorkeling at the beach and in the pools with our beach staff and nannies.   Nurturing nannies will read and tell stories, give baths, plan child-friendly meals, launder clothes, clean rooms, and put children to bed so that parents can enjoy a worry-free vacation.

It’s time you enjoyed the best Jamaica has to offer; leave “tourism” behind and treat yourself and loved ones to a week in this flourishing tropical oasis.

Bluefields Bay

Travel Deal: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Now offering up to 30% for bookings made by 12/31/09!!! Some restrictions apply.

This beautiful villa is perfect for those seeking to get away from it all. When you arrive at Villa Paradise, you suddenly realize that your body has changed, your senses expand, they unfold, they welcome you to pleasure in ways you have never even imagined.

The HDnetR original series, “Get Out” with Lindsey Clubine, recently taped an episode of the show at Villa Paradise and described it as “One of the best beach front Villas in the Riviera Maya!”

Paradise Beach, Playa Paraiso was voted the best and most beautiful beach in the world by the Discovery® Travel Channel. You feel the warm, glimmering sand under your feet and the sun extending its golden caresses onto your skin while the gentle breeze of the ocean toys with your hair… You listen to the sounds of waves breaking over waters dressed in tempting shades of blue and turquoise… Everything is already a part of you.

Villa Paradise is a fully furnished and equipped 5-bedroom, 3.5 bath luxury vacation villa which boasts in excess of 4,000 sq. ft. living area and a premier view of the Caribbean Sea.

The Villa is located along the coast of the Caribbean Sea in the heart of the Mayan Riviera on the beautiful beach of “Playa Paraiso.”

Villa Paradise is just 25 minutes south of the Cancun International Airport, a quick 5 minute drive to Puerto Morelos and a 10-15 minute drive to Playa del Carmen in a quaint resort-type residential neighborhood in Playa Paraiso, which boasts one of the most beautiful beaches of the world.

You will enjoy the tranquility and relaxation you’ll experience in Playa Paraiso, but if you’re looking for activities, there is plenty to do in the area. Playa del Carmen and Cancun both offer many opportunities for dining, shopping, and nightlife.

Travel Deal: Cabrera, Dominican Republic, Caribbean Islands

Need to get away to the sunshine? Escape to Affordable Luxury! Save 50% right now! (to take advantage of this offer, please leave a comment and we will get in contact with you)

Experience a luxurious getaway in one of the hottest destinations.  This is “The best island romantic villa!”  An exotic location with welcoming weather and a real seaside stress reliever…escape those winter time blues!

Welcome to the beauty, serenity and peaceful elegance of Casa Bella Villa. This Dominican Republic luxury vacation villa rental offers 3 bedrooms, all en suite and air conditioned, located right on the beachfront in the exclusive gated community of Orchid Bay Estates.

The beautiful white sand beach is literally steps away from the vacation villa where you can swim, snorkel or build those sand castles from your dreams.


Casa Bella Villa comes with a full staff (private chef, maid, host, gardener, guard) to take care of your every need.
Casa Bella sits right on a private beach. Come and experience a travel adventure at an exclusive exotic location!
True oceanfront/beach property
Swim everyday in clear blue carribean sea.

Amenities:

  • outdoor pool table
  • basketball hoop
  • Wii game
  • Dsl wireless internet
  • No chlorine/ swimming pool
  • and much more!

Come and experience villa rental like you never had before.

Everything is provided.  No worries of what to eat or having to do household chores.  Your stress-free vacation awaits!

***Recession-Busting to Winter Travel Deal for Casa Bella Villa–Save 50% or More***

Leave us a comment for info on special package rates for winter.  Package rates can start as low as $400 per night or $2,800 per week. (limit time only, some restrictions apply)

Travel Deal: Oceano Sueno – A Luxury Beachfront Boutique Condominium With Heated Infinity Pool And Complimentary Private Concierge Service

View from guest bedroom balcony

Enjoy unparalled luxurious accomodations at affordable rates! Weekly rates presently from $1,100!!! You will also find a very favorable Peso/USD exchange rate!

Oceano Sueno (Ocean Dream) is a newly built (2008) impeccably decorated 3BR/2BA direct beachfront luxury condominium with unparalleled panoramic views. Located on the 9th floor of Cobalto a 28 unit boutique complex in Nuevo Vallarta this property defines perfection and total relaxation.

Relax in the heated beachfront infinity pool with two separate jacuzzi tubs or work out in the ultra modern gym while taking in the ocean views. Just steps away a picturesque beach awaits. Stroll and feel the soft sugar sand underfoot or walk out on the nearby breakwater and reach out to the sunset or capture the beauty of the Sierra Madre mountains that ring the Bay of Banderas.

While enjoying a cocktail or a meal on the terrace watch the humpback whales and porpoises at play or ocean birds dive for a meal. Or simply just lay back on one of the lounges relax and listen to the lapping of the waves.

From this corner unit choose from one of three separate balconies for spectacular views of the ocean, mountains, marina and breathtaking sunsets.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

In the early morning and evening watch cruise ships majestically glide in and out of nearby Puerto Vallarta.

Located on a quiet cul-de-sac you are just steps away from the marina with all of its boats and magnificent yachts. Over 5 restaurants are within a casual 5 minute stroll. Also nearby is Vallarta Adventures and swimming with the dolfins.

A unique feature of this boutique complex is that there are only 3 units per floor.

Guest Bedroom

Guest Bedroom

A golfing enthusiast will find the manicured Paradise Village El Tigre golf course just 1 mile away or simply walk to the nearby Mayan Palace course. If you like to jog or bike there are miles of palm-lined vistas that interlace the inland canal waterways of Nuevo Vallarta and the beautiful homes and villas.

A visit to the area would not be complete without experiencing the vibrancy, culture and charm of Puerto Vallarta which is a mere 7 miles (15 minutes) away. Walk the meandering malecon, follow the art walk to various galleries. Go to one of our recommended restaurants or simply “chaulkboard” a lunch or evening special. There are many shops selling a full spectrum of goods. Stop by the Mercado a two block maze of shops and barter for a bargain.

View From Ocean Terrace Balcony

View From Ocean Terrace Balcony

In the evening Puerto Vallarta excites the senses with outside music, performers on the malecon, fireworks as the local people and tourists come out to enjoy another beautiful sunset.

A stay at Oceano Sueno will leave one relaxed and rejuvenated and planning ahead on how soon you can return.

Travel Deal: Bayview Luxury, Fort Myers Beach, Florida

15% OFF January 2010 Bookings – Inquire Today!

A peaceful bayfront paradise. Whether you are enjoying the heated swimming pool and outdoor whirlpool or “sitting on the dock of the bay”, this 2-story 5 Bedroom, 3.5 bath home is almost sure to please any guest. Laundry facilities are located on both floors. Game room with pool table, bar, and TV to keep guests entertained if they get too much sun. there is even an outside shuffleboard court as well. Just a couple hundred yards to the nearest beach access, guests get the proximity to the beach that they want with the privacy of the bay that they need to relax.

In a house with 5 bedrooms, you almost need 2 separate living rooms. With the game room on the first floor and the living room on the second floor, guests can enjoy some quiet relaxation time while the kids are downstairs watching TV or playing games. The living room one of the largest rooms in the house with 3 sets of doors that open onto a screened lanai, an entertainment center with a 36″ TV, DVD Player, VCR and Stereo. Off the living room, guests will find the kitchen and breakfast nook, the formal dining room, the Upstairs Queen bedroom and a half bathroom.

The dining room is seldom used in a vacation home like ours, but you just never know when you are going to have to do some entertaining in a more formal setting. The table is large enough to fit 8 people comfortably, although it only has 6 chairs. Folding chairs for additional guests can be found in the master bedroom closet. It’s a perfect place for a holiday dinner or to entertain friends that live in the area or are vacationing nearby. Conveniently located directly opposite the kitchen, you don’t have far to walk to bring in the food or take out the dishes.

A luxury house requires a spacious kitchen. This house is no exception. With breathtaking views of the bay, the kitchen is the center of the 2nd floor. Guests will enjoy the extra elbow room for cooking on our center island. Staying in the house with a big group requires a lot of food – and we’ve got enough cabinets for you to keep a month’s worth. If you’re staying with just a couple of friends, eat a casual meal at our 4-seat breakfast nook or at the counter with bar stools off the living room.

The recreational/game room is where most children spend their time (when they’re not swimming in the pool, that is). Guests may enjoy our pool table, TV, bar with a separate sink and refrigerator, as well as a table for playing board games. Located directly off the pool deck, it is also a convenient place to relax if you need to get out of the sun for a few hours.

FortMyersBeachFlorida3The Master Suite: Truly the highlight of staying in this home. With a screened in lanaioff this spectacular bedroom, you can wake up each morning watching the sun rise over the bay, listening to the sounds of nature. A King-size bed seems too small in this extra-spacious room. A dresser and dual king-size walk in closets will be plenty of space for you to store your clothes in while you are our guests. A small sitting area with a TV allows you to unwind in private after a busy day at the beach.

The master bath is just as spacious, including double sinks, a shower/steam room, toilet facilities and a bath that overlooks the bay. Additionally, laundry facilities are located off the master bathroom. Enjoy a relaxing bath in our extra-deep tub overlooking the bay or maybe nice hot shower after a long day at the beach. The master suite has an oversized bathroom with luxury facilities like the extra-deep soaking tub, our steam & shower room, double sinks and vanities and laundry facilities. Fresh sheets and towels are included in all rentals.

By far the most relaxing part of staying in this bayfront home is the view of the bay as you relax by the pool. Unlike other houses on the bay, the view from this house is unobstructed and contains only what nature provides. The heated pool and outdoor whirlpool are very relaxing and perfect for families. Our bayfront dock has a boat lift, should you decide to rent a boat for the week or if you happen to have one that you’ll be sailing in on. Our pool deck also has a separate patio complete with seating for 6 and a gas grill for your enjoyment.

Travel Deal: Grand Outlook Castle in Anguilla

Best Rate on Anguilla! As low as $229 per night!!! (Rates are per couple or per bedroom)

Welcome to the Grand Outlook Castle estate; an ultimate Anguilla villa rental. 4 huge bedrooms, all masters, large baths, individually controlled A/C and each with sliders onto private balconies. Secluded and private but with easy access to all of Anguilla’s world famous beaches, the airport and The Valley (downtown). 50″ Plazma TV in the living room has open gallery ceiling, with large video library, surround sound, iPod hook-up and pool deck tunes.

Grand Outlook Castle’s performance kitchen is large and spacious with room for multiple chefs to play, prepare and entertain. Four bar stools allow others to join in on the fun and activity comfortably and makes it easy to feed the children; it’s the best of all worlds. GE Monogram appliances, gas stove with convection oven, huge granite counter tops, wine cooler and excellent lighting make this kitchen a dream come true. *** SAVE HUNDREDS IF NOT THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS DURING YOUR STAY BY BRINGING IN YOUR OWN MEATS FROM HOME AND GRILLING BY THE POOL ANYTIME. *** Ask about the easy details!!! Remember, all the beer and libations at Grand Outlook Castle cost about the same as home and the kitchen has a blender.

Gas grille and two burner stove out by the infinity edge pool makes for an outdoor area where enjoying the spectacular views and feeding the family and friends is a pleasant experience. It too is the best of all worlds. ***Anguilla allows for the import of frozen meats without ANY duty. Love to grille great? Love a butcher back at home? Freeze your best choices, pack in a cooler and check it. You will LOVE the grille! You will LOVE the view! You will LOVE to save MONEY!

Nestled near the top of the second highest point on the Anguilla, the views are simply Spectacular! Not only does the sunrise embrace you during your breakfast, your evening meal is enhanced by the kaleidoscope of colors during the sunset by the pool. Sometime we even forget to eat as the sunsets are so entertaining; don’t want to miss a moment. A fairly short walk to famous Little Bay Beach. A little longer walk to Crocus Bay beach and Limestone Bay Beach. Beach chairs, beach umbrella, COOLERS and some SNORKEL EQUIPMENT are at the castle.

The view carries over to the back side of the island where you can observe St Barts, St. Kitts & St. Martin. You can observe both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea from this “top of the world” location. You will ever be bored with the ever changing and awe inspiring views!

The four air conditioned ensuite bedrooms provide plenty of room and privacy for each guest with very large baths and individual balconies if anyone should want to be alone. Two of the bedrooms have outdoor showers with outstanding views so if you make the reservation you get your choice of bedrooms/baths. If you’re a little bit shy, the other two baths are very spacious and have private but well lit glass block enclosures.

Like many other castles, Grand Outlook Castle has a tower atop its structure from where the views are unrivaled. Zero gravity chairs there afford true comfort while observing the stunning night sky and embracing the experience of “chillaxing” as one guest aptly described the result. Guests have often been known to become so very comfortable there, they fall asleep embraced by the stars and soothing breezes. Now that’s a vacation!

The infinity pool at Grand Outlook Castle is truly “grand”. In the morning sun, the cliffs of Anguilla glissen anew and Sandy Isle appears as a truly tropical aberration; a spit of glissening pure white sand with seven palm trees announcing its existence.

At sunset, if you line up the infinity edge of the pool with the horizon, it gives you the appearance of the sun setting in the pool with you.

Huge private vessels drop anchor for the night in Crocus Bay Beach below and provide you with a continuous parade of multi-million dollar watercraft. Last New Year’s eve, our guests estimated there were over $2 Billion dollars of “ships” in the bay; what a sight!

Once you arrive at Grand Outlook Castle, you’ll find all the cooking, dining and entertaining amenities you’ll require. The gas grille with two burner stove out by the pool is VERY popular and you can bring your own meats from home for the perfect barbecue in the perfect location. “Honey, the filets are ready!”

It really is very simple and easy on Anguilla at Grand Outlook Castle. Many guests simply find little reason to leave the “castle” at all.

You can hike the trail down to Crocus Bay beach below or walk over to famous Little Bay Beach for some of the best snorkeling in the world. Remember to bring sturdy shoes as the trip down into Little Bay beach requires a rope climb or you can see Calvin down below in Crocus Bay Beach and he’ll motor you over and back for $12 each.

Grand Outlook Castle can be rented in either a 1,2,3 or 4 bedroom configuration to accomodate your party’s specifc requirements and still have full access to all the castle’s ammenities. Even if your party is just 2.

We can also accomodate honeymoon couples in a most romantic and intimate style. One honeymoon couple has already booked for their first anniversary return; keep the love breathtaking and intense!

Grand Outlook Castle has been described as one of the most romantic locations in all of the Caribbean. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to share this unrivaled experience with family and friends.

Travel Deal: Crystal Sands Villa On the Beach, Turks & Caicos

Last Minute Cancellation! Book your vacation for the week of November 28th – December 5 and SAVE $200!!!

Crystal Sands Villa is a HUGE 4200 square feet!! Each of the two Crystal Sands Villa suites has two master suites with king beds and ensuite baths. (One king is convertible to two twins.) Each master suite has a direct view of the beach! The rooms are large, open and airy. In the Beach Level Suite, a third nursery/children’s room has an extra twin bed! (villa sleeps 13)

Vacation comfort is a given, with the villa’s large living area with extra sofa bed and well planned baths, with large vanities, large walk in showers and fabulous storage! The balcony is magnificently 50 foot long and it is covered! Whether you choose 2BR/2baths or 4BR/4baths, comfort and luxury are assured!

Our fresh water swimming pool is nestled in a beautiful garden setting for privacy. The gardens feature dozens of tropical flowering plants and plenty of shady places to sit. Our palapas offers a restful setting for enjoying our hammocks.

Expect a fully equipped kitchen, linens, including beach towels, cable TV, CD/DVD, washer/dryer, ceiling fans, beautiful furnishings!

Crystal Sands Villa is located in the most exclusive residential area on Providenciales, on Sapodilla Bay Beach on the South side. It is peaceful, quiet and calm. Yet, it is only minutes away from the commercial area on Grace Bay Beach, from the restaurants throughout the island and from the many activities that Provo has to offer. It is truly the best of all worlds! Our ocean bay is serene….and the stars at night are so magnificent; it is just dark enough to really see the spectacular star scene! The sunsets at dusk are also spectacular; the view is unencumbered by tall buildings! The sand is pure crystal white!
The water is clear, sparkling aqua! Our guests have ALL indicated that the photos simply do not do justice to our spectacular villa! We have dozens of varieties of flowering plants which cascade throughout the garden. The pure white sand and crystal clear water are indescribable! The villa is perfectly set up for a truly elegant vacation with all the comforts of home!

Although tropical breezes keep the villa pleasant, air conditioning is available at extra charge for those who must have it! Please see our rates page for details.

Fodor’s has named our beach the best on Providenciales!

Guest Blog – Stacy & Jeff do SE Asia (30 of 40)

nie han beach

nie han beach

bagus bagus bagus
“three for three. not the biggest surf, but it’s bali surf. jeff couldn’t be more happy. the first day, met up with fernando and alana (jeff’s peruvian and auss friends, used to be slocals) and hit up bingin and impossibles. chest high and fun, it’s just good to be surfing with fernando, and just surfin’ at all. inconsistent now, but word on the wave, swells on its way. man was it a fiasco to get here though…

finishing up our days in phuket, we realized we would need a 60 day visa for indo, otherwise after 30 days we’d have to fly out and fly back in to get a new stamp. not a real problem, but we’ve got boards now and who knows where we’ll be on may 31st. so we figure lets do it, spend the few nights in KL or bangkok and go to the embassy and just deal with it. we pick KL (kuala lumpur, malaysian capitol) for something different. we call ahead, they say we could probably get it done in one day (whereas bangkok’s office said at least 3 days, another reason we went with KL). so, we book the ticket for thursday morning figuring between thursday and friday we can get it, then fly out saturday on the 2nd, giving us exactly 60 days between arrival and our fly out date of june 30th. good to go. bagus.

one of the many books weve read

one of the many books we've read

tidak bagus, not good. in reading the newspaper we realize it’s labour day on may 1st, friday. we’ve been seeing ad’s and signs for this day, but it just hasn’t been registering cause everytime i see it i think, no, it can’t be labour day (spelled the english way) because labor day is in september, duh. but, lo and behold, not everyone in this world is on america’s holiday schedule, and they have a few holidays of their own. one big one being labour day, experienced everywhere through the eastern part of the world, and even europe. what’s this mean for us? it means like most american holidays, big sales and all gov’t offices are closed. so we reassess. our ticket puts us landing in KL at 10:30am. if we want our visa processed in 1 day, we have to have it in by noon. it takes an hour to get from the airport to the embassy of indonesia (according to google’s trusty mapquest directions). so, that leaves a half hour margin to get off the plane, go through customs, get our luggage and get a taxi. jeff’s freaking out. this could mean if we don’t get it, that’s at least 3 extra days of NO surf and being stuck in another city, no matter how cool it could be.

tannings a serious business

tanning's a serious business

we have all our forms filled out and photo copied with extra passport photos and american dollars, we’re ready. we venture off to the airport with cynthia (my mom has already left two days earlier) and with good thoughts, we’re off to KL. we relax and even sleep on the flight, knowing once we land, it’s on, like donkey kong.

the breaks squeak, we sway from side to side like all airplanes do when they come to that screeching halt, and then we’re off. We grab our bags and speed walk our way as courtessly as we can, through the construction and crowds (keep in mind this is our 3rd time in this airport that is under construction so we know it almost like the back of our palms). we stretch our strides as far as we can til we reach the customs booth. i go first, hand the nice lady my passport, and then, she drops it. these are precious seconds here people, every last one counts. she shuffles in her spin chair, not wanting to get off it it seems. i see jeff’s already through now waiting on the other side for me. she finally reaches it, makes some small talk (side note: everybody at the KL airport are by far the nicest people we’ve come across throughout the trip. every time we’re here, we’re reminded of this), and then i’m through. we continue our giant strides, grab our bags, and make way for the taxi. believe it or not, we’re sitting in the taxi at 10:46am. wow.

jeff - last night in pukhet

jeff - last night in phuket

we make it to the office and walk in with all our luggage, after jeff had to put some pants on cause his shorts were too scandalous for them, at 11:45am. we take a number, we sit, then we go up, show the papers and make our request. he glances, shuffles, glances, then says we’re missing a photo copy of our passports stamped entry into malaysia. who knows whey they need this, but they do. he informs us there’s no budging around the 12 o’clock time whatsoever. i sprint around the corner to this little tiny weeny photocopy shop and get the business done, sprint back, and grab another number (seriously frustrating!). our number says 11:58am. so we think we’re golden. we get called up at 12:05pm. show the same guy our stuff, he shuffles, ho-hums, shuffles, gives us tons of grief on how hard it is for him to get a visa into the states, even with diplomatic whatever. e apologize for his grief, smile, but not too much, keep it short and polite. finally, after what seemed forever, he says he’ll process our visas for us, but not to expect this kind of service in the future. man, what a mess! after paying double the amount cause all we had was USD (not the local currency of ringetts), we got our 60 day visa meaning we were only stuck in KL for one full day…

more on it tomorrow!”

stacy - phuket - last night

stacy - phuket - last night

Top Southern California Beaches

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Southern California is known for its beautiful people, great weather, and gorgeous beaches. All along the most southwestern tip of the USA are an assortment of beaches with surf and sand to enjoy at almost all times during the year.

Whether you’re looking for surf, excitement, a family beach, or the prettiest views on the coast, there are plenty of options to fulfill every desire you have.

Newport Beach offers decent waves and a relaxed atmosphere. Newport’s beaches aren’t too crowded despite the beautiful surrounding, making the area a great place to skim or just read a book while soaking in some sun. Newport also offers several oceanside cottages for rent, making staying there an attractive option for people looking to “get away” at a more affordable price.

Huntington Beach is known for its excellent surfing. The beaches tend to get more crowded, but offer the excitement of a social atmosphere as people throw footballs, play volleyball, and walk the enjoyable Huntington Beach Pier. Huntington is a great place to start an exciting weekend off right.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach offers secluded, beautiful beaches. There are family-friendly areas that tend to be more crowded, but travel further down the surf and you can find beaches where you can isolate yourself and enjoy some gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. The sand is hard-packed and easy to walk on, making a romantic walk on the beach a great idea for blossoming Southern California lovers.

Santa Monica is one of the most popular beaches in Southern California, offering a nearby amusement park and an enjoyable volleyball scene. The world renowned Muscle Beach can also be found in Santa Monica, along with the newly renovated Chess Park.  During the summer you can also find free live concerts on Thursday nights.

Venice Beach is featured in movies such as White Men Can’t Jump and the TV show Pacific Blue. Street performers litter the coast, offering entertainment for all who are willing to watch and participate. You can also find small beachside shops that make shopping while enjoying some rays an easy endeavor.

Santa Monica Pier

While these five offer some of the most diverse and enjoyable locations for spending your day on the coast, there are several other beaches to enjoy in the Southern California area. Generally, you can’t go wrong. Beautiful weather and clean beaches can be found almost everywhere, so pack up your towel, a smile, and a pair of swim trunks, and you’ll most definitely enjoy your day in the sand.

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Ross Hudgens is a travel writer for Low Fares Blog. Lowfares.com is the number 1 travel website for cheap flights and discount airfare.

Travel Tools – Frommer’s Review

Back in 1957, Arthur Frommer, a corporal inthe U.S. Army, wrote his first guide – it was meant to be a resource for the GI’s that were stationed in Europe.  Frommer’s first published book was a civilian version of his original idea and was called, Europe on $5 a Day.    In the 50+ years since then, Frommer’s has expanded their scope of coverage and has become one of the most popular and bestselling authors of travel guide books in America.  Travelers can now use the over 350 guidebooks to plot out their next journey – or simply head to the award-winning online portion of the Frommer’s empire – Frommers.com.

What’s Good: Search by destination and get a complete “Guide Book” at your fingertips – and besides the usual hotels, attractions and restaurants, the gang at Frommers has also researched side trips, customs, history, and provided a super helpful write-up on the different neighborhoods in your destination city. Also check out the “Deals & News” section for a smart mix of timely travel advisories, current travel related events and the coolest places offering the hottest deals.

What’s Bad: Much of the reviews and information comes from the site’s namesake, Arthur Frommer, making reviews and observations kinda one-sided. Also, after a little browsing, it’s apparent that the site doesn’t exactly cater to the budget-minded traveler.  Also, if you plan to travel somewhere that isn’t included in the 20 (really – only 20!) travel destinations that Frommer’s has selected to post under their “Destinations” drop-down menu, it can make it difficult to dig up valuable information from the lot that shows up in the results after you search using the “Search” bar.

Need an excuse to travel? Beachhouse.com has them for you!

The Economy - it’s the classic example of making lemons into lemonade – one countries Swine Flu can be another man’s ticket to paradise!  The economic downturn has forced the travel industry to get creative in order to get people back on the wagon – er, airplane? – and part with their hard earned money.  If you thought the “discount” flight/hotel/rental car vacation packages of last year were something to talk about, you will discover that they are so 2008.  Travel sites and agencies are now practically giving away freebies to popular destinations like Maui, Vegas and Cancun…think 7 nights in a swanky hotel for the price of 6, book a flight now and get a free rental car, etc.

Someone’s Getting Married - it happens to everyone at one time or another – that crazy summer where 8 of your closest friends all decide to get married.  Your emotions run the gamut…first comes happiness, hey, they’ve found that elusive special someone!  Next comes nostalgia – guys, you fondly think back to the times when you and your buddies genuinely thought girls had cooties, and girls, you remember all the times when your friends actually thought they were going to end up marrying their First Kiss. But then your mind clears and you realize that 8 weddings = broke by Fall.  The one silver lining?  Bachelor/Bachelorette parties!  Whether you settle on a weekend of The Hangover-style debauchery in Vegas, a trip to Napa for some wine tasting, or a relaxing spa getaway in Sedona, jump at the opportunity to get away.  One day you’ll all be old and married and these will be the times you reminisce about…if you and your wolf pack don’t get hit with a case of the “floories” and can remember them.

You Just Graduated - Before you hang up your proverbial “party hat” for good, why not embark on one last hoorah!? Gather up your fellow alumni and hit the road to put your education to the test.  Math:  if you’re traveling at a rate of 83 mph and that carload of cute girls next to you is traveling at a rate of 87 mph, what time will you guys meet in Miami?  Foreign Language:  what is the most grammatically correct way to say, “Can you please bring us another round of tequila shots” in Spanish?  Philosophy:  if, while the Earth is turning on its axis, you’re roaming the ocean on a cruise ship headed for the Bahamas, but you are also in your cabin with a serious case of the spins, does that mean that you’re really standing still?  You get the point.  So get out - before you join the masses and are forced do don a business suit rather than a bathing suit!

You Just Got a New Job - Congratulations – you’ve officially traded in your freedom for a paycheck!  Rest assured…in the long run, that is the smart and responsible thing to do, but in the short term, it can seem like in one handshake and one “Welcome aboard” from the HR woman, your life as you know it ended.  But instead, you’re reading this and contemplating where you want to travel to blow off some of your newfound signing bonus, while your official start date is still a week and a half out!

You Just Got Fired - Congratulations – you’ve officially traded in a paycheck for your freedom!  Rest assured…in the short term, it can seem like in one handshake and one “I’m sorry, but…” from the HR woman, your life as you know it ended.  But in the long run, if you hadn’t just gotten the axe, you’d be stuck in your cubicle right now. But instead, you’re reading this and contemplating where you want to travel to blow off some of your newfound severance pay/unemployment!

Kids - I don’t have kids.  But I can imagine that if I did have one/some, like with every job (regardless of how much I love it) I would eventually be ready for some time off.  Which brings us to, yet another excuse to travel!  Maybe you have one on the way and you need someplace to relax in the sun and cherish the last few weeks of your party of 2.  Or perhaps you and your significant other are thinking it may be about time to get down to – um, business – and are in need of one last wild week while you can still sleep in however late you want.  Whatever your situation, start practicing being a parent now – everyone knows that the best excuse for anything is to blame it on the kids!

wayneYour Uncle Wayne - My roommate just attended a family reunion in South Dakota.  We live in Orange County, CA, so needless to say we knew she was going to be in for a shock.  What is South Dakota like?  What do people do there?  Where is it?  Granted, she probably wouldn’t have ever settled on Blunt, SD as a vacation destination, but she was down for an adventure.  She was excited to see family that she hadn’t seen in forever and even more excited to meet some family for the first time!  Well, now she’s back and all of my burning questions have been answered (Me:  Where did you stay?  Her: In Pierre – it’s the closest town to Blunt that actually had a hotel.  Me: What was the time difference?  Her: 2 hours – but it stayed light outside till, like, 10 at night!  Me: What did you do all day?  Her: One day we drove with my Uncle Wayne to see a rock formation … and so on)  She ended up having the most amazing time and she learned maybe one of the most important travel lessons:  it’s not necessarily the journey or the destination – it’s the people you travel with that give you the memories you will never forget!