Thursday, April 17, 2008

Jody - Playa del Carmen



Playa del Carmen is located just south of Cancun. It's about a 45 minute ride from the Cancun airport. A very nice, clean small city with lots to do. After traveling all day it was nice to be greeted with a glass of champagne and a cool hand towel upon our arrival and a very speedy check-in. The Royal Hideaway Resort and Spa is a beautiful gated resort. This resort was a perfect setting for the family wedding we were attending.



There are about 200 rooms in this beach side resort, so you really do not feel like just another tourist on vacation. There are about ten or so "villas" each only 2 to 3 stories high. Each "villa" had it's own concierge to assist you with your dinner reservations and all accommodations with your stay. Being an all-inclusive resort, we took advantage of the 24 hr room service. Great food and perfect portions. We didn't get to try out all the restaurants during our short time there. But what we did have was most scrumptious.



The staff couldn't of been more attentive. Before anyone in our group finished a drink, another was arriving as if they could read our minds. Since I am the only one in the group that smokes cigars, I was fortunate enough to have it literally walk by us on the beach. Not many beach vendors, but the ones that are allowed offered very nice goods. I ended up buying a box of 5 Cohiba Cuban cigars. Mmmmm what a treat. Sipping the best Mojito I've had in a long time, smoking a nicely aged Cuban cigar on a beach with white powdery sand and soaking up lots of sunshine wearing one of my favorite suits. Really who could ask for anything more.



I was told that there was a significant amount of damage to the beach due to the hurricanes of last year. They were actually adding sand to the beach while we were there. It really didn't distract from any part of the trip and was actually nice to have the 'sand bags' create little tide pools to dip in. They had water crafts available for any type of water sport and their own lifeguard.



Because we were only there for 3 days, the beach, sun and saltwater was our priority. So having my Malibu Strings suits were definitely being put to good use, I just wish that we had more time there to wear them all. By far, these suits could not be any more comfortable. I truly feel so confident wearing them in and out of the surf. We had fun running around the resort find neat areas to do a 'photo shoot'. The attention these suits get was overwhelming.



I can't thank Malibu Strings enough for being there for me, these suits will always be my travel companion where ever life takes me.

-Jody

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Kimmy - Sint Maarten



St. Martin, or Sint Maarten…This tiny island is the smallest land mass shared by two countries…France, and The Netherlands…



There are no check points when you travel from the Dutch side to the French side of the Island…The Dutch side seems more American, and the French side is more European.…Electricity on the Dutch side is 110v…on the French it is 220v…If you want US $$ which are accepted all over the Island you should go to the Dutch side to an ATM…you will find plenty of them.



Most people either visit briefly, off one of the many cruise ships that stop at the Island for the day, or fly into Princess Julianna airport, which was recently expanded and renovated with a new terminal…expansion of the runway is underway…Speaking of runway…one of the attractions on the island is going to Maho beach and Sunset Beach Bar…which are located at the end of the runway…You can listen to the radio traffic between the pilot, and tower, then watch up close, and personal as the planes come, and go…most spectacular of which are the 747’s screaming overhead…



Some adventurous souls try to hang on to the chain link fence while the planes run up the engines for take off…I’ve done this myself…The hot jet wash and sand pelting you…quite a rush… I have seen a few less hearty souls take a tumble when they fail to hold tight… I know it sounds crazy…but it’s great entertainment…



Maho has a lot to offer…Casinos, Fine restaurants, Night clubs, and shopping…
Some of my favorites...



After a day on the beach we often stop at Sunset beach bar for cocktails, and a snack…They usually have local entertainment, and topless women drink free…yes I have had my share of free drinks…They also have live entertainment that goes into the night as well as a Bikini contest for those who dare…and a best physique for the guys…



Bamboo Bernies, restaurant, bar, night club, great sushi…Bliss, restaurant, bar, night club, they have a small pool too…very nice for lounging an afternoon away…



Cheri’s café is a must for first timers, the show hasn’t changed since our first time in 94, but you really should do it once…you’re sure to have a good time…Casino Royale…



The Q club which was featured in Wild on with Brooke Burke a while back…is a dance club above the casino…open late, and only on the weekends…and of course Sopranos piano bar which has great entertainers, usually for a month at a time…last time we had the pleasure of Heather Sullivan’s talents for our entire four week stay…We even had the good fortune to have Luciano drop by while he was on island for a concert, and do a few songs with Heather…Luciano is said to be the new Bob Marley…



Heather will be back in June 08…It’s best to grab the weekly entertainment guide to know what’s going on, and on which night it’s happening…There’s also the Platinum Room for adult entertainment.



Right next to Maho is the only golf course on the island…it is, or was part of the Mullet bay beach club, and resort…In 1995 Hurricane Luis damaged the resort, and it was never repaired…the story is someone took the money and ran…The golf course is still in operation although it is not the beauty it once was…and Mullet bay beach is still a nice beach…there are facilities and vendors for refreshments…



One thing you must know about the Island is the Bridge schedule…There are two draw bridges…one in Simpson Bay, and the other in Marigot…avoid driving near the bridges when they’re up, you will be stuck in your car for quite a while…you may as well be sitting at the bar, or on the beach, or whatever else you’d like to do…check the schedule…plan accordingly trust me…



Since we’re talking about cars and driving…you really need a car if you plan to enjoy the experience that is Sint Maarten…you can rent one pretty reasonably at the airport…they will negotiate…

Labels: , , ,

Friday, April 4, 2008

Elisa - Bare-Boating the British Virgin Islands



Exploring the British Virgin Islands (BVI) by boat is at the absolute top of our list of vacations. While it is work if you are the “captain of your own ship”, the rewards of being able to search out a deserted beach, drop anchor, and dinghy ashore with a cooler, some towels, and little more, is second to none.



Getting to the BVI can be a bit of a chore. You can connect through St. Thomas and take a ferry over, or through San Juan on American. If you chose to take another airline (we took US Airways into San Juan) then you will probably have to connect to Beef Island (BVI) by way of a carrier like Caribbean Sun or Caribbean Star. We actually chose Cape Air. They fly old Cessna 402s, which hold a max of 9 passengers and take about 45 minutes to get to Beef Island. The up side of going via Cape Air is that the customs staff at BVI is small and they have a lot of paperwork to fill out on each passenger, so if you arrive on a flight of 50, you can spend an hour waiting to clear customs. Going on a small flight gets you through much quicker. Also, when we left at the end of our vacation, the line for check in on American was packed and everybody was afraid they would miss their flight. Nobody was in the Cape Air line, so we were in and out in about 5 minutes. One note – if you change carriers in San Juan (both coming and going) you will have to re-check-in and get your boarding passes, so on the way home, that means you have to totally exit the airport and go back through the check in line, which can be very long if you are not a preferred status frequent flier or flying first class.



We always use the Catamaran Company for our charters. They are located in Nanny Cay, which is about 45 minutes from the airport (taxi is around $12pp one way). Our boat for the week was a 43ft power catamaran by Lagoon. On arrival, the office was already closed, but they had us hooked up to shore power and left the lights and air conditioning on for us. The next morning we had a brief check out and were on our way.



Day 1 – We made the trip west out of Nanny Cay and around the West End of Tortola then turned north to Jost Van Dyke, where we spent the day on White Bay. This is a great multi-purpose beach. On the west end there are watersports, a trampoline, and 4-wheelers for exploring the island. More to the center and to the east, there is only sand and vegetation. This is an area where you can go topless and be far enough from the bars and families that nobody bothers you.
http://www.bareboatsbvi.com/jvd_white_bay.html



Day 2 – After an overnight in Soper’s Hole (West End, Tortola) we headed back toward Jost Van Dyke and stopped for the day at Sandy Cay. This is an uninhabited island with great snorkeling, sand and sun. That night we stayed close by and anchored overnight, grilling fresh Mahi-Mahi on the boat and putting a few bottles of wine to good use.



Day 3 – We took a long cruise south and around to Peter Island, where we anchored on the south side on lovely White Bay (part of Peter Island Resort, but very desolate). Rumor has it that the house on the hillside, which you can see in some of Elisa’s pictures, is owned by Bill Gates. After a great day on the beach, we took a late afternoon cruise around the south and then east side of the island and headed back into the Sir Francis Drake channel and ended up on a mooring ball for the night in Trellis Bay, where we dined at “The Last Resort”. This was by far the most gourmet meal we had on our trip and would strongly recommend stopping in.




Day 4 – Getting up early and dropping the mooring ball at sun-up, we made a 45 minute cruise over to the Baths on Virgin Gorda. If in the BVI, this is a must. We spent some time in Devil’s Bay and then made the 20 minute hike through the caves and boulders. For lunch we made the 5 minute walk up to “Top of the Baths” where the views are outstanding. Later that day, we headed all the way east to Bitter End Yacht Club where we took a dock slip for the night.
http://www.bareboatsbvi.com/virgin_gorda_the_baths.html
http://www.bareboatsbvi.com/bitter_end_yacht_club.html


Day 5 – We cruised the entire length of the BVI this morning, leaving Bitter End (nearby Neckar Island is owned by Sir Richard Branson) and headed west back to Jost Van Dyke, where we stopped at the tiny island of Sandy Spit. We took a mooring at nearby Diamond Cay and spend the day on Sandy Spit. About 4pm, the last of the other visitors left the island, so we had about an hour and a half alone on the island and took another round of photos for Malibu Strings.
http://www.bareboatsbvi.com/sandy_spit_bvi.html


Day 6/7 – Short trip back to White Bay, Jost Van Dyke where we spent our last two days drinking Coronas and Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar Bar, before heading back to Nanny Cay to turn in our boat and try to figure out how soon we can make it back!

Labels: , , , ,


MalibuStrings.com Banner