Travel | Andaz Mayakoba: Luxury Gone Wild

fullsizeoutput_671fIt seemed like the right time to take advantage of the peaceful view of the lagoon afforded by my spacious balcony. With a surprise delivery of fresh guacamole and chips set out on the table, I laid back on my plush seating.

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Coati!

I began to happily zone out when before my eyes I witnessed the peculiar ruthlessness of nature: A coati had stealthily climbed up a tree adjacent to my balcony to snatch a bird for dinner. It felt like watching a live-action National Geographic episode, only instead of being in the wilderness, I was staying at the Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya.fullsizeoutput_670aIMG_5013

fullsizeoutput_670dThe Andaz features 214 guestrooms, including 41 luxury suites. With three outdoor pools, each outfitted with cabanas, lounge chairs and umbrellas, the hotel provides ample space to soak up the sun, and with four dining options, guests won’t go hungry.
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IMG_4578Each restaurant highlights the authentic cooking techniques of the region while providing a distinctive dining experience. Guests can choose to feast on a range of diverse Latin American cuisine at the dinner-only Casa Amate; eat in a more casual setting at Cocina Milagro, the resort’s spacious main pavilion restaurant offering market-to- table dining; or snack on tacos and ceviche at the beachfront eateries of OllaTaco and OllaCeviche, respectively.fullsizeoutput_6719fullsizeoutput_671afullsizeoutput_671bfullsizeoutput_671d

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The Mayakoba resort complex is home to over 200 species of birds, reptiles, mammals and fish. One of the most exceptional experiences offered is a guided ecoboat tour through the area. The service takes you through the canals, enabling guests to spot plenty of wildlife. Everything from crocodiles to great blue herons can be spotted living harmoniously on the property.

Furthermore, there are 3 miles of trails that connect the hotels within Mayakoba, should you prefer to walk or bike instead. Also in Mayakoba is El Camaleon, a professional, 18-hole golf course that weaves through a diverse tropical landscape.
fullsizeoutput_6720IMG_4849fullsizeoutput_6712fullsizeoutput_6713Be sure to visit the El Pueblito, a traditional village square in the center of the resort. The bustling “little village” is complete with shops selling authentic Mexican crafts; upbeat musical performances; and an ornate chapel where a Catholic Mass is held every Sunday. Along with Mass, guests can partake in a farmers market on Sundays, where vendors’ offerings include indulgent delicacies, beauty products, handmade artifacts, beer and more.fullsizeoutput_6715fullsizeoutput_6717fullsizeoutput_6716IMG_4873IMG_5012fullsizeoutput_6722IMG_4789IMG_4734fullsizeoutput_6721fullsizeoutput_670c

The original article was featured in Travel Weekly and can be read here.

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Travel | Explore the Lesser-Known Side of the Famed Party Locale Cabo San Lucas

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Here are five destinations that don’t include re-living your Spring Break vacations
Cabo San Lucas is certainly known for its wild party scene, but there is plenty to do and see without pulling an all-night rager. You’re never too far from the picturesque coastline, but many people don’t consider the fact that a lot of Mexico’s beaches, though gorgeous, aren’t swimmable.

img_9960That said, if you’re looking to seamlessly plan an adventure to Cabo San Lucas yourself, check out CheapCaribbean’s website where there a million different ways to plan, book, and pay for your trip. Aside from the ability to plan your vacation by budget or by a payment plan, you can also talk to a real person to help you step by step through the process.

These vacation-planning pros are CheapCaribbean’s beach expert travel agents. Each “beachologist” is trained on specific destinations and can answer any questions you may have. Like which beaches are the best for fishing or tanning? What restaurant has the most authentic Mexican food?

I had the opportunity to take a city tour of Los Cabos via Amstar DMC, and here are the highlights of the day (yes, tequila was involved).
img_0066Glass Blowing Factory
Visiting the glass blowing factory was a much cooler experience that I initially thought it would be. Though the factory was boiling hot (thanks to the open fire pits, which is what melts the glass), watching these masters heat the colorful glass to create intricate works of art was incredible. The heated glass may have well been taffy given how easily the artisans were able to pull and mold the molten hot material. The shop was filled with hundreds of different types of glass-blown artwork — everything from figurines, earrings, and cocktail stirrers, to kitchenware and ornaments.
img_9986Misión de San José del Cabo
The area of San Jose del Cabo is rich in culture and highlights the beautiful architecture of this region. One of the spots we visited was the Iglesia San José del Cabo, founded by Jesuit priests in 1733. This church is gorgeous and has been preserved in its original structure. It maintains a white and cream façade that stands out against the bright blue sky and palms. Moreover, this historic place is one where the community still goes to celebrate its faith and religion.
img_0538Tequila Tasting
We continued our exploration of the colorful downtown area, which had a number of shops selling locally made items, bakeries, and, of course, places to taste and learn about tequila. Tequila is everywhere in Cabo! You can buy a bottle at nearly every shop, and often times you’re welcomed to your accommodations with a celebratory shot. Most restaurants feature an extensive list of tequilas, as well.
img_0536Tequila tastings aren’t just countless shots; but rather, sips of the agave-based liquor to allow you to actually taste its quality and more complex flavors. We tried el charro blanco, reposado, and anejo; Reserva don Armando Cristalino (aged and carbon distilled); Kalore, licor de café 20 percent alcohol; flavored sisi tequila in mango and watermelon; as well as a creamy, sweet, Santa Clara Rompooe Sabor Nuez (pecan), which is used in flan and eggnog around the holidays.
img_0005Glass-Bottom Boat Tour
One of my favorite activities of the trip was our glass-bottom boat excursion in which we geared up at the (beautiful) marina and headed out to sea to get a look at the famous rock formations at Land’s End, including El Arco, one of the most iconic Cabo San Lucas attractions. The water is an intense blue and the views were picture-perfect.
img_0037The boat has a literal glass bottom that allows you to see the bright, tropical fish beneath. While boating around the Sea of Cortez, you’re also greeted by giant, sunbathing sea lions. These guys are super friendly here and are always on the lookout for a feeding opportunity. The rock formations are epic. You have the opportunity to see Pelican Rock, Neptune’s Finger, Lover’s and Divorce Beach. My only suggestion: Bring Dramamine if you tend to get sea sick!
img_0058Lunch at El Coral
After a full day of adventures, we sat down at El Coral in downtown Cabo San Lucas and indulged in an authentic Mexican midday meal. The restaurant was very colorful and artistically designed. From each wooden chair’s unique paint job and design to the mural paintings cover the walls, this was a lively restaurant. We even were serenaded by a mariachi band with guitars and accordions.

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Travel | How to Seamlessly Plan a Stress-Free Luxurious Getaways to Cabo San Lucas

There are those who want to be the ultimate tourists when on vacation ― they want their trip to be adventurous, activity-filled, and packed with sites and places to check off their to-do/see bucket lists. On the other hand, there are those who simply want to be lazy, relax, sleep in, and be pampered.

Here’s my advice on the 10 best ways to make your Cabo getaway perfect with as little work as possible. Breathless Resort & Spa literally has so much to offer that you never have to leave, and if you do, they’ll plan your adventures for you.
img_0481Book with CheapCaribbean.com 
This company makes planning and booking your trip so easy ― they will walk you step by step though the entire booking process and base your vacation around specific interests, preferences, and budget. Plus, they summarize each hotel property and destination so you don’t have to do any research yourself. Think Sparknotes, but for travel booking.

Head to the Spa
You can’t go on a tropical vacation without getting pampered at a world-class spa. Massages include a Swedish/classic massage and deep tissue massage. You can also get facials and body and salon treatments. Additionally, you get access to a hot tub and lounge area that overlooks both the infinity pool and Bay of Cortez. You can also refresh at the Spa’s “bar,” Lush, which offers fresh fruit and juices.

poolPool Parties
Breathless offers two pristine pools to delight in. One is the relaxing, infinity pool that overlooks the gorgeous marina where you can enjoy your cocktails in peace. Or you can go crazy at the party pool which boasts DJs, music, a sea-side bar, and foam parties ― it’s essentially a 24/7 Spring Break scene, but for adults.img_9922Purple
Breathless, of course, has a VIP rooftop lounge, with nightly DJ entertainment, dancing, and themed parties. We attended the Great Gatsby party, complete with dancers, flame throwers, and plenty of Champagne.

El Medano Beach
This resort is located on El Medano Beach , the safest swimming beach in Cabo. Take in the sun, sand, and surf, and grab some drinks from the full service beach bar when you’re ready to cool off.
img_9863Classes
Learn the basics of DJing/mixing, take massage lessons, and indulge in wine and cocktail tasting sessions.

Work Out
There’s boot camp on the beach, water aerobics, and yoga, just to name a few of the group exercise classes guests can participate in.

Go to the Gym
If you’re one of those people. Or…
img_9935Eat
There are seven places to eat. Seven. Can’t decide on what to eat? Get to the buffet, Spoon. If you’re craving Italian, head to Spumante, or if you want to have a more elegant, romantic dinner, dine at Kibbeh for Eastern Mediterranean fare. There’s a beachside grill serving burgers and snacks on the beach, as well as a gastro lounge called Bites for shareable tapas and small plates. For fish specialties, Fish Nets has you covered. You can literally eat 24/7 if you want!
img_9864Stay In
Your room faces the ocean and/or the marina. Take that in while you can!

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