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Top Rated Places to Stay in Mexico

Planning your next vacation? Thinking about going to Mexico? If you love top-rated villas, exquisite beaches, water-based sports and Mexican cuisine, then planning a trip to Mexico should definitely be on your list of top vacation spots!

Top Rated Mexico Resorts

The following list contains the top-rated places to stay when vacationing in Mexico.

  1. The Resort at Pedregal – Cabo San Lucas. Located near the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, this top-rated resort is carved into a cliffside, making it quite unique. The fact that this resort is well-known for its ability to provide its guests with the most relaxing seaside experiences makes this vacation destination one that is full of luxury. Personnel concierge services are available when choosing this five-diamond service resort, as well as access to a number of other modern amenities like private plunge pools, rain forest showers and spa treatments.

Fine dining is available in the cliffside restaurant, offering guests the freshest seafood and the most authentic Mexican meals.

  1. Rosewood Mayakoba – Playa del Carmen. This top-rated Riviera resort offers guests the best of two worlds – the beach and the jungle – as luxurious white sand beaches are surrounded by a plush green forest. Travelers who enjoy privacy when vacationing will enjoy this Mexican resort as the suites offer private outdoor decks as well as personal butler services. This culture-rich area of Mexico allows guests to see the ruins of the Mayan civilization, and partake in fun water-based sports, i.e. snorkeling, kayaking.

A variety of fine dining restaurants are available for meals, where every dining experience is special.

  1. Capella Ixtapa. This Pacific Coast resort offers guests a blend of traditional and modern amenities. Privacy is key here as guests get their own private plunge pool, along with open terraces that provide plenty of room for entertaining. Freshwater pool swimming is also available, along with pampering massages and lots of fun water sports. The best meals can be enjoyed at one of the 2 outdoor restaurants, of which both offer fresh fish options from that day’s local catch.

Set on top of a cliff, this resort allows for beautiful blue ocean water views from any location.

  1. Las Ventanas al Paraíso, a Rosewood Resort – San José del Cabo. Also known as the ‘window to paradise’, this Mexican oceanfront resort offers all guests both a unique and luxurious vacation experience. The oceanfront villas are truly exceptional as they were made using the expertise only a skilled hand-carver can offer, with each boasting its own exceptional handcrafted qualities. Fine dining lets guests choose from a number of sophisticated and innovative dishes that celebrate the Mexican cuisine that so many people enjoy.

Pampering and luxury are the main focus at this Mexican beachfront resort.

Travel Specialist Group

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Best All-Inclusive Adult Only Resorts in Mexico

If you’re currently looking for some of the top-rated, all-inclusive adult only resorts located in beautiful Mexico, it’s likely you’re wanting to book a romantic getaway. An adult only vacation option allows grownups the ability to enjoy their vacationing time in a place where they can experience the peace and quiet they seek, which is most often found in an adult only environment. Wanting an all-inclusive vacation means that everything is included in your Mexican vacation package, which means that you don’t have to worry about where to go, what to do or even what to eat, as this is all taken care of for you.

Best All-Inclusive Adult Only Resorts in Mexico

• Beloved Playa Mujeres – Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula
• El Dorado Casitas Royale – Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula
• El Dorado Maroma, a Beachfront Resort – Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
• Excellence Playa Mujeres – Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula
• Excellence Riviera Cancun, Puerto Morelos
• Grand Miramar All Luxury Suites & Residences, Puerto Vallarta
• Hotel Mousai – Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
• Hyatt Zilara Cancun – Hotel Zone, Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula
• Le Blanc Spa Resort – Hotel Zone, Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula
• Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an Don Pablo Collection – Akumal, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
• Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an, Akumal
• Marquis Los Cabos – San José del Cabo
• Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla – Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
• Playa del Carmen: Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso
• Playa del Carmen: Royal Hideaway Playacar
• Playa del Carmen: Viceroy Riviera
• Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Golf & Spa Resort
• Riviera Maya: El Dorado Casitas Royale
• Riviera Maya: Secrets Maroma
• Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun – Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
• Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun – Playa Maroma, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya
• Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort – San José del Cabo
• Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun – Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula
• Secrets, The Vine Cancun – Hotel Zone, Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula
• The Royal Playa del Carmen – Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
• The Royal Suites Yucatan by Palladium – Puerto Aventuras, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo
• Valentin Imperial Maya – Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo

Bottom Line
Choosing to book your next vacation at an all-inclusive adult only resort is one of the best ways to eliminate any potential problems you might encounter at a resort that allows all ages. This option is the perfect choice when wanting to plan a romantic getaway, which often includes engagements, vow renewals, honeymoons, and anniversary’s.

Travel Specialist Group

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Reason to stay at a Secrets Resort

There are so many destinations to choose from around the world where you can go, but there are several reasons why you should book your next vacation at one of the romantic retreats of Secrets Resorts & Spas:

Location, location, location: There are many Secrets Resorts in Mexico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica, so you can find the perfect destination for your vacation. For example, you can stay at Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya, where you can relax on their white-sand beaches and look out at the beautiful, clear waters of Akumal. Or stay at Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa, where you can enjoy the Caribbean Sea while walking along their exclusive Juanillo Beach. So many choices!

Adults-only: Vacationing with the family can be great, but let’s face it, we all need our alone adult time and Secrets provides that adult-only experience. No kids running under foot here with their sticky fingers. It’s all about being a grown up and enjoying a sophisticated vacation.

Amenities:  Secrets Resorts provides some of the best pampering around, whether you choose a massage, facial, or body wrap, this is the place where the stress of work and home life can literally disappear from your fingertips. You also have access to a 24-hour concierge, room service, and gourmet dining.

Activities: An adults-only Resorts experience isn’t just about rest and relaxation. There’s plenty to do at all of the locations, including beach volleyball, dance classes, water sports, scuba and snorkeling, sailing, windsurfing, adventure tours, nightly theater and outdoor entertainment and so much more.

All-inclusive: And last, but definitely not least, when it comes to pricing, there are no ‘secrets’ here. These resorts are all-inclusive (except for a few select activities) so there won’t be any surprises on your bill. This includes free Wi-Fi, unlimited international and domestic top-shelf spirits, unlimited natural fruit juices and soft drinks, 24-hour room and concierge services, pool and beach wait service, daily refreshed mini-bar with soft drinks, juice, bottled water and beer, activities and entertainment and, of course taxes and gratuities.

If Secrets Resorts sound like the perfect destination for you and your loved one, contact your travel agent.

Travel Specialist Group

Why Honeymoon in Ireland

When it comes to choosing your honeymoon destination there are so many options it’s mind-boggling, but if you want a destination that’s romantic and makes a couple feel special, book your trip to Ireland.

No, you shouldn’t enjoy your first days as a married couple in Ireland simply because some celebrities did it. It was big news when Kim Kardashian and Kanye West took off to Ireland after they exchanged their vows. Victoria and David Beckham also celebrated their wedding in Ireland.

So what’s the draw to this amazing country? To begin with, let’s talk castles. There are more than 30,000 of them, from the 400-acre Dromoland to The Waterford Castle which sits is on a private 310-acre island on the River Suir. If you’ve ever dreamed of castles and living happily ever after, Ireland has your romantic storyline. Dromoland’s fortress, which is built entirely of dark blue limestone offers the couples a relaxing massage and a romantic boat ride.

If it’s a beautiful view that you and your honey want, then make sure you visit the 394-foot Cliffs of Moher that overlook the Atlantic Ocean. What a selfie that will be! Maybe a horse-drawn carriage ride is what you consider romantic and you’ll find one at the Killarney National Park. Another beautiful view can be found at The Mussenden Temple, built in 1785, which sits on top of a 120-ft cliff top above the Atlantic Ocean. It’s the most photographed scene in Ireland. Another selfie!

Beautiful Irish Ballads are performed in the Ashford Castle’s Dungeon Bar, which was once owned by the Guinness Family. Speaking of Guinness – and when you’re talking Ireland you must – toast your brand new life together at the Guinness Storehouse.

Of course, a honeymoon to Ireland wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the famous Blarney Castle and sharing an upside down kiss on the Blarney Stone.

If you’re more of an active couple, Ireland won’t disappoint. You can mountain bike at Ballyhoura, the largest trail network in Ireland, go cycling or kayaking in Kilkenny, take a cliff walk at the Greystones, hike at Wicklow Mountains or go spelunking at Aillwee Caves.

A honeymoon in Ireland is filled with something for everyone and you won’t be disappointed. If you’re interested in making Ireland your honeymoon destination, contact your travel agent.

Travel Specialist Group

How to Plan an Italy Vacation with Kids

A few months ago, we covered the best way to see Italy in 10 days. Of course, this doesn’t take into account if you’re traveling with children. They bring an entirely new set of challenges to your vacation. Here are some tips to help you navigate Italy with your youngsters because it really is a kid-friendly destination:

Choose kid-friendly sights to see: You might want to see the vineyards of Tuscany, but your kids won’t. Instead, make sure that they have things to do that they are interested in. The Aquarium of Genoa is the largest aquarium in Italy at 33,000-square-feet and a kid fave and so is the Bergamo outdoor zoo in Lombardy. Of course, you can pretty much make any site interesting to see if you tell kids about it on their level. Even historic sites like the Coliseum can hold their attention when you tell them that gladiator battles used to be held there.

Make it a learning experience: Kids want fun, but you can make Italy a learning experience too. There are guide books specifically meant for kids to discover the area. Let them go through the books and pick and choose things they may want to see or do.

Get used to late meals: Kids have a tendency to eat early, but that’s not how they do it in Italy. Lunch is a typical time that it’s served in America, approximately 12:30 to 1:30, but be prepared that dinner time can be around 8 p.m. to as late as 9:30 p.m. In Sicily, it can go even later, so be prepared to keep your young ones fed between meals.

Speaking of meals, kids love pizza so make sure you take them behind the scenes of a real pizzeria. They may even be able to make their own pie!

Build in time outs: Not for being bad. Running from one site to another may sound like the perfect plan to jam in everything you can do in Italy, but you’ll end up with one overtired child if you do. Plan your Italy itinerary differently. Plan on seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa one day and the Coliseum the next. Once you’re done sightseeing, plan in some down time like a gondola boat ride or a nice quiet meal. Seeing everything in one shot sounds great, but the kids won’t remember jam-packed itineraries. Instead, they’ll remember feeling exhausted and on a whirlwind. Pick and choose. It will capture the vacation in a much better way.

Travel Specialist Group

The Best of Ireland

One of the most popular sayings in Ireland is, ‘May the road rise up to meet you.’ If you have decided to travel to the country known for its music, landscapes, castles and craft beer, here are a few things you should do:

Visit a castle: There are more than 30,000 castles and castle ruins of all shapes and sizes to see, including Dromoland, which sits on 400 acres and was for the Kings of Thomond or Waterford Castle, which is located on a private 310-acre island on the River Suir. You can enjoy a meal in the Castle’s Munster Room and visit the Fitzgerald Bar which houses the finest Irish whiskey collection. Stop at the Ballynahinch Castle, which overlooks the famous Ballynahinch River or the Cabra Castle Hotel, which dates back to 1760 and has 80 bedrooms, impressive hallways and stairwells.

Throw one back: When in Ireland, do as the Irish do and drink the ale. You can also tour Metalman Brewing, and Blacks of Kinsale or, if you prefer a little Irish whiskey, visit the Irish Whiskey Museum, an interactive, modern experience. You can sample Irish whiskey, Irish Coffee or whiskey cocktails.

Explore the countryside: Get on the bike and explore that gorgeous Ireland mountainside at Ballyhoura or go cliff walking at the Greystones. If you’re a hiker, check out Wicklow Mountains or the remote and rugged Cliffs of Moher. Spelunkers can also explore Aillwee Caves and see the frozen waterfalls. You definitely don’t want to miss Killarney National Park near the town of Killarney, County Kerry. It was the first national park in Ireland, and is home to another popular castle, Lakeside Ross Castle, which dates back to the 15th century as well as Torc Waterfall, a 20m-high waterfall which cascades down a series of rock steps. If you’re so inclined, check out Newgrange, an Irish passage tomb that dates to c.3,200BC or the beautiful National Botanical Gardens. There’s free entry to the gardens.

Share some smooches: Bring your lovebird to the famous Blarney Castle and share an upside down kiss on the Blarney Stone. You can also visit the beautiful Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, a medieval paradise created in 1191.

If you’re interested in a trip to Ireland, contact your travel agent to put together the perfect itinerary for you.

Travel Specialist Group

Grand Canyon Honeymoon Ideas

When it’s time to think about a honeymoon destination, most couples think of getting away to an exotic location, a warm Caribbean beach or a couples-only private resort around the world. What you might be missing is one location that is absolutely breathtaking and a perfect honeymoon destination.

Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful wonders of the world. The depth of sound, the vibrant colors, the rock formations make it a stunning site to see. For couples looking for a way to spend their honeymoon in the great outdoors enjoying one of this country’s most magnificent marvels, the Grand Canyon is a great honeymoon vacation spot. 

While you’re enjoying your first days as a married couple, you can also explore the Grand Canyon on foot by taking one of their many hikes throughout the park. If you’d rather take a ride around the canyon, you can do so on mule or horseback as well. It’s an experience of a lifetime to make your way throughout the deep ravines. There are so many other outdoor adventures you and your loved one can have, including camping and rafting. Don’t miss The Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass walkway where you will see the Canyon from a very interesting viewpoint.

There’s also the Havasu Falls waterfalls, scenic daily train trips to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and so much more. For the romantic side of your honeymoon, visit the Grand Canyon in the evening and the two of you can experience one of the most beautiful and most romantic sunsets in the world.

A great place to stay when you’re done touring is the 100-plus year old El Tovar Hotel which has 78 rooms and 12 hotel suites, each one with a unique name, identity and decor. Many famous people, including Theodore Roosevelt and Albert Einstein, have stayed as guests in this lodge.

Many of the lodges, including El Toval, offer honeymoon packages, so be sure to check out your options before booking. If you want to maximize your adventures at the Grand Canyon, a 5- to 7-day trip is a great place to start. This gives you plenty of time to see the Canyon and also take some down time and relax. Your travel agent can put together this unique honeymoon and all of its details. 

Travel Specialist Group

Visiting Jamaica

The Caribbean island nation of Jamaica is one of the most beautiful places to spend your vacation. With its blue waters, lush rainforests and landscapes, waterfalls, reggae music, gorgeous white beaches, including Seven Miles Beach and Cosmos Beach, and diversified wildlife, there’s so much to see and do. Jamaica is also all about the rum and there’s delicious food all over the island to try.

If you and your honey are planning a romantic getaway, then be sure to visit Jamaica’s Blue Lagoon, near Port Antonio, which was used in filming the Brooke Shields’ movie Blue Lagoon back in the 1980s. It is legend that the water – which changes from blue to green – is an aphrodisiac. Speaking of interesting waters, you can’t miss the Glistening Waters’ Luminous Lagoon where the organisms, when disturbed, create an eerie, glistening light. How cool is that?

You also can’t go to Jamaica and not enjoy some time actually in the beautiful blue waters. Enjoy the island’s Montego Bay on Doctor’s Cave Beach or Walter Fletcher Beach. Jump in and go snorkeling or diving. There’s also Treasure Beach, a six-mile stretch of coral-colored and black sands, private coves and rocky shores. You can also explore Seven Mile Beach in Negril, Jamaica’s, especially if you’re interested in some clothing optional adventures. If you’re in the mood for some romance, a sunset cruise is the most romantic thing you can do or visit Dunn’s River Falls.

Jamaica is also home to the Royal Botanical Gardens, also called the Hope Gardens, where there are many beautiful species of tropical plants for you to enjoy. You can also enjoy an excursion of bamboo rafting down the Great River or the Martha Brae River.

Finally, Jamaica is the home of the famed musician Bob Marley, who was born in 1945, so when you’re on the island, make sure to enjoy some reggae and take in The Bob Marley Museum. He lived in the property that he purchased in 1975 and lived in for six years until his death in 1981 from melanoma. His wife, Rita, converted the home to a museum.

Foodies will love the island too. Be sure to try some of Jamaica’s finest, including Jerk chicken, curry goat, fried dumplings, fried plantain, and steamed cabbage.

Travel Specialist Group

Best Way to See Italy in 10 Days

Heading to Italy and only have 10 days to visit the beautiful country? Don’t worry. There is still so much that you can do, but it takes a little organization.

First, decide what’s important for you to see. Is the Amalfi coast a must? Can you skip Rome, but you must see Tuscany? Anyone can give you tips on the best way to see Italy in 10 days, but if the places aren’t ones you want to see, it won’t matter.

However, if you are still looking to see the most popular sites in Italy, be sure to include Florence, Rome, Tuscany, Venice and Naples on your list.

Next, what’s your budget? A 10-day vacation Italy can put a dent in any budget, so you may need to choose your locations based on your finances.

Once you have a budget, a list of places to see and a timeline, you can start to put together your itinerary. If you still need a suggested 10-day itinerary for a trip to Italy, then here are a few ideas:

  1. Start your trip in Rome: Spend a couple of days visiting the country’s capital and make sure you see the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and the Colosseum.
  2. Head over to Vatican City: Here you should take a couple of days to see St. Peter’s Basilica and the Cupola di San Pietro as well as the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel.
  3. Tour Tuscany: A trip to Italy wouldn’t be complete without a tour of Tuscany, which is known for its rolling hills landscape, sunflower fields and cypress trees. You can many natural parks where you can hike and bike through the region.
  4. Football in Florence: We call it soccer in the United States, but here you can see Italy’s favorite pastime up close. Fiorentina plays here, so make sure you snag some tickets. While you’re in Florence, spend a few days also looking at the Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous museums in the world with collections of paintings of the fourteenth century and especially from Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo.

There you go, a few days in each and before you know it, your 10-day vacation will be over and you’ll be planning your return trip to see more!

Travel Specialist Group

Best Luggage Brands

Looking for new carry-on luggage or need a new suitcase? Just a few weeks ago, the Consumer Reports National Research Center released their survey of nearly 65,000 Consumer Reports subscribers on the best carry-on and midsize and large suitcases. What was the best suitcase of the survey? It was Briggs & Riley, a luggage company that offers a no-strings-attached lifetime guarantee. According to the survey, Briggs & Riley scored higher than most for its ease of carrying, wheelability, ease of packing, and durability. Readers also liked that the brand was easy to stow.

According to, the Briggs and Riley’s Baseline models have a built in compression system that allows you to slightly overpack in expanded mode, then reduce the footprint of your items back to the case’s original size.

Overall, Eagle Creek and L.L. Bean also ranked highly among Consumer Reports surveyors. A whopping 76 percent of respondents were highly satisfied with their midsize or large suitcases.

If you’re looking for new luggage, Consumer Reports also suggests looking at wheelability and durability. Luggage comes with wheels, which makes it easily transportable, but take it for a whirl, or a spin, because the wheels need to stay on and if the ones on your luggage seem wimpy, consider another brand.

Next it’s time to look at the zippers. Imagine closing your suitcase and the zipper comes flying off. You can’t get it closed or open and you’re heading to the airport to catch a flight. You need a reliable zipper. According to this article in Consumer Reports, zippers come in two types: chain and coil. The chain zipper has two sets of interlocking teeth, usually made of metal. Chain is better and stronger than the coil zipper, which slides on two parallel coils usually made of polyester. Chain zippers are much more difficult to break into. Coil zippers can be pulled apart with a ballpoint pen.

Just recently, Damon Darlin, Ask the Wirecutter of The New York Times, put some luggage through its testing, and came out with some favorites. When it came to luggage with great handles, his favorites were the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 22-inch Expandable Rollaboard Suiter for carry-ons and the Travelpro Platinum Magna 2 25-Inch Expandable Spinner Suiter for checked bags.

Before you buy, make sure that the luggage suits your needs. Are you traveling frequently or occasionally? Are you traveling internationally where your luggage will need to be bigger or will you be traveling shorter jaunts where you won’t need as much space? Your needs and, of course, your budget, will also help you to decide your final luggage purchase.

Travel Specialist Group