Monday, January 10, 2011

Vacation Planning

At the start of the new year we typically begin to plan where we want to go over the coming year. The wifey usually takes the lead on that, reading various review sites like Trip Advisor and then narrows things down and we talk things over.

We typically do one week long vacation per year and other long weekend excursions here and there. For our week long vacations we typically like all-inclusive resorts in tropical locations with good snorkeling and beautiful beaches or a Cruise to similar locations. With a big factor being affordability.

We've been on 3 different Carnival cruises out of Jacksonville, Tampa and Cape Canaveral to Nassau/Freeport, Grand Cayman Islands/Costa Maya Mexico and Nassau/St Thomas/St Martin respectively. Our longer trips have been to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and the Riviera Maya in Mexico. We went to Florida Keys for our Honeymoon and took day trips on the way back in Cape Coral, Bonita Springs/Siesta Key beach. We also went to Las Vegas this past Thanksgiving and had a great time, with the highlight being our Maverick Helicopter Tour of the Grand Canyon.

Our favorite place we've been is Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic. We went there in December of 2002, which is where/when I proposed to Marla. The picture on the left shows the area where I got on one knee and the rest is history.

We stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Beach All-Inclusive Resort. At the time it was one of the top rated resorts on TripAdvisor and on Debbie's Dominican Travel, both great places to read resort reviews. It was the most relaxing place we've been, the beaches were pristine, snorkeling was great right at the resort beach and I think we just did 1 excursion to snorkel at another location. Only downside was having to use bottled water for all drinking and even brushing your teeth. If you didn't, you'd regret it, something I found out the last day and on the way home.

We really liked our trip to the Grand Palladium Riviera Maya in Mexico, we went with my sister Michelle/James in March of last year, but it was not as relaxing as we normally like. We had planned this trip to do more activities, so that was just fine. The resort was MASSIVE (too large), you could literally walk for miles and still not be where you wanted to go, but the grounds were immaculate along the way. There were shuttles available to just about anywhere and in the section we were in you could call for a private shuttle, but many times we didn't want to wait so by the 3rd day, whew, our legs could feel the pain. We did a bunch of excursions, trip to the Tulum Ruins, Playa Del Carmen and a Ceynote underground cave for snorkeling. Our highlight there was relaxing in the Bali beds around our pool area and having some afternoon drinks.

So this time around we're thinking of returning to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. We want to relive the experience we had last time and are leaning towards The Majestic Elegance in Punta Cana. We really liked our Oceanfront room we had at the Barcelo resort, but we're leaning towards a first floor 'swim-up' room in the Adult only section at this resort, the main reason being that you get your own private Bali bed!

What are the favorite places you have been? Any upcoming plans?
We're always looking for new ideas!


Mock family said...


Chris said...

I kept off a paragraph on future plans to keep it a little shorter. Hawaii is on our list, as well as Napa Valley/San Diego/San Francisco, however after the 5 hour flight out to Vegas back in Nov, we don't want to head out West this year...Longer term a cruise to Alaska is also on the list. The bucket list also includes Australia and possibly Italy and Greece. Our dream trip, is Tahiti/Bora Bora/Fiji.

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes