Travel News You Can Use
All-Inclusive Resorts by Brand:
Palace resorts are alluring, beachfront retreats located along Mexico's Riviera Maya, in or near the coastal towns of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. In Cancun, Le Blanc Spa Resort is kids-free while Sun Palace and Isla Mujeres Palace are specifically geared toward couples.
Iberostar offers numerous options in the Dominican Republic and Mexico, plus three resorts in Jamaica. They provide relaxing atmospheres in well-preserved natural settings, with spacious pools, lush gardens and sandy beaches. In some locations, several Iberostar hotels are in one complex, and guests have exchange privileges at neighboring properties.
Hard Rock Hotels brings its unique brand of entertainment and hospitality to its all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Among the included features is "The Sound of Your Stay," which provides musical amenities like in-room DJ equipment, the loan of a Fender guitar and free downloadable playlists. They welcome guests of all ages, but the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya has a kids-free section called Heaven, with separate pools and beach.
Hyatt recently entered the all-inclusive market with two new, distinct brands: Hyatt Ziva, for vacationers of all ages, and Hyatt Zilara, which provides kids-free environments. Three new Hyatt all-inclusives are scheduled to open in Jamaica and Mexico this November and December.
Palladium was founded more than 40 years ago. Its brands include the Grand Palladium properties in the Caribbean and Mexico, with pools, spa treatments, age-appropriate kids' activities and restaurants from Spanish to Brazilian to Italian. The Royal Suites by Palladium are kids-free retreats with an intimate ambience and personalized butler service complemented by full access to the services, dining venues, bars and activities of the adjacent Grand Palladium resorts.
Occidental is comprised of three distinct brands: Allegro, Grand and Royal Hideaway. Allegro Resorts in Costa Rica and Mexico are moderately priced, with upbeat moods and a broad array of daytime activities followed by lively nighttime entertainment. Occidental Grand Resorts in Aruba, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico are a notch above. Dining options are more upscale and varied, and some accommodations feature the additional perks of the Royal Club, such as private check-in and an exclusive restaurant and lounge. Occidental also operates the Royal Hideaway Playacar in Mexico's Riviera Maya; it has six restaurants, a dinner theater, spa, six pools and a kids-free atmosphere.
Riu has dozens of all-inclusive options, mostly in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico, plus two options each in Costa Rica and Aruba and one property each in the Bahamas, Panama and St. Martin. Often three or four Riu properties are located in one large complex, where guests enjoy exchange privileges at the sister resorts.
Karisma has all-inclusive resorts along Mexico's Riviera Maya and in Negril, Jamaica. It includes four kids-free El Dorado resorts and four family-friendly Azul properties. Azul Fives is a nice option for large family groups, with one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with fully equipped kitchens. The Generations Resorts feature all-suite accommodations (including two- and three-bedroom options) and butler service.
Three of our Excellence properties in Mexico and the Dominican Republic offer an elegant, kids-free atmosphere. Each has a multitude of restaurants, bars and lounges, plus 24-hour room service. In March 2015, the company will open its newest resort in the Cancun area, Finest Playa Mujeres, which will have the same upscale experience as other Excellence properties but will be geared to guests of all ages: families with young kids, couples, multigenerational groups and friends traveling together. Excellence also offers The Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres, a 109-room, family-friendly option north of Cancun.
The Sandos hotels in Mexico provide guests with an array of diversions, from water sports and tennis to a daily activities program and live entertainment at night. Its Sandos Caracol Eco Experience Resort in Playa del Carmen emphasizes Mayan culture and the natural surroundings of mangroves and jungle (you might spot a macaw or spider monkey).
Oasis Resorts in Cancun and Tulum offer value-packed vacations. Most Oasis properties are great for families, while one is kids-free. Each hotel offers multiple restaurants, bars and activities.
The all-inclusive properties of Melia Hotels International are found in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and Mexico. The company operates three brands, and all properties are rated 4 to 5 stars. The Paradisus hotels feature all-suite accommodations and include Royal Service rooms with butler service and additional amenities. Melia resorts offer a well-rounded tropical escape with a variety of restaurants, bars, water sports, pools and kids' programs. Meanwhile, ME Cancun is a stylish, contemporary spot offering exciting nightlife and a sophisticated ambience.
Club Med is a pioneer in the all-inclusive resort industry. Of the 11 Club Med properties we represent, one -- Club Med Turkoise in the Turks and Caicos -- offers a kids-free setting. Club Med also has the only all-inclusive resort in the U.S., Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St. Lucie, FL.
Barcelo has all-inclusive resorts in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. One is kids-free -- Barcelo Bavaro Beach in Punta Cana at the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.
Dreams resorts are family-friendly getaways in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Mexico and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Explorer's Club for young guests ages 3 to 12 has weekly beach campouts and sand castle competitions, and the Dominican Republic properties have Core Zone Teens Clubs.
Secrets provides upscale, kids-free experiences in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and on both coasts of Mexico. They offer elegant decor, multiple restaurants and lounges and 24-hour room service.
If you're seeking an intimate, couples-only atmosphere, check out the Sandals resorts in Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica and St. Lucia, or the four Couples resorts, all in Jamaica.
Finally, families might consider a vacation at Beaches in Jamaica or Turks and Caicos, where younger guests can participate in supervised, age-appropriate programs at the Kids Camp -- like Sesame Street-themed activities and treasure hunts for little ones, or glass-bottom boat rides and beach volleyball for tweens. Teens can try out the Xbox Play Lounge or Scratch DJ Academy.
FBI Toxicology Tests Find US Tourists Deaths in Dominican Republic Consistent With Natural Causes
The results of toxicology tests performed on tourists who died in the Dominican Republic in separate incidents this year are “consistent with natural causes,” according to media reports in the US and the Dominican Republic.
The FBI, which opened an investigation into the deaths this summer after Dominican authorities concluded the incidents were due to natural causes, delivered its report to Dominican authorities and the victims’ families as early as September, according to reports from Fox News and the Dominican Today website.
“The results of additional extensive toxicological tests conducted to date have been consistent with the findings of local authorities (Dominican Republic),” reads a statement from the Office of Consular Affairs of the State Department as reported by Fox News. “Our condolences are with the families during this difficult time.”
The Fox report adds the FBI “handed over that information to the families of the people who died and Dominican Authorities on September 16.”
The Dominican Republic attorney general's office postponed a scheduled September 30 news conference on the findings, saying the office had received “incomplete” results from the FBI. Dominican Ministry of Tourism personnel did not respond immediately to TravelPulse.com’s request for comment.
In the wake of the tourist deaths and resulting questions regarding traveler safety and security in the Dominican Republic, travel agency groups and resort operators have sought to reassure consumers about the country’s safety.
The country lost 100,000 visitors between January and September of this year compared to 2018, blaming the decline on sensational media reports of the “unrelated” deaths.
In conjunction with the Apple Leisure Group, travAllianceMedia has established www.travFACTS.org, a website designed to analyze and correct erroneous media reports that could be damaging to tourist destinations worldwide.
New All Inclusive Resorts 2019
All but one of these properties are all-inclusive, which means the upfront rate includes lodging, meals, beverages and activities.
Royalton Suites Cancun Resort & Spa, Mexico -- Features of this 5-star, all-inclusive getaway include a rooftop pool and lounge, a spa and activities for kids like dance classes, sports and trivia competitions. Among restaurants is Agave, which combines Mesoamerican cooking with Old World Spanish recipes. Opened January 2019.
Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico -- Japanese minimalism meets Los Cabos' laid-back vibe at this 5-star traditional hotel (it is not all-inclusive). You'll find clean lines, custom-made furniture, teak and stone throughout this casually elegant resort. Dine at beachfront Nobu and Malibu Farm, a farm-to-table eatery showcasing healthy fare. Opened April 2019.
ATELIER Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico -- This 5-star, all-inclusive resort for guests ages 16 and up sports a look that's both contemporary and warm, from the marble and wood accents of the suites to the palm-lined, 14,639-square-foot pool with sea views. Its signature restaurant is Maria Dolores, specializing in fresh Mexican cuisine using seasonal ingredients. Opened May 2019.
Royalton Antigua, St. John's -- Unwind at this 5-star, all-inclusive property overlooking the turquoise waters of Deep Bay. Go kayaking, play tennis or join a match of beach volleyball, and indulge in a variety of restaurants, from buffets to a chef's table to a sports pub. Rooms feature Royalton's signature DreamBeds. Opened May 2019.
Now Emerald Cancun, Mexico -- This 5-star resort offers an all-inclusive getaway in Cancun's hotel zone, and it's only 8 miles from the airport. It boasts eight restaurants, eight bars, a spa and clubs for young children and older kids. Preferred Club Junior Suites come with private pools as well as extra perks like an exclusive lounge. Opening late June 2019.
Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico -- The latest 5-star all-inclusive from this rock 'n' roll brand features the Rock Spa, with music-centric "Rhythm and Motion" treatments, and the complimentary Sound of Your Stay program, which provides amenities like Fender guitar loans with headphones and in-room video lessons and free downloadable playlists. Opening July 2019.
Palmaia Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico -- Set where the jungle meets the beach, this 5-star, all-inclusive retreat preserves the surrounding environment and offers oceanfront suites and personalized service. Three restaurants serve Mexican, Mediterranean and Asian fare, and guests can enjoy infinity pools, a beach bar and alfresco spa treatments. Opening September 2019.
Sunscape Akumal Beach Resort & Spa, Tulum, Mexico -- About 25 minutes north of Tulum's seaside Mayan ruins, this 4-star all-inclusive offers eight dining venues, eight bars and the complimentary use of water toys like Hobie Cats and kayaks. The Explorer's Club provides activities for kids ages 3 to 12, while golfers enjoy complimentary green fees at the Riviera Maya Golf Club. Opening October 2019.
Paradisus Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico -- This 5-star resort offers an all-inclusive vacation with seven specialty restaurants, six bars and day-to-night entertainment. A spa, two fitness centers and the Kids Zone round out the on-site amenities. The no-kids Royal Service and Family Concierge sections offer upgraded amenities. Opening November 2019.
Now Natura Riviera Cancun, Mexico -- This 5-star all-inclusive on a white-sand beach encompasses a lazy river, waterfalls and a grotto bar; the spa is designed to resemble the region's cenotes, natural freshwater sinkholes. A Rollglider aerial ride is in the plans for this resort, along with four pools and diverse dining that ranges from an ice cream parlor and buffets to French and Pan-Asian restaurants. Opening December 2019.
Resorts with Over The Water Bungalows, Water Parks & More
El Dorado Maroma on Mexico's Riviera Maya has overwater bungalows with glass windows set into the floors and access to the ocean via a ladder; they also come with private infinity pools. Sandals has installed overwater bungalows at three of its properties: Sandals Royal Caribbean Resort and Sandals South Coast in Jamaica and Sandals Grande St. Lucian in St. Lucia.
Love the thought of lounging by your own private pool? In Playa del Carmen, Mexico, all accommodations at Banyan Tree Mayakoba have private pools, as do the 41 villas at the boutique Viceroy Riviera Maya.
On-site water parks add to the fun at Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Sunscape Splash Montego Bay in Jamaica and Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas (Atlantis also has a marine habitat with more than 50,000 aquatic animals).
You'll find kid-sized aqua parks at Iberostar Rose Hall Suites in Jamaica, Crown Paradise Club Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's Pacific coast, Iberostar Paraiso Maya on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Barcelo Bavaro Palace in the Dominican Republic and Grand Palladium Jamaica and neighboring Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton in Jamaica (Grand Palladium Jamaica also claims to have the largest pool on the island).
Guests can swim in a cenote -- a natural underground spring -- at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort, a Playa del Carmen property set amid jungles, mangroves, beachfront and its own impressive water park. Moon Palace Cancun has aFlowRider surfing simulator among its amenities.
Many of our tropical resorts have swim-up bars in their pools, but the Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya near Playa del Carmen expanded the concept by adding nooks with partially submerged built-in seats and cocktail tables to its 13,500-square-foot pool.
Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic offer The Sound of Your Stay. It's a free program of musical amenities: You can borrow a Fender guitar, along with a pocket amp and headphones (in-room video lessons are available), or turn your room into your own private club with DJ equipment.
How about taking in the views from a private rooftop terrace? High-end rooms at Grand Palladium Bavaro Suites in the Dominican Republic have rooftop terraces with Jacuzzis and Bali beds. The Excellence Group resorts in Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic also have accommodations with private rooftop lounge areas and pools.
The reef at Anse Chastanet Resort in St. Lucia starts just 10 yards from the water's edge, offering snorkelers and divers an amazing array of marine life in 20 to 140 feet of calm, clear ocean. More than 150 species of fish have been counted here.
CHIC Punta Cana by Royalton Luxury Resorts in the Dominican Republic and Royal Hideaway Playacar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, offer a chef's table experience, where dishes are prepared in front of a limited number of guests. Royal Hideaway Playacar also holds a weekly dinner theater show in its Club Royale.
Crime is down 90 percent in Los Cabos since 2017
Crime is down 90 percent in Los Cabos since 2017, according to the latest statistics released by the Los Cabos Tourism Board. Mirroring recent comments made toTravel Agent by Los Cabos Tourism Board Managing Director Rodrigo Esponda, the Tourism Board reports that the implementation of a new security plan has resulted in a sharp decline in crime, following a spike in gang violence last year.
The five-point security plan involves working with the U.S. State Department to enhance security protocols, creating a “Rapid Response Network,” an accelerated security surveillance program, adding new security bases and personnel, and a hotel security committee.
On the subject of the gang turf war that was at the center of the violence, one villa owner told the Tourism Board, “…the Mexican federal government brought in literally thousands of military and federal police, totally cleaned it up, and left a small presence to insure everything was fine. It’s now been six months, and I can tell you being there a third of the time, every month, that I feel safer there than in parts ofCosta Mesa and Santa Ana, 15-20 minutes from my home in Newport Beach, CA.”During the decline in crime, tourism numbers in Los Cabos have been on the rise. Esponda told Travel Agent that the destination saw an 8 percent uptick in air arrivals through the middle of this year, with hotel occupancy remaining at around 70 percent on average.
The violence in 2017 prompted the State Department to issue a Travel Warning for Los Cabos. In January of this year, the destination was downgraded to Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, as part of a larger overhaul of the way in which the State Department presents travel safety information.
Top Selling Resorts in Aruba
Sparkling aquamarine seas lap sugar-white sands along the south and west coasts of this Southern Caribbean island, providing a distinct contrast to the semiarid, desert-like terrain of the interior and the north.
Aruba has bounced among Spanish, Dutch and English rule, and today it is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Tall, multicolored Dutch colonial homes with wooden doors make for a picturesque sight in Oranjestad, the capital city.
At each of the following five resorts, the upfront rate includes accommodations, meals, drinks and activities. Whichever one you choose, you're likely to hear a friendly "bon bini!" when you arrive. This means "welcome" in Papiamento, the native language.
The 5-star Hotel Riu Palace Antillas on the pristine sands of Palm Beach is our only all-inclusive resort in Aruba to offer a no-kids setting resort-wide. It has a gym, spa and water sports like windsurfing, snorkeling and kayaking. The buffet restaurant features cooking stations and themed evenings. There are four specialty restaurants and around-the-clock room service; for an additional fee, the staff can arrange a romantic dinner on the beach.
Next to the Hotel Riu Palace Antillas, Hotel Riu Palace Aruba welcomes guests of all ages. Among its draws are two pools, a swim-up bar, five restaurants, several bars and lounges and an ice cream parlor. Guests at the 5-star retreat can enjoy live music in the resort's theater, indulge in a massage at the spa or try stand-up paddleboarding on the waves. Some suites have whirlpools on the balcony.
The Renaissance Aruba Resort is within walking distance of Oranjestad's lively center. A complimentary water taxi delivers guests to a private, 40-acre island, which has no-kids and family beaches; there's a saltwater swimming lagoon on-site at the hotel, too. The 5-star resort itself also is divided between no-kids and family-friendly zones. Guests will find several restaurants, pools, a spa and a connecting shopping mall.
At the 4-star Barcelo Aruba on Palm Beach, vacationers will find six restaurants, a lagoon-style pool and lighted tennis courts. Join a game of water polo or a session of aqua aerobics, make use of the available snorkeling equipment or take a scuba class. Inviting thatched-roof palapas line the palm-studded, white-sand beach.
All rooms at the 4-star Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive near Oranjestad have ocean views and are housed in two-story beachfront buildings. Go out in a catamaran, learn to windsurf, ascend the 30-foot rock-climbing wall or grab a perch near the surf at the alfresco Bunker Bar. Dining options range from pizzas and steakhouse fare to stir-fry at hibachi tables.
Passports need 6 Months Validity
Six Months Validity Rule
Six Months Validity RuleWhen traveling to an international destination most people know that a U.S. passports are required to enter an international destination, but what is unknown to the traveler is that some countries would need to have enough validity of passport to travel to the county which is known as the six months validity rule for visitors.
This rule is in place so that if the un-expecting visitor needs to stay for a period up to six month his/her passport would be valid to leave the country.
What is the 6 Months Validity Rule?
The Six Months Validity Rule is imposed by foreign countries, and not by the United States. It simply means that your passport should be valid for more than six months before you would be allowed to enter a foreign destination. This rule is imposed by some of the countries we have listed below.
Countries with 6 Month Validity Rules
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)Ecuador (including Galápagos Islands)French Polynesia
PalauPapua New GuineaPhilippines
Saudi ArabiaSingaporeSt. Lucia
ThailandTimor-Leste (East Timor)Trinidad & Tobago
Favorite Romantic Resorts
Escape to a romantic beach destination, where features can include candlelight dinners on the beach, in-room Jacuzzis and honeymoon packages that provide perks like a room upgrade or complimentary Champagne.
Some resorts cater just to couples, like the Couples Resorts in Jamaica; the Sandals Resorts, with 15 properties in Antigua, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica and St. Lucia; and Isla Mujeres Palace and Sun Palace in Cancun.
The Royal Suites by Palladium are no-kids retreats in Mexico and the Dominican Republic with an intimate ambience and personalized butler service, complemented by full access to the dining venues, bars and activities of the adjacent Grand Palladium resorts.