How to Survive the Polar Vortex 2.0

Winter is coming.

And given that The Old Farmer’s Almanac – traditionally considered an expert in long-range seasonal forecasts – is predicting another blast of icy weather with above-average snowfall and below-average temperatures…well, around the Funjet offices, we’re all planning our get-out-of-winter vacations.

With all that vacation-planning expertise, we’ve decided to share our knowledge with you – because while we may not be at Winterfell, it’s best to be prepared with an escape plan.

Tips for Surviving the Polar Vortex 2.0

1. Plan in advance. Late-October through mid-December are optimal times to make your vacation plans for January through April. You’ll be able to find good values, while flights and hotels aren’t totally sold out (yet). After all, you know the saying: the early bird gets the best vacation package.

2. Be flexible. Sometimes, moving your travel dates by one or two days can mean dramatically different costs. And while it may be a bit less convenient for you to travel on certain days, we feel it can be a good trade-off for a better deal – or even a longer vacation without paying much more.

3. Take more than one trip. No, you don’t have to spend a lot to do this. Rather than taking one long vacation of 7-10 nights, take two or three shorter trips of 3-4 nights. This has several advantages: you won’t have to miss a long stretch of work days; you can break up the long winter months; you can explore more than one tropical destination; and your tan won’t fade too much in between!

There they are – our Insider tips for surviving round two of extra-cold weather with a super-sized side of snow.

Where do you plan on traveling this winter to escape the cold?

Deep Sea Fishing – No Experience Necessary

On Monday I posted about learning how to make my own mojito. Today’s post is about learning how to catching my own dinner deep sea fishing in Cancun!

Maroma Adventures’ deep sea fishing excursions include fishing gear (including licenses), instruction for beginners, and cold beer. You just have to remember the sunscreen.

Their yachts can accommodate up to 8 people, on 4 or 8 hour trips (for a beginner, 4 hours is plenty). The best part? At the end of the day, just bring your catch to Maroma Adventures’ restaurant and they’ll cook it up for your dinner for free.

And yes, it was delicious.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Making Mojitos at Excellence

In my opinion, a mojito [mo-HEE-to] is a classic vacation cocktail. Fresh, a little bit sweet, and—here’s the kicker—a little bit too complicated for your average bartender to throw together. Not so at Excellence Riviera Cancun. Not only will Armando and the rest of the crew make you a perfect mojito, they’ll show you how to make your own.

If you’re planning a vacation to Excellence Rivera Cancun or Excellence Playa Mujeres, put this on your calendar now: Mojito making lessons, 4 pm every Saturday. If you won’t be getting to Mexico any time soon, here are Armando’s four steps to the perfect clear mojito:

  1. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 lime slices, 8 mint leaves and a shot (or two) of white rum in a cocktail shaker. Add a dash of mineral water.
  2. Muddle the ingredients together. Don’t press too hard, or the chlorophyll from the mint leaves will make your cocktail bitter.
  3. When you start to really smell the mint, add more mineral water and strain into glass with ice.

Garnish with lime, sip slowly and enjoy. Voila – it’s an instant vacation in a glass.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Fun Ways to Stay Fit on Vacation

It is possible to indulge and keep up your fitness routine at the same time. In fact, free from your daily responsibilities and layers of cold-weather clothes, you might be more inspired to get out there and get your heart pumping (Okay, ziplining and parasailing will also increase your heart rate, but they won’t burn calories). Think of it as another way to indulge yourself.

If your usual routine is some time on the treadmill, indulge in an outdoor jog surrounded by the Riviera Maya’s lush surroundings. I made sure to check out the running path at the Excellence Riviera Cancun:

If you’re visiting someplace new, it’s a great time to try something new! Many all-inclusive resorts offer wide range of daily activities and classes–and because it’s all-inclusive, you won’t end up paying for a class you might not like. Excellence Resorts offer everything from daily yoga classes to beach volleyball.

Need just a little more motivation? Think of how amazing that massage you have scheduled at the spa will feel after an hour on the tennis courts.

If you have any tips and tricks for keeping your fitness routine going on vacation, share them in the comments below.

-Funjet Insider Laura

What’s Your Perfect Paradise?

There are so many awesome destinations to choose from for a getaway this fall or winter. So how are you to choose? Never fear, we’ve got you covered with our Perfect Paradise Personality Quiz!

Just answer the questions and find out what destination you should be Funjetting on your next vacation.




 




 




 




 




 

Your answers:

If you got mostly A’s: Your perfect destination is Punta Cana in Dominican Republic! With a plethora of fabulous all-inclusive resorts, you can spend your time lounging on the beach and sipping your favorite cocktail.

If you got mostly B’s: Jamaica is your jam. You like to relax but you’re more interested in fun activities like exploring waterfalls, cliff jumping and snacking on jerk chicken from a beach shack.

If you got mostly C’s: Las Vegas is your destination soulmate. You want to be in the middle of the action, and Las Vegas has no end to that. Dining, entertainment, gambling – you want to experience a little of everything.

If you got mostly D’s: Cancun and the Riviera Maya are perfect for you. Combining the excitement of Cancun with the laid-back vibe of the Riviera Maya equates to your ideal vacation destination where you can strike that perfect vacation balance.

What were your results? Tell us in the comments below – and whether you think the quiz got it right! 

Welcome to Punta Cana: An Airport Guide

Who doesn’t like to be met at the airport by a smiling face? When you arrive in Punta Cana, head to the transportation area, past the taxi stands and airport porters (turn them down with a firm “no, gracias” unless you’re willing to tip for their service) where you’ll be met at the IslandSun Experience desk by a representative like Anais Governatori. I’ll let her explain more about the transfers, tours and other services they offer.

As Funjet’s in-destination support team, IslandSun provides shared or private transfers to your hotel, and also offers several tours and excursions you can add to your vacation package.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Bike Tours at Excellence Riviera Cancun

Even if you’re staying at the most luxurious all-inclusive resort, it’s nice to get out and explore. Excellence Riviera Cancun offers a great way of doing that with their daily bike tours to Puerto Morelos.

The bikes are comfortable, and it’s an easy ride to Puerto Morelos. Work off a little bit of last night’s dessert, find some souvenirs, and enjoy the ride. Be sure to check out a few of my previous posts on dining and shopping in Puerto Morelos.

-Funjet Insider Laura

 

Snorkeling at Xel-Ha

We talk a lot about snorkeling in Cancun and Riviera Maya because it really is one of the best places in the world for it. And if you’re new to snorkeling, or have kids with you, Xel-Ha Park is one of the best places to start. Jump in with me and check out its amazing variety of tropical fish: 

Snorkeling equipment and life vests are included in admission to Xel-Ha. The aquarium itself is calm and relatively shallow, so it’s perfect for younger or less experienced swimmers. Once you’re used to the flippers and snorkel, you can explore the park’s rivers, grottos, and even an underwater cave! I had a great time here, and I know you will too.

-Funjet Insider Laura

Winter Preview 2015: Sun, Sand & Sex

The 6 Hottest Destinations for early 2015 Vacations

Although long-range forecasts are calling for a winter equally as awful as last year, 2015 is looking pretty great. Here at the Funjet Insider, we’ve been scouring our sources and have come up with the top 6 destinations you’ll want to visit in early 2015. Whether you want to get to the beach, have adventures in the sun, or woo a significant other in paradise, we know exactly where you should go. So, without further ado – here is a preview of what could be in your future this winter:

A solid choice year after year for great value and easy access, new resorts opening in 2015 may change the way you see Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Finest Playa Mujeres

FINEST PLAYA MUJERES: OPENING FEBRUARY 12, 2015

As a brand-new build in the Playa Mujeres gated community, Finest Playa Mujeres will offer a similar high level of service and amenities as its adults-only sister properties, Excellence Resorts, with one key difference: it will be open to guests of all ages. Families should opt for the Pool Junior Suites or Family Suites, which will offer private garden spaces complete with pools. It is a unique concept that families will love because of the flexibility and privacy.

Finest Playa Mujeres | Pool Junior Suite

Of course, while children will be welcomed and catered to (even to the point that there is a family section of the spa!), adults will still enjoy the signature attention to detail and pampering that is present in every Excellence Group property. There are two club sections with upgraded amenities and added luxury that we recommend fully. The Excellence Club will be adults-only, and the Finest Club will offer a similar experience for families.

THE ROYALTON RIVIERA CANCUN: OPENING DECEMBER 2014

This new resort starts your vacation off the right way with a chilled cocktail when you arrive to check in. It just continues from there with beautiful design and excellent service. This is Royalton’s first resort in Cancun, though they have excellent properties in Jamaica and Punta Cana. Families are welcome at this resort, but if you’re looking for romance, we recommend the Hideaway at Royalton. This adults-only section is like a boutique hotel within a larger resort and would be an excellent choice for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.

The resort is built on an “All-In Luxury™” concept, which means you can expect quality service, clean and modern accommodations and great amenities. One thing we particularly like is the unlimited á la carte dining, which means you don’t ever have to eat at the buffet if you don’t want to. There are also 11 pools, so you’re pretty much guaranteed plenty of space on the decks. Other nice features are the free Wi-Fi throughout the resort, and their free Royalton app which includes unlimited free calling.

Barbados-text

Barbados is a small island in the Lesser Antilles – the far southern tip of the Caribbean region. It is surrounded by coral reefs, and in fact, that is precisely what makes its beaches so fine! Barbados is an up-and-coming destination that is ideally suited for honeymooners and couples.

SANDALS BARBADOS: OPENING JANUARY 2015

Sandals Barbados has been completely re-imagined from top to bottom. The fully-renovated resort will have seven new gourmet restaurants along with four previously-existing ones. These will include a steakhouse and Sandals’ first-ever Indian restaurant, the Bombay Club.

Every room and suite will be remodeled, and some will now features Sandals’ English Guild-trained butlers. These upper-level rooms are worth the splurge, particularly for a special occasion like a honeymoon!

Sandals Barbados has literally been designed for people in love. Romance is everywhere here! Plus, they have an excellent program to help their guests discover Barbados’ many attractions and fascinating history.

Jamaica is ever a popular destination for families and couples alike because it truly does provide top-notch tropical getaways. With tons of activities and excellent new resorts, if you haven’t been to Jamaica recently, you haven’t truly experienced the destination.

MOON PALACE JAMAICA GRANDE: OPENING EARLY 2015

This is incredibly exciting news: Palace Resorts is opening their first property outside of Mexico! Located in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande will bring all the things we love about Palace to the Caribbean. Simply put, this resort is going to be fantastic.

Moon Palace Jamaica GrandeIf you’re in search of sand (or sun), this may be the perfect resort for you. It is located on a peninsula with a very long stretch of private beach. It’s really fun to hang out on the beach and watch the ships come in and out of the port.

Families with kids of any age will have tons to do here, including the FlowRider™ wave simulator, the Wired Teen Lounge and The Playroom kids club. And with five restaurants on property, everyone will have a favorite restaurant! One unique thing that we particularly like about the new property is the gourmet food corridor. It’s essentially a a hybrid of a farmer’s market and a café, and it’s our go-to place for a fresh snack during the day.

And of course, you can expect an air of comfortable style throughout the resort. Cutting-edge designer Francois Frossard has designed the decór and it is fabulous. We absolutely love that each room will feature CHI products, including their hairstyling iron, hairdryer and bath amenities. This attention to luxurious details is what makes Palace Resorts so relaxing for your vacation.

HYATT ZIVA ROSE HALL: OPENING NOVEMBER 23, 2014

Hyatt has recently jumped feet-first into the all-inclusive resort scene and they’re doing a bang-up job of it so far with properties in Mexico. The Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall will be their first property in Jamaica and it will be spectacular. Just 15 minutes from the Montego Bay airport, it’s easily accessed but still feels private and elite.

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall is a family-friendly resort with a kids club and fun family activities like beach volleyball and water basketball. And while families will definitely love it, the overall vibe is one of relaxation and laid-back recreation. Everything from the rooms to the common areas and the pools have the same modern but welcoming feel that instantly makes you feel that you are truly on vacation.

Dining at Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall is a very contemporary experience drawing from farm-to-table inspiration and fresh local ingredients. That said, the dining is very worldly – Di Roza is a to-die-for Italian restaurant while Fuzion offers Asian cuisine and Teppanyaki show stations. Additionally, you can choose Caribbean seafood, Brazilian or – of course – Jamaican jerk chicken. And here’s one of our favorite tips: check out the rooftop bar for awesome drinks and views to match.

Aruba makes up the “A” portion of the ABC Islands – Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. These three islands are known for consistently excellent weather year round: no rainy season, no unbearable heat, just perfectly pleasant weather. Oh, and they’re also out of the hurricane belt, so your likelihood of a stormy vacation is practically zero.

RIU PALACE ANTILLAS: OPENING OCTOBER 11, 2014

RIU-lovers, rejoice! Riu Palace Antillas has brought its signature adults-only experience to Aruba. Joining the Riu Palace Aruba, which welcomes families, the Riu Palace Antillas will be exclusively for adults over 18 years of age. It is Aruba’s first 24-hour all-inclusive adults-only resort.

Guests of the new resorts will have several restaurants to choose from, including a main buffet with a lovely terrace. There will also be three specialty restaurants, including Krystal Fusion restaurant.

Connected travelers will appreciate the free Wi-Fi throughout the resort. There are plenty of activities and watersports available, which is ideal for Aruba’s year-round excellent temperatures and warm water. At night, this new resort will feature a disco where you can dance the night away!

Maui has long been the subject of vacationers’ dreams…and for good reason. The island is stunningly beautiful with top-notch resort, excellent snorkeling and diving for any skill level, incredible natural landscapes and laid-back locals.

ANDAZ MAUI AT WAILEA RESORT: OPENED SEPTEMBER 2013

In an area of Maui that is studded with luxury resorts, the Andaz Maui at Wailea stands out with modern style that seamlessly incorporates the unique Hawaiian experience.

The in-room amenities at the Andaz Maui are excellent, especially considering that there is no resort fee. You’ll enjoy a complimentary welcome drink, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages that are replenished daily. Pretty nice when you’re spending lots of time in the sun!

No matter where you go in this resort – your room, the pool, the beach – you’re surrounded by luxury and sophistication that hits just the right note for an upscale vacation. The restaurants are particularly decadent: Ka’ana Kitchen features local ingredients, and Morimoto Maui features dishes from the culinary master. Plus, the activities are top-notch. We love the canoeing and kayaking, and you should definitely take advantage of the surf lessons!

As much as we adore the Andaz Maui, you should not stay at the resort the whole time. Ask the knowledgeable staff for recommendations on the best places to explore the rest of the island.

Punta Mita is a gated community north of Puerto Vallarta in the Riviera Nayarit region. This posh area is the perfect place to escape into tropical paradise, while excursions into Puerto Vallarta town are an easy taxi ride away.

IBEROSTAR PLAYA MITA: OPENED DECEMBER 2013

Though this resort is nearly a year old, it’s on this list because it has helped make Punta Mita more accessible. Previously only home to ultra-luxury resorts, the IBEROSTAR Playa Mita brings upscale sophistication at a more affordable price.

This resort was a new construction, built by IBEROSTAR from the ground up with their guests in mind. It is a great choice for families, with their Splash Park and Disco, along with an emphasis on sports and activities.

The hotel is also home to the Litibu Golf Club, which is considered one of the top golf courses in the area. While golf will be an added cost, there are plenty of activities included in your stay, such as kayaking, beach volleyball, ping-pong and even windsurfing.

Plus, the views are pretty incredible and the sunsets are fabulous. One of the best spots to watch the sun go down over the ocean is on the terrace where you can sip a drink before dinner.

Which of these resorts would you most like to visit this winter?

Relaxing the Natural Way at Xel-Ha Park

There are a lot of things to do at Xel-Ha Park. A LOT. And even the most seasoned traveler (like me) needs some down time. What makes Xel-Ha great is that you don’t have to leave to relax for a moment before getting back on a zip bike, hiking down a jungle trail, or jumping in with the fish. I took a break by floating down the lazy river through Xel-Ha’s mangrove jungles.

If you’re feeling a little water-logged, the lazy river isn’t the only place to relax at Xel-Ha. Enjoy a cocktail or take a quick snooze on Hammock Island, or explore along the Bay of Caprices, where quiet, secluded spots with lounge chairs and beautiful views waiting to be discovered.

Plus, because Xel-Ha is all-inclusive, there’s no need to carry your wallet along or keep track of your towel. Lockers and towels, snorkel equipment, drinks and food are all included with your admission. So your float down the lazy river will truly be stress-free.

-Funjet Insider Laura