Category Archives: Beach

Cabo San Lucas! Viva Mexico!

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Back in 2010, my parents, sister and I went to Rivera Maya (Cancun) for my mom’s birthday. While the resort we stayed at was really nice, I was not a fan of the city of Cancun. The weather was also really humid, and I got bit by about 100 mosquitoes. Yikes! So when Kevin mentioned that his company’s annual conference was going to be in Mexico, I wasn’t completely thrilled but was excited for an opportunity to take a few days off and relax. Like Orlando, I was only responsible for paying for my flight (about $400), and my taxi to/from the airport, but the hotel was covered by Kevin’s company.

If I had known how nice Cabo San Lucas was, I would have gone sooner! What a huge difference from Cancun! Cabo San Lucas is located on the tip of the Baja which is as far west in Mexico as you can go. It was not humid, and I did not experience any mosquitoes! One thing I noticed was a lot of construction going on in the area. Cabo was hit by a hurricane almost two years ago, and they are completely rebuilding. Many hotels are offering deals to get tourists to come back now that the hotels are rebuilt/fixed. Therefore, most everything is brand new! We stayed at the Hilton Los Cabos. The hotel was about a 30 minute drive from the airport. I was welcomed on the property with a (free!) margarita. What a beautiful resort with excellent service. Every single room has an ocean view and outdoor space. There were several bars/restaurants on the property along with the pool bar in the hotel’s infinity pool! Drinks and food at the hotel were expensive (it is not all-inclusive), but since we didn’t have to pay for our room, it wasn’t a huge deal. In late March, when we went, a room could run you between $300-$400 a night for a standard room. This is WAY more than Kevin and I would normally spend on a room, but after experiencing it…I’d spend the money staying there again. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Luckily, during the off-season (like July), the hotel is much more affordable and you could get a room for closer to $200 a night.

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View from our room!

When I join my husband on a work trip, my days are free and my evenings are spent with Kevin and his customers/co-workers. I was spoiled rotten and got a private cabana next to the pool for one of the days. I wouldn’t normally splurge on something like this, but what a treat! The strawberry margaritas were delicious! I was able to get some sun and read my book…just what a vacation should be, in my opinion!

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View from my cabana

One of the nights we were there, a group of us went to dinner in downtown San Jose. What a cute area!! When Kevin and I go back to Cabo someday, this is an area I would like to explore some more. There were many shops, restaurants, and bars, and I felt safe. San Jose was celebrating, as they do yearly, their patron saint, so the downtown area had a lot of people and music and dancing!

The next afternoon Mitsubishi Electric coordinated an excursion to whale watch on the Sea of Cortez! To get to the boat, we had to go downtown Cabo San Lucas. What a party town! Senor Frogs, Cabo Wabo, Mango Deck, etc., were located by the marina. We didn’t have time to explore downtown since we had to get to our excursion, but it certainly looked fun!  I had never seen a whale in the wild before, so I was totally stoked. We were welcomed on a very large yacht with a yummy glass of sangria. IMPORTANT: If you ever go whale-watching on the Pacific, BRING MOTION SICKNESS MEDICINE. I did not and I regret it immensely. I have been on cruises before and never needed Dramamine, so I figured I would be okay for this excursion. Wrong. The Pacific Ocean is pretty rough. About 30 minutes into the ride, I was woozy. The humpback whales were amazing to see – they are so graceful – but I was not really able to enjoy the experience because I was trying to focus on keeping my lunch down! Lesson learned.

Cabo San Lucas was an amazing trip (minus the boat incident). Kevin and I cannot wait to go back – but we wish it were closer to Atlanta! (about 4.5 hour flight, but SO worth it if you go for a week – it was a little far just for the weekend)

Viva Mexico!

Cruise to the Bahamas

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Ahoy! Since many of our vacations are not exactly RELAXING (we tend to do a lot of exploring, early mornings, etc., on our trips), Kevin and I decided to go on a cruise to the Bahamas. We didn’t plan any official excursions or anything because that really drives up the price – the plan was not to have a plan. For us, that’s a big deal. We got a great rate out of Ft. Lauderdale on Princess Cruises for a 4-day cruise to the Bahamas. When I say good rate, I mean a little under $1000 total for our cruise. This price did NOT include airfare. Our ship was the Emerald Princess. We have cruised Carnival Imagination before and wanted to see the difference between cruise lines. Carnival definitely had a bigger “party” vibe and attracted more families, but Princess was a little bit of an older crowd, which was just fine for us! It was quieter that way. Because the rate was so affordable, we booked a balcony room which was absolutely worth the extra money. We enjoyed many hours reading and relaxing out there!

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Our first day was at sea, so we spent some time drinking fruity drinks while laying out at the pool. The first stop was Nassau. We were not huge fans of this city. Perhaps some of the resorts are nice, but to us it smelled like garbage and food and drinks are VERY pricey. The area near the cruise port had a lot of souvenir shops and bars. Before decided on a cruise we toyed around the idea of staying at a hotel in Nassau, and we are VERY glad that we didn’t. We even went back to the ship early to lay out at the pool!

We really enjoyed Princess Cay, Princess Cruise’s private island. We spent our entire day at the beach soaking up the sun! Since it was Princess’ island, they even had lunch available included in the cost of our trip. Drinks and beach furniture were available plus there was some live Bahamian music! A lot of people rented tubes and floats and things for the water, but Kev and I were content just to lay on the beach.

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Arriving at Princess Cay!

Cruising is such an easy way to travel. You know exactly what you are going to be paying beforehand and the staff is always very energetic and helpful. There will always be food you’ll like (even if it’s 3000 calories), drinks are yummy, and there is a lot of free, fun entertainment on board! It was nice that we weren’t very interested in the ports because it put less pressure on our days, but it was also a bummer finally getting off the ship to ports that were kind of disappointing. It’s a double-edged sword. We probably won’t cruise again for a while – not to the Caribbean at least. We did achieve our goal of relaxing but as always, we wish we had one more day.

Hilton Head Island, SC

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In November of 2013, my in-laws purchased a home in Long Cove Club on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Kevin and I joke with my father-in-law (Rich), that we really appreciate him buying us a beach house! We love visiting Hilton Head every few months to experience “The Salt Life,” so I wanted to give you all some tips and suggestions if you ever visit!

The locals will tell you that they avoid going out, pretty much anywhere, during the weekends in peak season (Memorial Day – Labor Day) since the island is so crowded. Most people have to drive into Hilton Head Island (HHI) because the airport is teeny-tiny and only a flight or two come in a day. Therefore, traffic can be a bit of a problem, ESPECIALLY on Saturdays which is when most travelers check-in and check-out. Even with the traffic, summers in HHI are a party and incredibly fun! There are many bars, restaurants, golf courses, and seasonal activities to check out. However, going to Hilton Head in the off-season is delightful as well. You may not be able to sun bathe, but year-round the weather is generally cooperative enough to take a walk along the beach any time, and you avoid the crowds. Plus hotels are much more affordable in the off-season AND the weather isn’t as humid.

We have been to Hilton Head several times now, but going for the 4th of July was special this year. Rich has really adjusted to island-life. He has a social calendar that is hard to keep up with these days! For the 3rd and 4th, we were part of Rich’s entourage and did some bar and party hopping. One of our favorite watering holes in HHI is the Tiki Hut. This bar is right on the beach, and is open during the day and at night. It is tucked away at the Hilton Head Holiday Inn, but even if you are not staying there, the Tiki Hut is open to the public. If you are interested in staying at a hotel in HHI, I might consider this one if you are looking for a good time. A lot of fun events go on in this part of the island! Since it is peak season in July, the Tiki Hut hosts concerts on the beach at night. It was a lot of fun to go have a drink and listen to some fun dance music! We also enjoy going to the Tiki Hut during the day to have a Strawberry Daiquiri and watch (or play) corn hole and beach volleyball or just sit on the beach!

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The reason this 4th of July was special was because I attended my very first Low-Country Boil! Basically, this is South Carolina’s version of a New England clambake – not that I’ve ever done that either. I’m from the Midwest, we grill brats and burgers for the 4th of July…

ANYWAY, one of Rich’s friends invited our family (Rich, my sister-in-law and her fiance, and my husband) to join in on his annual tradition. The “boil” part consists of shrimp, crab legs, sausage, corn and potatoes. The hosts spread big newspaper on several tables in the house (it was raining so outside didn’t work) and everyone just grabbed a beer, butter, and some paper towels and dove right in! What fun!

Fireworks for 4th of July on the island were really great, as well! We attended another party hosted by Rich’s friends who had a fantastic outdoor view of Shelter Cove and the fireworks set off from the barge! I felt so southern this weekend, and I can’t wait for more fun in Hilton Head next time!