Atlantis, Paradise Island @Bahamas

With the winter winds blowing, you might be thinking about getting away to someplace warm.  Atlantis, Paradise Island is a great place for the whole family. Once you are there to experience the resort’s new family-centric Coral hotel and activities.
There are so many direct flights from to Nassau, getting to the Bahamas is easier then ever.
They offer some activities that are really out-of-the-box, fun and engaging. They offer all sorts of ways to help younger ones understand human impact on marine life, and show the value of research and conservation, all while having fun together as a family. Of course, a portion of all proceeds from activity costs go toward the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, which helps fund these conservation efforts.

The Coral (formerly Coral Towers): Atlantis‘ new family-centric hotel has re-opened following a year-long renovation / revamp:

  • New lobby and guestroom design – Guests can enjoy dessert in the new local Bahamian lobby gelateria (Sun & Ice) and avoid other “hangry” moments by pre-purchasing snacks to be set up in the in-room refrigerator
  • A Kids Concierge is available exclusively to guests of The Coral for kids to customize their vacation experience — think reserving AKA experiences, scheduling family swims at Dolphin Cay and access to kids menus at the various dining venues on property.Babysitting Services can be booked through the Family Trip Planner once on property. All sitters are CPR certified, have childcare qualifications, and have received a thorough background and security check.
    BRAND NEW kids/ family marine programming:

    Sea Turtle Hatchling Release (ages 3+)

    Every year, female Green Sea Turtles lay their eggs on the resort’s Hibiscus Lagoon nesting beaches. Once they hatch (during the late summer and early fall months) guests are able to sign-up and help Atlantis’ team of Aquarists guide the hatchlings to the sea, at dusk. By launching programs like this for guests,Atlantis hopes to continue to understand and care for the population of Green Sea Turtles in the wild, which are endangered species. Cost of the newborn turtle release program is $130.00 USD per person.Sea Turtle Adoption Program (ages 5+)

    Atlantis also gives guests an opportunity to adopt a juvenile Sea Turtle (2-3 years of age) and help to release it into the ocean. Guests choose a name for their new sea turtle and join members of the Atlantis Marine Team on “The Sea Keeper” (Atlantis’ private boat) for an interactive snorkel experience at the turtle release point, where participants are able to swim side by side with their turtle in its natural environment.  At the end of the program, guests receive an official certificate of adoption and photos from the day’s special events. The Sea Turtle Adoption Program takes place on Wednesdays (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM) and is based on turtle availability. Cost of the program is $1,250.00 USD (includes up to four participants).

Baby Sea Turtle programming at Atlantis @Bahamas

baby sea turtles
August and September are Baby Sea Turtle months at Atlantis, Paradise Island. Every other year, a female lays up to 200 soft -shelled eggs and only about 2 or 3 are expected to live. Atlantis’ Blue Project actively breeds and releases the endangered green sea turtle, and to date over 700 hatchlings have been returned to the ocean that will help increase wild populations.
Guests can take part in a behind- the-scenes tour of the resort’s aquarium, fish hospital and meet with one of the resort’s 165 scientists full time marine biologists, aquarists, veterinarians, lab technicians and water safety specialists; where they will learn more about Atlantis Blue Project’s commitment to conservation. They can also take part of a mature turtle release – as part of the process, guests will name the turtle, ride a motorboat to the nearby release location, and be in the waters during the release. Snorkel equipment is included.  A portion of the proceeds from the experience goes back to the Atlantis Blue Project. The turtle release experience costs $1,250 for up to four people.

Visit Barbados. Like, Right now.

I’ve been obsessed with Barbados since I was a kid, when I read the Newbery Medal winning book “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare. For anyone who somehow managed to escape their summer reading, the book is about a fictional 17th Century young woman who, orphaned, must leave her home in Barbados and travel to New England. Now in Puritan Connecticut, she often reminisces about her home and her childhood growing up in beautiful Barbados.

Yes, as an adult, I now realize the colonizer themes that ran rampant in the book. However, the images left in my mind’s eye of the lush and balmy Barbados had impressed on me the desire to make my way over to the tiny island as soon as I was able.  No better time then the present, so we headed over to finally see the nation well known as the birthplace of rum.

Located in the lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America, Barbados is about a 5 hour flight from New York City.  Just 166 square miles in total, it dwarfs the smallest state in the USA by quite a bit (Rhode Island, at 1,034 square miles), it packs a lot into a small space.

Though she be but little, she is fierce. Alright, perhaps not exactly fierce, but definitely a force. On this wisp of an island, you will experience amazing food (yes, quite a lot of seafood, but vegans and  vegetarians rejoice, there are plenty of options on this very foodie-progressive island), blissful beaches, friendly people, and incredible scenery. No matter what you are interested in, you will find plenty to keep you occupied while you vacation in beautiful and diverse Barbados.

Not ones to lay about the beach and resort all day, we wanted to see as much as we were able to in our (much too short!) stay. Not that lying about has anything wrong with it- you couldn’t pick a more picturesque place to relax and take in the sun and sand. We did our share of lazing, but spent most of our time exploring the island.  The history of the island is as colorful as it’s gardens, and during our stay we enjoyed learning about the island’s first peoples through events in our current time period. Luckily for us, there are some fantastic tour guides who are gracious enough to share Barbadian culture and history with tourists, and they are very thorough. The best part is, the more you learn, the more you want to know.

The Arawaks and the Caribs were the first inhabitants of what became known as Barbados. English Captain John Powell arrived in 1625 and claimed the island for King James I of England. After returning to England and back again, the island was given the name “Los Barbados”, a variation of “Os Barbados”, used by the Portuguese sailors since 1536.  It was named after a tree that grew on the island, the “Bearded Fig Tree” aka  Shortleaf Fig (Ficus Citrifolia) that the sailors thought looked like a bushy beard. As Barbados was named for it’s magnificent foliage, you can rightly assume that the natural beauty surrounding is going to make it hard to put your camera away.

Regardless of what kind of touring or adventure you are after, you are bound to be excited by and admiring of the natural beauty that will envelop you. One of the first tours we opted to take was a walking tour of Historic Bridgetown. This 3 hour walking tour was the perfect introduction to the area, and was led by local professor and historian Morris Greenidge. Extremely passionate, knowledgeable, and just honestly impressive, Mr. Greenidge is “the” expert, called to discuss Barbados and topics that intertwine with the local history on panels and conferences worldwide.

When there was not enough history or information available, Mr. Greenidge just decided rather than lament it, he would research and write the histories himself. Almost all by himself, as well. Self taught, he has researched and written the history of the island from it’s founders to local legends and heroes as well as walking guides and more. (Side note, some of these books are hard to find outside of Barbados, so you may want to buy them while you are there if you like them. Bonus, he will be happy to sign them for you. I regretfully only bought two of his books at the time, and am having a rough time finding some of the others. Lesson learned, hopefully you can avoid my error.) There are not a ton of books out there on the history of Barbados, not many novels either, so they were a good find and give good insight from that of a lifelong inhabitant. As well, I have to admit that after having spent time with Mr. Greenidge, I hear the books in his voice and they are quite a fun and unique reminder of our time spent touring.

Meeting us in dress slacks, crisp shirt, and suspenders on a blisteringly hot day, Mr. Greenidge speaks slowly and deliberately, often pausing in thought, giving an incredibly thorough tour of a place you can see he loves dearly. We began the tour at Chamberlain Bridge in aptly named Bridgetown (the capitol and by far largest city in Barbados) under Independence Arch. The bridge connects Bridgetown over the Careenage aka Constitution River, which cuts the city in two parts. Formerly a swing bridge that was vital to the shipping industry as well as connecting one part of the city to it’s other half, it’s now rebuilt and designed for the current needs of the island- mostly pleasure boating and fishing. Not only one of the oldest cities in the Caribbean, but also a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is a lot to experience in Bridgetown.

We toured the “best of” and “must see” spots like the garrison, forts, and religiously important buildings, as well as some hidden gems, hearing interesting stories and about local characters, and of course important governmental sites like the Parliament building. We ended our tour in the shopping and restaurant district, which was perfect, as it was indeed lunchtime. Those outdoor cafes are delightful, but if it’s still too hot for you, head indoors and find some air conditioning. Many offer both options.

barbados rum tour

As mentioned, Barbados is the birthplace of rum, which Bajans are quite proud of. There are more rum tours and tastings then you can shake a stick at (because that’s something normal people do, anyway) so you will have to choose your tour(s) wisely. We really enjoyed out time at St. Nicholas Abbey, which is one of the smaller options in terms of distilleries, but the extraordinary house, gardens, and museum aspect more then made up for that. Located in Saint Peter parish, it gives visitors more then just rum. If it were not enough to be a plantation house, museum, and rum distillery in one, St. Nicholas Abbey is architecturally unique as well, as it is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the entire Western Hemisphere. Built in 1658, it has never had anything to do with the Church despite it’s heavenly name, and was always a sugarcane plantation (until 1947). Barbados thinks enough of this location to name it one of the “Seven Wonders of Barbados“, and we agree. It’s absolutely lovely- and yes, you can indeed visit the distillery and taste the rum. 

rum tour barbados

Historical touring and gardens are a “must” in my book, but with the clear, always warm waters that stretch in nearly every direction you turn, I’m guessing at least part of why Barbados calls to you is it’s open ocean. There are as many ways as there are hours in the day to spend time in Bajan waters, narrowing it down might be the hardest thing you do while on your holiday. Of course, beach lounging has it’s place in the sun (so to speak? Pun intended? Sorry, I had to) but while you are here and escaping your ordinary, why not opt for some extraordinary as well? I highly recommend taking the time to go snorkeling or scuba diving. The water is warm and clear as day, the fish and underwater flora are varied and beautiful (and friendly! No fear of humans, and will swim in your oh-so-close proximity),  it’s both a relaxing as well as exciting day. About how many things can you say that? As well, I cannot, cannot recommend taking the Bliss Boat tours enough.  When you book, make sure you head out with Hayden and Emmanuel, they and their crew are the most excellent team. Experienced, fun, easygoing, and the best part- well prepared. Honestly just all around cool people. This was a standout portion of our time in Barbados, and the people made it so as much as the location and tour itself. Hayden and Emmanuel will get you to all the best spots in their glass-bottomed-boat, and while not crowded with other boats or catamarans.  This is important, since you don’t want to be swimming into other people (or have them endlessly crashing into you).

swim with turtles

Not only that, but it makes for better photos and wildlife spotting. There is an excellent chance you will not only see, but swim with turtles (who are treated with the respect and care they deserve). Hayden comes with you and your group, and takes underwater photos that he sends everyone in a Dropbox after the trip for no extra fees. These are beautiful, we cherish them. Visual keepsakes of this amazing time are priceless and quite special, some of the shots are amusing as well. Really- this excursion is one to top the list. Don’t forget to book with Hayden, you will be so thrilled that you did.

barbados boat tour

One rainy day, we decided the best use of our day would be to take surfing lessons. Water above, water below- it was such an interesting experience. We headed out to the deAction Beach Shop, owned and operated by world ranked windsurfer and “Bajan beach culture promoter” (as per self and personal site), Brian “deAction Man” Talma. The word I would use to best describe it would be “groovy”. It was a chill place with a relaxed vibe, covered in art mostly created by Talma himself (some available for purchase) as well as beach and surf paraphernalia. Located in the Silver Sands area, equipment rentals are available, as are lessons. Take your pick of equipment- starboard boards, surfboards, sail models, SUP/ stand up paddle boards, and more are available for rent. Wetsuits are also available if you would like.  After you have signed in, met your instructor, and chosen your equipment (or had it chosen for you), you will all head out to a local beach where there aren’t many swimmers. This is important, because you don’t then need to worry about hitting anyone as you flail about on your watercraft of choice. If you are new to the sport and anything like us, you might not be the most graceful as you learn. We ended up falling off the boards and “into the drink” more often then not, but by the end of the lesson we had each gotten up and stayed up at least a few times. I don’t mean to brag, but one time even making cleanly it to the shore (pinkies up, quite fancy). Clearly, headed for the pros. This was different than everything else we had done while in Barbados- it was physical, it was fun, it was at times silly, and something we had never tried before. It was letting yourself look foolish and perhaps act foolish as well. It made us a little closer by doing this new thing, where we looked goofy and were constantly coughing up ocean water, a good example of a lovely (loving) bonding experience we still talk about and won’t forget.

local art barbados

I could go on for ages about all there is to do and experience in Barbados, and that’s not even touching upon the amazing food (don’t even try to diet) or the laid back atmosphere, the gracious people we were lucky enough to meet and spend time with, the perfect weather (even during it’s bursts of rain, perfection), and of course, more food. I was ridiculous to wait 20 years to visit Barbados, I kept putting it off, because…well, you know. Life. I won’t be waiting 20 more to return. Don’t wait. Book the vacation you’ve been waiting on. Visit to find exactly what’s calling your name.

national flower

Coconut Bay Resort, St. Lucia

No matter what kind of vacation you are looking for- family trip, a romantic couples retreat, girlfriends getaway- you can find what you are looking for on the diverse island of St. Lucia. Coconut Bay is located near the airport (in fact, just five minutes away), so you won’t have a long trek to your room once you arrive. That’s never a welcome surprise, is it? Once there, you are greeted by friendly staff with cool towels and cold drinks of your choice- water, rum punch, or champagne.

Coconut Bay

As you refresh and cool off, you and your entourage check into your room.  You can take your bags or have them taken to your room for your, and your vacation really begins. A recently renovated resort on 85 acres, the all inclusive Coconut Bay offers plenty to see, do, (eat!) and explore.  There are nine restaurants, seven bars, five pools, a fully functional and not all all lacking fitness center (lets face it, often “gyms” while vacationing are weak sauce) the largest waterpark on the island, and more. Did I mention it was all inclusive? Because that makes things so. much. easier. Also, the beach is just past the pools- no long hike to and fro.

best family vacation

We took my daughter for a long weekend, and there was definitely not enough time to see all that we wanted to on the resort, let along the island. So it’s a great spot for a quick getaway, but for sure even better for those who like a more immersive experience. If you are traveling as an adults only getaway, you will likely prefer to stay o the “Harmony” wing of the resort, which does not allow children. When you get a moment to get away from it all- your routine, the kids, the noise-  the last thing you want to hear is someone else’s kids screaming, and that’s totally fair and understandable- and other adults get that. It can be hard to find time to reconnect as a couple, and Coconut Bay makes sure you can have those quiet moments you are looking for, complete with hammocks and lounge chairs everywhere you look.

St Lucia Resort

Brining the kids? Totally cool. I usually do as well. The “Splash” wing is for families, and where you will find the waterpark, the only resort petting zoo on the island (and the only one I can remember seeing ever in my own experience), the Kidz Club, and even a paintball course.  It is for sure the louder side of the resort, and there are plenty of family friendly activities to keep everyone busy. Also, a note for those looking to keep active while traveling- they have really good fitness classes offered. Actual quality, that are both fun and challenging. You will be working up a sweat but enjoying yourself at the same time. Again, not something I see all the time. Places might have gyms and classes, but they are not usually anywhere near this intensity, and we were super impressed.

If you are getting away for a couples retreat for a girlfriends getaway, there are plenty of places that are kid free. Sometimes, you just need some quiet time. With separate pools, cabana area, and bar, the “Harmony” area has adults only peace and quiet in mind.  The rooms are luxurious and have evening turn down service, and there are quite a few options when it comes to views. Pool, ocean, or garden, they are all beautiful (and what tropical view would you turn down right now, really?)

There are great packages at the Kai Mer Spa, which you can receive indoors or outside, in your own private cabana, beachside. Nothing like a warm ocean breeze, is there? That’s like a double shot of relaxation. There are quite a few massage options to choose from, as well as other beauty options, like nail salon services and more. You can go on your own, or with your girlfriend, partner, daughter- whatever works for your party.

St Lucia vacation

There are also plenty of touring options, should you want to venture outside the resort. Head to the front desk and choose from a great variety of options. While most resorts offer some kind of tours, Coconut Bay has a really large variety to choose from. St. Lucia is a tiny island, but it has a lot to offer. Not many islands have active volcanoes, mountains, award winning scuba locations, several kinds of sandy beaches (including black sand), amazing vegetation and flora and fauna- it’s a one of a kind island.

amazing views

The watersports are plentiful, from water skiing to sailing to kite surfing and more. Snorkeling is amazing, the waters are beautiful and there are many kids of marine life to find. There is also a beautiful botanical garden with waterfall and thermal pools, ziplines, rainforest sky rides (a unique attraction) and more. There is also an active volcano, aforementioned, that creates a thermal bath and spring. Those willing can climb into the sulfuric smelling waters and coat themselves with the gray mud that is created by the ash. Wash it off in the warm waters below, and your skin glows for days. Really, your skin will look and feel amazing. Wear a bathing suit you don’t love or is dark, the mud will stain. Sulphur Springs is also the world’s only “drive in volcano”, where you can really drive right up and see steam rising, bubbling, and feel the heat. You can’t get too-too close, and you will be accompanied by a ranger who will make sure safety rules are followed and tell you about the volcano. DO NOT MISS THIS!

volcanic bath


For hikers and climbers, you will want to save a day for St. Lucia’s iconic Pitons, which technically can both be climbed, although only one is legally sanctioned. Gros Piton, the legal mountain, is steep and challenging. Taking you up roughly 2000 feet in an average of two hours (and two more hours to get back down), there are benches and areas to rest. Bring plenty of water, you will be glad you did.

tours in st lucia


A Unesco World Heritage site, nature lovers and hikers will not want to miss Gros Piton. You will  register at the base of the mountain, pay the fee of $50 per person (in US dollars), and hike with a guide. Guides are at the base of the mountain, and reservations are not required. As the hike is not a short one, tours are available from 7am until 2pm daily- last tour ends at 2. It is recommended to go early.

horse riding on beach

After your day out, head back to the hotel, relax, and grab something to eat before choosing which pool to lounge next to.

Relaxation AND adventure- sounds too good to be true? Visit to choose a package that works for your next vacation.

Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts in Punta Cana

When it comes to family vacations, the bar is always being raised. Let’s face it: families want something that’s quite a step above camping in the backyard for their getaways. This time of year, most of us are craving warm temps, sunny skies, and lots of opportunities for a swim. Exotic and different are icing on the cake. That’s why Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts in Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) is sure to inspire memories that last forever. I was happy to be hosted to experience it.

dominican resorts

The resort’s luxurious accommodation includes the Swank Swim-Up Suite. Imagine a private, VIP-style wrap-around terrace that’s adjacent to the pool, along with sunbathing beds. You’ll feel like the resort’s all your own. There are other configurations and sizes of swim-up rooms as well, to suit different needs and family sizes.

resorts punta cana

You’ll find the décor bright and cheery, but with simple, modern lines to feel more relaxed – rather than formal and uptight. Kid friendly, but still chic.

spongebob pineapple house

The ultimate in luxe accommodations, and still able to fit a larger family is The Pineapple, inspired by SpongeBob Square Pants’ home under the sea. Two bedrooms and three bedrooms in a loft configuration are looked after by your own personal butler. Special activities can be booked for guests staying here, such as a moonlight beach dinner prepared by a world-class chef, wine tasting, an in-suite afternoon tea party, pizza party, or pajama party.

dominican republic resort

So, if you crave more water than swimming in the pool, they have the beautiful Uvero Alto Beach available and just steps away. There are plenty of lounge chairs and even beach beds available for guests to use, you won’t need to scramble for them or search around in vain. The beach is lovely, quiet, and very clean. You will want to spend quite a lot of time there, if you are like me. You can order drinks while on the beach as well, which makes staying longer even more appealing. Other outdoor games and activities, such as tennis, are found at the resort, along with playrooms for the kids and the opportunity to run into – and take photos with – your favorite Nickelodeon characters, including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Indoor activities include the fitness and dance studio.

family resort

Their spa can be a welcome respite from the kiddies – with experienced resort staff taking care of them should you so desire– or have them join in the fun with mani-pedis designed for them or a massage with marshmallow butter. There are several outdoor cabanas where you can get your treatments, as well. My son and I enjoyed a morning at the spa (dad was not into it) where we enjoyed a mother/son massage treatment (in the same outdoor cabana at the same time). He was thrilled he was able to be a “big guy” and indulge with mom in some special time. I also got my hair done, which was fun for me. I very rarely get any alone time. The staff was very nice and made it easy to relax.

hotel spa

For something a little dirtier, there’s always the famous Nickelodeon slime!  This happens several times a day at the waterpark area, and you can also reserve your very own family slime-ing at the front desk.  Not to be missed while at Nickelodeon, of course.

get slimed

The Nickelodeon Place waterpark area is a child’s paradise, with quite a few slides, a giant water bucket that dumps frequently, a “lazy river”, and more. We spent quite a lot of time there, and with a restaurant (Aqua Bite) at the location, it made it easy not to leave. If mom and dad need a minute, there are plenty of lounge chairs to relax on.


Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana is Nickelodeon’s first-ever international property, providing both nonstop family entertainment and Karisma’s renowned Gourmet Inclusive® Experience.   Located on the golden sands of Uvero Alto beach in the Dominican Republic, the upscale property has re-imagined the art of hospitality to deliver delightful twists including surprise slimes and unexpected visits from your favorite Nickelodeon characters.  Combined with world-class dining and drinking indulgences, sleek modern design and innovative amenities, Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana offers an unforgettable getaway for Nickelodeon fans and luxe resort lovers alike.

Disclosure- We stayed at the resort in order to share our experiences with you. All opinions are my own and honest.

The Condado Plaza Hilton in Puerto Rico

Visiting the capital city of Puerto Rico, San Juan, is a must.  There are many things to see and it has many things to offer any tourist. In the heart of it all is the Condado strip. It is a short walk to beaches, shopping and nightlife or to the colonial charms of Old San Juan. It is also where the Condado Plaza Hilton is located.


Condado Plaza Hilton has the distinct privilege of being the only hotel to overlook the Atlantic Ocean and the tranquil Candado Lagoon. Constructed in 1963, Condado Plaza Hilton is a landmark hotel that features 571 Leo-Daly designed deluxe guest rooms and suites. Each room has a sleek contemporary design and many feature private balconies and gorgeous water views.
While visiting Condado Plaza Hilton, there is dining for every taste and preference. With 8 restaurants, bars and lounges (including an award winning fine dining restaurant, Pikayo) you will want to try them all, and I can personally tell you the food is fantastic.

Besides the amazing food choices, there is plenty to do while visiting the resort. Enjoy the protected cove-like beach, perfect for kayacking in the Condado Lagoon, or enjoy snorkeling at the underwater artificial, indigenous-themed reef trail. There are plenty of watersports available in the  Condado Lagoon. Besides kayaks and snorkeling, there are also stand up paddle boards, boats and floats available- some in the lagoon, some in the cove. With a reservation, you can get lessons for wind surfing and kayaking. 


If you are looking for water fun but do not want to be in the ocean, swim in one of the 4 outdoor pools.  These include an activity pool with a waterslide and swim-up bar, a lap/lounge pool overlooking the Condado Lagoon, a toddler’s pool, and the only saltwater pool in Puerto Rico. The pools are beautiful and wonderfully clean, you will want to stay in them all day.  There is even a rooftop pool, which is pretty neat.

20151213_094938One of the pools also has a really fun castle themed waterslide, that kids and adults can both use.  My son really loved it.  There is a swim up bar as well, where you can get adult or “virgin” drinks to cool off in the hot sun should you want to.


If you are looking for something a little different to do with the kids, look into the ScoutAbout children’s activity program. Kids love scavenger hunts, and this will take their vacation to a whole new level of adventure. Throughout the hotel, little scavengers can find hidden Points of Discovery. Kids read the map and explore different areas, then they receive a color-coded ScoutAbout Band. If they collect them all, the kids can join the Wall of Fame.

For reservations or further information about The Condado Plaza Hilton, call 787-721-1000 or visit

Rooftop pool at the hotel

Rooftop pool at the hotel

The El Conquistador Resort- A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico


Puerto Rico is known for its beautiful landscapes and gorgeous views. When visiting, you will want to find a resort that can offer an amazing experience as well as luxury. El Conquistador is just one of those resorts. Set at the top of a 300-foot bluff on the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, El Conquistador, a AAA Four Diamond resort, spreads across 500 acres. It overlooks the waters where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

puerto rico resort
El Conquistador is divided into 5 villages that offer guestrooms and suites and a separate luxury resort that has villas in 1, 2 and 3 bedrooms and 24-hour butler services. On site in the resort are 23 restaurants, bars and lounges that fit all styles and desires from gourmet to casual, including some with ocean views. (The views can’t be undersold- they are amazing. You will lose time gazing at them, and when you return home they will be one of the things you miss most.) Waking up to the sounds of the ocean lapping and a gentle breeze, then opening the curtains to see the magnificent coast below you is something you will carry with you long after your return to the daily grind.

puerto rico hotel
While staying at the family friendly resort, there is plenty to do. Spend time at Coqui Water Park, a 2.4 acres water park that has exhilarating slides and rapids. Everyone can splash in the mail pool, covering 8,500 sq. ft or swim in the 9,000 sq ft infinity edge pool. If you start feeling a little water logged, relax in the sun on the 25,554 sq ft bathing deck. Make sure you try the piragua (pi·ra·gua), a Puerto Rican shaved ice dessert. They have stands and push carts around the island, and also offer it at the water park. You can’t go wrong with any of the flavors- yes, we tried them all (and I’m not ashamed to admit it!)

Take one of the resort’s boats to visit the Palomino Island, a private 100-acre island that has white sand beaches with recreational activities and water sports. There is a schedule to get you to and from the island, and it’s not hard to figure out. Bring your sand toys or buy them there- there are plenty of shops on the island. It is the perfect place to explore the coral reefs or take a shallow dive or o head out further with a boat dive. You can also sign up for a snorkeling tour to get a different look. If you are looking for a different way to explore the island, try horseback riding. The expert guides can lead you through the wilderness trails and natural beauty of Palomino Island, no matter if you are a beginner or seasoned rider. You could also just relax on one of the sun chairs, play with the kids in the ocean, go shopping, or take the scavenger hunt around the island.


Spending time on this island was my son’s favorite part of the trip. He loved every second of it, and would have stayed longer. He was able to take part in the arts and crafts time, painting an island coconut that he was able to ship home as a souvenir.


If you just want to relax, you can also book a spa treatment at the The Waldorf Astoria Spa. There are 25 treatment rooms, amovement studio with a variety of classes; state-of-the-art fitness center featuring comprehensive fitness assessments and personal trainers; a dedicated children’s spa program – Ki’ Spa; treatments incorporating products indigenous to the surrounding rain forest and ocean; juice bar; and a tea room.


My son and I got a mother/son massage, and we loved it. He was nervous at first, but the lovely masseuse put him at ease almost instantly. She joked with him and made him feel comfortable, and within minutes he was in silent bliss. (The same goes for mom- the second he was fine, I was in heaven.)


For kids, there is also a really fun scavenger hunt to take part in. You get a card and check off sights and “finds”, getting a fun rubber bracelet for each one. At the end, turn it in and hang it on the wall for a prize. My son LOVED this- was obsessed with it, really, both at the resort and also on Palomino Island.


Other activities you can partake in include-

Championship Arthur Hills 18-hole, par-72 golf course with practice putting green,
driving range, pro shop and clubhouse
Four freshwater swimming pools and three additional private pools at Las Casitas
Village including the magnificent Infinity Edge Pool (for Las Casitas guests only) and a
30,000-square-foot deck in the main pool complex, with private cabanas
Seven tennis courts featuring a stadium court and resident tennis pro
Fitness Center complete with state-of-the-art exercise equipment and free-weights,
along with dramatic views of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean
35-slip private marina offering deep-sea fishing charters, sailboats, catamarans, and more

There is so much to see and do for families, no matter how long you spend you will wish you had more time. The wonderful people, amazing food, and relaxing atmosphere is just what you need to get away from the rigors of daily life.

el conquistador

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el conquistador resort

6 Stunning Spots in Jamaica Every Traveler Should See

The shores of Jamaica attract millions of visitors every year. With plenty of budget holidays and low cost accommodation, there’s never been a better time for a Caribbean holiday. If you’re planning to explore this tropical island, be sure to visit some of these jaw-dropping natural wonders.


Mystic Mountain

The famed Mystic Mountain in Ocho Rios is home to one of the most popular, most exhilarating attractions in Jamaica. Starting your adventure into the heart of this rainforest, walking routes or a chairlift will take to you to the summit of the 700 foot mountain. Admire the spectacular ocean views before hopping aboard a bobsled. Set on a 1,000 meter metal track, you’ll whizz down the mountain and take in the vibrant eco system along the way.

Doctor’s Cave Beach

No trip to Jamaica would be complete without sampling one of its beaches. Doctor’s Cove in Montego Bay is one of the best — a sweeping strip of palm fringed white sands. It’s long been attracting visitors from around the world with many believing the crystal waters have rejuvenating and curative properties. Even the cynics can agree, this is one of the most relaxing spots on the island.

Martha Brae River

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Jamaica’s rural landscape with a guided tour down the Martha Brae River. Locals lead the expedition aboard a bamboo raft which offers an authentic insight into the region. Expect beautiful fauna and flora and make sure you bring a swimsuit. There are lots of chances to cool down with a swim and escape the midday heat.

Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park

Covering an expanse of 200,000 acres, this national park is a nature lover’s paradise. The preserve is home to more than 800 endemic plant species and over 200 species of tropical birds. Hike deep into the rainforest and you can marvel at towering waterfalls and jaw dropping scenery. The adventurous can also climb to the summit of Jamaica’s highest point, Blue Mountain Peak.


Dunn’s River Falls

One of the island’s national treasures, this collection of cascading waterfalls is Jamaica’s top-grossing attraction. Visitors can amble across the gentle tiers of limestone or take a refreshing dip in one of the plunge pools. Arrive early and you’ll avoid the crowds of tourists for a secluded experience.

Black River

Spanning over 50km, Black River is one of the longest rivers in Jamaica. Its murky depths are home to a huge array of fish species and crocodiles. It may not be safe for swimming but visitors can take a guided boat tour and learn more about the diverse ecology. Along the way, you’ll spot herons, snowy egrets and many other beautiful bird species.

Take some time to visit some of these must-see attractions on your next Jamaica holiday and you’ll be guaranteed an unforgettable experience. It’s just one of the world’s most fantastic islands you can visit.