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All Inclusive

Olive Boutique Hotel, Puerto Rico

Olive Boutique Hotel, Puerto Rico

We’re constantly asked about Puerto Rico’s all-inclusive resorts. The “one-price-pays-all” vacation experience is popular throughout the Caribbean, but unfortunately, that’s not so true on this particular island. When it comes to all-inclusive resorts, the pickings in Puerto Rico are slim — there are a mere two options — and one doesn’t get many gold stars.

In most cases, your best bet is to choose a hotel offering perks like free breakfast, non-motorized watersports, parking, and WiFi. These places give you a little more bang for your buck — and we do mean your buck. U.S. dollars are the local currency, and you won’t need a passport, either! Here are some options to consider.

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Courtesy of Barcelo Bávaro Beach Resort

All-inclusive resorts take the effort out of vacationing—you pay upfront, you don’t have to make an itinerary, and you have access to great food and entertainment onsite. But, all-inclusive resorts have a few other advantages over the traditional resort experience. Here are five things that might surprise you about all-inclusive resorts.

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Will McGough

While Papua New Guinea may be a burgeoning destination, it certainly isn’t cheap. Due to the mining industry and the presence of Exxon and WHO, rent prices in the country’s capital, Port Moresby, are on par with those in some of the world’s most-visited cities like Paris. Though the cost of living decreases once you get out of the capital and into other areas, traveling within the country will cost you due to the lack of infrastructure and high fuel costs. This means flying or doubling-up with a car and a boat — so know that if you want to travel through the country, transportation costs will be your biggest burden. For this reason, most people who visit the country pick a place and stay put.

The good news is that one of the most popular landing spots, the coastal town of Alotau, is one of the more affordable once you actually get there. It’s a 45-minute flight from Ports Moresby and a launching point to explore WHAT Bay, highly regarded for its scuba diving, seaside villages, and historical islands. Alotau is unique in that’s its been able to offer what the rest of the country cannot: High-value lodging and easy access to a wide range of experiences.

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AlSol Hotels & Resorts Dominican Republic

Already dreaming of a warm weather escape for 2015? A new offer from the Dominican Republic’s Sanctuary Cap Cana by AlSol is offering a 40-55 percent discount for peak or low season stays for a year starting on December 15. (You’ll just have to book online by that day.)

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atacama - Flickr-Jim Trodel

When visiting South America’s Atacama Desert — considered to be the driest place on earth — you have little choice but to make the small village of San Pedro de Atacama your home base. Such isolation typically leads to high costs of living (and visiting), but San Pedro has an impressive range of lodging options, from hostels costing a few bucks a night to luxury resorts with thousand-dollar price tags. And with a surprising amount of competition among tour companies, there are affordable options for all budgets. With that in mind, here’s a look at how you might want to allocate your dollars.

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Occidental Hotels & Resorts2

Falling temps have you missing the summer? No worries. Occidental Hotels & Resorts is offering a number of tempting all-inclusive fall deals in Mexico. Take those shorts and flip flops back out of the closet!

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Holiday Inn Resort Aruba

Fresh off a large-scale renovation earlier this year, the Holiday Inn Resort Aruba is not what you’ve come to expect from the global mega-chain. The brand’s standards are still there — its signature green sprinkled throughout the property and commitment to family-friendliness — but the resort’s spectacular oceanfront views and longest stretch of beach on the island are just as inviting to those looking for a romantic escape or group getaway. No matter which three of these categories your vacation falls into, you’ll return home dreaming of the soft white-sand beaches. Read more

red mountain resort lodge utah

They say idleness is the mother of all vices – so it’s a good thing we had so much to keep us busy during a recent jaunt through rural southern Utah. Heading for St. George, a small, oft-overlooked town in the state’s bottom-left quarter that’s just under two hours from Vegas, we packed in a full three days of hiking, kayaking, outdoor yoga, and even a little art gallery browsing. And the best part: We even had time left over for some poolside lounging. Here’s how you can do it, too:

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Jamaica InnTaking a vacation in Jamaica doesn’t necessarily mean napping in the sun for a week. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more vacations that include fitness classes, adventure treks, dance lessons, and other kinds of physical activity. For a week of soothing, and highly focused fitness, check out this beautiful yoga retreat that we recently discovered.

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Southwest Southwest Airlines have been a major player in the U.S. market over the past few decades, but today it takes its first step into the big, wide world. As of July 1, Southwest has begun service to Aruba and Montego Bay, Jamaica, from Atlanta, Baltimore, and Orlando. In the coming months flights to the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic from other gateways will follow.

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Vieques Puerto Rico

Some travelers might head out on an African safari to encounter exotic species or sail up a fjord in Norway for the dramatic scenery. But just two and a half hours by plane from Miami and not quite four from NYC, Puerto Rico contains a whole hidden world of natural wonders that satisfy both instincts. Here are six unforgettable experiences that you don’t have to go far for or spend a lot on — flights can be had for under $200-$300 round-trip, depending on your departure city.

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Grenada

Last week we gave you the low-down on the new Sandals LaSource, the all-inclusive brand’s first venture into Grenada. While it may be tempting to while away all your time on the resort, and on Pink Gin beach, you shouldn’t miss getting off the property for a day of exploring. Here are a few highlights of this manageable and easygoing “spice island”:

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Guy FieriIf you’ve dreamed of dining at Nobu in Vegas, or Todd English’s acclaimed Food Court at the Plaza in New York City, you may not have to visit either city to make your dream come true. A number of cruise lines have teamed up with celebrity chefs to bring their restaurants to sea. Forget uninspired buffets from faceless onboard restaurants. Today, specialty restaurants are the new wave, and in some cases, the eateries are included in your cruise costs. (Others require a reservation and a modest additional fee.)

We’ve even done the math and it can, in fact, be cheaper to sample a celebrity chef’s menu while you’re sailing, rather than paying more for the brick-and-mortar experience. Check out the popular celebrity chef restaurants on these seven cruise lines: Read more

Bushwacker USVIEver had a Dirty Banana? Can you handle a few Painkillers? They’re both related, but not how you might think. See, when you belly up to a Caribbean bar, chances are these drinks will appear on a cocktail menu. Sure, you’ll see some familiar­ mixes like mojitos, piña coladas, Cuba libres (aka rum and coke), margaritas, and daiquiris, but this is a chance to sample the more unusual island drinks. Read more

SandalsExterior

One of our favorite off-the-beaten-path Caribbean islands just got a lot more accessible, thanks to the recent opening of Sandals LaSource Grenada. The brand’s first outpost on Grenada, the resort brings 225 guestrooms to the island; not to mention increased, and more competitive, flight options which are highly likely to follow.  Read more

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