Shermanstravel Blog

Puerto Rico

Blue Flag: How Clean is That BeachYou’ve saved your money, packed your bags and are ready to embark on a new adventure. Through all the planning, the same image came to mind: the perfect beach. Whether rocky, sandy, tropical, or wild, beaches conjure up images of vacation and relaxation. But how do you know if your perfect beach is clean? Read more

Bioluminescent Bay

The Bioluminescent Bay (Biobay) of Vieques Island in Puerto Rico is a surreal paradise for lovers of everything that glows. A unique, awe-inspiring experience, Biobay, also known as Mosquito Bay, has become one of Puerto Rico’s top tourist highlights. Read more

Culebra, Puerto RicoThere are plenty of truths to travel, but today I’ll focus on just two. First, traveling to a warm, sand-fringed island can help a bad day, week, month, or even year seem inconsequential. Second, traveling anywhere that requires a passport undoubtedly causes headaches – just how big the headache varies widely on your destination. The good news for U.S. citizens, however, is that there are plenty of islands within reach that boast an international vibe, yet don’t require a passport. Below, I’ll share a few of my favorites for those itching to burn a few vacation days without dealing with immigration lines. Read more

Situated roughly halfway between St. Thomas and the main island of Puerto Rico is the picturesque island of Culebra. Even the most seasoned of Caribbean travelers shouldn’t be ashamed if they’ve never heard of it. It remains one of the best kept secrets in the region, and particularly for Americans who don’t want to fiddle with a passport in order to reach paradise, it’s a destination worth discovering.

Accessing Culebra isn’t exactly easy, per se, but it’s hardly complicated. If you’re on the main island of Puerto Rico (that’s the one with San Juan), you’ll need to point your rental car to Fajardo. That’s on the eastern edge of Puerto Rico, and it’s the primary ferry port on the island. For intrepid travelers, you can show up at the docks and buy yourself an inexpensive (under $10) ticket for the ride, which lasts right around an hour each way. If the ferry is sold out (which was the case when our editor, Mike Barish, visited the island), you can book a quick puddle jumper flight at the airport in Fajardo and land on Culebra in about 10 minutes – though a one-way flight can start at $35 per person, so consider taking the ferry back. To make life easy, however, I’d recommend reaching out to Kayaking Puerto Rico. Read more

After the holidays, we tend to get stuck in winter slumps. For many of us, as the temperatures drop and the sun goes down earlier, we’re left counting down the days until spring. But instead of hiding inside all winter, use the post-holiday months as a time to travel somewhere new, whether it’s to a relaxing beach, a ski resort out West, or Walt Disney World. All of the deals below are valid for travel throughout January – just in time to nip those winter blues in the bud.

January is one of the best months to visit Orlando, especially later in the month, when crowds at the theme parks are down after the holidays, and temperatures are in the perfect mid-70s. Hotels follow suit and dip down in pricing, like the 4-star Melia Orlando Suite Hotel, which starts at just $125 per night in January – a 45 percent savings on high season rates. The Melia is the closest all-suite hotel to the Disney Parks, and includes a full kitchen in each unit, plus a 360 -egree infinity pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and complimentary breakfast. Dozens more 4-star Orlando hotels are available for low rates in January, like the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orlando – Orange Lake Resort from $80 per night, the Westgate Lakes Resort and Spa from $97 per night, and the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club from $105 per night. Read more

You’ve heard Black Friday horror stories: the fist-fights, the pepper-spraying, the lines outside of Best Buy at two in the morning. If a sleepless night or black eye isn’t the way you like to get your shopping done, consider Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving devoted to thousands of online shopping deals. Over the past few years, hotels have caught on to the Cyber Monday trend and started promoting their own flash sales. The steep discounts below are only offered when booked on Monday, November 26, so pick your favorite destination, bookmark this post, and mark your calendars.

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Recently, my friend and I took a girls’ getaway to St. Lucia. We were both excited to get away from the office for a week;  we planned on unwinding at the beach on Sunday – the day we left New York – then spending six days swimming, sunning, and sleeping.

Then we looked at our plane tickets. Yes, we were leaving Sunday morning and returning Friday night, but we actually had just four full days in St. Lucia – and eight hours in the San Juan airport in both directions. While more and more direct routes to smaller Caribbean islands are becoming available, the cheapest flights still require layovers, and often long ones, in the Puerto Rican capital. Read more

Russell New Zealand beachAs you might have noticed, we’ve been a bit obsessed with the beach lately thanks to the East Coast heat wave. We’ve looked at the worst people at the beach, the crazy things that beachgoers do, and The Definitive Guide to Going to the Beach. This all started a few weeks ago when we asked you to share your favorite underrated beaches with us. We put the call out on Twitter and Facebook, as well. It’s clear that you all have firm opinions on the best beaches in the world that don’t get enough attention. With summer in full swing and everyone looking for ways to beat the heat without dealing with obnoxious crowds, traffic snarls, and boring routines, it’s time to take a look at some of your favorite underrated and lesser-known beaches. Read more

New United flights to CaribbeanWith temperatures soaring across most of the country, it’s hard for some of us to think about baking in the Caribbean sun. However, cold weather will be here before you know it, and with it a slew of new flights from the East Coast and Midwest to take advantage of tropical destinations.

Booking now for new JetBlue service from D.C. to San Juan (daily) and JFK to Samana, Dominican Republic (twice weekly) will score you big savings. Launching August 23, one-way fares on the San Juan route will be as low as $129 for travel through November 14 if you book by July 13; this will be the only non-stop flight between the U.S. capital and the Puerto Rican capital. Similarly, book by this Friday to secure one-way fares to Samana starting at $169 for flights from the November 14 launch date through February 9.

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DeltaFor many Caribbean destinations, spring is the perfect time to visit – the high season crowds start to depart and hotel prices begin to dip, yet the weather remains balmy and hurricane season is still just a blip on the horizon. A boon of new routes this year from the East Coast will get you to that sunny vacation even faster.

Launched March 2, Delta now takes New Yorkers from Laguardia to Nassau, Bahamas. JetBlue has three new routes with deals to match:

  • Newark to San Juan, PR: starts April 25, from $163 one-way
  • Fort Lauderdale to Kingston, Jamaica: starts April 30, from $107 one-way
  • West Palm Beach to San Juan, PR: starts May 15, from $113 one-way

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates and travel deals on flights.

Wyndham Rio Mar Resort & SpaItching for a tropical getaway this spring?  Head to Puerto Rico, which is just a short flight from the mainland but feels like worlds away — and you don’t even need a passport. Starting in mid-April, stay four nights or more at the 4-star Wydnham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa for only $123 per night. The rock-bottom rates at this secluded beach resort save up to 60% on hotel pricing earlier in the season.

Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the El Yunque Caribbean National Forest, the Wyndham Rio Mar is a lush hideaway with plenty of dining, lounging, and entertainment options. The resort offers seven restaurants, which range from casual to elegant, and four bars and lounges, both indoor and on the beach.

Active guests can take advantage of two championship golf courses, 11 tennis courts, two large swimming pools, water sports, and a fitness center. Looking to simply relax?  Enjoy the full-service spa, lounge on the white-sand beach or at the pool, or retreat to your spacious room with a private balcony overlooking the resort gardens.

Book this trip by April 8 and travel from April 9-December 23. As an added bonus, if you book by March 15, all children under 17 years old stay for free, and you’ll receive a $100 food and beverage credit per room. Book online at www.wyndhamriomar.com or call 800-474-6627.

Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights to Puerto Rico. For general trip-planning information, see our Puerto Rico destination guide.

View from W Retreat & Spa Vieques in Puerto RicoFor the past decade, fans of the ABC reality series “The Bachelor” have followed a revolving door of love-seeking (and in some cases, fame-seeking) Bachelors and Bachelorettes to sexy and romantic destinations around the world. Some of these forays showcase these places to their fullest (Ali in Tahiti, Brad in South Africa). In others, the drama and rivalry (which are really on display this season) can draw viewer attention away from the destination’s beauty and charm. Still, sun, fun, and lots of lip locks have made all three beach destinations featured in the 16th season of  “The Bachelor” – Vieques (shown above at left), Panama, and Belize – look pretty appealing. Here’s what you saw as Bachelor Ben and his Bachelorettes frolicked, as well as a few things the cameras missed: Read more

San Juan Water and Beach Club HotelThe San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel is already one of Puerto Rico’s trendiest hotels, but with $2.5 million dollars spent on recent renovations, it has even more to offer. Notably new is Mist, a rooftop bar and lounge, to accompany the rooftop pool and views of the steps-away Isla Verde beach. At Mist (pictured) you can sip cocktails and eat Island-Italian-Spanish fusion tapas (made from locally grown ingredients) from the spacious pillowed and cushioned couches that truly deserve the word “lounge.”

If you’d rather consume your food by table and chair, the hotel also has a new restaurant, Zest. Zest, like the neon-blue-lit hotel that contains it, is uniquely decorated, with such design elements as a waterfall by the bar and a simulation of the surface of the ocean on the ceiling. The food, too, is unique: Diverse dishes are locally and sustainably-sourced and scent-infused to take your taste experience to the next level.

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CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa AnguillaIf you’re thinking of heading to the Caribbean for a romantic, week-long winter getaway, here’s an idea: Instead of spending all seven nights on one island, why not split your time between two? Island hopping is easier in some destinations than others, so here’s a roundup of five two-island options that are not only easy to combine logistically, but also feature varied landscapes and ambience. Note: Caribbean resorts do command premium rates until mid-April or so, but if you check deal-finder sites, including ShermansTravel.com’s nifty price-comparison tool, you may be able to score some last-minute price breaks. Or, if you want to see multiple islands, you can always take a cruise. Check back next week for details on my favorite ships and itineraries. Read more

Arial view of Fairmont MayakobaBlack Friday bargains may lure intrepid shoppers, but it’s Cyber Monday that travel-savvy couples should be on the lookout for. A range of hotels around the country– as well as in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America – are offering 20 to 65 percent discounts on rooms for travel this winter and coming spring. The hitch: You have just 24 hours (from midnight to 11:59pm this coming Monday, November 28, 2011) to book them. Here are 10 great Cyber Monday deals that are primed for romantics: Read more

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