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It’s the last month of summer. Make it count with a memorable weekend away. Whether you crave an island vacation in the Caribbean or a few days steeped in American heritage, these last-minute deals for August (and beyond) will satisfy both your wanderlust and your thriftiness.
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.
For 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
If 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
From Bermuda to the Big Island and from St. Thomas to St. Lucia, islands are popular destinations for romantic getaways. Here are five slightly under-the-radar and surprisingly affordable isles you should consider if you’re feeling an urge to try something new:
Corfu This Greek island may not be as famous as its chicer siblings, Santorini and Mykonos, but it is perhaps even more beautiful, with photogenic bays and beaches and charming Corfu Town, filled with French- and Venetian-inspired architecture, centuries-old fortresses, and inviting cafes. Don’t miss a climb up the Old Fortress for panoramic views and a peek inside the 16th-century Church of Spyridon, Corfu’s patron saint, who is entombed there. Stay at Grecotel Eva Palace (www.grecotel.com/corfu/eva-palace), a hillside resort offering sweeping views (shown above at left) of the Kommeno peninsula and the Ionian Sea, and conveniently located just 6 miles from Corfu Town, from $209/night.
Sure, snapshots and postcards make great vacation mementos, but for a truly unforgettable souvenir, why not capture your surroundings the old-fashioned way? At these three tropical getaways, guests can create their own paintings or sketches with the help of professional artists. Now that’s something worth hanging on the fridge when you get home!
Sketching Classes at Cotton Tree, Grand Cayman
Among Cotton Tree’s plethora of bespoke activities available on-site, the boutique hotel offers sketching classes with a local artist (see one of his sketches above). Each session goes through instruction for using a variety of media, such as pencils and water brushes, while teaching the basics of drawing everything from small objects to landscapes. (I participated in a class when I visited Cotton Tree last year – no previous artistic skills required!) Classes run from 2-4 hours; cost is $85/person/hour. www.caymancottontree.com
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