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  • FBI Toxicology Tests Find US Tourists Deaths in Dominican Republic Consistent With Natural Causes

    10/18/2019 8:48:58 AM Link |  | Add comment


    The results of toxicology tests performed on tourists who died in the Dominican Republic in separate incidents this year are “consistent with natural causes,” according to media reports in the US and the Dominican Republic.

    The FBI, which opened an investigation into the deaths this summer after Dominican authorities concluded the incidents were due to natural causes, delivered its report to Dominican authorities and the victims’ families as early as September, according to reports from Fox News and the Dominican Today website.


    “The results of additional extensive toxicological tests conducted to date have been consistent with the findings of local authorities (Dominican Republic),” reads a statement from the Office of Consular Affairs of the State Department as reported by Fox News. “Our condolences are with the families during this difficult time.”

    The Fox report adds the FBI “handed over that information to the families of the people who died and Dominican Authorities on September 16.”

    The Dominican Republic attorney general's office postponed a scheduled September 30 news conference on the findings, saying the office had received “incomplete” results from the FBI. Dominican Ministry of Tourism personnel did not respond immediately to’s request for comment.

    In the wake of the tourist deaths and resulting questions regarding traveler safety and security in the Dominican Republic, travel agency groups and resort operators have sought to reassure consumers about the country’s safety.

    The country lost 100,000 visitors between January and September of this year compared to 2018, blaming the decline on sensational media reports of the “unrelated” deaths.

    In conjunction with the Apple Leisure Group, travAllianceMedia has established, a website designed to analyze and correct erroneous media reports that could be damaging to tourist destinations worldwide. 

  • New All Inclusive Resorts in 2019

    6/13/2019 9:55:44 AM Link |  | Add comment

    All but one of these properties are all-inclusive, which means the upfront rate includes lodging, meals, beverages and activities.

    Royalton Suites Cancun Resort & Spa, Mexico -- Features of this 5-star, all-inclusive getaway include a rooftop pool and lounge, a spa and activities for kids like dance classes, sports and trivia competitions. Among restaurants is Agave, which combines Mesoamerican cooking with Old World Spanish recipes. Opened January 2019.

    Nobu Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico -- Japanese minimalism meets Los Cabos' laid-back vibe at this 5-star traditional hotel (it is not all-inclusive). You'll find clean lines, custom-made furniture, teak and stone throughout this casually elegant resort. Dine at beachfront Nobu and Malibu Farm, a farm-to-table eatery showcasing healthy fare. Opened April 2019.

    ATELIER Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico -- This 5-star, all-inclusive resort for guests ages 16 and up sports a look that's both contemporary and warm, from the marble and wood accents of the suites to the palm-lined, 14,639-square-foot pool with sea views. Its signature restaurant is Maria Dolores, specializing in fresh Mexican cuisine using seasonal ingredients. Opened May 2019.

    Royalton Antigua, St. John's -- Unwind at this 5-star, all-inclusive property overlooking the turquoise waters of Deep Bay. Go kayaking, play tennis or join a match of beach volleyball, and indulge in a variety of restaurants, from buffets to a chef's table to a sports pub. Rooms feature Royalton's signature DreamBeds. Opened May 2019.

    Now Emerald Cancun, Mexico -- This 5-star resort offers an all-inclusive getaway in Cancun's hotel zone, and it's only 8 miles from the airport. It boasts eight restaurants, eight bars, a spa and clubs for young children and older kids. Preferred Club Junior Suites come with private pools as well as extra perks like an exclusive lounge. Opening late June 2019.

    Hard Rock Hotel Los Cabos, Mexico -- The latest 5-star all-inclusive from this rock 'n' roll brand features the Rock Spa, with music-centric "Rhythm and Motion" treatments, and the complimentary Sound of Your Stay program, which provides amenities like Fender guitar loans with headphones and in-room video lessons and free downloadable playlists. Opening July 2019.

    Palmaia Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico -- Set where the jungle meets the beach, this 5-star, all-inclusive retreat preserves the surrounding environment and offers oceanfront suites and personalized service. Three restaurants serve Mexican, Mediterranean and Asian fare, and guests can enjoy infinity pools, a beach bar and alfresco spa treatments. Opening September 2019.

    Sunscape Akumal Beach Resort & Spa, Tulum, Mexico -- About 25 minutes north of Tulum's seaside Mayan ruins, this 4-star all-inclusive offers eight dining venues, eight bars and the complimentary use of water toys like Hobie Cats and kayaks. The Explorer's Club provides activities for kids ages 3 to 12, while golfers enjoy complimentary green fees at the Riviera Maya Golf Club. Opening October 2019.

    Paradisus Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico -- This 5-star resort offers an all-inclusive vacation with seven specialty restaurants, six bars and day-to-night entertainment. A spa, two fitness centers and the Kids Zone round out the on-site amenities. The no-kids Royal Service and Family Concierge sections offer upgraded amenities. Opening November 2019.

    Now Natura Riviera Cancun, Mexico -- This 5-star all-inclusive on a white-sand beach encompasses a lazy river, waterfalls and a grotto bar; the spa is designed to resemble the region's cenotes, natural freshwater sinkholes. A Rollglider aerial ride is in the plans for this resort, along with four pools and diverse dining that ranges from an ice cream parlor and buffets to French and Pan-Asian restaurants. Opening December 2019. 

  • Aruba

    3/26/2019 12:34:50 PM Link |  | Add comment

    Sparkling aquamarine seas lap sugar-white sands along the south and west coasts of this Southern Caribbean island, providing a distinct contrast to the semiarid, desert-like terrain of the interior and the north.

    Aruba has bounced among Spanish, Dutch and English rule, and today it is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Tall, multicolored Dutch colonial homes with wooden doors make for a picturesque sight in Oranjestad, the capital city.

    At each of the following five resorts, the upfront rate includes accommodations, meals, drinks and activities. Whichever one you choose, you're likely to hear a friendly "bon bini!" when you arrive. This means "welcome" in Papiamento, the native language.

    Hotel Riu Palace Antillas -- This 5-star retreat on the pristine sands of Palm Beach is our only all-inclusive resort in Aruba to offer a no-kids setting resort-wide. It has a gym, spa and water sports like windsurfing, snorkeling and kayaking. The buffet restaurant features cooking stations and themed evenings. There are four specialty restaurants and around-the-clock room service; for an additional fee, the staff can arrange a romantic dinner on the beach.

    Hotel Riu Palace Aruba -- This property is next to the Hotel Riu Palace Antillas, and it welcomes guests of all ages. Among its draws are two pools, a swim-up bar, five restaurants, several bars and lounges and an ice cream parlor. Guests at the 5-star resort can enjoy live music in the theater, indulge in a massage at the spa or try stand-up paddleboarding on the waves. Some suites have whirlpools on the balcony.

    Renaissance Aruba Resort -- A stay at this 5-star retreat puts you within walking distance of Oranjestad's lively center. A complimentary water taxi delivers guests to the hotel's private, 40-acre island, which has no-kids and family beaches, private cabanas and food and drink venues. The resort itself also is divided between no-kids and family-friendly sections. Guests will find several restaurants, pools, a spa and an adjacent shopping mall.

    Barcelo Aruba -- Vacationers will find six restaurants, a lagoon-style pool and lighted tennis courts at this 4-star Palm Beach hotel. Join a game of water polo or a session of aqua aerobics, make use of the available snorkeling equipment or kayaks or join a scuba or kitesurfing class. Inviting thatched-roof palapas and loungers line the palm-studded, white-sand beach.

    Holiday Inn Resort Aruba -- This 4-star resort is divided among three activity zones to match your vacation mood: Peace & Harmony for those who want to renew body and mind through yoga or Pilates, Action & Play for fun family time and pursuits like pool volleyball and aqua aerobics, and Chill & Mingle for socializing and poolside relaxation. Other amenities at this Palm Beach getaway include complimentary bicycle rentals, tennis and a fitness center. 

  • The Perfect Beach vacation

    10/25/2018 12:32:38 PM Link |  | Add comment

    Customers often for destination suggestions when looking for the perfect beach vacation. This will help you narrow down the choices and find that ideal spot.

    Travelers on a tight budget will generally find that the cheaper options are relatively close, in the Dominican Republic and Mexico -- both the Pacific Coast and the Yucatan Peninsula.

    For the broadest selection of all-inclusive resorts, where the upfront resort price covers accommodations, meals, beverages and activities, check out the options in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico. All-inclusive properties are plentiful and varied in these destinations.

    Snorkelers and divers will find clear waters and colorful sea life throughout the Caribbean, but there are a few places that stand out. Cozumel has been a favorite diving destination since marine explorer Jacques Cousteau shot a documentary there in 1961; it boasts miles of protected coral reefs and more than 250 species of tropical fish. Grand CaymanTurks and Caicos and Bonaire are other good choices for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

    Costa Rica is a top ecotourism destination, abundant with rainforests, waterfalls, sparkling beaches and extraordinary wildlife. Nature lovers also can explore the scenic hiking trails and white-sand beaches of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands -- a national park covers two-thirds of the island. The forest preserves in St. Lucia, lush with giant ferns and wild orchids, are perfect for hiking and bird-watching.

    For golfers, challenging courses in beautiful settings are abundant in nearly all of the tropical destinations we offer  , but you'll find some of the best courses in Bermuda and Hawaii.

    Fans of deep-sea fishing should browse our resorts in the Florida Keys and along Mexico's Pacific Coast --MazatlanManzanillo and Los Cabos all are sportfishing meccas.

    Hawaii is a top pick for whale-watching (December through May is peak season), as is Los Cabos (from December through March).

    May through September is turtle-nesting season along the beaches of Puerto Vallarta, where some resorts operate conservation programs that allow guests to help return hatchlings to the sea. Scuba divers and snorkelers can spot swimming sea turtles along the Kona Coast of Hawaii's Big Island.

    If you want to really get away from it all, some tropical retreats are truly off the beaten pathNevisSt. Kittsand St. Vincent & the Grenadines all offer an exclusive experience. There is an extra cost for the seclusion these spots offer and the additional flight time to get there. There are fewer flights, and you'll likely have to make at least one connection to get to these destinations from the mainland U.S. or Canada.

    Finally, if duty-free shopping is a priority, look at Nassau in the Bahamas or Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas.

  • Crime is down 90 percent in Los Cabos since 2017

    8/1/2018 10:16:32 AM Link |  | Add comment

    Crime is down 90 percent in Los Cabos since 2017, according to the latest statistics released by the Los Cabos Tourism Board. Mirroring recent comments made toTravel Agent by Los Cabos Tourism Board Managing Director Rodrigo Esponda, the Tourism Board reports that the implementation of a new security plan has resulted in a sharp decline in crime, following a spike in gang violence last year.The five-point security plan involves working with the U.S. State Department to enhance security protocols, creating a “Rapid Response Network,” an accelerated security surveillance program, adding new security bases and personnel, and a hotel security committee.On the subject of the gang turf war that was at the center of the violence, one villa owner told the Tourism Board, “…the Mexican federal government brought in literally thousands of military and federal police, totally cleaned it up, and left a small presence to insure everything was fine. It’s now been six months, and I can tell you being there a third of the time, every month, that I feel safer there than in parts ofCosta Mesa and Santa Ana, 15-20 minutes from my home in Newport Beach, CA.”During the decline in crime, tourism numbers in Los Cabos have been on the rise. Esponda told Travel Agent that the destination saw an 8 percent uptick in air arrivals through the middle of this year, with hotel occupancy remaining at around 70 percent on average.The violence in 2017 prompted the State Department to issue a Travel Warning for Los Cabos. In January of this year, the destination was downgraded to Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, as part of a larger overhaul of the way in which the State Department presents travel safety information.

  • Top Romantic,Golf,Spa and Family Resorts

    12/16/2016 1:44:27 PM Link |  | Add comment

    This week, we will  highlight tropical resorts for those looking for a romantic escape or family vacation, as well as great choices for golfers and spa lovers. All promise beautiful beaches, water sports and a relaxed atmosphere. Most of them are all-inclusive, which means that the upfront price includes your room, meals, snacks, drinks and many activities. Click the links for more resort information or to shop for a great rate.


    Romantic Retreats


    Escape to a romantic beach destination, where features can include candlelight dinners on the beach, in-room Jacuzzis and honeymoon packages that provide perks like a room upgrade or complimentary Champagne.


    Some resorts cater just to couples, like Couples Resorts in Jamaica; Sandals Resorts, with 15 properties in locales like Antigua and St. Lucia; and Isla Mujeres Palace and Sun Palace in Cancun.


    The Royal Suites by Palladium are no-kids retreats with an intimate ambience and personalized butler service, complemented by full access to the dining venues, bars and activities of the adjacent Grand Palladium resorts. Five Excellence properties offer a no-kids atmosphere. Lavish accommodations include suites with rooftop terraces and plunge pools.




    Family Resorts


    Looking for a place where the whole family is welcome? Many of our family resorts have daytime children's programs run by experienced counselors, with activities built around crafts, nature, sports and games.


    The Beaches resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos offer age-appropriate activities at the Kids Camp; teens can try out the Xbox Play Lounge or Scratch DJ Academy. Three Hard Rock all-inclusives offer the Music Lab Experience, where guests 12 and older can shoot a music video or mix tracks.


    The Azul properties in Mexico and Jamaica have family suites or two- and three-bedroom accommodations, depending on the property. Family Deluxe Junior Suites at Melia Caribe Tropical in the Dominican Republic come with a king-size or two double beds, plus a sofa bed and either a rollaway bed or bunk beds.


    Another popular choice is Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, with its huge outdoor water park, aquarium and expansive facilities for young vacationers, including the 14,000-square-foot Crush lounge for teens.




    No-Kids Resorts


    Prefer not to hear the pitter-patter of little wet feet around the pool? Try a no-kids retreat. The minimum age for most of these resorts is 18, although guests ages 13-17 are considered adults at a few properties. Our travel counselors can verify the age restrictions at any resort that interests you.


    Some top choices include the tranquil Secrets properties and the Iberostar Grand resorts, as well as the elegant, minimalist Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun and the El Dorado resorts on Mexico's Riviera Maya. If you're looking for a livelier spot where participation in activities is encouraged, try Breezes in Nassau, Bahamas (here the age limit is 14.)


    The Hotel Riu Palace Antillas is our only no-kids, all-inclusive resort in Aruba; you'll find no-kids Riu properties in a few other destinations, too. Barcelo Hotels & Resorts, a popular all-inclusive resort brand, has one no-kids haven, Barcelo Bavaro Beach in the Dominican Republic.




    Golf Resorts


    Tee off in a tropical destination: Our golf resorts offer a course on the property or nearby. Transfers to the courses typically are provided, and some hotels waive green fees.


    Moon Palace Cancun in Cancun boasts 27 holes designed by Jack Nicklaus; an on-site golf academy uses high-tech teaching tools for lessons. Nicklaus also created the par-72 course at the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana; it offers a basic, free 20-minute program with a golf pro every day at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.


    Barcelo Bavaro Palace in the Dominican Republic is home to The Lakes, where fairways wind through mangrove forests and around 25 lakes. At the Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal in Costa Rica, golf architect Robert Trent Jones II crafted 18 holes on rolling terrain with views of the Pacific and tropical forests.




    Spa Resorts


    Our spa resorts offer saunas, steam rooms and face and body therapies. They typically have good exercise facilities, a beauty salon and perhaps fitness classes and personal trainers.


    Zoetry resorts focus on wellness and tranquility. Guests have access to state-of-the-art fitness centers, complimentary wellness consultations and healthy gourmet cuisine made with locally grown ingredients.


    Enjoy your treatment outdoors at the Yhi Spa at Gran Melia Puerto Rico Golf Resort and the Miile Spa at Excellence Riviera Cancun. At El Dorado Royale in Playa del Carmen, you can book a sunrise couples massage on the beach. The spa at Secrets St. James Montego Bay provides an evening "moon and stars massage" for two near the waves.


  • Passports need 6 months Validity

    8/11/2016 3:55:24 PM Link |  | Add comment

    Six Months Validity Rule

    Six Months Validity RuleWhen traveling to an international destination most people know that a U.S. passports are required to enter an international destination, but what is unknown to the traveler is that some countries would need to have enough validity of passport to travel to the county which is known as the six months validity rule for visitors.

    This rule is in place so that if the un-expecting visitor needs to stay for a period up to six month his/her passport would be valid to leave the country.

    What is the 6 Months Validity Rule?

    The Six Months Validity Rule is imposed by foreign countries, and not by the United States. It simply means that your passport should be valid for more than six months before you would be allowed to enter a foreign destination. This rule is imposed by some of the countries we have listed below.

    Countries with 6 Month Validity Rules




    Burma (Myanmar)BurundiChina

    Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)Ecuador (including Galápagos Islands)French Polynesia






    New CaledoniaNicaraguaOman

    PalauPapua New GuineaPhilippines

    Saudi ArabiaSingaporeSt. Lucia


    ThailandTimor-Leste (East Timor)Trinidad & Tobago



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