Friday, January 06, 2012

Michelle's Top 5 Vacation spots of 2012. (Budget Friendly)

 As a Travel Consultant, I come across a lot of amazing destinations. I have a small list here of my top 5 favorite Vacation spots of 2012. I have created this list by choosing my favorite places with the best prices. Take a look.
5. Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata is on the north side of the Dominican Republic. Because it's not on the Caribbean sea, but on the Atlantic, it is a tiny bit colder than Punta Cana. This beach is a "natural" beach, therefore it does not have the white sand like the Caribbean. So now that the cons are out of the way... This area of Dominican Republic is still beautiful, the resorts definitely make up for its lack of beach beautifulness (made that word up). Puerto Plata Gran Bahia Principe San Juan starts at only $655 out of Sudbury, and $507 from Toronto!!!  With prices like that, how can you say no?
4. Santa Clara
Santa Clara is located in Cuba. This quaint area of Cuba, is well known for its spectacular beaches and snorkeling. Santa Clara is in a more quiet area in Cuba, perfect for people who want to have a stress free, quiet vacation. My suggestion for the PERFECT stay, would be at the Iberostar Ensenachos. This 4*, 167 room hotel, has everything to offer in making sure you have the ultimate Cuban experience. (Spa Included!!). This resort is starting at $1 312.50 from Toronto.
3. La Romana
Another destination in the Dominican Republic. This area is considered the "new" Dominican. Punta Cana has always been their main tourist spot, but since hotels cannot be built higher then a palm tree in this country, they've began to develop else where. Punta Cana has basically been completely discovered. La Romana is brand new, preserved and fresh. The Gran Bahia Principe La Romana is on the most gorgeous stretch of beach in the Caribbean. View the photos on the provided link to see for yourself. Starting at $705 from Toronto, I'm sure La Romana will be a smoking HOT destination in 2012.
2. Cancun
Not a Caribbean destination but is absolutely jam packed with gorgeous hotels, pools, restaurants, clubs, beaches, spas, shopping centers, YOU NAME IT. With my experience as a travel agent, Cancun is my #1 top seller. It really does sell its self. Weather you are looking for a party resort, or a relaxation spa resort or even a family resort. Cancun has something for you. Their countless excursions like deep sea fishing, cave exploration, swimming with dolphins are amazing add ons that make the Cancun vacations the best. It's hard for my to narrow down just ONE hotel. But because I am basing this list on value, I will have to go with Crown Paradise. The hotel is a family resort, but also offers an adults only sections. Centrally located, also directly on the beach. Starting at $809 from Toronto.
1. Varadero
Ah Cuba, also will have a soft spot in my heart. When people come see me, its their first trip and they don't know where to go. I use my Cuba card. Can't go wrong with Cuba, mainly because I know the locals will take good care of these first time travelers. The local people in Varadero are what makes Cuba so special. Varadero's beach is without a doubt perfect. A great thing about Varadero is you can take day trips to Havana to learn about their culture and history. It's truly a must. Where to stay where your there? The Iberostar Laguna Azul is my suggestion. This resort starts at $855 from Toronto.
Please be wise when shopping for vacations. Remember that travel is regulated, you get the same prices everywhere, whether its an agency or websites. Websites use trick words to lure you in, even though they're prices are the same as everyone else. Be safe and visit an agency that is TICO certified so that your vacation is completely protected. Happy travels!! 

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sara's 2012 Resolutions

My mum asked me the other day if I intend on making some new year resolutions. My answer, without any hesitation, was no. As the day went on I thought to myself, 'well if everyone else is doing it'. And so I went through areas of my life that could use some tweaking.


It just so happens that I'm getting a gym membership. It's just by coincidence that I'll be receiving my new membership at the beginning of the year. I'm actually quite excited. When my boyfriend and I lived in our condo, we were fortunate enough to have a gym in our building. Since moving into our house I haven't done any exercise and quite miss certain machines. I know... Who says that right? Haha! I also really enjoy taking a class called Body Pump at Goodlife. It's one of those classes where you use every muscle with weights while listening to great get your body moving music. And I can't leave out yoga. What a great exercise to release your body and mind of the every day stresses.

I will also be cutting back on eating out in restaurants. I love watching the Food Network. I could leave that channel on all day and I would be a happy camper. However, since I watch it so much, I should be able to actually cook or even bake. I mean I have all their magazines and cook books. Well the answer is no. I am not very confident in the kitchen. I vow to try to master a recipe or two a week. Can't be that hard right? Thank goodness my better half supports this idea and will give me a hand or two while I burn I mean prepare tasty and health conscience meals.

Water! Yes that's one of my resolutions. To drink more water! It's our fuel right? Well I guess I've been running on empty for years. I'm going to try my best to drink more water. I heard somewhere it's important. Hee her


I have a terrible habit of going to bed without washing my face. I know it seems simple enough but when you get home late from work all you can really do is brush you teeth and fall into a deep sleep. This year I'd like to take more time washing my face and taking time putting things away before bed.

Friends & Family

These last few months have been somewhat of a blur. I work, come home, work, come home. I'm going to make an extra effort to reach out to my friends and family and create some new memories. If I have to lose some sleep for an extra laugh or perfect picture well so be it!

Alright I know what you're thinking. These really aren't huge changes Sara. Yes I know but I love where I am in my life and I know we all could use some challenges and there are always areas in one's life that needs some extra attention. These are mine :)

To everyone who are making resolutions: I wish you all the best of luck and remember to stay positive and don't be afraid to rely on friends and family for a little support. It goes a long way.

All my love this new year's day,
Sara xo