My name is Brandon, I have been a travel specialist here at Dream Vacations since November 15th 2005. During that time I have sent more than 15,900 individuals on vacation to many various resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. I love what I do, we make vacation dreams a reality! When you call me, get ready to travel because you and I will find exactly what you are looking for.
I have traveled out of the country to the following vacation spots; Aruba, Cabo San Lucas (2 times), Cancun, the Riviera Maya (8 times), Puerto Vallarta (3 times), Punta Cana and Jamaica (3 times). During these trips, a little of my time was spent relaxing but the majority of these trips have been work trips or FAMs we call them. During a FAM trip we are responsible for touring as many properties as possible so that we can be more familiar with the products we are offering. I feel that this gives me a tremendous advantage over other agencies based on personal experience and traveler feed back.
My most recent vacation was September 4th 2012 to the Iberostar Paraiso Maya in the Riviera Maya Mexico. I spent four nights there and I toured about 22 different resorts in the area. I had a great time this past September and I highly recommend the Iberostar Paraiso Maya!
Jamaica has three different areas that we offer all inclusive resorts in. We have resorts in Montego Bay, Negril and Ocho Rios. When traveling to Jamaica it’s important to know the difference in these three areas to help decide where might be best for your family to stay.
Montego Bay: Montego Bay is the area closest to the Airport and this is where your flight will arrive. If you are looking for a 3 or 4 night stay, we would recommend picking a resort within in this area because your transfer will be shorter. Bascially meaning that you will have more time on your vacation and less time traveling. Within the last couple of years, a lot of the name brand resorts have built properties in Montego Bay. Hotels such as the Iberostar Rose Hall Suites, the Riu Montego Bay, Secrets Wild Orchid and the very popular Grand Palladium Jamaica/Lady Hamilton so there are a lot of nice properties to chose from. It only takes about 20 minutes to get to most Montego Bay resorts from the airport.
Personally I have been to the Iberostar Grand Paraiso in the Riviera Maya several times. While on vacation, my wife and I are generally more “pool people” than “beach people”… but not on our last trip there.
During our stay, every mid-morning we went down to the beach palapas, laid out our towels, opened up a book and simply relaxed. It was awesome to hear the sound of the waves crashing in, the sea gulls flying over our head and to feel the cool breeze coming off of the Gulf of Mexico. You will see in some of these pictures how nice these beaches are and although we stayed at the Iberostar Grand Paraiso, everyone from the Iberostar Paraiso Complex uses the same beach.
While in the ocean there were a couple places that had some larger rocks that were easy to avoid and stay away from. So, if anyone tells you that these beaches are “rocky,” I would not agree. I have seen rocky beaches and the Iberostar Playa Paraiso beaches are perfectly fine for anyone wanting to hop in the ocean, swim, play in the waves or snorkel with tropical fish.
Many people think that the sunsets are what to look for in the Riviera Maya but on the contrary, the sunrise is what you should get up early for. I was recently on a 4 night vacation in the Riviera Maya with my wife and we had the pleasure of waking up early to see some beautiful sunrises.
Since the coast of the Riviera Maya is in the Gulf of Mexico facing East, the sunrises are much better than the sunsets. In this video you will see the sunrise from my ocean front balcony, strarting at around 6:30 am and lasting until about 7 am. The clouds in the distance make the sun look as if there is a person playing the guitar inside of it. Or, use your imagination and comment on what this looks like to you!
When starting to plan for an all inclusive vacation, the first thing to consider is where you want to go. That simply means, it’s your vacation, it’s your time and it’s your money so where do YOU want to go? Many people call me without really thinking about this question.
As we both know there are a ton of different hotel options and many overall destination options, so how do you narrow down your search? Well, first of all think about the location and not the specific hotel. Would you rather go to Mexico or the Caribbean? Let’s say for the sake of argument that you want to go to the Caribbean. There are many islands in the Caribbean but not all islands are geared toward all inclusive stays. So, do you want an all inclusive resort that provides all of your meals and drinks? If so, don’t waste your time with small islands like St. Thomas or even the Bahamas because there are few all inclusive resorts in those areas. You should focus more on places like Punta Cana or Jamaica which have a ton of all inclusive hotel options. Also, more options typically means the better the price.
Next you need to start thinking about what you want out of this vacation. What is most important to YOU, the beach? The pool? The room? Everyone is different and although many resorts offer similar services, some resorts are geared more towards families with kids while others may be focused more on families with teenagers and so forth. How can you tell if the hotel is geared more towards younger kids or teenagers? Well, that’s exactly why you call us.
From this point, be sure to know what dates or at least what date range will work best for your family. Once you know the dates and destination, you are ready to call an expert to get help in picking out the best resort to meet your needs and expectations. Flexibility is good but too much flexibility will just muddy the water, so have some destination ideas, know what you want out of your vacation and give us a call to help you find the perfect resort.
While on vacation in the Riviera Maya my wife and I always like to visit the town of Playa Del Carmen to shop, sight see and many times have lunch at any one of the many great local restaurants. No matter how long your stay or which resort you are staying in, everyone should try to take the time to visit Playa while on vacation.
In Playa Del Carmen you will see about 30 blocks of non-stop store fronts, local eateries, bars, hotels and tons of people. Even this past Monday when we were in Playa, with this being the off season I would have to say we still saw thousands of tourists walking the streets, window shopping and bartering with the locals. You can find some great deals on your souvenirs if you are patient and have some time to look around. If you go down to Playa Del Carmen at night, you won’t want to miss Coco Bongo, the most talked about and sought after show in Mexico. One of my favorite night life spots would be the Blue Parrot; every night there’s an amazing fire show that starts around 10:30 and lasts for about 30 minutes.
As far as safety concerns in this area, in my opinion I felt as safe there as I always have with no worries. We walked around for about 4 hours and saw many Police officers on the streets to ensure that all is well. Obviously just like any where in the world when you are traveling, use common sense. Don’t go into places you think look questionable and stay in the tourist areas. Tourism is the life blood of Mexico and many of it’s citizens, and believe it or not, they work hard to keep you as a traveler safe and happy so that you can come back year after year.
Have you ever thought about how fun it would be for you and some of your closest friends or family to get together and take a trip to an All Inclusive Resort? Well, I have and I can tell you this, it’s easier than you think and traveling as a group can be such a great vacation for everyone involved!
Here at Dream Vacations we offer All Inclusive resorts to many various locations in Mexico and the Caribbean with areas such as Cancun, Riviera Maya, Punta Cana and Jamaica. For group travel, we have discounts that start with as little as $20 off per person and go up to an entire free vacation for one person in the group for every 21 adults that travel. No matter the resort or location you chose to go with, we will offer the best overall service and price for your group. Don’t think you have enough people to travel to qualify for a group? Think again!
Our most common type of group vacation starts off with as little as 5 rooms and 10 adults traveling. We call these our “Social Groups.” In years past, groups would of had to have had at least 10 rooms as minimum with only one person paying for the group. So really the only people who could save money in the past with this many people traveling were groups such as company travel or weddings that the bride and groom paid for all guests (doesn’t happen often). Now with our new Social Groups that have 5 rooms or more, we can help families or couples book their vacation from any departure city for various lengths of stay at the same contracted resort with an extra discount. Example; Joe and Sally fly from Chicago and want to stay for 7 nights while John and Sue fly from St. Louis and only want to stay for 4 nights but each couple wants to pay separately. NO PROBLEM! We simply request a promo code to use when booking each reservation that will save anywhere from $20 to $40 off per person at the time of booking.
With traditional groups, if you are going to have 10 rooms or more with at least 21 to 26 adults traveling, you can qualify for one person totally free. If the group is traveling on an “Charter Flight Package” it only takes the 21st person to get a full air and hotel free traveler (only pay for taxes). If you package is for just a resort stay without airfare or if the airfare is on any commercial airline such as American, Delta or United, the 26th passenger gets a full free hotel stay and will only need to pay for the airfare. For traditional groups packages, in order to receive most discounts one person is considered the group leader and would be responsible for gathering all payments as well as names of travelers would be partaking in the fun!
Planning a group vacation is easier than you think. Get together with friends or family, have some dinner and drinks to talk about where you might want to go and even take your time looking online at some of our most popular locations mentioned in this blog to have an idea of works best for you. Then simply give any one of our expert travel specialist a call to get started!