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Beach sunset panorama

Belize, many options for the adventurous traveler.

Our newest Travel Designer, Lisa Ritz recently visited Belize and was kind enough to give us some great insight on things to do there.

Belize City – While few travelers stay in Belize City, it is a common starting point for many trips. Flights and water taxis out of Belize City usually stop operating at 4:30-5:00PM. Due to the schedules of connecting flights and water taxis, you may find that staying a night in Belize City is your best option. Some of the many tours available are: ATV trips through the rainforest, jungle cave tubing, and exploring the Maya Caves. These are great excursions for the adventurous travelers with a knack for hiking.

If you do spend the night, I recommend the Great House, a small hotel with only 16 rooms. It is a Belizean landmark preserved in its original 1927 colonial heritage style. Another recommendation would be the Best Western Biltmore, which offers a swimming pool and restaurant on property.

Ambergris Caye – You may travel here by plane or water taxi. I choose the water taxi due to a more convenient schedule and much cheaper price. It was a two hour ride with very beautiful waters and seating inside or out. Ambergris Caye is a popular destination and a very active island offering many excursions and a vibrant nightlife. You can always find something going on.

Another attraction is the barrier reef (the world's second largest!), located just off the coast. Explore the Blue Hole by diving or snorkeling. This particular excursion was an all-day tour with three stops along the edge of the Blue Hole. In all of my trips to the Caribbean, this experience was definitely one of the most beautiful. The immense depth, brilliant water clarity, and diverse sea life are unparalleled. I've never experienced anything quite like it.

For this leg of the trip, I stayed at the Victoria House. Hailed by locals and visitors alike as a stunning hotel, I was curious to see if Victoria House could live up to the hype. Guests can choose from private villas, casitas, and plantation rooms. There is a wide range of restaurants ranging from beach casual to romantic. Service and upkeep were outstanding. This turned out to be my favorite resort on the entire trip.

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Generations Riviera Maya

My kids (ages 7 & 10) and I also visited the Generations Riviera Maya on our trip to Mexico last summer. This is a newer upscale family resort by Karisma Hotels, and is designed to cater to couples who love the El Dorado Resorts, but want to bring their family along. This 140 suite resort boasts beautiful 1, 2 & 3 bedroom suites, with swim out rooms and infinity pool suites. Very unique!

Upon check in we were assigned a butler to help us with all our questions and needs while visiting. We were given a short tour of the hotel while we waited for our room to be prepared. We enjoyed a lovely lunch next to the pool at the outdoor grill and then we were shown to our beautiful suite. We were given a beautiful two bedroom suite, complete with kitchen, dining area and living room. What beautiful accommodations!

The beach is undergoing a lot of renovation right now, as the Karisma Hotels are working on an amazing project to build one of the World's largest artificial reefs. They were busy shuttling part of the reef along the beach throughout our visit, so we spent most of our time in the amazing pool and kids club. The Eco Kids Club was a favorite of my kids, and they wanted to spend almost all of their time there. From the organized crafts and activities, to the movie room and giant ball pit, my kids were in heaven! And Mom enjoyed some quiet time by the pool to read a book and soak up some sun.

We enjoyed a gourmet meal at "Habu" a beautiful Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the ocean. My kids enjoyed the food with lots of great kid friendly foods like donuts, pancakes, pizzas, burgers, etc. Room service was really great one evening after a long day in the sun, and the staff of the hotel was so wonderful and accommodating. My kids said this was the best resort they've ever stayed at and gave the kids club staff "two thumbs up!"

If you are interested in more information about the Generations Riviera Maya, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today!

Mexico Vacation with Kids!

After vacationing with my husband in Jamaica, I took my two kids (ages 7 & 10) to the Riviera Maya south of Cancun in Mexico. We visited two resorts, the first of which was the NOW Jade Riviera Cancun. Located outside of Puerto Morales, this resort has something for everyone! Part of the AM Resorts Brand, NOW resorts cater to singles, doubles and families. The resort is split into two halves, one side of regular junior suites and a Preferred Club side. We were booked into a Junior Suite Preferred Club which had a separate living area and a gorgeous bedroom and bathroom. We enjoyed a beautiful ocean view overlooking the adults only pool area and the best part of the beach is on the this side of the resort as well. The pool is just for adults, but the beach is open to all guests.

We enjoyed the family pool located on the other side of the resort with a great swim up bar, pool activities and lots of seating. The fruit "smoothies" from the swim up bar were my kids favorite part of each day! The beach on the family side is rocky (water shoes are highly recommended) but we made our way down to the other side of the resort and the beach there was spectacular. There is a Kids Club with great activities for ages 4-12 and also a teens club with video games and other activities.

On our day of arrival we enjoyed a la carte lunch at a wonderful restaurant "Castaways" next to the family pool. We ate at the international buffet, "Carnival" most days for breakfast, lunch and dinner but we did have a delightful Italian Dinner at "Capers" one evening. My favorite part of the resort was the evening atmosphere. The lobby is surrounded by shops, restaurants, bars, a theater and there is live entertainment each evening. Movies under the stars are shown each evening for the kids outside the kids club and two nights a week they set up a beautiful open air market for all the local vendors to sell their wares.

We enjoyed a couple of great excursions while in Riviera Maya, the first being "Selvatica" which was an amazing zipline tour that my kids absolutely loved. The staff and team at "Selvatica" are amazing to work with and really helped make it a safe and fun experience for my kids. Their favorite part was the Water Zipline at the end of the tour that shot them out over a beautiful cenote and a thrilling drop of 20 feet! They must have done this 30 times each!

On our last day, we took a cab into Puerto Morales with another family we had met and did a snorkeling tour with a local Diving Company that specializes in tours for kids. "Aquanauts" ( is a first rate dive company on the beach in Puerto Morales and they did a great job making my kids comfortable with all the equipment and helping them see some amazing underwater sealife. Amazing trip!

All in all this was a great adventure for myself and the kids and we enjoyed the NOW Jade a lot. If you have any questions or are interested in booking a trip to the NOW Jade for your family, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away

Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away have always been two of my top selling resorts in Jamaica, especially for honeymooners.  I had toured these properties on two separate trips, but I was so happy to finally be visiting for a week with my husband in July.   We first stayed at Couples Negril for 4 nights, and quickly fell in love with this resort.  I have never been to such a laid back, relaxing, amazing property in my 20 years of travel!  

Although small in size, there were 4 specialty restaurants offering a wonderful variety of dining experiences.  The food was delicious and even the buffet offered great variety each day.  Service was impeccable, with everyone making sure that we had everything we needed at all times.  The bartenders at the swim up bar were very fun and made sure we were never without a drink.  My favorite part of the hotel is that they have foam pool mattresses on every chair around the pool AND on the beach.  What a relaxing way to while away the days, floating in the pool or ocean.  The beach is one of the best I’ve ever experienced, with calm, clear blue water and soft sand without rocks and seaweed.  

The best part about Couples is they offer some amazing watersports and excursions in their all inclusive package.  You can snorkel twice a day, take a glass bottom boat tour, scuba dive and experience all kinds of water sports.  Plus you can take a trip into town for shopping, visit Margaritaville and a fun Cliffside Bar to watch the divers.  They even offer night snorkeling (there is an extra charge for that) to see some of the sea creatures that only come out at night.  We saw lobster, an octopus, sting rays and more.  What a unique experience!

We headed over to Couples Swept Away next for 3 nights and checked into the new section of Garden Verandah Suites.  This resort was expanded a few years ago, so it is about twice as big as Couples Negril and a bit more spread out.  The rooms are more modern here and they have some amazing suites located right on the beach.  Food and service were great here as well and we enjoyed an amazing meal each night at a different restaurant. 
The beach here is even more amazing (if that's possible) and we enjoyed the water sports and swim up bar there as well. I can't say enough wonderful things about both of these resorts, there location, beach, staff and everything they offer is top notch and provides you with an unforgettable vacation experience.

If you are looking for a romantic getaway for your honeymoon or to celebrate your anniversary, Couples Resorts are my highest recommendation!  You can travel there for 7 nights non-stop this Winter and then for 3 3, 4 or 7 nights this summer from St. Louis.  There are also great connecting flights via Atlanta or Miami, so contact me today for a quote at 636-300-0204 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Viva Los Cabos

I was excited to visit Cabo San Lucas again for the first time in a decade in May of last year. I was lucky to stay at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, located in the San Jose del Cabo area of this beautiful destination. This beach frontl hotel re-opened a year ago (formerly the Barcelo Los Cabos) as a Hyatt Ziva, part of the new brand of Playa Resorts. Catering to couples and families alike, I was pleased to see that it sits on a gorgeous stretch of beach. The rooms were beautiful, with modern amenities and décor.

The pool area was very large and overlooked the beach with gorgeous views of the ocean. Service at the swim up bar was very efficient and there were plenty of chairs for everyone on the beach and by the pool. I enjoyed a wonderful massage at the spa.

I was amazed at the changes in this area since my last visit a decade ago. We went into town for a wonderful dinner and I was so impressed with the shops, churches, streets and the general cleanliness of the area. There is a lot of development in the Puerto Los Cabos area with new hotels, golf courses and World Class Marinas.

I was very sad when I heard about Hurricane Odile hitting this area in September of 2014. Many hotels were heavily damaged, but reports are that the downtown area and many hotels have already re-opened and clean-up has been quite efficient. Many hotels, including the Hyatt Ziva, have taken advantage of this opportunity to completely renovate and make improvements to their facilities. I am so excited to return to Cabo, hopefully in 2015, to see an even better, revitalized Cabo San Lucas!

Funjet and Apple Vacations are offering non-stop flights this summer to Cabo for 7 nights on Saturdays and I highly recommend you check it out. Contact me at 636-300-0204 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a quote today!