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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Caribbean Vacation :: Part One


I'm baaaaaccckkkk!  Tan, tired and not even remotely ready to get back to reality.  What a vacation!  I think I ate and drank my weight in food and Heineken's but hey, isn't that what vacation is for?  Plus, we were super active, making the most of each island we went to.  I'm beyond excited to share these pictures with you all.

For those of you who don't know, I actually won this trip through the company I work for, Interstate Hotels & Resorts, for finishing as one of the top 20 hotels in 2013.  Feeling very fortunate right now after witnessing firsthand the effort and resources they put into planning this vacation for us.  It is a fantastic company and with incentives like this, makes you want to work harder each year.  

Just a quick synopsis of the itinerary; After an {amazing} awards ceremony, we took off from San Juan on the Royal Caribbean ship, Jewel of the Seas.  Ports of call were Saint Martin, Saint Kitts, Antigua, Saint Lucia and Barbados.

Most of my pictures I'm sharing are of the islands but I do want to commend the staff of the ship for a wonderful time.  The service we received was incredibly warm and genuine and you can tell that Royal Caribbean truly knows how to deliver hospitality.

Puerto Rico

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We stayed at the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.  It was a lively hotel that was right on the beach with nice rooms and a friendly and attentive staff.

Nearby the hotel was a cute little breakfast/lunch place called Orozco's.  Delicious food with even better homemade hot sauce.  As you can tell by the pictures below, I was kind of obsessed.  Matt got a Cuban that was hands down one of the best I've ever had.

And that's about it for that.  Wish we would have had more time.

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One of the only pictures I have of the Awards Banquet.  I was a bad blogger that night and didn't take any pictures! 









Saint Maarten

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We absolutely loved this island, which is divided by the French and the Dutch.  It was the smallest one we went to so we ended up renting an ATV to drive around all day.  Best way to see the island, in my humble opinion.

If you are looking to rent an ATV on this island, find a gentleman named Kayum.  He has a wide variety of vehicles and was a pleasure to meet.  I have his phone number as 524-2369, however if you ask a local, I'm positive they can point you in the right direction.

Coming around a curvy road on the way to Orient Bay, I made Matt stop so I could snap a few shots of these adorable cows.  They were very friendly... not camera shy at all!

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First stop was Orient Bay.  This was probably one of the most beautiful beaches that I have ever been to. It was like an ombre of the most beautiful blue colored water.  Because it has tons of restaurants and beach clubs, it is a bit crowded, but definitely not overwhelmingly so.

There was a dog running around the beach that looked exactly like our Sirius.  I got homesick for about one millisecond then remembered where I was and pinched myself.

Turns out there was a little bit of New Jersey on this beach as evidenced by the signs below.  It was quite a funny sight to see because my brother and sister in-law live in Mahwah.

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We then headed to Grand Case, where we fortunately found a charming little restaurant called Le Ti Coin Creole. It was not even open but the Owner/Chef, Carl. invited us in with open arms and then proceeded to whip up a gorgeous and fresh whole red snapper just for us.

The Creole sauce was to die for and the caramelized plantains were even better.   Carl even prepared a small amuse bouche of fish cakes for us which just added to the loveliness of this restaurant.  

Feeling perfectly full and content, we walked right around the corner from this pace to find public access to yet another spectacular beach.  There was barely a soul on it and we just chilled out there for a few hours, soaking it all in.

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Our final stop of the day was the must-see, Maho Beach.  What an insane experience!  If you are looking for a perfectly quiet and tranquil beach, then keep moving.  But, if you are looking to get dangerously close to some commercial 747's, then this is your place.

The planes land directly over the beach.  And when they take off, there are a few {not too} bright people who stand directly behind the exhaust.  My husband being one of them.  Although he only did this once because as he described it, "it felt like he was getting pelted by thousands of tiny bullets" when the sand blasted on his bare body.

There is also a very lively bar on this beach, complete with cold drinks and a loud DJ, which is always fun.






And this is only our first stop!  I didn't take as many pictures on the other islands because we didn't have an ATV to explore.  But I can tell you that when I post Part Two, I may or may not have a picture of...

Two monkeys.  Wearing diapers.  Riding a donkey. And that donkey is wearing sunglasses. And a Rastafarian hat.  

Be very excited.... 

4 comments:

  1. Amazing.. Can't wait for more!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Cheryl! Part 2 is coming soon!

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  2. Your vacation sounds dreamy and perfect! I'm jealous ;) I'm glad you had a good time!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Shiran! It was exactly what the doctor ordered :)

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