5 Trips to Take with Friends
This Valentine's Day, why not gather your closest friends and start planning a vacation together? Meeting up in a special destination offers an escape from the day-to-day while enjoying new experiences and genuine quality time with one another. Sipping on coffee or wine. Chatting until long after the sun sets. Touring a new city together, popping in and out of boutiques. Relaxing side-by-side with an amazing view. Dancing into the wee hours of the morning. The sky’s the limit when planning a getaway for groups of friends!
Iceland for Adventure
Catching the sweeping beauty of the Northern Lights, bathing in geothermal waters, hiking rugged landscapes, and road-tripping The Golden Circle make for an awesome adventure in the Arctic Circle when friends plan an adventure in beautiful Iceland.
Montreal for Food
For trendy bars and a hot restaurant scene, foodie friends should make the journey to Montreal, Canada’s second most populated city. Second only to New York City for restaurants per capita in North America, options abound for whatever craving strikes.
Napa Valley for Wine
The heart of California’s wine country calls to friends who long to chat over glasses of red or white, pedal bicycles to local wineries on a guided tour, make reservations for indulgent spa services, and dine al fresco with lush green vineyards as a backdrop.
Nashville for Music
Quirky and friendly Nashville welcomes tourists to its small town with a big city vibe, complete with the strumming guitars and microphone checks of its toe-tapping music scene. Small venues, large venues, and everything in-between host a variety of live music of all genres, and this bustling scene is the draw to Nashville. The trip is complete with tasty southern comfort food, icy beers, and perhaps a celebrity spotting or two.
Sedona for the Soul
The red rocks of Sedona provide the setting for luxurious boutique hotels, exquisite outdoor dining, and dazzling sunrises that soothe the soul. Known worldwide as an area for spiritualism, energy and soul work, restorative retreats, and metaphysical practitioners, Sedona is the perfect destination for friends to find their Zen.
Fast Facts for Travelers
~ The island is 37 square miles and can be easily navigated by rental car. One main road runs the perimeter of the island and there is no official border or border crossing.
~The island is shared by two countries and is divided into two distinct "sides":
~ St. Maarten (Dutch) capital: Philipsburg
Features many beaches, shopping, restaurants, chain hotels, and casinos. Cruise ships dock at Philipsburg and passengers take a ferry to the capital from the pier. The international airport (SXM) is located on this side of the island, and is approximately four hours from NYC.
~ St. Martin (French) capital: Marigot
Features many beaches, upscale shopping and restaurants, boutique and smaller hotels. The French side of the island has a smaller airport that primarily caters to small planes arriving from and departing to other islands in the Caribbean.
~ US Dollars are widely accepted.
~ No converters or adapters are required for electronics.
~ Ferry service from two main points on the island is available to Anguilla, St. Barths, Saba, and St. Eustacius.
St. Maarten shares the island with French St. Martin (both are pronounced the same), which makes up 21 square miles and is home to 39,000 people. The island has the unique distinction of being the world's smallest landmass to be shared by two countries (France and Holland).
We'll focus here on the Dutch side of St. Maarten.
St. Maarten by land and sea...
The average water temperature around the island is 81 degrees F.
~ Many guests to the island enjoy shallow diving to depths of 60 feet or less. The most famous wreck site on the island is the Proselyte Wreck and Reef on the south side, which features the frigate HMS Proselyte that sank here in 1801.
~ Water sports include sailing, kayaking, glass bottom canoeing, windsurfing, paddleboarding, and fishing.
~ For an extra special vacation experience, participate in the "12 Meter Challenge"and crew on one of five sailboats from the 1987 America's Cup.
~ Many reputable tour companies offer fantastic experiences around the island - check with your hotel or cruise line for details.
Landlubbers can also find many fun activities to occupy their days in St. Maarten. Contact Harley Davidson island tours and choose from a variety of themed options, including an eco ride, a biker's ride, or a champagne ride. Rent bicycles and explore the island while getting some exercise in the sunshine. Explore the 20 miles of hiking trails and climb to Pic Paradis, the highest point on the island at 1391 feet. Visit Seaside Nature Park for horseback riding, the discovery farm and garden, team building activities, and fun on the water. If you're in need of an adrenaline rush, visit Loterie Farm for ziplining through the tree tops.
Accommodations and Activities
~ Very few hotel chains exist on the island, so most are independently owned and operated. There are some all-inclusive resorts, but not many. Travelers are sure to find accommodations to match their desired amenities, style, and budget. Working with a knowledgeable travel agent will ensure this.
~ Choose from 14 casinos to test your luck.
~ Dine at one of 350 restaurants...St. Maarten is known as the Gastronomic Capital of the Caribbean.
- Shop until you drop...tax and duty free!
If you're thinking about visiting St. Maarten for your next Caribbean getaway (whether as a cruise port or destination in itself) contact me to get started with your vacation plans. We can create custom packages together, tailored to your wishes and budget, for a special and memorable vacation.
All photos are my own.
Ultimate Dream Destinations
The 2017 results are in...
The December 2017 issue of Vacation Agent magazine featured a list of the top fifteen "ultimate dream destinations" as voted upon by American travelers surveyed by Travel Leaders Group.
Did your dream destinations make the list?
3. Bora Bora
5. New Zealand
6. World Cruise
8. Mediterranean Europe Cruise
9. Greek Isles
11. European River Cruise
12. (tie) Antartica / South Pacific and Tahiti Cruise
14. Australia / New Zealand Cruise
Please visit Travel Leaders here to see the full article.
Share your dream destination in the comments below! (Then contact me when you're ready to make it happen!)