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DESTINATION: New Orleans

“Paris of the South”

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New Orleans’ traditions, venues and settings simply set it apart for destination weddings. The Big Easy is one of the world’s most romantic spots to say “I do” dating back to the 18th century. Welcome to New Orleans…where the motto of “Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler” (Let the Good Times Roll) sums up the celebratory atmosphere of the city while paying tribute to its French heritage. The Crescent City’s European and Caribbean influences date back more than 300 years and can be felt, seen, heard and tasted in its music, architecture and cuisines.  The city by the river has captured the hearts and imaginations of Americans since before it was even part of the American colonies. A long-time enclave of sophistication and glamour that draws visitors from all parts of the world. The city has always been different from its neighbors to the north and the south. Attribute those differences to the city’s rich Creole and Cajun heritages, the African slaves who brought us Voodoo, the European Catholics who introduced Mardi Gras in all its glory, or the very air itself, you will find a one-of-a-kind experience in New Orleans.

Historic Streetcars

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Streetcars have been running along St. Charles Avenue since 1835, with today’s electric incarnation in place since 1893 – now the St. Charles streetcars are a National Historic Landmark that pass by the stately mansions of the Garden District

NEW ORLEANS TASTES & TUNES

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As the birthplace of Cajun and Zydeco music, and hugely instrumental in the development of jazz and Dixieland, New Orleans is a natural home for the music festivals New Orleans’ unique dining scene and unsurpassed musical heritage will compose an experience for your clients that is nothing short of a masterpiece. It will be love at first bite in New Orleans, where a passion for food is perhaps matched only by the city’s love affair with music. The birthplace of jambalaya and jazz effortlessly inspires visitors from around the globe with its vibrant flavors and rich musical heritage

OLD SOUTH HISTORY 

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Round out the visit with a bit of Old South history amongst magnificent antebellum plantations, opportunities to see the natural wonders of the Bayou, cultural excursions into Cajun and Creole life within historical towns, time on the golf greens, and even one-of-a-kind attractions not to be missed while in Louisiana.

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DESTINATION: Florida Keys

From our friends at the Monroe County Tourist Development Council

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Key West

Located closer to Cuba than to Miami, Key West is Florida’s irreverent southernmost subtropical paradise, a unique confluence of history, climate, natural beauty, cultural diversity, architecture and unabashed romantic appeal.

Palm-lined streets with gingerbread mansions and tin-roofed conch houses were home to Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost and Jimmy Buffett, a few of the famous people who discovered solace and inspiration in the island city whose Bahamian and Cuban heritage in large part was inspired by Bahamian wreckers, commercial fishermen, spongers and Cuban cigar makers.

Residents and visitors to the island actively participate in sightseeing, diving, fishing, watersports, golf and shopping by day, and then become part of the sunset celebration held each evening at Mallory Square, when tightrope walkers, jugglers and animal acts perform before the fiery sun settling into the Gulf of Mexico.

At night, streets filled with sidewalk cafes, open-air bars, legendary pubs and world-class restaurants with island specialties come alive. Drama, musicals and comedy flourish on local stages.

Lower Keys

Where the Florida Keys island chain takes a graceful westerly turn toward the sunset, the Lower Keys are home to two national wildlife refuges, a national marine sanctuary and a state park, and are surrounded by a marine environment filled with abundant terrestrial and marine wildlife.

This quiet region of small islands is connected from the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge at Sunshine Key, mile marker (MM) 40, to Stock Island at MM 5, by community resilience, family-owned resorts, RV parks, campgrounds, quaint B&B’s and licensed vacation homes, as well as eclectic restaurants, native wildernesses and rich history.

Along your road trip explore Little Duck Key and Veterans Memorial Park, a perfect family stop for its sandy beach, picnic areas and pet-friendliness.

A mile further southwest is Ohio Key and Sunshine Key RV Camping Resort, with pool, family restaurant and modern amenities.

Near MM 37 is Bahia Honda State Park and Recreation Area, whose white sandy beaches and abundant wildlife frequently earn the area “one of the most beautiful beaches in America” accolade.

Shop, dine or explore the National Key Deer Refuge, a large expanse of mostly undeveloped pinelands where the diminutive Key Deer live, when you reach Big Pine Key at MM 33.

Or, venture out to the freshwater habitat of the Blue Hole or No Name Key for a backcountry kayak adventure.

Marathon

Marathon is one of the Keys’ most marine-friendly cities with nearly 1,200 wet slips, 1,200 dry slips and major facilities to accommodate transient cruisers.

Marathon City Marina, considered the Keys’ jewel for cruisers, administers 226 mooring balls and has limited dockage. Both mooring balls and dockage are available by the day, week or month.

There are also special mooring and managed anchorage fields in Boot Key Harbor as part of a statewide environmental protection pilot program. Boats on a mooring ball do pay a fee.

Other features include two dinghy docks, storage, private showers and bathroom facilities, social center, coin-operated laundry and parking.

Islamorada

Perhaps the world’s highest density of professional offshore charter boats with tournament-grade captains can be found in Islamorada, a village of islands where backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly fishing were pioneered.

Highly skilled recreational fishing guides ply their trade here, in the style of legendary fishing figures Ted Williams, Jimmy Albright and Cecil Keith.

Islamorada may be the only place on Earth where it is possible to catch a sailfish offshore and pursue bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and redfish in just inches of water in the backcountry, all in the same day.

Islamorada is, however, much more than sport fishing capital of the world.

Travelers on group tours through the Florida Keys — multi-generation families, reunions, seniors, foreign or special interest groups — can find unique experiences, soft adventure and quality.

In Islamorada, permanent and traveling exhibits featured at the Keys History & Discovery Center incorporate the first Florida Keys inhabitants, shipwrecks and salvage, Keys pioneering families, sportfishing legends, Henry Flagler’s Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad, and reflect upon nature, art or history of the Keys.

Key Largo

Key Largo, the first and northernmost of the Florida Keys, is an hour’s drive from South Florida’s two major airports, and a world away.

Home to tropical hardwoods, winding creeks, two state parks, a national park and a portion of a national marine sanctuary, Key Largo boasts some of the most fascinating botanical scenery in the state.

Accommodations from small family-owned properties to vacation homes and condominiums or large resorts are available for all tastes.

Visitors can enjoy Key Largo’s ties to the sea including scuba diving, snorkeling, an underwater hotel, sport fishing, eco-tours, beaches and dolphin encounter programs. The island also offers numerous on-shore attractions including nature trails and a rehabilitation center for wild birds.

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Surf Locations to Check Out While You’re Traveling

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From Blue Crush to The Endless Summer, many of us have only experienced surfing through movies, often leaving us wishing we could be surfing somewhere ourselves. Do you know some of the most popular spots in the world for surfers to flock to?

Kauai, Hawaii

If you were wanting to see where the heart of surfing began and to see what Hawaii has to offer, check out Kauai during the summer months. However, if you’re more experienced, visit South Shore from November to February where you can see ocean swells that are as large as 30 – 40 feet.

  • Kalapaki Beach – This beach is great for those who are just learning to surf because of the protective break walls that help create gentle conditions to surf in.
  • Kahili Beach – If you’re a beginner and are traveling in the summer months, this will be a good beach for you because the waves are consistent and small. In the winter, the waves become longer and more powerful, making this spot more dangerous. Nevertheless, this would be a great spot for intermediate surfers.
  • Hanalei Bay – Similar to Kahili Beach, Hanalei Bay, located on the North Shore of Kauai is going to be calmer in the summer months and more powerful in the winter. So, if you’re a beginner, try coming to this spot during the summer months.
  • Kealia Beach – This beach is more open and exposed, so if you’re a beginner this will still be a good spot, you’ll just want to be a little more aware! The surf can get dangerous, so be careful!
  • Kekaha Beach – With the strong currents and rough ocean conditions, this beach might not be the best for beginners. For those who are intermediate to advanced, though, the rougher conditions make this location less crowded.

Southern California

Maybe you want to stay on the mainland and see the sunny state of California; don’t worry, there are plenty of places to surf here!

  • Huntington Beach – You might know this beach by its nickname: “Surf City USA.” This is a very popular location because of its consistent surf and is also known because it hosts the Annual Vans US Open of Surfing every year.
  • Surfrider Beach – This popular location is best surfed during the summer months. What’s great about this beach is that it accommodates all surfing levels. If you’re a beginner, you can surf closer to the shore where the waves are gentler; the further out you go, the bigger the surf will get which is best for intermediate to advanced surfers.
  • San Onofre State Beach, San Clemente – If you’re looking for a beach to spend the day with your family and friends, this is the place to go! With multiple beach areas and parking lots to play games and tailgate, everyone can have fun. If you’re coming to San Onofre to surf, there are two areas you can head to. The first is the Lower Trestles, which is located on the south side. It’s known for consistently having the best waves and, because of that, you may spot a pro–surfer hanging out there. Another beach at San Onofre is Old Man’s. This easily accessible location is a great surf spot with gentle waves which is perfect for beginners.

Puerto Escondido, Mexico

  • Playa Zicatela – This famous surf spot has big, powerful, and bone–breaking tubular waves. If you’re a beginner, you definitely won’t want to practice out here. Only the advanced surfers should be playing here since this surf spot has been known to break surfboards into pieces, and in some cases, caused some deaths. However, because of these tubular waves, Playa Zicatela has been considered one of the most important surf destinations in Mexico and Central America. However, if you are heading to this area and still want to surf as a beginner or an intermediate surfer, head over to La Punta, Carrizalillo, and Playa Marinero for some tamer waves.

Biarritz, France

When you think of France, do you immediately think of Paris and the Eiffel tower? Did you that there are places in France recognized for their beaches and surf spots? Fun fact: Biarritz was the birthplace of surfing in Europe and the surf is so good, many well–known surfers visit just to surf there.

Biarritz, France is located in the southwest Aquitaine region where you will find some of the most iconic beaches: La Cote des Basques and Grand Plage.

  • La Cote de Basques – This beach is great for beginners, especially from April to October and June and July. If you’re a bit on the intermediate level, you can surf all year, but from May to March and September and November the crowds are quieter and the surf is bigger.

Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

A town known for how welcoming they are to their guests from all around the world, people love the balance of the small–town feel yet a big city for bringing people together. Jeffrey’s Bay, also known as J–Bay, has multiple beaches that have great surfing conditions for all levels of experience, especially during the months of March through October.

  • Point and Kitchen Windows – These are two beaches that will be great for beginners. They offer smaller waves that are still powerful enough to give you a longer ride.
  • Subertubes – This beach is best for intermediate to expert levels, in which you will see 12–foot waves to surf.

Uluwato, Indonesia

This is a unique place to visit especially if you’re an experienced surfer. This popular location can get a bit crowded, so it tends to be more competitive.

  • Uluwatu – Uluwatu is right under a cliff, which makes for some amazing views and an interesting way to get out to the water. If you are surfing, you have to work your way down to the ocean by climbing down a set of stairs in the Uluwatu cliff, which is essentially a cave. Once you get to the bottom, if the tide is high, you will be welcomed by the ocean within the cave. To get out of the cave into the open cove of the beach, you have to get on your surfboard and paddle out of the cave. When the tide is low and you’ve reached the bottom of the staircase, you’ll be able to just walk out of the cave to the coved beach area where you can start surfing.

No matter if you are a surfer or not, if you want to learn, or are just fascinated by the sport, you can find some neat surf spots while traveling that are worth checking out!

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DESTINATION: Cayman Islands

From our friends at Visit Cayman Islands

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‘We know how hard it is when it comes to deciding on a holiday. There are so many options to choose fr om and so many factors to think about – where to go, where to stay, what to do. Luckily the Cayman Islands has it all: luxury with an abundance of activities and experiences make it the perfect holiday choice for everyone, whether it’s a family adventure, a romantic escape, a culinary journey or a diving expedition. Below are just 10 reasons to visit this Caribbean “paradise: 

Beaches The Cayman Islands is home to some of the best beaches in the world. In fact, Seven Mile Beach is consistently voted one of ‘the world’s best beaches’ in the Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice awards. With soft white sand and calm, crystal clear water it’s the perfect place to while away the hours in Grand Cayman. 

 Unforgettable memories Visiting the Cayman Islands is all about unforgettable memories. Although there is a whole host of things to see and do, two experiences that really stand out are Stingray City and a night time kayak tour to experience the spectacular bioluminescence. Located approximately 20 minutes off the shores of Grand Cayman, Stingray City is a sandbar wh ere friendly wild stingrays congregate. You can interact with these majestic creatures, standing waist-deep in the warm water as they swim around your legs. This truly is an experience not to be missed and one to remember forever. Another unmissable experience has to be the night-time kayak tour to see the spectacular bioluminescence. The Cayman Islands is one of the few places in the world to witness this natural phenomenon wh ere every stroke of your paddle leaves behind a glowing swirl of blue light. Truly magical! 

Weather The average temperature in the Cayman Islands is 28°C so it’s perfect for a spot of year-round sunshine. January is the coolest month with temperatures around 25°C and warm trade winds providing a gentle breeze. 

Diving Widely recognised as the birthplace of recreational diving, exploring the underwater world around the Cayman Islands is not to be missed. There are diving experiences on offer for all ages and abilities with qualified instructors on hand for those wanting to learn. With 365 dive sites to choose from across the three islands and some of the best visibility in the world, expect to see colourful, abundant marine life, trenches, chasms and wrecks. Not a diver? No problem as there are fantastic snorkelling sites just off shore. Expect to see colourful fish, fascinating coral reefs and maybe even a turtle or two. Cayman is also a great place to learn to dive as the waters are warm and the visibility unrivalled. You can even complete the theory and pool work in the UK and simply fly out to Cayman to finish your PADI qualification. 

Watersports As well as providing stunning scenery underneath the waves, the surface of our calm, crystal-clear, turquoise waters provide the perfect setting for water sports. Snorkelling, sailing, paddleboarding, kayaking and kitesurfing are all available. Most of the larger hotels include GoPro rental in their prices, so you can capture all your exploits on camera! Paddleboarding or kayaking to Owen Island is a popular activity in Little Cayman as the island is uninhabited, so you can make it your own slice of paradise for the day. 

Nature There are several nature-based activities to enjoy in the Cayman Islands. These range from bird watching at the islands’ sanctuaries to kayaking through mangroves; learning about different flora and fauna. Naturalists will love the Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park wh ere the rare, indigenous, Blue Iguana roams and marvel at the spectacular stalagmites and stalactites of the Crystal Caves. A hike along the ancient Mastic Trail with a National Trust guide is also a must. 

Food Proud to be known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, the Cayman Islands is a haven for foodies. Fresh seafood, vibrant flavours and a strong farm- and sea-to-table ethos make the culinary offering diverse and delicious. Exploring The best way to see the Cayman Islands is to explore at your own leisure. Hiring a car and finding your own way around the destination allows total freedom to go wherever the mood suits, whether it’s searching for a secluded beach, looking for that perfect photo opportunity or simply to find out how Caymanian people live. Just make sure you’ve got your swimming and snorkel gear with you! Cayman Brac A mere 30-minute flight from Grand Cayman,

Cayman Brac earns its name from the spectacular Bluff that thrusts vertically from the ocean floor and runs down the centre of the island. The lighthouse located at the end of the Bluff provides spectacular views of the cliffs and ocean below and those with an adventurous side will love exploring the crisscross network of hiking trails. Little Cayman At only ten miles long and one-mile wide, 

Little Cayman is perhaps the most unique of all three Cayman Islands. Small but mighty, the tranquil island offers uninterrupted relaxation and awe-inspiring landscapes everywhere you look, making it especially popular among couples and honeymooners. Pack a picnic and kayak or paddleboard over to the uninhabited Owen Island to experience true tropical island bliss. There aren’t many other sun-kissed islands in the Caribbean that can offer this diversity of experiences all in one place, making the Cayman Islands the perfect destination for a luxurious getaway, whatever the reason.”

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DESTINATION: Los Cabos

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5 Reasons to Love Los Cabos – Los Cabos Tourism Board 

onsidered one of the world´s most inspiring destinations, Los Cabos is a hot spot all year round. Fr om the hot and wild summer to the fresh and vibrant winter, there’s not a season when this unique place isn’t amazing. It almost seems unfair that one destination conformed by two towns (Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo) boasts so many incredible attractions: stunning blue flag beaches, perfect weather, remarkable biodiversity, delicious gastronomy, sophisticated accommodations, world-class night clubs, and spectacular tours along this marvelous peninsula. If you’ve not been here before, or even if you have, here are 5 of many reasons to love this stretch of paradise located in the southernmost tip of Baja California, Mexico.

1 BLUE FLAG BEACHES – There are nineteen beaches worthy of this distinction. No wonder Los Cabos ranks as the top destination in Mexico for visitors!

2 THE ARCH OF CABO SAN LUCAS – The distinctive landmark of Cabo San Lucas is the rugged taffy-colored rock formation that erupts fr om the sea at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, wh ere the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. 

3 WHALE WATCHING TOURS – Whale season in Los Cabos occurs from December to April.

4 SCUBA DIVING AND SNORKELING – Speaking of amazing sea life, the Sea of Cortez in Los Cabos, has a huge variety of sea flora including one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the World.

5 SAN JOSE DEL CABO – San Jose del Cabo´s downtown main plaza and its distinctive architecture, has become an Art District where you can find art crafts from all over the world, but mainly Mexican art and local creations. It’s also a hot spot for shopping and dining. 

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DESTINATION: JAMAICA

Why Visit Jamaica – Brought to you by the Jamaica Tourist Board

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Honeymoons: From the naturally heart-shaped ‘jacuzzi’ at Reach Falls to sunsets in Negril so beautiful they make you fall in love, Jamaica is one of the most romantic holiday destinations in the world. 

Weddings: There’s no better place to get married than here. In Jamaica there are so many ways to rest, relax and enjoy your time before, during and after saying your “I do’s”. 

Nature: Come see why Errol Flynn, and countless others, have called Jamaica the most beautiful place their eyes have ever seen. Majestic waterfalls, grand rivers and lush landscapes are just the beginning of the journey. 

History: As one of the most diverse places in the world, visiting Jamaica is a fascinating learning experience. 

Adventure: The island of rhythm and sway is also the island of adventure. Come and explore our top spots.

Food: From jerk to patties to world-famous ice cream, Jamaica is a destination for foodies. 

Beaches: Lay claim to your spot on our picturesque beaches. Whether you’re interested in exploring the underwater world or soaking up the sun, there’s a beach for you in Jamaica. 

Entertainment: Jamaica is the cultural capital of the Caribbean. Visit us to experience live reggae music, street dances, festivals, carnival and much more. 

Weather: Warm Caribbean weather with occasional liquid sunshine makes for an enjoyable holiday. 

The People: From the moment you land you’ll meet upon some of the friendliest people in the world. Say hi, chat with us! Don’t worry we’ll teach you a bit of our dialect patois.   

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Mauritius

If you’re looking to travel somewhere with fantastic beaches and views, put Mauritius at the top of your list. This Island Country is located just east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Île aux Cerfs, on the eastern side of Mauritius, is a private island known as a water sports paradise. You’ll have plenty of fun snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming. Not only is this location great for water sports, but it’s also said to have the most attractive beaches in Mauritius! Be sure to plan for a whole day here as it’s only accessible by boat.

Bras d’Eau, on the northeastern side of Mauritius, is a smaller bay that resides in the lagoon of Poste Lafayette. Because of its unique position offering southern views, visitors to this spot can catch both sunrises and sunsets. If spectacular sunsets and sunrises aren’t enough, Bras d’Eau is also known as the best place to view the Milky Way on the island, so be sure to stick around after that sunset. Soaking up the island’s culture is made easy here as locals frequent this spot on the weekends and during holidays.

While in Bras d’Eau, check out Bras d’Eau National Park. Take a bike or hike your way through this exotic forest that leads to the Roches Noires Caves. Here, you can view the remains of volcanic activity, which is what formed the island, and see lava tubes that connect to the sea. These are now freshwater springs that you can swim and snorkel in among the fish.

If you travel to the northeast of Mauritius, you’ll find one of its territories, Rodrigues Island. Called “the jewel in the crown of the Mascarene Islands,” it’s 42 square miles surrounded by coral reefs, offering stunning views for diving and snorkeling. Visitors can also partake in kite-surfing, ziplining, and birdwatching.

Not only is this island nation filled with stunning views and nature, but it’s also rich with history. You’ll be able to visit many museums and structures to learn more about this island, such as Fort Adelaide, which overlooks Port Louis and the harbor. It was built between 1834 and 1840 to guard the city against riots during the abolition of slavery. However, it is used now for performance art and houses concerts and other events.

Another incredible stop to add to your list if you want to learn more about the history of Mauritius is the Beekrumsing Ramlallah Interpretation Centre (BRIC). Also located in Port Louis, this exhibition showcases the experiences of indentured laborers in Mauritius and the roles the island played in the history of indenture. Featuring objects recovered during archaeological excavations and multiple touch screen displays with information about this period, this is a great educational stop for all!

There are many other museums you may want to check out while you’re visiting the island. From the small Natural History Museum which has 35,000 species on display including the extinct dodo bird, to the Mauritius Postal Museum, which displays commemorative stamps and other postal artifacts from around the world.

Though this island may be far for most, it is worth traveling the distance! With the beautiful beaches and views, to the multitude of activities, and all the educational experiences, it’s a great location to learn, explore, and most importantly, relax and experience!

Learn more about Mauritius in the Video below

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USA Specialist – Denver

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