4 Island Getaways for Long Weekends Abroad
If a summer vacation isn't in the cards for you this year, how about a
long weekend getaway? We've collected four summer weekend destinations
that are bound to relax and rejuvenate you, no matter what your style.
Spend a romantic weekend immersed in nature and the Celtic traditions
of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Laze away the days on the white sand
beaches of an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.
Get your adventure on swimming with the whale sharks or snorkeling the
second largest barrier reef in the world off Isla Mujeres, or make
magic on a three-night cruise to the Bahamas.
The Romance of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
â€œI have travelled the globe. I have seen the Canadian and
American Rockies, the Andes and the Alps, and the highlands of
Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them
all. Don't just take Alexander Graham Bell's word for it though;
experience this island's allure for yourself, where the rough seas meet
the rugged landscape to create the ultimate weekend escape for nature
lovers, and well, lovers of all kinds. This off-the-beaten-path island
getaway is the perfect summer destination for those yearning for an
intimate connection with nature and with each other.
Start your romantic weekend in the quaint seaside village of Baddeck. The 11-acre Inverary Resort
on Baddeck Bay provides ideal accommodations with either a luxurious
suite in their 1850 main lodge, or a cozy waterfront cottage suite
nestled among the trees. The single must-do experience of the weekend
is driving the Cabot Trail. National Geographic calls it one of the
best road trips in the world; driving it counter-clockwise offers the
most spectacular views. Pleasant Bay, along the northwestern edge of
the Cabot Trail, is the whale watching capital of Cape Breton, and has
some of the island's best hiking trails. At the southwestern end of the
Cabot Trail is Glenora Distillery
in Glenville. Stop in to experience a traditional Cape Breton Ceilidh,
tour the whisky distillery, or try one of their unique whisky spiked
desserts. Back at the Inverary, book a trip to the French 18th century Fortress Louisbourg
or a tour of the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site. Ride
bikes, take hikes, or arrange for a beachside lobster boil. Relax,
unwind, and breathe.
Compare rates and read reviews of Cape Breton hotels
Adventure Awaits on Isla Mujeres
There is no better time to cash in on great deals south of the
border than summertime, and no better place than colorful Isla Mujeres.
This little island, a thirty minute ferry ride from Cancun, Mexico,
features the beautiful white sands of Playa Norte, one of Mexico's best
beaches. On Isla, your must-do under the sea adventure is swimming with
the 40-foot whale sharks, the island's gentle giants. In fact, it's
such a popular eco tourist attraction that it's celebrated with an
annual Whale Shark Festival
. You, one other person, and an expert guide swim alongside these huge plankton-eating creatures.
Learn more about the 8-hour whale shark tour
On another day, dive the eerie depths of the Blue Hole and explore the
giant stalactites while reef sharks circle overhead. Don't leave
without snorkeling the world's second largest barrier reef and
experience colorful underwater sea life like never before. Spend a day
fighting to hang onto a thrashing marlin on a deep-sea sport fishing
tour. Isla Mujeres offers just the right amount of thrills for your
long weekend getaway.
Retreat to the casual luxury of Ixchel Beach Hotel
on North Beach. Indulge in a beachside massage at the end of your
adventurous days, or experience the island through their many
affiliated venues. Get a discount at Olivia, a Mediterranean fusion
restaurant that is an island favorite, or try a taste of Isla nightlife
at Zama and charge it to your room. Check out the shops and eateries on
vibrant Hidalgo Street, or eat at Mango, a favorite for vegetarian
fare. Spend your downtime in a hammock reading J.J. Henderson's mystery
novel, Mexican Booty
, set on Isla Mujeres. It's your weekend; do it all.
Compare rates and read reviews of Isla Mujeres hotels
Lazy Days in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
With the hectic lives many people lead these days, a long weekend of
doing nothing sounds like paradise. Why not spend that lazy weekend in
a Caribbean paradise, while you're at it? The Sunscape Puerto Plata all-inclusive resort
(formerly Barcelos) in Puerto Plata sits along the popular north coast
beach of Playa Dorada; it offers a tropical environment where your
every need is catered to and your toughest decision is beach or pool.
Besides the international cuisine of La Giralda, the main buffet-style
restaurant, there are five specialty restaurants on the property:
Mexico Lindo, Kyoto, Marenostrum, La Dolce Vita, and Rodizio, so you
wonâ€™t run out of delectable choices. Casual cafes and pool and beach
bars mean you never have to leave your beach chair.
If you get your fill of doing nothing, take in a round of golf on the
resort's 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones, or go into
Puerto Plata and wander through the shops for unique island gifts. Be
sure to check out the exquisite larimar jewelry
in many shops as well as the Amber Museum
; both stones are native to the island. Visit Fort San Felipe, but read the Julia Alvarez novel, In the Time of the Butterflies
first for a deeper appreciation of its prison history. If you can only
do one thing beyond relaxing at the resort, make it a cable car trip up
Isabel de Torres Mountain
to enjoy the serenity of the lush native gardens along with dazzling
views of Puerto Plata and the Atlantic Ocean. Exchange busy for Zen on
this long island weekend.
Compare rates and read reviews of Puerto Plata hotels
Cruise to Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Taking a cruise is the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing weekend
where you can zone out and leave your everyday worries in your wake.
Disney Cruise Line's 3-night Bahamian cruise
aboard the Disney Dream sails to ports in Nassau and Castaway Cay,
Bahamas. Heading out from Port Canaveral, Florida, it won't be long
before the sun is kissing your skin while you enjoy all the amazing
activities the ship has to offer. The Disney Dream ship features
several dining options, pools, nightclubs, lounges, and much more. Live
entertainment, 3D movies, and themed parties are among the on board
entertainment. Taking a cruise allows you to meet new people, visit
exotic locations, and create once in a lifetime memories.
While in Nassau, take a walking tour of the famed Old Town area
where you can see the pink Parliament House with a statue of Queen
Victoria out front. Rent a scooter and explore the island on your own;
finish your day on Paradise Island at the famous Atlantis Resort Hotel.
At Castaway Cay, head out on a glass-bottom boat from Marge's Barges,
taking in the clear sparkling water teaming with exotic sea life. Move
over to adults-only Serenity Bay
and swing in a hammock on the beach, soaking up the sun and sipping a
Deep Blue Sea at the Castaway Air Bar. Get an open air massage with a
gorgeous ocean view, take a rejuvenating yoga class, or indulge in a
Caribbean outdoor barbecue before heading back to the ship. You can
make your own magic on this Bahamian Disney cruise.
These are our favorite picks of island getaways for spending a long weekend abroad. Which one is right for you?
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