5 Places To Chase The Sun This Winter

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It’s winter in the norther hemisphere and many cities and towns are getting snow and chilly temperatures already! If you’re looking to get away this winter and thaw out a bit here are a few recommendations for places to chase the sun in North America, the Caribbean and Central America.

1 – Grand Hyatt Playa Del Carmen, Mexico ($$)

plunge-pool-suite-terracephoto courtesy of TripAdvisor

This new addition to the Hyatt Hotel collection is a stunner! As soon as you arrive you’re immersed in their chic full service experience. They’ve included nice touches like a gelato bar, adult and kid friendly pools and an open air lobby so you can view the sea and feel the breeze as you check in.


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The beach scene in front of the hotel is lively and right next to a beach club with Djs and dancers during the day. The sea is very gentle with small waves and there are fun water sports for adults and families to enjoy.

grand-hyatt-playa-delphoto courtesy of TripAdvisor

The town of Playa Del Carmen has plenty of shopping and dining options as well with many options walking distance from the hotel. Day trips to cenotes (Azul, El Jardin Del Eden and Cristolino), Xcaret or Xel-Ha are great beach and shopping alternative if you’re looking for activities away from the beach and town.

Cenote El Jardin Del EdenSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESphoto courtesy of Everything Playa Del Carmen

If you’re looking for more of a low key getaway with less people and more relaxing, just visit further south to Tulum.

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Closest Airport: Cancun (CUN), about 45 minutes by car.

2 – Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne, Florida ($$$$)

In general I’m a fan of Ritz Carlton hotels. The Ritz Carlton Key Biscayne stands out as one of my best and most memorable stays even though it was only for three days. The staff  makes you feel like family and their attention to details is remarkable. The hotel and property are luxurious without being overly ornate and the beach and water in front of the hotel are picture perfect. They even had a volleyball court when I stayed so you know I was happy! Could have easily spent a whole week here relaxing and enjoying the views of the sea.

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I ate mostly at the hotel but there are lots of options if you’re willing to taxi to South Beach and the concierge can help get reservations at hot restaurants if you’re looking to try something new and trending.

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Closest Airport: Miami (MIA), about 50 minutes by car

3 – Gallows Point St. John, US Virgin Island ($$)

Gallows Point St. John is one place I can’t wait to get back to and bring family and friends. The resort lies on beautifully landscaped gardens near the ocean and walking distance to Cruz Bay where the ferry from St. Thomas drops off visitors. The rooms are more like villas with kitchens, living rooms and spacious bathrooms.

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The resort has a pool and small rocky cove you can snorkel around or you can visit Cinnamon Bay and Trunk Bay if you’re looking for more of a white sand beach experience. Note: Children 5 and under are not allowed to stay at Gallows Point Resort.

Screen Shot 2017-12-15 at 6.22.17 PMphoto courtesy of TripAdvisor
Trunk Bay1024px-stjohntrunkbayphoto courtesy of  WikiMedia

Closest Airport: Charlotte Amelie, St. Thomas (STT)

Ferry from St. Thomas to St. John

There are two ferry option. The quickest route is between Red Hook on St. Thomas and Cruz Bay on St. John. This option costs only $6.00 each way, takes approximately 20 minutes and runs hourly between 6:00 am and Midnight. The longer ferry option runs from downtown Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas to Cruz Bay on St. John. The first departure leaves Cruz Bay at 8:45am in the morning and the latest returns from Charlotte Amalie at 5:30 pm in the evening. This option costs $12.00 each way and takes approximately 40 minutes. Scheduled times can be found here.

4 – Ramon’s Village Resort San Pedro, Belize ($$)

San Pedro lies on the souther end of Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest island. I visited for my 30th birthday which coincided with Carnival where the tradition is to throw powder and eggs at those participating. It was great to arrive during a festive time of year and see the small town of San Pedro in full swing.

I stayed at Ramon’s Village, the perfect tropical beachfront getaway for people seeking lots of sun, sand and sea. To get there, fly into San Pedro on a small puddle jumper (15 minutes) or you can take a 75 minute ferry from Belize City.

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If you email Ramon’s they’ll pick you up in a golf cart from the airport which is a fun way to start your adventure. The resort is what your mind imagines when you think tropical, jungle, beach, relaxing getaway. The rooms and suites have thatched roofs, the sand in front of the resort is white and the water is clear and turquoise.

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San Pedro itself is a fun town with lots of restaurants, night life and dive shops that can help you learn to scuba or if you’re already certified they can arrange for day trips to the Blue Hole and Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

Closest Airport: San Pedro Town, Belize (SPR)

5 – A Small Ship Cruise on the Sea Dream I or II, Caribbean ($$$$)

If you’re looking to splurge this winter I highly recommend yachting on the Sea Dream I or II. In the winter they offer several itineraries that will let you island hop around the Caribbean. I sailed with the Sea Dream II from St. Thomas through BVI, then to Saba and St. Barts for my 37th birthday. If you’re not into cruises I can vouch this is a much different experience from sailing on a 1000+ passenger cruiseline. There are no lines, no designated meal times and they’ll make whatever your heart desires for breakfast, lunch and dinner (just give them fair warning so they can get supplies in port).

The ship can accommodate 112 guests but our sailing only had 55 so the service was even better. Amenities on the ship include a pool, spa, two bars, piano room, outdoor film screenings and a watersports marina. For my birthday they made a double bed on the deck so I could sleep under the stars and listen to the ocean. On our last day at Sloper’s Hole they hosted a caviar splash with champagne. Great way to end a magical week.

I boarded the Sea Dream II in St. Thomas but they also have trips leaving from Barbados and Puerto Rico. Whatever itinerary you choose, you’re guaranteed to have the trip of a lifetime.










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