On Friday, June 16, 2017; President Donald Trump, announced his plans on the United States Citizens Traveling to Cuba. How will this affect you as wanting to go to Cuba or making a decision about visiting Cuba, which is the closest Caribbean Nation to the United States which is only 90 miles South of Key West, Florida
I know, I was in Key West many years ago, you can look through those tourist viewers they have on the boardwalks there or even use your own telescopes or binoculars to see Cuba.
It will go back to making sure that if you are going on a land tour, that you use only those companies that issues a People to People License, you just cannot jump on a plane and visit Cuba without a licensed reason. The tour operators have them, and when using real travel professionals like Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria, that get the weekly and sometime daily updates on who still holds these licenses.
All this means is that you can only go with them and stay on the tours, you cannot go to Cuba and go on your own to the Clubs, Museums, etc. or anywhere on your own. You must stay with your tour company. That doesn't mean you cannot talk to or walk around while there, but do not drift off from your tours without permission.
Also, all of the cruise lines have no issues, since they are floating hotels. So you are not staying in the hotels of Cuba, you are going back to the ship at night. Cruising is also a lot more economical then doing a land tour, the tour companies that do the land tours, have to pay more money to the hotels and other excursions, then if you just sailed on the ship their.
So if you are worried that you cannot go to Cuba, think again, you can but you need to follow the guidelines of that cruise line or tour operator once in Cuba.
Echevarria Travel is making plans to do a cruise to Cuba in 2018. If you are interested in wanting to go with us. You know what to do and email us at either Cheryl@Echevarriatravel.com or email@example.com or just call us at 407-910-6469 we service all United States Citizens.
Good morning everyone:
Many of you are already readers of E-newsletters from us or our postings on Social Media and receive emails and regular mail from us.
Due to the security updates on many of the emails browsers including my own, which is Hotmail and Outlook, many of my friends; family; business associates and associations are going to my spam/junk folders. So if you are a client and even friends, or just people who like to keep us with us for support. We are asking you please to check your settings on your email browsers.
Many of your contacts go there!
We also do not just add you to our contact lists or e-newsletters. Many of you are already clients, with organizations that we are part of like the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce; National Federation of the Blind; and we were partners with Bridal Shows that we have done over the years; trade shows, etc.
We understand if you do not want anymore information, if the information is not relevant any longer, So please, be kind and email us at either Cheryl@Echevarriatravel.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We respect your privacy and information. Thank you.
But also remember, you may have friends and family that are trying to reach you, so make sure you update your browsers and change your passwords.
Thank you. With All Respect Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria, owners of Echevarria Travel
That's right you can win a $250 American Express Gift Card from Echevarria Travel.
This is a contest that will run starting today June 9, 2017 through September 30, 2017.
What is involved to win this contest, if this goes well, we will offer this per season to all clients. Everyone has a chance to win.
If you have booked and traveled through Echevarria Travel from October 2008 - June 9, 2017. All you have to do is submit or post a picture on your vacation, it has to be from the place you visited that we booked you to. Also we would like a review of how we did, meaning a review of our services.
You understand that the review and photos will be responsible of Echevarria Travel and that they will be used on Social Media, websites, etc. Your contact information will not be used, only first and last name. No links to your Facebook pages, social media. mailing address, etc. will be used at all.
Remember word of mouth is the best form of advertisement.
Each Season like from the beginning of Summer until the end of Summer, Winter, Fall, Spring. We will offer this contest 4 times as year, and you can enter as many times as you like each season.
Winners will be picked at a Chamber of Commerce event, and it will be recorded so you can see it is legit, by someone who has not booked travel yet with us.
The prize is $250 American Express Gift Card, which is used just like any other American Express Card where accepted. It will be mailed to your address. Please make sure we have your updated email address, phone number and mailing address.
We hope you will participate.
If you are a blind client and did not or could not take a picture of what you did or where you were a great review of Echevarria Travel and where you visited and tips for someone else who is blind and may want to travel and feel that they couldn't do it. This will help others to know that they can live the life they want.
Thank you Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria
.Good morning Cheryl Echevarria here. Today is a video blog of what is going on with us and for your our clients.
Upcoming events on where we will be:
June 15, 2017 - DoubleTree By Hilton Orlando Airport from 5 PM - 8 PM Eastern Time.
This is the Annual East Orlando Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. We will be hosting a table, since we are members of the Chamber and will be having our representative from Trafalgar Tours with us. Remember we are doing a trip to Spain June 2-10, 2018 which is a group trip, deposits are now being accepted and we will be hosting a webinar on June 20, 2017 at 6:30 PM Eastern Time sharp. So if you have not registered yet, please visit our trip page here to register for our webinar to answer all your questions on this trip. Link is here
June 20, 2017 - From the comfort of you computer or smart device from 6:30 - 7:30 PM Eastern Time Sharp. Our webinar on Echevarria Travel and our trip to Spain June 2-10, 2018. Remember anyone can join our group trips or do your own group trip and we will arrange it for your church, non-profit organization or just a family reunion you decide. This trip will be donating $50 per person that books to the National Kidney Foundation of Florida. Cheryl Echevarria will be celebrating 12 years post kidney transplant on August 25, 2017; we try and do at least one fundraiser a year for this great organization.
Blog post for 6/7/2017; Review of SeaWorld, if you missed our blog post on their Discovery Cove park, please head on over to our blog post Thank you. Contact us now to book your travel experiences with Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria
On June 1st, 2017: Nelson and I Toured both SeaWorld and Discovery Cove! We were invited to come since we are certified SeaWorld Entertainment Agents.
This first posting is all about the all inclusive Water Park Discovery Cove.
If you think this is anything like the other theme parks here in Orlando like Universal or Disney, you would be mistaken.
We loved doing this. We had clients go here last April that went to all of the theme parks from Walt Disney World and Universal, but their favorite place was Discovery Cove. Being that the couple is legally blind, they were able to really enjoy the time with the animals in the water. See below for those clients with disabilities.
You can hand feed the Sting Rays - We learned that the Barbs on their back are the same material as our finger nails, and they are not removed in the park, they are filed down, which by the way they love doing. We watched as they did this, it was almost like they were saying thank you for doing this.
The park opens at 7:30 but the attractions are not opened until 9 AM, but get their early eat breakfast, find your lounge chair on the beach or if you purchased a separate cabana.
We also were shown all 3 area where they do the dolphin encounters, there are more that are not opened to the public. We also saw the nurse sharks which you can feed and swim with. Nurse sharks are called this because they sound like they are sucking when they are eating, They do not bite you unless you stick your hands way down deep in their mouths, so don't open their mouths and stick your hand in them.
All the pools that have live animals that you can interact with have at least 2-3 lifeguards, so your kids and yourself will be very safe. You have life vests for all sizes and shapes, from the very young to the very old. Hand rails to get in and out, so if you need this for someone who might have limitations, then this would be great for everyone in the family.
Food was out of this world, fresh, and it is included in your stay.
Another thing that we really enjoyed was the Aviary - You walk in and your can feed the birds, you do not have to do this, but we love animals and so we did, you can see this in our photos below, Also will update when ready videos as well, so depending on when you are reading this post, it might already be hear.
Before I forget, you should stay the whole day and get your monies worth. If you are worried about going out after maybe another park or dinner, don't worry! The bathrooms have the really nice fluffy towels, blow dryers, shampoos and conditioners, and baggies for wet bathing suits.
This year for our Anniversary in November, we are going to try for a day here. Like I said, it is a hard ticket to get, so I would plan at least 6 months out for coming here and then plan your other parks around it, you will not be sorry. Keep reading below of that Discovery Cove is and what is included. Enjoy!
Discovery Cove is owned and operated by the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment all over the Country. Like Sesame Place; Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL and Williamsburg, VA; SeaWorld in San Diego; San Antonio, etc. Echevarria Travel can book them all for you.
First of all you really need to plan ahead for Discovery Cove, they only allow 1200 people per day and that is it. So, if you are planning to come for the Summer of 2017 it is already sold out and the Fall and Winter are slowly filling up.
This is an all inclusive park, which means what to you. What does that include you say! Well, it includes your tickets Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks, Soda, Juices, water if you are over 21 alcoholic drinks.
Discovery Cove is a one-of-a kind experience where you can swim with bottle-nose dolphins, feed tropical birds, play inches from a family of otters, and even walk on the ocean floor—all in one day. Rated the #1 theme park in the world by the 2014 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards.
There are 2 types of tickets available to you. One is without the Swim with the Dolphins and the other is. FYI, if you have swum with a dolphin, either on an excursion when you went on a cruise or some other kind of trip. You get more than just 10-15 minutes with them. You get at 30 minutes learning all about them in the water with a trainer, so more than just standing there and letting them push you with their noses across the water.
You are able to participate in the park’s signature 30-minute Dolphin Interaction, snorkel with tropical fish and rays in The Grand Reef, wade beside marmosets and otters in the Freshwater Oasis, hand-feed parrots, toucans, and other exotic birds in the free flight Explorer’s Aviary, and relax in the large resort pool and swim along a tropical river. Other amenities include freshly prepared breakfast and lunch, unlimited snacks and drinks, free equipment rentals and a souvenir snorkel.
We can package this all for you that includes hotel, transportation to and from the park, plus you will get a 14 day unlimited pass to visit their other parks in FL which includes: SeaWorld,and Aquatica (SeaWorld's Water Park) and you add Busch Gardens as well.
Here is the full listing of what you get there.
Again there are 2 different kinds of tickets one is swim with the dolphins and one without, but you get the rest included. Children 6 and older can swim with dolphin with parents in the water with them. If you are looking for an experience for children with dolphins under 6 they can feed and touch the dolphins at SeaWorld
For those that are disabled, especially the blind community, I mention this, as you know I am legally blind; they encourage all disabilities to come and enjoy the park, wheelchair accessible. They work a lot with Make A Wish Foundation, etc. So, if you are thinking of going here, when we make you a reservations, we will let them know you abilities and disabilities.
What else about the park: You can purchase at an additional charge a Cabana for the day, which you will get all your snacks and drinks there as well; especially those who have very young families with babies, and want to get out of the sun.
Also there is a trainer for the day which is only 9 people per day to participate in. This includes:
There is also an experience called SeaVenture again this is an extra expense and needs to be indicated when purchasing your tickets or package.
SeaVenture, The Grand Reef’s innovative experience is an underwater walking tour where, while wearing a dive helmet, you’ll feel right at home under the sea.
Find up-close excitement around every corner, each step yielding a new discovery. Easily climb down a ladder and set foot on the reef floor where you’ll come eye-to-eye with sharks through an 8-foot-tall, 21-foot long panoramic window. During the journey, you’ll experience one-on-one touches with unique animals, schools of fish and velvety rays. You’ll even get to touch unique sea life found along the way. The adventure ends with schools of fish feeding around you with the massive open reef as your backdrop. SeaVenture is a once-in-a-lifetime, undersea experience. Some say it’s like walking on the moon – but surrounded by fish. The program is about 45 minutes long including orientation
Discovery Cove donates 5% of the proceeds to Rising Tide Conservation, a non-profit dedicated to the protection of coral reefs through sustainable aquaculture.
Sandals Resorts Invest in the Island of St. Lucia with Purchase of the only Golf Course on the Island
If you are a golfer and love Sandals Resorts; then you now have a new location to play and it is included when you stay at any of the 3 St. Lucia Properties with Sandals. Remember Stay at 1 Play at 3 in this Island Paradise.
St. Lucia is known as the Hawaii of the Caribbean because of all the lush and beautiful landscapes similar to visiting Hawaii (without the long flight and expense of going to Hawaii, if you are on the East Coast or the Mid Western of the United States.
Just announced on June 1, 2017; by the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Unique Vacations, LTD; and good business colleague of Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria
SANDALS CONTINUES INVESTMENT IN SAINT LUCIA WITH PURCHASE OF ISLAND’S ONLY 18-HOLE CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF COURSE
~Sandals St. Lucia Golf & Country Club at Cap Estate to Debut Revitalized for Winter Season~
Sandals Resorts International (SRI) today announced it is in the process of purchasing Saint Lucia Golf Club, the island’s premier golfing facility, and only 18-hole course. Acquisition of the course is expected to be complete within 30 days, marking a moment of significant expansion in Saint Lucia by SRI. Earlier this year, SRI introduced its groundbreaking over-the-water suite concept to Saint Lucia, debuting the island’s first over-the-water bungalows and serenity chapel at Sandals Grande St. Lucian, one of three Sandals Resorts in the destination. The company plans to begin its fourth resort, Sandals LaSource Saint Lucia later this year.
The Saint Lucia Golf Club is located on the northern tip of the island, set within the scenic rolling hills of Cap Estate and offering 6829 yards of sprawling green slopes, dotted with attractive ponds, swaying palms and ancient tropical trees. The par-71 course is considered one of the most challenging and beautiful courses in the Caribbean.
The SRI group is very keen on this new acquisition. “It’s a beauty and the only game in town,” said SRI Chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart. “We are thrilled to bring this gorgeous course into our growing Saint Lucian family of offerings and to share it with the people of Saint Lucia and our guests alike.”
Stewart, who consulted with partner and World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman, designer of the championship course at Sandals Emerald Bay, says big plans are in store for the facility. “We are going to make what is great even better,” said Stewart. Plans for the course – which will be renamed Sandals St. Lucia Golf & Country Club at Cap Estate - include a family entertainment complex, swimming pool, squash and tennis courts, new restaurants and improved meetings and conference amenities. The improvements and additions are set to begin this summer in anticipation of the winter season
Well today ends the last day of May 2017; and what a great month it was, and also a busy one. If you are not yet reading our e-newsletters or following us on Social Media, you are missing out. We realize that too much of a good thing, can be annoying. But, and this is a big BUT, when traveling and learning about places, there is never enough information. Even if you say to yourself, I have been there and done that. FYI, that is not true! There is always something new to learn every single day.
Okay! Enough of that. LOL!
If you have missed it here is a link to our newsletter dated May 24, 2017. It goes into the full month of our activities, we participating in from April and May 2017. This includes our Annual Conference with Travel Leaders Network, which I will be posting information about new business partners, we are now working with to bring you more travel options.
Our move from Lake Nona to Kissimmee; which was because we were renting after we moved from NY; and now our new home is all finished being built. This is our home-office, please remember, we do not meet clients in our home. We come to you, if you live in Central Florida; if you do not live here; we have Skype and other Video Chat options and Phone; of course.
We have also taken our annual Sandals/Beaches certification training; which we must do every year, not all agents do this, but we want to make sure we are getting you the latest and greatest information.
We have also been to a number of travel agent events hosted by the Jamaica Tourism Board which we are certified agents; and Barbados the same thing.
May also brought a recognition from the East Orlando Chamber of Commerce; since moving to Central Florida from Long Island, NY; we have always been involved in the business community, and we work really hard to help in that arena. So in May, Echevarria Travel, was honored as member of the month. Unfortunately, we weren't at the Luncheon, so they will honor us this month, Nelson will be recording the event.
To end the month of May, Nelson and I went to our favorite place, yes it is, even at our age, we went to Walt Disney World and to the Magic Kingdom to see the newest fireworks spectacular "Happily Ever After".; this show replaced "Wishes" that ran from October 3, 2003 - May 12, 2017; almost 14 years. This new show, we highly recommend you eat dinner early or after the show, it starts around 9 PM during the summer, and earlier in the Fall/Winter and Early Spring time. You need to get a place to see it close to the castle at least 2 hours prior, I am not kidding 2 hours or you will not be able to see it. This you need to be close to see all of this amazing show.
Below is a video that Nelson and I took, it is not the best quality, but watching it is not the same as being there. We have a comments area below, please let us here how we are doing.
Remember watching life go by isn't the same as being a little part of it. Who said that, I think I did, but if not, it is a good saying.
As mentioned in the video on how to make Sofrito; I made Arroz con Grandules
Gandules or Pigeon Peas which were brought over by slave traders to the Islands in the Caribbean and one of those islands is Puerto Rico, home to Nelson Echevarria, his mother was half Taino Indian and half African.
A little bit of history here; slavery was abolished in the USA in 1865 but it wasn't abolished in the Caribbean until 1873 in Puerto Rico which was almost 8 years later..
So you can see below for the video, that Nelson and I made. Enjoy!
You will need for this recipe:
Arroz Con Gandules - Makes enough for 6-8 people
great for leftovers
olive oil (regular not the extra virgin) - lightly coat rice pot of large skillet
2 cups long grain rice (rinsed under cold water)
4 cups of water (2 cups or whatever is left after the can or cooking water from the pigeon peas, see below, and 2 cups water., water must equal 2 cups)
1 (8 oz) small can of tomato sauce
2/3 cups of homemade Sofrito
1 (15 oz can) Gandules, or 2 cups of fresh or frozen (make sure you cook the fresh or frozen for 15 minutes in 2 cups of water before cooking in rice, keep the cooked water do not throw away), Drain the pigeon peas, but reserve the cooking water.
Alcaparrado - get at any supermarket in the olive area usually with the Goya products enough to takes, I usually do a handful and let some of the vinegar from the bottle in. Yummy!
Salt and pepper to taste:
Today I am giving you a recipe to make Sofrito. What is Sofrito, this is a condiment that is used for rice and beans, soups, stews, marinades and more. This recipe is from Puerto Rico, since I learned it from Nelson's family.
See the video below of me making it.
What you will need:
You will need a blender or good chopper for this recipe, and you can do it in batches if your blends isn't large enough.
2 Spanish Onions (peeled and cut into quarters)
1 Red Bell Pepper (stemmed and seeded)
4 Cubanelles (stemmed and seeded - FYI, these peppers were brought back to Italy on Christopher Columbus' many adventures in the new world (Puerto Rico, Cuba, Dominican Republic)
1 whole head of garlic (separate each piece of garlic and peel them, leave whole, do not chop up)
1 large bunch of cilantro
4-5 leaves of culantro
8 ajices dulces (these are to small to seed, but take any little stems off, remember these are not hot peppers (if you are not sure ask your green grocery at your supermarket, mostly these are found in Spanish Supermarkets like Compare in NY or Sedano's here in FL.) If you are not careful you will get the hot peppers, I did this once almost lost my tongue, He! He!
4 plum tomatoes (quartered)
In a large blender put all ingredients and pulse or chop until the consistency you like, I pulse it finely because I use it in many dishes.
This batch will make a lot and can be put small batches at a time in refrigerator and the rest in freezer. Tradition when you make it, you share it. So, if you would like to try some and you live close by, let me know and we will share with you, but when you return the container, you need to put something in it you want to share with us.
Here are a few reasons to join us on the trip to Spain June 2-10, 2018 and do not forget to register for our webinar that will be live on June 20, 2017 at 6:30 PM to answer all your questions with yours truly Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria. We will also be joined by Ashley Vaughan - Echevarria Travel's District Sales Manager of Trafalgar Tours, who we are doing the trip with.
Day 1 - Welcome to Madrid. Relax or explore this lively city. Later meet for a Welcome Reception with your fellow travelers and Travel Director and enjoy an evening drive to take in some of the city’s main sights.
If you would like to come in a day or 2 earlier or afterwards, we can handle this for you.
A little bit about why Spain. My husband's ancestry and many other Spanish Islands of the Caribbean and Central and South America come from Spain area. Before the Spaniards gave Christopher Columbus the funds and the ships to come to the New World, there are other people here: Indians, Aztecs, local people of these areas, We gave these people the name Indians, because Columbus thought he found a new way to get to the country of India, so the name stuck; just a little history here. The Echevarria's which is not the original spelling nor pronunciation is what it was there, we are still trying to figure that one out, but at the same time we know they came from the Basque Country in the Bilbao region; we will not be touring this region this time, but for those interested in a other trips to Spain, It is in the Northern Region of the Country which is closest to the European Country of France.
Cheryl Echevarria writes about what things to help her clients before, during and after you travel. As well as the latest travel information on the destinations they offer