How to Enjoy a Weekend in South Beach.
Between long hours at work and a fully-booked social calendar, it’s never easy to find personal time, making vacation such a luxury. When you do get some time away from your commitments, it’s essential to take that time to de-stress and decompress somewhere that feels a world away from your usual obligations. While jaunts to Europe have their place, for anyone eager to skip the long flight but still enjoy some serious relaxation, South Beach is the ideal destination. Before you book your tickets, here’s what to know:
Book a great hotel: As one of the United States’ most metropolitan cities, Miami has plenty of hotels geared toward all different price ranges, but the city’s luxury hotels are well worth saving up for. The undeniable victor among the bunch is The Four Seasons, a chain that always provides an unforgettable experience to each guest. Consistent across continents and time zones, whether you’re in the heart of New York City at The Four Seasons Private Residences at 30 Park Place or at the Four Seasons South Beach, you know you’ll get peerless service, a gorgeous room, unbelievable amenities and services, and all the me time you need when you’re staying here.
Enjoy the city’s natural beauty: Miami is one of the most naturally beautiful cities on earth, and the moment you see its botanical gardens, you’ll be in awe. The Miami Botanical Gardens sprawl across 2.6 acres, offering an up-close look at stunning plant and animal life, as well as offering plenty of quiet walking paths where you can decompress and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
Treat yourself to some shopping: The fact that Miami is one of the United States’ most fashion-forward cities comes as no surprise, considering just how terrific their shopping is. If you find yourself in South Beach, make sure to check out the Lincoln Road Mall, where you’ll find everything from Anthropologie to Armani waiting to earn a spot in your closet.
Take an Art Deco walking tour: While the east coast may be famous for its Victorians and Cape Cods, appreciating Miami’s architecture is an entirely different experience. Check out the modern design and bright colors the city is known for by taking an Art Deco walking tour from the Miami Design Preservation League. Not only will you get to see the vibrant buildings that have made this city what it is today, you’ll also enjoy a wealth of knowledge about the city’s history.
Enjoy the sun and sand on South Beach: What’s a trip to South Beach without the beach? If you’re eager to relax, catch up on a few chapters of your favorite book, perfect your tan, or just ride the waves, South Beach’s pristine shores are calling your name.
From the beauty of the great outdoors to the beauty of finding the perfect outfit for a night out, South Beach is the perfect destination when you want to unwind. Sun, sand, and a whole lot of relaxation are waiting for you — all that’s left to do is book.
On April 13, 2017; I (Cheryl Echevarria) celebrated becoming one of the "Over The Hill Gang" Members that one of my dear friends called it. Yes, I turned 50 years old. What I wanted to do for my birthday was to go to EPCOT's Flower and Garden Festival.
2 of my favorite things to do; going to Walt Disney World Theme Park Epcot and flowers!
Every year since 1994 they have a Flower and Garden Festival that runs from the beginning of March until the week before Memorial Day Weekend.
But to continue. From the photo above with myself and Nelson in front of Spaceship Earth. or the Globe some people call it as the Centerpiece of Epcot. Like Cinderella's Castle is to Magic Kingdom, and Tree of Life is to Animal Kingdom, etc.
The park is decorated with every flower, topiary displays, exhibits & gardens that you can think of, designed so they look like different Disney and other world sculptures you can think of, plus they have food vendors that offer delicious items that you can use on the "Dining Plans" or just pay regularly. We walked from Future World which is where the ride Soaring and anything that has to do with the Land, Seas and Space and then there is World Showcase, which has 11 country pavilions. So much to see, do, eat and experience, that every time you go to Walt Disney World in Orlando there is something new that you didn't expect.
We have a blog posting from April 18th, 2017 on upcoming ideas for travel for Star Wars Fans, since Walt Disney Studio is the Parent Company of Lucas Films, what better place to have things to do like in 2019 Star Wars Land, or right now you can visit Disney's Hollywood Studios and experience these things now.
The Star Wars Conference is in full swing here in Orlando, FL from April 13-16, 2017 and the Orlando Tourism Board has recently announced that the Conference will likely be an Annual Event here in Orlando.
With the Star Wars and Lucas Films being owned by parent company Walt Disney Studios since 2012. There are many new travel ideas on the horizon for Echevarria Travel client.
The videos and photos we have posted are from our stay at Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Resorts back in November - December 2016. These are at Disney's Hollywood Studios where a few times a day they have March of the First Order and also Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away show.
Nelson and I are very big Star Wars Fans, not as the conventioneers but we love the movies and characters and so much more! We found these options great for the whole family and all ages.
We especially loved taking pictures with the characters at the ,meet and greets and the night time spectacular which we have not seen yet but plan to in the future. Is just a wonderful as seeing the Fireworks over Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom!
What is in store for the future! Walt Disney World is going through it's largest expansion in the history of the Disney Theme Parks since Disneyland opened back in 1955 in Anaheim, CA; and Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Resorts that opened in 1971. This will be the new Star Wars Land will be attached to the Disney's Hollywood Studios Park in the Spring of 2019
Other types of travel that you can do for those Star Wars Fans:
Disney Star Wars Theme Cruises which the 2017 cruises are already sailed and these cruises sell out, so if you are wanted to cruise in 2018; we recommend booking now then later. These dates of sailing are
2018 sailings: on the Disney Fantasy - These are all out of Port Canaveral (Orlando, FL) Cruise Port
Western Caribbean Cruise Dates
January 6th and 20th
February 3rd and 17th
March 3rd, 17th and 31st
Eastern Caribbean Cruises Dates
January 13th and 27th
February 10th and 24th
March 10th and 24th
For more information on pricing and itineraries, please set up a time to chat whether via Face-to-Face Luncheon or Dinner; phone call, Video Calling options through Skype and Facebook Messenger per appointment via our contact us page scheduler.
Thank you and May the Force Be With You!
When traveling we always love to stop and try the local regions wineries and bars, etc. Even if you don't like to drink, or have kids with you (they usually serve soda and grape juice as well so many people can learn about the land and the people who have owned it sometimes for many generations.
These are some of the "Top 5 Wineries" on the East Coast of the United States include some places, you may not have thought would have them. Enjoy! Leave your comments on your favorite wineries throughout the world and maybe we will highlight them in the future. Thank you. Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria
There are few things in this world better than a great glass of wine. While France and Italy have long been thought to be the most prolific producers of this nectar of the gods, the United States has quite an impressive assortment of vineyards producing terrific reds, whites, and sparkling wines. You don’t have to go to California to enjoy them, however; some of the best wines in the world are being produced right on the East Coast. If you’re in the states and eager to enjoy a great glass of wine, here are the can’t-miss vineyards to put on your list:
Newport Vineyards | 909 East Main Road, Middletown, RI
Newport, Rhode Island is a gem on the east coast, thanks to its stunning landscape and storied architecture. If you find yourself in this coastal haven, make sure to check out Newport Vineyards in Middletown, just 10 minutes from Newport by car. After a tour of the vineyard and a stroll through the shop, bring home a bottle of full-bodied Gemini red, pinot noir, or a summer-friendly rosé.
Heritage Vineyards | 480 Mullica Hill Road, Mullica Hill, NJ
With nearly two decades in business and over a century of growing experience, you can bet the Heritage family knows what they’re doing when it comes to wine. Today, their best bottles can be enjoyed a the stunning 150-acre property in Mullica Hill, New Jersey. From rosé to merlot, chardonnay to cuvée blanc, you’ll find the Garden State’s most worthwhile wines here.
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards | 19239 US-27, Clermont, FL
Operating on the same sprawling 127-acre property in Clermont, Florida for the past 28 years, Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards has earned a huge following along the eastern seaboard and beyond. This country estate is under half an hour from busy Orlando, but feels a world away, thanks to its lush landscape and great glasses of wine. If you’re eager to try out this winery’s best bottle, opt for their smooth, floral chardonnay or a glass of sumptuous, autumnal Cabernet Sauvignon.
King Family Vineyards | 6550 Roseland Farm, Crozet, VA
A family business since it opened, King Family Vineyards’ flavorful and decadent wines have wowed guests since the vineyard first opened its doors in 1996. Spread across 327 acres in Crozet, Virginia, just outside Charlottesville, this gorgeous vineyard now produces 10,000 cases of wine each year, including Cabernet, Merlot, chardonnay, rosé, and limited edition wines in their small batch series.
Wolffer Estate Vineyard | 139 Sagg Road, Sagaponack, NY (Long Island)
Opening a beautiful bottle of local wine at home is getting easier for New Yorkers, thanks to the state’s increasing incentives for agricultural producers and the growth of the luxury condo market, with new buildings like XOXC 325 in Soho boasting wet bars as amenities. If you’re eager to drink local this season, take a trip out to Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, where you can pick up a well-blended red, a playful sparkling rosé, or a four-pack of Wolffer’s delicious white or rosé cider.
Whether you’re in sunny Florida or on the sandy beaches of Sagaponack, the wineries along the east coast of the United States have something to suit every palate. If you’re eager to try something new on your next vacation or are just looking for a great day trip, the east coast’s vineyards are sure to provide the fun and relaxation you seek. Cheers!
From the photos above and the many certifications we have done in the travel industry, this is just some of the 100s of cruise lines out there. These are some of the big names you may have heard of.
Carnival; MSC; Norwegian; Royal Caribbean; Costa; Viking: celebrity, Princess, Holland America; AIDA; Cunard and of Course Disney.
These are just a handful of Ocean Liners, do not get confused with Yacht, small cruise and River Cruises these will be looked at in other blog posts.
The difference in this ships and companies is like Night and Day and not everyone is a "cookiecutter" ship. Some of the companies smaller ships or many are offering their Mega Ships.
Definition of a Mega Ship Compared to a smaller ship in that companies fleet is anywhere between 3000-5000 people. You might be reading this and say "Wow" that is crazy. It must be crowded and people are wall to wall; or the ship will just be to big for me.
Being on both types of ships, I am here to tell you, you really don't know the difference unless it is a beautiful day out and your want to walk along the deck of the cruise ship or run the tracks etc.
Just like any type of travel experiences, you will be staying or having fun in certain parts of the ship. You may never get to go to the other parts of the ship or have any interest in doing that.
Ex: Some people just want to go to relax in the Spa or by the pools. They might be people who love to gamble like my husband, Nelson, or want to enjoy the sports on board or certain activities. Yes at the sail away parties and the Special parties they have while on the ship, that time might be crowded, but other than that. You are in the same area of the ship that others that like the same thing you will be doing..
Parties if you are a party person, and you know who you are! We would recommend Carnival, Norwegian, Royal.
For those who are older like 40 plus; who want to explore more of a refiner option, might want to try MSC (Pricing around the same as a Carnival Cruise), I will have a separate blog post just on MSC in the future! Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, Cunard, and now Viking River Cruise Lines has an Ocean Liner) These cruise lines are a price point about the same as or a little more than Norwegian and Royal!
Then we have "Disney Cruise Lines"; Can I just say wow and the price whether for adults and families is a total different experience than any of them. Again this will be a separate posting all together.
The top cruise lines ranking by www.cruisecritic.com - Cruise Critic Choice Awards for 2017 are:
1. Disney Dream - Disney Cruise Lines
2. Celebrity Reflection. - Celebrity Cruise Lines
3. Celebrity Equinox - Celebrity Cruise Lines
4. Celebrity Eclipse - Celebrity Cruise Lines
5. Disney Fantasy - Disney Cruise Lines check the link under Disney Dream
6. Celebrity Silhouette - Celebrity Cruise Lines
7. Regal Princess - Princess Cruise Lines
8 Allure of the Seas - Royal Caribbean
9. Royal Princess - Princess Cruise Lines
10. Island Princess - Princess Cruise Lines
Check out more brochures and options on our http://www.echevarriatravel.com/brochure-rack.html
The other cruise lines are as just as good or even better depending on who you ask, remember everyone has had the experience, a friend might have had a really bad one, you might have a really good one. Only you can determine what you like.
Enjoy! Have you been on a cruise before? Which one was it? When did you go? Do you like to cruise? We want to hear from you. The comment box below is only for this particular post. Please respect one another and keep it clean. Thank you..
Nelson and I hear all the time. I don't want to go on a cruise because of one thing or another like.
Oh they are too big, too many people, I don't like to be on the Ocean is scares me. I have been on xzy cruise line all the time.
Well, we are here to educate you on the different forms of cruising. There is more to cruising then the Mass Market Ocean Liners like: Disney: Carnival; Norwegian and many others that you read and hear about.
Cruising does also have to be on the Ocean; there are river cruises right here in the United States, There is also River Cruises throughout the world. Small Cruise Ships that can go places where some of the others cannot go.
So we are here to set the record straight and hope you will let us start planning your next cruise for you, your friends and family!
Over the next few days we will bring you the pros and cons of each one of these options. Mega Cruise Lines; Small Cruise Lines, River and Barge Cruises, Expedition Cruises, and who would fit these types of travelers.
Please we want to hear from your comments and hope you share this information with friends and family.
Nelson and I love to fool around and this video shows that type of people you get when you work with us! For those that know us personally and professionally, this is it. All Fun!
We let you know this because we are real people. We love to travel and all the activities that go along with it. Like food, art, history, geology, the people who live there. Not only the landmarks of the destination like that "Leaning Tower of Pisa" or the "Eiffel Tower or even right here at home at the "Grand Canyon".
It is the whole thing about it.
One of our favorite part of traveling is trying new food, or actually the way it is supposed to be made, where it came from, and then take it home and make it for friends and family; or tweak it to make it different.
I think you can tell by our videos and pictures, we are not thin people. Laughing "far from it", but that is life. Tasting the grapes that make the wines, or eat a piece or cheese or ham that came from that region, or having a meal with the group that came along on your trip and discussing the events of the day and laughing and just relaxing and taking the account, this may be a once in a lifetime memory for you.
Sitting in a cafe or a persons home that is in a new place in the world, that you may never had thought of; like a family home somewhere in Spain where you are drinking from a Parron Wine Pitcher, which is a festive way to drink wine from in Spain.
The video below shows how it is done. One of the reasons we want to show you Spain in June 2018, is that it is all about sharing the joys of life.
Contact us now! And pre-register for our trip to Spain June 2-10, 2018. The itinerary and pricing will be available early May 2017, and to get 2017 rates for 2018; please sign up to get the information. Remember we service all United States Citizens.
Thank you Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria, Owners, Echevarria Travel, 321-245-7561 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This is the last post in this series about - Myths About Travel Agents.
Myth No. 5. All travel agents are the same.
Absolutely not true at all!. It's like picking a lawyer, doctor or dentist. They need to be right for you and certified by the right organizations. I think people have to realize we are counselors and concierges and lifestyle planners. People should choose a travel planner the way they choose any other professional for what they are looking for.
Nelson and I are certified with many locations throughout the world. Like Jamaican Tourism Board; Spain; Puerto Rico; all the major cruise lines (some you may have never heard of) All depending on where you want to travel. Again also some of the major Tour Operators like Trafalgar Tours; Globus; and Collette and a list of other destinations, tour operators and other options to help with planning your vacations.
We service all clients throughout the United States, not just the Florida or New York area. We are also one of the few travel agencies out there that specialize in services for those who are disabled, mostly the blind community.
Cheryl Echevarria is legally blind and has been honored for her work in the travel industry from Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State back in 2012 to some women organizations within the state of New York for all her work.
So when looking for a travel professional we are all not the same, we are not booking engines, so when we ask you all the questions we do about who, what, when, where and why, and then set up a time to speak face-to-face; video chat or on the phone. We are servicing our clients one at a time, which is your time with us and no one else.
Nelson and I hope you have learned and enjoyed this series with us about the myths about working with a travel professional; and maybe have changed your mind about going it alone. Let's set up a time to chat! Contact us here on our Contact Us tab for more information.
Myth 4. Travel agents charge surcharges and fees on top of the price.
This is not a myth! This is actually true.
It all depends on the above and beyond service that we offer! We also may have a non refundable deposit fee!
Yes, we get paid from the hotels, cruise lines, tour companies and more.
Because of our time putting together an itinerary, particularly one involving a complicated trip, like a safari, or booking multiple tickets and transfers for an extended family vacation, is a lot of work. Charging a fee is a bit of insurance for all of the time and effort put into creating an itinerary in the event that a client ends up canceling.
"We could spend three weeks creating an itinerary and then a client could take it and shop it around for the lowest price,. "When we plan a trip to Walt Disney World or possibly a trip to Europe, it could be 100 e-mails back and forth, multiple phone calls, and two months before its finalized.
That being said and that shouldn't scare anyone about this option. Our fees are not as high as some other agents, and again, it all depends on the trip, and we will offer you the options on those services.
Example: It is your first time going to Walt Disney World. With Disney you have to start planning your dining reservations 180 days prior to arrival. Yes, that is ia long time to start planning, but if you want to eat at "Cinderella's Castle" in the Magic Kingdom, which is the hardest reservation to get and if you are going during Spring Break, any holiday etc. It will even be harder. Most of the time you have to be up at midnight or some crazy hour of the day to get a reservation, I know I have done it. We can go over all the dining options with you way a head of time, pick all the restaurants you want to eat at and then we will do the reservations for you. That is full service, and it is a lot of work, that is why you come to us in the first place.
Some agencies will charge a refundable upfront like $150 - $300 to do all the work and then once you book will refund your money of those fees. We don't want to have to offer these fees
Coming April 7, 2017 - Myth 5 All Travel Agencies Are the Same
Nelson and I, hope you are all enjoying our posts, and hope that we will hear from you soon by posting in our comments. Please remember to keep it clean and please be respectful as well. Thank you!
Travel Agent Myths No. 3 - Travel agents steer you to hotels or cruise lines where they get a higher commission.. This is totally false. If we did this, we wouldn't be helping you find the best places to go for your travel experiences.
We know traveling on vacation is not the most economical thing to do in life. With kids in school; working to make ends meet; day to day living. We get it. We are not a big travel agency. It is just me and Nelson, and believe me, we watch every penny as well, but with traveling. We want to make sure you get what is more of a value, that is not always financial. It is something that everyone wants to do and go.
That is why we ask you questions when we talk to you. We want to make sure we give you the best match. We offer payments plans once deposits are met, and more!
Cheryl and Nelson Echevarria, Owners, Echevarria Travel
Contact us via our contact us tab. We look forward to hearing from you and learning about you to help in all travel needs.
Cheryl Echevarria writes about what things to help her clients when planning their next Dream Vacation, especially our clients and future clients that travel independently but has a special need for arranging them. Whether it is a medical issues or a access or disability.