Cancun, Mexico – Beaches, Shopping, Food, and More!


Carolina Z. - Latin America Destination StoriesIf I were to describe Cancun in one word I would say “FUNtastic!!”

 

Your Cancun vacation experience starts when you get your first glimpse of Cancun’s beaches through the window of your plane. As it is about to land, you start seeing the colors on the ocean and your eyes won’t believe it! It seems like a huge canvas painted with colors that are beyond your imagination and the best part of it is that you are almost there!

 

Many people don’t know that Cancun is basically an island connected to mainland through two small bridges. It’s shaped in the form of a “7” and is surrounded by water. On one side you’ll see the Nichupte Lagoon, which is a perfect area for motorized water activities, and on the other side you’ll have THE most beautiful white sand beaches in the Mexican Caribbean.  The beach is the perfect place to enjoy a frozen margarita, lay back, and feel the cool breeze run through your hair.

 

Besides the beaches, there are plenty other activities you can enjoy around Cancun with your family, your loved one or with friends. Here are just a few:

 

1. Head to the biggest souvenir market called Mercado 28 (Market 28) where you will find all kinds of Mexican handcrafts, souvenirs, Mexican sombreros and many things you will want to take back home. This is a great place to walk among the locals and visit mainland.

 

2. Visit The Tequila Museum within Kukulcan Plaza, which displays more than 500 different types of tequila and offers a brief explanation of the tequila making process and a tequila tasting.

 

3. If you are celebrating something special, then dinner at Restaurante Lorenzillo’s is a must. You will find world class seafood and lobster and dinner is served by the lagoon in a romantic scenery, perfect for an anniversary or any celebration.

 

4. Cancun’s nightlife can be found in the “Party Center” in the hotel zone. You may have a difficult time trying to choose a nightclub so I would recommend Coco Bongo or Mandala – two of the best places, in my opinion, in town where you can dance until the sun rises.

 

Once you’ve been to Cancun it will be difficult to find another place that will take your breath away…trust me.

 

Over the next two weeks, we’ll be sharing photos and stories from RCI subscribing members who have visited Cancun. Be sure to come back to see and read about what they did! And if you have a Cancun story or image of your own, share it here. Maybe we’ll show yours on the RCI Blog!

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Myrtle Beach in August


What a fantastic time in Myrtle Beach, SC this August! We selected a three bedroom resort in Plantation Village so that my entire family could vacation together. We had cousins, aunts and grandparents together under one roof to enjoy each other's company. During the day, we traveled to Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach and Broadway at the Beach. During the evenings, we'd head home to make a glorious family dinner, share precious memories and enjoy ourselves. We're looking forward to visiting Myrtle Beach and Plantation Village again soon!

 

- Lisa D. from Stanhope, NJ

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Surprise - we're pregnant! Say cheese.


On the first night of visiting Myrtle Beach, SC, which just also happened to be the first family vacation for my husband's family with all of us together, we got to give them quite a surprise. After we had a wonderful dinner overlooking the beach at Damon's Grill, my husband decided to pull out the camera and take a picture of the whole gang. He said "Mom, you blinked. Let's do this again. Everyone say, Katy Jo's pregnant!" and then he took the picture. It was so funny to see the difference between the two pictures and the reactions on everyone's faces. It was a memorable way to start an incredible first vacation. We treated the whole family to this trip and could only do it because of our RCI subscribing membership. Thanks RCI - we couldn't have done it without you!

 

- Katy M. from Germantown, OH

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Myrtle Beach – Something for Everyone


Mark K. - Travel Stories and RCI NewsOver the years, Myrtle Beach has always been one of my most favorite places to visit. While it seems like the area changes almost every time I am there, there is always something for any person of any age to enjoy. Whether you want to sit on any of the 60 miles of wide sandy beaches, play on one of the over 100 golf courses including some designed by famous golfers (Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Greg Norman), or enjoy a great meal at one of the 1000+ restaurants, Myrtle Beach has it all.

 

Not being the avid golfer, I tend to lean towards the beach and restaurants when I’m on vacation with my family. One of my favorite places to go is Broadway at the Beach. Built around a lake, this shopping center has almost 20 restaurants, over 100 specialty shops, nightclubs, and theaters. One of my wife’s favorite places is Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. For the kids, there is a Ripley’s Aquarium and the WonderWorks attraction, which is in a building that appears to be upside down!

 

Another place for shopping, restaurants, and entertainment is Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach. Barefoot Landing is home to the House of Blues, a mirror maze, the Barefoot Princess – for sightseeing and dinner cruises that leave directly from the Barefoot Landing marina, and much, much more.

 

Even though Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing are two of the best places for shopping and dining, the one place in my opinion that is a must-see is the main strip (Ocean Boulevard) and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade, which is over a mile long. A recent addition to the boardwalk is the SkyWheel, a gigantic wheel that is 18 stories high with glass-enclosed gondolas that can hold up to six people each. On the boardwalk, there is also a full service Jimmy Buffet's Landshark Bar and Grill on an observation deck overlooking the ocean.

 

Great food and relaxation with family can never be beat, and Myrtle Beach is a place that can provide all that and more. Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited Myrtle Beach.

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Honeymoon Gift 2000


For our wedding present a member of our family gave us their exchange week. The RCI Vacation Guide was so helpful when we chose a location to exchange. It was the tone that set the whole vacation. The resort entertainment staff made our vacation unforgettable. We played the newlywed game and beach volleyball and sang Karaoke. We had a wonderful time at an RCI designated Gold Crown Resort and are now RCI subscribing members ourselves. Thank you for a wonderful honeymoon.

 

- Felisa M. from Patchogue, NY

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Cabo San Lucas is a dream vacation!


Our family has been visiting Cabo San Lucas at the Playa Grande Resort where we are owners for over 7 years now. We have enjoyed family vacations, getaways with my husband and I, and brought many friends to join us. All my children have brought their friends when they have graduated from high school and college. Everyone has ALWAYS had a spectacular time! And we all have great memories from all our trips. The weather is ALWAYS wonderful and the hospitality is always tremendous!

 

Our family has been visiting Cabo San Lucas at the Playa Grande Resort where we are owners for over 7 years now. We have enjoyed family vacations, getaways with my husband and I, and brought many friends to join us. All my children have brought their friends when they have graduated from high school and college. Everyone has ALWAYS had a spectacular time! And we all have great memories from all our trips. The weather is ALWAYS wonderful and the hospitality is always tremendous!

- Connie M. from Western Springs, IL

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A great family vacation in Aruba


Bob E. - RCI Associate Travel StoriesJune is the time of year I look forward to the most. We’re at the tail end of spring here in New Jersey, the weather is really nice, the kids are ending school for the year and it’s time for our big family vacation. This year, we traveled to Aruba and all of us had an amazing time.

 

Aruba is a great vacation destination. The first and most obvious reason is the weather – lots of sun and the warm tropical breezes. But another reason it’s a great place to travel to is because you can have any type of vacation experience. We traveled with over two dozen family members and everyone enjoyed how they spent their days. Some made it a relaxing/pampering vacation with massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and shopping. Others made it a “fun in the sun” type of vacation with their children. The kids have endless amounts of energy and a typical day included hopping from the ocean, to the pool, and back to the beach to make a sandcastle. Others are more adventurous and tried deep sea fishing, snorkeling, tubing and more.

 

So, would I recommend Aruba? No question! It’s a great spot for any kind of vacationer!

 

Check out the RCI Blog this week for more stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have visited Aruba. Do you have an Aruba story or picture of your own? If so, share it here.

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Bahamas Vacation 2005


We took my entire family to Abaco Islands in the Bahamas and decided to get married on a beach. We drove to all the different beaches, until we found the one we liked best, and went to the restaurant across the street for the reception. The restaurant was really nice, and when we told them we were having 40 people for a sit down steak dinner, they cordoned off the patio and put our wedding CD in the intercom for all the guests to listen to "our songs." We loved the ocean and when we got home, we saw the beach where we were married was rated as one of the 10 best in the world. (It was number three on the list!). Thanks RCI for a great wedding and honeymoon!

 

- Melody E. from North Las Vegas, NV

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You’re going where to get married? How do I sign up?!?!


Brad P. - RCI Sweepstakes and Social Media News

I’ll be honest, destination weddings are not as simple as putting on a fancy outfit, hopping into your car and heading down to the ceremony or reception.  They require a bit more planning and coordination…but oh my, they can be so much fun (as well as an excuse to get away)!

 

My most memorable destination wedding took place on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas.  My wife and I figured that since we had to fly down from the Northeast, we might as well make a vacation out of it.  The wedding took place on a Saturday, but we went down the Sunday before the big day.  The first part of the week was spent relaxing in the sun, playing in the ocean and exploring the island.  However, the trip continued to get better and better as the week progressed.  Towards the end of the week, all of our family and friends began to arrive and we acted like locals, showing them around the resort and surrounding areas.  Then, the vacation was capped off by a fantastic wedding where close friends affirmed their eternal love for one another, and we danced well into the night on the soft white sand next to the ocean! It certainly was a memorable event that I will always remember fondly.

 

This week on the blog, we’ll be showcasing RCI subscribing member photos and stories about destination weddings.  If you have a memory you want to share about a wedding in a far-away place, please submit your story to the RCI blog or comment on any of the great stories or pictures.

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A story from a Christel House India graduate and current RCI India employee


Saravana, Christel House India Graduate and Current RCI India Employee

It was a dream come true for me to be a part of Christel House India when I joined the school in 2003 in Grade 5. What followed has left an indelible mark on my personality and who I am today. Books, food, uniforms, friends, wonderful teachers – it was the beginning of a total transformation of life for me and for my family. 

 

Under Christel House’s Work Study mentorship, I was given an option to join RCI. Once I joined RCI, the feeling of changing lives was even more real and familiar. I am happy that RCI’s vacation exchanges make people happy.  I am inspired by the commitment, principles and values of my supervisors here. I am learning from them constantly.  Both Christel House and RCI have been incredible in changing my life.

 

I consider myself blessed to be a Christel House alumni.

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Thanksgiving with the Christel House Cousins


Becky A., Director, Christel House

By: Becky A., Director, Christel House

 

My first real job out of college was at RCI.  I started as a vacation guide 22 years ago.  As a small town girl from the middle of Indiana, working for RCI opened my eyes to different people and cultures and created a broader view of the world for me.  I learned to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity.  After all, isn’t that part of the magic of traveling to a new place?

 

In my role at Christel House, I love working with RCI and all of the timeshare companies that support our efforts.  But, my favorite thing is spending time with our kids. I personally know most of the young people you’re hearing from this week on the blog.  Some of them have been to the U.S. to attend a summer leadership camp and have stayed at my house on numerous occasions.  They are part of my extended family and like all families, we have special traditions, including an annual Thanksgiving feast.  Only, our feast takes place in August at the end of camp and green bean casserole is nowhere on the menu.

 

We give thanks the Christel House way, with Indian flat bread, guacamole, curry, tacos and other “family” favorites from the across the globe. The kids each pick a food from their home country that they would like to share with their Christel House “cousins”.  That’s what they call each other – they may be from different countries, but to them, Christel House is home and we are all family. 

 

The kids do all of the cooking.  My job is to make sure no one cuts themselves or burns the house down – they aren’t used to sharp knives or cooking on a stove that has more than one heat setting.  The end result is a humble meal made from the most basic of ingredients.  Yet to me, it is far better than a gourmet meal in any five star restaurant.  It isn’t just about the food.

 

Just like with lots of families, some of the best conversations take place around my kitchen table.  The kids take so much pride in sharing their unique customs and traditions with each other.  It is something we all have, regardless of whether we are rich or poor.  They also love to find the common threads that run through all of our cultures. That’s what happens when people of different backgrounds come together through travel or over a shared meal; it breaks down barriers and promotes mutual understanding and respect.  And, that is the magic of what happens in my kitchen each August.

 

A photo of me and the “cousins” cooking our Thanksgiving dinner.

A photo of me and the “cousins” cooking our Thanksgiving dinner.

 

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All is good in Carlsbad, CA


Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"

I spent part of my youth growing up in California and I remember driving on the freeway and, from time to time, seeing an exit sign here or there that would say: Carlsbad. I always thought the name itself was kind of cool... but who knew the actual city was so great!

 

About 8 years ago my wife and I along with our four kids exchanged through RCI and stayed at a beautiful Grand Pacific Resort in Carlsbad and to this day, my kids say that was one of their favorite trips of all time (and believe me.... we've been on some awesome vacations)!

 

The first thing we liked was the easy accessibility. Carlsbad is built up on both sides of the I-5 Freeway and everything seems to be just minutes away. The resort we stayed at was about 5 minutes from the beach but built atop a small mountain crest with total, unobstructed views of the southern California coast - the sunsets were simply inspiring!

 

The next thing we liked about Carlsbad was all the fun shops and restaurants. We love to explore new shops and enjoy different restaurants when we go on vacation and Carlsbad has plenty of both. Since it's right on the coast, it's swimming with great seafood and tons of shops with a "beach boy" flare. Everything is fun and laid back at the same time and the locals all seem to have those same qualities woven into their DNA.

 

Another great thing about Carlsbad is its proximity to the theme parks. Seaworld is less than 30 minutes south in San Diego and Lego Land is only minutes away... and if you want to drive a little further north, you can still take in Disneyland.

 

Yup, my family and I LOVED Carlsbad. If Southern California is a place you've always wanted to go... or if you've been there before but haven't checked out Carlsbad, put it down as the next place for your next vacation!

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Canadian Rockies Rainbow


We reserved 3 units at this lovely resort south of Banff for a wonderful family vacation. It is situated in the Columbia River Valley between the Purcell and Rocky Mountain Ranges. Almost every afternoon we were treated to a spectacular Rainbow. We captured this one while at dinner at the local country club.

 

We reserved 3 units at this lovely resort south of Banff for a wonderful family vacation. It is situated in the Columbia River Valley between the Purcell and Rocky Mountain Ranges. Almost every afternoon we were treated to a spectacular Rainbow. We captured this one while at dinner at the local country club.

 

- Submitted by: Celrek

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28 years and counting


Mark your calendar for week 29 next year. We're all going on vacation to Hilton Head. We bought a timeshare. Those were the words my mother-in-law said to me 28 years ago. I didn't know when week 29 was, nor did I know what a timeshare was but 28 years later, I have come to appreciate, understand, and anticipate week 29. Over the years, we have met perspective spouses, watched our babies grow, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, and even shed tears caused by family deaths on that beach at Hilton Head. The proverbial circle of life with week 29 as a backdrop. No matter the severity of the winter weather, sunny week 29 was waiting. No matter the stress of our day-to-day jobs, relaxing week 29 was waiting. No matter the 51 hectic weeks between trips, mellow week 29 was waiting. Last year my mother-in-law could not go to Hilton Head because of cancer, but this year she was back stronger than ever. She was ready to treat everyone, especially her new great granddaughter, to ice cream. What lies ahead? Who knows? But what we do know is that week 29, our timeshare, and the Hilton Head beach will be there to soothe our jangled nerves.

 

- Submitted by: worldtraveller

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Hawaii Trip


We took our first family trip to Hawaii a couple of years ago and stayed on the island of Oahu. Boy did we have a BLAST! From the luau at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and hiking to a beautiful waterfall to snorkeling at Hanauma Bay and getting lost in the maze at the Dole Plantation...and yes we did enjoy Waikiki Beach, but Waimea Beach was a lot better - not a lot of coral, rocks or people. And let's not forget Pearl Harbor (great history lesson) and the Polynesian Cultural Center (awesome).

Even though it's been a couple of years, we still talk about this amazing trip. Someone once asked me if I remember what my parents gave me for my 13th, 16th or 20th birthday (I am 37 now) and I responded with "No." Then they asked "Do you remember going on vacation with your family?" and I said "You bet I do, those were the best." It is then that I realized, time waits for no one; the memories we make is what life is all about, and I know that's what my son will remember. And hopefully he will make his own memories when he has his own family. We will definitely be going back to Hawaii soon.

 

- Irene S. from Cathedral City, CA

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Ecoplaya Beach Resort


Our vacation exchange through RCI in Costa Rica was fantastic! It was the perfect blend of incredible scenery, abundant wildlife, relaxation and adventure. We enjoyed our stay at the Ecoplaya Beach Resort on the Northern coast as the beautiful beaches were virtually deserted. We definitely will be going back, hopefully with more family members in tow!

 

Our vacation exchange through RCI in Costa Rica was fantastic! It was the perfect blend of incredible scenery, abundant wildlife, relaxation and adventure. We enjoyed our stay at the Ecoplaya Beach Resort on the Northern coast as the beautiful beaches were virtually deserted. We definitely will be going back, hopefully with more family members in tow!

 

- Wendy M. from Courtenay, British Columbia

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Family Vacation in Cancun


We have been traveling to Mexico for over 50 years. The first 13 years we drove. Currently, we spend a week each year with our family (son, wife and two grandsons) in Cancun. The people are so friendly and helpful, the surf is great for the kids and the food is outstanding. We have never had any problems and are planning two trips this year.

 

- Pat D. from Independence, MO

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Bahamas Vacations - The Taino Beach Resort




Discover Taino Beach Resort located in the Grand Bahamas Island, a treasured getaway where an entire family can enjoy fun in the sun. The Taino resort offers spacious loft suites, exclusive private beach, lazy river, and a spectacular outdoor pool an entire family can enjoy. Check out this video and learn more about the Caribbean comfort offered at the Taino Beach Resort.
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Freeport, Bahamas -2006


What a great family vacation we had taking 13 members of our immediate family to the island for a week of fun. We enjoyed celebrating a birthday with the help of our great resort friends; from decorating, to food, to Karaoke. Our days were filled with biking, banana boat rides, jet skis, scooters and shopping. Weather was fantastic and our bonding as a family was unforgettable. They are very special to my husband and I and we have enjoyed sharing our vacation time with each of them. We have had travels through RCI that we could have never experienced on our own. Thanks RCI.

 

- Nancy G. from Millersburg, OH

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Cancun


We enjoyed a wonderful family vacation over Christmas and the New Year in Cancun. There was something for everyone in our group of all ages. Sightseeing, resort activities, fabulous weather, glorious beaches at a world renowned resort - hard to believe all made possible by a reasonably priced exchange fee! Never having ventured out of our area through RCI, we were a bit apprehensive about traveling so far from home. The ease and accuracy of travel planning through RCI made all aspects of planning very enjoyable. We found the hotel staff and local people to be warm, friendly & attentive. Thank you for another great vacation.

 

- Carol W. from Saugus, MA

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