A Week in West Palm Beach, FL

Emily S. - EndlessVacation.com and Destination InfoIn March of 2002, two friends and I flew down to Florida for a relaxing week in West Palm Beach. Having been to other places in Florida (Orlando, Marco Island), I was excited to see what this city had to offer. The weather wasn’t as warm as we had hoped it would be, so we couldn’t lay on the beach all day. While this may seem like a bad thing (I have been known to be quite the beach bum!), it really gave us a chance to explore the city and surrounding areas!

One of our first stops was at The Breakers, a historic resort on the shores of Palm Beach. We met up with a family friend who was a guest at the hotel and enjoyed a delicious lunch at one of the restaurants. We then walked the grounds to see the magnificent pools and landscaping.

Another day, we walked Worth Avenue – a street with high-end shops like Chanel, Cartier, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton. Here you’ll find everything from clothes and jewelry to shoes and antiques. Even though I didn’t buy anything, it was fun to window shop and browse (and get some good exercise in too!).

On our last night in Florida, we headed over to Sunrise – a city about an hour away – to see Billy Joel and Elton John in their Face 2 Face Tour. It was a great way to end a low-key week with friends.

This week on the RCI Blog, we’ll share stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have been to Palm Beach. Be sure to check back!

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Puerto Penasco, Mexico 2004

We were so surprised and thrilled at the Grand Mayan Palace Resort in Puerto Penasco, Mexico. It was such luxury and delightful. The hotel is magnificent, and they have the greatest amenities. We did not want to leave.

- Glenda K. from Oceanside, CA
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Kids’ Post: Goa, one more time!

Hey, folks! I am Ansh. I am just completing 12 years in December. Do come for my birthday party, we will rock…!

I am very fond of my dad, and my dad is very fond of RCI. When I was just 6 months old, my dad became a member of RCI. Till today, he has taken me to a number of places in India and abroad, out of which most holidays have been in RCI affiliated resorts. I love travelling with my family.

I have visited Goa at least five times, the last visit being in September 2009. The Club Mahindra resort in Goa is our favourite, and that is why papa likes to take me and my family there again and again. He also enjoys going there with his friends. This time, too, I had a wonderful experience spending my holidays in Club Mahindra Varca Beach.

We started exactly at 6 am by car from our Pune home. I had packed my own bag, without forgetting anything important: such as swimming costumes, swimming goggles, my PSP, playing cards, and my favourite TT racquets and football. I also took some biscuits for the monkeys—I knew that we would see many monkeys in Amboli Ghat, which is one of the best tourist spots between Goa and Pune.

Our route was Pune-Kolhapur-Ajara-Amboli-Sawantwadi-Panjim-Madgaon. My father is a very good driver and a good planner too. As planned by him, we reached Amboli Ghat at 11:00 am. Our Innova was really super fast.

We spent an hour having vada pav, bhaji pav and sweet corn near the beautiful waterfall in Amboli Ghat. I was very happy feeding the monkeys and I took some photographs of them.

The Ghat was so beautiful... it was drizzling all the time there, along with dense fog. If you love to travel, you should visit this Ghat, that too in the rainy season. The experience of having hot roasted sweet corn in such weather was mind blowing.

After this short break, we left for Goa, and reached Panjim at 2 pm sharp. We had lunch at The Ritz, where we had awesome Goan food. The fish platter at this hotel is very popular in Panjim.

After our heavy lunch, we proceeded to Madgaon, and the Club Mahindra resort. We reached our destination at 4.30 pm, and took possession of our massive 2BR unit just next to the recreation hall.

As this was my fifth visit to Club Mahindra, I was very familiar with it; my mother left me free and told me to just take care of myself. We had a nice dinner, and chef Sunil became my friend. He gave me a sizzling brownie, which was not a part of the buffet!

Next day, I slept till late, but my mom and dad had got up early morning and gone for a long beach walk. As usual, after that, we had fun at the swimming pool, and then great “time pass” in the recreation hall.

Our routine was fixed: have breakfast at the resort, and good lunch at shacks like Martin’s Corner, Jocan’s, Fisherman’s Wharf and Brito’s. Don’t miss the cakes and pastries from Infantaria if you are in Goa. We spent the evenings at Club Mahindra, swimming and playing table tennis, tattoos and video games. As I am an interschool TT player, I took part in a tournament at the resort, and got first prize!

I learnt magic tricks from Sanjeev Daniel, who really inspired me to try my hand at magic. As for my dad, his motto was just to relax and give company to me, my brother, Sahil, and my cousin, Vishesh! We saw all the beaches in South and North Goa, visited old churches, and took the dolphin ride at Palolem beach. It was a wonderful sight to see the rising moon and the setting sun at the same time from the small boat.

- Ansh P. from Pune, Maharashtra, India
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Visiting Nha Trang, Vietnam? Read this first!

Gabrielle L. - Vacation Tips from AsiaNha Trang (pronounce “nya chang”) is a seaside town located on the south central coast of Vietnam, in Khanh Hoa Province. It used to be a small fishing village of Vietnam until the French recognized it as a perfect place for sunbathing, so they invested in the transformation to turn this place into a resort town.

Today, Nha Trang attracts a large number of domestic as well as international tourists from all over the world thanks to its pristine beach, scuba diving center, newly and beautifully developed resorts (i.e. Vinpearl, Hon Tam, etc), and diverse tourism activities.

Here are my tips visiting Nha Trang – everything from when to visit, how to get there and what to do.

When to Travel:
Peak season for tourism in Nha Trang is the summer. Therefore, if you plan to visit Nha Trang from May to August, be prepared to book your hotel and your transportation tickets well in advance. However, thanks to its tropical climate, the temperature stays warm all year long for you to enjoy the beach. But my advice is to try to avoid the rainy seasons during October and November because the beach can be disappointing when the weather is grey and the waves choppy.

Getting there:
By air:
If you don’t have much time to spare, traveling by air would be your best option. A short flight from Ho Chi Minh City (duration of 1 hour) or from Hanoi (1.5 hours) or from Da Nang (1.25 hours) will take you to Cam Ranh Airport which is located 30 km away from the city center.

By bus:
If you are on a budget, bus is your option. Most open tour buses arrive from Ho Chi Minh City in the South (taking 10-12 hours) or Hoi An in the North (taking 16 hours). They drop their passengers in the main tourist area around Bien Thuy, while the public bus station is about 10-minute walk west of the center.

By train:
The train is a great option for people who have time to spare and want to admire the beauty along the road. Nha Trang is a stop on the main railway-line connecting Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. If you want a soft-sleeper (the highest class available on Vietnamese trains, simply meaning single bed with mattress), book your train ticket directly at the train station as far in advance as you can. You will have to pay more from an agent. Also, hotels will typically be able to buy the ticket for you (for a fee).

Traveling Around:
Nha Trang has a reliable and easy to navigate public bus service, where the ticket fare does is very low for a ride on a modern, air-conditioned bus, complete with Vietnamese music! You will find buses No. 3 and No. 2 the most useful, since they pass through the southern quarters. If you are not sure of which bus to take, you can always check at hotel reception. But remember to check before you head out, because language is still a big barrier here.

Alternatively, there are taxis, motorbikes and cyclos always available for your convenience.

Historical and Cultural Tourism:
Long Son Pagoda: Here, you will see a 79 ft. tall white Buddha. The pagoda was established in 1963 to honor the monks who gave their lives protesting against the President Diem’s corrupted regime. To get here you have to climb 152 steps, so make sure you are fit! This place gives you an excellent bird’s eye view of Nha Trang.

Po Nagar Cham Towers: These four brick towers were built by the Cham civilization between the 7th and 12th century to honor Yang Ino Po Ngar, mother of the kingdom, and the incense aroma emanating from within makes it clear that this remains a religious site for the local Buddhists of Nha Trang today. The small complex sits on a hill (yes, more steps!!) which enjoys views across Nha Trang’s fishing village. It is surrounded by small, beautiful gardens with plentiful seating so that you can take in the atmosphere, while pausing to reflect and refresh your soul. 

Bao Dai Villa: The Bao Dai Villas are located on top of a small hill. You have a beautiful view of the Nha Trang bay from there. The wind is cool and it is a nice place to relax at when it is too hot in the city.

What to Do?
Yang Bay Waterfalls (40km west of Nha Trang): At the Yang Bay Waterfalls, the locals have built up a concrete beach. You can swim there, and walk around in the area. You should probably bring your own food and drink when you go there.

Thap Ba Hot Springs and Mud Baths (on the north side of Nha Trang): This is a must-have experience at an amazingly cheap price for the mineral pool and the mud bath. Located on the outskirts of the city, this place provides the most relaxing services you can imagine.

Boat Cruises: Most tours are complete with snorkeling, fishing and many other activities. Tours may provide lunch with drinks on board. Booking agents abound, so compare itineraries to find the best fits for you. My advice: take the 4-island trip. Besides the great common activities like snorkeling, you will be able to enjoy a ramshackle live band, great food and a floating bar! (I know you’re saying “Drinking and swimming, that doesn’t make sense!” but believe me it’s real fun!)

Diving & Snorkeling: Close-off shore from Nha Trang sit a series of islands that offer decent diving and snorkeling, easily accessible by day trip. The city has about two dozen dive shops, making for fierce competition and great value.

Night Life: Many cafes in Nha Trang have live music at night time. They vary in type and quality, so ask around. One favorite is Fuji cafe on Yersin Street. They have live music Thursday to Saturday from 8.30pm-10pm. A small entrance fee is added to the bill. Or, you can check out foreign performers at Red Apple Club, Guava Bar or at the El Coyote Mexican Restaurant (every Friday).

What to Eat?
Nha Trang has no shortage of eating options to suit all budgets, from Vietnamese-style informal pavement cafes on plastic chairs to high-end restaurants. Nha Trang is famous throughout Vietnam for its seafood but also offers a broad range of Western cuisine. Also Nha Trang is known among Vietnamese as the city that offers nicest and most affordable food. One dish you shouldn’t miss when coming to Nha Trang is Banh Canh cha ca Nha Trang (Nha Trang Fishcake Noodle). Fishcakes are made from several types of fresh fish. It can be steamed or fried. The soup was cooked for a long time in order to get all the sweetness of fish.

Now that you’ve learned almost everything I know about Nha Trang, I’m sure you can see why this is one of my most favorite places. I hope this provided you with enough information if you are planning a trip to Nha Trang. If you have any questions or comments, please submit them in the form below. 

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Cocooned in paradise

We got a room for a week through an exchange with RCI. It was a four hour drive from Chandigarh and away from the hustle bustle of Shimla and next to the Bishop Cotton School and the police headquarters.

We got a room for a week through an exchange with RCI. It was a four hour drive from Chandigarh and away from the hustle bustle of Shimla and next to the Bishop Cotton School and the police headquarters.

Since it was off season, we got a good room (no. 602 on the 3rd floor). The rooms are huge and the furniture, fixtures and fittings in the entire hotel are from China. The bed is almost 9 feet wide (so I was quite blessed not to hear my spouse snoring…but had to really shift to snuggle up). Bathrooms are also very modern and the shower has a massage spout console to ease you after the long walks…

The food is expensive so we rarely ate at the resort. For breakfast we had carried theplas and other stuff and they have a coffee maker. But there aren't many options for food nearby. A good trek uphill takes you to the Ashiana restaurant which is spooky but the food was good and a good value for money. Besides that, you need a vehicle to find restaurants. The bus stand is just downhill at Kalini Chowk which takes you to the Mall.

In the mall you can enjoy a good filter coffee at the India Coffee House…or enjoy the momos (dumplings) and burgers from Krishna Bakery. We stayed for 6 nights and enjoyed all of them. The staff is very helpful and courteous. And though the hotel is cocooned between tall deodar trees, the rooms are spacious.

We took a cab one day and went to Tattapani where the newly opened Hotel Hot Spring Therme and Spa pumps sulphuric water into their small pool and two private pools.
They had a good deal for a full meal from soup to dessert plus use of their very clean and modern spa.

Also since it had just snowed we went to Narkanda which was magical…unlike the crowded Kufri. On the way back, we had a meal (mushroom peas and egg curry) from the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Hotel (The Apple Blossom, Fagu) and it was superb. They have an unobstructed 180 degree view of the Himalayas and decent rooms for a day stay.

No trip is complete in Shimla without seeing the Wildflower Hall. We went for a meal there which was good and ate in an open area facing the mountains. They also showed us their awesome open air infinity pool with a Jacuzzi facing the Himalayas. The meal at Cecil was also good, their apple crumble is divine…

- Shimla from India

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A Summer Sojourn in Sweden

As we boarded the Scandinavian flight to Östersund from Stockholm to reach our RCI affiliated resort, Holiday Club Åre, a strange sense of wonder washed over me. Sweden consists of tens of thousands of lakes and our picture perfect resort had cottages on the Aresjon Lake and Olympic ski slopes with an extensive network of lifts and pistes as the backdrop. August is the height of summer for the Swedes and with 16 hours of daylight, our town was a downhill mountain bike paradise.

Biking families are armoured in colourful bike gear, children and dog in tow. They come hurling downhill on the rough dirt track on the bald terrain of Mt. Areskutan, the tallest peak in Sweden.

We tried hiking on a dedicated trail admiring the mesmerizing scenery and once the cold got to us we enjoyed the sauna in the room to renew our nerves.

Every cottage can take two bikes from the clubhouse and there are beautiful, dedicated tracks all along the serene lakeside. The club has various activities like table ice hockey, a bowling alley and video games. I especially enjoyed the meandering waters of the pool with Jacuzzis at different levels, a water slide, and different saunas. Our contemporary two bedroom cottage was in Nordic décor with one bedroom, bathroom with attached sauna, a well equipped kitchen, and a lounge with plasma TV opening on a huge deck overlooking the lake. A flight of steps takes you to the upper level where there is a sitting room with a TV and a bedroom with four bunk beds. The resort is attached to the picturesque railway station which has a huge supermarket from where we picked up our groceries.

We walked to the medieval main square called Åre Torg which is surrounded with quaint shops, cafes and restaurants. The ski lift station is also located there. As we climbed up the cable car we saw the town disappear under us and the jaw dropping scenery envelopes you. The cable car drops you at a point from where you take a short trek to Mt. Areskutan and you can sip a coffee in the restaurant. Fierce winds engulfed us and we had to negotiate a steep gradient to get to the summit. Whew! What a view. The spectacular sweep of valleys and towns below gives you a miniscule feeling. We let out a collective gasp as we made our way back to the secure cable car station.

There is a quaint chocolate factory 2 kilometers away where you can taste all the different chocolates they make. In the other direction is the cute town of Duved with a lovely church…

We took an overnight train to Stockholm, a city that consists of fourteen islands connected to each other over pretty bridges, and our hotel was strategically located from where you can walk everywhere without taking any public transport.

We walked to the Bohemian Island of Gamla Stan founded in 1252 where Baroque buildings jostle for space with hip cafes, beer bars and curio filled shops. The narrow, cobbled streets are bustling with tourists. The Royal Palace also on this island offers a collection displaying the vast wealth in more than 600 rooms. Its intention seems to give expression to the nations pride and tradition.

The sweet smell of waffles from a bakery pervades the air. A buzzing bar beckons us to taste the 22 varieties of freshly brewed Sweden beer. I enjoyed the chocolate flavoured beer. We also peeked into medieval art galleries and saw facades of pastel coloured buildings with interesting bistros in their gangways.

Shopping! Yes who can do without that the bubbling pedestrian streets of Drottninggatan (the Queen Street) and Vasagatan, which run parallel to each other. The huge stores of local brands like H&M and Lindex have a good variety. The street of Götgatan and the Sofo area is also lined with an unordinary assortment of trendy stores.

Exhausted with emptying our wallets running through the town shops, we were magnetically attracted to walk towards the verdant island of Djurgården to recharge our batteries. Vast vistas of greenery on this huge island makes you wonder at this space dedicated to cyclists and joggers to have their sport in this breathtaking oasis. This almost gives a center stage position which Djurgården richly deserves. We relaxed under a huge maple tree waiting to change its colour…

The strip of Baltic Sea running in is dotted with medieval gullets, modern yachts, cruise ships and chic cafes on the marina floating on wooden jetties. The backdrop of the church steeple makes it a panoramic setting.

As we savoured our last meal in a lovely, modern Italian restaurant near our hotel called Vapiano, we were enthralled with what Sweden had to offer us and thanked RCI for lovely memories we took home.

- Bina T. from  Mumbai, India

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I wanted to surprise my new bride with a glorious 2 week trip to the Caribbean islands of Jamaica and the Bahamas. How was I going to do this without having the money for such a huge trip? I turned to RCI for an exchange of my property to facilitate this undertaking. For a fraction of the money it would cost to rent a hotel or resort room in those tropical locales, I was able to trade for a relatively small fee and obtain top notch accommodations and a private romantic getaway that my bride loved! We made friends with a cab driver in Jamaica who showed us around "his" island including a stop to visit his daughter in elementary school - not a typical touristy thing to do...it was much more indicative of the local culture and we loved it. When in Nassau during the second week, we found a deserted stretch of gorgeous beach and made it our own...Great opportunity and romantic adventure provided by expertise of exchange experts at RCI - thank you!

- Mitch K. from Camarillo, CA
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Hungary: Stylish Fall Retreat

Helen F. - UK and Travel Destination NewsWith ornate Art Nouveau buildings fronting tree-lined boulevards, elegant coffee houses and spas, Budapest makes for a very civilized and gentle fall break. Its interesting shops tucked away down its ancient cobbled streets also provide a great opportunity to pick up some early Christmas shopping. Váci Utca, the city’s main shopping street, houses Hotel Gellért where visitors will be able to relax in some of the most opulent thermal baths to be found anywhere in the world.

This historic city is just a two-hour train journey from RCI’s affiliated resorts in the country’s Lake Balaton region. Away from the buzz of Budapest, the lake is a relaxing retreat with sandy beaches and glistening waters surrounded by scenic wooded landscapes, while the many historic towns close by, with their castles and ancient ruins, remind the visitor of times gone by.

European members can find a whole host of activities and attractions that can be enjoyed in a day trip to Budapest in the September issue of Holiday, the RCI magazine.

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Mazatlán – A great place during the day or night!

Angelica H. - Vacation Stories from Latin AmericaBeautiful sandy beaches, warm ocean waves, incredible recreational activities, fresh seafood, great nightlife…Mazatlán has it all. And not only is it one of the least expensive destinations in México, but it has a long list of top rated resorts. Add to that great service and the warm hospitality of the locals, and you’ve got a vacation you'll never forget. Lucky for you, I’ve visited Mazatlán several times before so I have some great tips on what to do and where to eat (and what to order)!

Mazatlán's Malecón is considered one of the longest in the world (a “malecón” is a stone-built embankment). Stretching about 21 km (13 miles), here’s where you can find everything from cliffs, monuments and gazebos to old buildings, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

For daytime fun, Mazatlán has plenty of beach areas: Zona Dorada in The Hotel Zone, Olas Altas, Sábalos, North Beach, Isla de la Piedra, Isla de los Pájaros, Cerritos and Nuevo Mazatlán. You can also visit the lighthouse (El Faro). And while you’re there, famous "divers" perform daring jumps off high rocks into the Pacific Ocean for tips from on-looking tourists.

For lunch or dinner, you can head over to Los Arcos, a restaurant with a wide seafood menu and affordable prices. Ask for the “Governor taco” & shrimp “agua chile”. Also, try The Panama, a cafeteria with excellent pastries and a huge menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s always crowded by locals so it has a great atmosphere.

If you are a night owl, head north along the Golden Zone (a section at the far north end of Mazatlán) and you'll find Señor Frog's between The Inn at Mazatlán and El Cid Moro Beach. There, you can enjoy a variety of cocktails served in yard long cups…personally I’d recommend the "Banana Mama".

But, if you want to take it easy, I absolutely recommend Old Mazatlán downtown area! It has been rediscovered and restored by newcomers and locals alike and is not far away from the Hotel Zone. Try Pedro & Lola restaurant and have a nice dinner while you listen to a jazz band or a guitar solo.

Mazatlan really does have it all. If you’ve been there and have more tips for other RCI subscribing members, please comment below. And if you haven’t been there, visit the RCI blog again this week when we share stories and photos from other members about their trips to this amazing destination.

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Cabo San Lucas 2009

Although our home resort is in Cabo San Lucas, each year until this year we have managed to miss the opportunity to travel to the quaint town of Todos Santos. This year we actually made it. Anyone visiting the Los Cabos area would do well to include Todos Santos as a wonderful side trip.
The town is cute as a button and seemingly untouched by the onslaught of "resortitis"...what you experience is a Mexico more like I imagine a visit might have been 20 years ago. Besides the landmark Hotel California, there is an interesting local museum that includes what everyday life was like in this area 100 years ago. There are welcoming roadside dolcerias...a fabulous (sorry, I don't remember the name, but it's across the street from Hotel California) restaurant making the best chili rellenos you ever tasted.
Even the more upscale shops seem to be more willing to negotiate sales prices than in San Jose or Cabo San Lucas.
(And it's about 15 degrees cooler than the hotel zones of Los Cabos.)

- Pamela J. from Newberg, OR
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The "Core Four" of Texas - An RCI Employee Shares Some Lone Star State Tips!

Gini P. - RCI Social Media and Destination NewsIf you really want to know about "the Eyes of Texas," look no further than its "Core Four" big cities.  Yes, deep in the heart of Texas there are the four cosmopolitan cities of Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.

First off, you have the "Space City" of Houston, which is probably the most diversified of the core four. You can blast off your vacation with a cosmic trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. And don’t forget to visit the flowing fountains of Williams Tower (formerly known as Transco Tower).

North of Houston is "Big D," that's Dallas, TX for those who don't follow the sports world. You can see Southfork Ranch, where the TV show Dallas was filmed or the Sixth Floor Museum…which is close to where President JFK was assassinated in 1963.  And for those who really want get a true "Texas rodeo experience," drive west of Dallas to its sister city of Ft. Worth and ride a bull, purchase an authentic cowboy hat or get fitted with cowboy boots. And only about an hour east of Dallas, you can go to the world’s largest flea market in Canton, TX (check out our article from Endless Vacation® magazine for more details).

Next, you can head out to the "Hill Country" where you will run into another Texas hotspot – Austin (did you know it’s the “Live Music Capital of the World”, thanks to its original rockers like Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Fabulous Thunderbirds?). When you are there, be sure to head down 6th St. to catch a few live bands.

And about 80 miles south of Austin is one of the most ethnic Texas cities…San Antonio.  There you will really feel the Tex-Mex culture alive and well. You can ride a water taxi down to the San Antonio River Walk. River Walk is the central city area where you will find everything from resort style hotels, cultural shopping, as well as the some of the best outdoor restaurants.  From River Walk, you can visit the Alamo, where you will learn about the famed Battle during the Mexican-American War of Texas.  You can even go to Sea World of San Antonio for a change of pace or visit some neat caverns outside of San Antonio.

Each of these cities (which, by the way, are all great day trips from many RCI affiliated resorts) has a unique culture and a different story to tell. This week on the RCI blog, we’ll be showing you stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who visited Texas. Don’t forget to come back!

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Massanutten Trip 2009

Our trip to Massanutten was nothing less than spectacular! My husband, Randall, and I had no idea what to expect when we exchanged for this week with RCI, but we needed to get away. Massanutten was just what the doctor ordered. The mountain scenery, the local wineries, and the laid-back atmosphere was a very relaxing change from our hectic lives.

However, on Thursday of our weeklong getaway, the transmission in our car unexpectedly gave out, with only 65,000 miles. The local Ford dealer as well as the resort were very sympathetic with our situation. The dealer provided us with transportation for five additional days at no cost. Massanutten Resort extended our condo check-out time by two hours on Saturday and promptly assisted us in obtaining a hotel room on the resort for our extra nights.
We are grateful for the kindness as well as the professionalism that was shown to us during this unanticipated event. Because of the friendliness and generosity of the people in this area of Virginia, what could have been a stressful situation became a warm and pleasant memory which we will never forget.

- Carol M. from Hillsboro, OH
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Imperial Fiesta Club at Hotel Casa Maya

Imperial Fiesta Club at Hotel Casa Maya

Wonderful resort in Cancun, Mexico between old Cancun and the busy strip, perfect location. Condo was very large with balcony. Entertainment every evening if you wish to participate. Resort units are being updated to a high standard. We would highly recommend this area and resort. We had a fabulous time there.

- Avril C. from Hamilton, ON
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Branson Trip 2008

Every year for the past 10, my brother and his family, Mom and Dad, and my family get together for a get together. Many of those years were spent at Branson. My brother usually made the hotel arrangements, which were expensive when you factored in the cost of eating out every day, and not the best as far as clean, etc. So I made the accommodation arrangements last year at an RCI affiliated resort there in Branson. It was great. Everyone loved the pool, the kitchen (I ended up doing a lot of the cooking, which I love...really!) the bedrooms and bathrooms...enough could not be said. We split the cost on everything, so when I told them how much it was to stay there I was made the honorary trip planner from that time forward. We are planning another get together to Branson before 2009 is out and you all have made it very special.

- Dawna L. from Omaha, NE
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Cancun, Mexico 2005

During Spring Break of 2005, my two teenage kids and I went to the Hotel y Villas Solaris in Cancun. The hotel and beach were beautiful and the food at this all-inclusive resort, was delicious. By far the best aspect of the resort was the nightly entertainment and the wonderful staff. There was something fun going on every night to appeal to all ages.

- Patricia S. from Cincinnati, OH
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Los Cabos

Last summer we traded our points with RCI for a week long stay in Los Cabos. My husband and I left the kids with family and went on our way to Cabo. The Playa Grande resort was fabulous. The staff was friendly and helpful. I had somehow lost our reservation confirmation in the airport. However, they were very helpful and checked us in with very little effort after talking to the great people at RCI.

For seven wonderful days we enjoyed fishing, the amazing spa at the hotel and the wonderful food. My husband caught a huge marlin and I was able to relax by the many pools at the resort. Everything we needed was either at the resort or within walking distance. We were just steps away from the marina with shopping and restaurants included.

This was our favorite trip so far. We take at least one week away each year without the kids. This was the first time that we exchanged points using RCI but it will not be the last.

- Mary Beth C. from Hattiesburg, MS
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Great Bay Hotel All Inclusive (# 8484)

Great Bay Hotel All Inclusive (# 8484)

What a fantastic third anniversary. We really enjoyed how much time there was to go strolling hand-in-hand along the beach. Or just enjoy the white sand and crystal-clear water right there at our resort, a piña colada in one hand and a good book in the other. Breakfast in the open air and sunset dinners set to live music--this was just about all we could ask for in an anniversary getaway.

- Aaron B. from Asheville, NC

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Husband's 40th Birthday

Last year was my husband's 40th birthday. Being a stay at home mom I really didn't have a lot of money to spend for a luxury vacation. I was really bummed until I remembered that I had a few weeks available in my RCI account. I reviewed all the places that RCI could take me in January and found Cancun to be a perfect fit. I was able to book a room for my mom and her boyfriend, my mother-in-law and her boyfriend and my family of 4 in a wonderful all-inclusive resort. When we arrived at the Hotel Solaris it was amazing!!! Everything from gorgeous grounds, a beautiful pool and SO MUCH FOOD AND DRINKS!!! It was a great family vacation as well as a great 40th Birthday! Thanks RCI!!!!!

- Joann G. from Merrick, NY

Depending on resort and season, all-inclusive fees may cover meals, drinks, tours, transportation, resort activities, resort amenities, services and facilities. Resorts with mandatory all-inclusive fees require the fees to be prepaid at or before check-in. A Member may not be able to purchase food or drink at a resort if he or she chooses not to pay an optional all-inclusive fee. Fees, terms and conditions of packages covered by an all-inclusive fee are determined solely by the resort and are subject to change at any time.
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Vegas - 2009

We used our week for the Grandview resort in Las Vegas, NV for the first time. We were greeted immediately at the reception area and were checked in at the VIP desk. We had a beautiful two room suite and it felt more like home than a boring hotel room. We gambled a little, took in the local scenery, ate in the condo fairly often and all in all had a great, restful time. Probably the most fun we've had for quite awhile!

- Willie P. from Newbury Park, CA
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Maine Trip 2009

Our trip Bethel Maine this past April in the mountain and lake area northwest of Portland was a real treat. We were also only 20 miles from New Hampsire and 1-1/2 hours from Vermont. While we were in the "mud season", between the skiing season and heavy tourist season, we had great weather and no crowds. We were able to use this location to visit not only Portland, but Kinnibuck and Kinnebuckport, Augustus (state capital), Auburn (cool falls) and the great county side and history.

On one of our days, we went into New Hampshire to visit Mt. Washington, highest mountail in the eastern US, and explore Northwester N.H. On another day, we went further West to Vermont, visiting the state capital, Montpelier, down to Barre to the Rock of Ages granite quarry and grave stone manufacturing plant (sounds strange, but truly amazing), on to the birthplace and home of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream (saw their ice cream cemetery where all the discontinued flavors are buried...it was a hoot), and back to Maine, all in one day. On another long day, we went to the LL Bean home town and up to the Dessert Island (Bar Harbor & Cadillac Mountain). Our stay at the Grand Jordan Hotel and Ski Resort was wonderful and we highly recommend it.

- Alan W. from Paris, KY
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