Acapulco's Second Act


Mexico's original beach town has reclaimed its old-school allure.

Long before Cancún or Los Cabos or the Riviera Maya were even specks on the tourist map, Acapulco reigned as Mexico’s coastal queen. Acapulqueños have recently worked hard to restore Old Acapulco and the Costera, and posh resorts and malls have risen in the newest neighborhood, Acapulco Diamante. The result is a thoroughly modern vacation destination rich in culture and history. Now is the time to visit—or revisit—the place where Mexico’s tourism fame was born.

OLD ACAPULCO

In the early Hollywood days, Playa Caleta and Playa Caletilla, on the western shores of Acapulco Bay, saw the most action. Today, the ’50s have returned with the restoration of the beachfront Hotel Boca Chica. The designers faithfully retained the mid-century architecture and the tiny Coco Wash disco, which has become the hippest hangout in town. Chef Keisuke Harada creates platters of sushi and Kobe burgers for happy hordes at the hotel’s restaurants; on weekends, locals pull their yachts up to the dock and linger for hours over mescal martinis.

With Boca Chica grabbing attention, travelers are also being lured to the palapa-shaded fish shacks on Playa Caletilla. Here families gather beneath blue umbrellas, and water taxis take swimmers to the clear waters off Isla Roqueta, just 10 minutes away. At the nearby Plaza Alvarez (also called the zócalo), elderly gents study their newspapers at sidewalk cafés as kids scamper around the filigreed bandstand. Across the street, fishermen lay out their nets beside docks where party boats collect passengers for sunset sailings.

In the winding streets high above Old Acapulco, sightseers gather at La Quebrada to witness the famed clavadistas, or cliff divers. During the show, a lone diver poses atop a jagged, precipitous cliff. Below, waves crash against rocks before settling into a small swirling pool. In the blink of an eye, the diver swoops toward the sea. Onlookers applaud as he emerges from the water, and another duplicates his feat.

THE COSTERA

Most visitors to the Costera devote the sunlight hours to lounging poolside, browsing in arcades and malls and playing in the bay. Pint-sized fun-seekers enjoy the rides at Papagayo Park and the waterslides at CICI waterpark.

As evening sets in, families head to the Hard Rock Cafe for burgers and ribs. Partygoers seek out tables at Paradise or Beto’s, among the best of the clubs on the sand, or retire to high-end restaurants and discos in the hills. Horse-drawn calesas (carriages) clomp along the Costera, delivering dancers to Baby ’O, one of the best-known discos. And fireworks and laser beams shoot over the bay from the hilltop clubs until dawn.

ACAPULCO DIAMANTE

Perhaps the best evidence of Acapulco’s resurgence lies in the burgeoning Diamante neighborhood. Stretching from the Costera up the steep, winding Scenic Highway, Diamante has legendary discos, championship golf courses, lavish resorts, a concert hall and a shiny new mall.

Several large timeshare resorts are also found on the beaches of Acapulco Diamante, close to attractions like the La Isla shopping center at Punta Diamante, which has lured some of the Costera’s well-known establishments (including the family-friendly yet rowdy Carlos’n Charlie’s). Kids can head to the mall’s Aqua Planet, with bumper boats and mini-golf, as well as displays that teach about water conservation. And at Mundo Imperial, an enormous development with a convention center and hotel, the stars of today appear at the Forum, a state-of-the-art concert hall. With the three sides of Acapulco all in a state of transformation, Mexico’s coastal queen is once again the biggest star on the map.

 

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Once In A Lifetime


My boyfriend of three years and I decided to take a spontaneous vacation in July. We were in our early 20's and living together for a little less than a year. We found a fantastic deal and booked a trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Our excitement was palpable.

As a young couple in love, off we went to Cancun International Airport on our first trip to Mexico, to an all-inclusive resort and to a beach not on the US eastern coast. We were thrilled to just be away together in such a lovely place.

After settling into a room, squeezing in a little pool time, and enjoying a delicious dinner at the buffet, we decided to take a walk on the beach. Hand-in-hand we went as we took a seat on two loungers under a tiki hut. The stars twinkled above us on this dark night, the ocean lapped the sand, and we enjoyed the silence that surrounded us in this peaceful moment.

I said to my boyfriend, "What a perfect place, what a perfect dinner, what a perfect night." At that moment he replied "It's the perfect time for me to ask you to marry me." I stared in awe as he got down on one knee and opened up a box showing my sparkling engagement ring. I smiled and cried tears of joy as I replied "Yes!” We shared an emotional and happy moment under the romantic sky.

As it turns out, he had done an impressive job asking my parents for their permission, receiving the delivery of the ring, and getting through the airports' security and customs departments. I was excited, beaming, and still in shock when we went to the lobby. We celebrated with champagne as we watched the live Mexican band play along with couples and children dancing about...

We immediately got moved to an oceanfront room and spent the rest of our vacation in bliss as we relaxed, got massaged, sunbathed, dined, drank, danced, and laughed together. During our remaining days, we frequently visited Jack and José who shared in our happiness as a newly engaged couple and new timeshare owners. This was a very special vacation for us and I will never forget the once in a lifetime memories that were created at Ocean Maya Royale.

-Erin D. from Blue Bell, Pennsylvania

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New found love!


On one of our trips we exchanged into a timeshare in Miami right on the beach. We really enjoyed this gorgeous stretch of sand and crystal clear water, but wanted to explore.

We took with us our long time best friends and their children, then ages 14 and 16. Then headed out early one morning to John Pennekamp State Park on Key Largo.

We taught their children to snorkel and take underwater photos of fish. Right in the park at the snorkel pond. Very safe and very full of neat fish.

We then took the cruise out to the open ocean to snorkel a coral reef.

And here is where it happened.

Just like us, previously, these children fell in love with the ocean and the fish and coral and the world underwater. Mason, our 16 year old, was diving deep and chasing fish for pictures. Becca was in awe of all the amazing colors and differences.

-Christina W. from Mt Airy, MD

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Good eats on the island of Maui


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"Last year, my best friend asked me to join him in Hawaii to celebrate his birthday. He was going to be staying at a beach house in Paia on the north shore of Hawaii. Since it was still a bit chilly where I live in Salt Lake City, the answer was easy... "yes"!

I've been coming to Hawaii since I was 10 years old...at first it was always the island of Oahu, but over the years I've been able to visit almost all the islands – Kauai (where I own a timeshare), Oahu, Maui and even Lanai.

Our flight landed in Kahului and the beach town of Paia is only about 10-15 minutes east along the north shore. We arrived at night, so I really couldn't see anything, but I could sure hear the surf from the beach house we were staying at. There's something magical, almost mesmerizing about the listening to the ocean surf, especially at night. For me, it easily lulls me to sleep. My first morning was beautiful, the ocean was only 50 feet off the back porch and there were shallow tidal pools where the locals loved to go fishing.

When I go on vacation I love to go off the beaten path and Paia is exactly my kind of place – a local surfing town with VERY friendly people and lots of little, funky shops and restaurants. Some of my favorites were the Paia Fish Market - try the mahi mahi burger with onion rings. Cafe Des Amis serves up great crepes with a fun, outdoor patio. No matter what, take the time to check out Mana Foods. It's the local health food/grocery store and it has the coolest items that you won’t find anywhere else. It seems almost everything in the store is organic – really fun. And if you go during the day you should check out their hot and cold deli. We bought a bunch of the buffalo wings...seriously some of the best wings I've ever had! Finally, perhaps the most famous restaurant on the island is just a couple of miles east of Paia. Mamma's Fish House has been right on the beach for about 40 years and the food is amazingly good. The atmosphere is hard to beat and the service was impeccable. I ordered the wild boar and mahi mahi – fantastic! My friends ordered the macadamia nut crusted mahi mahi stuffed with crab - mmmmm good! Your meal starts with fresh baked bread and a complimentary "shot" of the soup of the day. Mamma’s Fish House may be pricey, but it is well worth it!

Another great spot on the island is Wailea. There are three or four great beaches but my favorite was Big Beach – just ask any of the locals how to get there. Look for local food trucks selling everything from shaved ice to shrimp scampi along the way. Big Beach is just that... BIG! It stretches along the west coast for almost half a mile - the sand is soft and the waves are perfect for boogie boarding or body surfing.

Also on the west coast, but further north, is Ka'anapali. There are a lot of beautiful beaches here and my favorite place is Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop. It's about five miles before you get to town, look for it on the right, and it is HEAVEN! Yes, their pies are incredibly good, but so are their sandwiches and pot pies...everything is amazing!

I LOVE Maui - hope you do too!! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI subscribing members who have also visited Maui. Trust me, these photos will not disappoint!

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Aruba


We had additional points left at the end of the year 2 years ago. We've always heard that Aruba had great beaches and a friendly safe island. But the high season starts at the end of December. We traded our points for a vacation just before the Christmas rush to this Island and found the off season great. There were no great crowds, the restaurants really appreciated our business and so did our resort. The weather was slightly cooler than later but we don't want to burn anyway! We had a great trip and found other people who appreciate the off season travel times. What a wonderful trip, we were able to stay across from one of the best beaches, could walk to a lot of activities and enjoy the activities at our resort and the local area. I'm open to trying new vacation resorts in areas we haven't explored in the past! We can't say enough about the benefits we have with our timeshare.

 

- Anthony B. from Magnolia, DE

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Carlsbad, CA


Even though we are residents of Southern California, we exchanged our timeshare to stay close to home. We stayed at the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort in Carlsbad, CA. This is a very nice resort for families. Everything you could possibly need is nearby. We went about 10 minutes down the road for a nice family day at the beach. LEGOLAND is about a hop, skip and a jump away. Couldn't ask for a better location!

 

- Lori W. from Sun City, CA

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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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I Love Cabo!


I want to tell you about Cabo! I just loved it there! I was amazed by all the cactus and foothills surrounded by the gorgeous deep blue water. The rock formations and the Arch in the Sea of Cortez are spectacular! Locals said that it only rains approximately 11 days a year. Since I live in Florida, I noticed the lack of humidity and enjoyed it immediately. It was true desert conditions, in the 80's during the day and cooled nicely each evening. This was a timeshare trade for me, staying at the RCI Gold Crown, five-star resort Pueblo Bonito Resort at Sunset Beach. The resort is situated on the Western side of the tip of Baja, on a hillside overlooking the Pacific. This spectacular getaway provides incredible views from hacienda-style villas overlooking a magnificent expanse of private beach and sparkling deep blue sea. This has to be the most fantastic resort I have ever experienced. The luxurious all-suite accommodations along with five ocean-view pools was amazing. Even though the beach there is non-swimmable because of the strong currents, walks on the beach and listening to the pounding waves was breathtaking. There is magnificent dining on property but be certain to make reservations. All the restaurants are very popular, The Spa massages and facials were relaxing and delightful. The resort provides complimentary shuttle golf carts to escort guests around the property. They also offer a shuttle bus to adjacent Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, and nearby (10 minutes) to Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos as well as Pueblo Bonito Rose where you can enjoy full use of all amenities and restaurants. These properties are adjacent to each other and are located on one of the best swimmable beaches in Los Cabos, Medano Beach. This is also near downtown and within walking distance to many shops and restaurants. Be sure to try the tortilla soup at The Office. Best I have ever tasted! And you can dine with your feet in the sand! The marina is also located nearby providing boats for diving, whale watching, deep sea fishing and glassbottom boats with boat tours for spectacular views of Lover's Beach and the Arch.

The Los Cabos International airport is approximately 45 minutes from the resort and is near the quaint town of San Jose del Cabo. I recommend arranging transportation with the resort in advance of your arrival. If you rent a car be certain to drive approximately 30 minutes up the Pacific coast to Todos Santos to visit the famed Hotel California and many other interesting shops and sights in that area.

As you can tell I definitely enjoyed Cabo and certainly recommend that you experience this destination for your next vacation. The people are extremely friendly and accommodating and do everything possible to make your vacation a wonderful memory!

- Janelle A. from Clearwater, FL

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Cancun Vacation


We have timeshare accommodations in Cozumel which we hadn't been to in several years. We wanted to get back to Mexico this year and thought we'd give Cancun a shot. We always thought Cancun would be too wild for our taste, but we were wrong and pleasantly surprised! We stayed at a beautiful all-inclusive resort on the ocean and it was fantastic. There were no bugs, the beach was perfect, the activities were lots of fun, and the people were terrific! It was safe and clean and friendly and we'd go back in a second! I can't speak for the rest of the country, but the Yucatan Peninsula area is fantastic.

 

- The Driscoll's from Bath, ME

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Virginia Beach


I had both my daughters and their husbands together. It was relaxing even though it was in the spring and not very hot yet. Walking and riding rented bicycles on the boardwalk was relaxing. Exploring the areas together was great. The whole reason I own a timeshare is to be able to have adventures with my girls and their families and to keep all the grandchildren connected. One family lives in Maine and the other family is in the Air Force. Family time is too important! What better way to keep the family together than with a timeshare vacation!?

- Roy J. from Mansfield Center, CT
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RCI Subscribing Members for over 20 years…WOW!


Helen F. - UK and Travel Destination NewsFor Joan K. from Northamptonshire, England, an RCI subscribing membership unleashed her inner adventurer and she has enjoyed two decades of travelling the world with RCI. Joan has always been passionate about travel and this independent divorcee made sure her son, Mark, grew up with the same appreciation for the wonders the world holds for the curious mind. For Joan, a week’s timeshare in Antigua was the perfect gift for Mark. “I wanted to enable him to see the world and to share the experience with friends,” she explained. “Through travel I’ve discovered that I have a real sense of adventure – not for me lying around on a beach all day! I want to get out into the local communities to experience different cultures and the different ways of life the world over.”

After joining RCI in 1991 when she bought a week at Club Tarahal in Tenerife on the Canary Islands, Joan immediately exchanged for a week in Acapulco in Mexico and loved it so much she bought a second week of timeshare, there and then at the resort. Joan shared some of the most exciting and memorable moments of two of her RCI exchange holidays in the European edition of Holiday, The RCI Magazine. Her story (read it here!) sees her on safari in South Africa where she witnessed a ‘kill’ first-hand, and sharing a quiet bathing spot in a hilltop lagoon with monkeys in India. Of course, she got some much needed R&R in fabulous RCI affiliated resorts along the way to recharge her batteries!

This week on the RCI blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos from those of you who have been RCI subscribing members for 20 years or more. Be sure to check back to hear about all the great places our members have traveled over the years.

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South Africa 2003


This was our first real trip using our timeshare. We were told by everyone that you have to trade Gold for Gold, Silver for Silver, and so on, that is so not true. With RCI on your side the world is open...We traded for Cabana Beach just outside of Durban, South Africa, the top RCI affiliated resort in the country. WE GOT IT! What an adventure we had. The resort was wonderful, right on the water with spectacular sunrises over the Indian Ocean. Cabana was home base to a week of once-in-a-lifetime day trips. We went diving with sharks, saw a recreated Zulu Village in the day of King Shaka and went on a game drive. Sharks withstanding the game drive ended up giving us the biggest threat of all. Halfway up the mountain we were met head on by a young bull elephant. Nowhere to turn around and he started walking right towards us! We had to back up down the road all the way, with the elephant flapping his ears and swinging his trunk. We later learned from the rangers that there was a new born calf and he was being big brother. Loved it!

- Richard S. from Houston, TX
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Australia’s Gold Coast from the Eyes of an RCI Employee


Cassie J. - Destination and Travel Information from AustraliaI might be slightly biased, but I think Australia’s Gold Coast is the best place on Earth.

Don’t get me wrong, we live in an amazing world filled with exotic destinations, enriching experiences, and unique cultures. But every time I return from an international jaunt or interstate getaway, I’m happy to be back home in Australia (which is where I work as a Communications Officer for RCI).

Bordered by a 70-kilometer ribbon of soft sandy coastline snaking its way along the east and a lush green veil of world heritage-listed rainforest to the west, topped off with 300+ days of sunshine, it’s not hard to see why 10.5 million people make their way to the Gold Coast every year for a wonderful vacation.

And I’m lucky enough to live here.

My weekends usually consist of scanning the beach for the perfect spot to drop my towel before splashing in the turquoise water. As the sand squelches between my toes, I always feel warm and fuzzy inside as I look around at all the smiling faces of tourists on vacation and locals alike enjoying another perfect day in paradise.

Then it’s usually off to a restaurant or café where my friends and I spend the afternoon with a gourmet treat and a glass of chilled wine. Even though we do have our favourite places to dine, we like to mix it up, be it the view, the menu, the atmosphere, or the price. So it’s lucky the Gold Coast has more restaurants per square kilometer than anywhere else in Australia!

It’s not all about the beach and dining out, there’s always a walking trail, broadwater cruise, winery tour, mountain drive, theme park, or shopping expedition to keep everyone entertained. If you ever thought about a vacation in the Gold Coast, we have a lot of vacation rentals and timeshares available through RCI.

Have you ever been to Australia’s Gold Coast? If so, let us know what your favourite part was by commenting below.

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Cape Cod Memories 2009!


Gary S. - Travel Tips and InformationWe drove from our PA home to check out Cape Cod for the first time and were not disappointed. The fresh seafood and beautiful coastal scenery experienced on that late August drive, was just a small indication of the wonderful time in store for us! We stayed at the Harbor Hill resort at the very tip of the cape in Provincetown. Entering our timeshare unit was like walking into a palace in terms of luxury and size! The resort was surrounded by water on three sides with magnificent views of the town and the beaches from nearly every vantage point.

There were many activities to keep us busy: whale watching, swimming at the one of the many beaches and exploring the unique culture of Provincetown. The weather was picture perfect every day of our stay.

A most memorable day was our trip to Martha’s Vineyard. We parked and rode the ferry; had a great lobster for lunch at Coop de Ville, and after an informative bus tour of the island, we browsed through the shops on Circuit Avenue while scoping out a dinner spot.  Outside one of the restaurants we had earlier considered, a motorcade pulled up, and from beyond the gathering crowd, we made out President Obama and family entering the restaurant. We barely missed having dinner with the President!

After checking out, we drove to Boston, explored Faneuil Hall, the New England Aquarium and then dinner at La Famiglia Giorgio’s, with ample portions of expertly prepared Italian food “where everyone is treated like family”. A perfect way to end a perfect vacation experience!

Check back on the RCI blog this week when we share photos and stories about Cape Cod from RCI subscribing members.

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LOS CABOS TRIP 2007


Our family vacation to the Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort in Los Cabos in 2007 was amazing! Both of our adult daughters were so impressed by the resort that they took the timeshare tour onsite to get more information about becoming an RCI subscribing member someday when their finances become more stable. Anytime we have vacation plans booked through RCI, they try to get some time off work to join us no matter where we stay! We all are definitely impressed with all of the resorts we have stayed at! Just wish we could have done this type of travel when our children were young! RCI is the BEST!!!

- Mary M. from Ada, MI
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Algarve, Portugal 2007


In August of 2007 our family spent a week of vacation at a wonderful RCI affiliated resort property in the Algarve region of Portugal. Our view from the balcony was not only of the beautiful pool and palm trees but beyond that we could see the fabulous beach and rock formations. Hundreds of colorful umbrellas dot the sand while sun worshiping tourist stroll up and down the shoreline. We enjoyed a fun family night buffet out at the pool with entertainment by performing "Parrots" and dancing to a live band. Our regular timeshare is at the amazing Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but this visit to Portugal gave us the advantage of visiting relatives and having a great vacation at the same time. We love the options that an RCI subscribing membership gives us to fully utilize the benefits of time-share ownership. Thanks RCI.

- Julie J. from Corcoran, CA
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Queensland, Australia – Open for Business


Laura Y. - ATHOC NewsA few months ago, many of you probably watched the news and saw the devastation firstly caused by the horrendous floods and then followed by Cyclone Yasi. This would be enough to make you think that it may take years of recovery. WRONG. Queensland is definitely open for business with the major tourism destinations of the Gold Coast, Whitsundays and North Queensland ready to welcome you. It takes more than a few natural disasters to close Queensland down.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said "It's no secret the Tourism industry, like many industries in Queensland, has taken a hit by the floods and is still haemorrhaging because of the negative publicity that spread world-wide.

"That's why we're taking action now to get the message out to our interstate and international guests - Queensland is still a world class destination and we have our arms out ready to welcome you.

"While the floods tried to do their worst, the Queensland spirit is well and truly alive and a Queensland holiday is a holiday of a lifetime.

"We said it before the floods and we say it now, Queensland is where Australia shines and never has it shined as brightly as it does now."

Now is a great time to take advantage of your exchange options and try some of the great Australian destinations. Whether it is the beautiful beaches of the Gold Coast, The Great Barrier Reef, or you may even fancy a bit of trout fishing in Tasmania. The options are endless, and the opportunities to explore are abundant.

With any holiday, the most important part is in the planning. Do your research first so that you know what resorts are of interest to you.

If you are coming in from overseas use the opportunity to save your Weeks or Points so that you can stay longer by using them together, and while you are here why not look at cruise options as well. What a great way to see the Australian coast line and visit some great ports on the way. There is nothing better than unpacking once, visiting a range of new holiday destinations, and relaxing, eating and drinking on the way.

Whatever choice you make, I hope you have a ball.

To learn about the Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council go to www.athoc.com.au.

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Hilton Head 2009


We were fortunate enough to visit Hilton Head for the first time through our timeshare using RCI. Our trip was fabulous. The condo was very spacious and had more than what we needed to have an enjoyable week. Our kids enjoyed swimming in the pools. The beach was fantastic and we spent a lot of time riding our bikes along the miles of trails on the island. Thank you for making it possible to experience a wonderful vacation. We look forward to many more!

- Trina T. from Mechanicsville, VA
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Our Williamsburg Trip


One of our more memorable family trips was to Williamsburg with a timeshare exchange to the Kings Plantation resort. The units and resort amenities were perfect for a young active family. The children enjoyed the pool and mom took advantage of Fitness and Spa-type services.

It was easy driving to the great historical sites to visit nearby. We went back in time at Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. Came back to modern days for great fun and amusement at Cypress Gardens. A short drive to the coast and we were set for another grand beach day for a family reunion. That summer vacation is in our book as one of the top favorites. We'd love to go back again.

- Joseph B. from Cleveland, OH
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Wyndham Flynns Beach (# 7822) Port Macquarie, Australia


Wyndham Flynns Beach (# 7822) Port Macquarie, Australia

I took a camel ride along the beach near Port Macquarie in Australia. The timeshare gave me a screaming deal that allowed me to take my dream vacation! One of the best weeks of my life!

- Donna M. from San Diego, CA
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