Destination: China’s Seaside Escape

When visiting China, be sure to visit the luxurious island of Hainan, home to great surfing, beautiful palm trees, and breathtaking beaches.  This article from Endless Vacation® magazine has tons of interesting information that can help any tourist plan their next trip!

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A Dream Trip to Hainan

Jenny U.As a child, I pictured Hainan as a mysterious and remote island waiting for courageous visitors to reveal its nature. It was not until many years later that my parents planned a spontaneous family trip which uncovered a fascinating and mind-soothing journey in my memory.

We took a ferry to Haikou, the northern point of Hainan. On arrival our family headed directly to a local seafood restaurant where I had steamed red crab meat, juicy shrimps and tender large yellow croaker. Never had I tasted seafood as sweet and luscious. It is said that the pristine south seawater has gifted Hainan with the most delicious seafood. The next morning, we drove alongside the East Coast national road to Sanya Bay. For miles along the road, there were people riding bicycles passing high-reaching coconut trees, cycad and palm trees swaying along the sea breeze.  Behind us, the clear blue sky stretched far to meet the edge of the dazzling seawater.

We arrived at one luxurious resort in Sanya Bay and spent half the day sitting among the sublime tropical plants and vibrant flowers. As far as I could see, I was able to spot two islands amongst thin mist and motorboats sailing around them. People can go angling, a type of fishing, on one island where the best angling club of Sanya rests.  In the afternoon, I took a walk along the bay and touched the warm sea water while fishermen were trawling (another type of fishing) and singing in the distance. People can join in and take trawling lessons, then take their self-caught fish home. Our short stay came to the end as the sun settled below the sea, leaving a golden lining in the sky.

This week on the RCI Blog we’ll be sharing a lot of great information about China. I hope this will help you plan your next vacation to China!

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Hanging With a Local

Hanging With a Local

An iguana we would catch regularly hanging out poolside at the Geo Group at Pueblo Real on our family vacation to Costa Rica. Pura vida.

-Nancy A. from Brooklyn, Michigan

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Take a trip and never leave the farm!

Take a trip and never leave the farm!

Milking a cow while visiting Silver Dollar City near Branson, MO...just one of the many places to go when vacationing in the Ozarks and staying at Silverleaf's Ozark Mountain Resort.

-Kenneth R. from Hope, KS

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We had never heard of Branson, Missouri and little did we know what we were in for. When I did some research about how wonderful it would be, as well as how different it would be, people would ask me why I would want to go out there. However, after I booked it and read more about it, we decided to go with another couple. Not only did we stay at a fabulous resort that received a high rating, we had the best time ever. We booked show after show and I got to see Bobby Vinton's Blue Velvet show. It was the best. I even ran to him for a hug... Every night we went to a different show and the people there were so friendly and caring. Branson was so beautiful, surrounded by mountains, and the city was immaculate. In fact, it was was so wonderful there that we went back a second time with other friends. On top of all the fun, the shows were very affordable compared to New York. We saw a lot of famous people as well. There are some beautiful theaters in Branson. This was my best vacation ever. We have a lot of beautiful pictures and memories of Branson and will go back there again someday.

-Anna S. from Fairfield, NJ

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Train Ride

Train Ride

We took this picture from inside the train during our Branson, MO vacation.

-Maryann P. from Round Rock, TX

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The Grand Cenote

The Grand Cenote

During our vacation to Playa del Carmen we visited the Grand Cenote. What a beautiful place it is. Loads of fun swimming and jumping into the water.

-Julie B. from Saratoga Springs, Utah

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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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It'll never top Mexico

Our first RCI vacation took us to Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan Peninsula. We were excited to be able to exchange our timeshare in the Berkshires for a vacation outside of the US in order to give our two young boys some exposure to other cultures. We rented a car so that we could explore the surrounding countryside and possibly see some of the Mayan ruins while in Mexico. The resort was nice enough and offered a number of activities... The food was great; we tried a number of different options and the kids even tried some new things (a small miracle). The resort’s many pools provided some variety as we spent a chunk of time swimming and joining in on some resort-sponsored pool football...

-William H. from Coventry, Connecticut

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Playa del Carmen is like Paradise

SoniaThe first time I ever visited Playa del Carmen, I immediately fell in love with this magical little town by the beach.

As you walk down the streets in beautiful Playa del Carmen, you will see “locals” from all around the world that decided to stay here for good after vacationing in paradise themselves.

There is nothing like spending the day at the beautiful and famous Mamita’s Beach. It is one of the best beaches in the world. There is plenty of fun to be had for everyone visiting.

Staying in downtown Playa del Carmen is your best bet to experience everything the town has to offer. You will find everything you can think of from local restaurants that serve the best Mexican food throughout the region to upscale gourmet restaurants, led by internationally recognized chefs. There are also small hotels and luxury resorts, as well as cozy little bars and huge night clubs, such as the famous Cocobongo. Everything is right here!

Make sure to stop at Quinta Avenida, located on Fifth Avenue. There are people walking down the street all day long shopping, sipping coffee, eating ice cream, enjoying a cold drink, sitting at the bar or restaurant and going to church.

If you enjoy sports, there are plenty of activities to try during your visit: fishing, snorkeling, and a lot of other water sports are very popular.

There is also a ferry for those that would like to visit La Isla de las Golondrinas (Island of Seagulls) located on Cozumel Island just 25 minutes away. Here you can explore some of the biggest coral reefs in the world.

Whether it’s day or night, there is always something going on in Playa del Carmen. And if you visit, you will have the time of your life right here, and who knows … maybe you will end up becoming a local too! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI Subscribing members who vacationed in Playa del Carmen.

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My husband and I traveled to Malaga, Spain for my very first European vacation. Having traveled the world before we met, my husband was eager to show me one of his favorite countries: Spain. It did not disappoint! Eating late and afternoon siestas make for my kind of place! For a portion of our trip we stayed at Los Amigos Beach Club Playamarina in Malaga - a great place to relax and then drive around the countryside and take in the Mediterranean. They had a night club there and we'll never forget the singer who was joking around with the audience while his fly was undone and his shirt sticking out of the zipper. We all thought at first it was on purpose but then he just kept singing about 5 more songs and we're all laughing and snickering. He finally caught on and nearly fell off the stage laughing from embarrassment. It was hysterical. With all of the beautiful architecture, wonderful food, and gorgeous weather, THIS is what I remember from Spain?! Yes. It was really funny, but maybe you had to be there?

-Kristin F. from Albany, Oregon

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40th Anniversary

We had a beautiful trip driving down the coast of Spain to Malaga. The resort was wonderful and we met some very nice people from England, as well as other counties. They had very good entertainment at night, which we enjoyed. We found a lovely beach restaurant, called Max Beach. We spent our 40th anniversary there, with a lovely table overlooking the ocean, great food and great entertainment. It was a very special week, with lots of sightseeing and fun. The next week we went to Albufeira, Portugal. We had a very memorable and lovely vacation. Ended it all by spending three days in Frankfurt, Germany. My husband surprised me with First Class tickets for all our flights. Who could ask for a better 40 anniversary!!!

-Carolee A. from Mississauga, Canada

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My Enchantment with the South of Spain

Southern Spain remains close to the top of my “Great Places to Go” list in Europe. Maybe that's because it has what seems to be never-ending sunshine, miles of beautiful beaches, and quaint villages with pretty whitewashed houses. Whatever the reason, the southern part of Spain has appeal, and a lot of it.

Malaga is an excellent vacation destination in southern Spain. Some of the greatest places to visit in and around Malaga are: the Costa del Sol, Costa Brava, Marbella, Torremolinos, Benalmadena, Fuengirola and Puerto Banus. These are some of the most treasured tourist areas in all of Spain.

Also of special interest in Malaga is a town called Mijas. Mijas is one of the most enchanting examples of an Andalucian village, with narrow streets bordered by brilliant white houses and squares bursting with orange blossoms.

Don't feel you have to stay on the coast. Ronda, located north of San Pedro in the hills, is well worth a visit. It's a city in an exceptionally beautiful, natural setting on the edge of an abrupt rocky precipice. In the quiet back streets, you'll find old houses with flower-filled courtyards and the amazing Palacio de Mondragon. It is said that the first ever bullfight on foot took place there. The town's most famous landmark is its bridge. At over 300 feet high, it spans the gorge that once divided it.

To cover this area of Spain and not mention golf would be unfair. After all, it is one of the primary reasons why people come to this part of Spain – especially during the off-season. There are nearly 60 golf courses in Andalucia, 30 of which are along the Costa del Sol. There are magazines available (written in English) that detail the courses and their location. Be sure to call ahead and reserve tee-times!

This week on the RCI Blog, we will be sharing stories and photos from RCI subscribing members who have travelled to Malaga, Spain. Come back and take a look!

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The beaches of Brazil’s Florianópolis

Traveling to Florianópolis and plan to head to one of the 42 beaches? Check out this article from Endless Vacation® magazine for suggestions on which ones you should check out.

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Brazil’s Fortaleza has the best of both worlds…

If you are looking for a vacation in Brazil that combines the buzz of a big city, but also the relaxation of a sunny day on the shore, look no further than Fortaleza! This article from Endless Vacation® magazine is filled with a lot of interesting info that can help you plan your trip there!

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Beautiful Beaches and Great Food in Brazil

FabianaWhen we began planning our beach vacation in Brazil, we wanted to go somewhere that would be fun for our 3-year-old son as well. We decided to visit Fortaleza, a city that offers attractions for all tastes and ages.

Being able to take advantage of all the Fortaleza has to offer requires a lot of planning! Fortaleza offers a vibrant and varied nightlife every night, as well as remote beaches such as Canoa Quebrada and Morro Bronco. Both are worth visiting to experience their enchanting sand dunes and colorful cliffs from a romantic buggy ride. Praia do Futuro is another beautiful beach.

Beach Park is a must-see attraction for those with young children. It is the largest water park in Latin America and is located in Porto das Dunas, with over 20 fun and exciting attractions – from refreshing water fountains to water slides that are as high as a 14-story building – spanning an area of 35 thousand square meters.

To experience the region’s unique delicacies, enjoy a lobster in de Meireles Beach. For other regional specialties such as baião-de-dois and carne de-sol, visit the Varjota neighborhood.

Fortaleza is a destination that will leave you filled with nostalgia and longing to return at the earliest opportunity.

This week on the RCI blog we’ll be sharing photos from my trip, as well as articles about Brazil from Endless Vacation© magazine. I hope all of this will help you plan your next vacation in Brazil!

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Relaxation or Adventure? Key West is great for both!

Emily SA few months ago, my boyfriend Blake and I planned a trip down to Key West. After a lot of research (on my part!), we arranged for our accommodations, booked our flights, and began our trip.

We flew into Miami and, at the urging of many articles and reviews, we opted to rent a car to drive to our resort in Key West instead of hopping on another plane – wow, were those authors and reviewers right! The 3+ hour drive on Highway 1 from the Florida mainland to Key West, while lengthy, was incredible! The views of the water were incredible, especially when we went over the Seven Mile Bridge.

After arriving at our resort in Key West, we headed over to a restaurant for dinner and then over to Mallory Square – an open area on the water with all kinds of street performers and vendors – to see an amazing sunset. If you want a front row view, get there early because it gets very crowded!

Our next few days were filled with catching some sun at the resort’s pool, seeing the action on Duval Street and exploring the town. We rented bicycles on two of the days to help us get around quickly to all of the Key West must-do’s: Southernmost Point, the Ernest Hemingway Home, the Key West Lighthouse and Keeper’s Quarters Museum. Another Key West must-do, in my book, is breakfast at Blue Heaven on Thomas Street – great setting and even better food.

Key West is a wonderful vacation destination. Whether you want to just relax by a pool and watch beautiful sunsets or take small adventures exploring the town – or a combination of both – Key West has it all! Come back to the RCI Blog this week to read stories and see photos from RCI Subscribing members who vacationed in the Florida Keys.


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Timeshare is the best thing we have ever owned

For Christmas four years ago, we took both of our sons and a significant other to Kauai, Hawaii. We spent the whole week taking helicopter rides, which was awesome. The best way to see the beauty of this gorgeous island. We also went snorkeling, to a luau, toured every inch of this gorgeous island, took a boat ride around to the Na Pali Coast, swam in waterfall pools, the list goes on. The resort had a lanai for both rooms that overlooked the Pacific Ocean. We hated to go to sleep and woke up very early every morning to sit on the lanai to watch the sunrise. The weather was absolutely perfect and the resort was wonderful. It was a Christmas dream vacation to be in the most beautiful place in the world with our grown children and friend. We want to go back and recreate the whole week because it is the one trip that we can never forget. Owning our timeshare is the greatest purchase we have ever made. We have been to all of the Hawaiian Islands and Kauai has been the most special.

-Richard K. from Bells, Texas

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Hawaii Vacation

Hawaii Vacation

This is a gorgeous picture of our three boys exploring the coral reefs along the North Shore of Kauai.

-Mary M. from Gilbert, Arizona

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Family Vacation to Kauai

In May 2011, our family of eight enjoyed a trip of a lifetime to Kauai, Hawaii. We were celebrating our daughter's birthday, our anniversary and Mother's Day. We had a fantastic time at the Wyndham Kauai Beach Villas. The two units we had accommodated all of us very comfortably and the location was superb. Besides enjoying the pool and the beautifully landscaped gardens at the condo, we also enjoyed visiting several beaches, the Waimea Canyon, the Spouting Horn, Wailua Falls and Opaeka'a Falls. One of the highlights of our visit was the helicopter ride we booked through the condo. It took us over the Na Pali Coast and the Waimea Canyon, into an extinct volcano and over several majestic waterfalls. What awesome memories! We'd love to go back!

-Darlene A. from Red Deer, AB, Canada

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