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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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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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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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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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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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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Twenty-three Years with RCI


Our subscribing membership with RCI began when we purchased our first timeshare at Breezy Point, MN in 1985. We made our first exchange the following year for Spring Break with our three daughters to Oceanside, CA. In 1989 we traded for a week in Cancun and purchased another timeshare. We made other exchanges to locations in Florida, California, Hawaii, New Orleans, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, Greece and Canada over the years. We even made an exchange for a houseboat in Florida! We have always been able to get an exchange for the location of our choice. All trips were enjoyable, but Greece was the most outstanding. It was on the island of Crete, which has beautiful scenery and rich history. It was our first experience with Greek culture and we loved it. We have visited Greece many times since. RCI has been a winner for us!

- Norma V. from Burnsville, MN
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New Hampshire


My wife and I went to the local lake by our timeshare to go fishing. She calmly [not so] put a fat worm on the hook and made a short cast, only a few feet from shore. Her response was, "Honey I'm snagged again," but as I looked over both of us shared a beautiful moment. A huge salmon grabbed the worm, jumped out of the water, and spit out the hook with a great splash. I guess it doesn't' matter that she did not catch the fish, but that forever will be one of our great moments together on the shores of Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire.

- Frank O. from South Hadley, MA
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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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RCI’s UK "Holiday" Magazine Gets a Makeover


Claire W. - UK and Holiday Magazine UpdatesWhen you received your last copy of Holiday magazine you may have noticed we’ve had a bit of a revamp. Like it? We hope so, because many of the ideas came from you!

At the end of 2009, we sent out some member surveys, and we got so many great ideas and feedback from you that we decided to incorporate them into the magazine (updates were also made to RCI North America’s subscribing member publication Endless Vacation® Magazine – you can check those out here) . And as someone who is very involved in the management of Holiday magazine, I can tell you that feedback is always very helpful!

One of the things you told us is that you find travel and vacation tips, RCI information and hearing from other members very useful.  So we now have an all-new, revamped member section called Your Holiday. This is where you’ll find details about your membership, all the latest RCI news, new timeshare resorts for you to try, exclusive offers, recommendations and stories from other members, and much, much more.

We’ve also introduced a new regular feature, Ask the RCI Experts, where you can send us your vacation queries and travel questions to be answered by us.

From the October issue we will be including a Member Travelogue  featuring interesting travel tales from RCI members (we’ve already heard from one member who slept in the same bed as Bill Clinton on holiday – albeit two weeks apart!).

And we’ve introduced regular food features as you told us you like eating out and trying new foods on holiday. (Who doesn’t!?)

We hope you love the new-look Holiday magazine and we’re really keen to hear your opinions and feedback. Let us know what you think by commenting below.

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My Birthday 2009


I had not had a real birthday party in a long time, so I decided to throw myself one! Fortunately, I found a Last Call vacation through RCI at the beautiful Kings Creek Plantation resort in Williamsburg, VA. It was very reasonably priced but when I got there, I thought, "Oh my, I should have paid waaaay more for this." It was so nice to have my family come with me. We had enough room for everyone! One of my husband's gifts to me was 'Guitar Hero' and my family and I had a blast taking turns playing it on the big screen television! I was skeptical at first because we are fairly new to the whole timeshare thing, but now that we're confident that RCI will do their best to accommodate our needs, we won't travel any other way! As a matter of fact, we're leaving Monday for a week in Walt Disney World...yippee!

- Steven B. from Suffolk, VA
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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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Learn what RCI is doing in the Big Apple!


Barbara E. - RCI Subscribing Member BenefitsHere at RCI we frequently discuss how to create an amazing experience for our subscribing members – it is the major topic of conversation – but we rarely get to meet our members. It’s true. Most of us have friends or neighbors who are RCI members – with 2.6 million members in North America it is a likely occurrence to know a few – but few of us ever meet with those we don’t personally know. Until now.

For the first time in North America, RCI will be holding regular events open to timeshare owners at affiliated resorts. Our pilot program will be at The Manhattan Club in New York City – a location near many members, former members and timeshare owners.

Events will run most Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings and will be open to timeshare owners interested in learning more about the recent enhancements to the RCI Weeks program. The first event will take place Wed., July 13 for RCI subscribing members who are also Manhattan Club owners.  The last event will take place on Wed., September 28.

Don’t have time to attend an event in New York City during your visit? No worries. We already have one of our best Vacation Guides on site at The Manhattan Club (Wed. – Sun. 9am-5pm) to answer your questions and provide information.

You don’t need to be an RCI member to attend. We welcome everyone visiting New York or coming into New York for work or play to head over to The Manhattan Club and meet us at the RCI Welcome Center.

In honor of our exciting events in the Big Apple, we will be sharing photos and stories about New York from RCI subscribing members this week on the RCI blog. Be sure to check back and don’t forget to visit us at The Manhattan Club!

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My trip to California


My husband and I were excited to plan our exchange trip to Capistrano California. We exchanged our Cape Cod timeshare for a beautiful two bedroom, two bath timeshare in the Capistrano Surfside Inn. The timeshare was huge and immaculate and the ocean was just across the street. Also within walking distance was Dante Point which not only had an active harbor and walking areas with fantastic restaurants, shops but bike paths as well for those who wanted to bike around the area. We visited the mission at Capistrano and walk the small streets with many unique shops. We chose this place to have a restful holiday and it was, yet there was plenty to do if we chose to do so. I would highly recommend this paradise area to anyone who wants to vacation in California. We would definitely visit again, but there are so many beautiful affiliated resorts in RCI, we want to try them all. We love RCI and the wonderful opportunities it offers us in trying new places and seeking new adventures.

- Joyce C. from Salem, NH
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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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Sedona


Our trip to Sedona was incredible! We took a side trip to the Grand Canyon and were truly amazed! Sedona was beautiful with amazing red rocks and creeks to swim in. Each hike was a new adventure for our children and us. If not for our timeshare and RCI we would not have had this fantastic family trip!

- Timothy G. from Carlsbad, CA
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My Dream Vacation


My boyfriend and I exchanged my week in Orlando for a beautiful one-bedroom in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico this August. We had planned this trip for over a year and were so excited to go. We had been dating for the past 5 years and had talked about marriage, but never made it official. Our last night there, my boyfriend took me to do this beautiful restaurant on the water. Halfway through the meal, he excused himself, something he never does, and while he was gone, the waiter moved our table to a spectacular view by the water, brought over a heart-shaped candle, and before I knew it, my boyfriend was on his knee with an engagement ring in hand, and asked me to marry him. I will never forget this vacation. We have since purchased another timeshare in Cabos, and look forward to our future vacations together as a married couple. Thank you RCI for helping to make all my dreams come true. We never would have been able to afford such a lavish vacation without this exchange program.

- Janine D. from New York, NY
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Irish Adventure


We had done one RCI exchange to south central Ireland years ago and were anxious to return. A friend of mine, whom I had sold on the idea of time-sharing, called me with the news that she had just gotten a call from RCI offering her a choice of 2 exchanges in Ireland. After discussing the points of interest in both areas, she decided to accept the one nearer Dublin. As soon as she called RCI back to confirm, I picked up the phone and requested the one she had turned down. We were thrilled to be able to visit in the western part of Ireland for this exchange.

Our timeshare, just over the Quiet Man Bridge, was a thatched cottage with our own private sauna. The cottage came with a complimentary load of peat so we were able to get a fire going every evening after returning home from our adventures. The living room window overlooked lush green mountains of the West and sheep wandered in and out of our backyard daily. We took day trips to Connamarra, Galway and the Cliffs of Mohr. We booked a bed and breakfast in Doolin so we could sail to the Aran Islands the next day. The mountains, the sea, the pubs and the charm of the Irish people we met made this a magical trip we will never forget.

- Beverly B. from Budd Lake, NJ
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RCI celebrates 37 years!


Phil B. - Timeshare Exchange and Resort Vacation NewsThis week marks the 37th anniversary of RCI. 37 years! We have definitely come a long way since 1974, when our exchange requests were kept on index cards! Since then we have reached so many milestones, some of them including the launch of the resort directory (1975), our website (1996), the RCI Points® program (2000), and Enhanced Search Online (2008). And during the last year alone, we introduced the RCI Points Platinum® membership tier, enhancements to the RCI Weeks program with more transparency, and a bunch of ways to stay connected with RCI in social media including a Facebook page, a YouTube channel, a Twitter handle, an iPhone® app, and this blog. And trust me, there will be more to add to this list this year!

First of all, we’ve already launched a cool new version of our “Share Your Vacation” Facebook app. This version allows you to compete against your friends and other users and to earn fun online trophies – all based on the information you enter about vacations (you can check out the app on our Facebook page by clicking on the “App” tab). Also, the RCI app is now available on your iPad® (with the RCI Affiliated Resort Directory, RCI TV and RCI SnapBook features) and you will see the Endless Vacation® magazine app for the iPad in a few weeks! This is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to come as we continue to completely transform your timeshare experience.

This week on the RCI blog, we’ll be sharing stories and photos with you from RCI subscribing members who traveled to celebrate an anniversary. Be sure to check back. And if you have an anniversary story of your own, please feel free to share it by commenting below.

The RCI Blog is an independent publication and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Apple Inc.

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