- Jewelry and chocolate is nice. But if you want to seriously get the attention of your significant other, a plane ticket to a tropical destination would make for the perfect Valentine's Day gift. Thankfully, some of our favorite resorts are offering some great deals, but you better hurry: For some of these deals, you'll have to book by the end of this week.
- Just because January is over doesn't mean you can blow off those New Year's resolutions. At least one resort is happy to provide financial incentives for you to meal those pesky goals. The Westin Resort & Casino in Aruba is encouraging wellness year-round with a new "13 Resolutions for 2013" program. The year-long initiative offers guests 13 perks catered to the top 13 most commonly-broken resolutions. For example, looking to "unplug" more in 2013? Then you'll get a nice room credit if you turn in your cell phone to the front desk. Find out what other incentives await.
“Free" is a rare modifier at Atlantis. So when my friend boasted of a hotel that offered free breakfasts, free Internet, and free entry to Atlantis, I knew a kicker was closing fast. "The hotel isn’t on the property," she admitted. Yep, I knew there was a catch. "It’s right there," she said. She pointed to a pink building just down the driveway from Atlantis’ Coral Reef Towers. Between me and it, a sidewalk. No major intersections. “The hotel isn’t advertised on the Atlantis website,” she beamed. “You know, because it’s the Comfort Suites.”
- The Hawaiian islands have long held one of ISLAND's top spots in our rankings of best places to live or visit. But getting there can seem just a little too expensive to some travelers. That's why when we spot a good deal, we like to crow a little about it. Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in Maui is touring what it calls "an enriched cultural experience," offering a variety of ways for guests to enjoy the Hawaiian culture.
- Here, all rental cars are two-wheel-drive. Shop owners disengage the four-wheel-drive switches on Jeeps, and then tear the switches out. “People kept going off road on the northeast corner of the island and getting stuck,” says the expat who owns the rental shop where I’m sign- ing papers. I listen sympathetically. Then three friends and I load up our water and snacks, hop in the Jeep and drive northeast.
- Lonesome George, the famous tortoise from the Galapagos Islands, may be dead, but scientists now say he may not be the last of his species. Researchers from Yale are planning to resurrect the species through cross-breeding with 17 other turtles found in the islands with similar genetic material to George. If this can be accomplished, it will be the first time a species has been recovered after being declared extinct. The process won't happen overnight. Researches expect the process to take 100 to 150 years to isolate the right genes through controlled breeding alone.
- It never existed. Sandy Island has been shown on weather maps, Google Earth and in scientific publications going back to 2000 as sitting between the Australian mainland and the French island of New Caledonia in the eastern Coral Sea. When scientists from the University of Australia went to visit the island, there was nothing there. Had it mysteriously disapeared or simply eroded away?
- For a quick weekend getaway, you want a direct flight with cheap airfare and fast travel time. Luckily, 21 Caribbean destinations have cheap non-stop flights from Miami. We've ranked them longest (3:40 to Trinidad) to shortest (55 minutes to Nassau), plus included links to the latest airline fares. Go!
- “Take the Dutch-side ferry to the French-side beach, back to the Dutch-side airport.” I’m reading my directions, trying not to take sides. This is one island (only 34 square miles) with two names (Dutch Sint Maarten and French Saint Martin). It has two languages, two currencies and a vague border bisecting it all. Nobody can make sense of it, so they all make the most of it. Taxi driver Fevry from Haiti passes Dutch-side Grand Marché and drops me at French-side Friar’s Bay. “To get back,” he advises, “call a Dutch-side taxi.” French-side taxis charge in more-expensive euros...
- Captain Jimmy gazes silently from the helm of our catamaran. The first time I saw him do this, two days ago, I thought he'd dropped his house keys overboard. Now I've learned not to ask him what he's looking at. His answer is always the same. "Jus' the water, I guess." Neuroscience studies show that when we watch the color blue and calm seascapes, we produce the same stress-relieving alpha brain waves as seen in meditating monks. After musing on the topic, I turn and ask Jimmy if he wants anything to drink. Hello? Cap'n?