Remember Acapulco, Remember Those Nights

Jesus Catalan Meneses: Mexican Taconnosieur

“Remember Acapulco, remember those nights…” – Mexican musician Agustín Lara

This week, we’re pleased to welcome our latest Contributor, Jesus Catalan Meneses, an ex-journalist turned blogger and very Mexican Taconnoiseur. Jesus and I met in Cuernavaca through our work with the Mexican Tourism Board and he’s here to inform our readers about his love of Acapulco, a city that remains in his heart as one of the most interesting beachfront cities in Mexico. Whether he’s writing, researching social media, travelling, cooking or finding the greatest places for tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas, Jesus’s love for Mexico can only be matched by his love of Mexican food.

A few months ago I had the privilege to return to Acapulco for work.

Classic: I had not even arrived when I started an intimate and animated conversation with the taxi driver who took me to the hotel.  Each and every memorable time one interacts with an Acapulqueño, they find themselves satisfied by the hospitality and smile that only they have.

How’s my Acapulco? I asked.

Beautiful, as always. With its problems and all, but pretty as usual, he replied.

Marsicos Pipo's (c) Eleonora H.

Moving forward along Costera street – like steam in between the walls – hundreds of remnants of me begin to emerge. I will always live in Acapulco. It is the dream destination of my grandmother, who worked all year round to save money and spend one week with my mother and my uncle at “La Quebrada” beach, Pipo’s restaurant, and “Puerto Marqués” beach.

It is the place where my parents enjoyed their honeymoon, during that golden time when the entire world wanted to be around the jet-set that populated the beautiful beaches. I was there as a child, as a teenager, and as an adult. With budget and without it. I have slept in Elcano, in the Mayan, in the Pierre Marqués… in all those typical and legendary fancy hotels; and also in a car inside the parking lot of the Costera’s Wal-Mart, in time shares, little houses and the most modest bungalows.

Acapulco has seen me without a shirt, without clothes, white, bronze-coloured and red. Drunk, accomplished, sober, hot in every way, defeated, at the top of the Paladium nightclub, as a gopher and as the boss. And it has always treated me equally well.

In Acapulco, I feel the hand of my mother, guarding mine in the sand, showing me the sound of the sea inside snail shells. And I remember those magical excursions by glass bottom boat to see the underwater statue of the Virgin of the Sea, a big shock for any child.

Acapulco's Fairmont Hotel: The Pierre Marques

My first nightclub: Andrómedas in Acapulco, at the age of 13 (and my first ever tequila shot). Wow. In Acapulco, I see my friend Christopher, so many times, whether we’re bungee jumping or in so many other places, he is always with me. With him, they told me to ‘beat it’ at the door of the Disco Beach club, that tragic night when we went out to meet and hook up with Spring Break girls but they didn’t let us inside the clubs.

From the very shore of Acapulco’s sea I cried tears of joy at the most beautiful wedding I have ever attended: Karen and Terry’s, when the four elements of nature sealed the couple’s love together. That evening, night and dawn arrived and my sister seemed like a goddess to me with that beach gown while we danced until the sun of the following day came.

On another trip, she and I returned to be part of the inauguration of the El Encanto hotel, to be behind and in front of everything and everyone, working our faces off and enjoying ourselves in spite of an old bitter woman who hired us and deceived us.

Acapulco

There’s also Eduardo (driving his red convertible, very Luis Miguel) and Gaby and Lorelee and Paola and Rodrigo and Alan and the wedding of one of ‘the big ones’: Don Arturo Muradás who married below Acapulco’s sweet rain.

And I could continue like this.

With all that, I am sure that millions of Mexicans and foreigners have recollected the same – and more – memories as I. Spiritual material that is there, alive, immortal.

Acapulco is amazingly versatile: few destinations in the world adapt so well to the measure of the wallet and have so many options to meet the needs of every budget. There, coins are spent as good as millions.

Beyond the politics around Acapulco, to which I cannot refer at this time because to walk or reminisce along the Costera is to enjoy, and this joy intoxicates, overwhelms and prevents any remote thought about political matters, but I am confident that we all are – like me – filled with the desire to come back and re-live or harvest new stories.

During the same taxi trip, after passing the “Diana” statue before arriving in my hotel, I felt something very strong: Acapulco is identical to us (Mexicans). Being Mexican, it’s inevitable that we identify with a landscape that – like our own bodies – speaks at the same time of many eras of prosperity and many eras of tragedy. A landscape that expresses how, in ourselves, we know what it’s like to fall down and to get up. Facades of tanned, demolished skin, rebuilt and ready to recover from the following disaster, whatever it may be.

A Luxury Villa in Acapulco

With it’s own, rich and natural history: Acapulco was not built artificially like other places: what you see is what exists, what stays after the overexploitation and the trials of life, which certainly still is great and still alive, abundant and beautiful as it was in the beginning, is just like our own bodies.

The best Acapulco souvenir is a panoramic photo – taken with the eyes and the mind – of the bay: probably one of the most striking and beautiful in the world. ‘Acapulco Bay’, Sinatra would sing about. By night, it is a prodigious embroidery full of light and life. While I mentally click click clicked one night before coming back to the capital in the middle of a yacht surrounded by happy gringos who danced La Macarena, from the heart I sent gratitude to Acapulco and – knowing that I was never going to be able to say goodbye – I promised… I will come back soon.

Advertisements

Last Minute 4th of July Deals

Marriott has decided to put the sizzle in your sparkler this summer with a star-spangled July savings event featuring up to 25% off rates at 30 participating JW Marriott, Renaissance and Marriott Hotels & Resorts in Florida.

Celebrating a month-long Independence Day dubbed July 1/4th, Marriott’s July promotion, “More Florida for 25% Less,” takes you to a wide variety of destinations for a quarter of the cost. From Orlando’s theme parks to South Beach, golf resorts and the Florida Keys, the deal is only available on reservations made during the limited-time booking window of July 4 – July 22, 2011. Valid on stays from July 11 through October 30, 2011, and with rates ranging from $89 to $295 per night, this exclusive, state-wide saver will have you seeing stars and stripes!

www.marriottfloridasummerdeals.com.

To book, select the hotel of choice and use the exclusive rate code F9L.  Participating hotels and resorts include:

  • JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts: JW Marriott Hotel Miami; JW Marriott Marquis Miami; and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes®.
  • Renaissance Hotels: Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach; Renaissance Boca Raton; Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld®; and RenaissanceTampa Hotel International Plaza.
  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts: Bay Point Marriott Golf Resort & Spa; Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key; Delray Beach Marriott;Doral Golf Resort & Spa, A Marriott Resort;  Fort Lauderdale Marriott North; Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa; Hollywood Beach Marriott;Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina; Key Largo Bay Marriott Beach Resort; Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa; Miami Airport Marriott; Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay; Miami Marriott Dadeland; Orlando Airport Marriott; Orlando World Center Marriott Resort & Convention Center; Palm Beach Gardens Marriott; Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa; Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa; Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa; South Beach Marriott; Tampa Airport Marriott; Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina; and West Palm Beach Marriott.

The discount up to 25% applies to best available room only rates.  Promotional rates are valid for reservations booked between July 4 to July 22, for stays from July 11 to October 30, 2011 at participating JW Marriott, Renaissance and Marriott® Hotels & Resorts in Florida. The offer is based on availability at participating locations only. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.

www.marriott.com

Stylish Portable iPod Speakers

 

How cute are these little keychain travel speakers??

chicBuds is at it again! Their newly launched portable iPod speakers are keeping up with the trends of pint sized digital toys with a purpose. One of their latest products, the chicBuds chicBoom Flower Keychain Speaker, is adding some much needed style to key rings around town while elegantly keeping up with celebrity style.

This mini speaker comes with a sunny colored pattern over a crackle pink background. Attach and go for any occasion—perfect for the pool, beach, backpacking, camping, just hanging with friends… you name it!

chicBoom Keychain Speakers are tailored to the feminine and stylish woman who has a little Hollywood at heart. They are small and lightweight and come attached to a key ring for easy transportability of your tunes. Don’t be deceived though – there is nothing small about the sound these put out! They offer great clarity, incredible volume, and clear distortion-free sound when blasting music from any mp3 player, iPhone, DVD player, or computer. What’s great is they come with a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery, meaning there isn’t the hassle of changing batteries. Enjoy 4 hours of play after one charge. This tiny sphere is only an inch in size, but blast sound louder than most docking stations. Truly packing a punch, this speaker can replace bulky table-top systems and always be ready to grab and go.

www.chicbuds.com

The World’s Must See Destinations

Here’s a book of inspiration (and a few photo captivations) to remind you of exhilaration.

Okavango

Heaven on Earth: The World’s Must See Destinations, a stunning collection of photographs of the planet’s most wondrous destinations, compiled and edited by LIFE Books into a deluxe and expanded edition.

Greenland

$29.95 hardcover

Rio de Janiero

Summer Travel Savings

Contributing to Jaunt Magazine this week, we’re welcoming sassy Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch,  to share her own “Viva la Vacation: 9 Easy Summer Travel Tips”. As an in-the-know media expert, Andrea has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, FOX & Friends,MSNBC, ABC News NOW and more.

Consumer Savings Expert, Andrea Woroch

As Spring fever has slowly subsided, summer fever is now swinging into full effect. While summer is always the big travel season in the United States, Americans are changing the way they take vacations. For example, the new partnership between Groupon and Expedia follows the increasingly popular deal-of-the-day model, offering significant discounts on travel packages that can include airfare, hotels, activities, and car rentals. That’s not the only way to get to your destination for less, though. Try using these 9 thrifty travel tips to save some money on your next vacation.

1. Discover Off-Peak Destinations
With nearly four-million square miles of land area, the U.S. is a big country. This means there are nearly unlimited places to travel. Destinations in California, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, are some of the most popular spots, but they’re also the most expensive. If you think outside the box, you’ll find some really cool locations to have a unique vacation without the crowds.

2. Shop at Auctions
Is your heart set on luxurious accommodations, but your bank account doesn’t match up? The auctions at travel sites like LuxuryLink.com can help you find accommodations, spa credits, meal vouchers and free drinks for as much as 65 percent below the typical retail price. Auction king eBay also offers a variety of discount vacation packages in their travel section.

3. Go Back to Campus
Traveling with a large group? Often, hotels will offer discounts to large groups, but staying a whole week is still very expensive. Many colleges and universities rent out empty dorms during the summer, which can save everyone a bundle. It generates a little extra money for the college and the price is typically significantly less than hotel rates. If you’re traveling with a soccer team or church group, a college campus offers more space and freedom for the kids to play outdoors, instead of running amok around a hotel.

Our Adventure Vacation Travel Fund

4. Use Discount Gift Cards
Most major travel companies are on board with gift cards. Purchase gift cards at sites like GiftCardGranny.com for serious savings on rental cars and airfare. Discount gift cards for airlines like Southwest usually sell out within minutes, so signing up for email alerts can help put you at the front of the line.

5. Make Your Own Food
Eating out at new restaurants is one of the best parts of traveling, but there’s no need to eat out three meals a day. Instead, plan to eat only one meal out. Many hotels and even hostels offer some sort of free breakfast, typically consisting of fruit, cereal and pastries. Also consider booking a hotel that offers a mini kitchenette so you can prepare meals to enjoy in-room or pack as lunch for a day exploring the city.

6. Enjoy Membership Perks
Membership in clubs like AAA or even credit cards can provide some unexpected travel benefits. AAA members can find discounts at hotels, restaurants and local merchants. They’ll also hook you up with complimentary tour books and travel maps. Many credit cards will help with affordable travel insurance, baggage protection, rental car protection and even travel-delay protection. Find out what your card covers before you go so you don’t end up shelling out extra cash.

7. Giving Back to Get Away
If rest and relaxation are less of a priority than simply getting out of town, there’s always an abundance of volunteer opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to connect with other people who care about the same causes. It also provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Sites like VolunteerGuide.org can help you find opportunities all over the world. Many times, food and lodging are included when you commit to a term of a week or two. All you have to do is get there.

8. Find Secret Savings
Travelocity is taking a new approach to finding great hotel prices with their Top Secret Hotels. Give them a little information about when and where you’re traveling and they’ll give you a list of hotels with ratings and prices. Once you pick one and book your stay — saving up to 50% off the original price — they’ll reveal the name and details of the hotel you selected.

9. Travel With Apps
Smartphones go where you go, meaning they can help you save while you’re on vacation.

If you’re taking an old-fashioned road trip, the GasBuddy app can find the lowest prices on gas for every leg of your journey. After fueling up the car, Meal Ticket will help track down coupons and reviews for nearby restaurants.

When you still have work to do before you relax, don’t bother paying the ridiculous Internet fees at hotels. The Free Wi-Fi Finder app tracks down local hotspots in 144 different countries.

To get more info, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow@AndreaWoroch on Twitter to receive daily savings tips.

Essie’s Latest Summer Nail Collection

Essie's Wedding Collection

You can probably guess that since we travel all the time we hate to haul our massive bag of ‘product’ all around the world so, when essie sent us their latest little bridal collection of perfect summer friendly nail colors we were thrilled.

In addition to creating some very bold new sexy summer shades  – like Braziliant for all you bossa nova spicy latinas – they’ve also created two colors for the hot newly renovated  Eden Roc Hotel in Miami – aptly named ‘Eden’ and ‘Roc’ (more on this hotel re-vamp later as we just visited Eden Roc’s ElleSpa – Elle Magazine 1st foray into the spa industry – and we couldn’t be more impressed).

But back to our nailies. In addition to the new vibrant summer shades, the essie bridal collection mixes the classics with the current trends and is comprised of three soft and neutral shades and one true red (cause life ain’t complete without the best and truest red nail color). With shades like Borrowed and Blue, a pale pastel blue sure to become your tried and true; First Dance, a provocative red that demands attention; Better Together, for the perfect sheer and their newest nude, Made to Honor – these colors are sure to live in your little travel satchel forever.

essie's 2011 Summer Colors: Braziliant is among them

And, of course,as they say ‘just as love lasts, so should your manicure – especially on your most important day’ (whether that’s your wedding or my weekend jaunt to Miami’s classic gem, Eden Roc). essie is known for a lot of things (their classic color, Ballet Slippers being one of them) so, in addition to their chip resistant formula, I really depend on essie to make sure my polish lasts on all my special days.

Each regular sized polish retails for $8 at salons and beauty destinations worldwide.

A Chic Affordable African Safari?!

Meerkats in the Bush

I just can’t get enough of safari trips. I guess I just ought to live in the bush for awhile. It may be the only thing that quenches my African thirst. To that end, when I came across Lion World Tours’ nine-day itinerary “Madikwe In Style”, I wanted to pick up the package to spend four nights experiencing the beauty and opulence of The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa while exploring Cape Town and two nights basking in the tranquility of the African bush while staying at the luxurious Madikwe Safari Lodge and viewing the wildlife.

This nine-day package, which includes international airfare from New York (JFK) or Washington DC (Dulles) on South African Airways, domestic flights within South Africa, fuel surcharges, as well as luxury accommodation in Cape Town and the Madikwe Game Reserve, also includes most meals, transfers, and more – all for just USD $3,199* per person.

This price is valid for departures on August 24th, August 28th, and September 1st, 2011, as well as various dates in October and November of 2011. An unbelievable value for money.

The luxurious Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa lies where earth, sea and sky meet poised above Atlantic rollers and flanked by the majestic Table Mountain and her Twelve Apostles mountain range in glorious Cape Town. This intimate five-star Hotel fully lives up to its stunning location, with exceptional standards of service and relaxed Cape hospitality, providing the perfect counterpoint to its dramatic backdrop.  Enjoy deluxe guest rooms, two breathtaking pool gardens magically perched above the ocean, the glorious Azure restaurant and its exquisite cuisine, wonderful friendly service and endlessly seductive sea views.

A Cub Chewing on a Stick

Madikwe Safari Lodge is situated in the heart of the malaria-free and richly diverse Madikwe Game Reserve. The Lodge offers exclusive accommodation in luxury suites and boasts French doors that open up onto wooden decking. From the deck, you can take a refreshing dip in a sparkling plunge pool. The bedrooms are fitted with circular fireplaces, a dressing area, and both indoor and outdoor showers. Each suite features an elegant interior inspired by traditional African designs and nature.

To make a booking or for questions, call Lion World Tours at 1-800-387-2706 from the USA or 1-800-668-9968 from Canada, or visithttp://lionworldtravel.com/ to view the full itinerary.

“Madikwe In Style” at USD $3,199* per person is a nine-day trip which includes:

  • Round trip international Economy Class airfare from New York (JFK) or Washington, DC (Dulles) to Cape Town, South Africa, on South African Airways
  • Domestic flights within South Africa in accordance with the itinerary
  • Four nights accommodation at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa
  • Two nights accommodation at Madikwe Safari Lodge
  • Six Breakfasts/two Lunches/three Dinners
  • Transfers as specified in the itinerary
  • Lion World Tours representative Meet and Greet upon arrival

Lion World Tours specializes in group and individual tours to Southern and East Africa, and is a member of The Travel Corporation, which also includes Trafalgar, Contiki, Brendan Vacations, Red Carnation Boutique Hotel Collection, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and Insight Vacations. In its fifth decade, clients continue to benefit from Lion World Tours’ destination knowledge, expertise, and emphasis on customer service. With their safari specialists all having first-hand knowledge of Africa, Lion World Tours can confidently assist clients in creating an African adventure that fits their specific interests as well as their budget. Affordable luxury and value for money are what keep clients coming back to Lion World Tours.

http://www.lionworldtours.com/

* Prices are in US Dollars and are per person based on double occupancy accommodation and include fuel surcharges. Government taxes, departure fees and September 11th Security Fee of $190 are additional and payable prior to departure. Low add-on fares from 26 cities in the USA are available. This package is valid at this price for departures in 2011 on August 24, 28, September 1, October 17, 21, 25, 29, and November 2, 12, 16, 20, 24.