Thursday, January 26, 2012

Top 4 Travel Hot Spots of 2012

Each year, there are several destinations that become the "must visit." And 2012 is no different. Here are our picks for the Top 4 Travel Hot Spots of 2012.


With 641 castles, three national parks, 750 miles of coastline and one very happy royal couple, Wales (size of Massachusetts) is must see this year. Lonely Planet put Wales as the #1 place to visit this year, and it also made the New York Times list of place to visit in 2012? So, what makes 2012 so special for Wales?

* In May, the Welsh Government will open the Wales Coastal Path. This will make Wales the only country in the world you can walk all of the coast.
Wales will host the first 2012 Olympic event, a ladies soccer game at the Millennium Stadium. 

* Great place for families w/excellent food, great farm shops, great festivals (mud festival, beer festival, Snorkeling Championships, Man Vs Horse Race) = great way to meet the Welsh people. 
* Wales is one of the greenest countries in the World.
What to do there? Kayak, mountain climbing, visit copper mine, fishing, cliff diving, mountain biking, opera, rugby, dolphin watching, drive a steam train or ride the “best wooden rollercoaster in the world” with an 80 ft drop.

With the travel ban, Cuba was never a travel option for most Americans. However, with the loosened travel ban, religious organizations and institutions of higher learning can now sponsor trips to Cuba. And as more travel companies get licenses to run guided trips, we should see opportunities to travel to Cuba grow immensely in 2012.

Cuba enjoys a unique cultural history, nice climate, beaches, colonial architecture and attracts over 2 million people a year as tourism is one of the main sources of revenue. In the past two years, the number of Americans visiting Cuba has doubled, and we can expect even more as major airlines increase flights.

For this year, travel to Cuba will most likely remain restricted to guided groups, which means basically it will stay relatively expensive. But for travelers who want a “new” destination that's close by, put Cuba on your list.

South Korea
Now is a great time to visit Korea as two major events geared toward international travelers occur in 2012. The World Expo, which will be held May-August, will host more than 50 countries. Featured attractions will include a giant pipe organ that visitors can play using their smartphones and the Extreme Climate Experience, which has a simulated Antarctic blizzard.

And their in value in traveling to Korea now as well. The country is in the last of its three-year-long Visit Korea Year campaign, a promotion that brings greater access and better prices to foreign visitors with special rates on trains, free bus service to popular cities and attractions, and special "international taxis," whose drivers speak English. There are also dozens of fourth-night-free promotions, as well as the massive Korea Grand Sale 2012, which features discounted shopping until the end of February.

The Netherlands
Three huge events make The Netherlands a “must visit” in 2012. The country blooms its way through the duration of Floriade, the once-a-decade horticultural expo running from April to October 2012. Visitors can explore more than 160 acres of carefully crafted nature divided into five themed zones where they can witness the splendor of more than a million tulips, bid on flowers at a simulated flower auction, or arrange a floral masterpiece. Plants won't be the only cultivated offering: there are also 900 dance, music, theater, and other performances staged during the six-month expo.

Winter heats up starting in January with the Holland Dance Festival, a three-week series of more than 70 performances, 100 interactive workshops, and a massive dance parade. March 16 marks the opening of the 25th TEFAF art and antique fair. The event draws serious art buyers, but it's also a great way for noncollectors to get a glimpse at exceptional artworks not on the museum circuit.

Many thanks to SmarterTravel for contributing information.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Heartbeat Radio for Women - All Women Radio, All The Time

Gender media is nothing new and in the past three years there has been a proliferation of internet sites that focus on women and also stream women's talk shows.

Heartbeat Radio believes in creating positive strides and fulfilling the heart and soul needs of connect with women as we share many of the same emotions and challenges. Women are society's caregivers.

Why radio for women? Well why not? Women are instrumental in shaping the world and play a significant role as we are responsible for making the mold from which our leaders and all others rise. There is something special too about the 'sisterhood' and how many of us see life in the larger scheme of things.

The format comprises Adult Contemporary, with a flavor of Pop and R&B music and throughout the day informative segments and talk shows deal primarily with issues that affect the lifestyles of women. Produced segments and talk shows include topics such as parenting, gender issues, relationship building, motivation, health, beauty, fashion, career advice, financial wisdom, culinary skills, etiquette, romance, biographies, book reviews, as well as travel with Casey Wohl, Heartbeat's Travel Correspondent.

Tune in every Thursday at 9:30 AM (EST) and Sundays at noon (EST) for the latest travel information with Casey Wohl, The Getaway Girl®. You can listen online at You can also download the latest episode at

Monday, January 16, 2012

Adios: Girls Bachelorette Party Getaway to Cancun

“Cancun is a great get away, especially with a group of friends,” Vandy said. “There are plenty of things to do wether it is enjoying the night life or relaxing at the spa.”

All in all, we had a wonderful time and created some unforgettable Girlfriend Getaway memories in Cancun. Many thanks to the Cancun CVB, Villa del Palmar Cancun, Le Blanc Spa Resort & Selvatica...adios amigos!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Night Out: Girls Bachelorette Party Getaway to Cancun

Upon requesting a dinner restaurant in town (there are 350 to choose from), the resort concierge recommended we try Harry’s Prime Steakhouse and Raw Bar. We started with a round of cocktails....Coconut Martini, Mango Martinis and a Margarita on the Rocks. The drinks were delicioso, sp we knew we were in for a treat. This was an amazing dining experience....everything from the Crab Wontons to the New York Strip to the Mahi to the Macaroni & Cheese was amazing! And just when we thought we couldn’t eat one more bite, they brought a huge, blue cotton candy display for the center of our table. After taking ridiculous photos with the Marge Simpson hair look-a-like, Heather distributed our stick-on mustaches for even more giggles (and a few stares from the other patrons).

After dinner, we made our way to Mandala where we lounged on outdoor sofa seating and were completely entertained by watching the people on the street. In fact, Diablo (an older gentleman) was the most entertaining. Our waiter told us that Diablo comes to the Hotel Zone every night as he has done for the past 10 years and dances in front of various bars and night clubs. Very entertaining and a fabulous dancer! After we had enough of Mandala, we walked around the zone, got the scoop on Coco Bongo and were finally coerced into Congo Bar (they offered us a round of free drinks). Next thing I knew, Vandy and I are on the dance platform with Cancun’s version of Pitbull in a zebra robe. We danced for a while, then wanted down to our drinks, but Pitbull chained off the entrance so we were stuck there in short skirts dancing for the entire bar. Welcome to Cancun!

With the morning approaching and an early flight in the back of our minds, we decided to call it a night and head back to the resort. As we were waiting in our taxi, we caught a glimpse of a drunk guy urinating towards us about 15 feet away. I explained (jokingly) to Vandy that this was the male stripper we hired for her. However, when they guy started running towards our car while still urinating, we yelled at the driver to step on the gas and the out of there.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ziplining: Girls Bachelorette Party Getaway to Cancun

Ziplining was on Vandy’s bucket list, so she was very excited as we arrived a Selvatica. We were greeted by their super friendly and welcoming staff who helped get us geared up for the adventure of zipping across lines to 12 different stations located in the jungle canopy.

Carly was looking forward to tackling a fear. “I have a fear of heights, so zip lining will be a great opportunity to challenge those apprehensions while getting a unique and amazing view of the jungles of Mexico,” she said.

We all zipped, flipped upside down, posed for action shots and had some of the most fun you can have with unattractive helmets and construction gloves on. After the zipping, we stopped at the Plunge where Heather and Vandy bungeed off a 30-foot high platform for a little more adrenaline.

“The ziplining was awesome, but the jump from the platform was even better,” Vandy said. “The staff was so energetic; there was never a dull moment!”

We then climbed into an army truck and were transported to Selvatica’s Cenote, which is a freshwater sink hole where everyone was able to zip, dive or walk into the water for a refreshing swim. Since we had no towels and are all from Florida, we decided the water was too cold. We perched on a deck facing the action and decided that watching the action was even better than being a part of it as we watched European men in very small swimsuits bellyflop into the water. After, we made our way back into the army trucks (thanks Selvatica staff for hiding in the bushes and scaring me to death) and returned to Selvatica’s headquarters for lunch, which was fantastic!

“Selvatica was my favorite experience of the entire trip. I was hesitant to zip line because of my fear of heights, but the staff was very experienced and reassuring. The jungle was beautiful and the trip to the Cenore was an unexpected surprise,” Carly said. “And the lunch was some of the best food I had in Mexico! Overall, it was a terrific experience that I would recommend to anyone traveling to Cancun.”

After checking out the Selvatica ‘merchandise,’ we were sad to leave. Many thanks to the amazing team at Selvatica....Alejandro, Carlos, Jhony, Raul (our James Franco look-a-like), Panther (and anyone else I am leaving out) for an unforgettable Cancun memory. With our adventure over for the day, we headed back to the resort for some more R&R, which would be much needed before the crazy evening ahead.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Girls Bachelorette Party Getaway to Cancun - Spa Time

While Heather and Carly spent the afternoon lounging and sampling cocktails, Vandy and I went to Le Blanc Spa Resort, which is nestled in a secluded enclave between Nichupte Lagoon and the glistening Caribbean Sea and ranked #3 in the Top 10 All-Inclusive Resorts in the World. We were escorted to the spa where we were surrounded by bamboo gardens, sensuous wood and marble floors. The spa features a unique fusion of Asian and European traditions that provides refreshment and rejuvenation for mind, body and spirit.

Vandy and I arrived early to enjoy the spa amenities, and then eagerly went to our separate treatment rooms for our massages. We both agreed they were some of the best massages we’ve ever had. I felt like a bowl of Jell-O as we sipped Jamaican water in total relaxation afterwards.

“The staff was so attentive,” Vandy said. “They paid attention to all the minor details that make the spa experience so unique and wonderful.”

We joined the other ladies at Villa del Palmar’s Zama restaurant that is located near the beach. As we dined in the open air, we recapped the day and chatted about tomorrow’s adventure: ziplining.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Girls Bachelorette Party Getaway to Cancun - Welcome

Just in time for Vandy’s Bachelorette Party, Cancun’s Villa del Palmar Cancun unveiled the third and final phase of the resort in December. This five-star hotel, which is situated on serene Playa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico, features 415 luxurious guest rooms, new restaurants and a tranquil jungle-themed spa.

After some intense wedding planning, Vandy was ready for some R&R. “I am very excited for the opportunity to go to Cancun,” she said.

Heather and Carly were apprehensive about leaving their kids for the weekend, but that changed as the departure date approached. “I can't wait to get to Cancun! I'm mostly excited about relaxing and enjoying time with my girlfriends,” Carly said. “Even when we get together for an event at home, we spend most of the time cooking, chasing our kids around, cleaning up....then it's over! It will be so nice to catch up with the girls without those distractions.”

Cancun is a world-class tourist resort destination and a thriving community of 450,000 full-time residents. Its greatest asset is its natural marine playground that sits on 14 miles of white sand and enjoys sun more than 200 days a year.

After I almost missed our departure plane in Orlando (don’t ask), we arrived at the airport and headed straight to the “Welcome Bar” to wait for our driver we re-named E-Dog (only because we couldn’t pronounce his real name). After a few cervezas we drove through the bustling Cancun hotel zone and found our ‘home away from home’ at Villa del Palmar, which is about 30 minutes from the airport. Upon arrival at the resort, the ladies were all smiles as we were completely mesmerized by the lush grounds, blue water and white sandy beaches. Each of Villa del Palmar Cancun's luxuriously appointed guest rooms has a private terrace and is furnished with kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs and spacious spa tubs (plus a roomy hammock on the balcony that we loved). We quickly changed into our swimsuits, made our way to the beach, ordered cocktails and lunch at the tiki bar, and then parked ourselves in the resort’s beachside lounge chairs.

Before the trip, Carly explained, “my expectations for Cancun are to get some sun and relaxation, enjoy great food and drinks by the water, and most importantly, have quality time with my friends in a fun atmosphere.” CHECK :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, my friend and best-selling author Dr. Diana Kirschner is offering her book, Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love, now on paperback. Learn how to deepen any relationship-if you have been dating two months or married for 25 years. To get the book NOW, along with many amazing FREE gifts Click Here:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Voluntourism Vacations - Daytime TV Show

There's nothing better than giving back while you travel, and there are tons of 'voluntourism' opportunities for every interest. Watch this Daytime TV Show travel segment with The Getaway Girl to hear and see some of her top picks. Click photo at left to watch.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Girls Bachelorette Party Getaway to Cancun

Just in time for Vandy’s Bachelorette Party, Villa del Palmar Cancun unveiled the third and final phase of the resort last month. This five-star hotel, which is situated on serene Playa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico, features 415 luxurious guest rooms, new restaurants and a tranquil jungle-themed spa.

Conveniently situated just 35 minutes from the airport and 25 minutes north of the bustling Cancun hotel zone, Villa del Palmar offers a complimentary shuttle to the downtown six times daily. Each of Villa del Palmar Cancun's luxuriously appointed guestrooms has a private terrace and is furnished with kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs and spacious spa tubs. One, two and three-bedroom suites also offer large distinct living rooms, fully equipped gourmet kitchens with top appliances and convenient washer/dryer machines.

You will most likely find us at the adult pool (with pool butler), at one of the amazing dining options (sushi or Italian), or at the Tiki beach bar enjoying tropical cocktails. On Saturday, we will be ziplining with the awesome staff at Selvatica...look out below!