Aruba

Spring break is right around the corner and, those on a budget shouldn’t rule out a trip to the sun-soaked beaches of the Caribbean. Budget-friendly all-inclusives dot the shores of some of our favorite destinations, including the Dominican Republic, Cancun, and Jamaica, among others. It’s time to pack your bags and hitch a flight to warmer weather.

Waves Barbados

barbados 
With competitive pricing, lovely rooms, and great on-site amenities, this 70-room boutique hotel will attract people who never thought they’d choose an all-inclusive package. With three restaurants and cabanas on the terrace, Waves has a contemporary appeal especially for couples. The quiet beach along Prospect Bay feels private, and the calm waves are perfect for swimming and kayaking. A spa and adults-only pool, located across the street, are extra perks.

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If you’re a water sports junkie or think you could become one, these nine hotels are the perfect place to start your vacation planning. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to surf or snorkel — whatever your pleasure, we’ve chosen an awesome hotel for a variety of different activities. So prepare to leave the winter cold behind (and don’t forget your sunscreen).

Where to Stay If You Love…

Sailing: Bitter End Yacht Club, British Virgin Islands

View from the Bitter End Yacht Club, British Virgin IslandsThe Bitter end Yacht Club is a top-notch choice for just about any type of water sports enthusiast, but it stands out for its sailing. The resort’s sailing school, established in 1985, offers a number of classes, including Sailing 101 for newbies (included as part of a seven-night stay). The resort also has its own fleet of 100 vessels, including sailboats and catamarans. This relaxed, family-friendly resort has tech-free rooms featuring stunning views from the balconies and the sliding doors allows breezes to sweep through. Read More »

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Sunset in Antigua

Gorgeous sunsets can be found all year-round, but summertime is a particularly nice season to take in a beautiful dusk view with a mai tai in hand. We’ve shown you some incredible sunsets before, but we’ve created a second edition of amazing views we’ve seen more recently. From Caribbean beach destinations to bustling metropolitan cities, we found 10 more incredible sunsets from our travels around the world.

 

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We're ready to zip down this slide!

Who doesn’t feel like a kid again when at a water park? Whether you’re visiting with your own kids, or are just trying to revive your inner kid, a water park can be just what you need for a little fun this summer. We’ve visited tons and tons of water parks during our travels, and have seen all kinds of slides, waterfalls, pirate ships, lazy rivers — you name it! But we whittled them down to the best of the best to show you. So check out our slideshow of the best water parks in the world!

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Lobby at the Sofitel Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lobby at the Sofitel Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires, Argentina

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Karl Lagerfeld has signed a contract with Sofitel Hotels to design all of the rooms at the Sofitel Buenos Aires, the restaurants at Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam, and the lobby at the Sofitel Los Angeles.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Plaza Athenee Paris recently celebrated its 50th birthday with a cake five meters long.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Fancy a free five-night stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (or any of the oMarriott resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico)? The chain is offering the giveaway to their Facebook and Pinterest fans.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel in Barcelona will undergo massive renovations, lasting through late 2014, to become the world’s first “space hotel.” It will include a zero-gravity spa and panoramic impressions of the universe.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel Palomar Dallas’s new “Travel Lite” fitness package includes a one-hour morning run with the hotel manager.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Who doesn’t like to get their drink on while taking a dip? It’s both the ultimate cool down and the possibly best way to spice up a relaxing vacation. We’re craving some refreshing fun in the sun, so we’ve picked our favorite places to liquor up — all from the cool comforts of hotels’ pools. So get your blender and piña colada mix ready — you’ll be thirsting for a fruity cocktail after browsing these awesome hotel pool bars.

The Watering Hole: Catalonia Bavaro Beach, All Inclusive — Punta Cana, Domincan Republic

Pool Bar at the Catalonia Bavaro Beach

Pool Bar at the Catalonia Bavaro Beach

You can almost imagine you’re on the set of the movie ”Cocktail” at Catalonia Bavaro Beach‘s swim-up bar, where the bartenders are quite entertaining. This laid back property comes with lots of awesome amenities, including a gorgeous beach, a golf course, and room balconies that feature private hammocks.
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Rockhouse Hotel

Rockhouse Hotel

There’s nothing quite like the sense of discovery one feels when arriving at a hidden gem hotel — a truly special spot that is intimate, remote, underrated, or all of the above. Some people like to brag to their friends about their insider find; others prefer to keep it all to themselves. Of course, we at Oyster have never been good at keeping secrets.

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It’s time to get your spring break plans in order, and if you’re looking for some fun in the sun, the Caribbean is a prime destination. But with thousands of islands (although only a few dozen are inhabited) to choose from, that doesn’t narrow things down much. That’s why we at Oyster have created an A to Z (well, actually, an A to V) guide to the Caribbean, so choosing your island and resort will be a piece of cake. First stop: Anguilla.

Anacaona Boutique Hotel, Anguilla

The boutique Anacaona has two pools.

Anguilla is a tiny British territory that covers fewer than 40 square miles and is a popular spot for couples and celebs (Sofia Vergara went on a girls’ trip to the island) due to its small size and upscale vibe. Visitors must either fly to St. Martin and take a short ferry to the island, or fly in directly (by way of a small seaplane) from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thus, getting to the island can be pricey. So once you’re there, we’d recommend staying at the boutique Anacaona in the island’s West End. Though its not quite as luxe as the CuisinArt or Viceroy, it offers access to the same gorgeous white-sand beach as the neighboring Viceroy – through an off-property path — as well as to the nearby Greg Norman’s golf course and a few restaurants, and its prices are considerably lower. With two small pools, a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach, the hotel is a good pick for value.

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The beach at Divi Dutch Village is picturesque -- particularly when the crowds are gone.

Divi Dutch Village is one of five mid-range Divi properties on the island of Aruba. All of the 123 suites have king beds, queen sofa sleepers, and fully equipped kitchens, making them a convenient pick for families. Additional in-room amenities include balconies, duvets, flat-screen TVs and DVD players. Don’t expect ocean views, though, as the property is situated in a garden-like setting behind the Tamarijn Aruba. That being said, guests are just steps from a prime stretch of Druif Beach, where white sands and crystal clear waters make the short walk more than worth it. It’s particularly beautiful in the early mornings and at night, when the crowds are gone and the pinkish sky is reflected off the rippling waves. So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Divi Dutch Village.

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Winter may be firmly upon us now in the Northeast, but that doesn’t mean we have to write off warm weather entirely. The Caribbean isn’t too far away (especially for us East Coasters), and some island hotels are featuring wonderfully affordable rates this time of year. You may have to forgo a few luxuries to stay on budget, but designer toiletries are highly overrated, right? So pack your bags and get ready to hit the beach for a few days — or a few weeks! Oyster has the skinny on the Caribbean’s best value stays.

Rockhouse Hotel, Jamaica

Dive right into the Caribbean Sea from your room at the Rockhouse.

The Rockhouse is a lush, laid-back Jamaican resort offering gourmet dining, morning yoga, a premium spa, and best of all, a gorgeous cliff-side location on Negril‘s coast. Sure, there’s no fitness center and rooms lack TVs and Wi-Fi, but its unplugged vibe is just why some guests come. Plus, with rates usually falling below $200, it’s a steal compared to similar resorts — such as the slightly chicer Caves — in the area. (NB: Children under 12 are not allowed on the property.)

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