Puerto Rico

“America the Beautiful” was originally a poem written in 1893 by Katharine Lee Bates, who was inspired to pen the historic words after taking a memorable — and clearly, scenic — cross-country train trip from Massachusetts to Colorado. In the late 1800s, such a trip might have been grueling, but it was nonetheless considered exotic — whereas nowadays, it sometimes seems travelers aren’t impressed unless they’re crossing vast oceans and getting multiple stamps on their passports. But America is still the fair beauty of Bates’s poem, and tons of gorgeous sites and settings can be found right in our backyards. Even better, local travel is often relatively cheap and easy: There’s no currency exchange, language barrier, or passport required, and even if you do fly, flights are certainly less expensive than those to far-flung international locales. Here are six amazing sites in the U.S. that you’ve got to see. (And don’t worry. If you really must cross an ocean to feel like you’re on vacation, we have some U.S. destinations where that is a necessity as well).

Bioluminescent Bay, Puerto Rico

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If you’ve ever questioned whether the U.S. could be exotic, the Bioluminscent Bay in Puerto Rico’s Fajardo will have you properly convinced. Just a short drive from Old San Juan, this famed “Bio Bay” puts on nature’s most magnificent light show: At night, when the bay is inky black beneath the light of the moon, microscopic plankton glow turquoise as you paddle or swim through the water.

Where to Stay: El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort is just about as close as you can get to the Bio Bay. Even better, this luxe resort offers some of the Caribbean’s most epic views.

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For those seeking a truly decadent escape, the Caribbean is certainly not short on options. The islands boast everything from intimate boutiques in hidden, tranquil locales to expansive resorts that wow not only in breadth, but style. These super-luxe properties cater to celebrities and socialites — and you can enjoy them too (for a price, of course — or at least just in pictures). Spoil yourself with these 13 uber-fancy spots!

1. Hotel Le Toiny, St. Barts 

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One of the most prestigious hotels in St. Barts, this exclusive 15-villa resort sits amid 28 lush acres of natural hills and beachfront. The private villas are spacious and airy, and each boasts its own infinity-edge pool. Plus, the views here are jaw-dropping. The French restaurant is one of the island’s most renowned, and you can often spot a celebrity dining during high season. Rates are nothing to sneeze at, but you’ll definitely receive all-star treatment. Read More »

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March is the unofficial month of spring break, which — at least to hundreds of thousands of college students across the nation — means it’s a 30-day stretch of time dedicated to partying, preferably in exotic locales around the world. We’ve already given you the inside scoop on where to spend an awesome alternative spring break, but if you’re looking to get the classic (read: raucous) spring break fix, here are the top ten spring break destinations for partying.

Where to go: Cancun

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Cancun — with its beautiful sandy beaches and turquoise waters – is one of the world’s top beach destinations, and it also one of the most-visited spring break destinations on the planet. The Hotel Zone is where to go if you’re looking for all the college spring break staples; dozens of megaresorts line miles and miles of postcard-perfect beaches where guests lounge in the sun margarita in hand. Hotels here cater to spring breakers, hard partiers, young couples and rowdy groups with night-long parties, loud entertainment, cheap booze and all-inclusive plans.

Where to stay: Hotel Riu Cancun

In the heart of the Hotel Zone, Hotel Riu Cancun sits on a sprawling piece of beachfront that’s close to bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and shops. The all-inclusive 569-room resort offers three swimming pools, a buffet-style restaurant, as well as three themed restaurants, and a range of on-site activities that includes nightly live shows, tennis, windsurfing, and a nightclub. Rooms are a bit outdated, but most consider it a small tradeoff for the affordable prices.

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The perks of the megaresort experience are obvious: free-flowing drinks, lots of chances to socialize with your fellow guests, and a sweeping breadth of amenities. But with these advantages comes an obvious lack of peace and quiet. When all you want to do is escape the crowds, the best bet is to seek out the small, hidden properties dotting the Caribbean shores. From eco-centric boutiques to romantic enclaves, these laid-back properties promise the glorious sound of silence. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these crowdless Caribbean locales.

Anacaona Boutique Hotel, Anguilla 

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Anguilla, a small British territory in the Caribbean, spans fewer than 40 square miles. Less built up than other isles, it manages to exude both an upscale and happy-go-lucky vibe with its gorgeous white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. There are few attractions, so days will mostly be spent sipping on drinks beach-side and dining at one the island’s exclusive hotels. The 27-room Anacaona, for example, offers access to a stunning stretch of sand, rounds of golf at the nearby Greg Norman-designed course, dinner at a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach. The hotel is a great choice for rest and relaxation–and it’s an excellent value to boot. Read More »

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As temperatures across the United States continue to drop and snow continues to fall, we here at Oyster can’t help but ask ourselves if we’ve entered the next Ice Age. While we’re sure our Olympians across the pond wouldn’t mind Sochi suffering from a similar deep freeze, we personally would rather do without the slippery sidewalks and freezing rains Mother Nature has seen fit to drop on our doorsteps. The lure of sun and sand has never been stronger. If you just can’t stand it one second more, here are eight destinations where temperatures are soaring over 80 degrees right now.

1. Hot spot: Puerto Rico
Current Temperature: 87 Degrees

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For a warm-weather escape close to the States, Puerto Rico is an excellent choice in the Caribbean. With temperatures in the high 80s, you’ll be able to enjoy the pristine white-sand beaches and outdoor amenities like horseback riding and golfing available at the top-notch El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property. Read More »

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A nice beach can make a vacation, and there really doesn’t have to be much more to it than soft sand, clean water, and plenty of space to spread a towel. But a truly special beach is harder to come by; it has to have that little something extra that makes it — and your vacation — one-of-a-kind. Here are seven beaches around the world that wowed us.

Bioluminescent Bay; Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico

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A national natural landmark, Bioluminescent Bay (also know, much less prettily, as Mosquito Bay) glows a breathtaking neon blue. A tiny micro-organism that sparkles when disturbed gives the bay its beautiful luminescence, and many tours take kayakers and divers out at night to watch the waters glow.

Where to Stay: W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island

This hotel has the modern, funky feel of the W brand with a tropical twist — it’s right on it’s own private beach, the lobby and rooms feature bright colors and concrete floors, and the infinity pool overlooking the ocean has a pool bar serving up poolside drinks and meals.

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When going to a new destination, many of us stick to the beaten path; we’ll go where the other tourists are going for the first time around. But once you’ve been to Cancun, or Montego Bay, or any other well-touristed beach spot, you may be more interested in heading somewhere a tad more under-the-radar on your next visit to the area. Or perhaps you’re the type who opts to skip the crowds the first time around. Either way, we love these seven underrated beach destinations; they’re rarely a traveler’s first choice, but perhaps they should be.

Instead of Cancun, head to Riviera Nayarit

SayulitaWith over 190 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, wonderful resorts, and world-class golf, it’s surprising that Riviera Nayarit is so much less known than Mexican resort destinations such as Puerto Vallarta (its neighbor to the south) and Cancun. Punta Mita and Nuevo Vallarta are the most popular towns here, but there are also a number of charming little beach towns such as Sayulita and San Pancho that offer visitors a more authentic Mexican experience. Read More »

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The Inn on the Blue Horizon is one of our favorite B&Bs in the Caribbean.

We love the quaint, homey vibe that comes with bed-and-breakfasts. And when they’re located beachside, where mega-resorts are more often the norm, they feel even more like hidden gems. Plan your next getaway — or just dream about it — by clicking through our slideshow of the best B&Bs on the beach. Many dot New England’s coast, but some, like this first one, are further flung — and just as fabulous.

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Romantic Eco-Friendly Stays

by Devon on May 16, 2013

The Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa is just one of our favorite eco stays!

For eco-minded couples, choosing the right getaway means finding a spot that pleases both your partner and Mother Earth. Some couples opt for an au natural vibe on their trips, while others just want to practice a clean-conscience approach to travel. For those who love tree-hugging just as much as they snuggling up with that special someone, we’ve found the best hotels for environmentally-friendly duos who don’t want to skimp on the romance.

 

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5 Beach Getaways for Foodies

by Devon on April 26, 2013

Far from more culinary capitals such as New York City and San Francisco, beach destinations are rarely the first stop on an epicurean getaway. But plenty of tropical locales boast impressive chef creations, from farm-fresh plates, to straight-from-the-ocean cuisine. And just because you appreciate a quality Porterhouse cut and kicking back on the beach with a mai-tai shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice one for the other. Whether you’re looking for a truly delicious all-inclusive plan, or some mouthwatering organic delights, we’ve got the best foodie beach destinations for all palates.

 

For All-Inclusive Dining…

From the family behind Le Cirque comes some of the best inclusive cuisine in the D.R.

To foodies, all-inclusive resort dining just means sloppy buffet lines and leftover à la carte “crab meat” (and to be fair, it often does). But luckily some resorts don’t mind offering some actually decent, and often delicious, menu options that you’ll look forward to chowing down on. These resorts may be pricey, and few and far between, but they’re worth the visit. Your taste buds — and stomach — will thank you!

Stay: Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic

The five-pearl Casa De Campo is one of the top properties in the D.R. With over a dozen dining options, the resort’s all-inclusive rates include renowned eateries such as the waterfront Beach Club and the Mediterranean-inspired La Caña, both from the famed family behind Le Cirque restaurants in New York and Las Vegas.  So whether you’re craving spicy rack of lamb or fresh grilled seafood, this resort won’t make you shell out extra for a good meal.

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