11 Reasons to visit San Francisco in 2016

Whether you are taking a weekend break from work, an extended vacation in the summer or just wanting an alternative option for a Spring break vacation, San Francisco is a dream destination and a city which has the perfect mix of ideal weather, engrossing culture, fascinating scenery and interesting attractions.

Here are 11 reasons to visit San Francisco in 2016:


  1. San Francisco has the perfect weather all year round

San Francisco he kind of weather which makes it the perfect city to live for the entire year round. Don’t be fooled by photograph’s of the Golden Gate bridge covered in fog, this city has just the right amount of cool, and the perfect dose of warm weather to make it idyllic for exploring in the outdoors.


  1. The city is built for walking

Everywhere in San Francisco is within walking distance, from Fisherman’s Wharf, to Chinatown and back, the famous hills are hugely enjoyable to walk around with scenic views of the city and if you get tired of walking, an absolute “must”, is to take a ride in a traditional cable car which climb the extremely steep hills near Powell street.


  1. You can taste the Sonoma Valley

The Sonoma Valley may not be the most famous wine region in the US, but it is still one of the most varied and stunning collection of wineries. Both the Buena Vista and Lynmar Estate are particularly nice but with more than 30 different establishments in the area, there is simply no end to great wine tasting options, along with spectacular rolling hills, gardens and spectacular landscapes.


  1. Watch Giants playing on the waterfront


In the East you have the New York and on the West coast you have the San Francisco Giants. Take in a riveting game of baseball next to the waterfront in the awe inspiring At&T Park. The Giants have been around since the year 2000 and have an ever growing reputation with a loud fan base in their 45,000 capacity stadium.


  1. Enjoy unrivalled scenery

The scenery in San Francisco is breathtaking, from the world famous Golden Gate bridge, the green and beautiful Dolores Park, the unrivalled views of ships cruising the ocean horizon, to the iconic sight of the enchanting Alactraz prison.


  1. Experience local culture in the Farmers markets

San Francisco is certainly a city which knows how to please a “foodie”. There are a number of annual food events throughout the year but there are also regular markets around the city with the biggest being Alemany farmers, markets  which is the oldest market in town and a fine display of local produce.


  1. Witness the many districts which make this city a melting pot

San Francisco has long being known as a melting pot of traditions and different cultures. For example, the infamous Chinatown is a fantastic place to sample some Asian cuisine while the Mission district is known for hipsters, cheap drinks and a predominantly Latin population. A visit to Alcatraz is every bit as fascinating as the story behind the name.


  1. Marvel at the Golden Gate Bridge

The bridge is 65 stories high which certainly adds to the impressive nature of the bridge, but the specific design of the Golden Gate Bridge has made it into the world famous landmark it is today. The perfect photograph opportunity, and ideal for a walk on a sunny day, the Golden Gate bridge is not to be missed on a trip to San Francisco.


  1. Be a tourist on Fisherman’s Wharf

Arguably one of the most popular places to visit in San Francisco is Fisherman’s Wharf, the historic waterfront transformed over the years into a major tourist attraction. The pier has an endless amount of activities and points of interest, including shops, amusements, food stalls and unrivalled views of the an Francisco Bay.


  1. Endless shopping options on Union Square

Union Square is the epicenter for retail in San Francisco which is a shopper’s paradise. Huge department stores line up next to boutiques and high end fashion. It’s gets busy on the weekends but if you are traveling midweek or during the day while the locals are at work, shopping in San Francisco can be a very enjoyable experience.


  1. The best Hotels in San Francisco

Luxury hotels, mid range hotels, boutique hotels, cheap hotels, affordable hotels – whatever type of accommodation you are looking for, you can easily find it in San Francisco. Unfortunately the cost of hotels in San Francisco can be quite high, but if you avail of the best hotel discounts for San Francisco with Hotels Etc, a trip to this beautiful city can be easily afforded.

Click here to check out the huge savings on hotels in San Francisco.

10 Things everyone should do on vacation in Cancun

Experience adventure on a Cancun vacation, one of the most popular vacation destinations in the Caribbean. Many people travel south to Mexico with no intention of leaving the sunbed, not realizing just how much they are missing out on.

The following are the 10 things everyone should do on vacation in Cancun.

1. Meet the Party Rockers

How does having your own personal host in Cancun sound? If you are traveling to Mexico with friends, or on a bachelor party or even as a couple – Party Rocker Cancun are a small agency who organize all of your excursions or activities during the day, before escorting everyone with VIP access to all the best restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Cancun.

2. Witness the Mayan clifftop

Tulum is Centuries old and is a spectacular archeological site sitting up high on the cliffs looking out over the ocean. This Mayan city has many ancient runs scattered around and you can either visit it on tour, or by renting a car. There is a stunning beach at the foot of the cliffs which is usually a every quiet and relaxing spot to hang out.

3. MUSA by Jason de Caires (Underwater Museum)

Take a 90 minute snorkeling tour of the Musa Underwater Museum located next to Isla Mujeres which features the artwork and sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor.

This incredibly unique museum is filled with incredible statues and remnants, such as an old Volkwagon beetle car and a thought provoking statues with a group of men burying their heads in the sand.

4. Visit Isla Mujeres

This beautiful museum, near the underwater museum, is a very short boat ride from Cancun where you can rent a golf cart and travel all around the island for the day. As with anywhere in this part of the world, there are stunning beaches with beautiful scenery around the coastline, and when you are finished riding the golf cart around, there are some really excellent places to eat in the main town.

5. Go adventure in Riviera Maya

Just down the road from Cancun, in the heart of the Riviera Maya, is this wonderful attraction suitable for adults and families alike. Xcaret is a waterpark with a huge range of adventure activities and animals to explore. There are stunning beaches, food courts and some excellent shows in the evening which showcase the very best of Mexican history and culture.

6. Take a day trip to Coba

Coba is another Mayan city and has the largest remains of stone relics in Mayan history. Incredibly the site dates back as far as 50 BC and it for most of the history of this city, due to large scale war over the Centuries.

The temples are magnificent and  you can rent a bike to get around all the different temples and it is also possible to visit Coba in the evening.

7. Swim with sea turtles

Akumal is a small beach front with incredible seafood, cocktails, pristine waters and a very unique attraction. Before you start rushing for the tasty calamari or refreshments in town, you will want to take a visit to see the turtles.

Akumal is the best place to see and snorkel with beautiful sea turtles in what is not only a great photograph opportunity, but also a very personal experience with nature.

8. Go on a party cruise in Cancun

It’s no secret that many people travel to Cancun on vacation to party at some point, not everyone, but most. This enormous boat has two levels and plenty of space, for guests to dance and party their way between some of the major local attractions.

There is a full bar on board of course, with live bands, fresh Mexican foods and even a huge water slide on the back of the ship. However, the cruise is not just about partying: it also visits the ruins at Maya Meco, and there are plenty opportunities during the day for swimming, diving and snorkeling.

9. Hang out at a trendy beach club

The ME in Cancun is arguably the most trendy of all the beach clubs to hang out during the day Many top DJ’s come to plat at the club while there is also an alluring swimming pool, great food and a decent party to be had on Saturday’s in particular.

It is not uncommon to meet celebrities here but regardless, it is always the place to be on an afternoon in Cancun.

10. Enjoy the taste of Cancun’s most famous restaurant

Perched up on the pier overlooking Nichupte Lagoon, Lorenzillo’s is the number one place to eat in Cancun. There is an amazing outdoor dining area to compliment the beautiful interior and while the prices are not on the low side, the view while your tasting fresh lobster, is simply unbeatable.

Sign up to Hotels Etc for all the best hotel discounts, special offers and best vacation offers to Cancun.

13 Things you need to know before you go to Punta Cana

Traveling to a new destination is always new, and there is a lot to be said about the element for surprise. However, have you ever visited somewhere but then found out afterward about something really amazing you missed out on? How about some important travel advice that your agent neglected to pass on? Some tips that would have made your trip easier? Or maybe some insider information on the best hotel discounts which would have made your vacation less expensive?

Luckily, if you are taking a vacation to Dominican Republic this year, or planning on doing so sometime in the future, the following list should help inform you about all the advice and tips for visiting Punta Cana 2016:

1. How safe is Punta Cana?

The tourist police do an excellent job at keeping crime to a minimum in Punta Cana. It is perfectly safe during the day, but it is strongly advised not to walk along the beach in the evening and to use common sense in the busier parts of town.

2. Where is the best place to stay in Punta Cana?

There are many all inclusive resorts in Punta Cana which are of the highest quality in the Caribbean, but some of the most popular hotels are the Excellence Punta Cana, the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro and of course, the Hardrock.

3. Where can I find the best deal for a vacation to Punta Cana?

You can find prices anywhere online today, but if you want to find genuine discounts (sometimes up to 60 – 80%!), it’s highly recommended to sign up for a membership at Hotels Etc who have the biggest hotel discounts in the travel industry.

4. Bring US dollars

It’s not a good idea to take a wallet full of one hundred dollar bills, but ignore the advice given to you before you left: you do not need to convert your US dollars to peso for your vacation. Everywhere in the Dominican accepts the dollar and as long as you take notes of small denominations with you, there will be no issues.

5. Be prepared

The airport in Punta Cana can seem hectic when you arrive, people searching for baggage, locals searching for family, and taxi drivers competing for your custom. This can be overwhelming, so the best advice is if you do not have any pre booked transfer to the accommodation, make sure you know how much it will cost to the hotel, and agree the price before leaving. (Return approximately $60)

6. Are there secluded beaches?

You can certainly request that the hotel organize a private tour to a secluded beach but unfortunately, there are none within walking distance. The beaches in Punta Cana are stunning, but it is difficult to find a stretch without tourists, locals, hotels, bars or restaurants.

7. Can you drink the tap water?

In general, it is not advised to drink the tap water in Punta Cana, although it is fine for taking a wash or brushing your teeth. That being said, make sure you take bottled water everywhere you go, the main reason tourists fall ill on vacation in the Dominican is not food poisoning or any sort of disease, it’s dehydration.

8. Meal reservations

Keep in mind that many of the hotels require a reservation to be made for evening meals. Don’t take a chance on this, as it could mean a very long and unhappy wait until you find somewhere with availability. Try to book your meals a day or two in advance when you get there, and remove the risk of disappointment altogether.

9. Excursions

Of course the number one thing to do in Punta Cana is relax by the pool or take a dip in the ocean, but when you grow tired of lazing about all day, there are many excursions in the area.

The most popular adventure tours are zip lining, kayaking and snorkeling all of which can be booked in your hotel upon arrival.

10. Is there a tipping culture in Punta Cana?

While nobody is there to tell you what to do, it’s important to remember the Dominican Republic has an extremely low minimum wage and they work very hard to keep their jobs. It is recommended to always tip, and anywhere between 15% and 25% is suitable.

11. On that note, is it safe to swim?

Yes, it is safe to swim on most beaches in Punta Cana but always check the weather before going out and ensure there is a lifeguard on duty.

12. Is it possible to visit Santo Domingo from Punta Cana ?

Yes, but it is not advised. If you really must go to see the Capital for a specific reason, then fine, but please know that the Capital city of the Dominican Republic is almost 3 hours drive from Punta Cana.

13. Are there secluded beaches?

You can certainly request that the hotel organize a private tour to a secluded beach but unfortunately, there are none within walking distance. The beaches in Punta Cana are stunning, but it is difficult to find a stretch without tourists, locals, hotels, bars or restaurants.

Sign up to Hotels Etc today and start saving on your vacation to Punta Cana

Why you should go to Varadero for Spring Break

Varadero has some of the most affordable hotel deals, the most popular day excursions and some of the best beaches in Cuba. Why would anyone not want to go there?
Every year, North American’s travel south with the sun for their Spring break vacation and 2016 will be no different.
It has everything a tourist could want for their vacation with a large number of quality resorts, each of them offering something different but what else makes Varadero so great?

The Beach
Naturally, most resorts in the Caribbean, or around that area, are suitable for swimming and leisurely strolls along the sand, but Varadero is right up there with the best of them. The waters are warm but it’s the crystallized blue color of the ocean which is most striking and the moment you see this beach, is the last time you will fantasize about any beach, anywhere else.
Most people enjoy relaxing for the entirety of their vacation, but not everyone. Luckily for such people, there are a number of great day tours from Varadero and the best of these is arguably, Ambrosio Cave where there are many ancient paintings inside the cave. As mentioned above, you can take a day trip to Havana and possible spend the rest of that da admiring the immense character of this most interesting town which is full of 1970’s American cars and then full to the brim with Character.
The Cost
It is affordable and you can find some great hotel or vacation package discounts for Varadero on Hotels Etc. Remember, these are high quality resorts with all the top amenities you will find elsewhere, not to mention the fact that it also has the sun, sand and beaches we talked about before. If you take a little time choosing the right resort, finding it at the best price on Hotels Etc is a simple process after the two minutes it takes to sign up.
The Resorts
The Ibersotar Varadero has a more traditional interior and very much a Caribbean feel about the place. It is ideal for kids due to the great childrens club and also has many watersports on the beach for adults. Meanwhile, the sister hotel Iberostar Laguna Azul is an ideal place for anyone looking for a bit more entertainment and nightlife; there are many restaurant or bars on location and the nightclub also means there is always something lively going on at the resort.
Regardless as to where you stay or what you see, Varadero is an excellent choice for a Spring break vacation, be it with the family, a partner or even if you are just looking for something in between relaxing, and lively. The beaches are sensational, the resorts of the highest standard and some really enjoyable options for day excursions. There is really every reason to go to Varadero on vacation this year and if you avail of the best hotel discounts, it won’t break the bank either.