Top 8 Wellness Retreats for Mothers/Daughters 2017

Mother’s Day has always been a very special time for me because the day I became a mother was the best day of my life.  And when I became a mother, I suddenly found that I had more in common with my own mother than I ever knew.

As you know, I often do girls trips with my mom, my girls — you might notice our #GirlsTrip on social media.  Well here are 8 great mother/daughter wellness retreats available around and after Mother’s Day:

Culinary Retreat

Any 7 nights April 1 thru to Sept 30

Shreyas Yoga Retreat, Bangalore, India

Best for: Mother/daughters looking for an exotic destination to learn about a new culture and experiment with a cuisine based on the principles of Ayurveda and Naturopathy.

Weight Loss/Hiking Retreat

Season open May 11 – October 2

New Life Hiking Spa, Vermont

Best for: Mothers/daughters with a love of hiking and looking to loose weight and/or tone up in a casual, nature-embraced setting.

Panchakarma Detox Retreat

May 13 – 21, June 17 – 25

Art of Living Retreat Center, North Carolina

Best for: Mothers/daughters looking for a guided, weeklong cleanse with meditation, yoga and spa treatments in a peaceful setting surrounded by gentle rolling hills and mountains.

Clean Living Experience with Tosca Reno

June 1 – 4, 2017

Round Hill, Jamaica

Best for: Mothers/daughters wanting to learn new ways to eat healthy, understand the right foods for the various body types, and looking for a luxury seaside setting.

Spring Detox Retreat with Larissa Hall Carson

June 15 – 18

Gateway Canyons Resort, Colorado

Best for: Mother/daughters looking for a detox yoga weekend with stunning nature trails in an inspirational mountain setting.

TravelingMom’s Yoga/Photography Retreat

October 13 – 15

Le Monastère des Augustine, Quebec City

Best for: Mother/daughters looking for a yoga retreat plus an opportunity to learn how to improve their photography skills in a hotel and city with historic significance.

Guided Biking Tour

October 14-21 & Oct 28-Nov 4

Butterfield & Robinson, Vietnam & Laos

Best for: Mother/daughters who are fit and fearless and looking for an upscale cycling adventure in an exotic location.

Endless Summer Yoga Retreat with Dina Ivas

October 22 – 25

Beach House, Turks & Caicos

Best for: Mother/daughters looking for a beachfront boutique resort with twice daily yoga, plus breath work, guided meditation and healthy meals.

These suggestions were provided by mother/daughter travel experts, Anne Dimon and Julia.  They have crisscrossed the globe, writing about exotic countries and cultures over 35 years of cumulative travel expertise.

Anne has been a travel writer and industry journalist for over 20 years contributing to publications in the U.S. Canada, the U.K. and Asia. In 2004, she launched, the first online travel magazine for the wellness-minded. Considered a wellness travel expert, Anne speaks on the subject and has consulted on projects for companies such as the New York Times and Virtuoso.

Julia Dimon is a hard-core adventuress, a travel journalist, and on-air TV travel personality who has traveled to over 80 countries and all seven continents. As the co-host of Word Travels, a 40-episode TV series broadcast worldwide on National Geographic Adventure and Travel Channel UK, Julia has been featured as a travel expert by CNN, ABC Nightline, New York Times, Conde Nast Traveller, Travel & Leisure, Forbes Traveler, MSNBC, E! News, Outside Magazine and Travel Channel. She is also the author of Travel Junkie: A Badass Guide to Solo Female Travel. Her newest and most challenging adventure is being Mom to two little travel junkies in training.

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Luxury Blue Haven and Beach House Resorts, Turks & Caicos

Tucked away in the Leeward area of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, Blue Haven Resort provides a secluded and tranquil vacation on a private beach. Blue Haven offers spacious rooms and suites furnished with contemporary décor, two restaurants, a gourmet Market, Elevate Spa, a gym and Sandpiper Kids Club. Suites include a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, spacious bedrooms with ensuites, and a private terrace or balcony. 

I don’t know about you, but that description had my attention INSTANTLY! Turks & Caicos is one of my favorite vacation destinations and a must for your travel bucket list. I visited in Fall of 2015 with my girls and they’re still talking about what a fun trip we had.

Blue Haven Resort, one of the island’s newest and most luxurious properties, is extending a warm welcome to everyone wishing to enjoy a tropical beach getaway with 40% off all its two bedroom suites through April 15, 2017.
Blue Haven Resort’s rates include a daily full American buffet breakfast, free Wi-Fi property wide, Sandpiper Kids Club, and a free dining shuttle to their sister properties!

Guests staying at Blue Haven Resort may also take the free shuttle to use beach facilities at sister property Beach House on Grace Bay Beach. This complimentary service includes use of sun beds, towels, umbrellas, non motorized water sports and beach attendant service. Reservations are required.

Blue Haven Resort is affiliated with Stash, the loyalty rewards program for independent hotels. Membership is free, and points never expire.

Learn more at
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Spend a Week in the Italian Riviera or a Tuscan Castle with Perillo’s ItalyVacations

We currently have a member of our team, Kristina, touring France, Italy and Spain right now with her family, so I thought it would be fitting to share some great travel options if you are looking to visit Italy yourself.  These deal are offered by Perillo Tours’ sister-brand, Perillo’s ItalyVacations:

Perillo’s ItalyVacations’ NEW 8-Day Italian Riviera & Lake Como, starting at $1,483 per person, double, (LAND ONLY), divides time between the picturesque Italian Riviera villages of Santa Margherita Ligure, Portofino and San Fruttuoso and the iconic paradise of Lake Como. 

  • Pricing includes accommodations and internal transfers; guests may explore both waterfronts at their leisure, and may choose to add on optional activities, such as side trips to Cinque Terre or Lake Lugano (for an additional fee). 
  • Itinerary at a Glance:
    • Depart USA
    • Arrival in Italy! Transfer from Milan to Santa Margherita Ligure
    • Private – Best of the Italian Riviera
    • Free Day in Santa Margherita Ligure
    • Transfer from Santa Margherita Ligure to Como
    • Private – Best of Como
    • Free Day in Como
    • Transfer from Como to Malpensa Airport – Depart Milan, Italy to US

Or, for those who prefer to spend their time “under the Tuscan sun” Perillo’s ItalyVacations is also offering a 9-Day Tuscan Castle Stay itinerary, starting at $539 per person, double, (LAND ONLY), which bases guests at Montegufoni Castle in the famous Chianti wine region of Tuscany and includes car rental so they may explore nearby cities of Florence, Siena, Pisa, San Gimignano and more at their leisure.

  • Spend a week driving in a Tuscan wonderland! With the incredible Montegufoni Castle as your home base, you are never more than an hour’s drive from any of Tuscany’s lovely cities, towns and villages. Visit as much of the region as you like, or spend as much time as you like taking in the beautiful grounds of this medieval castle.
    • Includes 7 nights at Montegufoni Castle and 7 day Car Rental
These are amazing deals that I suggest you take advantage of if you are starting to plan your trip to Italy.  These packages are priced similarly to a cruise, but offer a unique different view of Italy.

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YOU’RE INVITED: HALL’s Cabernet Cookoff, St. Helena – Saturday April 29, 2017 | Pop a Corn & Grab Your Fork

My fellow Northern Californians — if you’re looking for something fun to do in April, come join us at the 8th annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff on Saturday, April 29th at HALL St. Helena from 11am to 2pm.

This event is hosted by Vintner Kathryn Hall and HALL Wines and will feature an impressive lineup of renowned Chef teams vying for a chance to win proceeds for a charity of their choice by participating in a food and wine pairing competition.

100% of ticket proceeds benefit Napa Valley non-profit organizations, so come eat, drink and donate for a good cause.
If you love people, great food and Cabernet, I encourage you to be there.

Chef Teams present perfectly paired seasonal bites with HALL Cabernet to an all-star panel of celebrity Judges who vote for the top dish. Chef teams are also judged by the guests in attendance who select the top two pairings for the title of People’s Choice Award.

Participating Chef teams include The Grill at Meadowood, One Market, Harvest Table, The Patriot, Ca’ Momi, Winery Chefs Napa Valley, Goose & Gander, Paula Le Duc Fine Catering, Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ, Shakewell Oakland, Harris Ranch, Feast Catering, Brix, Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, Kara’s Cupcakes and Sift Dessert Bar.

The Judges

The 2017 panel of judges include Celebrity Chef Duff Goldman from Food Network’s Ace of Cakes; 12-Time Olympic Medalist and Dancing with the Stars Alumni, Natalie Coughlin; Wine Enthusiast Critic, Virginie Boone; Michelin-rated Chef, Ken Frank of La Toque.


Two ticket options are available for guests: General Admission as well as a VIP Sky Loft Ticket. The VIP Ticket allows guests early access to a VIP Media Preview from 10a.m to 11am featuring all four Judges and Kathryn Hall sharing insight into what they will be looking for in a food and wine pairing dish during the event. The VIP Sky Loft Ticket also includes full access to the historic Bergfeld Building during the entire event featuring HALL Artisan Cabernets, hosted small bites, and cheese boards prepared by Cypress Grove.

8th Annual HALL Cabernet Cookoff

HALL Napa Valley

Saturday, April 29, 2017
10a.m. – 11a.m. (Media/VIP Ticket Preview feat. Kathryn Hall + Judges)
11a.m. – 2p.m. (Main Event)

HALL St. Helena – The Great Lawn
401 St. Helena Hwy. S
St. Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-2626

General Admission: $90 (Early Bird Ticket: $80 before 3/31/2017)
VIP Sky Loft: $150 (Includes Media/VIP Preview)
Tickets Available:

The 2016 HALL Cabernet Cookoff drew more than 750 attendees for a sold-out crowd and raised $59,000 for local charities. The 2016 Judges took on the impressive task of choosing a runner-up and first place winner from dishes like “Cherry Marinated Skirt Steak with Broccolini, Point Reyes Blue, Chive Blossom” or “Black Currant and Rose Macaroon with HALL Cabernet infused Geleé”. Mark Dommen from One Market Restaurant in San Francisco took first place with his mouth-watering “Pancetta Wrapped Passmore Ranch Sturgeon Du Puy Lentils, Smoked Garlic, Thyme Jus” benefiting non-profit Collabria Care of Napa. Ca’Momi placed runner-up with a delectable “Heirloom Pork & Veal Agnolotti, Savoy Cabbage, Napa Valley Cabernet Pan Jus and Parmigiano Reggiano” aiding the organization Do It For The Love of Napa. Restaurants also had the opportunity to raise money for their charity through People’s Choice, a voting system with corks serving as the tallies. First place for People’s Choice was Napa restaurant, Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ, preparing “Fried Chicken with Spring Succotash” with the winnings benefiting Napa Humane. Paula LeDuc Fine Catering of San Francisco took runner up of People’s Choice with the “HALL Cabernet Roasted Strawberries with White Chocolate Crumble and Mascarpone Cream,” partnering with non-profit St. Helena Hospital.

Since inception in 2011, the HALL Cabernet Cookoff has raised $300,000 for Napa Valley charities. For more information, please visit or via social channels using #cabernetcookoff.

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Explore Planet Earth II’s Locations with Exodus Travels

The most watched nature show in history, David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II, is slated to debut in the USA this month!  The show will premier on BBC America, AMC and SundanceTV on February 18, 2017.

Travelers can also experience the far-flung places and curious creatures off the screen with award winning adventure tour operator Exodus Travels. The six episodes cover diverse landscapes across the globe, and Exodus has a trip to every one.

Like Attenborough and his crew of hearty film-makers and globetrotting story-tellers, Exodus Travels pulls out all the stops to build trips that explore the most peculiar, amazing and awe-inspiring destinations and experiences the world offers. Also in line with the nature documentary’s efforts to protect the natural environment through increased knowledge, Exodus is fiercely committed to responsible tourism, having won multiple world-recognized awards for its community, wildlife and environment project work.

With more than 600 trips throughout all seven continents, avid Planet Earth II fans can follow in the footsteps of all six episodes with Exodus Travels.

Planet Earth II Episode Breakdown:

Episode 1: Islands
This episode explores the Galapagos Islands’ marine iguanas as they battle racing snakes while fleeing to safety. In Panama the film crew follows the aggressively slow sloth as it searches for a mate. In the Rinca Islands of Indonesia, viewers see the Komodo Dragon’s giant bodies, looking more like weight lifters than lizards, up close.

Episode 2: Mountains

High on top of the world’s massive mountain ranges, we see snow leopard’s in Ladakh, golden eagles in the French Alps, grizzlies in Canada’s Rockies and bobcats in Yellowstone National Park.

Episode 3: Jungles

This episode gives us up-close encounters of the lives of 10 animals that call the wild jungles home, including the Indri – Andasibe lemurs of Madagascar, the glass frogs of Costa Rica and the railroad worms in Brazil

Episode 4: Deserts

Here we see how animals can survive in the most extreme desert climates. For example, the Golden Mole in NamibRand, Namibia, who spends its life under the sand, and has eyes completely covered in fur!

Episode 5: Grasslands

The grasslands are home to the most hostile seasons on the planet, and the creatures living there follow suit with extraordinary survival techniques. This episode follows all kinds, from Swamp Lions in Okavango Delta, Botswana, the Serval Cat in Karoo, South Africa, and the Termite Mounds of Australia.

Episode 6: Cities

Cities are home to weird and interesting animals too, which have learned to adapt in perhaps the most foreign environments on earth. This highly conversed episode sees langurs revered in Jodhpur, Peregrine Falcons hunting among the NYC sky-scrappers, wild hyenas living peacefully among Harar, Ethiopia locals and the raccoons of Toronto, Canada, getting into all kinds of trouble.


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Margaritaville, an All-Inclusive Experience, by Karisma Set to Open in 2018

Karisma Hotels & Resorts has signed a landmark agreement with Margaritaville to introduce Margaritaville, an All-Inclusive Experience, by Karisma slated to break ground later this year for a 2018 opening.  You know we’re a huge fan of Karisma Hotels & Resorts  and we LOVE the all-inclusive feature – and the partnership with Margaritaville is going to be the cherry on top of an already amazing vacation experience.

The new agreement introduces Margaritaville, an All-Inclusive Experience, by Karisma, which will include new resorts built in beachfront destinations throughout the Caribbean. Combining coastal-luxe design and décor with top quality food and beverage in tropical destinations, Karisma and Margaritaville will deliver a vibrant, world-class all-inclusive experience that provides travelers with new opportunities for carefree vacations inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett.

Karisma Hotels & Resorts is an award-winning luxury hotel collection that owns and manages properties in Mexico, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. With 26 properties currently in its collection and plans for rapid growth that includes owning and operating 30 resorts around the world by 2020, Karisma is known for innovative partnerships and the best food and beverage, service and hospitality in the industry. Karisma’s distinct Gourmet Inclusive® Experience has redefined the all-inclusive concept as a luxury product. Gourmet Inclusive emphasizes quality over quantity with 5-star cuisine, innovative design and customized service, amenities and activities. Developed in 2004, the Gourmet Inclusive innovation elevated the all-inclusive industry and positioned Karisma to compete directly with traditional luxury hotel brands.

In recent years, Karisma Hotels & Resorts has become a steward of upscale brands for renowned partners, including TUI and Viacom; Karisma opened the world’s first and only Gourmet Inclusive® Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana in summer 2016, with plans for Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya set to open in winter 2017/2018 and an additional property to follow.

The debut of Margaritaville, an All-Inclusive Experience, by Karisma, will mark a handful of exciting milestones for Margaritaville, including its first all-inclusive resorts, which will be some of the largest properties in its growing hospitality portfolio. With lots of personality and no shortage of fun, the new resort concept combines Karisma’s renowned exceptional service, incredible food and beverage, and knack for personalized experiences and innovation with Margaritaville’s authentic sense of fun and escapism, signature food and beverage concepts, and iconic design elements such as the oversized flip-flop sculpture and Jimmy Buffett memorabilia.

“Our partnership with Margaritaville, an esteemed brand filled with flavor, fun, and a likeminded desire to delight travelers with unforgettable vacation experiences, allows us to introduce a collection of new casual luxury resorts set in stunning tropical destinations,” said Mandy Chomat, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Premier Worldwide Marketing, the exclusive representative of Karisma Hotels & Resorts. “Karisma’s expertise in delivering elevated all-inclusive concepts around the world makes this partnership a perfect fit. With Margaritaville, we look forward to delivering a taste of the good life very soon!”

Inspired by the lifestyle of singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett – whose songs evoke a passion for tropical escape and relaxation – Margaritaville opened its first restaurant in 1987 in Key West. Today, Margaritaville is a global lifestyle brand with seven destination resorts/hotels across the Southeast United States and Caribbean and eight additional locations in active development; four gaming locations; and more than 60 food and beverage locations including signature concepts such as Margaritaville Restaurant, 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill and LandShark Bar & Grill, among others. More than 15 million travelers every year change their latitude and attitude with a visit to a Margaritaville residential real estate destination, vacation club/vacation home rental, restaurant and full-service AAA Four-Diamond resort.

“We are excited to team up with Karisma Hotels & Resorts to create a resort product that will deliver carefree vacation experiences in some of the most beautiful places in the world,” said Tamara Baldanza-Dekker, chief marketing officer for Margaritaville. “Karisma, like Margaritaville, puts the guest experience and employee culture above all else. With these common values, and our shared commitment for first class service and exceptional amenities in a fun, relaxed environment, our partnership with Karisma is a match made in paradise.”

We sent one of our contributors to a press trip to the Azul Beach Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico in 2015 — see what she thought : Azul Beach Resort and Nickelodeon Experience Review – Riviera Maya, Mexico

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Orange County, New York New Year’s Celebration Destinations

Looking for some last minute NYE ideas and live in the Orange County, NY area?  Check these out:

Some Orange County New Year’s celebration destinations include:

  • New Year’s Eve with Orange County Distillery at Brown Barn farms: There is no better way to end a great year and bring in an even better. Ticket price includes local small plate buffet, one cocktail and a midnight champagne toast. Advance ticket purchase required, party attire suggested. Facebook: New Year’s Eve With Orange County Distillery at Brown Barn Farms
  • Pennings Farm New Year’s Eve Keg Drop: Make a red carpet entrance into the New Year. Includes: live music and dancing with Black Dirt Bandits, midnight keg drop countdown to 2017, complimentary champagne or hard cider midnight toast, Hollywood-style photo backdrop, late night party snack buffet. Local taxi service will be available. Reservations required.
  • New Year’s Eve with TWD: Ring in the New Year at Palaia Winery! Tickets include light fare, champagne toast at midnight and the incredible dance music of TWD band with Tanya Garcia. Tickets are available at the door or in advance from the tasting room or online.
  • Family New Year’s Eve Party at Castle Fun Center: The perfect way to ring in 2017 with the entire family! Includes dinner buffets, all Castle activities, arcade card, dancing and ball drop celebration! Advanced tickets are highly recommended. Kids 4 and under are free.

Learn more here:

The Importance of Baby Sleep Safety On Your Holiday Travels

It can be difficult when you’re on-the-go to maintain the level of safety that you do at home, but there shouldn’t be any exception to the safe sleep guidelines that are recommended to parents. We have some tips that will help if you’re planning to go out of town in the near future.

• Plan ahead and ask questions. Whether you’re staying with friends/family or at a hotel, ask questions! Where will you be sleeping? Is a pack-and-play available for use or do you need to bring one? By knowing these answers ahead of time, you can prepare appropriately for sleeping arrangements and your little one’s needs. Many hotels will provide a pack-and-play or crib for little if any charge. However, the number they have on-hand may be limited so reserve one early.

• Once you arrive, check for safety hazards. Maybe you’re staying at grandma’s house and she has an antique bassinet. Make sure it is sturdy and safe. Sleep guidelines have changed and improved dramatically over the years, and what was once acceptable may not be safe today. (Many of our parents rode in cars that didn’t even have seat belts! It wasn’t that long ago!) This includes checking to make sure cribs or pack-and-plays haven’t been recalled and are in appropriate shape for your little one to sleep in. If your baby is crawling, be aware of outlets and dangers that are within her reach.

• Don’t bend the rules. Ever. Not for one trip, or even just one nap. Accidents can happen too easily, and it is better to be safe than sorry. If it “feels” like you shouldn’t do it/allow it, then don’t. It can be tough when friends and family don’t understand and think you’re overprotective, but that’s OK!

• Car seats and swings aren’t for sleeping. Now, if your baby falls asleep on the drive, that’s OK. But once you take her out of the car, move her to a safe sleep location. The same goes for swings. It can be SO tempting to let the swing soothe our little ones into sleep and then leave them, but the bottom line is that swings were not designed for sleeping. If you DO leave your little one asleep in the swing, you should be right by her and aware of what is going on. Don’t leave her unattended.

• Don’t try anything new. This includes food and medications. While you’re away from your family doctor is not the time to try a new food or medicine. Allergies and side effects can be dangerous. Infants are often already under some stress because of the changes that traveling can pose, so keep things as familiar as possible for your little one.

While traveling can be fun, friends and families’ homes aren’t always childproof or baby-friendly. Plan ahead and put your little one’s safety first and enjoy your time away. As always, we are here to be of support to you.

About Ollie Swaddle

The Ollie Swaddle was created by Hindi Zeidman, an infant mental health clinician, who invented it for a baby boy named Oliver, her foster baby that wasn’t thriving. The Ollie Swaddle helps ensure baby feels calm, peaceful and comforted so babies sleep better and longer. Its patented luxuriously soft moisture-wicking material speeds up moisture absorption and diffusion keeping baby comfortable and preventing overheating. The elasticity in the fabric offers baby freedom of movement decreasing the possibility of hip dysplasia while the opening at the bottom makes it easy to change diapers. And the soft, gentle colors of the new Ollie Nature Collection are designed to soothe and calm baby, promoting restful sleep.

Swaddling your baby also assists in reducing spontaneous arousal, maintains the supine position, reduces the risk of SIDS, and improves neuromuscular development in preemies. See Ollie World’s Collection at

2016 List of Holiday Events in Camana Bay, Grand Cayman

If you plan to be in the Camana Bay area during December, you won’t want to miss these wonderful holiday happenings.  I was lucky enough to attend the annual tree lighting festival on December 19th and it was truly magical.  There was singing, dancing, food, crafts, laughter and love.

December 2016 Holiday Events in Camana Bay on Grand Cayman

  • Santa Paws, Saturday 26 November, 10am-12pm, Gardenia Court (this is where you had your picnic!)
  • Visual Arts Society Christmas Craft Market, 10am-5pm, The Paseo
  • Santa Run: A Jolly Jog for a Cause 3K Walk/Run, Sunday 27 November 6am registration; 6:30am start, The Crescent
  • Wreath-Making Workshop at Starfish Village, Saturday 3 December 1-2:30pm
  • Cayman 27’s Parade of Lights, Saturday 3 December 6-8pm, The Crescent
  • Christmas Tea Party with Santa, Saturday 10 December, Starfish Village
  • Regal Cinemas’ Kids Club: The Polar Express, Saturday, 10 December, 10am, Regal Cinemas
  • A Tale of Two Christmases – A Choir & Orchestra Concert, Saturday 10 December, 7-8pm, The Crescent
  • Cookie-Baking Workshop, Tuesday 13 December, 3:30-4:30pm, Starfish Village
  • Culture at the Cinema: The Nutcracker, Sunday 11 December 6pm and Sunday 18 December 3pm, Regal Cinemas
  • Festive Flavour Tour, Wednesday, 14 December, 7pm, West Indies Wine Company start and end
  • Jingle Bell Rock Disco, Friday 16 December, 6-8pm, Starfish Village
  • Starfish Village Christmas camps 19-23 December, 28-30 December 8am-3pm, Starfish Village
  • Santa Story Time, Tuesday 20 December at 11am and 11:45am, Regal Cinemas
  • Miss Jackie’s A Christmas Recital, Thursday 22 December, 6:30pm, The Crescent
  • 9th Annual Mistletoe White Party, Friday 23 December, 5pm-3am, Abacus Patio
  • Regal Cinemas’ Kids Club: A Christmas Carol, Saturday 24 December, 10am, Regal Cinemas
  • Camana Bay Countdown: NYE at Camana Bay, Saturday 31 December 6pm-1am, The Crescent

Full details for these events can be found at and full details on all events at Camana Bay can be found at

More Photos from my Visit to Camana Bay


Top Six Sunny Post-Election Retreats (Guest Post by Kathleen Peddicord)

It’s no secret that variations of the search “How can I move to Canada” spiked during this presidential campaign.

Ever since the Vietnam War, Canada has been a beacon of refuge for castoff Americans. But there is a major drawback to moving north: Canada’s winters often look like the “Star Wars” blizzard scenes on the ice planet Hoth.

The truth is, whether you’re thinking you might want to get out of the States sooner rather than later… or you just like the idea of exploring the opportunities and adventures that other countries have to offer…

You have far, far more enjoyable, more affordable, and better weather options than our frosty neighbor to the north.

So if cold isn’t your thing, we say anyone contemplating changing their latitude after this past election should consider moving south instead of north.

Here, we’re looking at our top six sunny and inviting picks for a post-election bug-out…

Tulum, Mexico

Accessible, affordable, and offering diverse lifestyle options, Mexico is the easiest possible choice for North Americans…

Only an hour from Playa del Carmen, the town of Tulum is positioned nicely along the path of progress moving down the Yucatán Peninsula. Plenty of pristine beaches, coral reefs and nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites will keep the visitors coming for years to come.

This area is easily among the most exotic and beautiful geographical areas on earth. Rocky coastlines intermixed with white-sand beaches and spectacular cenotes (crystal-clear swimming and diving pools), tropical jungles, and remnants of Mayan temples all compete for visitor attention. The expats that live here call it paradise—it’s truly a nature-lover’s playground.

The lifestyle in Tulum is calm and casual. Lying on the beach drinking a couple of cervezas is a typical pastime. For the outdoorsy adventurous types, take advantage of scuba diving, fishing, visiting ruins, backpacking, surfing and yoga.

You could live here on just US$1,300 if you own a home; if you rent, expect your monthly expenses to be closer to US$1,800.

The side streets radiating both southeast and northwest from the highway through town are disappointing… poorly kept with weeds and rubble alongside mostly sub-standard houses and vacant lots. What gives? Therein exist the investment and business opportunities.

Tulum has been popular with the backpack crowd for many years, many of whom have settled-in and started tourist-service business—small inns and B&Bs, cafés, restaurants, and bars. There are still plenty of small-business opportunities at all tourist amenity levels as the town grows and upscales. This will happen over a period of a few years, but there will be serious money made here in tourist services. Plus, the normal services that a booming tourist town needs, such mundane—yet scarce—services as mechanics, dry cleaners, well-stocked hardware stores, and construction materials will be needed, too.

Cayo, Belize

“If the world has any ends, British Honduras [Belize] would certainly be one of them. It is not on the way from anywhere to anywhere else. It has no strategic value. It is all but uninhabited,” wrote Aldous Huxley in “Beyond the Mexique Bay” back in 1934, and it still holds true today.

This little country is strategically unimportant to any country other than the United States, the U.K., and Guatemala… no one cares about Belize… heck, some don’t even know it exists, or, if so, where it lies. This may well be the best place on the planet to fly under the radar.

In everything from politics to stray dogs and religion to bad roads, Belizeans are tolerant. Above and beyond that, Belizeans are fundamentally all about mutual respect and freedom. They have very little interest in meddling in other people’s affairs.

Modern utility infrastructure and information technology are relatively recent arrivals to Belize, so almost everyone could easily revert to an off-line, self-sufficient lifestyle. If people in Belize lost access to power, water, and telecommunications for an extended period of time, they wouldn’t panic… life would go on.

Nowhere in the Western hemisphere will you be able to remove yourself from the long arm of government better than Cayo, Belize.

Far from the coastal locations that Belize is known for, Cayo consists of Belize’s lush, mountainous interior. Water and sunshine are in no short supply, which makes it easy to grow fruit, vegetables, and herbs. With a few solar panels, Cayo is ideal for becoming self-sufficient and living off-grid. Expect to spend around US$1,200 or so a month living in this rustic corner of the country.

Rain forests, reefs, ruins, and rivers… year-round tropical climate… the best place in the world to embrace the self-sufficient life, a great back-up residency option… plus everyone speaks English… This is Belize.

Panama City, Panama

The Hub of the Americas is warm and sunny year-round, the U.S. dollar is the official currency, and it boasts thousands of miles of beaches. Plus, whoever wins the White House won’t be able to tax the first hundred grand of your earned income if you are an official resident of Panama.

The country offers one of the most hassle-free residency programs on the planet, and, for retirees, a pensionado visa is the Gold Standard for retirement visas worldwide and gives you discounts on a long list of items, including movies tickets, restaurants, hotels, health care, utilities, and real estate closing costs. The “Friendly Nations Visa” is both affordable and easy to acquire if you’re from one of the nearly 50 countries designated as “friendly,” including the United States, Canada, and U.K.—and this visa even gives you a work permit, should you want one.

With these benefits in mind, North Americans have been flocking to Panama City and its nearby beaches along the Pacific coast, just west of the capital. The city offers First World infrastructure, international-standard shopping, and easy access to the rest of the world. If beaches are more your speed, just an hour from the big-city hustle and bustle are miles of beaches, condos, and surf shacks.

Panama is not the cheapest place to live south of the border, a comfortable city-living budget might land somewhere between US $2,000 and US $3,000… but it is certainly one of the easiest places to set up shop, and so is one of the most attractive options for those still looking to earn some money.

Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic

A sand-fringed island nation with a low cost of living and bargain-priced property markets that is also the best go-offshore destination (for residency, citizenship, and banking) that no one is talking about…

Welcome to the Caribbean as it once was, priced as it used to be.

The Dominican Republic offers you a rich, relaxing, and truly diverse lifestyle (even on a pensioner’s budget). Plus, recent infrastructural developments mean it has never been safer or easier for foreign retirees and investors to stake their claims.

Las Terrenas may be in the Caribbean, but this beach town has a distinctly European feel. French, German, Polish, Swiss, Italian, Dutch, British—Europeans have been flocking here since the 1970s. Swiss cheese, French wine, and German sausages can be bought in local stores, and pétanque, the French lawn game, is a popular pastime.

Like many of these locations, the cost of living in Las Terrenas is surprisingly low. A couple could live comfortably here for just US$1,500 per month.

The Dominican Republic makes establishing residency easy, and the country embraces—even rewards through incentives—foreign investors. In addition, residents can and do work here.

Medellín, Colombia

Who would have ever guessed that someday it would be Americans wanting to flee their internal politics and head to Colombia?

Colombia is far safer today than it was 20 years ago. Pablo Escobar is dead, the FARC are negotiating for peace and the country has moved on. You’re more likely to be a victim of violent crime in Baltimore, St. Louis, Detroit, or New Orleans than in Medellín, Colombia’s second largest city.

The lifestyle and culture in Medellín are bar none, not only in Colombia but the world. Theater, museums, festivals and fairs, clubs and restaurants, and two professional football teams offer plenty to keep entertained.

Residency is easy to obtain, and real estate is a bargain for buyers with U.S. dollars. The exchange rate between the Colombian peso and U.S. dollar has nearly doubled in the past three years, making Colombia’s growth that much more attractive for investment.

The world’s next live and invest overseas destination… you read it here first… and right now, thanks to the strong dollar, the cost of everything in Colombia is a screaming bargain… Right now, you could live very comfortably in Medellín for less than US$1,000.

Algarve, Portugal

Yes, you can afford to retire to the Old World… in fact, Portugal is our 2016 pick for the world’s best place to retire, period.

Until recently, Portugal had not been a well-known destination and attracted very few foreign visitors. Portugal remained largely undiscovered until the mid-1990s, when Europeans began immigrating en masse. Expats to Portugal enjoy its beautiful landscapes, historical architecture, stunning beaches, and welcoming residency programs. Nowadays, Portugal is home to hundreds of thousands of (mostly European) expats and North Americans are just picking up on the trend.

Enjoy the Algarve’s mild climate, hospitable locals, and beautiful white-sand beaches. The country is rich with artistic and cultural treasures, tasty cuisine, and a unique architectural style. As a bonus, Portugal ranks as the 17th safest country in the world.

English is spoken by most in Portugal and visitors are welcomed. The cost of living in Portugal is among the lowest in Western Europe, on average 30% lower than in any other country of the region. A couple could live well here for about US$1,200 a month.

The Algarve offers the best of the Old World, from medieval towns and fishing villages to open-air markets and local wine, plus some of Europe’s best beaches. The Algarve arguably boasts some of the world’s greatest weather, too, enjoying 3,300 hours of sunshine per year, more than most anywhere else in Europe.

Nowhere in the world could you embrace a better overall retirement or living experience than in Portugal’s Algarve region.

Author Kathleen Peddicord is editor and publisher of Live and Invest Overseas. She has covered the international beat for nearly 30 years and is considered the world’s foremost authority on overseas living and retirement. More info at