Spotlight on The Waters are Warm – It’s Time to Dip Your Toes In!

As of June 20th, summer has officially arrived, and what better time to get back out there! Warm sun rays, longer days, beach-side relaxation, plus a cocktail (or two) – could there be a more perfect post-quarantine celebration? 

Los Cabos Awaits Your Return

Los Cabos Awaits Your Return
Destination Spotlight

Located on the southernmost tip of Baja California, Mexico, and considered one of the world´s most inspiring destinations, Los Cabos is a hot spot year round. From the hot and wild summer to the fresh and vibrant winter, there isn’t a season when this unique destination isn’t amazing.

It almost seems unfair that one destination conformed by two towns (Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo) boasts so many incredible attractions: stunning blue flag beaches, perfect weather, remarkable biodiversity, delicious gastronomy, sophisticated accommodations, world-class night clubs, and spectacular tours along the marvelous peninsula.

Los Cabos just announced a Five-Phase approach to reopening beginning June 1st. The way we travel might have changed, but Los Cabos’ unique experiences remain the same. The goal of the phased reopening is to systematically allow companies to resume activities while protecting the health and safety of the community and travelers, and limiting the resurgence of new COVID-19 cases.

The tourism board also confirmed that 62 percent of the hotel inventory will resume operations while international airlines like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest, and Delta have already announced their return to the destination. If you haven’t been here before, or even if you have and are dreaming about returning, here are some of the many reasons you’ll fall in love with this stretch of paradise. Los Cabos awaits your return.

Blue Flag Beaches

There are 19 beaches worthy of this distinction – no wonder Los Cabos ranks as the top destination in Mexico for visitors! When you see a Blue Flag flying, you know a beach or marina is clean and accessible, has great water quality, meets high safety standards, and is working hard to protect local shorelines and ecosystems. Along the rocky cliffs lie a great deal of bays, luxurious resorts, and soft sandy beaches. The water tonalities cover all shades of blue, from navy to turquoise, and green. When you drive along the corridor from San Jose del Cabo to Cabo San Lucas, the color palette is something else!

The Arch of Cabo San Lucas

The distinctive landmark of Cabo San Lucas is the rugged taffy-colored rock formation that erupts from the sea at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez. Also known as Land's End, The Arch is a popular tourist attraction and the central focus of countless vacation photos. A visit to Land's End is undoubtedly one of the most popular things to do in Cabo San Lucas. Getting there is easy, and you can view the iconic golden arch from your boat. Some might call it the “land´s end,” but for us, it’s just the beginning of your next unforgettable adventure.

Whale Watching Tours

Whale season in Los Cabos occurs from December to April. Getting close to their habitat is an unparalleled experience you’ll talk about for years to come. Imagine being on the front row admiring their colossal size and extraordinary longevity. Environmental protection, non-invasive tour protocols, as well as support of both local and worldwide conservation are of great concern for every tour operator in the Cabo San Lucas bay. Please follow the instructions of your guide and enjoy this unrivaled spectacle. 

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

Speaking of amazing sea life, the Sea of Cortez in Los Cabos has a huge variety of sea flora including one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. Don´t forget to partake in scuba diving and snorkeling lessons, but make sure to keep conservational rules in mind so we can preserve the reservoir for generations to come. Operators are eager to help you find the best possible tour, so go ahead and plan your trip now.

San Jose del Cabo

San Jose del Cabo´s downtown main plaza and its distinctive architecture has become an Art District where you can find art crafts from all over the world, but mainly Mexican art and local creations. It´s also a hot spot for shopping and dining. This adorable town has an interesting variety of bohemian and artistic restaurants, cafes and galleries. From November to June, it hosts the Art Walk, an event that takes you on a stunning stroll around the picturesque streets and charming stores of San Jose del Cabo. Its world-class marina, stunning gold-sand beaches, famous surf spots, and wildlife make this town a must see on your next vacation.

Getting Back Out There with Delta Vacations

Whether exploring national parks or soaking in the summer sun on a gorgeous beach, the benefits of booking with Delta Vacations are endless. We caught up with Tammy Heitsman, National Account Manager at Delta Vacations, to learn more about what Delta Vacations offers and what steps they’re taking to make travelers feel safe during this time.

Q: What are the benefits of booking with Delta Vacations?

There are so many benefits to booking with Delta Vacations, but the one that stands out is that we’re the official vacation provider of Delta Air Lines. SkyMiles® members will receive up to 7,500 bonus SkyMiles on top of the earned miles flown as well as full medallion-qualifying benefits with every vacation package. Travelers can fly on Delta Air Lines as well as Delta’s air partners including Air France, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Aeromexico, Korean Air, and more.

Delta Vacations offers vacation packages to over 300 destinations worldwide with stays at more than 5,000 hotels and resorts, boutique properties, condominiums, vacation homes, and serviced apartments to accommodate any budget. Rental cars, transfers, and hundreds of exciting activities, tours and excursions can also be added to vacation packages.

Q: What type of vacation packages does Delta Vacations offer?

Delta Vacations offers air/land, land only, and fly/drive vacation packages. Special Getaway packages are also available including:

  • Luxury Vacations
  • Destination Weddings
  • Honeymoons
  • All-Inclusive Vacations
  • Flexible Getaways (10+ travelers)
  • Traditional Groups (20+ travelers)
  • Walt Disney World® Resort Vacations
  • Ski Vacations
  • Dive Vacations

Q: Domestic travel is becoming quite popular this year. Does Delta Vacations offer vacations throughout North America?

Yes! Delta Vacations is well prepared to welcome you to hundreds of destinations, properties and activities throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. We offer 141 unique destinations across 45 states in the U.S., 17 across seven provinces in Canada, 18 throughout Mexico, and 32 throughout the Caribbean.

In the U.S., we’re adding properties in neighboring towns of several national parks including:

  • Kalispell, MT – Glacier National Park
  • Bozeman, MT & Cody, WY – Yellowstone/Grand Teton National Park
  • Rapid City, SD – Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore
  • Denver, CO – Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Palm Springs, CA – Joshua Tree National Park
  • Tucson, AZ – Saguaro National Park
  • Knoxville, TN – Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Big Island, HI – Volcanos National Park
  • Phoenix, Scottsdale and Sedona, AZ – Grand Canyon

Q: What are some of the most popular beach destinations offered by Delta Vacations?

Delta Vacations’ most popular beach destinations include beaches throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and the U.S. Some of our top destinations are:

  • Cancun/Riviera Maya, Mexico
  • Montego Bay, Jamaica
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  • Maui, Hawaii
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Aruba
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Liberia, Costa Rica
  • Turks and Caicos

Q: Does Delta Air Lines have a new standard of clean so travelers feel comfortable and safe while flying?

Delta is transforming expectations for cleanliness across airports and on aircraft to deliver a new standard of clean for customers: Delta Care Standard.

Aircraft will be fogged before every flight in Delta’s network. The disinfectant used in fogging is immediately safe to breathe and is similar to what hospitals and restaurants use to sanitize. Before every flight, aircraft will be cleaned using the same extensive checklist used during overnight cleanings. This industry-leading work disinfects high-touch areas customers care most about being clean, like tray tables, entertainment screens, seat backs, arm rests, and seat-back pockets. Spot checks will take place before each flight by a Customer Service Agent and a Flight Leader to ensure the aircraft is up to the Delta Clean standard. They can resolve any issues immediately and can request a cleaning crew to return to the aircraft for additional cleaning. Non-essential items, including Sky magazine, will be removed from seat-back pockets until further notice. Minimized touchpoints between customers and employees have been implemented, including temporarily moving to only essential food and beverage service onboard all U.S. domestic and short-haul international flights, and at our Sky Clubs. Customers will also be offered hand sanitizer at various touchpoints, and surfaces will be disinfected across the airport experience. 

Through September 30, Delta will ensure more space for customers on all aircraft by capping seating at 50% in First Class; 60% in Main Cabin, Delta Comfort+, and Delta Premium Select; and 75% in Delta One to reduce the total number of customers on board. Through September 30, all middle seats will be unavailable / not assignable when selecting seats via the Fly Delta app or online. We’ll also continue to block the selection of some aisle seats in aircraft with 2x2 seating configurations.

Q: What travel protection is offered to travelers when booking a Delta Vacations package?

It’s important to protect yourself and your vacation investments. Delta Vacations offers two Travel Protection Plans to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances.

Our Travel Protection Plans allow Pre-Departure cancelation for any reason. Post-Departure Coverage provides Medical and Emergency assistance, trip interruption, trip delay, baggage delay and loss or damage to baggage or personal effects. Your Ensemble Travel Advisor can provide complete details of each plan.

10 Villas Reopening in Mexico and the Caribbean

As countries start their slow reopenings, our wanderlust and desire to venture beyond our immediate neighborhoods will grow, too. Yet, we still must be hyper-conscious of the current situation. With enhanced safety and health measures, thoroughly trained cleaning staff, distanced group arrivals, sanitization packages and more, renting a villa is an ideal option to enjoy an intimate vacation with your family, safely away from the crowds. Here are 10 luxurious villas in Mexico and the Caribbean where you’ll enjoy not only the sun and the beach, but also relaxation and peace of mind.

Immersive Travel in the Era of Social Distancing

Immersive Travel in the Era of Social Distancing
Travel Style

Needless to say, times have changed. It’s inevitable that travel will eventually rebound, and we’ll pack our bags once again, but there’s a “new normal” we’ll have to abide by when the time comes.

After months of quarantine, we’re anxiously awaiting the moment we can get back out there, and more than anything, we’re yearning for immersive experiences that allow us to truly appreciate the destinations we’ve missed. But is it possible?

In the era of social distancing, here are five tips to consider when planning immersive travel:

Take a road trip.

Taking a road trip allows you to explore areas you typically wouldn't. While driving, you’ll immerse yourself into remote places and smaller towns you’d normally bypass when traveling by plane. Road trips are also great for social distancing given there are less people around than in those big city destinations. Trust me, I miss cities like New York City and London, too, but road-tripping cross country, or even within your own state, is the perfect option for immersive travel while remaining much further than six feet apart.

Things to consider:

  • The shorter the road trip, the better because less stops mean less exposure (whether considering bathroom breaks, hotel stays, or anything in between).
  • Limit the number of people in your car (if possible). The less people traveling, the more space you’ll have, and you’ll be less likely to come into contact with germs.

Explore the outdoors.

Piggybacking on #1, exploring the outdoors comes naturally on a road trip. But, if a long road trip isn't ideal, consider flying to a smaller destination with day-long road trip opportunities. And, don’t worry, if being in the “middle of nowhere” isn’t exactly your style, many smaller cities offer amazing outdoorsy options just minutes away from the city’s center, allowing you to immerse yourself into the destination by exploring all that nature has to offer … and staying away from crowds.

Try out the local food.

It may sound counter intuitive to social distancing, but contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sacrifice this part of your experience — you just have to get creative.

Food is the heart and soul of nearly every place and every culture, and to truly immerse yourself in any destination, it’s imperative to satisfy your taste buds. Plan ahead and do your research to find out which local restaurants are offering take out or curbside pickup options. Then, pack a picnic tablecloth, lay down the back seats in your car, and enjoy a picnic from the parking lot. It may not be ideal, but it’ll create fun memories nonetheless!

Things to consider:

  • Support local businesses! Choosing to eat at local joints not only supports family-owned-and-operated businesses, but it allows you to experience the destination from a local’s perspective.
  • If you aren’t on a road trip, you can also plan a picnic in your hotel room. For al fresco dining, utilize your balcony or the hotel’s outdoor patio area.

Choose a destination you’re comfortable with.

Who would’ve thought that the most immersive experiences may actually come by traveling to a destination you’ve already visited? You’ve done the touristy things, you’ve seen the popular sites, and with social distancing in place, now is the perfect time to experience your favorite places on a more local scale. Go for walks without a specific end point in mind, meander into random hole-in-the-wall shops, and order from restaurants that are off the beaten path. Doing so will not only allow you to stay away from the crowds, it’ll help you get to know the destination on a more intimate level. Not to mention, you’re already familiar with the area, so there will be less stress. Navigating all the new rules and regulations is stressful enough, why not return to a place you already know you love?

Consider traveling solo.

Traveling solo isn’t for everyone, but if you’re not completely opposed, consider giving it a try. For starters, it’s the perfect solution for socially distanced travel, but it’s also one of the easiest ways to immerse yourself into a destination. How? Because you naturally have to pay more attention to your surroundings. And by doing so, you begin to notice the little things, you look up from your phone, you actually speak to people, and you step outside your comfort zone.

Things to consider:

  • If completing a full vacation alone seems daunting, consider doing a day trip alone instead. A friend and I once traveled to London together, and I did a solo day trip to Bath on the same day she did a solo day trip to Paris. Although we loved having a friend to return to, we both agreed it was our favorite part of the trip.

International culinary delights

Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.

How to Prepare a Dominican Ceviche

Ceviche is a seafood dish typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spices. It’s super easy to make at home, just follow along with Junior, Chef at Indigo Beach Lounge Restaurant in Club Med Punta Cana!





Ingredients

  • White Fish (in this recipe he’s using Mahi Mahi)
  • Limes
  • Coriander or Cilantro
  • Red bell peppers
  • Red onions
  • Plantain chips (optional)
  • Passion fruit (optional)
  • Red pepper sauce (optional)

Preparation

  1. Cut fish into thin slices
  2. Marinate fish in lime juice
  3. Top with chopped red bell peppers, thinly sliced red onions and coriander/cilantro
  4. Optional: Add plantain chips for a little crunch and passion fruit for a Dominican touch, and roasted bell pepper sauce mixed with some vinegar to complete the dish