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Tropical Tidbits 
by Sue C Travel

New Rock Spa® in Riviera Nayarit 

Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta (see Stay & Play page) recently added a new incarnation of their signature Rock Spa® to the property, and trust me, it’s a very welcome addition indeed! I finally got to try their famous trademark Rhythm and Motion massage there- a unique vibrational treatment that also incorporates music and beats into the bed in a synced soundtrack. It was incredible, in fact, on of the most enjoyable massages I’ve ever had, and I get a LOT of professional spa treatments as part of the perks of my travel writing life, so that a says a lot! 


New Bonaire Autism Tourism Initiative

Caribbean Wind & Sun Vacations of Bonaire is proud to launch Spectrum Adventure Vacations, trip planning for individuals and caregivers dealing with autism. Founder Ann Phelan is a professional counselor with a private practice on Cape Cod. Her specialty is working with young and older adults on the Autism Spectrum, and she understands their social and emotional needs. She also has over 35 years experience in travel and tourism on Bonaire and throughout the Caribbean. A wide range of island activities can be offered with the new program like snorkeling tours, windsurf lessons, mangrove kayaking, horseback riding and “Discover Diving” with her partner VIP Diving. Each package will include family-friendly accommodations and bespoke concierge services tailored to individual needs. Specialized clinical support in the areas of counseling, pragmatics and social communication will also be available. The first groups will be accepted March and July of 2018.


New Secrets in Dominican Republic

During the DATE conference last spring, a brand new Secrets resort was launched amid much fanfare, fireworks and spectacular entertainment. The new adult-only upscale all-inclusive Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa is situated on one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the region, and boasts a glorious array of room and suite options including swim-outs, bungalows, and ocean views with hot tubs on the balconies. 24/7 room service and all you can eat and drink at large selection of a la carte restaurants, bars, buffets, and cafes via their trademark UnlimitedLuxury® service is also included. Stay tuned for a review in the near future. (DATE is the annual Tourism Exchange Conference the largest of its kind in the region.)


Baha Mar Finally Opens! 

The massive complex on Nassau that’s been a ghost town since its originally proposed December 2014 opening is finally ready to roll after many false starts, financial troubles, and a change of ownership. The 4.2 billion dollar resort is now ready to welcome guests to its massive surfside mini-town that includes The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, the Baha Mar Casino, the Royal Blue Golf Club, and The Baha Mar Convention, Art and Entertainment Center. We intend to visit this year to review.


More New in Aruba

Real poutine in Aruba? You bet! Thanks to expat Canadian owners of the new Alfie’s Pub Aruba in downtown Oranjestad -look for the big Canadian flag out front! Now, visitors from the Great White North hungry for a taste of home can enjoy a taste of Quebec without leaving the island! They also have vegan poutine! It’s a fun pub style spot with live music and great regulars where everyone will feel at home, no matter where they’re from!

Also new on One Happy Island are clear bottom kayak tours thanks to Z Underwater Views out in Savaneta. Enjoy the magical marine life below without even getting wet, as they are the only ones on the island who have clear panels in their kayaks! And don’t miss their unique sunset tour starting at Arashi, when they turn on their LED lights, as it gets dark it attracts even more fish en route! Surreal!

Another new on water adventure on Aruba in Full Throttle Tours- a rollicking extreme ride in an inflatable speedboat that takes you to snorkel spots where no one else can go! Not for the faint of heart- this boat really moves and “Captain Bumpy” has earned his name for a reason!

Guests of Renaissance Aruba resorts will enjoy the new private cabana rentals on adult-only Flamingo Beach, and new cabana construction is now well underway on Iguana Beach the family-friendly side of their private island too. But if you are not a guest, you can also visit the island by boat for a special weekly dinner- every Wed. at 7pm they offer a theme inspired menu from Papagayo Restaurant to the public. Space is limited, so reservations a must.


Award-winning travel journalist Sue Campbell is based in Montreal but makes it her business to be on top of everything cool, hot, and new under the sun throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. World Traveler welcomes her as a new regular columnist. Follow her on twitter @suectravel. 

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