Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Perfect Vacation for Everyone to Enjoy!

Playa Conchal and Los Suenos, Costa Rica submitted by Cristina Buaas

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Filled with amazing wildlife, beaches, lush forests, and activities, Costa Rica is a fun-filled vacation spot with something for everyone to enjoy!  From dining on delicious local cuisine to ziplining across the forests to relaxing on the beach, our family truly enjoyed this vacation. We stayed first at the Westin Playa Conchal, an amazing all-inclusive resort an hour away from the Liberia airport then drove south about 4 hours to Los Suenos, where visitors can enjoy surfing in nearby Jaco as well as world class sport fishing departing right from the Los Suenos marina, the sloths and other wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park only an hour away, zip lining nearby and golf and the beach within the resort. Another reason that Costa Rica is on the top of our lists for prime vacation spots? Safety! Costa Rica is one of the safest countries in Central America with its Pura Vida lifestyle, friendly inhabitants, and easy accessibility (there are direct flights from Houston, Boston, and other big cities around the USA!). From the couple that wants a romantic, relaxing getaway, to the adventurous family that loves to be active and on the move, Costa Rica has something for everyone. Pura Vida!

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Have a Long Weekend?

Do you need an easy but fun and exciting domestic vacation? The travel specialists at CSB Travel can help you plan your perfect domestic vacation for a long weekend or the summer! Here are a couple of our suggestions.

Bal Harbour/South Beach in Miami, Florida submitted by Cristina Buaas – a fabulous domestic beach getaway! Enjoy beautiful beaches and delicious food from restaurants such as Carpaccio and Makoto in the Bal Harbour Mall right across the street from the sophisticated and elegant St. Regis Bal Harbour. Bike or walk down the beach while basking in the sun and enjoying the beautiful water or just relax in beach chairs and enjoy your down time as the beach butlers serve your lunch, like this delicious veggie burger!  Quiet Bal Harbour is only 15 minutes from the excitement of Miami and South Beach, so you can enjoy those destinations during this vacation as well!  If you prefer to stay in the heart of the South Beach action consider The Ritz Carlton South Beach or the brand new Metropolitan by COMO.  The Canyon Ranch Hotel and Spa in north Miami Beach is the perfect combination of a five star hotel coupled with all of the fitness and health classes and full service spa offerings you would expect from Canyon Ranch. When reserved through CSB travel, our clients receive complimentary amenities at all of the properties mentioned above!

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Nashville, TN submitted by Cristina Buaas   What better way to enjoy Music City than with a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, where you can take a backstage tour and even stand on the “sacred” circle of wood moved from the Ryman Auditorium that the performers, such as Blake Shelton, Dolly Parton, and more stand on when they sing!  While there, make sure to embrace your country side and feast on some delicious fried chicken, biscuits, and homemade jam from the famous Loveless Café. If you’re looking for a more sophisticated meal, then you are in the right place as well! With multiple famous chefs opening restaurants throughout this vibrant city, your palette will thank you after visits to restaurants like Husk, Silly Goose, and dessert stops at Jeni’s Ice Cream or Hot and Cold. At night, be sure to take a walk down Broadway to take in the sights and sounds of the live musicians playing in the neon-lit bars dotting the street, or stop in at Wild Horse Saloon with a family to learn how to Line Dance!

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Unexpected Orlando

Orlando 2014 Submitted by Susan Lindstrom

Whenever I hear the destination Orlando, I always think of Mickey Mouse.  I am a true Disney fan and visit the parks quite often, but this past week I had a great opportunity to see some unexpected sites and adventures in Orlando.  Of course I did visit Disney, but I also had a wonderful time at other amazing locations.  Perhaps the next time you visit Orlando you might want to check out these places too!

The first day, I got to experience iFly Orlando.  This is something I have never done before.  Ifly is a simulator that allows you to sky dive indoors.  It was truly amazing and an unforgettable activity!!


Day 2: Universal.  We toured the Loews Portofino Resort (which reminds me of Venice, Italy), Hard Rock Hotel and the newest Resort: Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach.  What a day!!  I was thoroughly impressed with Lowes Portofino.  The property was beautiful and the rooms were very spacious.  They even have little scooters on the property to make it look authentic.  There is also a spa on the property if you want to relax.  The Cabana Bay is a great resort for families of 5 or 6.  All the rooms are suites and the decor is vintage 70s.

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Day 3: we toured Nickelodeon Suites, which is definitely a resort for families with younger children.  We had a character breakfast with Spongebob and all his friends.  After the tour, we headed to SeaWorld where we saw the new Antarctica exhibit with penguins, Shamu, and polar bears. Additionally, The Manta, a roller coaster where you lie on your stomach the whole time, is a thrilling ride that you will not want to miss! That evening we enjoyed Cirque Du Soliel which is a must see at Downtown Disney.

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Day 4: Today, we journeyed to Gatorland, which first opened in 1949.  We got to see lots of gators, including some wrestling, as well as experience the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line Adventure. This is a thrilling zip line with 5 different platforms that lets you fly over some of the gators!!

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Day 5: We finally made our way to Disney! We ate breakfast at Cape May and then toured the Beach Club, which is my absolute favorite Disney property. After that, we toured Port Orleans Riverside, which is a great value and has wonderful “Royal rooms” that are decorated perfectly for little princesses.  Next on our list was the newest Disney property: Art of Animation. This imaginative resort makes you feel like you are actually standing in Radiator Springs, from Cars, journeying through the oceans with Nemo and friends, and includes other themes from various Disney films as well. After the tour, we were able to go to the parks, so I headed to Epcot to see the Flower and Garden Festival. This was a special treat to see all the Disney Topiaries. We then hopped over to Magic Kingdom to see the new Festival Fantasy Parade, which features colorful floats featuring many beloved characters from old as well as newer Disney movies such as Tangled and Brave.

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The last day we experienced parasailing with Sammy Duvall Watersports.  What a treat!!  If you have never parasailed, this is the place to do it.  It is located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where they have a private section of the lake.  Our guides were very professional and took us up 400 feet where you could see all of Disney property.  I wish I had had my camera up there to get some great aerial shots.

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As you can see there are lots of unexpected adventures to experience in Orlando.  If you are a Disney or a Universal junkie and want to add some extra fun to your next trip, you might want to consider one of these unexpected adventures. Contact Susan Lindstrom or another CSB Travel advisor to start planning your next unexpected Orlando vacation!

Words and Pictures by Susan Lindstrom



Hello fellow travel-lovers! Welcome to CSB Travel’s Blog, where your Inspired Travel Vacation planners will be posting photos from and writing about various destinations, holding surveys, giving travel tips, suggesting fantastic destinations for different kinds of trips, as well as inviting guest bloggers (our clients) to rave about their experiences with CSB Travel. Enjoy!

Cristina Buaas, President and Travel Advisor