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Drinking a Pina Colada where the cocktail was created lands on a travel bucket list

Thu. October 17, 2019 12:00 AM
by Ross Forman

I'm pretty content lounging by a pool while on vacation, hopefully with a Pina Colada within arm's reach. Venturing to a beach is perfect, too, and I always like the refreshing jump in the water to cool off.

Hearing about Bucket List Traveling, I certainly was intrigued.

"Bucket List Traveling is about that ultimate trip or experience, one that seems almost out of reach ... but not quite," said Kara Rosner, a vice-president at Miami-based Diamond Public Relations. "Bucket List Traveling is something that might require effort, whether that means effort in planning for, saving (money) for, or more. But Bucket List Traveling is definitely possible. It's big, but do-able.

"I think (vacationing) used to be more about an iconic or well-known landmark, but it's become more personalized and experiential in nature, and more specific. It's 'I want to go here and do this,' not just 'I want to see this.'"

Bucket List Travel truly is a person's preferences and what gets him or her excited.

Hey, it can be simple, too. Take, for instance, the aforementioned Pina Colada, or anything food-related. "Culinary travel is huge," Rosner noted. The Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico is a perfect spot for the perfect Pina Colada. So I'll offer "Try a Drink Where it Originated" as one of the Bucket List Travel Top 10.

"Enjoying something iconic in the place it was conceived has a cool-factor," Rosner said. "Who wouldn't want to have a Pina Colada on vacation, let alone have one at the place it was born," Rosner said.

The Caribe Hilton does a great job telling its story with a whole history wall dedicated to it, and of course the original recipe is still being used.

"I love that everyone's Travel Bucket List can be so (different)," Rosner said. "What sounds boring to one person is a dream trip for another. It's so unique to each person. And the inspiration behind a bucket list experience also is really interesting as it can come from so many different place – from a great article, a friend's story about a trip, or a beautiful picture can evoke that, 'I want to do that' feeling and your bucket list grows.

"Also, for me, a travel bucket list experience is about the people involved, (perhaps) taking kids (or friends) to do something that I know they'll find incredible. On its own it might not be a bucket list for me, but you factor other people in to it, and it also changes the point of view."

Let's look at a top 10 list of Bucket List Travel opportunities, in no particular order:

Snorkel Over a Shipwreck

Destination: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino

Jump into the Caribbean Sea, with its crystal-clear turquoise water – there's no better place to make a splash and observer colorful tropical fish. Just off the coast of Aruba lies the Antilla shipwreck from World War II, the largest shipwreck dive in the Caribbean. The wreck spans about 400 feet in length, covered by various corals and colorful sponges, with plenty of parts still intact and visible from the water's surface. Snorkeling over this beautiful sight is easy when staying at the Aruba Marriott Resort, as I have. At this 414-room resort, guests can book the half-day snorkel excursion with De Palm Tours, and De Palm Tours even coordinates pick-up and drop-off transportation to and from the hotel at no added cost. Snorkel adventure includes two additional snorkel stops, open bar, lunch, snacks and snorkel equipment. For more information: www.arubamarriott.com.

Drive a NASCAR Race Car

Destination: Daytona Beach, Fla., at The DAYTONA

Located directly across from the famed Daytona International Speedway, The DAYTONA is the best place to experience a classic all-American vacation, with the ultimate racing adventure. You can book the NASCAR Rookie Experience package, which includes overnight accommodation, a NASCAR driving tutorial, and a bottle of Champagne afterwards back on property. The DAYTONA features a design inspired by the area's iconic racing history, such as vintage show cars on display year-round, a full-service restaurant and a bar called The Blue Flame that offers a nod to the Prohibition era with signature Moonshine cocktails. For more information: www.thedaytona.com.

Learn to Surf

Destination: Riviera Nayarit, México, at the W Punta de Mita

Surfing ... it sounds simple, but getting up on the board, and staying up on the board can be a challenge. So why not head to one of the best surf breaks in Mexico to tackle that obstacle. The W Punta de Mita pays homage to the area's surf culture with decor touches like beds with headboards made of surfboards and amenities such as an on-site surfing program. Guests who want to practice their paddle can visit the resort's beachside WAVE Surf Shop, which offers private and group surf lessons, complete with souvenir GoPro photos. The lessons are taught by locals, most of whom have been surfing the area since childhood. For more information: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pvrwh-w-punta-de-mita

Visit Machu Picchu

Destination: Sacred Valley, Peru, at the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco

Without question, Cusco, Peru is a top destination for travelers looking for a little more than an average vacation. It is filled with culture and history, anchored around the five-star JW Marriott El Convento Cusco. Located at the ideal starting point for those making their way to Machu Picchu, the hotel offers everything travelers need to prepare for the experience of a lifetime- including coca tea to prevent altitude sickness and oxygen-regulated rooms to help guests get acclimated. Once guests are ready to embark on their bucket list Machu Picchu adventure, the hotel offers roundtrip transportation to the train that travels to the Sacred Valley. In addition, the hotel also offers culinary experiences like mixology lessons, cooking classes and guided trips to the local market, as well as photo ops with Panchita, the resident alpaca who visits the courtyard daily. For more information: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/cuzmc-jw-marriott-el-convento-cusco

Hike The Mayan Ruins of Tikal

Destination: Petén, Guatemala, at Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel

This adventure starts at Las Lagunas Boutique Hotel, located near the Mayan ruins of Tikal, Yaxhá and Uaxactún. The 19-bungalow suite property is set on the shore of the Quexil Lagoon in Guatemala's Jungle of Petén and spread across 200 acres of lush, private reserve, and offers the ideal home-base for exploring the region. In addition to excursions to the ruins available daily, complete with friendly guides, snacks and beverages and an optional lunch stop, the hotel also offers plenty of activities for outdoors enthusiasts, including trekking, bird-watching trails, kayaking, 4X4 ATV tours through the jungle and visits to Monkey Island, where visitors can get up-close and personal with friendly spider monkeys. And, Las Lagunas also is home to a museum that holds some of the most exquisite Mayan pieces in the world. For more information: http://gopride.com/Zexm/

Show Everything

Destination: Negril, Jamaica, at Hedonism II

Hedonism II is, perhaps, the world's most iconic clothing-optional resort. Reality is, it's an unsuspecting, life-changing getaway. Famous for its strict judgement-free zone, and Romping Shop playroom, this adult-only, all-inclusive beachfront property serves as a haven for those of all shapes, sizes and sexualities looking to escape society's standards and create their own uninhibited experience. The buffet-style meals are exceptional and the fun on-property is limitless. Someone is bound to have whips and chains. Hedonism II has nightly, live, sexy entertainment, themed parties and non-stop dancing. Cocktails feature premium, top-shelf alcohol which pairs perfectly with the property's aphrodisiac menu, traditional Jamaican patties, and unlimited jerk chicken platters. Dress up and indulge, yet others will prefer not to dress at all and then indulge. For more information: www.hedonism.com

Day of the Dead

Destination: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

Stop by Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa to experience Dia de los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta-style. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1, honoring the dead with festivals and lively celebrations. At Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, you can join in the vibrant festivities and experience long-held traditions. Unite with the locals to connect the present with the past to remember loved ones. You also can dance on the streets with your face painted as a skeleton, visit graveyards, and appreciate the decorated headstones to see the city come alive ... ironically, to celebrate the dead. While at the hotel, be sure to enjoy a tequila tasting, led by the resort's on-site tequila sommelier. For more information: www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pvrmx-marriott-puerto-vallarta-resort-and-spa

See the Northern Lights

Destination: Iceland, at Hotel Rangá

To see one of the most breathtaking sights nature creates, head to Hotel Rangá, Southern Iceland's idyllic countryside retreat ideal for visitors looking to adventure through the country's myriad of natural wonders – from its highlands and hot springs to its black sand beaches and volcanoes. An advanced, on-site observatory with a roll-off roof and unobstructed darkness easily makes Hotel Rangá one of the best places to stay and see such a rare global phenomenon: the Aurora Borealis. There are two high-quality astronomical telescopes — for optimal gazing at the sun, stars or planets — and guests can even sign up for Northern Lights wake-up calls to ensure they catch every color. Be sure to opt for continent-themed suites, featuring décor from Africa to Antarctica. Adventurous eaters also can dine at the acclaimed Restaurant Rangá to cross smoked puffin and reindeer carpaccio off a food bucket list. For more information: www.hotelranga.is

Pina Colada

Destination: Puerto Rico, at the Caribe Hilton

The Caribe Hilton in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a historic resort that sits on 17-acres of secluded beachfront property and is known to have created one of the most popular tropical cocktails for vacationers worldwide. In 1954, bartender Ramón "Monchito" Marrero created a special cocktail that mixed rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice – and the Piña Colada was born! He personally served this frozen cocktail for 35 years while he worked as a bartender at the hotel. In 1978, the Piña Colada was declared the official drink of Puerto Rico! For more information: www.caribehilton.com

Underwater Photography

Destination: Florida, at the W Fort Lauderdale

W Fort Lauderdale's WET Deck East rooftop pool has made its mark as one of the hottest places to mix and mingle in Florida. And this W is the perfect place to pose – underwater. WET boasts transparent pool walls, perfectly lending itself to your next Instagram masterpiece. For more information: www.wfortlauderdale.com

Related: GoPride.com Travel Writer Ross Forman visits South Beach for a bit more Summer. Read his story.

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