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Expert advice from the people who’ve been there.
If you want insider recommendations when visiting a new place, you have to ask the right people! Think of Vacation Coaches—travel agents, concierges and our own Here & Beyond insiders—as those enviable well-traveled friends who always seem to know the latest restaurants and hotspots. After all, these experts have been to the places you dream of going, sometimes multiple times. They’ve stayed at the hotels and know whether the rooms are as spectacular as they look in the photos. Concierges are the ones on the ground giving tips to travelers on a daily basis that only a local could know. Here’s what some of those pros have to say about the places they know and love.
FAVORITE RESTAURANT AND DESTINATION TO “EAT LIKE THE LOCALS”?
“Side Street Inn on Kapahulu Avenue in Oahu. Try the Ahi Poke, Chicken Katsu, Kahlua Pig and Mac Salad in a relaxed environment.” —Austin Bryant, Destination Manager at United Vacations
“La Sirena Restaurant and Lounge in Puerto Morelos. They have excellent fresh seafood and cocktails, and there is often live music that adds to the laid-back vibe.” —Angélica Arroyo Ramírez, Concierge at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort for 13 years; Cancún, Mexico
“Scotchies in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. They have the best jerk chicken and pork cooked open air in casual dining huts. The smell will make your mouth water.” —Sarah Kline, travel professional for 21 years; Davidsonville, MD
TRAVELERS SHOULD NOT LEAVE MY FAVORITE DESTINATION OF _______________ WITHOUT EXPERIENCING _______________.
“Travelers should not leave Maui without experiencing a sunset or sunrise above the clouds at the Haleakala volcano crater.” —Sarah Kline
“Cozumel. Certified divers can explore the second-largest reefs in the world. Less experienced guests can learn from the expert dive instructors who provide lessons in the dive pool or the shore. Plus, guests can use their [Palace] resort credit for this aquatic adventure.” —Angélica Arroyo Ramírez
“St. Lucia. The Friday Night Street Party in Rodney Bay, [where you can] enjoy awesome local cuisine, crafts and much more. It’s a great mix of locals and tourists with everyone getting in on the fun.” —Scott Jones, travel professional for 7 years; Indianapolis, IN
MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION AND ANSWER?
“I get many questions about how they are getting from the airport to the resort and how they are going to find the driver. Once we point out the detailed information listed on the E-travel documents they are at ease.” —Sarah Kline
MOST UNDERRATED ATTRACTION?
“The Luminous Lagoon Night Cruise in Jamaica. There are only four places in the world that have this phenomenon. It is even safe to swim in the lagoon with tiny, harmless microscopic organisms that give the water its iridescent blue-green look.” —Sarah Kline
“Ahalanui Park on Hawaii Island. Locals often outnumber tourists, and the main attraction is a spring-fed volcanic pool that hovers around 90 degrees.” —Austin Bryant
“Turtle Conservation Camps. Palace Resorts safeguards the native leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles through the Palace Turtle Conservation Camps, in which guests can ensure the safety of the baby turtles by releasing them back into the ocean after hatching.” —Angélica Arroyo Ramírez
A TRULY AUTHENTIC GIFT FOR VISITORS TO BRING HOME?
“I have visited the spice island of Grenada twice this year and brought back so many amazing spices as gifts. The nutmeg with a small spice grinder is my favorite.” —Sarah Kline
“Traditional Mexican chocolate. Renowned for its rich aroma and delicious taste, Mexican chocolate is an authentic token that represents tradition and culture from the Mayalands of Mexico, the birthplace of real chocolate.” —Angélica Arroyo Ramírez