February 16, 2019

Lose Yourself in a Long Weekend

These vacations make the most of a condensed travel schedule

By Jennifer Davoren

Vacations Magazine: Lose Yourself in a Long Weekend
Carlos Bolanos/AMResorts
When vacation days are in short supply, we do what we can to maximize our weekends. Whether you're restricted to a 48-hour escape or have the opportunity to bask in a four-day sojourn on a sunny shore, we've highlighted cruises, escorted tours and resort itineraries to help you unwind no matter how little time you have to spare.

For more information and the latest in booking deals, visit the provided websites of travel discounter Vacations To Go.

Relaxation and wellness


Two nights: Zoetry Montego Bay Jamaica accepts Friday-to-Sunday reservations, though you might be tempted to extend your stay once you see the property. Found on the northwestern side of the island, with a private boat dock jutting into the crystalline Caribbean, this all-inclusive resort was founded as an outlet for serenity.

All 49 suites make the most of their balconies or patios, lending a light-filled airiness to your accommodations, which come with butler service. The Zoetry vacation package also covers a complimentary 20-minute spa treatment or fitness consultation, perhaps in a seaside cabana.

Four nights: In 2019, Carnival Cruise Line will visit Bermuda on five four-night itineraries traveling round trip from New York's Manhattan port. Your host is the Carnival Sunrise, a transformation of the Carnival Triumph after a $200 million renovation in March. Perks will include a mini-golf course, a waterpark and sports deck, a theater built for lavish musicals and Guy Fieri-led restaurants dishing up burgers and barbecue.

The Sunrise will make a single stop at King's Wharf, part of Bermuda's historic Royal Naval Dockyard, where excursions seek sun and surf: rum-tasting boat tours, snorkeling around shipwrecks and more. Or, plant yourself on a pink-sand beach on a Carnival outing like "Horseshoe Bay Beach Transfer."

Culture and the arts


Three days: Washington, DC, is an easy flight from most U.S. air hubs. The Smithsonian Institution operates 17 venues in the city, including the National Zoo, and admission to all is free. Exhibitions set for 2019 include a tribute to Chinese empresses at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and an exploration of women's Civil War contributions at the National Portrait Gallery. The new kid on the block, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened in 2016, and displays include artifacts salvaged from a 1794 slave ship.

Hotel accommodations abound, but The Jefferson offers a Michelin-starred eatery less than 2 miles from the National Mall.

Four days: "Mexico City Stopover" is a short but deep dive into a historic capital. Enjoy a trip to Teotihuacan, a pre-Columbian city known for its pyramids, and a tour that takes in sites like the Museo Mural Diego Rivera, honoring its eponymous artist and his famous frescoes.

This escorted tour features two busy days of group exploration sandwiched by two days spent largely at leisure. Intrepid Travel suggests sampling Mexico City's street food scene in your downtime, but this itinerary helpfully includes a taste of pulque, a fermented drink made from agave and enjoyed by cultures as old as the Toltecs.

Family-friendly


Three nights: The Disney Dream, sailing round trip from Port Canaveral, FL, visits the Bahamas on a host of abbreviated itineraries. Three-nighters call on Nassau and Castaway Cay, the private isle of Disney Cruise Line, and provide excursions like sea lion encounters and trips to the Bahamian megaresort, Atlantis, centered on a sprawling waterpark and aquariums for 50,000 marine animals.

On the ship, little ones meet Mickey Mouse as well as princesses, pixies and pirates when not being entertained by a 765-foot waterslide. Meanwhile, parents can find a little relief in The District, an adults-only portion of the Dream with cocktail bars and a dance club.

Four days: "Tortuguero National Park Tour" explores this preserve in eastern Costa Rica, accessible only by boat or plane. It's a nesting spot for green sea turtles and more than 300 species of birds and home to monkeys and manatees, ocelots and otters.

G Adventures has designed its trip for guests ages 2 and up, and activities are geared toward all fitness levels; this largely independent tour mixes guided wildlife watches with leisure time spent back at your jungle lodge. Daily departures are offered, so this four-day trip fits nicely as a long weekend.

Outdoor adventure


Two nights: Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, an easy half-hour drive from Albuquerque and its international airport, is part of New Mexico's Santa Ana Pueblo reservation lands. Amenities from massages to a cultural program for children pay tribute to the region's indigenous traditions.

Guests can book rafting and fly-fishing excursions, hot air balloon tours, rounds of golf and desert horse rides departing the 550-acre property's stables. And families in need of age-targeted activities can split up for an afternoon: For the kids, hosted Camp Hyatt adventures include swimming, sand art and other distractions, while their parents delve into local wine country.

Four (or so) days: We're cheating a bit by suggesting "Costa Rica Beginner Surfing" as a weekend itinerary. This four-day tour kicks off promptly in San Jose at 8 a.m. on Day 1, so you won't have a lot of wiggle room as far as your arrival time in the Costa Rican capital. You might schedule a flight that lands the evening before the trip begins; daily departures of this itinerary are available, so look into Wednesday-to-Sunday windows that fit into your limited schedule.

After that 8 a.m. pickup in San Jose, guests head for coastal Santa Teresa, known for lively beach resorts fronted by curling waves. On Day 2, tour operator Intrepid provides a steadying lesson for beginners or board rentals for more independent surfers, and on Day 3, the travel group is welcomed to Cabo Blanco Absolute Natural Reserve for a monkey-spotting excursion.

The information in this story was accurate at the time it was published in Winter 2019. Please visit Vacations To Go or call (800) 998-6925 for current rates and details.


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