Caribbean & Mexico

WOW on 150,000 American Express Reward Points

What kind of cool travel getaway can you go on with 150,000 Membership Reward points? How about a romantic trip for you and yours truly to a tropical car-free island in Mexico where you go swimming with the world’s largest fish and bring back video of your underwater adventures and top it off with a Mexican feast and tequila distillery tour.

That’s the trip Spot Cool Stuff chose when American Express challenged us to create a WOW factor getaway with 150,000 Membership Rewards points.

With Pay With Points, available through American Express Travel, you aren’t limited to exchanging points for airplane tickets. You can also book hotels, resorts, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. And you aren’t even limited to those. Link your Membership Rewards account to Amazon.com and you can use your points to buy anything that the internet retail metasite sells. Or you can select deals on the shopAmex website. And even those aren’t your only options. How about meals at any restaurant bookable through Open Table? Or dining, music, and theater rewards available specifically for American Express charge cardmembers? Or movie tickets? Or mystery trips?

So many choices. So little time. In the end, our travel editors decided to use Pay With Points available through American Express Travel to journey to Mexico’s Isla Holbox. Over the next week, we’ll publish reviews of our experience. Click below to check those out . . .

space WOW on 150,000 American Express Reward PointsPOST TITLE PUBLICATION DATE
Swimming With Whale Sharks published!
Exploring Isla Holbox: The Other Side of Cancun published!
Stay at La Nubes de Holbox Hotel published!

space WOW on 150,000 American Express Reward Points

. . . or sign up for an American Express charge card (if you don’t already have one) and use Membership Rewards to create your own cool experience. Here’s the inside scoop on how we pulled off ours:

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5 Cool Caribbean Beach Bars

The Caribbean is one of the best regions in the world for beaches, and one of the best for cool bars. So it would make sense that two superlatives would meet up often.

Below are five great Caribbean beach bars. Our list includes one selection that is among Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite bars of any sort in the world . . .

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Mexico’s Unusual Pipe Resort

”Luxurious” and “drainage pipe” are words rarely used in the same sentence

At the Dasparkhotel in Austria you can spend the night in a drainage pipe. But why settle for a drainage pipe hotel when you can stay in an entire drainage pipe resort? That’s what you’ll find at the Tubohotel in Tepoztlan, Mexico.

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The Caribbean’s Cavern Restaurants

Quiz question: What’s the difference between a cave and a cavern?

In common usage the two terms are mostly interchangeable. But, technically, there’s a difference. Pretty much any underground chamber qualifies as a cave. To be a cavern a cave must 1) have formed naturally out of rock; and 2) be able to produce speleothems, which are those icicle-shaped mineral deposits created by dripping water.

There are several bars and restaurants around the world that are in caves. There are only two on the planet that are in caverns. Both of them are in the Caribbean:

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The Best View From a
Hotel Room in the Caribbean

You are planning your honeymoon, or a trip celebrating some other special occasion, and you are looking for a hotel room that is as special as the reason for your travels. You want to find a resort with accommodations that cause you to gasp WOW, a place that will make you say to yourself I’ve never stayed in a room this nice before. I might never stay at a room this nice again.

In the Caribbean, the room you are looking for is at the Jade Mountain Resort.

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The World’s Best Hostels 2011
(Part I)

Hostelbookers is one of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite websites for booking cheap hostels, inexpensive inns and budget hotels. In addition to offering a wide selection of accommodations (most of which aren’t available on sites like Travelocity or Hotels.com), what’s cool about Hostelbookers is their extensive database of customers reviews—they’re a huge help in separating out those hostels that are high value from those that are cheap for a reason.

Hostelbookers reviewers grade properties on eight criteria: atmosphere, location, facilities, fun, staff, cleanliness, safety and value.

Below is the first of our two part review of the budget lodgings that Hostelbookers users rated the best over the last year. Scroll down to read through them all. Or click on the region you are most interested in:

Part I Part II
Africa Europe
Asia Oceania
Canada South America
Caribbean/Mexico United States

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4 Cool Ideas For
Short Term Work Abroad

'Working' on a sailboat plying tropical waters—that's a tough gig to beat.

Long term travel does not have to come at the expense of long term debt. In a nod to Buy Nothing Day (which is the day after the American Thanksgiving which occurs on the 4th Thursday in November), Spot Cool Stuff takes a look at five jobs that can be weaved into travels abroad. Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive list of work abroad possibilities. Instead, it’s a glimpse at four ideas for defraying the cost of a long trip while also getting an immersive cultural experience.

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Where to Find Duff Beer in Real Life

Spot Cool Stuff recently wrote about a real life Simpson’s house. For those craving more come-to-life items from America’s longest running TV animation series we suggest real life Duff Beer. And 4 out of every 5 barflies agree.

In turns out, not only is there Duff Beer in real life but there are Duff Beers! Our rundown of where to find them:

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