Archives for March 2016

Rum The World – An Around the World Rum Tour!

Rum-The-World-
We were recently contacted by Laura Inguenaud, a young lady from Paris who had grown up learning to appreciate rum and decided to leave Paris to go on a 9 month around-the-world trip to explore the world of rum. We were quite intrigued byher story and asked if she’d like to write a short guest post on some of the things she experienced. Enjoy a small excerpt here.

Rum The World – An Around the World Rum Tour!

Paris 18th of December 2014,
I decided to put away my rollers, and start with more serious means of transportation (plane, boat and bus).
I am leaving Paris for 9 months to seek the worlds best RUMS, from the Caribbean to Mauritius through Central America and Thailand…
As JJ GOLDMAN would have said: “Long is the road” and my road will start on the 15th of January 2015

TARGETING: 40,000 miles – 15 countries – 40 Rum distilleries – 9 months

Ever think about dumping your job, packing your luggage, jumping in a plane to travel all around the world to escape your city routine life?

Back in January 2015, it is exactly what I did, with a guideline: The RUM.

So during 9 months, I traveled to visit rum distilleries, meet rum producers all over the world and source the real information about rum making and rum stories.

Give me 1 minute of your time and I’ll bring you a taste of my Rum The World Tour through 13 pictures!

Laura-(500)-OLaura Inguenaud 

Caribbean Sea
I started my trip with 3 months spent in the Caribbean Islands, to experience the English and French rum…

My very first stop in Trinidad & Tobago, and first distillery visited with John George, Master distillers in the Famous Angostura distillery… 120 steps higher, we were at the top of the column stills and had a great view over Port of Spain.

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This picture… oh what a day! This is the old column still from HSE, a great stop in Martinique and some fabulous rums with some interesting finishes!

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Next – arrived in the tiny island of Dominica between Guadeloupe and Martinique! After hitch hiking and hours of walking  – we got to it, the BOILING lake, 2nd largest in the world!

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Onward to Cuba. Have you heard about the two Joel’s from Cuba – in Cienfuegos? There they make the BEST mojitos, and trust me I know what is good in terms of a a Mojito (secret recipe- no agua!!!) They taught me how to make them – you need time, love and good rum! 

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 Central America
After the Caribbean, it was time to travel to Central America. After few days in Mexico (little bit more than expected to recover from terrible tacos…), I arrived in Belize, this small country producing the Belizean rum, but also with its beautiful islands, and a hinterland full of scary surprises (bat cave, snakes, jungle…) leading to Guatemala.

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This is the bottle of my trip, a 30 Solera from Panama (Abuelo) that I traveled along with for a while between Panama and Colombia, 4 days in a speed boat, doing island hopping with a crazy team of mates!

South America
Colombia, here I am! A beautiful country with beautiful people and souls. I even drove a TUC TUC in Guatape (close to Medellin). Have a stop there – it is SO worth it!

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Pacific Islands

On to Hawaii, this paradisiac archipelago of islands, probably the most beautiful and exotic place on earth and I was so pleased to see it! Hawaii, keep an eye on its rum, new distilleries are working hard, the sugar cane is great and the potential is enormous!

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Time for a flight to the next islands of my Pacific trip, the Fiji islands. Two crazy weeks of adventure. Nothing planned, but beautiful adventures were waiting for me. In Yasawa island (northwest), I ended up sleeping in villages and drinking Kava with the chief and other inhabitants!

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The second week was spent on the main island, exploring the cities, visiting its rum distillery (Fiji Rum Co) and meeting up with local friends.

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Even the deserted beaches in FIJI are Ruming the World with me, isn’t it fabulous?

Asia
How do you do a round-the-world trip without enjoying the pleasure of Asia? I spent 3 weeks in Thailand from the very north (Chiang Mai). to the Mekong and southern part (Phuket and Ko Samui) to meet my dearest rum producers, French people who settled there to produce and agricole rum (Chalong Bay and Magic Alambic).

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Indian Ocean
Less than 2 months left …. Time is going fast – so fast! I have already arrived in Mauritius where 2 of my best friends are living and it’s time for me to come back to civilization! It feels good! Mauritius has 6 distilleries, so trust me, even if the island is quite small, between the parties, my friends and the rum tour, I AM BUSIER than a business woman!

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Last stop, but not least, back to France – but not really, La Reunion! (an island region of France located in the Indian Ocean)

Crazy islands with 3 amazing cirques. Go to Mafate, Cilaos and Salazie to enjoy peaceful and wonderful sceneries before reaching the coast. Just a little advice: don’t go out of the lagoon, sharks are waiting for you…

La Reunion has 3 distilleries producing traditional rum, but also agricole rums…and I wanted to end this slideshow with this great picture of mix column/pot still!

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At the end, in October 2015, I “rummed” 49 distilleries in 21 countries… It was the CRAZIEST TRIP OF MY LIFE and I just want to share it and bring you with me for a few minutes.

We thank Laura for sharing just a snipet of her excellent around the world rum adventure. If you’d like to read more about her experiences and the rum she encountered on her journey,  check out her blog: www.rumtheworld.com, follow her on Twitter and on Facebook . You can also contact her at [email protected]

The World is Now More Accessible Than Ever – Explore and Enjoy It!


accessible-tag-(500)-OGuest post by Susan Trantham, Living the Life Travel

The world is more accessible than ever before. Twenty percent (62 million) of the U.S. population has some form of disability, and the number of these individuals is increasing daily. These people need to, want to, and can travel. If you are part of that twenty percent, a world of Special Needs/Accessible Travel awaits you.

Special Needs/Accessible Travel can be defined as the ongoing effort to ensure tourist destinations, products and services are accessible to all people, regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. Whether it is a short term or long term disability, you are entitled to enjoy travel together with your family and friends.

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Special needs travel includes:

  1. People With Disabilities
  2. Slow Walkers
  3. Families With Young Children
  4. Returning Veterans
  5. Elderly
  6. Pre- and Post- Surgical Patients
  7. Occasional Mobility Conditions

Travel professionals who are accessible travel advocates certified by the Special Needs Group www.specialneedsgroup.com, have unique, specialized knowledge about how to help individuals with disabilities enjoy a wonderful, hassle-free and memorable trip.

Whenever possible, do a little prep work ahead of time so when your next travel opportunity arises, you’ll be ready. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started.

Outline Your Travel Needs
Take time to evaluate the logistics of your trip in relation to your ability to keep pace. What modes of transportation will you be using? Airplane, motor coach, train, ship, transit vans for ground transfers? Make a list, referring to relevant brochures, your trip organizer or travel agent to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Now, make a list of your specific requirements. Be honest: what types of special needs equipment do you depend on at home? What do you use or need (or wish you had!) when shopping, sightseeing locally, dining out or going to the movies, attending concerts, the theater, street fairs or sporting events at home?

Can you hear and see clearly without special auditory equipment or visual aides? How far can you walk without a rest break? Are stairs difficult? Can you get in and out of the tub or shower at home without handgrips or other assistance?

Travel, whether solo or in a group, is no time for roughing it or trying to “tough it out.” If a wheelchair, scooter or portable oxygen will make your trip easier, place that item on your list. Many people who do not use wheelchairs or walkers at home feel more comfortable using these mobility aides for tours and excursions. In fact, most of Special Needs Group’s wheelchair and scooter rentals are to individuals who only use such aides when traveling.

Plan Ahead
If you already own a scooter or portable oxygen, it’s important to know the policy and procedures for bringing that equipment onboard all the transport vehicles included in your itinerary, from planes to taxis to ferry boats. Does that transport have a way to stow your scooter or wheelchair? Is oxygen allowed on board? Some airlines prohibit certain types of batteries, such as wet cell batteries, or oxygen cylinders. Airlines operate under strict rules, so there may be packing procedures to follow if they do allow the equipment. Keep in mind, most airlines need at least 48 hours’ notice to make special arrangements, and be prepared to fill out forms.

Overall, cruise ships are more lenient in allowing oxygen, but some disallow certain types of oxygen. All require that the oxygen be delivered to the ship, and that you have enough for the entire voyage. Oxygen may never be brought aboard in your luggage. Requirements vary, so check your cruise line for proper instructions. Again, documentation and paperwork are required.

Whether you are headed for a cruise ship, hotel or all-inclusive resort, double check for wheelchair access at that venue, plus any venues you will be visiting on the trip. Confirm that accessible hotel rooms, resort accommodations or ship staterooms are available for your travel dates. The earlier you book, the better your chances of securing fully accessible accommodations. And early booking increases your chances of securing a ground floor hotel room or cruise stateroom near the elevator, if these issues are important.

Check on the access to public rooms, restaurants, bars, toilets, the swimming pool, hot tub, beach area and other amenities. Are there TDD phone devices? How will you get in and out of the shower or bathtub? Are there flashing lights to accommodate hearing? Braille room numbers? Knowing in advance the scope of your needs gives you time to arrange advance rentals of any necessary equipment, scheduled to arrive when you do. Everything from scooters, lifts, ramps, TDD kits and special mattresses, including special needs cribs, is available for rental.

Will road travel or car excursions be part of the trip? Many car rental companies have vehicles that are modified for drivers or passengers with mobility limitations. Check ahead to make sure a suitable vehicle will be available for your travel dates. If you will be hiring a car or van, make sure the company is aware of your special needs.

When traveling with a limitation or disability, full travel insurance for medical coverage abroad and trip cancellation insurance are even more important and strongly advised.

Ask the Right Questions
When making the final bookings, be sure you ask the right questions, even if the accommodations or cruise stateroom are categorized as “accessible.” Find out what “accessible” means to them.

For example, are doorways wide enough for the largest wheelchairs? Do the doors open outwards or into the room? Are all the public areas of the hotel, resort or ship accessible? Do you need to make special arrangements in the dining room to accommodate the wheelchair or scooter?

Will the bathroom facilities truly fit your needs? Is the bathroom large enough for the wheelchair or scooter? Is there a roll-in shower? Grab-bars? Are there facilities for companion/assistance animals? Are there shopping and entertainment facilities close by if you are staying at a hotel or resort? On shore excursions or tours, does the van have a lift and method for transporting wheelchairs and scooters?

Simply stated, don’t take anything for granted. It’s easy to arrange for almost every situation, and the world is wonderfully accessible, once you know what’s needed, what’s available and how to find the necessary equipment!

The World is Now More Accessible Than Ever – Explore and Enjoy It!

A special thanks to Susan Trantham for her expertise on accessible travel! Through her company Living The Life Travel, LLC, Susan is available to help coordinate travel for anyone with or without special needs to make sure they have the vacation of a lifetime. Contact her by phone at (810)513-6759, and check out her website at www.LivingTheLifeTravel.com for more information. 

9 Highlights of our Stay at St. James’s Club, Antigua

As soon as we were welcomed through the gates at the private, all-inclusive tropical hideaway, St. James’s Club on Mamora Bay, we knew we were going to enjoy our time at this charming Antiguan property.

St. James's Club - copyright Rum Therapy
We’d spent our first few days on Antigua relaxing in the tropical tranquility of the Verandah Resort & Spa – another Elite Island Resort and we had heard that St. James’s Club was equally as impressive, although each with their own appeal and personality.

In short – we had a wonderful, relaxing stay. There’s so much we could share (and hundreds of photos!) from our time there, but we’ll touch on some of our favorite memories of the resort through our list of  “9 Highlights of our Stay at St. James’s Club, Antigua.”

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1. Location.
St. James’s Club is located on the south end of Antigua and sits on a large peninsula between the ocean and Mamora Bay. Because of it’s location, it’s very private, there’s little traffic and the beaches are uncrowded.

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum Therapy
2. The Royal Suites.
The St. James’s Club offers a variety of accommodations from regular guest rooms to 3 bedroom villas. Our accommodations during our stay? A Royal Suite, which featured a beautiful overlook of Mamora Bay, a private balcony, a large, well appointed room and a bottle of chilled bubbly to enjoy upon arrival. Cheers to that!

St. James's Club - copyright Rum Therapy
St. James's Club - copyright Rum Therapy
St. James's Club - copyright Rum Therapy
 3. It’s All-Inclusive.
The all-inclusive plan allowed us to relax and enjoy all of the amenities (including non-motorized watersport equipment and lessons!), and all of the food and drinks we wanted without carrying around cash or worrying about the cost.

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum Therapy
St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum Therapy
4. The Grounds.
The lush grounds are meticulously landscaped, tropical and great to wander through.

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum Therapy

5. The Pools.
Although we normally gravitate to beaches, we found ourselves spending more time than usual soaking up the sunshine in and around one of the 6 beautiful pools on property.

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum TherapyReef Deck Pool

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum TherapyCoco’s Pool

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum TherapyTiered Pool

6. Dining Options

There are 4 restaurants on site – Rainbow Garden, Coco Beach Restaurant & Bar, The Docksider Grill and Piccolo Mondo, where you can enjoy an evening of fine dining overlooking Mamora Bay (there’s a surcharge per person for dinner at Piccolo Mondo). Between the 4, we had no problem finding a variety of cuisines and settings and some delicious options. In addition, there are 5 lounges and bars – AND a beach cart that drives around serving up beverages to those so relaxed and sun-kissed that they can’t make it to the nearest bar!

St. James's Club - copyright Rum TherapyDinner by the water at The Docksider Grill

St. James's Club - copyright Rum TherapySteak Salad for lunch at Coco Beach Restaurant & Bar

St. James's Club - copyright Rum TherapyRainbow Garden

7. The Resort Was Not Crowded
Even though we visited during high season and the large resort was fairly full according to staff, it never felt crowded. We appreciated the opportunity to find quiet spaces to relax and unwind, the restaurants were never overly noisy and we never had to wait long to use the watersport equipment. The only time it seemed busy was at night in the lounges when there was live music playing – and that’s when we appreciate a lively crowd!

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum TherapyBeach chairs on a dock overlooking Mamora Bay

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum TherapyPlenty of space to play – or just relax

St James's Club - copyright Rum TherapyCoco Beach

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum TherapyWatersports Equipment on Mamora Bay

8. The Staff
We had the chance to meet St. James’s Club General Manager Antoine Brown, an engaging man that has assembled a great staff that genuinely seems to care about making guests stay something special – and in our experience, the staff can make a huge difference in how you feel about your stay at a resort. Antoine sat with us and chatted about the history of the resort, the continued upgrades being made, amenities being added (a new 3,000 sq. ft. Fitness Center has opened since our visit) and an additional Antiguan resort that Elite Island Resorts has just taken over and are in the process of refurbishing! We saw Mr. Brown frequently during our visit, always greeting guests and staff and making sure everyone was satisfied.

St. James's Club, Antigua copyright Rum Therapy
9. Great Base
Although you never really need to leave St. James’s Club during your stay in Antigua because you literally have everything needed on property for a great and relaxing stay, the location is a great base for those, like us, who like to experience some of the island outside of the gates. You can rent a car at the resort for a day (or more) of exploration and we did just that, checking out the yachts in Great Harbour and Falmouth Harbour, sampling Antigua Black Pineapple at a roadside fruit stand and seeing some of the gorgeous beaches, such as Turner’s Beach, on the west side of the island.

Black-Pineapple3-(600)-OAntigua Black Pineapple

There you have it – just a taste of the time we enjoyed at St. James’s Club on beautiful Antigua. Have you stayed at St. James’s Club or another Elite Island Resort? Tell us about it!

To find out more about St. James’s Club:

Visit their website: St. James’s Club
 Find them on Facebook
Check out their tweets on Twitter
 And see more photos on Instagram

Find St. James’s Club on our Antigua Map

To see more posts on Antigua and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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