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Photo Credit  Zillman Weddings & Travel, Sandals Dunn's River Fresh Coconut Drink

Featured Article

Non-Stop Tropical Fun!

6 Fun & Sun Destinations Worth Exploring—All with Direct Flights from Denver!

I love working with Nicole Zillman on travel articles. I get to swap stories with her, plus I learn something new every time! For example, Nicole has a list of must-haves on her website at NicoleZillman.com that I never thought of—but now desperately need!  So, Tip #1: Check Nicole’s site at the “Flight Gadgets & Must-Haves” tab under Travel Essentials for her in-the-know travel necessities.

This time I reached out to Nicole at Zillman Weddings and Travel for the gossip on six tropical destinations: Grand Cayman, the Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Roatan. The best part? Each destination is just a non-stop flight away from Denver. So pack your bags! We have some escaping to do!

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (GCM) “Twenty years ago Grand Cayman was a quaint Caribbean island, but now it’s a world-class destination with some of the best shopping, dining and—of course—the world famous Seven Mile Beach,” shares Nicole. And though it will be hard to drag yourself away from its crystal clear waters, she suggests taking a trip to the Stingray City Sandbar, Cayman Turtle Centre or Georgetown. And don’t miss the food! Nicole likes LUCA on Seven Mile Beach, Papagallo in West Bay and Tukka East End. In the mood for shopping? Nicole recommends the Camana Bay Shopping Center—it’s the hub for luxury boutiques—and Georgetown for souvenirs. For festivals, Nicole recommends Pirates Week in November.
Favorite lodging: Kimpton Seafire, Ritz Carlton and Westin Grand Cayman
Non-stop: Cayman Airways

Nassau, Bahamas (NAS) “The Bahamas have some of the clearest water in the Caribbean,” shares Nicole, “and is part of the same island chain as Turks and Caicos—with more accessible luxury.” With its festive colors and Junkanoo bands, it won’t take you long to get into the island spirit. “Don’t forget to try conch and listen for the blowing of conch shells at sunset,” Nicole recommends. And definitely swim with the pigs and explore the Out Islands.
Favorite lodging: Sandals Royal Bahamian, the Baha Mar Mega Resort family, Ocean Club by Four Seasons, Margaritaville and Atlantis
Non-stop: United

Belize City, Belize (BZE) “Belize has been a mainstay on many travelers’ bucket lists,” shares Nicole. And now it’s even more accessible! “For world-class diving, endless cayes, islands and luxurious eco resorts, Ambergris Caye is a notable hotspot,” says Nicole, “and Belize has one of the largest populations of Central American jaguars and toucans!” Other recommendations include the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Great Blue Hole, Xunantunich Mayan Ruins and Caye Caulker.  
Favorite lodging: Margarita Beach Resort, Anthony’s and Sirenian Bay
Non-stop flights: United/Southwest

Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ) I interviewed Nicole for a non-stop travel to Jamaica article in the April 2023 issue of Parker City Lifestyle (CityLifestyle.com/Parker/Issues/2023-04), so I won’t rehash it. But, since Nicole is a Sandals Resorts Chairman’s Royal Club Luxury Travel Expert, I wanted to pick her brain about the “flagship and heart” of the Sandals and Beaches Resort family—Jamaica—with 9 resorts on the island currently and soon to be 10. “Sandals Dunn’s River is an upscale reimagining of the former property that had been in the Sandals portfolio decades ago,” shares Nicole. “When repurchased, Sandals unveiled a new tier in the ultra-luxury all-inclusive space.” Another expert tip from Nicole: “This ultra-luxury Caribbean concept can be seen in the Sandals property in Curacao too—and most recently in the brand new Sandals St. Vincent!”
Favorite lodging: Sandals Dunn’s River, Beaches Negril Resort and Jamaica Inn
Non-stop: United

Costa Rica (Multiple Airports) "My absolute favorite place to visit in Costa Rica is Lapa Rios Eco-Resort,” shares Nicole. “It’s definitely an exclusive bucket list stay, right in the heart of its own wildlife reserve—a front row seat to macaws, sloths, and much more!” Flying nonstop to San Jose (SJO) gives you Arenal and Monteverde access; non-stop to Liberia (LIR) for famous beach areas like Papagayo, Tamarindo and Nosara.
Favorite lodging: Treehouse/cabin-style accommodations in Monteverde and beach towns; Amor Arenal all-inclusive for volcano hot springs; Westin Reserva Conchal; Margaritaville; Four Seasons; Secrets; and Dreams
Non-stop: United/Southwest

Roatan, Honduras (RTB) “Roatan is a diver’s paradise!” exclaims Nicole. “[Its] coral reef is the largest in North America and the world’s second largest. Sandy Bay offers a quieter but equally magnificent beach. And explore Roatan’s wildlife at the Botanical Gardens and nature trails.
Favorite lodging: Anthony’s Key, Kimpton Grand Roatan
Non-stop: United

Nicole is a wealth of knowledge for fun places to stay and things to do while you’re there—with awards to prove it. And she's super responsive! Reach her at 1.949.680.9925 for any of your travel questions and help with travel plans, accommodations and your travel itinerary.

Each destination is just a non-stop flight away from Denver. So pack your bags! We have some escaping to do!

Nicole is a wealth of knowledge for fun places to stay and things to do while you’re there—with awards to prove it. And super responsive!

  • Photo Credit Essential Costa Rica, Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica
  • Photo Credit Essential Costa Rica, Costa Rica's Arenal Volcano
  • Photo Credit  Zillman Weddings & Travel, Sandals Dunn's River Fresh Coconut Drink
  • Photo Credit Cayman Islands Tourism Department, Grand Cayman
  • Photo Credit Sarah Key, the Keys to Travel, Belize Beachfront
  • Photo Credit Zillman Weddings & Travel, SandDunn's River Club Suite in Jamaica
  • Photo Credit Cayman Islands Tourism Authority, Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman
  • Photo Credit Zillman Weddings & Travel, Swimming with stingrays at Stingray City, Grand Cayman
  • Photo Credit Essentials Costa Rica, Monteverde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica
  • Photo Credit Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Paradise Island Beach
  • Photo Credit Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Bahamas Scooter Ride
  • Photo Credit Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Sandbar Wedding in the Bahamas
  • Photo Credit Cayman Islands Tourism Authority, Direct flights from Denver to Grand Cayman on Cayman Airways